Lord Hague (The Times today) may recall from his brief time in Shell that we used to refer to the Corporation as a Super Tanker that took quite a long time to change direction. If it was true of Shell how much more true is it of a country like Britain?
In post war times only Margaret Thatcher succeeded in repositioning the nation created in 1945-51. The astonishing establishment of the Welfare State, linked to the taking into public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, endures to today despite Thatcher’s privatisations.
There needs to be debate about who does what on the margins of the mixed economy – does anyone doubt that our railways need to be better integrated and more customer accountable for example? Similarly the public/private partnership that is the NHS needs a dispassionate examination to find the ideal balance not ideological claptrap.
The new Prime Minister’s fatal error was to think that dramatic urgent macroeconomic action , on taxation especially, was needed. Politics is the Art of the Possible and change needs debate and you need to prepare the public and the markets for it. Truss and Kwarteng charged in like an ideological bull in a china shop. We’ll be picking up the pieces for quite a while.
2 thoughts on “Truss and Kwarteng charged in like an ideological bull in a china shop”
I think the basic problem today is the basic intellectual abilities and experience of people who decide on politics as a career. Previous generations of political leaders went to war and fought in the trenches. They had a hinterland. They understood the needs of ordinary people. Thatcher worked in her father’s small shop and knew how to make a family budget meet.
Today political leaders have experienced little but economic and academic theory and phoney focus group discussions. What they need to do is get off their arses and travel the country meeting and talking to ordinary folks. Without an entourage to misdirect them. Without dressing up in hardhats or climbing on tanks for the cameras and spouting bullshit to the media.
In short British politics needs real leaders who have been there, done that and can speak with authority. Kier Starmer fits that mould. His time is coming sooner than he thinks.
I’m sure most if not all of us have been in an interview where we’re asked ”Why do you want this job?” or “Why do you want to work for this firm?”. We very rarely if ever hear politicians asked why they went into politics.
I remember watching a political documentary some years ago and a Tory MP (can’t remember which one) was indeed asked why he went into politics. His answer was telling. ”I went into politics because I love the cut and thrust of debate” was his reply. Now, he may have been a half decent MP, I don’t know. But if having a debate is his motivation, then perhaps joining a debating society was for him rather than national politics.
With the likes of Johnson, Truss, Mourdant and Sunak, it seems to be even worse. What is their motivation? Just what have they done over the past 12 years to serve and govern for the stability and betterment of the country? We know Sunak is so wealthy, he can never empathise with anyone on the breadline, Truss abandons her principles on a whim for power’s sake, and Johnson had virtually none to begin with.