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Samizdata quote of the day

Tory MPs didn’t even give Truss a chance. They cut her off at the knees before she could even begin. They don’t appear to want to be in power any more.

Philip Johnston

31 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • KJP

    Yeah. “Mad” Nad Dorries wants to call a general election with Labour 28 points in the lead. Unbelievable.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A lot of Tory MPs do appear to be of very low quality in terms of character and judgement. Many of them were happy to indulge Mr Johnson during the lockdowns and the instructions of SAGE, although a few did speak out. They’ve not, with the odd exception, called into question any of the problems that, to her credit, Ms Truss has focused on. And now that the “optics” (a term I am beginning to loathe) of tax cuts on high earners etc are upsetting the thicker end of the chatterati, they demand a change of direction.

    Printing money for more than 11 years, and raising taxes to the highest level in 70 years, and then presiding over a Soviet-style NHS and public sector that sucks in ever larger sums of money, is not a sustainable proposition. Maybe some MPs prefer that Sir Keir Starmer or whoever from the Labour side can handle this, but it won’t, and instead we will have more socialism, more stagnation, more identity politics, and a gerrymandered electoral system that makes it even harder to dislodge the problem.

    So Conservative MPs have a choice: they can accept this situation, or can show a bit of courage and push back. They may still lose their seats, but put down a marker.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    No. They want to win, but think that Truss’s measures will make them lose.

  • No. They want to win, but think that Truss’s measures will make them lose.

    If they think reducing the top tax rate back to where it was for 12 years under the previous Labour government will lose them the election, then they are in the wrong party.

  • Martin

    Many of them were happy to indulge Mr Johnson during the lockdowns and the instructions of SAGE, although a few did speak out

    Did Liz Truss?

    I haven’t looked at her ministerial career under a microscope but just glancing at her career since she got her first ministerial role she seems to have gone from job to job under Cameron, May, and Johnson and don’t remember her causing much of a fuss about what these governments were doing, let alone threatening to or actually resign over principle.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I haven’t looked at her ministerial career under a microscope but just glancing at her career since she got her first ministerial role she seems to have gone from job to job under Cameron, May, and Johnson and don’t remember her causing much of a fuss about what these governments were doing, let alone threatening to or actually resign over principle.

    If you are hoping for some insurgent rebel who never had a job under any of the previous administrations, and thus untainted, the problem is that the only candidates tend to be – how shall I put this? – oddballs, or those who were unemployable in any ministerial role. Truss has negotiated a ton of trade deals since Brexit – one of the few ministers who seemed to focus on the opportunities of leaving the EU, and continued even when the government got taken over by SAGE/the Whitehall blob. I recall that Margaret Thatcher was an education minister under Ted Heath in the early 70s and wasn’t all that good until people figured her out a few years later. I wasn’t all that taken with Truss, but the focus of her policy right now is correct. That people are reacting so hysterically against it tells me more about them than her.

    I don’t even have an issue that she used to be a LibDem. People change. It’s quite encouraging, otherwise political persuasion would be a waste of time.

  • James

    A lot of the new midland and northern Tory mps seem quite left in their attitude to state spending/intervention.

  • lucklucky

    I am afraid most conservatives are socialists. Otherwise how to explain UK? haven’t they be in power already for a long time?

  • Paul Marks

    To be fair, most of the Johnson/Sunak tax increases have been reversed – although reversing proposed tax increases is not really “cutting taxes”.

    The reduction in the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40% would have been a tax cut – but only to the level that the top rate of income tax was under Prime Minister Blair. However, it would have violated the unofficial international tax cartel, income tax in Britain (for businesspeople) would have been lower than it is in France or New York or California or Frankfurt, or Tokyo, or…, and we are not allowed to have income tax below the level in other “major financial centres” (the world “governance” crowd do not like the idea).

    The idea that Mr Gove and other Sunak supporters were “worried about the deficit” is bunk – they did not say a word about the hundreds of billions of Pounds created (from nothing) to fund the insane (utterly insane – they did NOT “save lives”) lockdowns, and they are not opposing the “energy price cap” (the big increase in government sending announced a few days ago).

