The Collins dictionary has announced its word for the year, the word that sums up the past year. 2022 is defined by the word permacrisis, that’s what the UK has become now, a failing state led by the failing government of an unfit party that lurches from one crisis to another, forever putting the blame on the pandemic, on Putin, on Europe, on criminal gangs of people smugglers, on thae bad boys that done it and ran away, everyone, anyone except Brexit and the selfish and short sighted decisions of a Conservative party whose idea of governance is to lie and cheat and to do whatever it takes to get it through the immediate crisis in front of it, and hell mend any longer term consequences.

Today, Tuesday, the Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has ruled that there is no evidence that MPs were bullied during the chaotic and ill-tempered vote on Fracking which proved to be the final nail in Liz Truss’s political coffin. This is despite the fact that the altercations were reported by a number of people, the outcome of this farce of an investigation shows nothing except that the Tories have closed ranks and that Hoyle is as useless and ineffectual at carrying out an investigation as he is at ensuring that the Prime Minister actually answers questions asked at Prime Minister’s Questions. For good measure Hoyle used the report to take a swipe at Labour MP Chris Bryant, who had first raised the allegations of bullying and MPs being manhandled into the lobby to support the government and presented the Speaker with photographs which he claimed supported the allegations. But the only criticism in the report is directed at Chris Bryant for taking photos on his mobile phone outside the voting lobbies.

This is a Speaker who is either unwilling or unable to hold the Conservatives to account, under Hoyle PMQs has become a pantomime farce during which the Prime Minister makes no attempt to answer any questions and treats the event as an opportunity to make cheap jibes at the opposition, yet this is supposed to be the Parliamentary set piece event in which the Prime Minister is held to account.

Bryant is an old rival of Hoyle’s, Bryant stood against Hoyle in the election for a new Speaker in September 2019 and forced the voting to go through four rounds before all the other candidates were eliminated, leaving just Hoyle and Bryant as the final two. In December 2020 Bryant and Hoyle had a heated argument with one another in the Chamber. There is clearly no love lost between the pair and this report has a strong whiff of score settling about it. Triumphant Tories are now demanding that it’s Bryant who should be censured, while they get away with no consequences for their lies, boorishness and traducing of the democratic process.

There have undoubtedly been external factors such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine but the UK should have been uniquely well placed amongst European states to weather these challenges. It is due to Conservative mismanagement that these challenges turned into full blown crises and threaten to become catastrophic. The UK is almost self-sufficient in energy, and so on paper ought to have been relatively unscathed by the shocks to the international energy market. However as we all know that’s not what has happened. Thanks to privatisation and the decision of the Conservatives to structure energy policy to protect the energy companies and not the consumers, which was compounded by the refusal of the government to levy a windfall tax on the big energy companies who have seen their profits soar and the government’s decision to allow the energy companies to run down gas storage facilities. The upshot is that domestic consumers in the UK were left facing some of the largest rises in energy prices in Europe.

During her brief and disastrous time as unelected Prime Minister, Liz Truss introduced an energy price cap designed to protect the profits of the energy companies. The cap is to be paid for by consumers through higher energy costs for years to come. However what Truss will be remembered for is taking a wrecking ball to the economy in order to introduce unfunded tax cuts which would disproportionately benefit the wealthiest. The result was a tanking pound and rising interest rates which will result in higher prices in the shops and soaring mortgage and rent costs at a time when many are already struggling financially.

We now have a third Prime Minister this year, this one has been elected by no one and was rejected by his own party just a few weeks ago. The Tories devote their time and energies to their internal party political fighting. The rest of us are just so much collateral damage. Sunak is now expected to introduce swingeing cuts to public services and tax rises in order to rescue public finances from a mess of the Tories’ own making. Even Truss’s energy price cap has not survived, expiring in April instead of after two years, no one knows what, if anything will replace it. Thanks to Westminster, thousands of families in Scotland, an energy exporting country, risk freezing this winter, all in order to protect the bloated profits of the energy companies.

It is Westminster’s disgrace that this is happening in Scotland, one of the energy richest countries in Europe, a country which should have no difficulty ensuring that the homes of all its residents have affordable heat and light.

Then there is of course the Brexit elephant in the room, a self-inflicted wound which only occurred because David Cameron wanted to placate the xenophobic right wing of the Tory party. The narrow leave vote was secured on the basis of lies and scaremongering and then Theresa May pressed for a hard Brexit, taking the UK out of the Single Market and Customs Union because for her too the sole concern was placating the far right of the Conservative party, no matter the cost to the rest of us.

Since then we have been governed by lies and greed as the Conservatives have sought to undermine all democratic safeguards and have trashed standards of decency in public office, and all the while the UK lurches from one crisis to another as the Tories cling to power. The highlight of British government is now watching Matt Hancock eat ostrich anus on I’m a Celebrity. Hancock has been suspended as a Conservative MP for buggering off to the tropics while Parliament is sitting, although they had no problem when Boris Johnson did it. The Tories are concerned that Hancock is bringing the party into disrepute. Oh, now they’re concerned about being brought into disrepute? A bit late for that.

It was fine when Hancock was health secretary and presided over hundreds of millions of pounds lost in dodgy PPE contracts. It was fine when he introduced a policy of discharging elderly patients from hospitals into care homes during the pandemic that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. It was fine when a judge ruled he had acted unlawfully by refusing to publish details of details of contracts his department had signed during the Covid pandemic. But being egged on by Ant and Dec to eat kangaroo dick in a bush tucker trial, *that’s* where we are drawing the line.

So much for the broad shoulders of the UK. All those shoulders are doing is carrying us from one needless crisis to another. Brexit Britain is a permacrisis that cannot be fixed, only escaped from.



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