When an ugly power play marks the end of the career of a phenomenally successful politician, it presents a painful sight. From all accounts in the British press in the most recent weeks, it was clear that the night of the long knives was approaching for Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Enoch Powell, if I remember correctly, once said that the tragedy of most politicians is that they do not know when to quit public life before the sun starts descending westward on their career. Indeed, Truss invited upon herself such an ignominious end to her stunning political career.
For, she should have known that in life, it’s more important to be aware of one’s weaknesses than strengths. But she was fired up by an overvaulting ambition to slip into the shoes of Margaret Thatcher, while it was crystal clear to anyone who watched her controversial visit to Moscow in February that Truss was perilously close to being exposed as an incompetent politician. Come to think of it, she eagerly sought an invitation from Moscow keenly seeking media headlines as a tough-talking diplomat even as the storms were gathering over Ukraine.
But then, Truss probably believes that success and competence are not necessarily inter-related and politics is all about packaging and marketing — or, plain luck. She’s right in thinking so. Boris Johnson had his uses for her. But Truss ignored the fact that Britain is not only sick but likely terminally ill, and only a politician with a magic wand can navigate the country out of its misery, and that she was not up to the task.
The result is that within a month of her time as prime minister, Truss has proved that Zelensky curse is real. If she wanted to abandon plans to scrap the scheduled increase in corporation tax from 19 to 25 %, it was bad. But when she retracted, that was also bad. The political atmosphere became sulfurous.
Of course, a day is a long time in politics, but from the look of it, Truss is a burnt-out case and her days as prime minister are numbered. Attention has already turned to Rishi Sunak as her likely successor. Will that make any difference?
Sunak bears an uncanny resemblance to Barack Obama — a voluble, charismatic, well-educated globalist, who would have acceptability with the country’s permanent establishment as someone who can be trusted not to upset the apple cart. But is that all that is needed to steer Britain out of crisis mode?
A significant part of Britain’s travails today stems out of the West’s sanctions against Russia. According to a Sunday Telegraph report, by mid-April, British citizens were already militating against the sanctions due to rising prices, especially fuel prices. The Guardian newspaper also reported that there would be inflationary pressure and economy will slow down in the UK following economic measures against Russia.
“The shockwaves from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will cut UK living standards by £2,500 per household, lead to more persistent inflationary pressure and slow the economy to a standstill next year, economists fear,” the newspaper wrote in March.
Market confidence has crashed, the value of the pound and government bonds is tanking and the Bank of England is restive, as investors fear that the British economy cannot possibly underwrite a £60 billion hit to public debt.
On the other hand, public spending must be cut even at the risk of provoking a broader social explosion. But, how to find tens of billions of pounds of cuts in just three weeks? The sell-off of bonds and the fall in the pound prompted the Bank of England to raise interest rates more quickly than planned, which in turn sent mortgages soaring.
The catch is, if Sunak is indeed brought in as PM, that will be the outcome of a palace coup and for the wrong reasons, especially his formidable manipulative skill in the corridors of power. Times wrote: “Senior Conservatives are holding talks about replacing Liz Truss with a joint ticket of Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt as part of a ‘coronation’ by MPs.”
“Around ‘20 to 30’ former ministers and senior backbenchers are attempting to find a way for a ‘council of elders’ to tell Truss to quit.” The coup is executed almost openly by the world’s banks and asset managers with the rising expectation that the new team might restore confidence in the UK economy — while, in reality, would satisfy the interests of the financial oligarchy.
If the trick doesn’t work or if something goes seriously wrong, there is Plan B — a general election. The interesting part is that if the opposition Labour wins — as it well might with current polling figures showing that the Conservatives will be reduced to just 85 seats, down from 356, and their worst ever result by far — the interests of the financial oligarchy will remain utterly safe in the hands of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who can be trusted to serve the global speculators and corporate boardrooms. After the overthrow of Jeremy Corbyn, there was a thorough purge of his flock of socialists.
It is a dreary outcome. Recently, Al Jazeera featured a riveting report about the working of inner party democracy within Labour, which shows “how the party’s bureaucrats, whose nominal function is to serve the interests of the party, attempted to undermine members supportive of Jeremy Corbyn,… Labour’s leader from 2015 to 2020,… the first unequivocally socialist leader of the party since the 1980s, (who) rode a wave of popular discontent against the political establishment, standing on a platform of public ownership of key industries, a strengthened welfare state, and an end to the austerity measures imposed by the Conservative government at that time.”
Both in terms of the class war at home and Britain’s war against Russia and China abroad, no serious shift can be expected out of a regime change calibrated by the Deep State. The only silver lining is that Britain’s capacity to fuel the Ukraine war has drastically diminished as it fights its own battle for survival. With a 80,000-strong standing army — one-fourth the size of Eritrea’s —Britain was anyway punching far above its weight in Ukraine.
The right thing to do is for the next UK prime minister to visit Washington without delay and prevail upon President Biden to end this senseless war in Ukraine and lift the sanctions against Russia, which bled the economies of the UK and other European allies. The heart of the matter is that Europe’s prosperity was built on the availability of cheap, reliable, energy supplies from Russia in huge volumes.
But it will be a dare-devil act — almost suicidal — for Sunak or any British politician to take on the Deep State. Will Sunak be up to it? Left to himself, he never sounded enthusiastic about the Ukraine war or the regime in Kiev. So, will the Deep State take chances? Indeed, that is precisely where the chances of Ben Wallace, the defense secretary, would lie. A dark horse trotting down the path in the wilderness of British politics!