What Truss-Up

It’s like rain, on your wedding day

A free ride, when you’re already there

10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife


I really don’t know where to begin. The Internet meme-makers are having a field-day. In a pub somewhere between Berkshire & the Cotswolds, ex PMs Cameron & May are comparing notes and coming to the conclusion that even they didn’t mess up this badly.

It looks as though, for the next week anyway, the country is being steered by the Treasury. Ironic that what triggered Sajid Javid’s resignation as chancellor (remember that – it seems eons ago?) was his spat with Dominic Cummings over bringing Number’s 10 & 11 Downing Street into a closer working relationship. With Number 10 in charge of course. Now Jeremy Hunt, beaten into second place in the last but one race to be PM by Cummings erstwhile boss, is, to all intents and purposes, the man in charge. Cummings, the man who started out playing Warwick the Kingmaker, but ended up as Iago, and coming a similar cropper. Ironic.

There are lots of theories doing the rounds on t’internet about what might happen between now and the end of the week when the new Tory Party leader will be announced. If they’d kept the timeline as short last time, we might not be in this mess. I started to go through the permutations, but gave up once I’d got to 8 scenarios, all equally plausible. Some of them.hortibly so.

Suffice to say, by the time all this is done, Sir Graham Brady’s profile will be high enough to get him onto Strictly next year. He’s already more famous than half if this year’s cohort, apart from the fabulous if flatfooted, Tony Adams.

I’m away for 10 days so anything I write here will be over-taken by events, more so than usual. Still, for what it’s worth, here’s one possible outcome:

Sunak PM , Hunt Chancellor, Mordant Foreign Sec; Javid Health Sec, Zahawi Education Sec. Although as I write this Penny Mordaunt has just declared she’s standing, so who knows? 

I think Jeremy Hunt pit it best when he told the 1922 Committee that this would all be really fascinating stuff if he weren’t stuck in the middle of the mess.

For mess it surely is. What angers me most about the past 45days is the fact that the people who are paying the price for Truss and Kwarteng’s economic experiment are those who can least afford it. Those who are struggling to feed themselves and their children, the pensioners scared to put the heating on or boil the kettle, Teresa May’s Just-About–Managings. All those people for whom interest rate rises and inflation are very scary indeed. 

By picking the wrong candidate, by choosing to believe Truss’s fairy-tales about growth and low taxes, over Sunak’s painful Halloween tale, the grass roots Tory Party members made it much much worse.

Hunt is right, it is interesting, but there may come a point when even this politics geek just wants to say: truss ’em. Truss ’em all to hell.



About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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