On 6 September, Liz Truss officially became the Prime Minister, having won the Conservative leadership election that followed Boris Johnson’s resignation.
Since then, her administration has pushed through extremely radical, untested, and damaging policies that were not included in the 2019 manifesto. Truss of course did not become Prime Minister at a general election. She doesn’t have millions of supporters around the country. She won the Conservative Leadership bid with 81,326 votes. Just 81,326 in this country have cast a vote for Truss. That’s not even enough people to fill Twickenham and represents 0.12% of the population.
We have to ask ourselves; who voted for this? By what authority is this Government acting? They cannot claim any mandate from the Earth. Indeed, its promised new policies are literally the most anti-environmental of any government ever.
Truss’s extreme policies include, but are in no way limited to, the scrapping of environmental protection in so-called ‘investment zones’; a damaging retreat on the previously-extant plans to have a proper environmental farming rewards scheme; swathes of tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich; and the proposed scrapping of caps on banker bonuses.
Considering her lack of mandate, here simply is no justification for the implementation of such damaging and unpopular policies which seven out of 10 Conservative voters disagree with. This Government has no manifesto-basis for the radical — and, thus far, already utterly disastrous programme it is proposing and enacting.
The Winners and Losers
We should not forget that these policies aren’t a mistake or an error in judgement. While many of us are struggling during this cost-of-living crisis, there is a tiny but very influential cadre who, as a direct result of this Government’s undemocratic policy programme, are already thriving.
Crispin Odey is a major donor to the Conservative Party having given over £350,000 and is the former employer of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng. Hedge fund managers have backed Truss and then profited hugely from the pound tanking. After her first Budget was unveiled, Odey’s hedge fund is up 145% after he made firm bets against the pound, a bet that came off due to Truss-Kwarteng’s policies which have seen the value of the pound be decimated. While everyone else in the country is being squeezed, the Conservative Party donors are cashing in.
To push through such extreme new policies with no mandate is unconstitutional. We have a constitution (albeit unmodified), and Truss is in violation of it.
The only way to justify the forcing through of policies that the electorate has not approved is to go to the electorate. To implement the policies Truss wants to implement she must have a mandate, and a mandate of such a nature can of course only be given at a general election. This Government is not following the manifesto of 2019, and so must seek consent from the people. It must call a snap election; let the people decide.
Of course, Truss will not do this. She and her Government are frightened of the electorate, frit… So the opposition must point out the unacceptability of the situation to the electorate — and be focused on how to ensure victory and not grant the Conservative Party a fifth victory on any bounce. The goal for all opposition parties must be to ensure the defeat of this uniquely reckless, damaging, unconstitutional, unsound-money, anti-conservation ‘Conservative’ Government.
A Progressive Alliance
In 1997, Labour and the Liberal Democrats agreed that the ousting of John Major’s Conservative Government was a priority.
As such, they didn’t fight against each other in key Conservative-majority seats and ran ‘paper candidates’ only in such seats. This played an important part in the Major’s 1997 decimation.
We are once again in an epoch where many of us feel that the desperation to rid ourselves from this Government is stronger than the desire for a particular party to replace it; and this time, the situation is far more serious and urgent.
People will die as a result of the Government’s policies on climate and the spending cuts it will soon be forced into, having botched the economy so horrendously. The time is ripe for history to repeat itself, and for the opposition parties to enter a tacit non-aggression pact with one another to maximise their effectiveness against the most harmful, incompetent, and callous Government this country has seen.
In 1997 this pact was only between Labour and Lib Dems, but now it should be between all serious opposition where common ground can be found, including Greens, Plaid Cymru, and the SNP.
A general election is unlikely in the extreme to be called anytime soon. This means the next time the country heads to the ballot box will be the local elections in May 2023.
Local elections often sadly receive less attention than they should, but if this Government keeps forcing through their terrible policies, you can bet that the popular anger against the Conservatives will see more people taking their local elections seriously.
This anger, combined with a subtle non-aggression pact between opposition parties, including mutual standing-asides in target seats where this can be arranged locally, could see thousands upon thousands of seats flee from Conservative control in a blue exodus reminiscent of 1945, combined with a red, green and yellow wave.
The opposition parties must keep their eyes on the prize and not fall to squabbling amongst themselves. We cannot afford another Conservative Government. We cannot even afford this one.