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Kwasi Kwarteng was the wrong sort of clever The ex-Chancellor's humiliation was inevitable

Nightmare on Downing Street (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Nightmare on Downing Street (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)


October 18, 2022   7 mins

I had a horrendous cold over the weekend — so awful, in fact, that in an unprecedented development, my wife grudgingly conceded that “it might actually be flu”. And so it was that, tossing and turning with a raging temperature, I was visited in my dreams by the late Kwasi Kwarteng.

Other people’s dreams are rarely very interesting, so I’ll keep this brief. I had a towering pile of columns to file, but had failed to start work on any of them. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, now working as a kind of journalistic bailiff, was pursuing me through a series of oddly blank rooms. In a twist not unfamiliar in dreams, he was not merely himself, he was also the Judge, the gigantic and terrifying personification of evil in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. There is no escaping the Judge; and in my dream, there was no escaping Kwarteng.

That was bad enough. But the following night, Kwarteng visited me again. This time, in a surprising new departure, he had organised a mano a mano poetry competition in Leeds, in which he and I were due to read our own verses. Disastrously, I had forgotten all about it, and only remembered when it was far too late to catch the train. In desperation, I scribbled a few lines and posted them on Twitter, hoping they would mollify the poetry-fanciers of West Yorkshire. But then — another disaster! The ex-Chancellor immediately retweeted them, mocking my slapdash efforts and pointing out that the first two lines ended with the same word. Shame and ignominy engulfed me; I knew I could never show my face again.

Nightmares about public failure are very common. There can be few readers who haven’t dreamed about turning up to an exam entirely unprepared, or about walking onstage having neglected to learn the lines. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the more you care about such things, the more likely they are to haunt you, which is why they’re so common among academic high-achievers. So perhaps Kwarteng himself, whose academic credentials are second to none, has had such dreams. And if he did, here’s the twist. His nightmares came true.

What happened to Kwarteng on Friday — and again yesterday, when Jeremy Hunt ripped up his mini-budget, poured petrol on the debris and set the whole thing alight — was more than your standard political sacking. It was a humiliation on the grandest possible scale, as the Chancellor was forced to fly back early from Washington, with some 6,000 people gleefully tracking his flight, before Liz Truss delivered the inevitable bullet. He had been in command at the Treasury for just 38 days, saved only from a post-war record by Iain Macleod’s heart attack in July 1970.

It’s hard to think of many British political figures with such a catastrophic trajectory. Kwarteng had been Boris Johnson’s Business Secretary since January 2021, but it’s a safe bet most ordinary punters had never heard of him. Then, suddenly, he was Chancellor, with a breathtakingly radical plan to defy the markets and turbo-charge a new era of growth. Then, equally suddenly, he became the most unpopular Chancellor in the history of the Ipsos-Mori poll, with even less public support than Denis Healey after the International Monetary Fund bailout in 1976 or Norman Lamont after Black Wednesday in 1992. And then he was gone, and it was all over. What a career!

You might assume from all this that Kwarteng is a fool. But he really isn’t a fool. Giving school talks, I’ve twice come across people who taught him, and both told me he was the cleverest boy they’d ever known. Were they wrong? Obviously not, for when you look at his biography, it’s a proud parent’s dream. At prep school he won a national history prize; at Eton he was a King’s Scholar and won the Newcastle Scholarship for philosophy, a competition examined by Stephen Sykes, Bishop of Ely and former Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge.

Kwarteng himself went to Cambridge, where he got a double first, twice won the Browne Medal for Latin and Greek poetry and even won University Challenge. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard. He did a PhD on William III’s attempt to reform the coinage in the 1690s. And he’s written history books — two of which I reviewed at the time. “Well-researched and crisply written, Kwarteng’s book is a lot better than most MPs’ efforts,” I wrote of Ghosts of Empire, which examined the legacy of Britain’s rule overseas. “A politician with a sense of nuance: whatever next?”

For much of his gilded life, then, Kwarteng knew only success. And when he looked forward, he could reasonably expect more in the future. When he daydreamed, he surely imagined himself as a titanic reforming Chancellor to rank alongside William Gladstone or Sir Geoffrey Howe — and perhaps even as Prime Minister. And now? He’s the answer to a quiz question, the 38-day Chancellor whose tax bombshell exploded in his own face. To put that another way, if he were an England football manager, he’d be the love child of Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce.

Omnium consensu capax imperii nisi imperasset. “All would have agreed that he was capable of being emperor, if only he had never been it.” So wrote Tacitus of the short-lived Roman emperor Galba — who, in fairness, lasted almost seven times longer in his top job than Kwarteng did at the Treasury. It’s a line that often recurs in British political commentary. I’ve seen it applied to Prime Ministers as diverse as Lord Rosebery, Arthur Balfour, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson, Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson. Perhaps that tells you something about the job — an office in which, one way or another, failure is almost guaranteed. But it’s also very revealing about a quality those men had in common. Like Kwarteng, they were all very clever.

Wilson, for example, was described by his Oxford tutor as the brightest student he had ever taught, and reputedly got one of the highest economics marks in the university’s history. There’s a gloriously bleak irony here, since Wilson presided over the devaluation of sterling in 1967 and retired nine years later with the pound in freefall, inflation in double digits and the humiliating IMF bailout only months away. His government was arguably the cleverest in Britain’s modern history, boasting former Oxford dons such as Richard Crossman and Anthony Crosland as well as self-consciously intelligent, civilised men such as Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins. Yet they left office exhausted by endless fiascos and disappointments, with Britain’s international standing at what was then an all-time low. So much, then, for cleverness.

But the Wilson government wasn’t an aberration, for political history is littered with examples of people being found out, often in the most embarrassing possible circumstances. Now that he’s remembered as a byword for complacent failure, it’s easy to forget that David Cameron was a straight-A student who won an exhibition to Brasenose College, Oxford and was described by his tutor, Professor Vernon Bogdanor, as “one of the ablest” students he’d ever taught. (By now you should have spotted a theme.)  An even more glaring example, however, comes from across the Atlantic.

Google “Michael Ignatieff” and you wonder if it was really legal for one man to have enjoyed so many blessings. Everything the Canadian intellectual touched turned to gold. At boarding school in Toronto in the Sixties he was captain of the soccer team and editor of the yearbook. He taught at Oxford and the London School of Economics. He presented The Late Show for the BBC and wrote columns for the Observer. His documentaries won awards; his biography of Isaiah Berlin was shortlisted for some of the world’s most prestigious non-fiction prizes; his novel was even shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He was awarded a professorial chair at Harvard, then another at Toronto. And when his friends in the Canadian Liberal Party invited him to make a bid for the leadership, further glory seemed inevitable.

What happened next, however, makes Kwarteng’s stewardship of the Treasury look like a triumph. In 2011 Ignatieff led the Liberals to the worst defeat in their history, finishing third with just 34 seats. What was worse, he even lost his own seat in Etobicoke–Lakeshore, the first Canadian opposition leader to do so since 1900. His staff were in tears, the world was watching, and all those book prizes must have seemed an awfully long way away. In the cruellest twist imaginable, the man who always came top in exams had failed the most public exam of all.

So is the lesson that clever people shouldn’t go into politics? Obviously not. We need clever politicians; it’s no coincidence that probably the two least impressive pre-Truss party leaders in my lifetime, Iain Duncan Smith and Jeremy Corbyn, were titanically stupid. But there are different kinds of cleverness, and cleverness is just one asset among others. Above all, it has to be leavened by humility: a recognition that nobody knows everything, that we all make mistakes and that clever, self-confident people often make the worst mistakes of all. In profiles of Kwarteng, the word “arrogant” comes up again and again. He’s paid a high price for it now.

But aren’t we all terrified, deep down, of becoming Kwasi Kwarteng? Isn’t there a little bit of us that dreads the inevitable day when, on the grandest stage, our boastful pretensions are stripped away, and our ignorance and incompetence laid bare for all to see? Isn’t that the nightmare that haunts all vaguely accomplished people — the Naomi Wolf moment, when the BBC radio presenter gently points out that your entire doctoral thesis is based on a colossally sloppy misunderstanding?

