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What’s wrong with our prime ministers? Johnson and Truss shared the same vice

Six of one, half a dozen of the other (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Six of one, half a dozen of the other (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


November 24, 2022   6 mins

At Balliol, Boris Johnson’s old Oxford college, there was a society, now dormant, called the Hysteron Proteron Club. Members were required to live an entire day backwards at least once a term, and discharged the duty conscientiously. The 12-hour ordeal would start with cigars and brandy over cards in dinner jackets, desserts giving way to soup courses, and end in the evening, a little dangerously one imagines, with a “pre-breakfast” swim in the River Cherwell.

Meanwhile, at Merton, where Liz Truss read PPE in the Nineties, undergraduates still perform “The Time Ceremony” every autumn when the clocks go back. Between 2am British Summer Time and 2am Greenwich Mean Time, students dressed in full sub fusc (black tie and gowns) walk backwards around the Fellows’ Quad in order “to maintain the space-time continuum”. According to her biographers Harry Cole and James Heale, Liz Truss delighted in Merton’s eccentric ceremony. I wonder whether her thoughts turned to it at any point during her own liminal 44-day premiership, before it too collapsed into an extensionless point in political space-time.

The tricks being played on us by the accelerated pace of political upheaval are well in evidence in both Cole and Heale’s Out of the Blue: The Inside Story of the Unexpected Rise and Rapid Fall of Liz Truss, and Sebastian Payne’s The Fall of Boris Johnson, both of which enter a kind of warp-speed as their protagonists’ regimes spiral and crash. Great offices of state change hands like debased currency; in the last three years, we have practically doubled the stock of living ex-Chancellors. And remember when Grant Shapps was Home Secretary for six days? At times, it looked as if Andy Warhol’s prediction may become true of politics, if not elsewhere: in the future we shall all be Cabinet Ministers for 15 minutes.

What explains this unusual volatility in the political system? One widespread attitude expresses itself in the form of an exceptionalist view about the present: our politicians are peculiarly crap and ill-suited to govern. The watchword of this theory is “unprecedented”, and its characteristic mood is one of ahistorical sanctimony about contemporary political life. It is often difficult for these theories to rise above the flippant register of the sketch-writer’s caricature: Boris Johnson is a Machiavellian clown, psychologically incapable of telling the truth; Liz Truss is a Thatcherite human-GIF who loves pork markets. That is, the account struggles to actually explain the data in place of merely describing them.

Another more jaded mode of explanation is ahistorical in a different way. This outlook regards today’s problems as nothing special. Disaster and tumult are more or less eternally constitutive of political life. On the subject of Johnson and Truss’s downfalls there is little to add to Enoch Powell’s dictum that all political careers end in failure. While offering a useful correction to the former account, this view is also too complacent. It is, for one thing, often a little unclear what content there is supposed to be to the claim that all political careers end in failure beyond the banal truth that all political careers simply end.

In fact, there are several, somewhat novel, destabilising political phenomena described in the work of Cole, Heale, and Payne. Foremost among them is the manner in which the 24-hour online news cycle, with its insatiable appetite for a worsening situation, encourages a form of speculation on political confidence and capital. The combined desiderata of round-the-clock media scrutiny — a demand that officials be publicly accountable, and the lightning movement of news data — is an inherently unsteadying mixture. It is, after all, well-observed that social media can help to precipitate bandwagon-effects of popular resentment under repressive regimes; it would be curious if analogous effects were not also in play under settled liberal governments. Of course, the demand for accountability and a merciless attitude toward failure in public office are good things in their way. But almost no good thing arises without loss in some other dimension.

At pivotal moments of collapse in both books, events outpace the ability of political actors to effectively manage them. The lumbering anatomy of Whitehall is not built for acceleration. It is difficult to imagine how, in a previous technological era, a spectacle as engrossing, damaging and chaotic as the cascade of resignations from Boris Johnson’s government could have been similarly achieved. In the age of paper and post, it took a bit of time to resign. In one revealing anecdote of Payne’s, the spectral figure of Charles Moore sidles casually up to Treasury Minister Simon Hart who is sitting on a park bench on Twitter. “Oh Simon, what are you up to this evening?” Moore asks. Hart responds: “If you wait 15 seconds, I’m literally resigning.”

