Monday, 25 July 2022

Relaunch Fakery

We've seen the end of Boris Johnson and by 5th September this year he'll be gone as Prime Minister. He's certainly a supporter of the Conservative Party as an institution, but principle-free to such an extent that he could be a centrist and encourage his own right wing at the same time. As a Covid Prime Minister he was a Social Democrat, but then was forced to chuck red meat at his right wing. He promoted the incapable on the basis of loyalty. A Chancellor of the Exchequer came from nowhere, and the Foreign Secretary was promoted after Johnson's predecessor demoted her. Sunak and Truss respectively turned out to be a smoothie in presentation and a reconstructor of political personality.

Sunak was fined for being present at a party, like Johnson. Sunak also had a Green Card, allowing him to bolthole to the United States along with his international wife even when Chancellor.

But Truss is the one who gets me hiding behind the sofa, like a child watching (or hiding from) Dr. Who. She has staggering form for political fakery.

She trashes Roundhay School, Leeds, in public, but it got her to Oxford. Thus she started as a Liberal Democrat and anti-monarchy too (I am both), becoming its local President no less when at Oxford. This should reassure me. Of course it doesn't, not with the number of zig zag changes she's made.

She had an affair and then became a Tory candidate, her marriage surviving but not the bloke's. She became a Cameroon, a moderniser of the Tory Party (that was vicious to those on benefits - and why I still criticise the Liberal Democrats for propping up the Tories for far too long). Part of this political climb was her robust defence of the European Union and our influence at the central table of its decision taking. She became Lord Chancellor, and was apparently no good at it, and was demoted by Theresa May. But she saw the direction of the political wind, and hitched herself to the Johnson wagon. She suddenly became a convinced Leaver of the EU, rather like Johnson himself had his two newspaper articles - one for in and one for out - and opted to come out. He promoted her from Chief Secretary to the Treasury (and crap at that too) to Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade and then, even, Foreign Secretary. Her incredible trade deals were, basically, EU deals we already had and now needed repeating bilaterally.

As Foreign Secretary she did two connected things. One was have her photo taken wherever she went, and then in iconic Thatcher-appearing style. When she appeared in television debates, she was wooden, robotic and tried to look like Thatcher. She was appealing to the Tory Party demographic.

Don't look for the real Elizabeth Truss, because there isn't one. She is whatever suits at the time. She is no leader for a crisis, and her economic policy is crackers - borrowing when interest rates rise. For a long time money has been 'printed' on the basis of trying to tickle along more economic activity, in the risk that economic activity could release financial assets into price and wage inflation. This, along with war in Europe, has now happened. Monetary policy has to try and make the excess disappear, but her policy would create more and more money swilling around and, presumably, spent by consumers to stoke up demand. Capitalism has been in intensive care since 2008, and now it's about to fly off into contradictions every which way.

She is not the woman to lead the country. Go back to the 1970s when things were bad, too, and at least we had leaders of depth - people who read history, people who argued worked-out positions. We have had decades now of third rate politicians. She is one of them, and for that matter so is Sunak.

Johnson says, "I'll be back," because he knows that his party's "herd instinct" gets fed up with under-performing leaders. He is sure of his greatness, and of appointing people well below him. They are all low level.

None of the above. Mordaunt ran out of steam during her vacuous campaign, but in a system where the first task was to come second or above, it seems that Sunak's firepower was aimed at keeping the apparently popular Mordaunt out. Remember how little his vote went up before the final stage? Clever, but not clever enough, because it seems the Tory faithful rather like fakery and reconstruction, so just as Johnson (and Sunak) can communicate, Truss can turn herself into whatever she wants. Some people can be fooled all of the time.

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