Alasdair Galloway of the Sensational Alasdair Galloway Band (SAGB)
Even in this time of uncertainty, there are, I think, two things we can all agree on.
The first is that Liz Truss is unlikely to become one of the UK’s longest serving Prime Ministers. Go she will, but when and how, and who’s next?
The second is that unless or until the polling numbers change markedly there isn’t going to be a General Election before December 2024 (ie for more than 2 years). Anyone who imagines that the Tory Party is going to go to the country when polling suggests something like 500 Labour MPs is delusional. As a Tory MP put it, that wouldn’t be electoral defeat but annihilation. Even if, as some say, the party would welcome time in opposition to regroup, they aren’t going to go for the sort of extermination that polling suggests just now.
Of course, these two questions, while conceptually separate, are inter-related. For instance, who replaces Truss will to some extent be the person expected to turn polling figures around from near extinction to ….well even merely dreadful would be an improvement, wouldn’t it?
First of all, how will the Tory Party rid itself of this utterly incompetent woman, who has done little more than illustrate the Peter Principle (that we all get promoted to our own level of incompetence)?
One way would be to trigger a general election, which would demonstrate mainly that the Tory Party has taken complete leave of its senses, given polls and the above.
Another way would be for there to be some kind of challenge to her leadership. However, the party’s own rules don’t allow for this for at least the first year of her incumbency, something they might not be able to afford. Therefore, it seems eminently possible that their rules could be changed. Again. Particularly if a large number of “colleagues” submit letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee. The aim, if commentators are correct, would be to select a single candidate and for there to be a “coronation” on the Theresa May model, obviating the need to bother the members Christmas preparations. We’ll come back to that.
Cognate to this is that the men in suits pay Truss a visit and she subsequently resigns for the good of party and country. A variant on this would be mass resignations by her Cabinet, the model that was used to get Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.
Just for the record this, at first sight, doesn’t seem to be what is going on with Braverman. She resigned in the first instance because she had sent a sending an official document from her personal email account, which is a big security no no.
Of course, this begs the question whether Suella is really that dumb to do this by accident. But did she do it deliberately, particularly given the lack of contrition and the use of invective in her resignation letter? Sadly, though, it is easily possible that she is that dumb, so at this point it seems unconnected (tightly) from getting rid of Truss. But …..should there be another “mistake” by another cabinet member then it would be justified to ask what is going on.
So, there are means. The question is whether, as in Julius Caesar, the plotters have the courage to act. There is though little like the possibility of losing their seat to provoke a Tory MP to action.
If the 1922 Committee changes the rules to allow a vote – for instance to allow a vote at any time if letters of no confidence come in from a significant majority of Tory MPs (eg two thirds) – would Truss resist this? Does she have the brass neck to face the plotters down when she has trashed the UK’s reputation for financial probity and taken her own party’s prospects down to levels probably never seen before (and at the same time propelled Labour to unimaginable heights)? Or would she just go quietly? My suspicion is the latter, and if a rule change allowing a challenge were made that she would very quickly decide to spend more time with her family, rather than go through the humiliation of being voted out.
The question then is, who replaces her. In this regard a Yougov poll published yesterday is most helpful (https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2022/10/18/most-tory-members-say-liz-truss-should-resign). Having made clear that Tory Party members think Truss should go and go now, they turn next to who should replace her. Who do you think that might be? Well, one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson! Yes, the one who left office only last month! Some 61% of the Tory Party membership want him back (considered very/fairly good).
The problem with this is that while this may be the view – and it’s an important one – of members of the Conservative Party, the question is how many MPs, or indeed how much of the UK electorate is prepared to accept the return to power of a PM who proved last time to be a dissembling liar? How politically is it possible when Labour (and SNP) would have a field day?
We can learn more by going further into the poll. Johnson, for instance has enemies – 35% of Conservative Party members think he would be fairly or very But in that regard, while not good, he does come out better (marginally) than Sunak (36%), Mordaunt (34%), Hunt (40%), Tugenhadt (50%) and don’t even ask about Michael Gove!
So, Johnson is divisive, but no more so than any other potential candidate other than Ben Wallace (21%) but who has less support than Johnson, with much more saying “don’t know”. Moreover, in the previous contest Wallace made pretty clear he didn’t want to be PM.
