Published 18th November 2021
Margaret Thatcher signed the Single European Act.
Enoch Powell gave the Rivers of Blood speech.
John Redwood mimed the words to the Welsh National Anthem. Really badly.
As an avowed Thatcherite who recognises and greatly admires the supreme intellect of Powell and forensic capacity of Redwood, I retain proportion on their fallibilities.
It would be churlish to overlook the massive intellect that is Boris Johnson. I’m even willing to acknowledge he was a redoubtable campaigner prior to winning the 2019 General Election.
Since the honeymoon period thereafter lasted less than 3 months before COVID-19 turned this parliamentary term on its head, he has bounced with ever decreasing credibility from crisis to disaster, whilst narrowing avoiding death at the hands of the virus himself.
In this time, Boris’ leadership has descended from Greek tragedy to farce, stopping at all stations of incompetence in between. Having won an 80 seat majority, in less than 2 years and despite the Labour Party on the verge of identitarian civil war, he is in real danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of second term victory. Worst of all, he is making Keir Starmer look like a leader.
Where did it all go wrong? With the benefit of hindsight, the very public divorce from Dominic Cummings, despite the Barnard Castle debacle, was certainly the catalyst for a vacuum that has not been filled. Or has it?
Boris is a Globalist and seemingly slavishly addicted to the principles of the Great Reset as espoused by Davos devotees. This New World Order is far from a conspiracy theory, it is very much alive and creeping.
As highlighted in a previous post check out the World Economic Forum and read the musings of Klaus Schwab and you’ll learn the objectives of bypassing democracy, oligarchs getting richer and the rest of us owning nothing but being happy is more than alive and well, replete with private retreats in private jets.
Cabinet governance, rather like the observance of parliamentary process by regularly leaking key aspects of policy announcements before they are delivered at the despatch box, is largely superfluous to Boris in his presidential style of leadership.
There is that word again: leadership. It is hard to view Boris as a leader when he has little in the way of ideology that really sticks to him. He is overtly reactive to short term opinion polls, focus groups and most sinister given the Owen Paterson episode, lobby groups such as Stonewall, who appear to have infiltrated Whitehall from the top down (note Boris’ inability to answer the straightforward question “Do all women have a cervix”)?
Belatedly acknowledging that the Paterson case should not have been conflated with a 3 line whip to amend the appeals process for parliamentary standards investigations does little but reinforce the lack of forethought. The knee jerk decision to severely limit secondary employment options for MPs is a rare case of Johnson uniting both wings of the Tory party. Unfortunately, they are united against him.
The influence of Stanley and Carrie Johnson and Zac Goldsmith (who provided the venue for Boris’ recent Spanish break) over the government’s lurch from blue to green, highlighted by all the hand wringing around COP26, is overt and barely veiled if at all.
The idea that the public will stomach £1.2Trillion of additional government spending to achieve the nebulous net zero by 2050, whilst banning sales of cars with Internal Combustion engines and forcing functioning gas boilers to be replaced with expensive and inefficient ground source heat pumps is beyond the wildest dreams of the hard left Green Party.
The government’s reluctance to tackle the scourge of Insulate Britain (Marxists masquerading as Environmentalists) until the backlash from the public reached fever pitch may also be indicative of at least tacit support for their cause (notwithstanding the hypocrisy of their activists and their own carbon footprints).
The winning slogan of the 2019 General Election “Get Brexit Done” has technically been achieved, although Northern Ireland would strongly beg to differ with the EU causing maximum disruption to exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, in a clear breach of the letter and spirit of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Lord Frost has played a poor hand well and by maintaining the credible possibility of triggering Article 16, I expect there to be another 11th hour compromise ultimately on this subject.
The other great slogan from the General Election campaign, a pithy take away from the Vote Leave campaign “Take Back Control” has palpably not been delivered.
Nigel Farage has spearheaded the campaign to highlight the trebling of migrants (87% men aged under 45) compared to last year, with daily records broken 3 weeks in a row at north of 1,000 a day. Those are of course the officially recorded figures and exclude those who evade processing by running off inland on arrival.
Whilst no one is suggesting that all of these men have nefarious intent, it must be borne in mind that whilst 75% of Islamist terrorist incidents arise from UK born citizens, there are a growing number of incidents arising from illegal immigrants who have been rejected for asylum, yet remain in the country for years at the taxpayers expense. Some even convert to Christianity, as is the case with the Liverpool Remembrance Sunday bomber.
It is a damning indictment of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel that not one of those who have arrived in 2021 have been deported. The practice of these men arriving illegally, undocumented and having paid traffickers typically £3,000 each has to cease.
Please feel free to read my earlier post “Immigration – there is another way” (published 3rd October 2021), for my action plan to tackle this matter once and for all. The government must ignore the bleeding hearts and human rights lawyers and make “Take Back Control” a reality.