    Will they support reducing the benefits bill? Of course, they will not. And they will not support reversing union power either – they remain committed to the Acts of 1875, 1906 and so on (note to the ignorant – these Acts did not “legalise Trade Unions” they already were legal, the Acts gave the Unions POWERS – which they used to create structural unemployment and help create the relative decline of British industry).

    The Conservative Party people leaving the Conference will find there are no trains to take them home – and the staff will not be sacked for not turning up to work because it is a “strike” you see (see W.H. Hutt’s “The Strike Threat System” for how this chaos was created by government interventions – Acts of Parliament).

    The only small (very small) silver lining on a very dark clow is that, now, any economic collapse cannot be blamed on “tax cuts for the rich”, because there have not been any.

  • Paul Marks

    Meanwhile in the United States tax as a proportion of the economy is at a record high.

    “What about Word War II” – I have not forgotten World War II, and I can tell you that people in New York, California and on and on are paying more in their income in all the taxes put together than they were during World War II. Remember the top rates of income tax back then were window dressing – as it was possible to legally avoid them, if one takes all taxes put together Federal, including Social Security taxes, and State and local taxes) people are paying more now than they did during World War II.

  • Martin

    If you are hoping for some insurgent rebel who never had a job under any of the previous administrations, and thus untainted, the problem is that the only candidates tend to be – how shall I put this? – oddballs, or those who were unemployable in any ministerial role

    There’s a big space in between the perpetual backbencher and the perpetually loyal office holder.

    If Truss was presenting herself as continuity Boris it might be less of a political issue. Boris ended up being a poor PM but back in 2019 one of the genius things he did do was to run not just against the opposition but effectively also against the May/Cameron governments that preceded him. As Boris had backed Brexit in 2016 and had resigned from the May Cabinet over principle, he had some credibility with this message.

    However it is harder for Truss to justify why she wants a big departure from what the previous 3 PMs she served. She doesn’t seem to have complained about the direction these governments were going at the time. I understand cabinet collective responsibility and all that but I can understand why people now find Truss lacking credibility.

    A lot of the new midland and northern Tory mps seem quite left in their attitude to state spending/intervention

    Many of these areas until recently frequently elected Labour MPs so what would you expect? Had they ran radical free marketeers in these places it’s unlikely they would have won. Significant elements of the Tory electorate of 2019 (or 2017) was different to what it was in 2010.

  • Fraser Orr

    Perhaps what Liz Truss needs is for Argentina to invade the Falklands?

  • WindyPants

    Mr. Marks wrote

    “The only small (very small) silver lining on a very dark clow is that, now, any economic collapse cannot be blamed on “tax cuts for the rich”, because there have not been any.”

    In the period between the coalition government of 2010 and the end of Cameron and Osborne following the Brexit vote in 2016, uncountable inches were devoted to left-wing squinnying lamenting “austerity”. This was despite there being no reduction in spending throughout that period. The left have their attack line – Truss favours the rich. GAME OVER.

  • Alex

    Perhaps what Liz Truss needs is for Argentina to invade the Falklands?

    In the 1980s probably most British people were in favour of taking them back. If the same situation arose today, we’d have a media that would spend thousands of hours and a trillion litres of ink in proving that the British people have no appetite for another “imperialist war” and that the Falklands are worthless and should just be ceded to Argentina. The enemies are well and truly within the gates. I doubt very much it would have the same effect for Truss as it did for Thatcher, not least as she’d find it hard to get a war bill through Parliament.

  • Steven R

    How does this work in the UK? Doesn’t the ruling party in Parliament, be it Labour or Conservative, pick the Prime Minister? And she’s been the PM for like three weeks and in that time really only dealt with the Queen’s death? And now her party wants to fire her?

    Does that mean there’s a new general election or just the party decides who becomes the new PM if there are enough party members to oust her? Or something else?

  • Kirk

    As an outsider, you rather get the impression that the Tory party has the same sort of co-dependent relationship going on with Labor that the Republicans have with the Democrats at the national level. You see the same sort of dysfunction going on, with the party saying they’re conservative in all things, and then when in power, governing as though they were Labor-lite.

    In other words, there’s really not a knife-edge worth of difference between the two.

