Saturday 3 September 2022

Why So Nervous, Tories?

We can see that the Tory Party is ever so nervous about a Liz Truss win to become Prime Minister on Monday 5th September.

This is what Ryan Shorthouse said, Chief Executive of the Bright Blue think tank:

“If she just surrounds herself with the Boris fan club, puts in place a continuity cabinet with the same old faces and uses the same arguments, policies and tactics as Johnson, she will lose the confidence of the parliamentary party rapidly. The public will feel nothing has changed.”

But it will also because only a third of Tory MPs supported her, and she wasn't that all important second in the race until the last minute. She started in front among Tory supporters - so male, so elderly, so well off comparatively - and, if anything, she has lost ground in front. She has projected herself as this deliberately well-photographed 'Poundshop Thatcher' to appeal to that selectorate, but it's been utterly inappropriate to the concerns of the public.

During Covid, Johnson acted like a Social Democrat because there was no other option. The State acted and redistributed cash, and it preserved jobs while paying people to do nothing. The energy price crisis and cost of living increases are such that Truss will have to do something similar; her 'solutions' have been condemned by her opponent Sunak as inflationary and inadequate.

Polls suggest that people expect her to do a bad job, before she has even started. The timing of the General Election and a temptation to go early for legitimacy could mean she is one of the shortest-serving Prime Ministers.

Her gaffes and her wooden performances suggest she has all the political vacancies of Boris Johnson but none of the communication skills to get around her limitations.

But Johnson had so little in the way of political philosophy that he could be centrist and write cheques.

Truss appears to have a political philosophy - a clone of Thatcher - but she is actually several reconstructions. She wasn't just a Liberal Democrat but the President of them at Oxford. She was pro-European Union - kept her in with Cameron as Prime Minister - and then was Brexit reborn, keeping her in with Johnson.

I don't know if she'll be continuity Johnson or apply an irrelevant dogma: rather, I think she will be overwhelmed and make allies and supporters very irritated.

She is yet another third-rate politician come to the top via some peculiar route.

Priti Patel didn't stand for the leadership because she surely calculated that the next Tory leader will be overwhelmed and short-lived. Better to do a bit of opposition and make an appeal, for people to elect their MPs when she stands as leader.

Truss begins her time in office after the government has been asleep at the wheel, as anxious worrying has increased among the public. She and Sunak have indulged in something that should have been sorted out quickly. So there'll be no 'honeymoon period' but a disgust with the delay. What she does early on will matter, but so far she has suggested policies in the realm of fantasy.

She may offer Sunak a role in government but, after all he has said, he couldn't stand up for policies he has said are reckless. She then has many favours to reward. Her government will likely be narrow in personnel. But if she does the other thing, as in what is necessary, she will look quickly like a liar.

But then Sir Keir Starmer was elected by a membership with many left wing promises, and has pretty much dropped the lot of them. The result - with support of his MPs even as 96,000 ended their Labour Party membership - is likely to be he wins the next General Election even with a minority government. He'll take many seats back and some, the Liberal Democrats will take others, and the Scottish Nationalists more or less keep theirs. Hello Liz Truss and, with good fortune, it will be goodbye soon.