The King’s Speech and the dance of the dividing lines
How can we engineer a general election?The country is decaying with every day that this administration continues. Honourable Tories must know this. Surely they must know the patriotic thing is to lance the boil and go to the country?
Labour's Schrodinger policy (we are completely unlike the Tories/ we are very similar to the Tories) seems to be working, according to professed election intentions. Post-election, this may need to change.
Sam - do you agree with David Allen Green’s point: that, even if the court allows the legality of Rwanda expulsions in principle, it has in its earlier decision already set tough standards of acceptable conditions in each actual individual case, thus rendering the general licence practically useless?
Wonder is there any chance of a change of leader then immediate election. If people are agreeing Sunak has checked out I wonder why he would want to carry the can for an election defeat that is mostly the fault of his predecessors.
Not strictly (or even slightly) a comment on this blog but a request for a future blog topic.
If Starmer and Trump both win power next winter, how do you think Starmer would deal with Trump?
Sam - given that their political strategy (such as it is) isn't impacting the polling numbers, do you think this argues for a May/June 2024 GE rather than October or later? I can see some benefit in the Conservatives trying to minimise seat losses by going to the polls before the full impact of mortgage rate rises hits another x-million households next year.
Would May 24 be preferable as the NHS 23/24 winter crisis will be over, whereas October 24 would give Labour the chance to push the oncoming 24/25 NHS crisis?
Also....how depressing that annual crises of this sort are now a major factor in political calculations and timings.
Is it really illiberal to ban something that is both addictive and deadly? How can be it be legal to sell something that will kill a sixth of the people who ever use it?
As I see it, this is the culmination not just of the last 13 years of Conservative government. It's also the end of the road for an approach to governing the UK that Margaret Thatcher entrenched. When Thatcher came in, there wasn't just a rightward ideological shift. She also brought a Jacobin-like attitude to institutions. Running everything from the centre was the only way to achieve her revolution.
It's an attitude to government that she has passed on to her successors, and the UK is now much more centralist than most other large developed countries. But I think what we're seeing now is this falling apart for three reasons.
One is that, in a complex, diverse, and pluralistic country, you simply cannot enact effective policy changes without similarly pluralistic institutions. On the ground-level, that's the government announcing big, flashy initiatives, and then having to roll back or ditch them when stakeholders who should have been consulted raise obvious objections.
Another is that in a world as globalised as ours, you have to take external factors into account when making decisions. What ultimately sank Liz Truss was the fact that the UK still needs access to global bond markets in order to function as a country. As a result, sovereignty often exists more on paper than in reality.
Finally, distributed decision-making means distributed accountability. This is, I think, the most serious reason why the UK's centralised model has ground to a halt. If things go wrong in a system where multiple institutions have input, they share the blame, and any negative consequences. Because they now all land on one central decision-making point, it leads to paralysis.
This explains, I think, the lack of ambition from Rishi Sunak and Labour's tepid response so far. They have seen Boris Johnson flame out and then Liz Truss, and come to the conclusion that anything too radical is too risky. There are some people in Labour who support a more pluralistic model, like Andy Burnham. We'll have to see whether this holds water or if all the big decisions are made from No10 and No11.
Incidentally, this has profound implications for the UK's relationship with the EU, which is, I think, its major geopolitical question. The core driver of Euroscepticism, in my view, has always been that its pluralistic institutions were unacceptable to centralist British policymakers from the 1980s onwards. Ditching this attitude will be a pre-requisite of forming any deeper, constructive relationship with Europe. It will be 100% necessary if the UK ever decides it wants to re-join the EU.
It's kind of incredible that Tory MPs who are also landlords seemingly care more about a concession that protects their landlolrding interest, than trying to pass the sort of legislation that might just get voters to back them.