Um I know Boris Johnson is an appalling human being, a liar and a cheat, a boor and a bully, a disgrace to his party and those he claims to lead, that he cheated Parliament and behaved with the morality of an alley cat.
But is anyone else starting to miss it, I mean for the most bizarre reason of all – policy-making?
I say this because in the brief period since the collapse of his government, it seems to me that his successor has proven that he is clearly going to be an even more authoritarian, even more populist, even more reckless figure than him. It’s highly likely to be Liz Truss, of course, but even Sunak has veered further and further to the right. I say ‘even’ but he’s always been a diehard Brexiteer Thatcherite it’s just that with his resistance to huge tax cuts now he’s the closest voice to economic sanity at the top of the left. He’s dangerous too, but not as dangerous as Truss. The pair of them make Johnson look like Ken Clarke.
In those few days, we watched the Truss-Sunak roadshow turn into a grotesque Dutch auction. Truss says she will expand Rwanda’s refugee deportation program, so Sunak has to get the auctioneer’s attention and declare that he will expand it to other countries. Truss matches this, so Sunak pledges to double the number of foreign prisoner deportations. I don’t know where we’ll end up with this one. Maybe go back to the old transport policy halfway around the world to steal a loaf of bread? Something to please these local associations. They’ve even managed to turn the pandemic into a kind of game show contest to show how carefree they can be about other people’s lives. Big Dog has nothing on those two. Sunak reveals he gallantly returned to attend a cabinet meeting to advocate against vital anti-COVID public health measures last winter. Truss, in ‘all you can do, I can do better’ mode, counters that she thought the lockdown of schools – a major source of community transmission – was a mistake and she never would have done it.
It was once again fingers on the buzzers when they were asked a “quick” question about whether they were going to introduce hydraulic fracturing. I don’t know which spat out “yes” quicker, but it was a pitiful and depressing moment in an already devalued process. Of course, the correct answer is “this is something that any responsible government should consider given the urgency, but there are significant risks, especially with climate change and local earthquakes in densely populated areas , and shale gas would not be exploited”. for a few years.”
But no. No need for studies, impact assessments or consent of the people of Lancashire; it’s an unconditional and unbreakable promise of action from our next prime minister: “I’m going to bulldoze it”. Sometimes I wonder why they don’t do the hustings like the old “Name That Tune” game show, where the first notes of a popular song would be played and the first to identify it has the best chance of winning the prize. A secretary from the Conservative Association would take the microphone and say, “Do you want to bring ha-…” and Liz would yell, Alan Partridge style, “Hangman!” Yes, for treason and murder. Sunak’s only option would be to shout “and I’ll chain the nuncios and all” to save some vital votes.
Last, but not least, we have unequivocal wishes to move the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill forward. It threatens a trade war with the EU, the UK’s biggest export market, with a return to unrest in Northern Ireland as a bonus. Just what we need.
Where it was once rumored that Sunak was rightly nervous about such an enthusiastic approach, he now blithely adopts the belligerent attitude that suits this business school grad so badly. All of this makes me fearful for the future and nostalgic for Johnson. Let’s not forget that this leadership race wasn’t supposed to be about sweeping policy changes, but just getting someone a little less of a liar and laziness at No. 10. Instead, it became a chaotic wholesale process of rewriting the government’s agenda for the rest of parliament, as dictated by a small group of crazed reactionary obsessives (aka the Conservative Party in the country).
Johnson, on the other hand, wasn’t nicknamed “trolley” for nothing. He, too, was capable of making the most outrageous promises, but had that endearing habit of going back on them when they proved impractical or inconvenient (ask the Ulster Unionists). When he encountered a bit of resistance, he gave in and backed down, whether it was Marcus Rashford and free school meals or the one-off utility tax.
Truss, on the other hand, in full Thatcher cosplay mode, prides herself on her illogicality, her resistance to science and reason, and will crush the economy simply because she has a gut instinct about miraculous restorative qualities. tax reductions. We’re replacing a leader who had at least the right instincts about the environment and who would end up bowing to the likes of Treasury and Chris Whitty.
Truss prides himself on his own stubborn resistance to reason. Johnson was bad, but I find her terrifying.
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