The events in British politics of the last few months have been so extraordinary, that even with the evidence of my own eyes and ears I find myself wondering whether I have really dreamed it all. But now, following the resignation of the latest Prime Minister after just forty-four days in office, the same people who elected her are seriously suggesting the return of Boris Johnson to the top job.
Truss resigned following the most astonishingly inept actions—the disastrous effects of which were entirely predicted by her election opponent. Johnson resigned following the loss of support of his ministers and MPs just a few months ago, and faces an investigation into misleading the House of Commons. If found guilty, it would be effectively impossible for him to continue as an MP.
But now it has been suggested that up to 140 Tory MPs would nominate Johnson as new party leader, claiming that he still has a mandate from the 2019 election, and ‘the public’ want him. Seriously? His lies, his partying, and his casual disregard for truth and parliamentary probity all, apparently, forgotten after just a few months. I can’t believe that the majority of the British People will put up with this.
Update 4 November
Sir Graham Brady, he of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, assures the BBC that Johnson really did have over 100 Tory MP backers, but decided not to put his name forward. I do not know what astonishes me more, the fact that Johnson appears to have demonstrated some humility, denying himself further glory that would undoubtedly have placed the country in extreme turmoil, or that more than 100 Tory MPs really thought that it would be a good idea to have back after just a couple of months the leader that they effectively turfed out in disgrace.
It was with a sinking heart in the summer that I realized that Truss, the MPs' third choice for leader, was the darling of the Tory membership and almost certain to be elected. I will admit prejudice. I defy anyone watching her toe-curling performance at that Tory party conference on the imports of apples, pears, and cheese, not to shut their eyes, put their hands over their ears, and wish for early oblivion. But the total lack of any sort of personal presence does not mean that someone with an Oxford PPE degree under their belt who has risen to the rank of cabinet minister, is not without talent and ability. However, the first ‘P’ in PPE stands for ‘Philosophy’, and philosophy is the love of wisdom. That attribute has been totally and entirely absent from any of the actions of this new government. Many commentators have already observed that it is difficult to remember any government ever, that has made such a catastrophic start.
It is so bad that Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor, he who disgracefully stone-walled the junior doctors on their campaign for a living wage, actually sounded like a welcome and calming ‘grown-up’ on the Today programme this morning. He admitted the government’s mistakes, and conceded that tax rises and cuts in public expenditure—which anyone with an IQ in double figures realizes is inevitable—would be unavoidable in the current climate. Listening to him I had to pinch myself; I felt like Winston Smith in the two minute hate when everyone has worked themselves up into a histrionic frenzy, and Big Brother’s picture and voice come on and calms everyone down...
And then God smiled, and the universe made sense again. Miriam Margolyes was the next item, and gave a very touching tribute to Robbie Coltrane who has just died. Apparently she bumped into Hunt in the studio, and was chatting on air to Justin Webb about it. “I said to him you’ve got a hell of a job... the best of luck! What I really wanted to say: fuck you...”
There are occasionally times when one person does or says something that speaks for the nation. This was such a time.
Today’s headline... Truss: ‘Only my plan for growth will reverse the UK’s slow decline...’ But hidden away in the puzzle section, edited I’m guessing by an anarchist fifth columnist, a quotation from Albert Einstein:
‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.’
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs