You’re reading Reaction. To get Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter and full access to the site, sign up for a free 30-day trial here. When it comes to Literature and the arts, all wise Tories are in favour of cultural appropriation and pour scorn on the Lefties who oppose it. But it may be another matter when it comes to politics.

Boris Johnson appears to be guilty of large-scale political appropriation and this is causing a lot of unease in Tory circles. That would be even greater if people concluded that the PM is appropriating a favourite phrase of Nye Bevan’s: that ‘the language of priorities is the religion of socialism’ – or should that now be Boris-ism? Boris’s religious beliefs are as opaque as his political ones. Beyond ‘have cake, eat cake’ it all seems to be a matter of making it up as he goes along. His inability to inspire trust helps to explain Tory scepticism about last week’s measures.