There are, thankfully, some reliable frictions left in the political process. Professional vanity, for instance, provides some residual robustness in the face of even the most vividly disintegrating political fortunes. Brandon Lewis, for instance, “breezed into” Johnson’s strategy room, at a moment of high calamity, and surveyed the reshuffle whiteboard. “Sensing the weakness of the team that was being assembled, Lewis argued he should get a grander job and was offered Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.” He left, apparently pretty pleased with himself — much in the spirit of a passenger who’s just successfully upgraded their cabin on the Titanic — before resigning a few hours later.

The relation between Johnson’s administration in its final months and the media placed him in a posture of increasingly hopeless damage-control. According to Payne: “from October 2021 onwards, [Johnson’s] administration was
 entirely focused on firefighting.” At moments when instantaneous response was needed, aides found the Prime Minister “was always away”. Channels of communication stalled. The chief problem, as Payne tells it, was not so much that Johnson’s Number 10 team were mendacious and corrupt, but that they couldn’t stay ahead of the story — whether it was Paterson, Pincher or Partygate — for sufficiently long to counteract it. One unwelcome effect of the emergence of these intense, and no doubt irreversible, political pressures is to increase the appeal of a certain virtue of bloody-mindedness in public life. It might be, however counter-intuitively, that increasingly stringent demands for transparency and integrity in public life end up favouring not the squeaky-clean class of politician, but those who are able to cultivate a calculated indifference to the rules in play.

Needless to say, politicians who possess these qualities won’t just exercise them when they’re useful; they’ll do so too when their effects are destructive or straightforwardly unhinged. Mere hours before his resignation, Johnson remained “determined to carry on through sheer effort of will”. “All my life,” he is reported to have said, “people have been telling me ‘you can’t do that’. And I’ve always proved them wrong.” The same morning, Michael Gove made his fateful visit to Downing Street, by that stage a bunker of panicked activity, and urged Johnson to stand down. The Prime Minister responded by relating a story, apparently in admiration, of an uncle of his “who had ‘failed to take his meds one day’
 [and] so barricaded himself into the town hall with a shotgun. The uncle was eventually bundled out by the police. ‘That is going to be me,’ the prime minister said.” Returning to his Ministry from the meeting, Gove informed his staff that the Prime Minister had unfortunately “gone mad”.

As with Johnson, the portrait developed of Truss by Cole and Heale, is one of a political agent almost pathologically insensitive to the influence of other minds. Aides noticed how “very thick-skinned” she was, with this “delightful Terminator-like quality”. But, on closer acquaintance, her steady hand could be unnerving, even to allies. At the height of the income tax U-turn, with the pound crashing, allies “were struck by her ‘worryingly zen-like’ demeanour”. As David Laws recalled of Truss at her first department, Education: “I like Liz but she doesn’t listen very much, and when people try to make points, she just talks straight over them in a slightly irritating and rather ‘deaf’ way.” This quality of political “deafness” can of course be useful, allowing one to wilfully resist the demands of external opposition and public scrutiny that might move a less headstrong individual to self-doubt or compromise.

But as Laws’s description implies, there is a constructive ambiguity in Truss’s case as to how far her obstinately “deaf” temperament is actually under her control, or about how far it is a part of a more general strategy of calculated madness. Rory Stewart recalls his years under Truss at Defra as “traumatic”. There, watching her civil servants “you could see the panic in their eyes and them thinking ‘does she really want to do this?’” And according to Dominic Cummings, Truss is “about as close to properly crackers as anybody I’ve met in Parliament”.

To her credit, Truss occasionally reveals a degree of pragmatic awareness of the manner in which her political strengths entwine with her personal incapacities. Addressing close allies in the early stages of her leadership bid, “she was blunt and to the point, telling one visitor: ‘I think I would be a very good Prime Minister, there are just two problems: I am weird and I don’t have any friends. How can you help me fix that?’” Presented with the consequences of the mini-Budget, and the possibility of simply throwing the old steamroller into gear and ploughing on, Truss at last recorded a final and uncharacteristic twinge of self-doubt: “the problem is the last time I ignored all these people they were right.”