In his excellent book The Death of Consensus, the journalist Phil Tinline argues that nightmares are a good way of understanding British politics since the war — nightmarish memories of the Depression or a fascist dictatorship giving way to equally terrifying fears of trade unions or runaway inflation. But perhaps the ultimate personal nightmare, the dread of catastrophic public humiliation, is a good way to understand why some politicians succeed, and some don’t.

We’re told that Liz Truss is a very confident person, and that she models herself on Margaret Thatcher. But Thatcher wasn’t a very confident person; in private she sometimes wept when the pressure became too much, and her staff often noticed that she became jittery before big international summits or major speeches. “Do you get nervous sometimes?” asked an interviewer from the News of the World in 1980. “Oh yes,” said Thatcher. “Of course you do, you never get rid of it.” She sometimes struggled to sleep, she admitted, because she worried so much.

That’s not the fantasy Thatcher, the Iron Lady of Truss and Kwarteng’s imaginings. But perhaps that’s the difference. Somewhere, deep down, she knew what she didn’t know. She was frightened of being found out, and that meant she wasn’t. But they slept too soundly. And now, in a twist of cosmic proportions, they’re living the worst professional nightmare of all.


Dominic Sandbrook is an author, historian and UnHerd columnist. His latest book is: Who Dares Wins: Britain, 1979-1982

dcsandbrook

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Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
1 year ago

Whether here at Unherd, in the Daily Mail or in your ears on The Rest Is History, Dominic Sandbrook is always excellent company. The chap is the right sort of clever.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Hear hear. I hope his byline as ‘Unherd columnist’ means we can expect this sort of thing more regularly!

David Lawrence
David Lawrence
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

A closing paragraph to treasure.

Richard Jerrett
Richard Jerrett
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Always has the correct footwear, too.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Always such a pleasure to read really first rate journalism, or just any such plainly brilliant writing.

William Foster
William Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

A pleasant read. Dissecting the mentioned different types of clever and how those discussed would be classified may have provided some indication as to the why. It may just be the case that the markets can remain irrational for longer than a chancellor’s political capital can remain solvent. Or simply, ‘know your place’. More hopefully perhaps, an indication of how critical an element timing is.

Marc BĂ©dard Pelchat
Marc BĂ©dard Pelchat
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

The panel behind Kwarteng should read Emergence – Exit Only.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

The key distinction here is the one between being “clever” and being “smart”. Kwarteng was massively clever, but wasn’t at all smart.
Clever has to do with academic achievement, letters after your name, prizes, textbooks and theories. Smart is to do with understanding the real world, reading the room and combining what’s between your ears with a sense of practicality to actually get stuff done rather than just discussing or theorising.
It’s no use having 25 expensive and prestigious letters after your name if your practical skills don’t even extend to setting up a new project in the company IT system.
Our politicians need to be clever AND smart.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Or at least be smart enough to employ smart & clever advisors ….

Peter Wilson Close
Peter Wilson Close
1 year ago

He didn’t need economic advisors just political ones to tell him not to let on what he was planning to do or the bond vigilantes would pull the plug on him to prevent him pulling the plug on them!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I gather KK was known as King Kong ‘at school’, which can’t have helped.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago

LOL
Good one (if it is true). And if not, I still love it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Patrick Heren
Patrick Heren
1 year ago

He is a big chap

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick Heren

Hence the cognomen!

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

So that’s a nickname which basically means ‘Black man = gorilla’. Good luck with those racism questionnaires.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

oh DO grow up Follows, or find some other medium to woke whine on..

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

No, it was quite obviously based purely on his size, initials and towering intellect.
Do you actually believe that people with black skin resemble huge, aggressive hairy, heavily-muscled apes? Even an Eton scholar? What a horrid, offensive notion.

Nor Otany
Nor Otany
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Of course it was. The original King Kong was known for his intellect.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

You clearly dont get the meaning (in your efforts to virtue signal.)

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Enlighten me then, what was the real meaning???

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
1 year ago

You said it. No one else did. Who’s the racist again?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Johnson was known as “The Yeti”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

An almost perfect likeness I would say.

Nor Otany
Nor Otany
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

For his abdominals, I assume.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

Well that should have warned him the rest of us aren’t very smart or original. Silly man not to trust experience over over-thinking!

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This reminds me of Yossarian’s description of one of his officers in ‘Catch 22’ : ‘He was intelligent but he had no brains’.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Closely related to my view that there are many people out there who talk a lot, but don’t actually say much.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

And they *listen* even less. Quiet listening and inquisitive contemplation is, in my humble opinion, the key.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agreed.
Years ago, my father rented a bedsit to a chap who had 2 PhDs (I forget the subjects).
He was on the dole and couldn’t understand why companies weren’t writing to him to offer him a job.
Poor chap.

Martin Rowan
Martin Rowan
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

I have friends very similar – they expect, having succeeded academically, that the world will hunt them down and offer them their dream life. Tragic really, especially one ex-friend who remains welded to bitterness and in his 50s still lives at home waiting for “the call”. As benighted at those who buy lottery tickets each week in the belief that “luck” alone will give them their just desserts.

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It also helps if the guy with the calculator has an economics degree rather than Latin.

Johnny West
Johnny West
1 year ago

i beg to differ (and not just because i have a latin degree :-0). the common flaw of this kind of clever is to assume that the knowledge you have is somehow privileged and special, whatever it is. johnson, for example, wasn’t hopeless because he was a Classicist but because of what he thought that meant about his place in the world.

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 year ago

I recommend you read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘Antifragile’. Should disabuse you of any reverence you hold for economists and other types of sorcerer.

Peter Wilson Close
Peter Wilson Close
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

He was/is spot on in his analysis and “tentative” response – and I say tentative because there is NO easy way to get us out of this mess where we are held to ransom by the the financial sector in general and the bond vigilantes in particular. It is tempting to say he should have kept quiet with respect to what he planned and just got on with it. but the squeals would have probably been just as loud – so are we done for and is there no way of escape from the iron grip of the financiers? And be warned Sunak is one of them! I believe he could make an excellent PM but as Chancellor he’s no more than a Snake in the Grass!

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago

I’ve yet to see a way in which Kwarteng’s proposals – sorry, announcements – could have produced positive effects that trickle down to the majority of voters before the latest date for the next General Election.In the meantime, the perceived unfairness of freeing up of corporate profits and of the ‘discretionary spending’ of the highest earners was a guarantee of Tory wipeout in 2024, if not before. Even without the spooking of the markets – or did that, perhaps, have something to do with why they freaked?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You mean what is known as an educated idiot of which there are many. I don’t know Kwasi so cannot comment on him but I don’t think there was anything wrong with his taxation plan. Cutting business taxation has increased growth in the past many times and even increased the amount coming onto goverment. This was memorably used by Thatcher to brilliant results. Probably Trusses downfall was because of a divided party as much as anything. As Boris says he doesn’t want to lead a divided party.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

Of all the very clever people listed here does anybody know how many demonstrated their cleverness in the Humanities and how many in the Sciences?

I wonder if cleverness can be displayed, eye catchingly, through an ability to absorb concepts and ideas and reconfigure them into high sounding theories.

Less eye catching is the ability to experiment, observe, adjust and retest, the things that scientists and engineers learn.

Thatcher, of course, was a Chemist.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Both Baldwin and Chamberlain came from an ‘industrial’ background, and neither entered Parliament until they were past forty.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Therese Coffey is a Chemist.

John Williams
John Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

God help us

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

So was Edwina Currie !

