Sunday 25 April 2021

Truss Them Up, Boris

Liz Truss refused to tell Andrew Marr whether or not party donors had paid to refurbish the Prime Minister's flat. Clearly, she is positioning for what comes next. Yet everyone has always known about Boris Johnson, and there was an alternative available. Whatever else Jeremy Corbyn may have been, he was undeniably incorruptible. The electorate made its choice.

But the destruction of Corbyn served to establish Blairism as the only permissible political opinion, so the coup against Johnson was always going to come eventually. Had it not been for Covid-19, then it would have come a lot sooner than it has. Keir Starmer or Jess Phillips could be Prime Minister on alternate days with Truss or with Michael Gove, for all that anyone would be able to tell the difference.

Johnson should go for broke. He should declare out of the blue, so to speak, that at the next General Election, wherever the sitting MP was not going to be the Conservative Party candidate, by definition including every seat that that party did not already hold, then that candidate would have to have lived in that constituency throughout the 15 years prior to the General Election, and would have to be one of the 43 per cent of the adult population with an annual income not higher than £12,500.

Johnson should further declare that all candidates would be required to sign, literally sign by hand, commitments to the permanence of withdrawal from the European Union, of withdrawal from the Single Market, of withdrawal from the Customs Union, and of the monarchy. And he should challenge all other parties to match all of this.

A long-term resident of a remaining non-Conservative constituency, living there on an annual income of £12,500 or less? Plaid Cymru could match that in a few places, and those places are now highly competitive. But Keir Starmer's Labour Party? The Liberal Democrats? The Greens? The SNP? Well, there you are, then.

All Plaid Cymru, Green and Lib Dem candidates, most or all SNP ones, and most Labour ones, are going to be supporters in principle of Single Market and Customs Union membership, at least. All Plaid Cymru and Green candidates, most or all SNP ones, and most Lib Dem and Labour ones, are going to be either immediate republicans or "when the Queen dies" ones, and if the Queen lived to the end of the next Parliament, then she would be older than the Queen Mother had ever been. Frankly, what are the odds?

Not only that, but Remain was the Conservative Party's position at the 2016 referendum, it was Margaret Thatcher who signed the Single European Act, accession to the Customs Union was also why she was in the Cabinet, and republicanism is the logic of Thatcherism.

Far more Conservative MPs than is often realised remain both staunch Thatcherites in their support for the Single Market, and intellectually consistent ones in their desire to abolish the monarchy, even if only "when the Queen dies". And one would pay good money to see any of them try and live on £12,500 for a month, or in many cases for a week, never mind for a year. For example, Liz Truss.

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