Boris Johnson, who is still the Prime Minister of the UK until he is replaced in a couple of days time by someone even worse has taken time out of his busy schedule of going on holiday to reassure the millions of citizens who are terrified about soaring energy bills. Don’t worry, poor people, the abandoned mattress of politics is here to share a few simple tricks and trips which can take the sting out of the crisis. Worried about your energy bills rising to an unaffordable £7500 a year? Why, all you need to do is buy yourself a brand new energy efficient kettle which could potentially save you a tenner a year, and at a stroke you could reduce your energy bill to a far more affordable £7490! Problem solved! Thanks, Tory Life hacks.
Johnson is reportedly planning a farewell tour to remind the public of his greatest achievements while he waits for Liz Truss’s government to implode in office and a desperate Conservative party come crawling back to beg him to return to Number 10. So he’ll be visiting a lot of graveyards full of victims of covid who died while he partied, sewage outfall pipes pumping raw excrement into the sea, queues of traffic at Dover, planting a Union flag on the summit of a mountain of luggage at a major airport because the baggage handlers have returned to the EU, and trying but failing to catch a train.
Apparently, according to Johnson, the blame for the current energy crisis lies with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, leaders of a party which has not been in power for twelve years. But if what Labour did all those years ago was indeed so terrible and left the UK’s energy supply so vulnerable, the Tories did bugger all about it at any point in the past twelve years, which merely demonstrates that Johnson and his cronies are unfit for office. And after all, the great sin of the Labour governments of Blair and Brown was that they did not undo the ideologically driven privatisations that the Conservatives had introduced, that does not absolve Boris Johnson and his party. Johnson blaming Brown and Blair is very much on brand, just one more fart blast of lies to issue from the Hell Mouth of the Conservative party. It will not be the last, we can expect more of the same from Liz Truss when she tells us that cutting taxes is the best way to deal with the energy crisis, because according to the warped logic of the Tories, putting more money in the pockets of those who are already comfortably off really is going to help families who don’t earn enough to pay tax find the money to keep the heating on. The Conservatism is not so much a political philosophy as it is a means of ensuring that the poor fund the lifestyles of the rich. Truss has refused to introduce a windfall tax on the bloated profits of the energy companies and refuses to discuss a freeze on energy bills.
Lying and dodging responsibility is what Johnson and his party do best, it’s just a pity that their gaslighting can’t be harnessed to provide heat and light for all the households who won’t be saved from freezing thanks to his tip about buying a new kettle.
The tedium-fest of the Conservative leadership contest might be drawing to a close, but the nightmare of this Conservative government is very far from over. His likely successor Truss has all the same political faults as Johnson, a refusal to accept responsibility, a complete lack of principles, and a burning personal ambition combined with a lack of talent, but she also has a stiff and robotic demeanour befitting the empathy free zone of her personality and an inability to see how she is perceived by others. All she cares about is advancing her ambition. She is a Conservative gaffmatic who will lurch from one embarrassing episode of foot in mouth disease to another. She has displayed no appreciable skill or ability in any of the posts she has held and will fail dismally to rise to the immense challenges which will land on her desk when she takes office. Any honeymoon period she might enjoy as a new Prime Minister will be brief and short lived despite the best efforts of the right wing press.
In order to distract from her manifest shortcomings, and to curry favour with her right wing base, Truss will pick fights with the European Union, the devolved governments, the trade unions and will enthusiastically stoke up the culture wars. Johnson was bad, partly because he didn’t really care to do his job, Truss will bring a demented enthusiasm and energy to the Conservative destruction of public services, democratic safeguards and the few remaining means left of holding the government to account.
A flavour of what we are in for came in the form of a question from a party member at the last leadership contest hustings this week. To applause from the audience the questioner wanted to know what the candidates would do to “suppress” Nicola Sturgeon. Irrespective of what you think about Nicola Sturgeon, she is the First Minister of Scotland, a position that she only holds because the people of Scotland saw fit to vote for her and her party and make them the largest party by far at Holyrood. The party of Liz Truss has not won an election in Scotland for almost seventy years, but the Conservatives still think that they have the right to impose their policies on Scotland anyway. Truss doubled down on her characterisation of the First Minister as an “attention seeker” to be ignored.
Truss will also double down on the erosion of the devolution settlement with the aim of rendering Holyrood toothless and turning it into a useless talking shop which is unable to ameliorate the ill effects of Conservative party policies that Scotland has consistently rejected at the polls. We are in for a cold hard winter in more ways than one.
I am sorry but this bout of post-stroke fatigue is proving very difficult to shift. New blog posts may be rather intermittent this week.
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