DT Context: Over the last few years certain Western countries have distinguished themselves by the calibre of people they have elevated to high office...laughably so! The UK is one such country.
One anniversary that passed almost without comment recently was the milestone of the current British Prime Minister, Rishi 'Rich' Sunak, lasting longer than his predecessor, Liz 'Iceberg' Truss, who imfamously sank the UK economy and then resigned after just 44 days in office.
Given that the UK has now had a Conservative (Tory) government in power for 13 years and had no fewer than five leaders in that time, this is somewhat noteworthy. How he has achieved that and what lies ahead is both perplexing and predictable.
When anointed (!), Sunak stood, alone, outside the official residence of the Prime Minister, 10, Downing Street, in the heart of the UK's administrative centre, Whitehall, and pronounced to the world that his cabinet and government would be managed with integrity and accountability.
Within a matter of days he was having to dismiss members for misconduct and defend others for seemingly abhorrent behaviour. He halted all appearances by ministers on breakfast television and announced that bankers bonuses would be uncapped (apparently a 200% of base salary maximum was inhibiting growth).
No surprise to discover that Sunak was a former banker himself and that fully one third of all monies received by the Conservative Party in the three months leading up to that announcement had come from banks and bankers!
On top of all this, the public unrest about the Tories mismanagement of the National Health Service, which provides universal health access to all citizens in exchange for taxes, and has done so since 1946, and the recent PPE scandals has further dented Sunak's 'clean sheet' whitewash.
Additionally, the stealth agenda that has been pursued for the last decade to under fund the service and thereby ripen it for privitisation, a savoured goal of the free marketeers, has taken its toll on waiting lists, staff morale and overall service levels and accessibility.
However, the tides are collectively turning on the incumbents with public service unions all taking strike action in order to secure a real pay increase in the face of an unprecedented cost of living crisis. Border guards and rail workers have joined them crippling the national transport system. Incredibly just 15 years ago the UK health service and rail systems were among the best in Europe, if not the world. Today they are a pale shadows of their former selves and close to collapse.
The privitisation of energy, yet the monopolisation of pricing, coupled with the impact on supply of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has left the UK unable to cushion paying customers from manipulation by global energy giants whilst they rake in totally indefensible profits. In the coldest country in the Union, there is no funny side to this situation:
And then there is the situation in Northern Ireland...
So what has PM Sunak's response to all of this been? To effectively hide behind the numbers, withdraw from public view and cozy up with the party faithful and supporters. Everything is someone else's fault! The unions are greedy. Brexit was good for Britain. The Union is essential to all the constituent countries (regardless of how their citizens feel). The NHS is safe in their hands. We need to reduce public services and increase taxation in order to 'balance the books'. (Good to see him aligning his monetary with his fiscal policy, something the feckless Truss failed to grasp, however, Sunak did cook the books on bond returns to create a supposed 'blackhole' in the public purse and had been Chancellor for 3 years previously thereby creating a large part of the mess).
It's the usual nonsense and sadly too many are swallowing the Kool-aid and being led by the MSM (much of which is owned by Tory party backers) and (sadly) the BBC to view the opposition or calls for independence or nationalisation as contrary to the people's best interests. This includes some fairly outrageously childish abuse of national and party leaders.
The roots of much of this situation go back to another period of social discontent, the so-called 'Winter of Discontent' in 1978/79 which led to the election of Margaret Thatcher as the leader of a Conservative government and the heralding in of a new brand of Neo-liberalist economic, Reagan-esque style reforms. Prophetically, 13 years later, the unions had been emasculated, social housing had been flogged off, the mines had been closed, the innequitous 'poll tax; had been trialed, the 'City' had been liberated and we were on our way to a cycle of vicous boom & busts fueled by greed and recklessness.
The bizarre thing is that in amongst the debris and wreckage that is increasingly the modern UK, it appears that Sunak's thrust toward deregulation, unleashing market forces and economic freedom that he could create a fertile bed for cryptocurrencies and DeFi...too much to hope for?...probably but, frankly, it appears to be the only light at the end of this tunnel!