Posts Tagged ‘Rishi Sunak’

Rishi Sunak’s National Service plan validates Labour’s attacks on the Tories as dangerous headbangers that will wreck Britain

27/05/2024, 07:19:24 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Rishi Sunak’s National Service plan is a trans-dimensional political disaster. Much has been written about it in terms of its questionable rationale and woeful impracticality. Fewer words have been expended about the wider message it sends to the electorate which is where its real legacy will be felt.

Voters don’t process policy proposals, in so far as they cut through to their daily lives, as a discrete set of evaluations, they use them as an indicator in judging the whole. What does policy this say about the people who want my vote?

When political parties strike out into territory outside the mainstream there is risk. Sometimes it’s worth it, when the Westminster consensus is out of kilter with the public (or at least enough of the public), Brexit for example. But for every Brexit there are dozens of disastrous policies that backfired on their authors. The manifestos of Jeremy Corbyn, Michael Foot, William Hague and Michael Howard are replete with them.

Its pretty clear which category the National Service plan falls into. It sends two clear messages to voters.

First, the Conservatives’ priority is evidently not the economy or the cost of living, its forcing young people do community service. Not only is this odd, its quite extreme to focus so much effort and attention on an issue that does not register as a pressing challenge for any demographic, not least when so many are facing rocketing rents and mortgages.

Second, the Conservatives cannot do the basics without it going wrong. The policy was launched but Ministers were sent out on the airwaves to sell it without relevant detail on how it would work – are kids going to get criminal records? Are parents going to be fined? Answers there were none – while some senior Conservatives like Steve Baker have actively condemned it.

For those voters who have noticed it, they will now have a sense that Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have different values and priorities and aren’t terribly competent. So when Labour raise the spectre of a Conservative government taking a scythe to the economy, pensions and all that’s good in the world, they will be that bit more inclined to believe them.

Oh, look, here’s an example.


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Sunak is a worse campaigner than Theresa May

26/05/2024, 09:17:41 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Is Rishi Sunak’s general election campaign destined to be remembered as the worst, most calamitous, incompetent, shambolic, hilariously deficient, madcap, badly run and outright dingbat since…well, Theresa May’s in 2017?

In what remains an electoral paradox, she achieved the second highest-ever number of votes for a winning party, but still managed to slide backwards, frittering away the majority she inherited from David Cameron in 2015.

To be fair, she was just a terrible campaigner with a big, lumpy idea – social care reform – that frighted the middle-class.

In comparison, Sunak’s effort, on current form, will go down as a three-dimensional clusterfuck.

I can scarcely believe its only Day 5.

First, we had the wet rat election announcement in Downing Street, with the Prime Minister trying to ignore both the lousy weather and the unsubtle strains of New Labour’s pop anthem, ‘Things Can Only Get Better,’ as he delivered a clumsy, overlong speech.

Then we had the incident with his minders throwing a Sky News team out of his launch while they were still broadcasting.


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Campaign Uncut: Heat on Sue Gray from senior Labour ranks as worries rise of ‘too little politics, too many civil servants’

24/05/2024, 11:59:56 PM

Welcome dear reader to the wrap from day 2 of the campaign:

1. Bubbling under the surface: Heat on Sue Gray from senior Labour ranks as worries rise of ‘too little politics, too many civil servants’

While Rishi Sunak’s campaign flubs continue to dominate the news agenda, behind the curtain in Labour land there is rising worry at the direction Sue Gray is taking LOTO.  Before Wednesday, there was already an undercurrent of concern across the senior ranks of Labour politicians and advisers at her Whitehall-isation of Keir Starmer’s office, with politics subordinated and an increasing focus on hiring ex-civil servants.  The sudden announcement of the election, with the prospect that the LOTO team will be in Number 10 in a matter of weeks, has exacerbated worries.

One senior Labour adviser commented, “She’s trying to be Cabinet Secretary and recreate the machinery of the civil service, but that’s not what a Labour PM needs, there’s already a civil service with a Cabinet Secretary; this Labour leader, who has only been an MP since 2015, needs political counsel”

Another source familiar with the conversations occurring across the shadow cabinet and senior Labour MPs summarised the issue as “too little politics, too many civil servants.”

Tensions between Morgan McSweeney and Sue Gray have been widely reported and any potential move by McSweeney out of LOTO into a safe seat, as Uncut reported yesterday, would tip the balance in LOTO further towards Whitehall priorities.

A key point of immediate contention is on who will be Sue Gray’s deputy chief of staff. There is a widespread understanding that this role needs to be a Labour rather than ex-civil service figure, but given the dividing lines between Labour and Whitehall factions, the danger is that the deputy chief of staff becomes the de facto leader of those who favour a more overtly political direction for Keir Starmer’s office.

