The Conservatives continue to provide evidence of their unfitness for office despite the coronation of a new unelected Prime Minister who unlike the previous unelected Prime Minister looks as though he will enjoy a honeymoon period in office albeit one which is likely to be short lived and which will not succeed in overturning Labour’s large lead over the Tories in the polls. The most recent poll has seen the Conservatives claw back 5% of Labour’s huge lead, but Starmer’s Tory Lite party remains well ahead.
Sunak is reportedly considering the implementation of a package of spending cuts and tax hikes worth up to £50 billion in what would amount to a return to 2010-style austerity, in the model of David Cameron’s government. However this time round the austerity will be being introduced in order to rescue the economy from the devastation wrought on it by the Conservatives themselves, not least their ideologically driven hard Brexit. Once the effects of Sunak’s austerity 2.0 start to be felt his polling honeymoon will be well and truly over.
However it has only been a week and the cracks are already showing in Sunak’s administration. Within days of taking office Sunak faced a barrage of entirely justified criticism for his unconscionable decision to reappoint the truly appalling Suella Braverman as Home Secretary just six days after she was forced to resign for what has transpired to be serial breaches of security. Her reappointment was part of a cheap and shoddy political deal as Sunak tried to prevent the various warring factions of his deeply divided party from plotting against him.
The Braverman story refuses to go away, it has now become apparent that Braverman is notorious amongst her colleagues for her willingness to leak sensitive information in order to secure a political advantage over members of her own party. It is a sign of Sunak’s weakness that he did a deal with Braverman, bringing her back into the job she was so recently sacked from in order to shore up his support on the frothing far right extremist wing of the Conservative party. This is despite the fact that it was widely known in government circles that Braverman could not be trusted with sensitive information. On Sunday we had the ludicrous sight of Michael Gove trying to defend Braverman by claiming that she accidentally sent a sensitive document to someone who was not permitted to see it it while she was deliberately trying to send it to someone else who was not permitted to see it either.
There is now also serious doubt about Braverman’s claim that she quickly took action as soon as she realised she had sent sensitive information to the wrong person. In an email seen by the BBC, Braverman told the recipient of the information to delete it and ignore it, rather than, as she had insisted, rapidly reporting the breach to the relevant government officials, saying, “as soon as I realised my mistake I rapidly reported this on official channels.” However it now appears that Braverman tried to cover it up and only came clean after being confronted with indisputable evidence of her breach of the ministerial code. Goodness, you don’t say that Braverman is dishonest as well as cruel and incompetent.
On Sunday we also had a report in the Sunday Times that Braverman ignored legal advice that the government is illegally detaining thousands of asylum seekers in an overcrowded and unsanitary detention centre which is experiencing outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies. The move could result in an expensive court action, if as seems likely, the detentions are challenged in court. The paper also reported that said Braverman was warned by officials that the Home Office had no chance of defending a legal challenge and the matter could also result in a public inquiry if exposed. Despite this, Braverman has done nothing to resolve the matter because she had refused to authorise spending on hotel rooms that would have allowed the migrants to be moved out of the detention centre.
This is a Home Secretary who is not just incompetent but is also deeply nasty and who revels in her inhumane unpleasantness. But never mind the institutional cruelty, Nicola Sturgeon called the Tories detestable, and that’s far far worse than illegally detaining people in disease ridden conditions and repeatedly leaking sensitive government information to your pals.
The laxity with which this Conservative government treats national security was further exposed the revelation that while she was Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss’s phone was hacked by spies believed to be working for Vladimir Putin, but the story was hushed up by Boris Johnson and cabinet secretary Simon Case in order not to damage Truss’s chances of becoming Tory party leader. The spies reportedly gained access to sensitive information, including discussions about the Ukraine war with foreign officials, as well as hundreds of photos of Truss posing in different hats, cosplaying Margaret Thatcher, and a letter to the editor of Vogue begging for a photo shoot.
At this juncture it’s worth pointing out that If the Tories wanted to keep their phones (and British interests) secure, they easily could. But in their immense arrogance and stupidity they chose not to, either that or they are bought and paid for by Russian money. Not that there is anything suspicious at all in the millionaire son of a KGB operative getting a peerage, oh no, and how dare you even suspect otherwise.
On Monday Sunak is due to meet with Scottish Conservative U-turner in chief Douglas Ross to discuss a strategy to ‘save the Union’. You might think that they could start with a rapid and whole hearted implementation of all the commitments made in Gordon Brown’s Vow, commitments which the Conservative party also signed up to, but we all know that there is as much chance of that happening as there is of Suella Braverman turning into a competent lawyer and politician who actually understands that illegal detentions and sacrificing human rights for short term political advantage are the kind of thing done by actual fascists.
You might also think that if Ross and Sunak really wanted to save the Union they might prevent their party from acting like fascists, and respect the results of those democratic events in Scotland which did not produce an outcome to their liking, but we all know that’s not going to happen either.
Instead it is reported that we are going to be in for a UK Government ‘charm offensive’ which is risible given the charmlessness of Douglas Ross and the Conservative party. Scotland’s democratic deficit will only deepen, but the Tories will score themselves some headlines in the anti-independence press, and that’s all that they are really interested in. Douglas Ross gets his hapless and petulant arse handed to him on a plate every FMQs, Ross is in no position to save the Union, he can’t even save his own credibility.
It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.
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