Remember That the Tories Are Only Getting Rid of Johnson To Make Things Worse

Yves here. Our Brexit brain trust, spurred by vlade suggesting the launch of a sweepstakes to wager on how long Johnson would last, has elicited useful commentary. A selection:


He does seem to have decided to cling on for all he’s worth and not bother with trying to exit with a little dignity. I wonder if the Tories are worried he will try to take as many down with him as he can if he’s forced out.

If nothing else, it will at least be quite entertaining.

Colonel Smithers:

I agree that it’s a question of time now….

The main pretenders, Truss and Sunak, are organising and no longer bothering to hide their intentions. Truss holds drinks dubbed fizz with Liz.

This said, an election before the May elections could be disruptive. Would a new leader want to own that mess? Would it not be better to let the wounded Johnson carry the can and start from the summer? This said, a new face could minimise the damage.

I fear that Clive is right and a new leader will be to the right of Johnson. The pretenders are playing to that gallery and begging on Tufton Street, the “we” mentioned by Cummings when talking about the organisers behind Johnson. This said, the Red Wall intake are not that keen on austerity.


The new leader will be to right of Johnson, since there’s no left of Johnson in Tory party, and I believe only he could even try to get away with what he did (outside of Brexit).

That said, it will mean clash within the Tory party, as the north 2019 intake (former red wall) will be very worried about their seats. So if Tories have a new leader by summer (highly likely IMO), they better hope the economy will get going later this year/next year, because otherwise they are gone. Labour is unlikely to win outright (who knows what will happen to its 10% lead in a year or two), so my bet would be that the next UK govt is likely to be some sort of a coalition.

Both David and Clive agree it’s impossible to predict the end game.

But Richard Murphy hazards to do so, with a very harsh but persuasive view of the Tories.

By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”. He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics. He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

Let’s assume Johnson is going. We all know that he is. What then? That’s the real question. And as it stands the answers are not looking good. A thread…..

The fact is that Johnson has to go not because he has failed but because the Tory party chose him knowing that he would fail. That was not just because of his personal failings. It was also about the policies he was promoting.

The Tories chose Johnson to deliver Brexit. It was always going to be a disaster.

They also chose Johnson to take on the state and diminish it, a policy seen through attacks on the NHS, BBC and other institutions, including those relating to law and order and defence, all of which are also in parlous states.

Underlying their support for Johnson was a desire to govern solely so that the power of the state could be used to extract value for their chosen elites at cost to society at large. Covid was just a gift that has kept giving as cover for this, but it was always policy.

I would argue that the continual attempts to divide society, over migration, the EU, the right to protest and vote and so much more are all party of the same policy. They are all deliberately designed to foster hatred in some and fear in others.

The aim is, to use the Tories’ current favourite word, implicit. It is to fuel discontent to provide cover for their policy of dismantling the state as an effective agent for the delivery of services whilst ensuring that it can still deliver riches for a few, unchallenged.

Call it trickle up on a grand scale, if you like.

The whole Cabinet signed up to this policy. The right wing of the party are furious that the elements that promote division in society are not being delivered fast enough for their liking. The moderates have departed or been expelled. The Party is rotten to its core.

The failings seen are not in that case just about Johnson. He delivered as required. All that the Party regrets is that he was careless enough to have been found out to have been pursuing the dual agenda of us and them. That is why he must go.

But the agenda will not change. That is now deep in the modern Tory psyche. That it happens to look remarkably like fascism is of no consequence to those who think they might win from pursuing it. It was always thus, of course. That’s how fascists win power.

So whoever replaces Johnson, as they surely will quite soon, makes no difference. Sunak, Truss, Mordaunt, Zaharia, or the outsiders Hunt and Tugendhat, do not change this. The far right will demand from them just what Johnson provided. The policy will stay the same.

There will still be Brexit hardlines, Covid denial, no real action on climate, an indifference to the needs of people and services and those employed to supply them. Law and order will only function when it suits their own purposes. And blind eyes will still be turned.

So let’s not pretend that the end of Johnson is anything to celebrate. He is just another Tory leader to be treated as expendable when their usefulness in delivering the greater goal of crushing society and the checks and balances that sustain it is the real agenda.

In other words, Johnson is not the problem. He is being disposed of simply because he no longer meets the need of a Party desperate for power in pursuit of the wanton destruction of all that is good.

There will be a Tory in Number 10 after Johnson departs. In the short term they will revive the Party’s credibility. They will use that power to do things to date unimaginable, like leaving us on our own in dealing with Covid.