2. Gaffe of the day: Rishi Sunak, captain of the Titanic

It was closely contested with Sunak’s photo-opp on the plane by the exit sign but positioning the PM as the captain of the Titanic had to be the winner. James McCarthy’s full piece is well worth a read, if only for the use of one of the greatest quotes from The Thick Of It, “Like a clown running across a minefield”


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Campaign Uncut – Rumours of Morgan McSweeney to Makerfield

23/05/2024, 09:17:18 PM

Introducing our daily-ish wrap, Campaign Uncut, bringing together the top 5 takeaways from the day’s action.

1. Rumour of the day: Morgan McSweeney to Makerfield

Word reaches Uncut that Keir Starmer’s most influential aide might soon be joining his boss on the green leather benches.

As a number of sitting MPs start to rethink their plans, throwing-up last minute selections, we hear that Morgan McSweeney is being linked with the Makerfield seat in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Its a rock-solid redoubt and the former mining area has been represented by Labour MPs since the formation of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1906.

Until 2010, it was Ian McCartney’s seat. He was the minister in the last Labour government who piloted the minimum wage legislation onto the statute book. In 1997, he won 73.6% of the vote.

Since 2010, Makerfield has been represented by Yvonne Fovargue. Until she announced she was standing down yesterday..

2. Worst take of the day: Nigel Farage scared Rishi Sunak into an early election

There are layers here. Under normal circumstances this post could comfortably be ridiculed as a barmy take. But this is Rishi Sunak that we’re talking about, his judgement is that bad. It’s possible that he was scared into it by Nigel Farage. In which case this still wins worst take of the day, it just happens to be true.

3. Gaffe of the day: Sunak on the Euros while visiting Wales (more…)

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He’s done what? The top 10 memes on Sunak’s sodden speech

22/05/2024, 11:28:06 PM

It was a banter launch for what will be undoubtedly a banter election. Within minutes of stepping out into Downing Street, Rishi Sunak was soaked, literally by the pouring rain and metaphorically in online ridicule as the internet’s wags seized on the unworldly bizarreness of the launch. Uncut has collated the top 10 that are making Westminster smile. Given Rishi Sunak’s political touch, this is unlikely to be the last top 10 of the campaign.

In reverse order:

10. Rishi as Partridge. Quite uncanny.

9. And we go live to the internal monologue of most Conservative MPs…

8. To be fair, the visuals here are much better than the actual announcement. There’s some sunshine and better composition than the Tory team managed.

7. If “Gullis eating soup with a fork” doesn’t make you smile then all we can say is ‘Sorry Jonathan, one day you’ll look back and laugh’


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The Tories have diminished the role of Prime Minister

20/04/2024, 08:10:17 AM

by Kevin Meagher

I was born under Harold Wilson, started school under James Callaghan and left under Margaret Thatcher.

My 16-year-old daughter was born under Gordon Brown, started school under David Cameron, then Theresa May, then Boris Johnson, then Liz Truss and is set to leave under Rishi Sunak.

A stark 2:1 ratio in a single generation.

In the modern age, it seems PMs are like buses.

And this presumes Sunak will last until my daughter’s GCSEs in the summer.

He remains the potential victim of either an early general election defeat, or a last- minute putsch by his own backbenchers to replace him, in the hope of a final-second reprieve from the voters.

It’s not just that the Tories have broken the constitutional precedent that parties should only ever change their leader/ prime minister once in a parliament before seeking the reapproval of the voters, it’s that they have diminished the office entirely.

Look at their record.

Hubristic David Cameron called and then lost a referendum on our EU membership that was practically unlosable, destabilising British politics ever since.

Dumbfounded by Parliament and party, Theresa May was unable to divine a coherent way forward over the country’s decision to quit and was forced out by her own side.


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If it’s really ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’ from Sunak, why not remove the whip from Liz Truss?

30/09/2023, 09:10:15 PM

by Kevin Meagher

‘In the next few days, we will all see more of the new-look Rishi Sunak,’ the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg predicted yesterday, previewing the Conservative party conference which is about to start in Manchester.

“’Mr Safe Pair of Hands’ is gone – it’s ‘No more Mr Nice Guy’ now,’ apparently.

Truly, the sort of dismal, by-the-numbers briefing that PMs in trouble always make.

John Major amusingly claimed that when your back’s against the wall, you should ‘turn around and come out fighting.’

Croaky Iain Duncan-Smith was the quiet man turning up the volume.

We’ve been here a million times.

When you’re taking political blows, the inevitable relaunch always looks to project raw power.

The claim of decisiveness is usually inverse to the reality.

The true test of a leader is what they do, not what they claim. A brand – or rebrand – must be founded on substance.