    I wonder how long the electorate in both countries is going to put up with that, when what they really want is actually more in the middle than either party is saying they are? The US is ripe for another “lurch to the center” by one of the two parties, forced there by the fact that they’re not going to be electable until they start actually producing rational results. At the rate things are going, it may be generations…

  • Steven R

    At least in the US, the Republicans are content to be the Loyal Opposition. They don’t do much when they do have the majority in both houses of Congress and the White House. I think the party is very happy to not be in the driver’s seat but instead to act as a spoiler for the Dems, if only for the pork and to line their own pockets. Meanwhile they are able to tell the rubes back home they’re fighting the good fight and to keep writing those checks to the GOP can get ’em next time.

    At least at the Federal level At the state level, the Republicans can get things done in flyover country.

  • Kirk

    Not even at state, TBH. Our local state reps are more worried about getting state funding for idiot projects than doing anything about the rampant fraud and election abuses going on here. They capitulated a long, long time ago, and only proved it when they didn’t fight the vote-by-mail BS.

    All that Republicans are, these days, would be corrupt partners of the Democrats at all levels. They won’t fight for anything, and are just worried about getting along to get along. Bastards.

    My voting policy these days is “vote against any and all incumbents”. When the time comes, and they’re all being led out to be hung after the trials, all I’m going to be doing is laughing my ass off at them all.

    I ain’t ruling out that a lot of our politicians won’t wind up as the “guests of honor” at an impromptu barbecue put on by their constituents. Mood out here is getting ugly.

  • Steven R

    I remember a story about Ben Nelson after he voted for cloture for the Obamacare bill after he got the Cornhusker Kickback, but before they went through the actual vote. He went home to Nebraska and went out on a date night with his wife and ended up at some local pizza place where he was booed out of the building. If the locals had simply tarred and feathered him (or barring that used piping hot pizza sauce and mozzarella), it would have reminded all those Congresscritters that there are worse things that can happen besides losing an election.

    I sometimes wonder if we aren’t a bit too civilized these days that a little mob violence directed at public officials who anger us is simply not seen as an option. I mean, it certainly got the point across to Thomas Hutchinson that the Stamp Act wasn’t particularly popular in Boston.

    No, Special Agent whoever, I’m not actually calling for violence against anyone, just musing.

  • How does this work in the UK? (Steven R (October 5, 2022 at 3:49 pm)

    A full answer would be very long. 🙂 I will try to be brief.

    IIUC, under Tory party rules, Liz, being a newly-elected Tory party leader, cannot now be challenged, let alone fired as party leader, for one year.

    IIUC, the fixed-term parliament act has now been repealed, so unless enough of her MPs to deprive her of a majority rebel on a House of Common’s motion of no confidence (not just any vote), the next election is when she calls it or in not much more than two years. (In current circumstances, the two seem unlikely to be far apart.

    Technically, all that happened here (i’m guessing) is enough of her MPs threatening not to vote for the budget that she had no choice (or thought it very unsafe) to withhold the concession of dropping that cut. Technically, it’s not at all the same as sacking, but politically – let’s just say it’s a bad look to the start of Liz’ tenure.

    Arguably, my old post Harry Potter and the Ignorance of Ignorance is not without relevance. 🙂

  • You see the same sort of dysfunction going on, with the party saying they’re conservative in all things, and then when in power, governing as though they were Labor-lite. In other words, there’s really not a knife-edge worth of difference between the two.

    No, not really. The Tories of 2022 are like the Labour Party under Tony Blair (which is why I call a great many Tories Blue Blairites), essentially “centre-left” (but I really hate the Left-Right paradigm). But the Labour Party after the Blair-Brown years (1997-2010) went full blown Marxist under Corbyn, and whilst Corbyn is gone, Corbynites remain. So no, the Tories, even the Tory wets, are not that similar to Labour. Who the Blue Blairites are similar to is the LibDems.

    US and UK political dynamics have very little in common, the systems and cultures are too different and the hot-button issues are dissimilar.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Call me cynical if you will, but I believe that the frothing and foaming by the Great And The Good over the last week or so has very little to do with the Truss government’s now-dumped proposal to scrap the 45p tax rate, or indeed anything else that the ‘mini budget’ contained.