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I wonder if cleverness can be displayed, eye catchingly, through an ability to absorb concepts and ideas and reconfigure them into high sounding theories … scientists and engineers.’ Now that is a very, very good point. J.M. Keynes was always said to be brilliant, yet arguably his General Theory, inspired as it was by some unlikely people, derailed our financial management for nearly a century. Certainly, at least, the academic study of economic management. He was effectively a variant of Liberal, and Liz appears not totally unaffected, despite ideological differences. Which may also be lesser than we know.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Poor old Kwarteng, though he does seem to have the over confidence of lifelong accomplishment verging on hubris as you say, I do think the huge over reaction to this budget was a coup of sorts, the final revenge of the Remainers, as Tim Stanley in the DT put it so well:
”And make no mistake, those hollow-men are back in charge. The imposition of Jeremy Hunt as Chief Executive to Truss’ chairman of the board – the language is theirs, not mine, and tells you everything you need to know about their ghastly worldview – is a reassertion of orthodoxy, revenge of the Remainers, capture by experts. British policy, you see, must always operate within certain parameters; anyone who dares to step an inch too far to the right or the left will feel the full force of the establishment. Not by sending in the army, that would be unBritish and, besides, we haven’t got an army to send – but by the removal of confidence, via the markets, the Bank, the IMF or our good friend, Uncle Sam.”
Full article: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/10/17/liz-truss-victim-british-coup/

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Oh come on, this trope about it’s all some secret cabal of Remainers behind all the neo liberal foul-ups is like a modern version of the 12 Pillars of Zion. It’s utter rubbish and it also has a conspiratorial mendacity about it that’s dangerous. It displays a failure to take responsibility.

As regards the thoughtful and insight article, I’d add Churchill as a good example of someone who despite huge self-confidence still retained the good sense to surround himself during WW2 with some people he more often disagreed with yet still listened to, Alan Brooke being perhaps the best example. To read his diaries, the blazing rows they had, the fundamental disagreements over strategy, and yet it just shows Churchill at his best that he retained Brooke in the most senior military position in the country from 41-45. He did not just want an echo chamber even if he disliked intensely sometimes what he was told. (He was also very respectful of the HoC, even though that occasionally frustrated him too).

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I find some plausibilty in that view. After all it isn’t as if the cabal of Remainers is secret, is it?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Churchill also owed a lot to Clement Attlee, who seems have done most of the ‘work’, which is hardly surprising given that academically speaking Churchill was ‘as thick as two short planks’.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Well, he was academically undistinguished at school and RMAS. But as a cavalry officer in India, he worked with extraordinary zeal to develop his mind and his vast writings – journalism and doorstoppers alike – are not those of a ‘thick’ man.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Agreed and don’t forget how assiduously his beloved mother ‘pushed’ for him.
I seem to recall that during the Omdurman Campaign the Grenadier Guards were stunned by his talent for self promotion!
Still it ultimately paid off!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Praise indeed from Grenadiers for a “Bingo Regiment” cavalry officer… let alone an Indian army one ( 4/7, 9/12, 13/18, 15/19, 17/21…. BINGO!)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Those ‘Bingo’ amalgamations didn’t happen until 1922, and WSC was never in the Indian Army, although he did serve in the Malakand Field Force under the wonderfully named Sir Bindon Blood!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I know, and now all gone…!!.. So no Chatterwallah’s Mountain Light Horse?!!!

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago

He wasn’t thick at all, though it served him to pretend to be.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

By his own admission he was somewhat backward in conventional academic terms. Trouble with the Harrow Entrance Exam, no thought of following his father to Oxford despite the huge amount of nepotism the House of Marlborough could have wielded, and finally trouble getting into the RMAS (Army), and then only getting into to the dreaded “donkey wallopers”, (Cavalry).

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Perhaps Britain now needs a military coup organised by The Household Division on the basis that as, sworn defenders of The Sovereign, the King is ” under threat”? How I would love to see the likes of Grant Shapps and his acolytes being rifted at the double, and then put to task burning down boots, and polishing brasses…. actually on second thoughts.. no.. Shapps and his ilk would be incapable of such skill. Truss is not unlike the gel I remember at Sandes Soldiers home at Pirbright, dishing out tea and banjos to the boys…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I wonder if in these enlightened times the Household Division (HD) has any openly ‘gay’ Officers, along the lines of Mr Blunt? No doubt ‘poppers’ will soon be included in the 24 hour ration pack.

I also hear that the HD is about to receive its first female Officers from Sandhurst. That should interesting to say the least!

Meanwhile despite the Government’s promises to cease the vexatious prosecution of former British Army Veterans in Northern Ireland, the ridiculous prosecution of ‘soldier F’ formerly of 1 PARA continues, much to the eternal disgrace of this nation. Having recently “killed” former Corporal Major Derek Hutchins of The Life Guards you might have thought that they would act, but NO not a bit of it, they couldn’t “give a toss”, as the soldiery would say.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago

That’s enough now, the staff will be bringing your tea and tablets along in a few minutes.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
1 year ago

Clement Attlee was middle class and Intelligent but he had humility and committed to service to his fellow man and so he represented one of the poorest parts of London and was a successful politican.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Agreed. His intelligence and devotion to service made him one of our finest 20th Century PM’s. But I cannot help but think, at the same time, that he always looked like an housemaster at a minor public school.

Paul Nash
Paul Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The leader of the opposition, soon to be PM, spent three years fighting a democratically reached decision to leave the EU. Have you forgotten the resistance to Brexit from the establishment? Have you forgotten the Tories got in with a big majority by promising to get Brexit done? You only have to read any comments section on the subject to see how much Remainers have a visceral hatred for Brexit and anyone who supported it. The fact that the present government has squandered that mandate is risible but conspiracy theories aside, I think Tim Stanley’s arguments do stand examination.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nash

I think Tim Stanley’s arguments do stand examination.

Yes, if you believe in conspiracies.
ï»ż

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It can be true without it being a ‘consporasy’. Or are you oblivious to the remainiac bent of most of Whitehall and half the sitting MP’s? Even if they wanted to play nice they couldn’t help themselves.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

It was the market (not MPs or the “evil” Whitehall) that dumped ÂŁ and UK gilts. Once that happened and the IR curve went up rapidly, she was cooked.
Crispin Blunt and Anrew Bridgen were/are both Leavers. And they are asking her to go! Or are we to believe that they are in fact secret Remainers!
Stanley’s opinion piece (and that is what it is) fails to explain how/why traders in Asia turned on UK debt/currency/! Are they part of the Remain Blob too?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It was certain pension funds that carried out the sell off, not the market overall. Yet the spot light on their activities around the use of LDI’s appears to have been turned off. The decline in bond values has been going on since the end of last year, the Mini budget made very little difference.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s also a version of the ‘stab in the back’. Re Churchill, he also suffered from lifelong depression which he called the ‘black dog’. Depression derives from an excess of self-criticism which is probably better than the opposite.

Last edited 1 year ago by Judy Englander
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Advisors and senior officers could disagree forthrightly with WSC in private. Those who did so in front of witnesses, however, were swiftly fired.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Precisely how it should be. It’s the basis of collective responsibility and Cabinet Government. Likewise, it applies in the Armed forces.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Great comment

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It can be true both that there is a conspiracy of the remainer establishment to re-establish their hold on power, and that Truss and Kwarteng screwed up royally with their budget that genuinely spooked the bond market with unfunded tax cuts and spending commitments.

Nigel Turner
Nigel Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Alan Brooke is the most understated and under rated of all WW2 strategists and leaders. His achievements and abilities should be better know to history. He was certainly much more able than some other vainglorious generals I can think of.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The money market didn’t want to finance UK’s debt binge- it is quite simple actually. The problem is that nutters unable to grasp the obvious truth embrace conspiracy theories.
I can’t say if Tim is a nutter or a charlattan.

Alan Hinkley
Alan Hinkley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Your phrase, “nutters unable to grasp the obvious truth,” indicates your need for a simple explanation for recent events as in “The money market didn’t want to finance UK’s debt binge- it is quite simple actually.”

In my time in the City, I ran bond issues for major governments and companies and frequently consulted pension funds & life companies on their appetite for stock. These investors were perfectly capable of acting like a herd, notably in the buyers’ strike of the 1970s, and were very good at jacking up yields ahead of big flows of debt issuance. In this respect, they didn’t need to conspire. They had the same interest and mindset. But also kept in touch.

