It’s that exciting time of the year when the nation holds its breath for the reshuffle. The time when the Prime Minister refreshes his government and presents his winning team to the party conference. Well, that’s what party managers spin to a press that is desperate for stories which don’t involve skate boarding ferrets.
The reality is that neither the press nor the public give a damn. They just want someone to sort out the the cost of living crisis that doesn’t involve them paying more tax and, more importantly, forking out even more for mortgages that are already eye watering. They are frustrated at the selfish intransigence of junior doctors and consultants with unrealistic demands crippling a failing system. They are horrified that corruption within the police is no longer a myth peddled by the far left. And they are concerned about the lost generation of children where the education system, COVID restrictions and lecturers strikes has let them down.
But what really frustrates the public is promise after broken promise about controlling immigration. There is sensible talk about having an honest conversation about it. It will never happen because we have tried and tried to have these conversions since the 1960s. And failed. Some of us remember banging on doors in the second election of 1974 when Tory voters stayed at home, ‘Oh Enoch is so right’, they would moan. And back came Harold Wilson, his party divided like the Conservative Party over Europe. At least he handled the referendum with dexterity and skill. But he failed in taming the inflationary pay demands of the unions. Inflation roared, interest rates soared and we entered the horror of stagflation, until Margaret Thatcher came along, democratised the unions and believed in sound money. What is so encouraging about Sunak is that his great hero of the time was Nigel Lawson who, unlike the Bank of England MPC, understood that the supply money of is crucial tool in beating inflation. Mercifully Sunak has been given a lifeline with inflation on a downward curve. Much depends on the energy crisis and what happens in Ukraine, but more troublesome is Michael Burry betting on a Wall Street crash next year. This is disastrous not catastrophic for Sunak. My instincts are that if though matters beyond our control there is another banking crisis the electorate might want someone with a cool head and track record of sorting out an economy in crisis as opposed to Keir Starmer who would be reading himself into the job. Just hope that Burry, for once in his life is wrong.
Enough of the history lesson. But history matters. The government has to be honest about controlling immigration. It’s bloody difficult. The EU free movement ban was easy as a slogan, but problematic when we can’t get chefs, bar staff, carers or staff for the NHS. So there has to be compromises without dissolving the principle.
But the right’s fetish with us exiting the ECHR as some sort of panacea to stop the small boats is a naïveté almost to the point drivelling. It’s not going to happen as it was drowned by Robert Buckland, given the kiss of life by Raab and given a mercy killing by Chalk. Finally Sunak gave it a decent burial with a stake though it’s heart topped with six foot of reinforced concrete.
However, the time has come to sack Braverman and Jenrick not just because they whistle with depressing regularity to the the most flea ridden and rabid dogs, but because they are hopelessly incompetent. Rwanda has been a predictable disaster, after all the Home Office correctly foresaw what would happen. Bibby Stockholm a farce worthy of Chris Graying (where is he when you don’t need him?). Now the new Border Force intercepter ships are behind time and over budget. And don’t let us forget the resurrection of Boris Johnson’s mad cap plan to deport asylum seekers to Acension Island. This rebirth lasted only for a day after Braverman and her hopeless team were reminded that it would cost a million quid a head and that they could only transport them by RAF carriers which the MOD vetoed.
Sunak can get away with sacking her. She no longer carries the mantle of the right. That is left to Grand Sword Bearer HMS Pennyfore and Kemi Badenoch. There are probably only three cabinet ministers who can think three dimensional chess, Gove, Sunak and Badenoch. To be a really serious leadership contender Badenoch has to be given a big testing nightmare job. And it doesn’t get more nightmarish than Home Secretary. Yvette Cooper won’t know what has hit her.
Finally exciting news which will gladden hearts. The Chairman is to review the Conservative Constitution! If only it meant that the choosing of the leader was left to MPs in consultation with the membership. For those who say that this is anti democratic may I remind them that they gave us Liz Truss & wouldn’t have given us Margaret Thatcher. Well, it was worth a try…..