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The Johnson Quandary

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suze
1345102.  Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:31 pm Reply with quote

This post is both political and speculative, and may not be to all tastes. If it's not to your taste then move on, but I would be extremely surprised if Mr Johnson isn't contemplating these matters on a daily basis. The character of "Nigel Falange" bears no relation to any actual person.

Let us place ourselves at a time when the current National Emergency has passed, and everyday life has returned to what passes for normality. Precisely when that time is doesn't really matter, but it's somewhere between four months and four years from today.

Mr Boris Johnson and his team now have to get back to running the country, but how do they do that? It's pretty much a given that we are now in a recession as formally defined, unemployment is at a level not seen since the early 1980s, some sectors of the economy have all but disappeared, and the public wants someone to blame.

Mr Johnson is a Conservative, and most of his MPs were also MPs under David Cameron in the 2010-15 Parliament. Does he therefore return to Cameronism? Only useless scum claim benefits, and we shall make it as hard as possible for them to do it. Bailouts are communist, and we don't do that. Tax is that stuff that only poor people actually have to pay. There is no magic money tree, and all that money we spent during the National Emergency must be recovered yesterday. Et cetera.

If he goes down that road, he can expect fairly considerable social unrest to develop. But he doesn't much care, because those people didn't vote Conservative anyway and the right wing media will still ensure that he wins the next election.

The alternative is to continue down the Keynesian path which he and Mr Sunak are currently walking. For the nation at large that is almost certainly preferable, but it comes with two problems.

1. Those MPs who go back to Cameron and in some cases even to Thatcher really don't like it. "If I wanted to be a flipping Communist I'd have joined the melonfarming Communist Party", one of them says to Newsnight.

Mr Johnson is by now well aware that the 1922 Committee is sitting on very close to the number of signatures that would force a leadership election, and that Jacob Rees-Mogg intends to run for leader. (He knows this because Jacob sent him a txt. In Latin, for security reasons.) He's also well aware that he can't rely on Tory Centrists to keep him in the job, because he kicked most of them out last year.

What's more, Nigel Falange has just come second in a by-election somewhere in the East of England, and Mr Falange's Proper Radical Alt Tory Party is promising the masses free fags and booze. Mr Johnson knows that Mr Falange can't actually deliver that, but the Daily Mail now supports PRAT so the public believes it.

2. The Guardian has pointed out that policies of this kind are conventionally associated with the Labour Party, so if you approve of them you might as well vote for the Labour Party. It even plans to nationalise what's left of the bus industry, which Mr Johnson daren't propose for fear of a lynching.

What would you do if you were Mr Johnson faced with this quandary?

 
cnb
1345107.  Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:06 pm Reply with quote

Does there need to be a significant difference between the economic policies of the main parties?

Between 2005 and 2007 there was barely any difference between the policies of the Conservative and Labour parties. Cameron looked largely like a clone of Blair, but without the weight of a war on his shoulders. The Lib Dems' policies weren't much different either, though any discussion of them was largely overshadowed by talk about Kennedy's drinking.

The Labour Party seems near certain to elect a more centrist leader in Starmer this week, so with Johnson (or Sunak, the bookies' favourite by far to succeed him) as Tory leader are we just going back to where we were 15 years ago, with nothing to choose between the parties?

 
suze
1345112.  Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:07 pm Reply with quote

There doesn't need to be a big difference, and you're quite right to say that at that time there wasn't very much of one.

It was all a bit odd, with the LibDems led by the lamented Charlie Kennedy who really belonged in Labour, Labour by Tony Blair who really belonged in the Conservative Party, and the Conservatives led by David Cameron who at that time sought to portray himself as a Classical Liberal.

But that all changed with the financial crisis of 2007-08. The Conservative Party opposed the nationalisation of Northern Rock, and Mr Johnson himself voted against it. Did it oppose because it actually thought nationalisation was wrong (in which case it would have a lot of explaining to do if it went a different way now), or just because it was the Opposition (in which case it has not a leg on which to stand when Labour does the same)?

Then came the election of 2010, followed by the coalition government. The likes of Cable, Duncan Smith, and Osborne are very quick to tell us now that they always thought the so-called austerity policy was wrong, but they voted for it. Mr Johnson didn't since he wasn't an MP at the time, but I don't recall him speaking against it.

If it was wrong then it would be wrong now (where "now" is the fuiture time at which this post is set). But Mr Johnson cannot say so, because that would make Michael Gove look even more of a fool than he usually does. (Mr Gove being the only person who was in both the Cameron 2010 cabinet and the Johnson 2019 cabinet.)

Furthermore, Mr Johnson would have to contend with the Tory hard right and Nigel Falange, who continue to assert that it was right then and is right now. As we have seen in the past decade, the Conservative Party is entirely willing to throw common sense to the four winds if it's running scared of someone like Mr Falange. Especially if Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch both appear to take Mr Falange's side of the argument.