Society they will say, implicitly, does not matter because, they will announce, we cannot afford public health. It is random chance if we die, suffer and are harmed as a result, they will imply. And anyway, they will imply, the fittest will survive, which is the goal.

And, what is more, only those who are the fittest should, they will imply, survive. For the Tories are, they will hint, the Party of the winners. And that is what the policy is about and who it is for. The rest can be ignored.

So do not celebrate, for there is worse to come, and they will do their utmost to make sure we cannot ever be rid of them. Gerrymandering and voter exclusion is but the start of that.

In that case worry if you are young, because you have no economic value, unless you were born with a silver spoon firmly in place.

Worry too if you aren’t amongst the most well off, because wealth is a sign of virtue.

Worry most especially if you are sick or have disabilities and need assistance to manage either for you are a burden, as their denial of funding to the NHS will imply.

Worry too if you are old for unless you have wealth to pass you are a burden on society. Their policy on care proves that.

Worry too if you think differently, come from somewhere different, and think you have a right to celebrate either, because you are ‘the other’ who must be vilified and abused.

Worry that all this kerfuffle about Johnson hides what is really happening, which is that the Tories are simply ensuring that their agenda can continue to be delivered uninterrupted without being spotted for what it really is.

Worry that there is more to come. And that the more to come will be at cost to you, your loved ones and all that you value unless, perchance, you choose to be an oppressor. And even they will live in fear, because that’s how oppression is maintained.

And don’t doubt that there is fear underpinning all this. You can see it written all over Johnson’s face now. He realises how ruthless the machine with which he has engaged – the Tory Party – really is now. It is about to spit him out, unloved. That’s what they do.

There is but one thing to do now, and that is to rid ourselves of this cancer within our society and all that it stands for.

We must hope for politicians who can achieve that. They are what we need. Until we get them the worst is to come because the Tories are still in Number 10. Until they go the threat is very, very real.

And remember, they’re only getting rid of Johnson to make things worse. That’s the real story they will not tell. But that is what is happening.

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  1. Sound of the Suburbs

    Why do we never see any actual data?
    It shows the NHS was pretty good, but it’s getting worse.

    Angus Deaton (Nobel Prize Winner) has been having a look at the data (27.30 mins. – 33.30 mins)
    He is showing how bad the US system is, and this also shows how good our NHS is/was.
    The best results for the lowest cost.
    This came as a great surprise as we are always told the NHS is really bad, but the data shows the opposite.
    We are told the NHS must be reformed, but the reforms seem to making it worse rather than better, which you can understand when you find out what they are trying to do.

    What are our policymakers trying to do?
    Make the UK system more like the US system.

    There is a standard road map to privatisation.
    It requires running down the public option until the majority will be glad to see the back of it and privatisation looks like a good option.
    The NHS didn’t get into the state it is in today by accident.
    The desired destination for healthcare is the US version that comes near last in all international league tables for the developed world.
    Two whistle blowers from the NHS speak out:
    Until I watched this video I didn’t realise neoliberal, New Labour, were also working against the NHS.

    Neoliberalism is an ideology, no one said it had to make sense.

    1. Vandemonian

      …or perhaps, the darkest time is just before everything goes completely black.

      “Who is a pessimist? A pessimist is a well-informed optimist.”
      – Russian proverb

  2. LowellHighlander

    Even though the U.S. ruling elite seem, to me, to have come full circle in emulating England’s ruling elite, I think this article should serve as a reason to celebrate July 4 a little early: three cheers to the farmers of Massachusetts who revolted against the Tories of their day.

    I think some Britons do have an advantage over Americans in this era: the Celtic fringes still have the option to break free of the Tories and reclaim their independence. I just fear for the poor and for people of colour in England, though. Very much.

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    I am thoroughly unsure of this assertion, which doesn’t seem coherent or realistic at all:

    That it happens to look remarkably like fascism is of no consequence to those who think they might win from pursuing it. It was always thus, of course. That’s how fascists win power.

    Unfortunately for Murphy, it isn’t fascism. What we see is Anglo-American “values” about the economy (free-market meanness with looting), society (loot it–even though it doesn’t exist), and religion (convenient moralizing about redemption and forgiveness) are all imploding.

    The collapse of a mass of hot air isn’t fascism. It may be a dose of reality. It may also be speeded up by the current insane adventures in Plucky Little Ukraine.

