I’ve been asked to explain what is going on in British politics at the moment. Right, well there was this lettuce and the lettuce beat the Prime Minister in a tabloid newspaper competition and the Prime Minister resigned. Now the guy who lost in the competition to be the Prime Minister last time round has been crowned Prime Minister. He is yet to face the lettuce. I know, I know. It doesn’t make much sense. Lettuce go back a few days and look at what has happened.
Odious Prime Minister Boris Johnson was finally given the boot in July this year. Excellent. But then he was replaced by someone almost as awful. This awful person was Liz Truss, former Lib Dem and reportedly a brief member of Socialist Worker Student Society (sorry comrades). Liz Truss was voted in by 57% of the 170,000 or so “mad swivel-eyed loons” that make up the Conservative Party membership.
On becoming Prime Minister, Truss met the Queen, who promptly died. She then set about causing chaos both within and external to the Tory party. Together with her new Chancellor and fellow radical free market libertarian Kwasi Kwarteng, her government presented a ‘mini-budget’ to the House of Commons. Policies in this ‘mini budget’ included abolishing the 45% higher rate of income tax, reversing plans to increase corporation tax and removing limits on bankers bonuses. It contained billions in unfunded tax cuts. The country, already on its knees in a so-called ‘cost of living crisis’ was not particularly impressed. Approval ratings for Truss, Kwarteng and the Tories nosedived. No thanks to the official opposition who are still busy with their internal purges and promising to be tougher on protesters and “failed asylum seekers” than the Tories.
The pound crashed. The financial markets didn’t like all this increased borrowing. There was talk of the pound reaching parity with the dollar before the end of the year. People suddenly started talking about ‘gilts’ (UK government bonds) because the Bank of England started buying them in an effort to calm the markets and prevent the collapse of some large pension funds.
Prime Minister Truss had succeeded in upsetting everyone. Working people saw this rightly as a ‘mini-budget’ of the rich, prioritising tax cuts for high earners and unlimited banker’s bonuses. Homeowners saw their mortgage interest rates skyrocket. Many on the right watched the market turbulence in horror. Tory party colleagues were aghast at the mess she was making. The swivel-eyed loons wanted to bring back Boris. Everyone was pissed off.
Truss dealt with this by sacking her Chancellor after 38 days in the job. This was a bit unfair as she was fully supportive of the economic policies he had tried to deliver. But Tories hate fairness anyhow. The Tory party was in disarray, letters of no-confidence in the Prime Minister were reportedly piling up. A new Chancellor, the poisonous Jeremy Hunt, was appointed to calm the markets.
A vote on fracking was held in the House of Commons. This was briefed to Tory MPs as a vote of confidence in the PM, then it was ‘un-briefed’ when it looked like they might vote against it. The actual vote ended in farce, with reports of Tory MPs being dragged into the voting lobby and the Chief and Deputy Whip resigning during the proceedings, then un-resigning later. It was an embarrassing and shameful spectacle, and in that way representative of the Truss government and the Johnson one before it.
On Friday 21st October, Truss resigned as Prime Minister. At 45 days in office, that makes her the shortest-serving UK Prime Minister. The Daily Star tabloid newspaper celebrated as its ‘wet lettuce’ outlasted the Prime Minister. The runner-up in the last Prime Minister selection was crowned Prime Minister without a hint of democracy. Ultra-millionaire Rishi Sunak, caught boasting to Tory supporters that he’d changed the rules to redistribute money from deprived areas to richer ones, is seen as a safer pair of hands by the financial sector. The Tory Party is divided over his appointment, maybe there is potential for the lettuce to claim another head.
The important lesson to learn is, you can fuck the poor but don’t fuck the markets. Lettuce (sorry) hope that the wave of industrial action currently sweeping the country is strong enough to sweep away this self-serving Tory government. Whether it will Romaine’s to be seen.