“ Donald Duck could have done a better job.”
My wife isn’t normally driven to spontaneous political commentary, but that is what she said when Kwasi Kwarteng was removed from office as Chancellor. That assessment might have been a bit cruel but I think we could agree that since the Conservatives approach in the “ Mini Budget “ was completely quackers, Donald would at least have sounded authentic.
Kwarteng is of course another example of why Eton College should be investigated as a threat to national stability.
Not withstanding the arrogant sense of entitlement that the man seemed to exude you have to have some sympathy for him in terms of his denouement. Dragged out of a key conference shoved on plane and told to come home in order presumably to be sacked before he hit the tarmac at the other end. Brutal.
He will now be “ spending more time with his family. “ Who possibly hadn’t noticed his absence, so short was his period of office. There was no grace or sentimentality here. As he picks the political knives from his back he can read the letter he got from Liz Truss and contemplate the meaning of the word “ friendship.” But then perhaps he doesn’t have to read the letter at all?
No-one other than BBC’s Chris Mason that lunch time made anything of this but Truss’s letter to him was written on Kwarteng’s own ministerial notepaper !
Perhaps she said “ This is tough KK but you are out the door, do you want to write your own epitaph?” Or perhaps she is just incredibly incompetent? Ah.
Now we have Jeremy Hunt.
Virtually his first words when addressing the press were “ Compassionate Conservatism.” To me this is a contradiction in terms, and I could refer him to the utter disregard for people’s mortgages and the fact that they were about to spend the winter in despair about the cost of living, and possibly freezing in their homes. But perhaps I misheard, perhaps he was saying “ Compassionate to Conservatives.” That would make more sense.
Two days ago when I began writing this article I wrote “It is going to be interesting to see how Hunt squares his own political beliefs with those of his PM.” But now we know. He isn’t.
What we are going to get instead is a reversion to austerity economics.
Isn’t it interesting, in Conservative economics whether they go for high tax or low tax it is always the poorest who suffer. I wonder why that is ? Energy prices capped to April but then, it is back to where we were. Just enough time for a Prime Minister to possibly survive. Though I doubt it .
A brief reminder this is a ( compassionate) Conservative Party in power and we are now about to have the highest tax burden since the 1950s.
The language the last few days has been surreal.
Today we have “ Unbudget ” Noun or ” to Unbudget” Verb Definition ? To have an economic strategy announced that is so catastrophically surreal and devoid of one iota of commonsense that you reverse it almost entirely within 3 weeks. Associated explainers ? Financial insecurity and the crashing of the bond market ramping up inflation and the cost of home ownership.
On the appointment of Hunt one commentator said ( in paraphrase ) “I think she is trying to give the markets the sense that No11 is in the hands of grown ups and is now a moron free zone.”
“ She is worse than Corbyn” – a Conservative MP.
Robert Halfon another a former Minister a Conservative (and possibly an actually compassionate one – I have some respect for him ) :-
“I worry that over the past few weeks, the Government has looked like libertarian jihadists and treated the whole country as kind of laboratory mice on which to carry out ultra, ultra-free market experiments.”
Wow, that hurt! Given that this is what people are saying in public I wonder what they are saying when they really mean it ?
It is easy to get drawn into this stuff and conclude that the Conservatives are utterly doomed. But the phrase “ it’s all about the economy stupid” is still relevant, and these things are relative. Hunt is not a moron, he is an acute political operator and if he brings some stability who knows what might happen.
He is also used to coming back from lost causes – this is the eventually successful business man whose earlier failed entrepreneurial attempts include trying to export marmalade to the Japanese. ( No …..seriously )
Having said that I get the sense that in Hunt we could be looking at the next Conservative leader, and not that far down the road either. Or not. There are other contenders.
The “ dream team” of Sunak and Mordaunt? Or could it be Hunt with Sunak as Chancellor in a blue version of the Blair and Brown show with Sunak taking over after the first period of office ?
Nadine Dorries , remember her? She thinks we should have Boris back because of course he brought stability and authority didn’t he? And then there is Ben Wallace. He has tanks, although in fairness he did show excellent judgement in not standing as a candidate when Johnson stepped down .
There is no shortage of ambition in the Tory Party. It is like watching potential Captains line up to be interviewed to take over the Titanic – AFTER it hit the iceberg while simultaneously agreeing to invite the band to keep on playing and saying to the passengers “ nothing to see here , it’s all good.”
There will of course be a major change in direction. Unless the Conservatives in Parliament are actually so bruised and deranged that they persuade themselves to go back to Boris, Eton will not be represented in No 10. What will they do with such rejection? Admittedly the majority of those names above did go to public school: Winchester, Millfield, Charterhouse.
Whatever. Unless Truss commits political suicide and drags her party with her by declaring a General Election , we will be faced once again with the Conservatives undemocratically selecting a leader and a political approach without the nicety of going to the Country.
That is the whole country not just the radical right 0.3% of the electorate that the ageing Brexiteers of Union represent.
If you are looking for proponents of libertarian Jihadism Robert, look no further – this lot listened to Truss and thought – “now that is something I can really vote for.”
That, I sense is the reason why the Conservative must be voted out of office as soon as possible.
“ Compassionate Conservatism” and “ One Nation Conservatism” are political slogans not beliefs within current Conservatism. I disapprove of everything they stand for but I also recognise that opposition is necessary, they need to find what they stand for.
Until what they vote for matches up with what they say, they are not fit for office.
Ps I reserve the right to a re-write in the politically possible eventuality that the Government changes in the next hour …….