So, would they try to parachute Johnson back in, when he was booted out less than 7 weeks ago? Somehow, I doubt even the Tory Party has that much “brass neck”. It may be that Boris stands back and allows the party to tie itself in knots selecting someone with significant lack of support.
See above for the runners, but of them all the one with least baggage is Wallace, who doesn’t want it. Sunak would bring with him many supporters (60%), nearly as many as Johnson. So he and Johnson have similar support bases, and Sunak secured the support of more Conservative MPs than Truss did, and if, as seems possible, the membership are kept out of it (eg a “coronation”) then he could be the man, if Johnson stays out of it.
What would be the reaction to Sunak’s appointment? He seems to have been fingered as the man who wielded the knife (at least the first one) on Johnson, and to have been plotting his demise for some time. So, it seems likely there is little love lost between the two.
When Alex Ferguson gave up being manager at Manchester United, Jonathan Wilson forecast that he wouldn’t want to be his successor and that it might take several iterations for the club to find the right man (perhaps they haven’t even yet). Likewise, would you want to replace Johnson? Truss played her hand incredibly badly and is likely to pay the high price of failure, but didn’t have much of a hand in the first place, as the debt tab was close to maxed out.
Noe of that, though rules out destabilising a Sunak administration, particularly if the polling numbers don’t change all that much. Give him a bit of time to hang himself (or achieve nothing), and then BoJo will offer his services, or better still has to be conscripted by a desperate (but grateful) party. As always, the Tory Party’s first instinct is toward power.
Last time Boris was the “Prince from over the water”. This time it’s more likely, it will be as “the Prince just out the nick, but promising to go straight”.
One final thought to those who consider this a bit far-fetched (and maybe it is), Harold Wilson once famously said “a week is a long time in politics” – but its still (at the time of writing) only Wednesday. The Tory Party is in such a state, that the BBC Political Editor is able to call it “dysfunctional” and express the opinion that “the government is not functioning”. In normal times, just one of those would have the Tory Party writing to the BBC asking for this man to be removed from his post. Harder when he is clearly right. We “live in interesting times”.
9 thoughts on “NEXT!!”
Ah but and by far the most powerful and influential player in this whole scenario is glaringly missing from this article
And that is the International money markets of whom i assure
They have no morals whatsoever and at least a few Tories do have some moral compass
The money men only have one central principle in all their dealings and every single thought MAKE MONEY secondary to that
How do i cut my losses when the loans and investments rapidly become unstable
Given all that, these people
Sent a missile clean over the bow of SS Britania in response to the so called fiscal event
This event sat them bolt upright and now look upon the UK as a highly dangerous place to put their money into
This has led to credit rating of the UK now being
Given the ongoing parliamentary Tory chaos
And if such continues then I assure the markets have forward positioned themselves accordingly and if matters deteriorate much more then ,their computing software and algorithms are pre primed to completely trash the £ within a matter of hours NOT days
Furthermore they now apply completely different criteria to any decision regarding lending monies to the UK
They now fully aware that UK is more than technically bankrupt
But are still wary of collapsing the UK as the contagion could rapidly spread out of control Internationally
However if matters become so bad then this pack of financial wolves have clearly identified that the UK is the weakest member of the herd and as such have now forward positioned themselves to go for the kill and finish the £ of and condemn it to the status of Junk with no possible way back
Very large trading houses are already positioned for the £ to go to 0.85 to 0.93 $
Some are now factoring into their strategic plans for £ = 0.50 $
Make no mistake about this
Because it is no longer a Tory problem to rectify but
One for behind the scenes who have the unseen but massive real power to not only mitigate but to ensure that the captain and crew currently steering SS Britania are taken off and replaced with a crew which
Has already been put on high alert and standby in order to prevent it being smashed against the rocks
These unseen masters sole purpose is to ensure no matter what that SS Britania sales on and on
Come what may
So my friend the answer is blowing in the winds of the money markets as to how matters conclude
And most certainly not by way of the media chattering classes
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The problem for the financial markets was that the UK has amassed considerable debt – first on Covid, and now with energy costs,. The problem as far as the financial industry was concerned that there was no obvious plan to bring that level of debt down. And then Kwasi made his intentions clear and that was a step too far. Particularly as having given them one part of the story – the tax cuts – he said nothing about how it was going to be paid for. That said, he froze personal allowances for five years, which would bring a large number of the lower paid into taxation, increasing the tax take and within five years the net effect of the budget would be deflationary – just not for the very wealthy.
