Abolishing Public Health England or the overseas aid department is easy. The challenge is to create new institutions that will reshape Britain
The difference between a revolt and a revolution is that the latter seeks to build a new order while the former knows only destruction. This government has proved its talent for popular revolt. Within a year, Boris Johnson has stormed Labour’s ”red wall”, wrested Brexit from a reluctant parliament, abolished the Department for International Development and Public Health England, and threatened the future of the BBC. But there is, as yet, no plan in evidence for completing the revolution.
It is much harder to erect institutions than to tear them down. Consider Whitehall’s construction of an entirely new state architecture to manage coronavirus in the past six months, which even ministers admit has been a struggle. The recurring dysfunction of the national contact-tracing system, the failure of the NHS volunteering scheme, the lack of remote teaching for every child – these are all testament to the difficulty of building new systems from scratch. This is why Conservatives since Edmund Burke have favoured organic reform over jarring revolution.