There was a time, not too long ago, when the tradition of falling on one’s sword was sacred in the United Kingdom. A transgressing prime minister or member of Parliament would resign long before being asked to do so. Recent examples include Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation following his disastrous decision to leave “Brexit” to the idiot masses, or Theresa May’s resignation after her failure to find a way to “get Brexit done.”
Those days appear to be over. Despite universal calls for Boris Johnson to do the right thing and resign in the wake of numerous scandals, he refused to do so. He ultimately had to be forcibly removed by a no confidence vote. Now, despite a nationwide loss of confidence and multiple calls for her resignation, the most deplorable candidate ever put forward by the Tory Party — and that’s saying a lot — Liz Truss steadfastly refuses to go. Indeed, she has threatened (and there is no other word for it) to “lead” the party into the next election.
Every move Truss makes, every speech, every excuse, every gesture is a disaster. She is a one woman catastrophe as prime minister. She clearly has no business in the office and it’s hard to imagine anyone doing a worse job.
She began her catastrophic descent with her tax cuts for the rich and her scaling back on benefits for the poor during Britain’s time of economic meltdown. Her tonedeaf response to the inevitable universal renunciation was to arrogantly declare that she had a plan to fix everything but wasn’t going to tell us what it was, as though we were all a bunch of naughty children and didn’t deserve to know.
She then responded to an attempt to launch an unprecedented vote of no confidence by firing her Chancellor for daring to propose the economic plan she ordered him to implement. The new chancellor — Jeremy Hunt — has shredded her plan and, in what the Guardian describes as “one of the most astonishing U-turns in modern political history” has cut back on spending and reversed the very tax cuts that Liz Truss used to bribe herself into the premiership in the first place.
Downing Street sources say that Truss met with the chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, the one responsible for collecting no confidence votes, to discuss the scale of MPs’ anger at her. Apparently there is a movement to get the committee to defy protocol and hold another no-confidence vote. It is believed that there are now enough Tory votes to see Liz off.
British pundits are giving good odds that Truss won’t last the week and that she will have to resign. I’m not so sure. After watching Donald Trump desperately cling to power and do everything he possibly could to stay in office, I’m beginning to think his disease has made its way over here.
I don’t think Liz will ever resign. Like Boris, she’s going to have to be forced out. The Trump disease of leaching on to power and not letting go despite the humiliating calls to do so is an illness imported straight from America. And while the two examples of Boris and Liz hardly make a trend, I think it’s going to nevertheless be the beginning of a new tradition here.
Politicians are starting to think that humiliation isn’t really all that bad and personal power at any cost to the nation is far more important. Right now pro-fascist moves despite the wishes of the masses seem to be the way forward. Total lack of shame, as it were, is the new black.
The complete lack of a moral compass of the American Republican Party is no longer looked upon by many in the world’s political landscape as a bad thing. America is the world’s teacher in all trends, and the current lesson is that open hypocrisy, greed and grabs for power could be paying off.
We will have to wait and see how the 2022 election in America goes and what follows in the way of indictments. It remains to be seen if the lesson America teaches in the next couple of months will be a stern but good one for the rest of the world. I hope so. I would hate to see Trumpism become a worldwide pandemic. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.