Some years after his own short premiership (366 days), Alec Douglas Home is said to have encountered an elderly woman at a train station who admiringly told him that she’d always thought he would have made rather a good Prime Minister. He reportedly responded, with good grace, that he actually had been, though admittedly only “for a short time”. Liz Truss can for the moment only dream of comparative levels of anonymity. As her short administration collapsed around her, though, I wonder whether her temperamental deafness proved something of a solace — as Truss addressed the nation outside Downing Street she seemed almost to be smiling. (“Don’t worry, I’m relieved it’s over,” she is reported to have told those on the inside of the black door, “at least I’ve been Prime Minister.”)

But the lessons from Johnson’s demise and Truss’s implosion, so far as I can see, are not as commiserative. Today’s political environment makes remarkable demands on the modern politician — demands of exertion, openness, imagination, resilience to criticism, and speed of response. It is sometimes difficult to see how any decent politician could be equal to meeting them, though it is increasingly clear how a bad one could be wilful enough to resist them.


John Maier is an UnHerd columnist and PhD student at the University of Oxford

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Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

There is another explanation or, rather, two explanations which run concurrently together.
One is the very fourth-rate quality of people these past 30 years going into politics. This they do in order to acquire money, privilege and self-importance in quantities they never could attain in any other walk of life, so very limited are their knowledge, skills, managerial competence, vision, talent and – above all else – courage (they are incapable of saying ‘Boo!’ to a day-old gosling).
The other is that they are wholly owned by the oligarchs of the World Economic Forum and never stray off the slave-plantation of doing their bidding.
I don’t see otherwise how to explain such phenomena as the generally admitted death-wish of the Tory Party at present.
Even the dimmest ‘Conservative’ MPs know that if they were to get a real grip on immigration they would leap upward in popularity and possibly actually win the next election.
To this end they need to take the UK out of the European Court of Human Rights and the U.N. Refugee Accords, revise rapidly and drastically our laws in the interest of making it very hard for ambulance-chasing lawyers to keep each and every ‘refugee’ in the country; and instruct the armed forces to forbid entry to any vessels containing illegal migrants coming across the Channel.
So why don’t they rescue themselves from almost certain doom at the next election?
The answer has to be something like Total Pusillanimity PLUS devotion to the desires of Klaus Schwab, George Soros, Bill Gates et al.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Isn’t it time for all Tories to be bullies and not just Rabb and put the group hug lefty Blob in their rightful place. It’s pathetic that the tail wags the dog.

Vibhaker Baxi
Vibhaker Baxi
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Always blame others for one’s own incompetence or malfeasance!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

“The other is that they are wholly owned by the oligarchs of the World Economic Forum and never stray off the slave-plantation of doing their bidding”
If you actually believe this utter nonsense, it makes every other single point you make entirely redundant, since all the politicians are simply following orders

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It is not utter nonsense. The politicians are following orders from the WEF, George Soros et al.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Klaus Swab is all over the internet boasting how the WEF has captured young world leaders such as Trudeau and Arden.
Merkel is another.
He said that in 10 years, he wants to see everyone have brain implants.
You can find him speaking about this on YT.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It is not utter nonsense.
The politicians are following orders from the WEF, George Soros et al.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“Simply following orders” hasn’t been a defence since 1945.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It is not utter nonsense. The politicians are following orders from the WEF, George Soros et al.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Klaus Swab is all over the internet boasting how the WEF has captured young world leaders such as Trudeau and Arden.
Merkel is another.
He said that in 10 years, he wants to see everyone have brain implants.
You can find him speaking about this on YT.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It is not utter nonsense.
The politicians are following orders from the WEF, George Soros et al.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“Simply following orders” hasn’t been a defence since 1945.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Isn’t it time for all Tories to be bullies and not just Rabb and put the group hug lefty Blob in their rightful place. It’s pathetic that the tail wags the dog.

Vibhaker Baxi
Vibhaker Baxi
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Always blame others for one’s own incompetence or malfeasance!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

“The other is that they are wholly owned by the oligarchs of the World Economic Forum and never stray off the slave-plantation of doing their bidding”
If you actually believe this utter nonsense, it makes every other single point you make entirely redundant, since all the politicians are simply following orders

