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I can’t believe it. My country (UK) has a coalition government between a right-wing party, the Conservatives, and a left-wing party, the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives are pretty much just right of centre. Well, they were until today. They have reshuffled the cabinet to this effect. Skeptics beware, there is some serious right-wing science denial going on.

The movements are:

Environment – oh shit

Caroline Spelmen out, Owen Paterson in (In May, he reportedly told the Cabinet that it should end all energy subsidies, such as those for wind and solar power, and fast-track shale gas exploitation. He also urged more aviation capacity, which seems far more likely now Justine Greening – implacably opposed to a third runway at Heathrow has been removed. As MP for North Shropshire, Paterson hasspoken against wind farms and the new pylons needed to carry their power to the national grid. His appointment marks a sharp lurch away from the green-minded policies which sheltered in the environment department and a significant weakening of the green voice at the Cabinet table. WORST OF ALL, he is a climate skeptic, whose brother-in-law is apparently arch climate sceptic writer Matt Ridley!!! As environment minister!!!)

Ministry of Justice

Ken Clarke (interested in restorative justice) out, Chris Grayling in (made the news in recent years for championing compulsory unpaid work experience for benefit claimants, and for questioning laws that required bed and breakfasts to accommodate gay couples. On human rights, Clarke was adamant that any reform would have to respect the European convention on human rights, whereas Grayling has previously said he would like to “tear up” the Human Rights Act that codifies that convention. On prisons, where Clarke set out specific plans to curb the prison population by reducing recourse to custody, Grayling used his tenure as shadow home secretary in 2009 to propose yet another prison-building programme.)


Justine Greening (spirited resistance to the environmentally disastrous option of expanding Heathrow) out, Patrick McLoughlin (likely to herald a U-turn and build new runway) in.


Andrew Lansley (admittedly no great appointment) out, Jeremy Hunt in (supporter of HOMEOPATHY now in charge of healthcare, voted to reduce ABORTION times to 12 weeks, close to Rupert Murdoch, friend of corporates, no fan of the NHS, likely to move to privatise if possible).


As the Mirror claims, “Lib Dems were purged from the MoD and Foreign Office to pave way for Tory right-wingers.”


So it seems we are moving towards a more US-style right-wing place, something uncomfortable for me these days.


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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...