The Mail is lamenting the loss of all the middle-aged white men from the top tiers of government, who have been taken to a special correction unit to learn how to use pronouns and word trigger warnings. Or so you’d think from this front page.
My Morning (1/3) pic.twitter.com/9hALCivpVx
— (((Nish Kumar))) (@MrNishKumar) January 10, 2018
So let’s take a look at Theresa May’s post-reshuffle cabinet, shall we? Here they are, in all their diverse glory:
There has not been a purge of middle-aged men from cabinet. Yes, ten of the 11 ministers demoted during the reshuffle were white men, but the number of women has only risen by nine – there are still more than double the number of men (82, down from 89) than women (38, up from 29), and the average age of ministers has only decreased by a year (51, down from 52).
That’s on top of the fact that six of the eight women added to the non-cabinet ranks are junior whips – low-profile positions, with no speaking role in the Commons – and only one woman was promoted to a full cabinet role (Esther McVey to Work & Pensions, which doesn’t add anything because the former Education Secretary Justine Greening stood down).
Yes, there are now ten women attending cabinet (up from eight), but only because existing ministers Caroline Nokes (promoted to immigration minister) and Claire Perry (remaining energy minister) have been given seats at the cabinet table, despite not being secretaries of state.
The cabinet also still has just one member from an ethnic minority background, Sajid Javid, and one fewer gay member with the loss of former Education Secretary Justine Greening.
PLUS the cabinet is posher. Research by the Sutton Trust shows that there are now more privately-educated ministers than there were in May’s original cabinet – up to 34 per cent from 30 per cent in 2016. The most high-profile loss in this context was Greening, the first Education Secretary to have been educated at a comprehensive school since that system began. She was also the first openly gay woman in cabinet.
The number of Oxbridge-educated ministers has also increased, from 44 per cent of May’s first cabinet having attended Oxford or Cambridge university to 48 per cent.
So the Mail needn’t worry. The establishment is restored.