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.
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.