We’ve been pondering lately about who is the worst choice for Prime Minister between Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. This is a difficult conundrum because, in the simplest terms, they are both awful. Neither one are fit for highest office; they both present different problems.
We already have raw sewage being routinely discharged into our waterways with no accountability. Our energy bills are shooting up, yet the government has no will for a windfall tax on energy company’s profits. Instead, they are going to put a cap on the energy price – already too high for many to afford – and then get us plebs to pay it back in the future. This is despite the UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres, calling on developed economies to enact an energy company windfall tax in order to tackle climate change and compensate countries most affected. Guterres went so far as to say ‘Polluters must pay’ (Climate Change News).
We also have the prospect of fracking restarting here on a larger scale, in spite of Chris Cornelius, the founder of Caudrilla (the first fracking company in the UK) saying it won’t work and is merely a political gesture (Guardian). Indeed, this prospect comes in spite of a 2019 Conservative Manifesto pledge regarding fracking:
‘We placed a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect. Having listened to local communities, we have ruled out changes to the planning system. We will not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely.’ (Conservative Home)
Importantly, we have to pay attention to that word ‘moratorium’. It did not mean a complete ban. Rather, it meant that fracking was merely paused in 2019; the Tories could legitimately move their position in the future if necessary, without technically breaking the pledge. An unsurprising sleight of hand, especially with hindsight. Also, a bonus for Johnson back then was that he appeared to be a green Tory, no doubt to win swing votes. Talk about truth twisters.
Adding to this is the fact that Truss herself said in her first statement to the Commons just weeks ago that fracking would only be restarted with local consent (Independent). However, the slippery suckers may now attempt to get around this by pushing fracking sites through without local consent by declaring them as ‘nationally significant infrastructure projects’ (NSIPs). Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has been leading this appalling charge, was taken to task by his own MPs in Parliament this week.
It would seem that it is not only the Rt. Dishonourable Boris Johnson who would mislead Parliament: they’re all at it.
Inflation is out of control. Interest rates are soaring and the Bank of England says Britain is now in a recession (Telegraph) with growth at a standstill. To add to this, we have Truss telling us that it is ‘fair’ to cut taxes for the rich (The National Scot). The newspapers here on Plague Island are currently calling Truss’ economic ideology ‘Trussonomics’. It’s frighteningly close to Reaganomics, to Thatcherism, to all of those right-wing economic ideologies of the past. Call it what you want, but it translates to the same thing: that failed promise of trickle-down economics.
But what exactly is meant by trickle-down? It is the ineffective belief that tax cuts at the top, for the already wealthy, will create growth for the lower and middle classes, i.e. that the money will ‘trickle down’ from the top to the bottom. It consistently failed throughout the 20th century, and all it bought was massive inequality (The Balance). Many capitalist countries are now feeling the effects of this failed ideology.
However, Truss wants to give the ‘new’ strategy her name, to make it appear as if she has a plan
she does not; her own vision, one that is fresh and legitimate. Definitely not a futile ideology that has wrought misery and disaster everywhere it has been applied.
Even Joe Biden, the High Priest of global capitalism as the US President, has said he is ‘sick and tired’ of trickle down economics, (The Times) in an apparent snub to Truss. When he swipes at you, saying that your right-wing capitalist doctrine does’t work, then you should probably listen. After all, there are few places in the world better positioned than America to tell you that trickle down economics does not work, as Americans have had more than their fair share of it.
Liz Truss is more than capable of doing untold damage to this country, and will do, if left unchecked. She is as much a champion of the culture wars as her predecessor. With her in charge, the destruction of the UK will be fast-tracked, because she knows that this could well be the end for her party and these policies for a long time. It’s like a smash and grab Tory bonanza. She is (hopefully) the last kicks of a dying mule, but those kicks might be lethal if they catch you. Truss also knows if the Tories lose the election, then the mess is something the next government will have to own, so damn the consequences.
Truss scares us in a different way to how Johnson did. Truss is going in hard, taking all kinds of reckless gambles. What differentiates her from Johnson is that everything about her and her ministers smacks of desperation, as if they know the end for them is inevitable. You see, the difference is that Johnson had a majority behind him. He was popular, charismatic and crucially he had time on his side, for an election was years away (especially with that large majority he had). He also had a party that appeared solid and fully behind him.
We are now only around 18 months away from the next election and the public mood is massively different to what it was in 2019. Johnson has passed the poisoned chalice of mistrust that the public developed for him and his party on to Truss. As we have said before in our article about sado-populism, politicians like Johnson have no succession plan, so once they’re gone, everything burns. Additionally, things like the cost of living crisis are tangible problems to the majority of us that slogans, blaming others and empty promises simply won’t fix. Without the smarmy appeal of that compelling frontman, they are actually now working to disaffect voters with their ill-advised, hopeless policies. The public are past giving them the benefit of the doubt, too.
It feels like an earthquake is coming, and not just one created by fracking.
~ L&A 23.9.22 ~