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

There is another explanation or, rather, two explanations which run concurrently together.
One is the very fourth-rate quality of people these past 30 years going into politics. This they do in order to acquire money, privilege and self-importance in quantities they never could attain in any other walk of life, so very limited are their knowledge, skills, managerial competence, vision, talent and – above all else – courage (they are incapable of saying ‘Boo!’ to a day-old gosling).
The other is that they are wholly owned by the oligarchs of the World Economic Forum and never stray off the slave-plantation of doing their bidding.
I don’t see otherwise how to explain such phenomena as the generally admitted death-wish of the Tory Party at present.
Even the dimmest ‘Conservative’ MPs know that if they were to get a real grip on immigration they would leap upward in popularity and possibly actually win the next election.
To this end they need to take the UK out of the European Court of Human Rights and the U.N. Refugee Accords, revise rapidly and drastically our laws in the interest of making it very hard for ambulance-chasing lawyers to keep each and every ‘refugee’ in the country; and instruct the armed forces to forbid entry to any vessels containing illegal migrants coming across the Channel.
So why don’t they rescue themselves from almost certain doom at the next election?
The answer has to be something like Total Pusillanimity PLUS devotion to the desires of Klaus Schwab, George Soros, Bill Gates et al.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I thought this was brilliant, makes excellent points. Witty as hell. More of this stuff please.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Miss Emery, This is how it used to be! I hope you enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujrE4H5mpwI

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Entertaining Mr Stanhope, I have to say I love this:
Members were required to live an entire day backwards at least once a term, and discharged the duty conscientiously. The 12-hour ordeal would start with cigars and brandy over cards in dinner jackets, desserts giving way to soup courses, and end in the evening, a little dangerously one imagines, with a “pre-breakfast” swim in the River Cherwell.
So funny, and British and eccentric and ridiculous and amazing all at once. These are the weird traditions that are part of our eccentric British history, we should maintain them! I expect any Oxbridge students reading to be at breakfast ready for brandy and cigars first thing tomorrow! Good lesson in kicking conformity. Only Britain can make a prime minister who:
‘responded by relating a story, apparently in admiration, of an uncle of his “who had ‘failed to take his meds one day’
 [and] so barricaded himself into the town hall with a shotgun. The uncle was eventually bundled out by the police. ‘That is going to be me,’ the prime minister said.” Returning to his Ministry from the meeting, Gove informed his staff that the Prime Minister had unfortunately “gone mad” – that’s so brilliant, can imagine Gove sat there wondering where the story is going….. I love Boris, he isn’t perfect but never pretends to be, I want him back.

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

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qUvf3fOmTTk
Oxbridge philosophy with John Cleese

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

Entertaining Mr Stanhope, I have to say I love this:
Members were required to live an entire day backwards at least once a term, and discharged the duty conscientiously. The 12-hour ordeal would start with cigars and brandy over cards in dinner jackets, desserts giving way to soup courses, and end in the evening, a little dangerously one imagines, with a “pre-breakfast” swim in the River Cherwell.
So funny, and British and eccentric and ridiculous and amazing all at once. These are the weird traditions that are part of our eccentric British history, we should maintain them! I expect any Oxbridge students reading to be at breakfast ready for brandy and cigars first thing tomorrow! Good lesson in kicking conformity. Only Britain can make a prime minister who:
‘responded by relating a story, apparently in admiration, of an uncle of his “who had ‘failed to take his meds one day’
 [and] so barricaded himself into the town hall with a shotgun. The uncle was eventually bundled out by the police. ‘That is going to be me,’ the prime minister said.” Returning to his Ministry from the meeting, Gove informed his staff that the Prime Minister had unfortunately “gone mad” – that’s so brilliant, can imagine Gove sat there wondering where the story is going….. I love Boris, he isn’t perfect but never pretends to be, I want him back.

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

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qUvf3fOmTTk
Oxbridge philosophy with John Cleese

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Miss Emery, This is how it used to be! I hope you enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujrE4H5mpwI

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I thought this was brilliant, makes excellent points. Witty as hell. More of this stuff please.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

It’s been a long time since any Prime minister had as much real power as the editor of the Today programme.

So it’s not surprising they look increasingly ridiculous.