    I suspect it is much more to do with the fact that the Truss administration proposes to ‘sunset’ the majority of ‘retained’ EU law by the end of 2023, thus making any attempt at ‘rejoining’ the EU or merely ‘aligning’ with it that much more difficult. That’s the underlying driver here; it has little or nothing to do with the McGuffin of the 45p tax rate.

    All the efforts and resources of the Blob and their allies in the ‘Davos-oise’ will now therefore be aimed at removing her and replacing her with someone more Euro-submissive before that can happen. They will do literally anything to get Starmer into No 10 if they can possibly succeed in bouncing Truss into calling a general election while the EU laws remain on the books; if not, a second go for Sunak to take the top job will be their fallback option.

  • TomJ

    @StevenR: Once upon a time the leader of the Conservative party was selected by the MPs. Then someone had the idea this was insufficiently democratic, so MPs winnow those of their number nominated for leader down to 2 candidates on whom the members then vote (unless, as in the case of the May coronation, one of the 2 withdraws). This can lead to a leader who does not actually have the confidence of a majority of their own MPs. Which, given a PM is meant to have the confidence of a majority of all MPs, is a problem.

    @Niall: They’re not so much rules as guidelines; the ’22 can change them with very little notice, as Boris’s defenestration demonstrates. The threat of a rule change meant ministers felt confident enough to resign which led to his own resignation.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk – the Democrats, including Joseph Biden, have an agenda that includes censorship of medical doctors (the functional end of the 1st Amendment) and the sexual mutilation of children.

    Yes, the sexual mutilation of children – and it is not just Governor Newsom of California, it is “Joe – the Big Guy” (or whoever writes his words for him) who supported “Trans-rights” for eight-year-old children in 2020 (televised “Town Hall” for Candidate Biden) – and whose Surgeon General’s main priority is “gender affirming surgery” for children.

    So that puts “there is not a knife’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans” to an end – there is a “knife’s worth” of difference, and it is a very cruel knife.

    People who vote Democrat are supporting the sexual mutilation of children and people who vote Republican are opposing the sexual mutilation of children. This is an important difference between the parties.

  • Paul Marks

    As for Conservative MPs “wanting to win”(Nickolas Gray) – not all of them, not if it means offending the establishment, the international establishment.

    Ending mass illegal migration, all those illegals put up in hotels and stately homes (yes stately homes) would win a lot of votes – getting out of the various international treaties and agreements such as the European Convention on Human Rights, and the United Nations Refugee Treaty.

    Working Class voters passionately oppose this tide of illegals – they would vote Conservative if the Conservative Party made a real move against the illegals.

    So Conservative M.P.s would all support getting out of the ECHR and the UN Refugee Treaty? Of course, NOT – as being in line with the international establishment is much more important to some of them than winning an election.

    That is the brutal truth Nicholas – “they want to win” – no they do NOT, not all of them. Not if it means offending the international establishment. After all many of these M.P.s are “educated” people.

    They did not oppose the reduction of the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40% because they thought it would cost votes in 2024 – they may have said that, but that was NOT their motive.

    Their motive was to keep in line with the unofficial international (world “governance”) tax cartel – taxes for individual businessmen in London must NOT be lower than in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, Frankfurt, or Tokyo.

    After all we do not want to be nasty “Nationalists” (boo-hiss) like the Hungarian government.

    “But unless we reduce taxes, and government spending, the economy will not be saved – and we will lose the next general election”.

    That does not matter to them – it does NOT matter to them, not to the MPs who are loyal to the international “educated” “liberal” establishment.

  • Paul Marks

    My apologies – the top rate of income tax in Japan is 41% as it is in the Republic of Ireland.

    So, they are not in line with the unofficial international tax cartel on income tax – as the United Kingdom, sadly, is. In the United Kingdom taxes on individuals are much the same as they are in the other “major financial centres” in Europe (with the exception of Switzerland) and the United States.

    We can expect more pressure over the years to enforce an international tax cartel – as a part of unofficial world “governance”. “Digital Currency” will also be part of this – allowing governments and pet corporations to control both income and what the income is spent upon.

    To take words from “1984” – if you want to have a vision of the future, imagine a boot – stamping down on a human face (for ever).

