It’s been a relatively quiet week in Westminster politics, at least by recent standards. From my perspective the new Prime Minister is holding the Tory soap opera together much better than his predecessor though there is definitely dissension among the ranks.
Only three things have struck me so far since last week. First is the push back of the Halloween budget statement, which was bound to be a horror. Apparently this was to give Sunak and Hunt more time to get their thinking straight yet it is an obvious ploy to take the sting out of the dreadful news to come and a hope that by then the market borrowing costs on gilts would have eased. On reflection I think this was probably a wise thing to do.
The second was less wise and that was Sunak’s decision not to go to COP27. Added to Truss’ bonfire of protections on the natural, or at least rural environment, his decision added to the sense that the government is trying to take conservatism out of the Conservtaive party. His excuse was that he didn’t have time to go but now he has miraculously found time following significant criticism from the backbenches. The fact that Johnson was going (why?) will have also helped change his mind.
The third is the continuing saga of immigration and Barverman’s obnoxious and callous ravings. Control of our borders was supposed to be one of the Brexit bonuses, yet even by the government’s own admission the whole system is in tatters. There are more people crossing the channel in small boats than there ever were and the Kent councils are saying they are at breaking point. Even after twelve years of Tory government they still will not accept any responsibility for the dire situation and instead blame everyone including us tofu-eating wokerati.
Of all the things on Sunak’s plate, the most dangerous for him is Braverman. He is caught between her as a liability and her as a mascot of the far right of the party. She is his Achilles heel. She should not be a minister.
Less calamitous has become the new calm. Let’s see as there are very difficult times ahead.