Welcome to my day: 11 July 2022 – a Tory House of Horrors beckons?

And, just like that, the world changed. Not, I hasten to note, necessarily for the better, especially given the theatre of the grotesque that is the Conservative leadership contest.

But the level of vitriol with which the various contenders seem determined to vent upon each other can only be helpful to Liberal Democrat candidates in the short term, even as it damages the country still further. And all the popcorn in the world doesn’t compensate for the damage that will be done to those already struggling to get by if government spending is squeezed in order to allow tax cuts for business and the wealthy.

Of course, whoever does finally emerge as the anointed one will be inheriting a rather gruesome legacy after three years of chaos in Number 10. Inflation approaching double figures, growth non-existent, debt servicing costs increasing, and no signs of an answer to the long-term problems facing the country, unless being unpleasant towards the trans community is meant to take our minds off of it all. Perhaps the move towards tax cuts and culture wars is just a pretence intended to win the contest, but I doubt it – these people think that this is a vote-winning strategy beyond that somewhat unrepresentative Party membership.

It is probably an indication of a lack of self-awareness on their part but, as they tear each other down (leaked dossiers to the Labour Party? Really?), the damage done to their collective reputations is almost as good as having Johnson in charge.

Meanwhile, COVID rates are soaring again, pretty much under the radar of media coverage. Unless a particularly vicious variant emerges, it seems unlikely that lockdowns are part of our future, and mask wearing is pretty much a dead letter here. The impact of “long COVID” is still emerging though, and the implications for a labour market that’s already tight (to say the least) aren’t likely to be good for employers or otherwise inflation. And don’t start me on local government finances.

Actually though, given how many relatively low-paid jobs have been contracted out by local councils, one does wonder how many of the service providers can sustain potential 10% salary increases? In any event, in a competitive job market, will people want to work in care homes, or as cleaners, or find something less stressful for more money (or even just the same)? And, if private sector providers fail, can the provider of last resort, local government, step in? My suspicion is that we may get the answer to those questions over the coming year…

But I ought to return to whatever the opposite of doomscrolling is, and hunt down a cool drink, as it’s going to be a scorcher of a week. Take care, gentle reader, and don’t get burnt. Until next time…

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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  • Johnson had no ideology other than ‘Johnsonism. He was too idle to pursue any course and flipped from right to left; from demonising immigrants to levelling-up..Some of the ‘hopefuls’ have no such weakness they are fanatics of the worst kind..

    Nadhim Zahawi has said he would force every government department to cut running costs by 20% to fund tax cuts, as Liz Truss joined the fray to become the next Conservative party leader, promising she would reduce taxes “from day one” in the job.

    The nation is barely functioning at the moment and yet social services, healtrh, etc. are deemed ‘uneconomic’ by the adherents to the ‘Britannia Unchained’ philosophy; where tax breaks for the already wealthy are rewards for ‘efficiency’ i.e. profit..A world where workers are expendable drones, further education is reserved for the fortunate few, their ideal carer/social worker/childminder is low paid and unregulated, etc.

    Like Hilaire Belloc’s ‘Jim’ we may well find ‘something worse’ and end up with almost nothing of our nation’s institutions left..

  • @ Martin Ah, Hilaire Belloc……. Liberal M.P. for Salford South between 1906-10.

  • nigel hunter 11th Jul '22 - 4:07pm

    I believe Braverman ,ERG member pays, 2k pounds a year which can be claimed back as expenses.Equally they can claim back for research expenses.THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A RESEARCHER ,WHO IS HE/SHE?Is this a scam/fraud for them to take taxpayers money?
    The cutting tax business is for the Tory membership.All of them fighting for votes.Yes I know that others will be happy for tax cuts but where does it end?All of us scrabbling around for scarce,non existant services that only exist for profit and shareholders?No, tax rises are needed if we are to be a decent country.
    Zahawi convinced he can get 20% cuts ,will that not cut into the bone of institutions?
    Some make great play that they are from migrant stock but today denigrate those wishing to come to the UK to equally obtain that UK dream. I,for one do not want any of them in Government’

