Culture wars give Boris Johnson and his government a quick and easy high. They're no substitute for governing

Londoners protest in solidarity with George Floyd demonstrations last June.

London (CNN)"Two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don't have to. And never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be." The words are from "Yes Minister," a 1980s television satire about the dysfunction of British politics, but they could equally apply to the Westminster of today.

Sir Humphrey Appleby, the amoral civil servant who served his lazy minister in the long-running BBC series, might have allowed himself a wry smile this week on the release of a report on racial inequalities that, despite coming from an independent panel, had strong echos of the UK government's stated view of the issue. Like many of Sir Humphrey's fictional schemes though, this one risks inflaming the very problems that it purports to address.
The report, released on March 31 by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, was commissioned last fall in the aftermath of the pent-up frustrations of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and their supporters -- who demanded the government seriously consider and address the racial inequalities that still permeate British society.
    The report's staggered release began with a summary of the findings that graced the nation's front pages on Wednesday morning. It stated the report found no evidence to support "the well-meaning 'idealism' of many young people who claim the country is still institutionally racist." In fact, the successes of some of the UK's ethnic minority population should be "regarded as a model for other white-majority countries."
      The reaction to what has been described as a spin operation was furious. It was called "government-level gaslighting" by sections of the press and the public and the damage was done even before the report was officially released later that morning.
      Once published, there was plenty more for the critics to get their teeth into. The report was accused of putting a positive spin on slavery and empire with its incendiary suggestion that children be taught about the "Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a re-modelled African/Britain."
      The report was commissoned in the aftermath of BLM protests in Britain last summer and the frustrations that arose out of them.

      'Shoddy piece of work'