Sunday, 28 August 2022
My Generation Has Been Trussed
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. Britain is about to acquire a Prime Minister who was born in the 1970s, probably the only one that it will ever have, but she is certainly not any of the Blairite Boys. Most of them never made it into Parliament, most of the others did not last very long, and the remainder are going to be in Opposition for the rest of their lives.
They spent several recent years in Triple Opposition, simultaneously opposed to the Government, opposed to the Leader and members of their own party, and opposed to the Brexit-voting electorate, which was heavily concentrated in the constituencies of those of them who had ever managed to find any.
They, their views, and their ridiculous Leader remain vastly less popular than Boris Johnson, or than Jeremy Corbyn's programme even if not necessarily his person (although the popular view of him will improve dramatically this winter), or than Brexit.
Truss personifies none of those things, including Brexit. She ought to be easy to defeat. But Jim Callaghan and Denis Healey could not beat Margaret Thatcher from her right, which was where they were after the Budget of December 1976, and nor will Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves be able to beat Truss from her right, which is where they are.
The lockdowns made Rishi Sunak's name with a public that had objected only to the failure to lock down earlier due to the baleful influence of Johnson's circle of "libertarians" and "contrarians", who had themselves worked from home for years, but who objected to any disruption to their punishing regime of alcohol consumption.
Now, however, Sunak has to appeal to the couple of medium sized football crowds' worth of people whose money a private organisation had agreed to accept in return for the gold card citizenship that is the sole right to choose the Prime Minister.
For such payment, that right extends to children, to foreign nationals, to long-term expatriates, to incarcerated convicts, and to people who have never set foot in the United Kingdom, all around a core of the affluent elderly to whom Truss has promised tax cuts while funding their sweeties out of borrowing, leading to astronomical interest rates to the benefit of savings account holders who had paid off their mortgages decades earlier.
This would be just as objectionable in any other party, but only the Conservative Party has ever done it, this is only the second time, and the first was only three years ago. This is no pillar of the Constitution. Moreover, in 2019, the party members elected the candidate who had led in every round among Conservative MPs. Truss never led in any such round. Even in the fifth and last, she took a mere 31.6 per cent, with 113 votes. Taking the House of Commons as a whole, that was 113 out of 650, 17.38 per cent. There is no reason for the Queen to accept the imposition of this person as her Prime Minister.
Rather, Her Majesty should put the name to a Yes-No ballot of all Conservative MPs. If the majority voted Yes, then she should honour that. If not, then the same question should be put to a division of the House of Commons. What if it also failed there? The Premiership has not been vacated. There is a Prime Minister right now.
Most Opposition parties have no parliamentary representation, and only in the most wildly improbable circumstances could any install its Leader as Prime Minister without there having been a General Election. But when that office were guaranteed to be assumed by a party's Leader, then the shortlist of two determined by its MPs ought to be submitted to an election among all registered parliamentary electors in the United Kingdom. No party could afford that. But the State could.
Or a governing party could have two rounds of voting among its MPs. The first would be open to all of them to contest, and the highest scoring two would go through to the second. The whole thing could be done from start to finish in half a working day.