And nowadays, of course, the editor of the Today programme has no compunction about using that power quite openly in pursuit of a political agenda – which makes all politicians even more impotent.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Is anyone listening to the Today programme any more? I gave up years ago 🙂
I’d argue the real power is in the unelected quangos like the Bank of England and other financial regulators, the OBR et all, the NHS and its regulators, the education system and OFSTED – and of course the big multinationals who’s interest is supra-national (i.e. they want what’s best for them not any particular country)
One would like to think Brexit was an exercise in getting rid of one of the unelected bodies that rule us – but its only revealed how deeply the blob are embedded in how things work and politicians are merely a fig-leaf of democracy to keep us happy.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I was using the editor of the Today programme as a kind of proxy for the media in general – but you’re quite right about the capture of institutions.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I was using the editor of the Today programme as a kind of proxy for the media in general – but you’re quite right about the capture of institutions.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The day when the BBC was proud of its balanced reporting is long past. Like you, I have mostly given up listening to the Today programme – switching from Worldservice or Radio 3 to hear “Thought for Today” (which is sometimes enlightening) and then back again.
Something needs to be done about the absolute power being inflicted on us by this unelected quango.. Ask yourself; Is it better to have an autocratic government in control of the press or a press in control of the government?
We need the press to be free to question decisions made by authority but they should have to abide by a code of conduct, with consequences if they do not.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Is anyone listening to the Today programme any more? I gave up years ago 🙂
I’d argue the real power is in the unelected quangos like the Bank of England and other financial regulators, the OBR et all, the NHS and its regulators, the education system and OFSTED – and of course the big multinationals who’s interest is supra-national (i.e. they want what’s best for them not any particular country)
One would like to think Brexit was an exercise in getting rid of one of the unelected bodies that rule us – but its only revealed how deeply the blob are embedded in how things work and politicians are merely a fig-leaf of democracy to keep us happy.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The day when the BBC was proud of its balanced reporting is long past. Like you, I have mostly given up listening to the Today programme – switching from Worldservice or Radio 3 to hear “Thought for Today” (which is sometimes enlightening) and then back again.
Something needs to be done about the absolute power being inflicted on us by this unelected quango.. Ask yourself; Is it better to have an autocratic government in control of the press or a press in control of the government?
We need the press to be free to question decisions made by authority but they should have to abide by a code of conduct, with consequences if they do not.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

It’s been a long time since any Prime minister had as much real power as the editor of the Today programme.

So it’s not surprising they look increasingly ridiculous.

And nowadays, of course, the editor of the Today programme has no compunction about using that power quite openly in pursuit of a political agenda – which makes all politicians even more impotent.

Peter Dennett
Peter Dennett
1 year ago

In Australia, we haven’t had a decent PM since John Howard. Judging from our numerous current crop of ex-PM’s, Julia Gillard is head and shoulders above the rest of her contemporary ex-PM’s.
It is my belief that the media has played a massive role in scaring away genuinely great people from politics. Every mistake is blown out of proportion. So the default way to win an election is to shut up and let the current PM put their foot in it.
Neither side seems to have a plan or a vision. Big business just wants to grow so they pressure the government into letting more skilled migrants in because they don’t need to train them up. The lefty do gooders push their gay/trans/refugee/isis brides agenda and the media fog horns it to the cows come home. It is a total incoherent mess. None of it fits together and the average person who is more decent than we give credit for just has to deal with the mess thrust upon them by politicians that are the well dressed versions of the reality TV celebrity wannabes.

Peter Dennett
Peter Dennett
1 year ago

In Australia, we haven’t had a decent PM since John Howard. Judging from our numerous current crop of ex-PM’s, Julia Gillard is head and shoulders above the rest of her contemporary ex-PM’s.
It is my belief that the media has played a massive role in scaring away genuinely great people from politics. Every mistake is blown out of proportion. So the default way to win an election is to shut up and let the current PM put their foot in it.
Neither side seems to have a plan or a vision. Big business just wants to grow so they pressure the government into letting more skilled migrants in because they don’t need to train them up. The lefty do gooders push their gay/trans/refugee/isis brides agenda and the media fog horns it to the cows come home. It is a total incoherent mess. None of it fits together and the average person who is more decent than we give credit for just has to deal with the mess thrust upon them by politicians that are the well dressed versions of the reality TV celebrity wannabes.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
1 year ago

Article by raises some great points, one I hadn’t thought about too much was the inability of politicians to match the speed of the media. As others have commented; the institution’s and globalist corporations hold most of the power anyway. These global corporations and institutions are colonising the West as surely as the Western corporations, governments and institutions colonised other nations. The West sold out it’s people (particularly blue collar) and created a huge oversupply of competing educated idiots and what we are seeing is the results of this.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