    Until the English chattering classes can deal with what the Anglo-American special arrangement, the nostalgia for empire, the inability to keep one’s word, the kicking down at the populace, and various other fantasies have turned the Anglo-American world into–accusations of fascism just don’t cut it.

    It’s Hobbes: Nasty, brutish, short.

    What’s worth considering is: What if nasty, brutish, short is what the Anglo-American elites deserve?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      How can we make sure that it is the Anglo-American elites who get what they deserve, instead of the rest of us getting what the Anglo-American elites deserve?

    2. liam

      This was linked to here a few moons back. I bookmarked it, as it was one of the most insightful pieces that I’d read in recent times. We’re far closer to Fascism than you think, or even I once did. I really don’t think Richard Murphy is too far off the mark.

  4. Adam1

    I don’t live in the UK, but my American interpretation is it’s no different here, we just get 2 flavors of the same sh*t. One flavor, the tad bit more bitter, calls itself the Republican Party while the other flavor, falsely masquerading as the part of the working class (or at least it used to), calls itself the Democratic Party. But both parties seem to have devolved to selling nothing more that hatred of others including other Americans.

    1. herman_sampson

      The Republicans are the Pro-Death party and the Democrat party is the Anti-Life party: see the difference?

      1. JBird4049

        And that is the problem. I am not too concerned about the elites taking the tumbrel express, but I am concerned about the other 90-99.5% depending on how think you determine guilt; even a fairly bloodless revolution can get a lot of innocent people dead. Especially as the people in charge are going to try really hard to have everyone else fight each and ignore them.

        People gleefully advocating a civil war or revolution are either nihilists or fools. Really. The United States was very “lucky” that the American Revolution and Civil War were as relatively low casualty and with a somewhat peaceful aftermath as they were.

        However, a lot of Canadians are descendants of loyalist refugees and the civil war had a combined military and civilian death toll of about a million. To match the current American population, that would be ten million dead. Then there were the injured and permanently maimed.

  5. Synoia

    The UK Tories just try new ways to suppress their people, and thus become a model to be followed. The US, Australia and possibly New Zealand are no better.

    The Rich do what they want, and the poor suffer as they must.

  6. Permanent Sceptic

    I’m not convinced that Johnson will be booted out as quickly as others seem to think.

    Johnson’s just announced that Plan B covid restrictions–like covid passes to enter bars, mandatory mask wearing on public transport, and the advice to work from home if possible–will be lifted next Thursday, to the thunderous applause of Tory backbenchers behind him.

    He has obviously cut a deal where he trades the safety of the public and the potential collapse of the NHS for his continued tottering premiership.

    Clip of statement:

    1. begob

      Yeah – I think he’ll be in place 18 months before the general election. The question now is how that election date will be selected; if he’s involved in the process, he stays on.

  7. Fred Stair

    What is “vlade”? – you used it twice. I can’t find a definition (other than a first name – but you didn’t capitalize it)

  8. JEHR

    To watch the once-great democracy of the UK tumble into the pre-historic muck of neoliberalism is to cry for the end of a great experiment that took centuries to develop and no time at all to crumple. Maybe it never did reach the height it was aiming for. Is this the true end of Empire-building? I am sad for the people and have nothing but contempt for the so-called elite. It will take many more centuries to rebuild what they have undone.

    I hope it is not contagious!!

    1. begob

      The Whigs oversaw the growth of chattel slavery in the American colonies, ran a one-party state for 70 years after the revolution of 1688, perfected the progress of land enclosure, and legislated the Bloody Code, under which 200 capital offences remained on the books for a hundred years. Even their Reform Act of 1832 was designed to keep democracy out and to secure existing property ownership. That’s liberalism.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>That’s liberalism.

        One of my teachers described Victorian England as libertarian due to its laissez faire free markets, little regulation or taxes and very little welfare. The Irish Famine and at least one Indian famine happened in part because of the food being shipped to England and the government’s refusal to do anything productive like stop the shipments. They did use the army to protect the grain warehouses in India at least.

        I am increasingly reminded of now when reading about then. Even the words are much like alike once you adjust for 75 years of change. It’s disturbing my sleep. Any day, I expect to hear someone talking about “the surplus population” as they did about the Irish (and similar for the Indians, believe me.) during the famines. How is this that different from Clinton’s Deplorables or any ostensibly “liberal” Americans celebrating the suffering and deaths of other Americans?

