Samuel Kasumu: Some in government engage in 'dangerous' culture wars to woo voters

Samuel Kasumu gives his view on where successive governments have gone wrong when it comes to race relations


Some "people in government" believe the key to winning voters is to participate in "culture wars", Boris Johnson’s former race adviser has said.

Samuel Kasumu, who resigned from the post two months ago, told ITV's Peston that it's "dangerous" for the government to engage in culture wars, i.e. a clash between groups within the public that have different values.

Mr Kasumu quit a day after a government-backed review found that Britain is no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”. At the time of his resignation, Mr Kasumu was Boris Johnson's most senior black adviser."There are people in government - and outside of government as well - who believe that the best way to have electoral success, in the short to medium term, is to actively participate in a culture war.

"I think that's fundamentally wrong," he said.


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When asked whether he quit because the race report didn't capture the values he wanted to see, Mr Kasumu insisted this wasn't the case.

He did, however, elaborate on the "politics steeped in division" that he cited in his resignation letter.

"It's dangerous for a government to engage in a culture war because sometimes one group is correct, sometimes another group is correct," he explained.

"The challenge of government participating in a culture war is it means that they don't leave room for nuance and for ultimately what they should be doing, which is acting in a national interest".

Mr Kasumu also linked "culture wars" to Boris Johnson's initial refusal to condemn fans booing footballers taking the knee.

He said: "I do think we need to get to a point where politicians are able to rise above this cultural moment and hopefully say the right things at the right time - not just thinking about polls".

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston also put the issue of fans booing players to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

"I wouldn't myself boo players who did that, who took the knee. Also, you've got to look at the motivation - it's very difficult to see what the motivation is behind booers.

"There's been an assertion that they are racist, I think that's completely not the case in all cases, and people can express their views".