THE LADY’S NOT FOR TURNING screamed the Daily Mail in Coming of God headlines after the pound plunged and the markets made a killing. Up until late last night the line was ‘we are doubling down’.But it didn’t take long for madam to throw Laughing Boy under a bus and make a virtue of ‘listening’, as she did with a back of a fag packet and ill judged policy on regional pay during the election hustings. It was bollocks and everyone knew it was bollocks except for her coterie of advisors. It just wasn’t thought through. Sounds familiar?
Nothing from Number 10 seems to be thought through. I am not going to repeat the optics of the her, whoops, I mean Laughing Boy’s tax cuts at the expense of the poor. They are only just beginning. The cut in corporation tax which is nothing more than a gesture, will cost £18.7billion. But hang on, her plans, with absolutely no mandate to cut public expenditure by £18-30 billion and won’t give a guarantee that benefits will be increased in line with inflation. This is what happens when the ideologues take charge. It’s like the old days of the Federation of Conservative Students who used to sit round a drunken dinner table trying to out right wing each other in their Hang Nelson Mandela T shirts. Oh the squeals of joy at some of the bold, radical and barmy ideas. They were disbanded by that old leftie Norman Tebbit.
Well Kwarteng and Truss had no choice but to listen to the parliamentarians. Their job is to prevent her and her team from doing mad things, which is quite a task. But for how long? They want to win an election which looks about as likely as Nadine Dorries growing a penis. Oh and she was a Truss loyalist doing black ops on Sunak who now says that Truss has no mandate and is calling for a general election. Well, there is as much chance of that as Boris buying a drink.
So Truss and her crew are prisoners of her cabinet and backbenchers. But how long can it last? Backbenchers will find themselves in the same lobbies as Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP, which will be a very unhappy experience. Her authority is shattered and all political capital has been squandered. So how can she survive? Sacking Laughing Boy might be a start, but it leaves her exposed. But he is a liability and everyone knows it. His arrogance towards Nick Robinson on the Today Programme was something to behold. His loose tongue rubbishing the Governor of the Bank of England is politically suicidal and quaffing champagne with the guys who were shorting the pound who at the same time were calling him a useful idiot behind his back went down like a rat sandwich. And his defiant speech at conference? Unwise. Very unwise. The bookies odds are predicting his demise for good reasons. And now there are briefings that there are tensions between him and Truss. That always leads to a resignation or a sacking. Peter Thorneycroft, Selwyn Lloyd, Nigel Lawson and Norman Lamont are gory examples of the heads on Prime-ministerial spikes.
But the government is in free fall. A few moments ago Steve Baker, the man with the voice of the Speaking Clock but without the warmth, made an attack on the Irish government. Baker (please don’t dissolve into hysterical giggles) is a Northern Ireland minister. ‘He speaks for himself’, said a Number 10 spokesman. No sweetie, he speaks for the bloody government. But he has total immunity from bellendry because to put him on the back benches would be as mad as making Andrea Jenkyns an education minister or Peter Bone Deputy Leader of the House. Forgive me, I forgot, they are.
I make no predictions of what will happen or when. But I suspect that the Truss experiment may be over quicker than we think. Few tears will be shed.
I’ve just read that the splendid Kemi Badenoch has made a speech urging conference to support Truss, the day after she sensibly attacked government policy of urging mass immigration. How refreshingly ruthless. It makes a old cynic like me weep with joy. What a player. She’d make a great Home Secretary in a Sunak government. One to watch. And fear.