  9. Susan the other

    All the Tories will cash out of the UK and move to California, stopping briefly in South Dakota to put their ill-gotten gain in an unregulated bank. Or a Wyoming bank. The Tories aren’t foolish enough to stay in Britain and suffer their own consequences. So the whole plan to reduce the UK to poverty so they can get rich won’t work. Raising the question, Why exactly are they privatizing a dead-already economy anyway? If the Tories stay in the UK they will be hated too much to peek out their front door. The market might well crash for manor houses, musty castles and chic London condos. Better hurry and sell. When those guys get to California they will definitely be paying top dollar.

  10. ChrisPacific

    I keep seeing these long form deconstructions of how awful the Tories are, and generally find little to disagree with in any of them. The question that never seems to be addressed is why they keep winning elections anyway. I’ve read enough commentary here to know that many of the same criticisms could be applied to Labour.

    1. Anonymous 2

      The main reason for the Tories’ success is that their puppet-masters own most of the newspapers. These ensure that a sufficient proportion of the electorate are sufficiently misinformed to vote the way the owners want them to.

      1. YankeeFrank

        “New Labour” is the other flavor of UK neoliberalism, as seen in their excision of the social democrat Corbyn just as the US Dems did Sanders. Not preferred by the ruling class but acceptable if only to maintain the veneer of democracy.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Ultimately, the reason is the UK electoral system.

      The particular type of first past the post system favoured in the UK means that parties with a geographical concentration of support will always beat those with more widespread public support. Its perfectly possible for a political party to have 30% of the public supporting them and not win a single seat. Its also possible for a party to have very little national support but have many seats (e.g. the SNP or Sinn Fein or the DUP). For example, the SNP has less than 4% of the national vote, but has 48 MP’s, while the Lib Dems have more than 11% of the national vote with just 11 MPs. The DUP, with 8 MP’s, has 0.8% of the national vote, Sinn Fein, with a similar almost negligible percentage, has 7 seats, while the Green Party, with 2.5% of the vote, has just 1 seat. This, apparently, is democracy. The Tories have 55% of all the seats on 43% of the vote.

      When it comes down to it, the Tory party represents the interests of the prosperous south of England and rural areas. These places will vote Tory because even if they don’t like them, they dislike parties representing older industrial cities (i.e. Labour and anyone Scottish or Welsh) more. This is (among other reasons), why many working class and lower middle class people vote Tory and will always vote Tory. Its a regional/nationalist vote as much as an ideological vote. If the UK was an African country, we’d call the Tories the party of the lighter complexioned Anglo Saxon dominant tribe allied with urban professional and business elites.

      This has been exacerbated by the refusal of Labour to make electoral alliances with other left or green parties, or even the Lib Dems. In Northern Ireland, where there is a wider selection of parties with a real chance of getting seats, vote deals are very common on a grassroots level (i.e. ‘we won’t run a strong candidate in constituency X, if you do the same for us in constituency Y’). Because of this, Labour plays into the Tories hands. The Labour Left are as guilty as this as the Blairite neoliberals. At least the latter are interested in winning power. If the UK had an electoral system similar to those of most European countries (i.e. some form of proportional representation), it would most likely be ruled by a centre left-is coalition, with power alternating between those dominant parties that could do deals with Scottish, Irish and Welsh parties. But it doesn’t, so instead it has the Tories.

      1. OKnotKO

        “This has been exacerbated by the refusal of Labour to make electoral alliances with other left or green parties, or even the Lib Dems.”

        There’s always an issue with doing an official deal with the Lib Dems (i.e. a planned coalition rather than an informal wink-wink deal), and it’s the danger that a core percentage of these Tory voters you mentioned that would ‘never’ vote Labour but would possibly switch to Lib Dem if needs must. A formal deal would force these same voters to vote Tory regardless, lest they enthrone Labour as the senior party of government.

  11. Synoia

    Replace Boris? Unlikely. The Tories savage leaders, and replace them, when they loose power in an election. I suspect Boris can waffle past another election, as the Opposition (Labor) is a broken mirror of the Tory party.

    1. EarlyGray

      > The Tories savage leaders, and replace them, when they loose power in an election.
      They were perfectly willing to drop Thatcher even though she hadn’t lost any elections when it became clear that keeping her would likely cause them to lose the following election.

    2. tindrum

      Indeed, there is no one who can replace BJ – his mad, buffoonish charisma appeals to a lot of people and enables him to swim happily through great rivers of sewage, no other Tory has this magical power and they know it. BJ could rob you with one hand whilst patting you on the head with the other and get away with it. MAD TEFLON MAN

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