As for the continuing pressures of the Brexit-Remainer debate, they are, imo, very much alive under the surface and will persist. Dismissing them as “conspiracies” is too simple. There are ongoing hurts, notably among Remainers, and, even if unspoken, they are at work under the surface. Like much human feeling and thinking.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Hinkley

like a herd

That is the market for you. For the last 14/5 years it has been willing to finance UK. Not anymore.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Hinkley

Spot on Alan. I’m personal friends with a very senior person who is still bitter about Brexit. He’s a very clever bloke but his prejudice on this pollutes and undermines almost all his political positions.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well, that is indeed the one point Stanley fails to address: that UKania – and the Truss ‘government’ – are in this position because of their addiction to vast spending on a bloated, dysfunctional State using borrowed foreign money. Same as Italy, same as Greece, same as the Khedive of Egypt back in the 1860s.
When you’re a despised debtor, all agency leaches away….

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Fair point, but it’s interesting to look at why the markets didn’t want to finance the debt binge this time around. The markets didn’t flinch when the massive energy subsidies were announced, nor at the even greater government largesse handed out during the pandemic. They have practically cheered on the fiscal incontinence of the US government for the last decade. So could their reaction to the mini-budget not have something to do with the very poor presentation of these measures and the consequent media hysteria that greeted them?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

 fiscal incontinence of the US government 

US can do financial debauchery because it has $, the global reserve currency. UK does not.

 markets didn’t want to finance the debt binge this time around.

Market is irrational (but that is not a conspiracy), and that is the reality that any gov has to deal with. LT’s GOV didn’t enjoy the market’s confidence.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

ÂŁ400 billion on Covid – the U.K. has no money?

Dominic Lyne
Dominic Lyne
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I agree it is a total establishment stitch up. The liberal elite have wet themselves as this doesn’t fit their narrative, sure it was delivered poorly but is it seriously that everyone thinks we’re now a basket economy? They have tried to reduce taxes to boost the economy…..shock horror!!

Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
1 year ago

What a great article and of course very true because we have all had these nightmares.

I wonder if all the other people who voted for a growth strategy based on tax cuts had the same nightmare! I doubt it.

I wonder how many of those supporters defaulted back to Sunak style politics and justified it by saying that he shouldn’t have cut taxes for the highest earners – and that was the mistake.

When I was listening yesterday to the globalist Hunt, slave to the markets, justifying policies that will hurt people of Britain but prop up the pound, I felt proud that I had at least supported Tuss in her campaign. I am not a member of the party.

I think the Tory party is dead. The remain contingent had to get rid of Boris. Now they are back in full influence and power.

The ERG might even organise a breakaway party. It wouldn’t surprise me.

There are some things in life that you just don’t allow and one of those is is dumping on your own doorstep. What the Tory party has allowed is vile. It has no part in my life anymore. Levelling up was a sacred promise for the loan of a vote. Hunt wouldn’t understand that if it got up and punched him in the face.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited 1 year ago by Adrian Doble
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

the globalist Hunt, slave to the markets

Sure. but why are you asking the market to pay for your debt binge? Do they owe you/UK something?!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’m not Jeremy. The majority supported Truss. She’s been undemocratically shat on. The point of my post is about right and wrong. As for asking the market to pay for (my) debt binge, whatever that means, I don’t think ‘the market’ gives two flying pigs for your sympathy.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

Yes….. In much the same way as the majority in Greece supported Varoufakis and, er, democratically decided that the ECB had to bail them out on Greece’s own terms. You know how that worked out.
Britain needs draconian cuts to the rotten, bloated occupying UK State. Will it get them? There are too many invested interests now, not least electorally, for that to happen except with an IMF gun at the Chancellor’s head.

Clive Fraser
Clive Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Which “majority” supported Truss? Neither the MPs nor the electorate, I would guess.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

The majority supported Truss. 

Yes, but the market did not. Once she lost the market’s confidence the Tories turned on her.
I don’t have any secret news source (if you do, please let me know) but the MPs went home and got an earful by their voters. And they saw the polls. And they heard her round of interviews on the local radio. So they bailed out.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You do realise the UK has to pay the money back. The people who would have been paying for the debt binge will be future generations of the UK.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You mean why are you asking the Markets to pay for a debt binge created by America (2008 financial crisis) China’s virus export (2019) Putins very clever war (2022) and possibly the Chinese property bubble (2023) Labour doesn’t have a hope in hell of changing anything except going cap in hand to the IMF for more money.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago

I am not an economist and don’t understand politics but it seems to me that Kwasi Kwarteng was engaging in magical thinking believing all he had to do was reduce the tax rate and the economy would magically recover rather than identifying and attempting to address root causes. If one of the causes of high prices is problems with distribution and delivery, problems with supply lines, shouldn’t these problems be addressed? It seems to me academics in general (excluding maths and science) are in the habit of identifying problems and then insisting it is the government’s job to fix them without suggesting how the problems should be fixed (Kwasi Kwarteng is primarily an academic) – all part of the social justice movement (how social justice differs from justice mystifies me: what is justice separate from, or independent of, the social?) highlighted by Greta Thunberg’s hysterical tantrums and urging children to play truant: surely encouraging children to study hard in the hope that some day they would have developed enough technical knowledge to develop solutions would be more useful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

It was more about not raising taxes as had been planned than cutting them in some instances, for example corporation tax is paid at approx 18% at the moment, the plan was to raise it to 25%. A legitimate concern about doing this was the hurt it will inflict on SMEs who have had a bad time already, so they said they would keep it 18%. Now Jeremy hunt is going to shaft every SME in the country by putting it up to 25%.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Thank you for your reply. I didn’t know what an SME was; I had to google it. Do you run an SME? I am not sure your response actually addresses the point I am making. My point is it would probably be better if economic policy was more targeted, that there be a well thought out policy underpinned by a deep (or a least some) understanding of the (failing) economy.
A few years ago, a delightful young woman confided in me her concerns regarding her economics A level. She was a student at one of the top independent girl’s school in the country and she had an extremely reputable independent economics tutor as well. She wrote an economics essay and gave a copy to her economics teacher at school and a copy to her tutor. One of them gave her a very high mark, the other a very low mark. She didn’t know what to do as her place at Oxford was dependent on a grade A in economics. It made her feel very insecure which is not surprising. She said she had been told if you asked the same question of two different economists, you would receive two completely different answers. Happily, everything went well and she did go to Oxford. Around about the same time I attended a wedding. I only knew the bride and the mother of the bride so I was seated at a table with strangers. A few of them had studied economics at Cambridge. The country was in a the period of economic turmoil so I was interested in hearing the views of the economists on the causes of the economic turmoil and potential solutions. I expected them just to apply some of the theory they had been taught. None of them wanted to reply. They were very evasive saying nobody really understands. So maybe being chancellor of the exchequer is an impossible job.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

OK I’ve tried a couple of times to reply not sure why it’s not showing up? So apologies if two come up I’ll try and keep this one as similar as I can:
So your original point was you had little knowledge of the economy or politics but you thought he was engaged in magical thinking. He was simply upholding what we voted for. Corporation tax for example as I said above was a freeze in the rate not a cut. I understand there were some cuts but the idea was these people would have more money to spend in the real economy which would support jobs and businesses.
If you had to Google SME then the people from Cambridge probably didn’t want to get into the enormous subject of the economy with someone who has such little understanding. What are suggesting with ‘a more targeted approach?’
The original Conservative conception for the economy when boris was elected was to be a free trade low tax economy. I think this is fantastic plan and a proven concept, you would need to research John James cowperthwait and Hong Kong to understand this.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I never said I thought he was going to magic money, I said I thought he was ‘guilty’ of magical thinking, that tax cuts plus other tax rises would magically fix the economy. I thought measures should be more targeted. I don’t think not knowing what the acronym SME stood for would have been an impediment to me understanding an explanation of the economy in terms of economic theory. I was not an oxbridge undergraduate and I was under the delusion oxbridge graduates were intellectual giants. I was very disappointed by the intellectual prowess of many when I met them and found I was more likely to intimidate them intellectually than vice versa which does not mean I don’t recognise that some oxbridge graduates are great intellects.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Sorry yes edited to address ‘magical thinking’ not magicing money. If you read up on hong kong you will then understand how the government were planning for this to work.
From where I come from the upper echelons of Oxford and Cambridge might as well be on mount everest in terms of accessibility to me, but I still have enormous respect for anyone that has studied there, they are some of the best universities in the world with some of the longest histories and a list longer than your arm of achievements, we should respect the graduates of these institutions. I think you are arrogant in assuming you ‘ intimidated them intellectually’