The conflation between maintaining appropriate border controls, reducing the risk of Islamist terrorism, tackling people trafficking and preventing the proliferation of grooming gangs that wish to control and coerce vulnerable white girls into prostitution and county lines drug distribution is real and must be ignored no longer in the name of maintaining good relationships with “community leaders”.
After the sheer horror of the initial months of COVID-19, which as an island nation and international travel hub was exponentially worse than most of Continental Europe, no one can deny Boris delivered in the initial phases of the vaccine rollout.
Unfortunately, the goodwill derived from decisive procurement action whilst the sclerotic EU “negotiated”, has been exhausted, along with Johnson’s claim to libertarian instincts through the ongoing threats of further lockdowns, vaccine passports and the termination of care workers who chose not to take the vaccine.
Conservatively, 40,000 people in the care sector left last week. In a part of the economy that is already chronically understaffed.
The decision to force all NHS staff to have the vaccine by April 2022 may see a further 100,000 people leave their jobs. Whilst there is a strong argument that the NHS is now significantly overfunded and no longer fit for purpose, losing frontline staff on that scale will of course impact service delivery.
The government does not like to speak of herd immunity but the facts don’t lie. Over 88% of the population have had at least one jab. Whilst I have chosen to have a double dose of the vaccine, I respect the rights of others not to do so for whatever reason they choose.
Johnson’s threat to impose restrictions over the Christmas period would be largely ignored by a population that is at best, COVID-19 weary and with good cause. Whilst the take up of booster jabs in the over 50s is not what the government would like, further threats of draconian restrictions on civil liberties are not “leadership” but desperation at the electorate daring to think for themselves.
The Conservative & Unionist Party has a proud record of balanced budgeting, low taxation and prudent fiscal policy.
Having expended over £400Billion on COVID-19, the national debt has swollen by over 250% since the Tories gained power as part of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010. At current interest rates, this equates to an annual interest rate bill of over £23Billion.
Throughout this time, Quantitative Easing has continued in a hangover from the 2008 financial crisis.
Interest rates have plateaued at a record low level of 0.15% and a benign economy with chronically low productivity partially offset by sustained low inflation.
COVID-19 has unravelled this economic stupor and the spectre of inflation has turned from theory to reality as 2021 has unfolded. With Consumer Price Index inflation now at 4.2% and set to reach 5% and more in the short term, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will shortly have to raise interest rates. Banks and Building Societies have already done so for borrowers on variable rate mortgages.
It is time to stop printing money, return interest rates to an appropriate level to suppress inflation in the medium term and stimulate economic growth (increasing tax receipts) by reversing the proposed increases in National Insurance and Corporation Tax (which should be tapered to 15%).
The decision of Shell to move its headquarters to the UK could be one of many if we create a welcoming environment that focuses on growth, private sector innovation and job creation and a low tax economy that begins to row back from running a budget deficit and begins to pay down debt to enhance our reputation as a reliable borrower of sovereign debt.
The Chancellor’s recent budget provided real terms increases for every government department except the Ministry of Defence. Our army alone is now below critical mass and our ability to defend British interests is ever more compromised.
This is not new news. The military has been underfunded in relative terms since John Major was Prime Minister. Were there to be a repeat of the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands today, I am materially concerned that we are not positioned to react in a timely manner. This is unacceptable.
Today’s decision to cancel the Eastern Spur of the HS2 vanity project will undoubtedly lead to criticism of (yet another) U-turn from the Northern Mayors.
Boris loves big infrastructure projects (think about the aborted Garden Bridge and bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland), both of dubious economic value.
As the government has already broken 2 significant manifesto pledges (pensions triple lock and raising National Insurance), to retain credibility in the red wall, levelling up must be made a reality.
Free ports, planning system reform and a reversal of the Beeching cuts to local rail stations and lines are far more likely to stimulate and regenerate than vanity projects that take years to build, deliver poor value for money and overrun on cost and time to the detriment of the taxpayer.
Having reached the denouement of this article, I am left somewhat punch drunk by the number of areas in which Boris Johnson’s time as Prime Minister has been punctuated by so many areas of disappointment at best and “anything but Conservative” at worst.
His popularity peaked shortly after the completion of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and has waned to such an extent that the Conservative Party would not secure a majority if a General Election were held today.
Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak appear to be “on manoeuvres” and it would come as no surprise if Johnson’s premiership ended in 2023.
This iteration of the Conservative & Unionist Party has parked its tanks squarely on the lawn of the Centre Left. This is not what either Blue or Red wall voters voted for. It is most definitely not Conservatism.
Even Boris Johnson, the ultimate political opportunist will not remain Prime Minister without a return to core Conservative values. He must reconsider or stand aside.
© justchrisdavies 2021