 
Prof Wind Up Merchant
1347280.  Sat May 02, 2020 3:02 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Mr Falange


Looks like someone daren't speak the twat's name. LOL :-D

 
CB27
1350687.  Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:15 pm Reply with quote

A significant pander to the "we hate everyone" section of the Tory party (yes, they're only a subset, it's not the whole group) which Boris is trying to sneak in seems to be to dismantle the concept of separating foreign aid from foreign policy, which was a major move by Tony Blair that I personally think was correct at the time.

I'm not saying foreign aid was handled correctly, I'd like to have seen better co-ordination with other organisations, both governmental and other, to provide aid direct to those who needed it rather than cash to corrupt regimes who toss pennies out to help the ones it was meant for.

However, tying it back to foreign policy smacks of old style imperialism, and the fact even Cameron seems shocked by this move suggests it's only certain elements of the Tory party that this is meant to please.

I imagine a number of these kind of announcements will find themselves being attached to other announcements in the hope no one pays attention, only to bring out during elections to the right "clientele"...

 
suze
1350711.  Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:37 pm Reply with quote

Who actually is the "clientele" for an announcement about foreign aid from a Conservative government?

Those who are particularly enthusiastic about foreign aid probably don't vote Conservative anyway. On the other hand, the caricature Daily Mail reader who does vote Conservative tends to think that we shouldn't give any foreign aid at all.

 
Alexander Howard
1350712.  Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:56 pm Reply with quote

Prof Wind Up Merchant wrote:
Quote:
Mr Falange


Looks like someone daren't speak the twat's name. LOL :-D


Nah - he's the one who leads the Spanish equivalent of UKIP.

 
CB27
1350724.  Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:59 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Who actually is the "clientele" for an announcement about foreign aid from a Conservative government?

Those who are particularly enthusiastic about foreign aid probably don't vote Conservative anyway. On the other hand, the caricature Daily Mail reader who does vote Conservative tends to think that we shouldn't give any foreign aid at all.


The clientele I referred to were Daily Mail and Telepgraph readers who prefer not to give any money away to Johnny Foreigner, but will accept "investing" that money as a tool of an imperialist style of foreign policy. :(

 
tetsabb
1353349.  Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:10 am Reply with quote

Here seems to be as good a place as any to record my amusement over Grayling's failure to be made chair of the Intelligence Committee.
Stewart McDonald, SNP shadow defence spokesbeing, is quoted as saying that Grayling is the only man that could lose a rigged election.
Made me guffaw rather a lot

 
Jenny
1353400.  Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:04 am Reply with quote

Lends a whole new dimension to Failing Graying, doesn't it?

 
Brock
1370633.  Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:11 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Let us place ourselves at a time when the current National Emergency has passed, and everyday life has returned to what passes for normality. Precisely when that time is doesn't really matter, but it's somewhere between four months and four years from today.[March 31 2020]


I wouldn't like to speculate on a date, but it's clearly not coming any time soon...

Quote:
Mr Johnson is by now well aware that the 1922 Committee is sitting on very close to the number of signatures that would force a leadership election


The FT is reporting that two backbenchers now have submitted letters to Graham Brady. (Those are the ones we know about - there may be others.) Nowhere near the 55 required, of course, but could this be the beginning of the end?

 
suze
1370724.  Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:04 pm Reply with quote

It was claimed at the time that a handful of Conservative MPs submitted such letters immediately Mr Johnson became PM. Mind you, there's been a general election since then and I think that those early letters would have lapsed upon dissolution.

Only Sir Graham Brady knows exactly how many letters he's had, and he's not going to say. When he was asked about the matter once before, he said that he doesn't even tell his wife. Some recent remarks of Sir Graham's suggest that he might even have sent one from himself to himself.

There is no real doubt that Lockdown 3 will pass the Commons tomorrow, but it is clear that a non-trivial number of Conservative backbenchers plan to vote against it. Should that number be more than 55, Sir Graham might expect to get rather busy.

As for the end, well it's been fairly widely reported that Mr Johnson has told a number of private friends that he can't live on the Prime Minister's salary of a mere £157,372. I'd wager 5p that he will have left Downing Street by Christmas.

 
crissdee
1370730.  Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:28 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
he can't live on the Prime Minister's salary of a mere £157,372.


Given that my current income is 1/32nd of that, you will perhaps forgive my dismissive PAH!!!


Last edited by crissdee on Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
suze
1370732.  Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:33 pm Reply with quote

As far as I am aware, you don't have two ex-wives, a current high maintenance fiancée, and approximately seven children to support ...!

 
crissdee
1370733.  Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:36 pm Reply with quote

True......

 

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