The core problem is that the socialist welfare state has a ÂŁ16 trillion pound debt. Borrowing is another 2.2 trillion. Then there’s nuclear clean up, the EU, …. on top.
30% of tax goes on the debts.
The debts are increasing at 10% per annum, and that’s before this year. That’s the long term rate of growth.
So what can ANY PM do with that mess?
Growth? Can you get 10% year on year growth from the proles, take it all from them to go on the debts? No.
So the only choice they have is massive austerity. Less take home pay. Cuts to the pensions. Masive cuts to spending on services. In reality all three.
From the numbers its going to be dire, to the extent that politicians are worried about their on necks getting stretched. After all there are enough nutters in the 60 million victims who will cut the middle man out, the courts, and move directly to the sentence.

Au Contraire
Au Contraire
1 year ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Last time I checked we have had a hard right Tory Government in place for all but a dozen years in the past 43 years! Can’t wait for a real right wing capitalist Government!

Au Contraire
Au Contraire
1 year ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Last time I checked we have had a hard right Tory Government in place for all but a dozen years in the past 43 years! Can’t wait for a real right wing capitalist Government!

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Perhaps the American system of question and answer sessions – on a daily basis, might assuage the media’s temporal frenzy?

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

Have you seen Biden’s press secretary um uh her way through any single question while the zombie press corps chew their cud post inanities on Twitter? Would it be any different in the UK? Probs not.

John Howes
John Howes
1 year ago

We tried a Press Secretary, then threw her under a bus to protect the PM.

John Howes
John Howes
1 year ago

We tried a Press Secretary, then threw her under a bus to protect the PM.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

Have you seen Biden’s press secretary um uh her way through any single question while the zombie press corps chew their cud post inanities on Twitter? Would it be any different in the UK? Probs not.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

The core problem is that the socialist welfare state has a ÂŁ16 trillion pound debt. Borrowing is another 2.2 trillion. Then there’s nuclear clean up, the EU, …. on top.
30% of tax goes on the debts.
The debts are increasing at 10% per annum, and that’s before this year. That’s the long term rate of growth.
So what can ANY PM do with that mess?
Growth? Can you get 10% year on year growth from the proles, take it all from them to go on the debts? No.
So the only choice they have is massive austerity. Less take home pay. Cuts to the pensions. Masive cuts to spending on services. In reality all three.
From the numbers its going to be dire, to the extent that politicians are worried about their on necks getting stretched. After all there are enough nutters in the 60 million victims who will cut the middle man out, the courts, and move directly to the sentence.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Perhaps the American system of question and answer sessions – on a daily basis, might assuage the media’s temporal frenzy?

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
1 year ago

Article by raises some great points, one I hadn’t thought about too much was the inability of politicians to match the speed of the media. As others have commented; the institution’s and globalist corporations hold most of the power anyway. These global corporations and institutions are colonising the West as surely as the Western corporations, governments and institutions colonised other nations. The West sold out it’s people (particularly blue collar) and created a huge oversupply of competing educated idiots and what we are seeing is the results of this.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Great article! The Conservative Party and the Labour Party have different ways of selecting leaders, but both systems are suffciently quirky to throw up the likes of Truss or Corbyn from time to time. Right at the other end of the scale, there is the German system for selecting a new chancellor: they are elected via SECRET ballot of ALL Bundestag members (regardless of party). So even if your party is in the majority, the party’s preferred candidate is not necessarily a shoe-in. That’s how you get someone like Merkel hanging in there for years.Love her or hate her, she was very clever at dangling carrots in front of potential coalition partners.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

Great article! The Conservative Party and the Labour Party have different ways of selecting leaders, but both systems are suffciently quirky to throw up the likes of Truss or Corbyn from time to time. Right at the other end of the scale, there is the German system for selecting a new chancellor: they are elected via SECRET ballot of ALL Bundestag members (regardless of party). So even if your party is in the majority, the party’s preferred candidate is not necessarily a shoe-in. That’s how you get someone like Merkel hanging in there for years.Love her or hate her, she was very clever at dangling carrots in front of potential coalition partners.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Short answer, because they are selected from a pool of possible candidates which has already been selected for ideological conformity; all of whom are careerists deoendent upon patronage with few, if any prospects outside politics other than the lecture circuit and non-executive directorships for the lucky few.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Short answer, because they are selected from a pool of possible candidates which has already been selected for ideological conformity; all of whom are careerists deoendent upon patronage with few, if any prospects outside politics other than the lecture circuit and non-executive directorships for the lucky few.

