Just Behave


There can be no doubt that Liz Truss has made some rookie mistakes:

  • Rushing for tax cuts when she could have brought them in gradually.
  • Failing to deal with Michael Gove. Whatever one thinks of him, he is better to have pissing out of one’s tent rather than into it.
  • Failing to reach out earlier to the losers in the leadership election and their backers. Truss could have seen from its performance over the last year how a restless party, holed up inside the Westminster bubble, dangerously divides.

But Tory MPs merit more of the blame:

  • Rishi Sunak avoiding the party conference has demonstrated perfectly who he cares about more, himself or the party. His slipperiness is not respected by voters. He’s certainly no Conservative Leader in waiting.
  • Jostlers who were upset at the choice of party members should get into line and start behaving. They are pissing away a hard-fought majority of 80 won less than three years ago. Embarrassing has-beens like Crispin Blunt may get a kick from claiming publicly that the ‘game is up’ – he’s powerless and Reigate looks forward to his departure at the next General Election.

And if Kwasi Kwarteng deserves the sack then Andrew Bailey should also be given the boot:

  • The Bank of England’s switch from quantative easing to tightening looks like a political trap, as if Bailey knew the Truss government would never be a ‘meeting of minds’. Who conjured the timing? Why?

Tory MPs should be helping the Prime Minister to get it right, rather than rewriting leadership election rules. This magazine supported Penny Mordaunt in the leadership election – we are not whining. Tory MPs talk about being part of the most ruthless, longstanding political party in history but the reality is that polls chop and change, even Truss’ heroine Margaret Thatcher in 1981 suffered from a 23% approval rating. Events may yet save Truss but show some respect and loyalty for the party’s chosen leader – discipline is one of the reasons why the party survives and thrives. From outside Westminster it seems the biggest problem in politics today is that it’s all about winning and not about governing – Tories of past generations would be turning in their graves at that sorry assessment of public service.

Yes, Labour are currently way ahead in the polls but they are unpopular in Scotland where they depended on many seats for past election victories. Antisemitism is still a problem for the party and Corbyn appointees result in a continuing dearth of talent in the Commons. There are factions at war within Labour who, when given oxygen, will rip off the veneer of respectability that Starmer has been so busy painting on his Union Jack version of the party. Labour may be hoping for a coalition with the Lib Dems – the Lib Dems are not what they were under Ashdown or Clegg and their protest vote success in by-elections will evaporate in a General Election, especially when the rumours about a Lab-Lib coalition reversing Brexit or the Lab-SNP pact get louder.

Neither Twitter nor the BBC win elections with their trickle down misnomers, thanks be to God. Early days. Lots of shy voters out there. A week is a long time in politics.

People in the towns and shires are getting increasingly annoyed with Tory politicking. Conservative Party MPs, just behave.