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

We should meet one day. I am far, far, far from arrogant. As I said it was experience that disappointed me. I am not an economist but I have read Locke and Hobbes and various others. As I said in another comment, I know the standards in economics at an esteemed university.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Considering your attitude I’m not surprised these people didn’t engage with you on the level you expected. You are saying you’ve read these books and reckon you helped someone get a first (nearly) but on the other hand lambast people who have actually got a degree of their own. I know a few that went to imperial, one now works at ubs in derivatives, I have never found them lacking in intellect and they had to work incredibly, incredibly hard to get where they are.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I didn’t have any attitude at all. I just asked a question and was greeted by awkward, uncomfortable looks and silence. They didn’t know me, I didn’t know them. I was giving them an opportunity to share their expertise. I had never encountered a reaction like that before. I generally find people enjoy talking about what they know and I enjoy listening. I have just remembered what they were interested in talking about – Why some wives in their social group had rejected their husbands in favour of same sex relationships.
Yes I helped someone almost get a first in economics without ever having attended an economics lecture – make of that what you will. You seem very upset and angry, I don’t understand why. My experience seems to upset you. Strange.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

The amount of nonsense you have just spouted is what I find upsetting.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Nonsense? You seem to be too enraged to engage properly. All I have done is recount some of my experiences. Nothing more, nothing less. You seemed to be enraged by reality.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

In the interest of not turning this into a t*t for tat spat, and so you understand my perspective better, if you run a small business it’s your whole life. If it goes wrong you can potentially loose everything. This why anyone that runs an SME gets very passionate about corporation tax and VAT, unforseen changes like hiking a tax rate by 7% when it goes against the fact we voted for a low tax, free trade economy is kick in teeth, especially after the disruption of covid. The idea of this low tax free trade economy was to be the biggest benefit of brexit and a legitimate reason for voting out in the first place. Too many seem to have forgotten what the people voted for in the first place and lack the understanding to see why Mr Kwarteng acted the way he did.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I actually admire people who run there own businesses and work for themselves. I am self-employed and went through a period when my work dried up. I had to take a job paying pretty much minimum wage. Happily, I have plenty of work now. I consider myself to be overtaxed, an extra 10% pretty much for the ‘honour’ of being self-employed. I was always anti-lockdown and worked throughout. I don’t understand economics but I am not sure economists do. I think there are so many different interacting variables, it is almost impossible to understand. Models by necessity simplify and consequently have unknown and unintended consequences. The wedding I attended was in either 2008 or 2009 – it was a period of great economic turmoil and nobody seemed to have any answers. I believe the economy is not separate or distinct from human nature. I thought it was a great mistake giving people money for nothing during the Covid crisis. There were incredibly over worked drs and nurses working longer hours for the usual money and others who were already financially very well off being paid extremely well for doing nothing. When Bevin fought for unemployment benefits, it was so people didn’t starve. My idea of a well run economy is one in which those who work hard do well, housing and food are affordable. There seems a lack of accountability. I think stigma and shame do have a role to play in shaping a functional society. I wish you every success with your business, though I think we are are in for very hard times.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I honestly can’t believe your comment: ‘I thought it was a great mistake giving people money for nothing during the Covid crisis’
So what were people who ran a business and had to stop work during lock down supposed to do? Go bankrupt? Loose their house and their livelihood? I’m going to leave it at that, your having a bad effect on my blood pressure.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I was anti-lockdown and pro the Swedish model from the beginning. It seemed to make no sense to me to lock down the whole of society for the sake of the vulnerable (weak and elderly). I come from an era when women and children were consider a priority to ensure the future, and lockdown had an incredibly negative effect on many children. I am surprised you are so enraged by a different point of view. I wish you the very best for the future and genuinely hope you find some way to ensure your company survives the dark days ahead.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

A friend’s son was in his final year of studying for an economics degree at an esteemed university and writing his dissertation. She showed it to me hoping I would help. I love to learn. It was dreadfully written and incoherent. He provided the data and the theory and I helped him create something well written, coherent and consistent without ever having studied economics. The mark he received was one less than that required for a first. I did not find never having studied economics an obstacle to understanding the theory and applying it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 year ago

This comment has received a lot of downvotes (it has currently received an equal number of upvotes). I have no idea why. I do wish people who disagree strongly enough to make the effort to downvote would also make the effort to state their objections. I would genuinely like to know, to understand. I am aware some of the downvotes are probably malicious.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

What cruels SMEs is not an extra 1 or 2% in the tax rate, but the ever-rising cost of compliance with delegated legislation (in the form of regulations or diktats by statutory authorities).

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Magee

It’s not 1 or 2% it’s an increase of nearly 7%. Agree though that regulation is a massive headache. We are electrical contractors we have a number of very heavy regs books, we have to have multiple insurance policies, tax compliance and we have to pay membership to a body like NIC to be approved for certain works which means we have to have yearly assessment of works and our admin system.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

We regularly see articles penned for Unherd by academics with distinguished careers, which bear such a scant relationship with reality as to be amusing reads for that reason alone

None of us are immune from occasional flights of theorising. Being good at it can bring “glittering prizes”, but there’s a hollowness to it all, a hollowness that no doubt Kwasi Kwarteng will be able to ruminate upon at his leisure.

Perhaps he’ll write a book on it? He needn’t bother, Sandbrook has just said it all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago

Merkel was smart (PHD in Quantum Chemistry) and she was a bad politician and a worst conservative (or should it be the other way round).
The reality is that you can not teach politics at school as Bismarck (truly a genius) used to say. You either have the touch or you don’t.
KingKong (thanks Charles! – LOL) didn’t have it. The less is said about Truss (and the Tory base that voted for her) the better.
To the people that believe it was a Remainer plot – you sound utterly insane. The market simply refused to fund your debt binge. Investors simply were/are unwilling to finance UK’s debt binge at affordable rates.
UK is not entitled to other’s people money!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Though it does seem to be an admission that someone needs a percentage of the higher incomes to run the country. What market agrees to higher taxes? It seems a little odd to me that those at the high end of town want to pay more tax. Can someone enlighten me?
“UK is not entitled to other’s people money!”
But you’re going to take it in higher taxes.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

My actual tax rate is 50%. Do I want to pay 50%? No!
Do I want to fill 12 forms to get a DL? Of course not!
But the 5% (less tax) is nothing if I (as a trader) can bet against UK and ÂŁ and make a killing. If you look at the market stats it was Asia that started betting against ÂŁ and UK gilts. Why should traders in Singapore/HK care about UK’s tax rate?
And most importantly there is no point of cutting taxes if UK GOV cannot cut spending. The budget was “all gain” and “no pain”. Pure Cakeism!
Here is the most important thing that Truss, KK and the Tory press do not (refuse to!) understand?!
Tax rate doesn’t matter. Tax (as % of GDP) is higher in Northern Europe – and all those countries are richer and more productive than UK. UK is the most deregulated large economy in the world, so there isn’t much red tape to cut.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Clive Fraser
Clive Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Facts. Yet, for some reason, the British media dominated by foreign billionaires pretend – and convince Joe and Jane public -that the truth is otherwise

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Corporation tax rate matters enormously to SMEs

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

‘We’ have a long tradition of using other people’s money, notably that of the USA, that goes back at least to 1916 and Balfour and Paul Warburg, and then again in 1940 with Churchill.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yes, and now that 107-year ‘tradition’ i.e. living beyond the country’s means – has come home to roost.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Hence in 1958 ‘we’ opened 8 miles of our first motorway (the Preston By-pass), whilst the ‘master race’ had well over 2,000 miles of autobahn.

Plus the most measly State Pensions in Europe, an NHS that makes even Scutari seem benign, and a railway system that is a national embarrassment.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Correction: 8 1/4 miles or 13.3 km for Remoaners.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

A bad politician? She was in power for what, 15 years? Or at least it seemed like it. And for most of them, that’s the name of the game.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Known fondly by Germans as “Mutter”

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

“The type of Kent golf club mason Tories who control the Conservatives”: you could fool me.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It can be true both that the budget was an idiotic mistake that genuinely spooked the debt markets and that there is an ongoing establishment conspiracy to undermine the democratically elected government.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The type of Kent golf club mason Tories who control the Conservatives have chipissues with Old Etonians, let alone super bright black ones: Kwarteng is a super articulate, clever, highly qualified, intellect, and those who know him tell me, very entertaining: I have always been a great fan, and so am actually very suspicious of what happened ” behind the scenes” in policy, decision making, and advice taken. It all simply does not add up?

andy young
andy young
1 year ago

I was aware of Kwarteng long before he came to any sort of office. I found him to be incredibly impressive whenever I heard him speak; obviously highly intelligent but also emotionally intelligent. Arrogant he was not.
I cannot for the life of me fathom what happened with the mini budget. I would love to know exactly what was the conversations & course of events that went on beforehand. Truss I know nothing about (although I now consider her to be a spineless nonentity) but I rather suspect Kwasi was being lied to big time. That is only my suspicion however & I doubt we’ll ever know the full story.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

So a bunch of shire constituency party Nigel Farage-types were responsible for the run on the pound and the MSM’s turn against him, eh? Interesting theory….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Good Laud, eauld buoy, mine’s a large schooner of Bristol Creme….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Nigel Farage does not deserve such an insult!!! see you at the 19th… eauld buoy…

Martin Rowan
Martin Rowan
1 year ago

But there are different kinds of cleverness, and cleverness is just one asset among others. Above all, it has to be leavened by humility: a recognition that nobody knows everything, that we all make mistakes and that clever, self-confident people often make the worst mistakes of all.”
I was once asked to stand as a candidate for a council election in my city. I refused, possibly to my discredit, because I doubted my ability to play the political game and deliver, not for myself, but for my constituents. I was fearful, both on a personal and professional level, in a way I have never felt in other aspects of my life.
Without a healthy fear of the task of governing on behalf of the people who elect you, then there can be no humility and, without humility, there can only be arrogance.
I have no illusions about the difficult job that politicians must perform. Your personal life is under a microscope and every word you say – on or off the record – can be used against you in the court of public opinion (which moves at the speed of light in the age of technology).
This does not excuse the incompetence and hubris of Kwarteng and many others now and before him, but it sheds a light on the specific kind of intelligence and cleverness that all leaders need to survive and succeed.
While a leader needs to be strong willed and decisive, they must also be willing to listen, reflect and sometimes change their plans accordingly. This is why a strong talented cabinet is essential for any leader and indeed any country that wants stable, truly intelligent and well thought out polices that will benefit their country.
In Margaret Thatcher, she was not afraid to surround herself with the best and most controversial cabinet thinkers, and while I was never a fan of her at the time, looking back on the 1980s, her government feels like a golden age of pragmatic government. I can say the same about the Blair/Brown years that followed. In both governments, capable thinkers and communicators could be trusted by their leader to work together towards a shared vision for this country.
What we have seen since is a horror show of chaotic right and left wing minorities tearing up the stability of our political system, and leading us pretty much over the cliff edge to the verge of banana republic government.
So Kwasi and Liz, sailed into position believing they could pretty much act with impunity and push forward an ideological vision for the UK that was completely out of step with the combined interests of every demographic, from the rich to the poorest. They sincerely believed that the UK could behave as a complete island in every sense, when in fact we are battered and blown by the same winds and storms as every other country on the planet. To deny global factors as being pre-eminent and to dream of some fantasy autonomy, is not clever or intelligent, but is the delusion that comes – perhaps – from a lifetime of being told you are the smartest people around.
It is why I was not a Brexit supporter, because I am a businessman and not a financial trader. There are no benefits to isolation as a country in pursuit of a Narnia that never existed in the first place.
Both Thatcher and Blair realised this and that is why they remained in office for as long as they did. We are a much smaller ship than many like to think and our success is dependent on trade with other nations. We are not the Empire of the past BUT with a decent team at the helm, perhaps we can be once again a key player with massive soft power in a global economy?
As for now, Kwarteng and Truss are not entirely to blame for what is happening. They are rather a symptom of a culture created over many years that has allowed the hubris and arrogance of those unfit to rule, to “play” at being leaders.
I only pray that sanity and political intelligence returns to government and soon for the sake of us all.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Rowan

Some excellent points there, and very well made. You are, however, wrong on one key point.
“It is why I was not a Brexit supporter, because I am a businessman and not a financial trader. There are no benefits to isolation as a country in pursuit of a Narnia that never existed in the first place.”
Brexit was never about becoming isolated, less still about “pursuit of a Narnia”. This essential misunderstanding by those who opposed Brexit is unfathomable in otherwise intelligent people (whilst on the theme of the article). In economic terms, Brexit was, rather, a distancing from a failing bloc of unrepresentative elites with re-orientation towards the wider world, trading with whom was controlled by our membership of the EU. In other words, the very opposite of isolation.
It was also about self-governance by those who the electorate would be able to dismiss from office.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“Brexit was, rather, a distancing from a failing bloc of unrepresentative elites with re-orientation towards the wider world, trading with whom was controlled by our membership of the EU.”
In your dreams, maybe. Brexit had no plan at all. It was a mere nationalist spasm, driven by hubris. Even the DT now admits Brexit was cobblers: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/10/15/project-fear-right-along/
I always think of VW, a German company, and, for instance, how much they’ve historically done in China. Being in the EU never stopped them trading outside the EU; and it never stopped Britain either. The EU was just a convenient scapegoat for cynical and self-serving populists, and chaos-capitalists like the Mogg.    

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

towards the wider world,

That is very selective. Hannan and Co. wanted the Singapore in the Atlantic but plenty of people up North voted for more protection.

Gonzalez Girl
Gonzalez Girl
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It was also about self-governance by those who the electorate would be able to dismiss from office.
So post Brexit we are governed by ‘the markets’ who as many commentators here have alluded to took fright on the back of the MSM’s (mainstream media) spin on events. Neither the markets not the media can be dismissed from office.
We are worse off than being part of a European-wide technocracy: we have a failing state with no constitution, a parliament with no real opposition, nation states preparing to quit the Union, a public broadcast company bullied and manipulated by the Government, and a cost of living crisis entirely of our own making. (NATO and the US have consistently failed to bring the Ukraine war to a negotiated end because the war provides a convenient distraction away from scrutiny of globalization / capitalism or the climate crisis. This convenience is worth more to the US and NATO than the wreckage of fighting a proxy war.)
I was no Remainer, indeed I saw the potential of a UK building a green economy, distributing wealth and investing in capital projects with associated jobs and training for young people. Using labour and skills from abroad and nationalizing energy, transport and public utilities. A package that under Jeremy Corbyn we were told would ‘crash the economy’ and bring misery to the nation as prices would escalate and inflation would damage prospects for growth. He was hounded out of office for daring to suggest that we should reframe our choices around decency, equality and sustainability, and that we should NOT be slaves to the ‘market’. Oh the irony !!!
I find this quite amusing…https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Ffb.watch%2FgeFAJ0vn7g%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0dXzt3NMx3W04SiJR0-ONVD2OBT84B7eskzo7jAR4l-Pp1UBIpZCn4FdQ&h=AT3ezLkQ2BgRjLZCGcgfHQiLTvzoNwT9zY9HnOUKhS3vul-AOj8tS_CC7C8Psh7blHmYajTJ3WiGiJo0dVTCObjYfFkYBCaIw3AQnE3HRyG9YyIhZneAVdTAxIGsIQuN0_w

Last edited 1 year ago by Gonzalez Girl
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Rowan

Wonderful post

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Is there many here who have run a small business, I was absolutely appalled by the reaction of the imf, small and medium business are a massive part of this economy and the corporation tax hike to 25% will hurt them the most at a time we should be offering them support after the lockdowns, boris idea was that this country could be a free trade low tax economy which sounds like a bloody good idea to me, I think the article is incredibly unfair to Mr Kwarteng and I feel awful for him. Remember when the imf kicked the Greek chancellor out of the rescue talks way back? How are they doing now?

