Tag Archives: conservative party leadership election

It’s Truss, but without as much support as she might have expected…

So, the former Liberal Democrat beats the former Chancellor to be the new Leader of the Conservative Party and, thus, Prime Minister. But it was rather closer than had been previously suggested, with only 57% of those Conservative Party members who voted backing her. And, given the polling data which suggests that members would rather have kept her predecessor than either of the choices put before them, she might have hoped for a better mandate.

Ed Davey had an immediate demand for Liz Truss;

Under Liz Truss, we’re set to see more of the same as under Boris Johnson. From the cost of living emergency to the NHS crisis, the Conservatives have shown they don’t care, have no plan and have failed our country.

The Government needs to scrap October’s energy price rise to avoid a social catastrophe for families and pensioners this winter.

Then we need a General Election, to get the Conservatives out of power and deliver the real change the country needs.

Jane Dodds and the Welsh Liberal Democrats were quick to respond too;

Under Liz Truss we are set to see more of the chaos that we saw under Boris Johnson. From failing to deal with the cost-of-living emergency, to letting small and medium businesses face the winter alone, to failing to deal with the climate crisis, the Conservatives have shown they don’t care, have no plan and have failed our country.

The Conservatives may have changed leader, but after twelve years in power at Westminster the Conservatives have shown they are out of ideas, out of energy and out of touch.

First the government needs to urgently scrap October’s energy price rise to avoid a social catastrophe for families and pensioners this winter. Then we need a general election, to get the Conservatives out of power and deliver the real change Wales needs.

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Welcome to my day: 5 September 2022 – catching up with the paperwork…

For those of you amongst our readers who don’t know, I’m a Parish councillor in my small, but perfectly formed, village in Suffolk’s Gipping Valley. For a variety of reasons, we’ve recently laboured without either a Chair or a Parish Clerk, and I am reminded how fragile our democracy is. You see, democracy requires not only politicians but administrators and these are increasingly in short supply.

Politicians, as a species, are seldom popular, but the hostility shown to the more high profile ones puts off potential candidates at our tier too, and we need 100,000 councillors at the first tier in England alone. Many Town and Parish Councils are, effectively, democracy-free zones, without contested elections and with vacancies often filled by poorly publicised co-options. That lack of competition risks poor, unchallenged governance and thus poor representation at a level of government that spends over £1 billion per annum.

So, if you live in an area with a Town or Parish Council, do think about putting your name forward in next May’s elections.

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17 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation figures: People will never forgive this Government for abandoning them
  • Thames Water hosepipe ban: slap in the face for millions of people
  • “Nasty party”: Kwarteng must clarify Truss’s shameful ‘graft’ comments
  • 75,000 A-Level grades set to be deflated under Government’s exam plans
  • Councillor Sykes welcomes change in law barring sex offenders from standing for or holding elected office

Inflation figures: People will never forgive this Government for abandoning them

Responding to inflation reaching 10.1% this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Britain is heading for the worst economic crisis in a generation, yet the Prime Minister has clocked off early whilst Sunak and Truss are too busy squabbling amongst themselves.

Families and pensioners will never forgive this Conservative Government for abandoning them in the middle of a cost of living catastrophe.

The answer is staring Conservative MPs in the face but they refuse to act. Energy bills must be frozen immediately or else millions of people will be plunged into financial devastation this winter.

Thames Water hosepipe ban: slap in the face for millions of people

Responding to the news that Thames Water will enforce a hosepipe ban, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

This is a slap in the face for millions of people when Thames Water is losing a quarter of all their water to leaks.

Their gross negligence to fix leaks is set to inflict hosepipe ban misery across the South. We wouldn’t be in this mess if Thames Water bothered to invest properly. Instead, water companies are choosing to pay themselves billions of pounds in profits and reward their CEOs with insulting bonuses. Thames Water is putting profit above the public and environment.

