Wednesday 3 July 2024

 Just as the source of the Rivers Severn and Wye go back a long way so does the Tory annihilation

The sad premiership of Theresa May and Brexit party infighting;

Brexit and Covid-19 displayed all of the clownish, irresponsible, law-breaking premiership of Boris Johnson

 And then came the Liz Truss catastrophe;

The calmer but weak premiership of Rishi Sunak, coping with a divided party, he stood no chance

This election is about the revenge of the voters.

The source of the River Severn, just like the River Wye can be found in the Cambrian Mountains  before flowing down  to the Severn Estuary well over 200 miles away. It starts in a peat bog in Plynlimon before finally reaching the Bristol Channel. The source and course of the Wye is not too dissimilar, albeit a shorter river of some 150 miles, and reaches the Severn Estuary in Chepstow.

I’ve used the analogy as a way of describing how and why the Conservative party and Rishi Sunak in July 2024 are , if the polls are right, facing a catastrophe on  4th July. In many ways its not entirely his fault but he’s been caught up since 2015 in a shambolic Tory party. Indeed it can be argued that the problems first appeared in the Cameron/Osborne years 2010-16. Cameron’s austerity years and his complete failure to face up to the euro sceptics inside his party and Farage’s UKIP planted the seeds of early discontent.

So it was that Cameron agreed to an EU referendum – by common understanding it was supposed to be ‘advisory’ – but after the result was announced on June 23 2016 and despite a highly divisive result it quickly became ‘the will of the people’. From then on the dye was cast and not only the political parties faced divisions and acrimony so Britain was broken. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain and though Wales voted to leave it was only by a majority no bigger than the crowd at the Principality Stadium  Instead of Staying and fighting Cameron and Osborne did a bunk leaving poor Theresa May with premiership years totally dominated by Brexit and an acrimonious party that was split into several competing ‘tribes’.

The austerity years wrought havoc with peoples’ lives and coming on top of a general feeling that the nations, regions and communities had been left behind was a golden opportunity of Johnson, Gove, Farage et al to exploit and so they did ruthlessly and misleadingly. Even May and Truss, pro remaining in  the EU as was Boris Johnson until he realised this was the path to becoming Premier joined this bandwagon. Unachievable promises were made and people desperate for ‘salvation’ understandably fell for this false vision of a brave new world outside the EU.

Theresa May, hounded by the euro sceptics who were beginning to smell blood with Boris Johnson manoeuvring behind the scenes decided to call a general election in 2017 and it turned out to be a disastrous campaign for her and the party. She carried on with the support of the DUP but over the next two years Theresa May's government was defeated on 33 divisions in the House of Commons over Brexit leading to the resignation of Theresa May as Prime Minister and the appointment of Boris Johnson as the new prime minister on 24 July 2019. His slogan was ‘lets get Brexit done’ ‘l Of course it is true to say that in the then opposition leaders Jeremy Corbyn (Labour) and Jo Swinson (Lib Dem) he was confronted by two inadequate leaders of their parties.

Johnson found it difficult to get ‘Brexit done’ in the early stages of his premiership so eventually he took the drastic step to divide the Tory party even more by sacking over 20 of his MPs from the party – and pretty important people too, many had served as Cabinet Ministers even tin Maggie Thatcher’s time. Now he was in a stronger position and eventually Britain left the EU January 1 2020 but not before Johnson had made so many false claims over the deal he and Lord Frost had agrred with Brussels. In September 2019 he controversially asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the run up to the Brexit deadline and was accused of having lied to her over his  reasons. Then  the Supreme Court ruled that the suspension of Parliament was unlawful.

By now, although there had been several examples of senior people warning the Tory party not to elect him as leader because of his character, untrustworthiness, deceit 9both in his personal and political life) it was becoming understood that those warnings were not without foundation. His former Head teacher revealed some early signs of his behaviour and character, then Max Hastings in a withering critique went further. Others followed suit including Chris Patten, former Chairman of the Tory Party and the last Governor of Hong Kong who wrote that ‘Boris confuses fact and fiction’.

Whilst the Brexit controversy was coming to its end game in November 2019  news broke of a potential pandemic – Covid 19 – discovered first in Wuhan, China. The first case documented in the UK was on January 31 2020.  It is not my intention to retrace the entrails of Johnson’s lamentable performances over the next couple of years, save to mention partygate and the inquiry into did he deliberately mislead Parliament that eventually brought his downfall.

On September 6 2022 Boris Johnson was forced to resign in pretty ignominious circumstance with the majority of the members of his government resigning, something like 60 in all  – led in part by Rishi Sunak. Finally after an initial flurry of candidates In a subsequent leadership election Liz Truss became PM and her economic policy ideas allied with the Chancellor Kwasi  Kwarteng wrought havoc on the financial markets and more. Her  premiership only lasted 49 days, forced to resign on October 25 2022 and her reign coincided with period of the Queen’s death and mourning.

So now we’re getting into the Sunak premiership that has lasted some 21 months. Enough has been pored over during 2024 so don’t intent to  pursue in this blog But his premiership has been during the highest level of inflation people have suffered in a long time, ever increasing NHS waiting lists, public services under severe pressure, the dire state of the public finances and the national debt.  

Its been a dismal 14 years, chaotic so often over the years especially after 2015. If the polling is accurate and Labour has a super majority its the voters’ revenge for at least 8 years.

By now the Severn and Wye rivers have reached the sea!  Yet so many issues have not covered including levelling up and some of Sunak’s broken promises on migration, stopping the small boats and more.

Probably should have selected the River Danube or the Rhine as my starting point1