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

What about the reaction of the market? Surely in the name of fairness you should have addressed it?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes good point sorry and the markets! None of the big boys on the stock exchange pay corporation tax so they don’t care if it goes up to 25% they get to sit down with hmrc and decide how much they are going pay, source – This was broadcast on channel 4
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ipV_GU7YaQg

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 year ago

There is a central faw in conventional economics which makes it incapable of predicting sudden changes.It treats the economy as though it were an equilibrium system, when, in reality, it is a complex, evolutionary system more similar to the weather.
In the early 1990s, as a member of the LibDem Policy Committee I became fascinated by policy failure: the repeated experience of government that their policy has the opposite effect to the one they expected. The Kwartengian Collapse is just the fastest and most dramatic, but it is otherwise not unique.
I went to study with Prof. Peter Allen at Cranfield University. He was one of a newer breed of economic modellers who used complex-systems modelling on economic systems. There was a telling line we used: ‘Economists are people who are clever enough to understand their complex theories, but not clever enough to realise they are nonsense.’
Two of the characteristics of complex systems are feedback and time-delay. Our brains have not evolved to handle this and modellers are clear that only a computer can handle the complexity.
Another characteristic is the ‘butterfly effect’ – where small changes in the starting conditions result in huge changes down the line. To deal with this, weather-modellers run the model many times to get a probability of likely outcomes.
Probability. There’s another thing the human brain struggles with.
In their belief in the ‘market forces’ economic model, right-wing politicians are, in fact, using, probably unconsciously, an ultra-simplified, linear model. They also get stuck in their ideological rut. Maynard Keynes, who was arguing against the inter-war ‘gold standard’ economics said

““Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

The situation is dire. We are entering a world which is not understood by the majority of economists and where politicians and journalists are the slaves of some defunct economic models.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Bell
John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

> two of the characteristics of complex systems .. Another characteristic is ..
An even more unpredictable characteristic is when a small change immediately becomes magnified in a self-reinforcing spiral (which isn’t the same as the butterfly effect), such as a panic-induced sell-off, a tipping point in other words, like stalling an aeroplane.

andrew harman
andrew harman
1 year ago

One American historian has observed, in comparing the two, that Jimmy Carter had a first class intellect but second class judgement, whereas Franklin Roosevelt had a second rate intellect but first class judgement.
One thing I noticed in the picture: the bitten fingernails. A telltale sign of the lack of real comfort in one’s own skin that lurks beneath?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew harman

“ 
 the bitten fingernails.”
I don’t see bitten fingernails.

andrew harman
andrew harman
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Look again – well chewed I think!
Gordon Brown famously had the same affliction.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Can’t believe this discussion. Still, short, yes, but does that mean chewed. I really don’t know.

andrew harman
andrew harman
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Well whatever, I was actually making a lighthearted point! The main point of my post was the comparison between intellect and judgement.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew harman

I get that. I don’t really know enough about economics to take this any further. But my feeling is that some mob beat up the class swot.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Well-spotted. Yep, those are bitten right down. A sure sign of chronic anxiety.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

Ian Duncan Smith was much more intelligent than you give him credit.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Considering how much credit one may afford In Deep S***, Esq, that perhaps isn’t saying very much …

David Purchase
David Purchase
1 year ago

My late father used to say that humans were very clever, but not very wise. I think that sums it up about modern politicians. As for ‘smart’, well, we know by now that it has the opposite meaning to its original one – just think of smart meters, smart motorways and smart phones.

Bill O'Gorman
Bill O'Gorman
1 year ago

Still, looking on the bright side, all the peevish types that fastened on the 40% tax rate can now congratulate themselves on the reduction in fuel bill support.
Never mind the quotation, we have seen Jeremy Hunt in action: as Minister of Health he came close to replacing The Berkshire Hunt in English rhyming slang.

Jeremy Eves
Jeremy Eves
1 year ago

Great read. Interesting that many entrepreneurs have little academic track record. Maybe an academic ability to assimilate a lot of data and info leads to over complication and not seeing the wood for the trees

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago

It is simple. Kwasi understood the problem and developed a solution that would work with the current constraints. The author does not understand what has happened to our economy, believes the pundits and is completely oblivious to the actual agenda that requires the gilt owners club to maintain completely control over our fiscal policy.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

Given that its a fairly small percentage of people who understand financial markets at all enough to make money it’s funny how everyone just knew Kwarteng’s financial plan wasn’t going to work. I would have liked to see him stick around to see what would have happened but I suppose we’ll just do what the “markets” want instead. The whole thing reflects worse on Truss in my opinion for completely U turning on her appointment and on her budget.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

Well blowing ÂŁ400bn on lockdowns was never going to work.
But the goons in charge did it.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

Exactly and the economy is in turmoil due to those decisions. Makes me laugh that this particular budget is where we have suddenly crossed a red line and became irresponsible.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Dang, that is a good piece. Best I’ve read by DS for some time. Very original, very perceptive, beautiful erudite.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Street smart. My son went to Peterhouse and got a First. He drifted off into academia for a while and, when I said if he didn’t use that First soon he’d lose it, he didn’t know what a church mouse was. He’s also aware of how dim a Toc H lamp is. Luckily he’s taken steps to recover the situation.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago

The budget was fine. After a wobble the markets started recovering (in any case, I don’t give a stuff about the “markets”. Why is our country tied up to the financial system? Crooks gambling with our money no doubt).
But the blob took over and now the dreadful Hunt is in charge.
We are being run by idiots who profess economic competence but blow ÂŁ400bn on unnecessary lock-downs and shut nearly all of our coal plants, making us more reliant on gas. And don’t even get me started on the illegal migrant problem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan Castro
Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago

Kwarteng presented a brave budget to try and break the mould of low productivity leading to a low growth economy.
I admire his courage, his fatal error was clearly trusting Truss to stand by him when inevitably the blob would try to undermine his budget … he was brave and she was not.

Peter Wilson Close
Peter Wilson Close
1 year ago

Truss and Kwarteng have indeed identified the problems and proscribed the “tentative” solutions for there sadly is no easy solution. The downfall of many of those you mention – including Kwarteng – occurred for generally the same reason: the capture of the UK economy by the Bond Vigilantes as a result of Thatcher’s deregulation of commercial banking in the 1980s. As a result of her response to the problems of the 1970s [inflation, falling living standards, labour confrontation etc.] the BOE has printed NO NEW MONEY for the economy since the 1970s. An expansion in GDP from ÂŁ300bn to ÂŁ2700bn has all been on the back of bank credit i.e. DEBT! In 1970 Sovereign money represented 50% of the money in circulation – now it is less than 5%. The Bond Vigilantes have become the Treasury. The only way out is to pour money into the economy – meaning the issue of bonds and for the BOE to buy them back and let them expire. The vigilantes will kick and scream driving bonds and the currency down but we need to see it through. the alternative is to kick the can down the road as we’ve been doing for nearly 40 years.

Ruud van Man
Ruud van Man
1 year ago

Despite the accusation that she became rather “presidential” in the latter part of her tenure as PM, I think Margaret Thatcher knew the importance of self-examination and a certain degree of self-doubt. It forces you to question your assumptions and also seek the opinions of others.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Individual achievements are no guarantee of leadership skills or an ability to judge the views, wants and tolerances of an electorate be that the general population or Tory MPs. Truss and Kwarteng did not discuss the mini-budget with the Cabinet and yet expected Ministers to support it. Kwarteng consulted no one who would have told him that his loosening of fiscal policy would necessitate even tighter monetary policies and that rising mortgage rates would hurt voters.

Ben P
Ben P
1 year ago

Running an organisation, an army, a school, a family, a company, a government is a supremely practical business. In that sense academic excellence is entirely irrelevant.
Churchill never passed an exam in his life. But he had the measure of Hitler and the character to face him down in a way that those far-more academic than him would never have been able.
Cojones, luck and a clear vision are far more important than your university degree.