Ministers are to blame for letting profiteering water companies get away with it. Under this Government, our rivers have become polluted with sewage and water pipes rusting with leaks.

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Welcome to my day: 15 August 2022 – in Tufton Street we Trus(s)t?

The contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party and, thus, Prime Minister, took more turns for the worse this week. Whilst Rishi Sunak desperately tries to convince ageing members of his party that he can be as reactionary as the next (wo)man, Liz Truss is demonstrating that, at heart, she has the instincts of a robotic magpie programmed by the denizens of Tufton Street.

Having suggested last week that most of the Civil Service should be sacked and the rest moved out of London, whilst the rest of the public sector should expect pay cuts, it didn’t get any better this week. First, she suggested that support payments to help those facing fuel poverty were a low priority compared to tax cuts. It seemed that she had been misrepresented (again). And then, the Civil Service was described as “woke verging on anti-Semitic” – she really doesn’t like them, does she?

I look forward to her relationship with the Civil Service going forward…

Mind you, given that there’s very little evidence that we have a functioning government anyway, the idea that whichever one of them wins might do something (anything) might be progress of a sort. Of course, their first task will be to appoint a new Cabinet and ministers, which won’t be easy. And time is relentlessly pushing on, with the energy cap increase to be announced in just eleven days and due to come into effect on 1 October.

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

Tomorrow’s Conservative leadership debate has been cancelled…

What am I going to with all of this popcorn?

(with a hat-tip to Jonathan Calder)

Meanwhile, Ed Davey doesn’t share my disappointment…

The Conservatives say they want to lead but they won’t even turn up to debate the issues that matter to our country.

Each of them are treating the nation with utter contempt and they’ve been taking people for granted for long enough.

Conservative candidate’s attempt to duck scrutiny just makes a general election at the end of this campaign even more necessary.

Sky News said that Sunak and Truss “have confirmed to Sky News that they do not want to take part. …

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Tom Arms’ World Review

A diplomatic truism is that some conflicts are insoluble. They are, however, manageable. Although the consequences of doing nothing or mismanagement can spell disaster. The Arab-Israeli conflict falls neatly into the above category.

President Joe Biden obviously came to this conclusion before stepping on the plane for his tour of the Middle East this week. A succession of American administrations – except Trump’s – has paid homage to the two-state solution. Biden reiterated the pre-Trump position, but not as forcefully as his predecessors. Part of the reason is that there was little point as his Israeli counterpart, Yasir Lapid, is merely a caretaker prime minister while the Jewish state struggles through another political crisis. As for the Palestinians, they are hopelessly divided between Hamas in Gaza who are a designated terrorist organisation and the PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas who, at 86, makes Biden look like the proverbial spring chicken. The result is that the two-state solution has been moved from the backburner to refrigerator.

Instead the US administration is focusing on maintaining relations with Israel and trying to draw other allies – mainly Saudi Arabia but also the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – into closer relations with Israel. To help with the first point, Biden has toughened his stand on Iran and the threat of nuclear weapons. One thing that all Israeli parties agree on is that Iran represents an existential threat. Biden has agreed that he will do whatever is necessary to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The second issue is more, problematic, especially as regards Saudi Arabia. There is no love lost between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Biden and the wider Democratic Party. Clearly a problem that needs managing.


Ukrainian military commanders are cock-a-hoop. The military equipment and training provided by the West are starting to work, especially the shoot and scoot American High Mobility Rocket Systems (HIMARS). The GPS-guided precision artillery have to date knocked out 19 forward-based Russian ammunition dumps.

The Ukrainians are now talking about a major counter-offensive involving hundreds of thousands of ground troops to retake territories lost in the Donbas Region. There are, however, problems. HIMARS rockets are accurate and effective, but they are also expensive and have to be used sparingly. So far the US has supplied eight launchers. Another four are on the way. The other problem is that their range is limited to 50 miles. As the Ukrainians advance, the Russians could simply stage a tactical retreat and still control a significant slice of Eastern Ukraine. Washington could supply Ukraine with precision weaponry with a range of 500 miles. These would be a war-winner but would mean that Ukraine could strike targets inside Russia which means escalation with disastrous consequences.


