A tale of dying magic money trees and establishment takeover
That did not take long.
38 days into his new job Liz Truss sacked her Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Today, Thu, 20 October 22, she fired herself.
Announced her resignation.
45 days into her tenure.
Things move quickly and bizarrely in British politics these days.
Funnily, once she had fired Kwarteng, the British tabloid the Daily Star ran a competition between herself and a lettuce.
Yes, a lettuce.
The Daily Star dressed up a lettuce as a mini Liz Truss – with a blond wig . The bet of the Daily Star was that Truss was not going to politically outlive the sell-by-date of this Lettuce.
The Daily Star was proven right.
What is happening in British politics?
What is happening to the British “Conservative” party?
First, firing its once wildly popular prime minister Boris Johnson after almost 3 years – him, who had won them the biggest landslide since Thatcher.
Then vicious infighting of a number of candidates which lead ultimately to Truss’s election.
Now having the prime minister with the shortest term in British history.
There are probably 3 main threads to unpack here:
- An old, defeated establishment pseudo-conservative “elite” has clawed its way back after the sound defeat first through the Brexit vote itself in 2016. They were defeated again in the 2019 election that reaffirmed more populist forces gaining power.
- A new breed of careerist politicians, for the first time in many generations could not rely on the magic money of borrowing.
It did not help that both were socially awkward and kept apologizing
- The implosion of a party that has alienated both its old and its new constituents by failing on all its key conservative tenants: fiscal responsibility, controlled migration, free speech and cracking down on big government.
The “Empire Strikes” moment of the establishment
Within a day of Kwarteng’s firing Jeremy Hunt took over as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He ripped up virtually all of Liz Truss hallmark tax cuts and energy price guarantees in public. He also carried himself like he was in charge. He probably was, currently is.
Body language says it all.
In the House of Commons, Liz Truss looked smaller, beaten.
Jordan Peterson’s image of the defeated lobster certainly came to mind.
Who is Jeremy Hunt?
He is an establishment candidate, having served a number of years as Culture Secretary, Health Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
To his credit, he successfully tried his hand in entrepreneurship – apparently receiving something like GBP 14.9M from the sale of a company he cofounded.
In the “Conservative” leadership contest during which Boris Johnson emerged victorious, Hunt was the final candidate standing against Johnson. It later turned out that Hunt had received funding from a close ally of Saudi prince Mohammed Bin Salman .
Furthermore, he had been part of the “Remain”, i.e. the anti-Brexit side of the “Conservative” party.
Unsurprisingly, after Kwarteng resigned and the British Pound was sliding, #ProjectFearWasRight was trending on Twitter.
“ProjectFear” was a term coined by pro-Brexit campaigners that poked fun at the doom and gloom trotted out by the anti-Brexit “remainers:
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Warnings of immediate recession once the UK left the EU, food shortage, and, I kid you not, super-gonorrhea
Most disconcertingly Hunt in 2020 expressed a little too much admiration for the Chinese approach to Covid lockdowns.
Also, his Chinese-born wife presents for a TV program that is owned by a state-owned Chinese corporation.
Let’s pause on this for a second:
HOW MANY “Conservative” top-brass have Chinese business ties?
Guess who was trying to “deepen trade links” with China? Correct, him.
In the next “Conservative” leadership contest are we going to get a run-off between two candidates whose sole differentiator will be the degree to which they are beholden to China?
A new breed of politicians failing for trying to do the right thing:
In my previous article I had provided many examples for Truss being a human weather vane. Still, I will continue to defend her and Kwarteng’s decision to cut taxes.
That is always the right idea – getting money away from the incapable hands of the state into more capable hands of the free market and private citizens.
However, being modern politicians, they did not want to do anything wildly unpopular – so their tax cuts were not underwritten by any sort of budget cuts.
Cuts have become a taboo, at the very latest since Johnson ran for prime minister.
One could pretty much sum up the debate between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (a dour, far left politician who lost the 2019 election against Boris Johnson; to his credit he at least is one of the anti-war lefties, a rare species these days) as “No, I give you more free stuff”.
Also, and that is not Truss’s fault, the Covid-lockdowns have put an end to easy “funny money” by borrowing. Now inflation can no longer be hidden (usually this is done by fiddling with the consumer price index – how to weigh which kind of price).
So, when Truss and Kwarteng announced their planned tax cuts (without commensurate budget cuts) the markets rightfully signaled great concern.
Still, I am convinced that “the markets”, or at least their greatest movers and shakers, would have done the same, even had the tax cuts been underwritten by budget cuts.
Bloated government spending has become so much part of economic orthodoxy, that just announcing tax cuts might scare wide segments of “the markets” (and the growing slice of the economy directly dependent on government).
It was striking with how much uniformity the mainstream press wrote how “spooked” the markets were, over “unfunded” tax cuts.
As stated in my last article, Truss is no Maggy Thatcher. Even in the case that she had she had a fully “funded”, fully thought through plan, she would have still crumbled in the face of opposition.
She is the Elizabeth Holmes of British politics.
Elizabeth Holmes (the Silicon Valley fraudster) dressed like Steve Jobs, wanted to be like Steve Jobs, but, alas, she was not Steve Jobs.
The same was true for Liz Truss.
She dressed like Thatcher.
Sometimes she tried to talk like Thatcher.
But this lady was for turning.
The implosion of a once conservative party. How to alienate your constituents – by not having one conservative policy
The tendency of modern Conservatives of wanting to be loved by everyone is not new.
Sometimes it is tedious business being the adult in the room, when the snot-nosed “intellectual” in the same place (after one semester of political science) starts his usual “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice” shtick.
Even George W. Bush tried to brand his new “compassionate conservatism”, as if conservatism and compassion were oxymorons.
Theresa May (Johnson’s predecessor), one of the most boring human beings to ever be permitted in front of a microphone, pontificated how the “Conservatives” needed to rid themselves of the image of being the “nasty party”.
As a consequence, not only did Boris Johnson get elected on the promise of finally delivering Brexit but also on cranking up public spending: more money for the UK’s failing socialized healthcare system NHS, more money for infrastructure, more money for the white elephant of the high-speed train project HS2 (for about 80 billion GBP it shaves off 10 minutes for the 120 miles from London to Birmingham).
The next promise that any “Conservative” government has failed to deliver since Cameron was immigration.
Johnson was no exception.
Immigration keeps rising – and even conservative leaning outlets only ever speak about “net immigration” rather than total immigration .
So far they have not even been able to stop the illegal boat immigration from France to Britain, instead the Coast Guard and Royal Navy serve as shuttle services for people smugglers (about 50,000 illegals arrived that way in the UK since 2018).
Tax has been mentioned already – Truss and Kwarteng were thrown under the bus for daring to lower taxes. Under Johnson taxes even went up. Under Hunt’s new plan, corporate taxes will go up even further .
So, what is left of a “Conservative” party when you take away:
- restrains on public spending,
- moderate taxation,
- not kowtowing to the latest luddite green fashion (as Johnson at the behest of his wife did),
- limits on immigration,
- focus on national sovereignty over unelected international technocrat bodies and defense of free speech ( The new UK Online Safety Bill is truly dystopian)?
You just get just another globalist leftist party.
If your catchiest slogan is “Yeah, but the other guy is even worse”, then you have already lost.
Like many “Conservative” parties in Europe, the Tory party has to die.
It cannot be reformed.
It needs to be replaced.
The same is true for the majority of other “Conservative” parties in Europe.
Time for the likes of Nigel Farage to step up to the plate.
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