So, in a spirit of ecumenism from across the political aisle, let me suggest how Sunak can transform words into deeds with one simple move.

Remove the whip from Liz Truss.

Madam 49 Jours appears to have de-iced from the political Siberia she was sent to last year – by her own colleagues and the international money markets.


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The poetry of a better world is beyond Rishi being Rishi

25/09/2023, 11:04:00 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Let Rishi be Rishi, say his advisers. Let him try to set up a dividing line with him and hard-working families on one side and Labour on another. Let him talk gibberish about seven bins and attempt to associate Labour with this. Let him make a solemn speech to the nation from Downing Street, supposedly about tough choices for a shared future, when only a changed government, making different choices, will save our future.

The veneer of competence, which Sunak brought to his office when succeeding Liz Truss, was wearing very thin by the speech’s end. This is the latest phase of his benighted reign. There was the relative calm after the chaos of Truss and Boris Johnson. There were the five priorities for 2023 – which, for Sunak’s misfiring administration, are much more stretching than they initially seemed.

Having not stopped the boots, the role of ULEZ in the Uxbridge byelection appeared as a rubber ring. Many Uxbridge voters who will be unaffected by ULEZ voted Tory in misplaced protest. The latest phase of the Sunak is even more firmly rooted in desperate dishonesty than earlier ones.

The 2030 target for electric cars was achievable – because of investment unlocked by clear and consistent regulation. Instead of applying a similar approach to the 2035 target for boilers, Sunak has watered down both targets. Creating a dividing line between himself and the businesses that, with the right regulatory backing, would make such investment, while claiming to stand-up for hard-pressed households.

What would really help such households is to rapidly push green technologies along the S-curve: “a well-established phenomenon where a successful new technology reaches a certain catalytic tipping point (typically 5-10% market share), and then rapidly reaches a high market share (i.e. 50%+) within just a couple more years once past this tipping point.”

We see market trends in green technologies that align with the S-curve. Wind and solar power generation, for example, is now 12% of the global total from less than 1% a decade ago, growing at 20% per year. By effectively banning onshore wind farms in England for the past eight years and botching a recent auction for a major offshore wind farm, the UK is failing to fully take advantage of this emerging era.


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The Uncuts: 2022 Political Awards (Part III)

01/01/2023, 10:18:49 PM

Backbencher of the Year – Lee Anderson MP

Readers of the ConservativeHome website picked Lee Anderson, the Member of Parliament for Ashfield as their own backbencher of the year last week.

Rather than scour Hansard for the worthy contributions of countless Labour MPs, we thought it might be a good idea to second the motion and make Anderson our hero of the green benches too.

Hopefully it doesn’t need stating that our motivations are diametrically opposite.

Anderson personifies two hoary old truisms about the Conservatives.

First, JS Mill’s remark that it is the ‘stupid party.’

A rent-a-gob reactionary who presumably imagines himself as a man of the people, Anderson makes Peter Bone sound like Isiah Berlin.

He is also the corporeal representation of Theresa May’s line about the Tories being the ‘nasty party.’

Perhaps best-known for his advice that people on the breadline could make meals for 30 pence a day and that volunteers in food banks were merely ‘do gooders,’ Anderson has since branched out.

He recently upbraided nurses for their financial fecklessness (as he sees it) and made a boorish remark about how he would not follow Eddie Izzard into the toilets.

He is part of a long and ignoble tradition of ‘hang em’ and flog em’ Tory backbenchers, but his persona is based on a complete misconception of working-class voters.

They are not stupid.

They made what they thought was a rational choice in 2019. Like the other 60-odd Tory MPs in Red Wall seats in the North and Midlands, Anderson is the temporary beneficiary of Labour’s missteps with Corbyn and Brexit.

As the polling is now starting to show, these votes are borrowed, not paid for.

And no amount of stoking the culture war will disguise the cost-of-living crisis felt most keenly in working-class towns like the one he represents.

The next election will be won or lost on the economy, not trans rights and Anderson, like many of his colleagues, will pay the price for the government’s manifold failures in this regard.

Sensing the twilight of his brief parliamentary career, Anderson knows this, but he will not be able to help it.

He will continue to make a berk of himself and up the rhetorical ante as he does so. In fact, it feels like a safe bet to predict he will lose the Tory whip before the year is out.

Let’s see.

Pebble in the Shoe Award – Northern Ireland Protocol

Of all the grisly problems left behind in Rishi Sunak’s in-tray by his predecessors, the problem of the Northern Ireland Protocol – the political equivalent of Japanese knotweed – is proving stubbornly resilient to speedy remediation.

The post-Brexit proviso negotiated by Boris Johnson, effectively leaves Northern Ireland in the EU’s orbit as far as the importation of goods from Britain is concerned.


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