  • @Martin 11th Jul ’22 – 2:11pm…

    Re-read my post… Jim is this country but Johnson. who is not a caring nurse. is certainly not the lion.
    Despite all his claims he changed almost nothing; we have no full Brexit, no major changes to social services, the NHS, etc. In short the country is much as when he became PM. Half of his policies were right wing and half left; promises to increase hospitals, nurses, police. etc. alongside promises to deport asylum seekers and break international agreements (none of which have come to fruition)..His legacy, if it can be called that, is of corruption, sleaze and a personal contempt for rules..

    The .lion’ will/may be his successor who will, as I said, through their ‘Britannia Unchained’ philosophy, destroy piece by piece the UK’s social structures,
    ” And hungrily began to eat
    The Boy: beginning at his feet.
    Now, just imagine how it feels
    When first your toes and then your heels,
    And then by gradual degrees,
    Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
    Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.

  • Brad Barrows 11th Jul '22 - 5:31pm

    @expats, @Martin
    Perhaps a more appropriate poem by Hilaire Belloc is Epitah to the Politician himself…the first verse appears to sum up Johnson exactly:
    Here richly, with ridiculous display
    The Politician’s corpse was laid away
    While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
    I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

  • And yet another Tory horror tonight………. Tory Leadership candidate Suella Braverman, ” is “very interested in looking at the welfare bill” as a way to pay for tax reductions.

    Lib Dems have now been warned…… please, no repetition of 2010-15. With food bank use soaring, Sir Edward Davey needs to rule this out now.

  • A few weeks ago the Tory mantra was how most public sector workers should expect a real-terms pay cut this year…

    I guarantee that won’t change but, alongside Suella Braverman’s nonsense about people ”choosing to be on benefits’ ( despite a huge proportion of those claiming welfare being in work already), it seems the common theme, among the title contenders is ‘lower taxes’…

    My fear is that Johnson will not be the worst PM of my lifetime…

  • Phil Beesley 12th Jul '22 - 12:22pm

    expats: “Nadhim Zahawi has said he would force every government department to cut running costs by 20% to fund tax cuts…”

    It has been clarified that Zahawhi wishes to cut 20% of administrators, whatever that means. One arm and half a leg…

    It’s a bit like government failing to chase fraudulent Sunak-payouts. It costs money to chase crooks and it costs money to run government competently, but it won’t be done even though it will recover more money than it costs up front.

  • Joseph Bourke 12th Jul '22 - 7:09pm

    Hilaire Beloc was an interesting character. This liberal history article Hilaire Beloc and the Liberal Revival writes “His book
    The Servile State (1912) was an influential diatribe against big business and Fabian collectivist policies The book formed the basis of the political movement known as Distributism that flourished in the 1920s and 1930s.
    Distributism mixed a generous dollop of land-reforming Liberalism with unworldly Gandhian simplicity, borrowing the old slogan of Joseph Chamberlain and Jesse Collings from the 1880s, ‘three acres and a cow’. Its heart was the redistribution of land and property so that everyone had some – on the ground that small enterprises, smallholdings and small units were the only basis for dignity, independence and liberty.
    The party’s policy, Ownership for All, agreed at the Liberal assembly in Bath in 1938, set out the very Distributist notion that ‘the widespread ownership of property is the firmest guarantee against dictatorship’ – including policies to reform inheritance laws, tackle monopolies, tax land and share profits. The purpose of free trade is to undermine
    monopoly, it said – not to make the world safe for monopoly. The chair of the Ownership for All panel was a former editor of the Huddersfield Examiner, Elliott
    Dodds, who would be Liberal Party president in 1948–49 and was one of the key figures behind the party’s intellectual revival under Jo Grimond.

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