“We need better than a Mark II Johnson and the entrails of the Tory party” Letter to the editor

A composite image of  Truss courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons and Sunak: courtesy of HM Treasury via Wikimedia Commons, arranged by Anthea Bareham

Dear West Country Voices,

Is it true that a lot of the 160,000 Tory Party members who are now choosing our next PM will ‘spoil’ their votes by putting Boris Johnson’s name on their voting papers? The British people will not find out until after September 5, the closing date for this ‘private’ election. Parliament returns after its holiday on September 1 so there will be another five days when our ‘world beating’ democratic system shambles on with no replacement for the Pied Piper of Eton. Decisions will again be delayed at this time of crisis for food and energy prices.

Will the organisers of the Tory vote tell us if papers have been spoiled? Could it be that the new PM will be chosen by half of the 160,000 minus the spoiling voters, which could be around 70,000 people, the majority of whom are “pale, male and stale”. Would the percentage of spoiled papers mean a re-run of the vote ie, no new PM until mid-autumn?

How destructive of our just-about-surviving political system can one man’s brief dominance be? Why can people not see beyond the hair, the boosterism and the buffoonery? Have we lost our common sense? How can we recover? These questions will loom destructively over our society for decades due to his ‘achievements’ to date.

Since 2019 Johnson has made the upper house 10 per cent larger so that his legislation could more easily pass through parliament. He leaves a voting system which now excludes around two million of us – those who don’t have an acceptable photographic identification document. He leaves enormously reduced demonstration rights whereby the police can stipulate the start and end time of any street meeting, or even whether it can take place at all. He leaves the inhumanity of the small-boat people declared criminal and perhaps electronically tagged, often after they have just escaped real deprivation or genocide.

Johnson’s ravaging of the obligation of government ministers to face parliamentary scrutiny means that cronyism and incompetent decisions will remain a festering sore. And there’s the proposal that journalists from organisations that the government doesn’t like will have to pay £125 each to attend Tory party conferences, whereas journalists from supportive organisations pay only £5. What an Eton prank to deprive citizens who are critical of the government of solid information; almost as ‘funny’ as lecturing the CBI about Peppa Pig World.

There is also proposed legislation which will reduce our law courts’ ability to examine future government actions, and further reductions in the financial and political independence of the BBC, an institution that is essential to the life of our democracy. Is he really out to move us towards a semi-dictatorship?

Not content with the above, Johnson wants to stuff the House of Lords with up to 50 chums/donors who would promise to support Tory party legislation. And who’s on the promotion list? Why Johnson’s dad of course, one of these honest Brexiters who not only has a house in France but has recently taken up French nationality. Then there’s Nadine Dorries, Minister of Culture and Johnson’s most die-hard supporter who recently stated that “loyalty and decency” were the two factors most valued by the Tory Party. Dorries’ association of those values with Johnson shows how far we have allowed our country to be manipulated away from truth, and deadened into tolerating a profoundly dangerous lurch into hard right politics. Other Johnson acolytes on the proposed House of Lords list would be ex-editors of Johnsonist newspapers. So much for a democratic upper house!

Under Johnson’s ‘leadership’ we have certainly ’taken back’ our narrow-mindedness and ability at self-delusion and xenophobia. When we so desperately need attention on the NHS, education, the climate, etc. we will probably have Ms Truss to ’rule’ us, the inheritor of the Johnson disease of the rejection of honesty and sensitivity. We so profoundly need better than a Johnson Mark II and the entrails of the Tory Party to ’govern’ for, maybe, another seven years.

Jeremy Hall,