SIMON WOLF
SIMON WOLF
1 year ago

A depressing note to add is it is very difficult to see any other recent Tory Cabinet Ministers who might be any improvement on recent PMs except possibly the untested Kemi Badenooch whereas the UK Cabinets prior to New Labour always had a few plausible candidates to replace the PM.Even New Labour had initially Blunkett ,Cook and the underrated late Tessa Jowell all 3 of whom might have introduced smart tough long term policies.If Brown had not become PM he would be regarded as a successful Chancellor.

SIMON WOLF
SIMON WOLF
1 year ago

A depressing note to add is it is very difficult to see any other recent Tory Cabinet Ministers who might be any improvement on recent PMs except possibly the untested Kemi Badenooch whereas the UK Cabinets prior to New Labour always had a few plausible candidates to replace the PM.Even New Labour had initially Blunkett ,Cook and the underrated late Tessa Jowell all 3 of whom might have introduced smart tough long term policies.If Brown had not become PM he would be regarded as a successful Chancellor.

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

If you want to see bad, look across the pond!
We need to follow up on the Orwellian angle here and research why qualified and honest people get removed. All we get are actors and tools for certain financial and power interests.

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

If you want to see bad, look across the pond!
We need to follow up on the Orwellian angle here and research why qualified and honest people get removed. All we get are actors and tools for certain financial and power interests.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

Very fair appraisal.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

Very fair appraisal.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The Hysteron Proteron Club has Flashman written all over it; I doubt John Charity Spring, captain of the slave ship Balliol College, could have gotten in (which might be why he was such a psychotic Latin-spouting fruitcake). Anyway, fun article!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The Hysteron Proteron Club has Flashman written all over it; I doubt John Charity Spring, captain of the slave ship Balliol College, could have gotten in (which might be why he was such a psychotic Latin-spouting fruitcake). Anyway, fun article!

patrick macaskie
patrick macaskie
1 year ago

I suppose the idea that any kind of ending means failure presents to us the defining character flaw of politicians

cara williams
cara williams
1 year ago

jacinda ardern is my prime minister and I have figured out what’s wrong with her. she actually hates us. it’s the obvious explanation and i am pretty much certain that’s what’s wrong with your prime minister too.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

The problem, obviously, is allowing the Tory membership to elect the parliamentary leader. Firstly, the British constitution clearly require the prime minister to command a majority in the House of Common. The opinions of a few tens of thousands of elderly and angry Daily Mail readers is of little consequence to that.
But, of course, the real reason that Britain has been saddled with these buffoons as prime minister is that those same voters will inevitably pick whichever candidate best reflects their bigotry and economic illiteracy. They don’t care who is the best person for the job, they just want someone who will have useless fights with the neighbours and say the right (to them) things about immigrants and trans kids. Of course they end up electing clowns – that’s what they want!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

What is wrong with wanting the PM to stand up to the EU and defend Britains interests? Why wouldn’t the general population want their elected leader to prevent boat loads of men from countries that aren’t at war from illegally entering the country, or to push back against the excesses of an ideology that wants to use experimental drugs on children and remove female only spaces? What’s wrong with holding those opinions, which the majority of the electorate do?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

What is wrong with wanting the PM to stand up to the EU and defend Britains interests? Why wouldn’t the general population want their elected leader to prevent boat loads of men from countries that aren’t at war from illegally entering the country, or to push back against the excesses of an ideology that wants to use experimental drugs on children and remove female only spaces? What’s wrong with holding those opinions, which the majority of the electorate do?

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

The problem, obviously, is allowing the Tory membership to elect the parliamentary leader. Firstly, the British constitution clearly require the prime minister to command a majority in the House of Common. The opinions of a few tens of thousands of elderly and angry Daily Mail readers is of little consequence to that.
But, of course, the real reason that Britain has been saddled with these buffoons as prime minister is that those same voters will inevitably pick whichever candidate best reflects their bigotry and economic illiteracy. They don’t care who is the best person for the job, they just want someone who will have useless fights with the neighbours and say the right (to them) things about immigrants and trans kids. Of course they end up electing clowns – that’s what they want!