    That is what the “liberal”, the “educated”, want. Including, sadly, some pro establishment MPs.

  • Paul Marks

    “Oddly enough” if one adds all income taxes (local, Canton and Confederal) in the financial centre of Zurich – the number comes out at 40% for the top rate. The international tax cartel is becoming a reality for major “financial centres” of the western Credit Bubble economy – “Switzerland is not Credit Bubble, its currency is linked to gold!”, no it is NOT, not since the 1990s (the new Constitution).

    As for the United States – if there is to be any serious investigation of Covid 19, its artificial origins in Wuhan (hello Tony Fauci and Peter Daszak – “Eco Health Alliance”), its spread around the world (Wuhan international airport remaining open – long after internal travel was restricted), the lies that Tony Fauci told about how the virus was not a real threat to the United States, the lies that the establishment told smearing Early Treatment of Covid 19 (those lies cost a vast number of lives), and the toxic “vaccines” (that horror is only just being revealed). Then the Republicans must control the House and the Senate – only then will people such as Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ron Johnson be in control of the committees that can investigate the worst scandal in American history.

    A million Americans have died – and the establishment do not care, they could not give a damn. Indeed, they welcome the deaths – as it gave them a chance to push their international Collectivist agenda. If the truth is ever to come to the public and the guilty are to be punished – then people, such as Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Rand Paul must be in ranking positions on the committees in the Senate. Otherwise, the dead will continue to be urinated upon by the international establishment.

    Of course, people such as Senator Rand Paul might want to investigate certain other matters as well – which is why the establishment (including some Republicans – such as Senator Lindsey Graham) are working very hard to prevent the Republicans winning control of the Senate.

    “Politicians always want to win elections” – not establishment politicians, no.

  • Steven R

    You have far more faith in any results of a committee on COVID than I do. We have Senate and House hearings and committees all the time on all kinds of big issues and nothing ever comes from them except sound bites and the very rare “gotcha!” moment. No one important ever ends up perp walked or tried, much less in prison. The money is gone, nothing actually changes, no one is accountable.

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

  • Fraser Orr

    @Zerren Yeoville
    Call me cynical if you will, but I believe that the frothing and foaming by the Great And The Good over the last week or so has very little to do with the Truss government’s now-dumped proposal to scrap the 45p tax rate, or indeed anything else that the ‘mini budget’ contained.

    I don’t follow politics in the UK particularly carefully, but this struck me a little — the idea that the 45p tax rate was so sacrosanct that she had to backtrack on it. It is a curiosity of human thinking that we think that that the status quo is normal, and moving away from it is controversial. But think for a moment how outrageous this is. For people who are successful they have to give HALF of what they earn on the margin to the government. It is quite simply an outrage. We are so used to it that we think it is perfectly reasonable to forcibly talk half of these earnings, but it isn’t. It is a moral abomination.

    And if you use the legal mechanisms of law to try to reduce that burden you are somehow regarded as scummy, a criminal, if not technically so, kind of like a murderer who gets off on a technicality. FWIW, it is just as bad in the US, but it really struck me when you commented on it.

  • Steven R

    I would accept the rich man’s taxes (well, I wouldn’t but work with me here) more if our betters weren’t doing everything in their power to sidestep them. Like when John Kerry got caught registering his yacht in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts because RI had a lower tax rate on that kind of property.

    It’s the hypocrisy that really angers me. At least put your money where your mouth is.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Steven R
    It’s the hypocrisy that really angers me. At least put your money where your mouth is.

    TBH I don’t agree. It is the taxes that bother me. Saying politicians are hypocrites is like saying water is wet.

    But, FWIW, for the record, I strongly disagree and distance myself from the various calls for or at least approval of, violence against politicians. It is wrong, and, TBH, I think it represents a misunderstanding of the problem. The problem isn’t corrupt, hypocritical politicians it is that much of what they do almost everyone agrees with. Sure we argue about the top 5% of issues, but the rest of the horrendous iceberg is almost taken for granted. Such as the fact that the rich should “pay their fair share”, by which they mean the top 10% of taxpayers paying for nearly all the government isn’t fair. Which it isn’t. But they mean it the opposite way that I do.

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