But you know while the pound has tanked, it was on its way down before this (partly because we were behind the Americans in putting up interest rates). Kwarteng’s ill-considered budget meant even more borrowing, reducing in value the gilts held by the pensions industry as interest rates went up. The shock of pension companies’ future being put in doubt was a considerable shock to Tory members and MPs.
You’re right that the finance industry will be preparing for the continued decline of the UK. Why should they not? The UK has been in decline since WW1. I can remember the outrage when Wilson and Callaghan devalued the pound in 67/68 – “the pound in your pocket etc”. Some at least was driven by the fantasy that the UK was still a world power. In the 60s we were debating whether we should still have troops east of Suez. I mean we were still up to our necks in debt for WW2 (mainly to the Yanks who demanded the unwinding of the Empire as they didnt fancy competition”.
So, you are right about what you say about international finance – I still think Black Wednesday was the best example and that was 30 years ago (you would that thought we would have learned) – but there is more to it than this. The UK delusion of being a world power, the low tax paradigm, the aim of being a sort of Hong Kong off the coast of Europe (a simplified version of what Truss and Kwarteng hoped to achieve) – all these things and more had their part in recent events, not just the finance industry.
Boris Johnson MAY not be available to put his finger ( or anything else ) in the Tory dyke if the Privileges Committee find he lied to Parliament ( stop laughing at the back !) and is ejected from Parliament .
But , as the old saying goes , Cockroaches will survive when everyone else has gone .
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If the House of Commons Privileges Committee decides Johnson did lie to Parliament, is it likely he will be expelled from Parliament, given that he will have been elected by a majority of Tory MPs and that might be sufficient for a majority to reject the findings of the committee?
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“Men in Grey Suits” in Downing Street right now.
Have they an alternative PM?
Assuming the Tories will insist on staying in power (and most of the Tory press will agree).
Hunt to stay as caretaker? Limited parliamentary support.
Wallace? Has intimated he doesn’t want it. Could he be persuaded?
Boris? Making too much money now.
Sir Charles Walker has nailed it–talentless Cabinet members put Truss into power, for their own personal interests.
This extends to Scotland, where talentless Tories are normal, and who flip-flop on Westminster demand.
Starmer is not so different from Truss.
Truss ripped up her party election manifesto–so did Starmer.
Truss dumped close colleagues–so has Starmer.
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They were indeed. I understand the Tory Party is in chaos for fear of what I might write tonight! Ha ha.
Hunt’s no running – he says. Wallace I suspect will say likewise.
Boris, too much money? But how much could he make as the “PM who came back from the grave”? Memoirs!
Listening to the commentariat, it looks as if the serious two runners are Sunak and Mordaunt. There is the possibility of some kind of policy rapprochement between the two of them – Rishi PM and Mordaunt Chancellor? But if not, and a split party looks likely to continue with either of them, then it might be that nominations are opened up again (more chaos, yes, but better than ongoing splits), allowing such as Hunt and Wallace another bite.
My own considered view of Boris is that I suspect its too soon. On the other hand if you saw QT tonight, there is a clear constituency that would have him back right now by acclamation. The other problem is that there is also a constituency that wouldnt have him back under any circumstances.
Consider this. There doesnt have to be a general election till December 2024 – more than 2 years away. All the guff about “a general election is a democratic imperative” is pretty good coming from a FM who made sure that the Economics under Independence paper didnt come out till after the recent conference, and no discussion of these matters was allowed. But let’s move on – NO party is going t o go the country, basically with its underwear at its ankles. The Tory Party could, as we know it, be destroyed. I would shed no tears, but are they really going to do this. So buckle up for the next two years during which time a Sunak and/or Mordaunt govt attempt to put the UK together again. Probably this will not be entirely successful and the less successful they are – and the less the polls respond to the blandishments of the Tories, expect Johnson to make that his time.
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and just over 3 hours later and Truss has resigned.
Chaos in the house of commons last night prompted by the environment minister. That did not sound to me like an ‘accident’ either!
Politics, oh what a dirty game.
and these people affect all of our lives. 😦
Come on Scotland. Divorce Westminster now.
Great article Alasdair….
Was particularly amused by the Alex Harvey reminiscence… NEXT…
Ah, Alex `Harvey! Great record.
Aye, the Party ‘ll take it turns to try top seat,