John Williams
John Williams
1 year ago

Dominic might also have mentioned Enoch Powell – brilliant Cambridge student, Professor of Greek at the age of 25, youngest Brigadier in the British Army, so obsessed with the remorselessness of his own crystal-sharp logic that he lost touch with reality and disappeared down a wormhole into an alternative universe where rivers foamed with blood, black hands held bullwhips and mountains of excrement were poured through white letterboxes forcing people to flee to the hills in panic. The gods really do use us for their sport, tempering as they do gifts of high intelligence with a total lack of common sense so driving us to distraction.

Allister Wilson
Allister Wilson
1 year ago

In stating that Kwarteng’s
“academic credentials are second to none” is emblematic of the elitist political classes, who confuse academic achievement with real world competence.

Kwarteng claims to be an economist on the basis that he earned a PhD degree in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000, with a thesis titled “Political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695–1697.” Hardly an economist, hardly Chancellor material.

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

Academics is 99% “who you know,” the real world is 90% “who you know.”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

“Floreat Etona”.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

I wonder how many of Kwarteng’s achievements are shared by Mr Sandbrook.

Andy Moody
Andy Moody
1 year ago

Great article Dominic, I am now more comfortable than ever with being not as clever as Kalamity Kwarteng.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

Above all, it has to be leavened by humility: a recognition that nobody knows everything, that we all make mistakes and that clever, self-confident people often make the worst mistakes of all. In profiles of Kwarteng, the word “arrogant” comes up again and again. He’s paid a high price for it now.
So all that reading to get to the nub of the issue – a problem with his personality?
So the rejection of his budget and his downfall are down to “arrogance”?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Excellent piece.
Ego is the problem for the high-achievers. See my short blog:
Thinking does not require too much intelligence. Thinking is a skill, like wood-carving; it can be learned. Humility, patience, honesty, a sense of humour; all those are far more important aids to the craft of thinking than masses of grey matter. No brain, however large, can smuggle thoughts past the wall of a brittle ego.”
See: https://ayenaw.com/2021/07/18/post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc/

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 year ago

No. I don’t buy the narrative of bungled mini budget. the mini budget was initially well received; But that was precisely the problem. In October 2021, ad the UK exited from Covid, Johnson was popular. Wrong man too be popular. The near nine month campaign to cut his umbilical chord to the public was launched by his enemies. Truss won the Tory selection process. Wrong person. Can’t have her popular. The story is then launched of unfunded tax cuts. Of course, they were funded. The mini budget launched measures to encourage growth and more to come. Can’t have that, say Truss” enemies. They pull the plug.
These people are getting drug”d on two or three putsches per year. Until they get their way. They will then be surprised that their enemies have learnt the same tricks. Silly little people.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago

As well as being nervous at times, Thatcher and her colleagues were patient and systematic. A major contributor to this train wreck was the fashionable belief that grand visions a la Boris Johnson need only be announced to make them somehow so, instant gratification if you like, whereas the best chance to make a strategy work is to plan and tackle parts individually and achieve them one at a time (possibly in parallel). As Caesar Augustus would often say, “Festina Lente” – Make haste slowly.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Ramsden
Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

His worst mistake was to agree to be Liz Truss’ Chancellor as that made it necessary for him to carry out her election promises.
That she was the instigator of the min-budget’s contents was clear from the rumpus in parliament yesterday when she refused to face the Leader of the Opposition’s Urgent Question and say why she had sacked him..

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago

I had that dream of turning up for my exams without having done any work last week, but in my case it was because I tried revising what was meant to be almost three years work for Finals in an inadequate 10 days.

Last edited 1 year ago by Will Will
Julian Bell
Julian Bell
1 year ago

I think his only mistake is that he gave us our reward cake first and said we were going to lose weight later. It should have been the other way round.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

A bit hard on Iain Duncan Smith.

David Hirst
David Hirst
1 year ago

This a great, saddening piece of work I’d have loved some contrasting examples of politicians of modest academic accomplishment who did well in office. Ernest Bevin springs to mind, and Aneurin Bevan (who was an autodidact, and therefore a _kind_ of swot). But that’s only two – I’m not a historian, and I’d be interested to be informed or reminded of others who made significant accomplishments as ministers despite bringing unspectacular school reports home in earlier life.

Jeremy Badley
Jeremy Badley
1 year ago

The Khmer Rouge leadership were also the cleverest of their generation.

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

Maybe we are taking the volatility and insanity of current politics too seriously. Just another thing happens.

Edward Hulse
Edward Hulse
1 year ago

May be he is just quasi clever! Seems so to me.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
1 year ago

“Isn’t there a little bit of us that dreads the inevitable day when, on the grandest stage,our boastful pretensions are stripped away,and our ignorance and incompetence laid bare for all to see”. Replace the words “ignorance” and “incompetence” with sin and unbelief and you have a picture of our response to the great Day of Judgement when absolutely everyone’s life and faith will be exposed and the only escape from God’s righteous verdict is faith in Jesus Christ.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Oh for goodness sake, give it a rest.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

What do you mean “give it a rest”. These vital and profoundly important things are hardly ever talked about in these or any other columns.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

Very good article, I learned a lot by hearing of the astounding difference between ‘should know’ and knowing.

But the story was told already – it was a tale told by an idiot; Boris Johnson, the most destructive PM since the first.

Ramsay McDonald and Stanley Baldwin traded as PM throughout the time of Hitler taking power – getting Germany into a Army State, Arming it – and they did Nothing. They reduced the military budget as Hitler outspent them 4 to 1. Then Chamberlain fallowed as another weak PM – all know his appeasement polity. Churchill was the ‘Last Lion’ shouting the peril to these insanely stupid and destructive fools.

They were not as bad as Boris; Britain survived their folly – it is not known if it will survive Borris. Now the new idiot Chancellor is a Boris mini-me. Was 100% into the suicide which was Covid response, and the getting into Ukraine (which the first was a treatable flu with repurposed drugs, the second was NONE of the West’s business and as everyone knew – would shut down the energy of Europe, and is going to cause the starvation of hundreds of millions through out the world by fertilizer and petrol impoverishment) Same as Truss is 100% for the covid/Ukraine suicide.

Death Wish – every one of them. Biden is the exact same as Boris but bigger. Both colluded to destroy the West and the global Economy by Covid Response and Ukraine – UK was a ‘Dead Man Walking’ from every one of them doing the wrong thing . The mini-budget did not matter – the Conservatives – like Biden, their identical Twin, had killed the British economy already.

Although this incident is really the insane Truss promising to pay the household energy bills wile reducing income – that is sheer inflation! That is QE fiscal style, wile raising interest rates and tightening – All are SO Stupid.

Now the Democrats will be banished in 3 weeks – just as the Tories will be, and deserving it. There is no saving anything – the Tories Killed it same as the Democrats did – same as the Germans did – same as the EU did – and for Nothing.

keith stael
keith stael
1 year ago

Clever is as clever does, or something cleverer. Is anyone else titanically bored by the ‘Corbyn is thick’ repetitions? Maybe this article and the entire career of the writer are based on ideas of braininess which are unhelpful at best. Is socialism stupid?

Mike F
Mike F
1 year ago
Reply to  keith stael

I would hesitate to describe anyone as “thick”, but Corbyn could at least be described as either feckless, lazy, or educationally challenged. Despite attending a high achieving grammar school, he scraped two A Levels at the lowest grade, then failed to complete a degree at the Polytechnic of North London.
You might be setting the bar of ‘braininess” pretty low to consider brainy anyone who could out-achieve Corbyn.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago
Reply to  keith stael

It’s worse than that, it’s evil.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  keith stael

I would suggest that to continue to believe in Socialism after all we’ve seen of it is indeed stupid, if not something worse. Many lauded Corbyn for his principled consistency, the fact that he’d never moved on from soixante-huitard leftism, but I prefer J H Newman’s ‘To live is to change, and to change often is to become more perfect.’

keith stael
keith stael
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I prefer Paul Newman’s ‘a man with no enemies is a man with no character’

John Williams
John Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  keith stael

Character is capable being good or bad. Corbyn undeniably had character, but then so has almost every anti-Semite who ever lived.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Williams