The leadership contest – where do we go from here? Letter to the editor

Where do we go from here? The British electorate faces a challenge like never before, writes Jeremy Hall, from Devon:

The nightmare of the Johnson era has gone forever (?), but a Johnson crony (Sunak or Truss) will be imposed on the rest of us by 160,000 Tory Party members who are richer than, whiter than and older than the average Brit. Doesn’t this show how duplicitous Mr Gove was when he said that Britain is “a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world to follow”?                                                                             

Do the two candidates have integrity? Mr Sunak kept his American Green Card – which involves retaining a permanent home in the US, both while he was an MP from 2015 onwards and while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Does the second most important political job in a country no longer involve a total commitment to that country? Really? At least Mr Sunak has said that if he wins he will immediately declare a “state of crisis” with special emphasis on the NHS. Identifying the NHS as the national crisis is a positive step but can sufficient improvements be made there without turning even more of the National Health Service over to private investment, which means that profit for the shareholders is more important than the health of the nation?

Miss Truss says that her first priority will be “a bonfire of EU red-tape that is preventing the UK from being profitable”. In championing attack mode Miss T is following the teaching of Prof Minford, one of the very few British economists who see nothing but positives in leaving the EU. In 2017 he stated that post-Brexit UK could do without industry and agriculture as major economic sectors and that every household would be £5000 per annum better off by leaving. 

The opinionated Professor has also recently stated that the new Australian trade agreement will bring us a £69 billion advantage. This figure is 37 times higher than the government’s own estimate.

Is it wise for a prospective PM to take on such a Brexaddict position? Is it sensible for her to commit so totally to a disputed policy when in 2016 she was speaking very strongly in favour of Remain? Unlike Mrs Thatcher, the chosen role model for Miss T, who infamously said of herself “This lady is not for turning”, Johnson was demoted by his own MPs because he couldn’t tell the truth. Will a female Johnson Mk II help us to bind up our wounds any more than the Pied Piper of Eton did? 

Surely the Truss camp’s continued identification of one thing, EU membership, as a cause of all our national misfortunes is worrying because it is so duplicitous? This version of the ‘truth’ pins the chaos at Dover, for example, entirely on the French, who failed, for a few hours, to send enough agents to man the frontier booths there. That parts of the M20 have, because of Brexit, already been a lorry park off and on for several months is ignored. With Brexit ‘we’ chose to reject an international system; some of us still seem surprised that we cannot rush through the new frontier that we voted for as if it was the old non-frontier. 

Shouldn’t we as adults responsible as much as MPs for the nation that we live in demand the shortest possible period of power for one of these limping Johnsonites as they lead us through the most challenging period of our history since 1945? Such a major crisis should inspire major reforms. Couldn’t we have, by 2025, an adult political system with proportional representation, the maturity to welcome coalitions and the time and resource to turn full attention to the challenges of the climate crisis so that our kids have a liveable future?

Jeremy Hall,

Crockernwell, Exeter