Creepy Tory Clown Team Plays Government In Alternate Dimensions | Jean Crace


Small steps and all that. The Conservative Party Conference may be on life support at the ISU – most delegates wrote thank you letters to Mick Lynch for Wednesday’s rail strikes which gave them a golden excuse to leave early – but the things aren’t as bad as they could be. It was probably more luck than judgment, but Liz Truss ultimately had an interview relatively unscathed. Put it like this. It wasn’t a total car accident. Plus a minor scratch.

There are caveats, of course. For one thing, Nick Robinson’s interview for the Today show had been pre-recorded the day before. So we may have had a time when a version of Radon Liz existed that wasn’t as catatonically unhappy. There was no way of knowing if another iteration of Truss that was live at 8:10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning would have given the same interview. Things have gotten uncharacteristically existential in Birmingham.

Some things don’t change though. Librium Liz still hasn’t been able to say anything to reassure doubters — that is, everyone — that she knows what she’s doing. She still didn’t know whether to cut benefits to pay for the tax cuts. The very concept made no syntactic sense for his software. The point of announcing unfunded tax cuts was that they should be unfunded. There were also still long silences as various neurons fired. It can take a while for a thought to emerge from barely connected synapses.

From the start, Robinson had pleaded with Truss to confirm that there would be no turning back between the recording of this interview and its broadcast. She was in shape, after all. “Of course,” Radon Liz insisted. At the end, Robinson was forced to add a line indicating that another U-turn was on the cards. That the Chancellor was planning to bring forward the date of his mid-term fiscal event to November 23 to reassure markets that he had a plan after all. Or at least a plan to have a plan. Which would be better than where we were now.

It couldn’t last, of course. Not in the ongoing Tory psychodrama that presents itself first as a farce and then as a tragedy. So it didn’t take long for the government to back down. Make a U-turn in a U-turn. Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng were adamant that the next tax event was back again for November. Because what the markets needed was increased uncertainty.

Now the star-crossed lovers had the country where they wanted it. Scratching your head and wondering what was going on. It was the conservative party we had come to know and endure. Because the mere announcement of a U-turn to a U-turn was a sure signal that in a different space-time continuum – one that would surely come, if it wasn’t already there – we would soon be presented with a U- turn a half turn to a half turn. Reality was only a figment of the imagination. A lie, a truth waiting to happen. Present tense and past tense. Both present in future time.

Which doesn’t mean there won’t be room for slapstick. With two clowns in charge, how could it be otherwise? First Librium Liz twice refused to say whether she trusted her Chancellor Chancellor. To say later that she trusted him. So which one is it? Both positions are equally absurd. Why would she trust him? But why wouldn’t she? So you can make your choice. Choose a Truss and write your own story.

Meanwhile, Kamikwasi was also self-destructing. He said the only thing wrong with his mini-budget was that the Queen was selfish enough to die at the wrong time. So he had to do it in a hurry. It hadn’t occurred to him to wait any longer to find the missing billions. It was what the queen would have wanted. Tanking the economy had been a mark of respect.

While our two unsuspecting idiots wreaked havoc, it was up to the other cabinet members to fill the void. So bow out, Jacob Rees-Mogg, for almost single-handedly keeping the show on the road by appearing at nearly every fringe event.

In the optimistically titled Think Tent, Jakey uncharacteristically metamorphosed as the most sane person in the room. Again, he was being interviewed by Mark Littlewood, the crazy managing director of the Institute for Economic Affairs. Littlewood seemed dismayed when Rees-Mogg suggested regulations banning child chimney sweeps were a good thing.

Which left us with Suella Braverman. The Home Secretary started the day by saying that everyone who didn’t want unfunded tax breaks for the wealthy had effectively staged a coup against Truss. Stop putting Britain down, Suella. We are not yet a failed state. Even if we get there. She then launched her own counter-coup deciding that Librium Liz had not been tough enough to resist the coup. Had she been leader, Michael Gove and Grant Shapps would have been summarily executed. Like Truss would just for good measure.

It was just the kind of no-frills madness that would rage in the main hall later that afternoon. After a stellar array of charismaless speakers — it’s an organizational genius to get all the ministers who can’t read a teleprompter together in one place — the half-full auditorium came alive for Braverman. She told them the police were too busy being nice to trans people to investigate appropriate crimes. She told them that the Labor Party wanted to disband the police. She told them that she dreamed of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. The first flight would be the best day of his life.

Towards the end, Braverman got almost emotional when talking about her desire to do anything that woke up people they didn’t like. Who cared about the government collapsing when there were culture wars to be fought? It was almost like she was on a loop. Getting back to her and the limbs comfort zone. A place where hardly anyone else existed. In return, half the audience gave her a standing ovation. Largely because they thought she was done. We were still in another universe. Untold wonders. Just push the doors and enter.

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