Meanwhile there appears to be the possibility of some movement on the movement of grain out of Ukraine. Between them, Russia and Ukraine account for 21-28 percent of the world’s grain supplies and 40 percent of this vital food for the inherently unstable North Africa and Middle East. A big chunk of that grain is – more than 20 million tonnes – trapped in Ukrainian siloes, unable to reach hungry world markets because of a Russian naval blockade. This week saw talks in Istanbul involving Ukrainian, UN, Russian and Turkish negotiators. They ended with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar promising a signed deal next week. Moscow and Kyiv have said nothing.

There are several sticking points. For a start the Ukrainians have mined the approaches to their ports to prevent a Russian amphibious landing and the Russians have imposed a naval blockade to stop the import of weapons. Going into this week’s talks Moscow demanded the right to inspect incoming ships for weapons. The Ukrainians said no. The Ukrainians, for their part insisted on grain carriers being escorted by convoys of friendly ships. That is a possibility and Turkey may play a role here.

A further complication, however, is that the exports would include Russian grain which Ukrainians assert has been stolen from land occupied by the Russians since their 24 February invasion.  Not surprisingly, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said: “There is still a way to go.”

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How able is “negotiator” Hunt as compared to Johnson?

The Tory leadership campaign of Jeremy Hunt is, according to himself and many supporting MPs in the media, based upon the premise that Hunt will be (far) more trusted and more easily welcomed at EU negotiating tables than Johnson. They say this is the case because the European players (national ministers, EU negotiators like Barnier) have come to know him as sitting Foreign Secretary, and that they would trust him more than Boris (who they also know from his accident-prone Brexit spell at the Foreign Office).

Hunt also insists he has experience as an entrepreneur, including negotiating deals, which Johnson lacks because he was a journalist, not a businessman, between his public school/Oxbridge education and his political career.

But right at the start of his term as Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt made a massive negotiating gaffe while trying to use his personal background to curry favour with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

At the start of his business career, Hunt had learned Japanese to be able to work as an English language teacher in Japan in the late 1980s; and minister Wang Yi studied Japanese and was a former ambassador in Japan (2004-07). As a minister in Cameron’s shadow cabinet, Hunt in 2008 met and married his Chinese wife, Lucia Guo. As the new Foreign Secretary negotiating in Beijing in July 2018, Hunt and Wang Yi had been speaking in Japanese, when Hunt, switching to English, made his gaffe when he talked about his wife and her parentage. According to the BBC, Hunt said “My wife is Japanese – my wife is Chinese. Sorry, that’s a terrible mistake to make.” The company at the table politely laughed it off, and Hunt went on to say that he and his wife had close ties with his in-laws still living in the Chinese city Xi’an.

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The centre ground is the new home for millions – the Lib Dems must exploit it

Embed from Getty Images

The current Tory leadership contest has so far been a revealing episode of expert political maneuvering.

With Boris Johnson ahead with a convincing lead, there is little hope of any other opponent garnering sufficient support among the Party membership to beat him. Matt Hancock is guilty of questionable practice by withdrawing from the race and then backing Johnson in the hope of getting the post of Chancellor. Such egotism is in no way uncommon.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

A tale of two leadership elections

This has to be the tweet of the day for me. It fair summed things up.

I woke up to sunshine streaming through the window this morning and smiled.

And then I remembered that 100,000 or so of the most reactionary people in the country are about to choose the next Prime Minister.

That’s a spirit-dampening thought if ever there was one.

These are people who think climate change is a myth, who would remove hard won rights from women & LGBT people, who think workers’ rights have gone too far & who want to inflict the catastrophe of no deal Brexit on us. You wouldn’t want them voting on X Factor, let alone choosing our PM.

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