A common attribute attached by its friends in the media to the Tory Party in the past was that, whether or not you liked its politics, it was the party of competence. Can this still be said with today’s cabinet? Surely not. Whether because the new managerialism adopted by ministers exposes their inexperience; or through their mistrust of the professionals of the Civil Service; or because we have a cabinet appointed not for their abilities but to buy off party factions, the endless series of ill-advised and subsequently binned initiatives, mainly aimed at headlines more than the well-being of the electorate, suggests that we have a very poor government. The evidence? Nearly ten years on from the financial crisis, national debt remains unresolved and the only solution offered is to take ever more from the mouths of the less well-off of the electorate. After almost 8 years of Tories in charge, there are funding crises in health, social care, prisons, schools and local government; increasing child poverty and deprivation for disabled citizens; and shortages of nurses and GPs.
Last week, the Prime Minister begged priority for Brexit in aid of avoiding a second Scottish referendum. It looks very much as though this same pretext applies to every aspect of government responsibility. Does this mean that we can at least be confident in her running a good Brexit? Again, let us look at the evidence. Who does she entrust with the ministerial responsibilities associated with this top priority but three rejects, egged on by others: Johnson, Fox and Davis all yesterday's rejects who have reason never to have been given any sort of responsibility; whilst their cheer-leaders are the bastards of the past, IDS, Redwood et al. No cause for confidence here.
Through no fault of the Tories, we have a pathetic official Opposition, which spends most of its energies pleasing its fan club or fighting with its internal opponents instead of calling the government to account, led by someone without the intellectual sharpness to do so. More effective opposition comes from a country, Scotland, with an ejector seat to threaten, which, if exercised, will actually destroy the United Kingdom. She sidelines this but at her [and our] peril.
As if the unnecessary Cameron referendum was not bad enough, we have a worse future ahead in Brexit, made yet worse by the paucity of talent negotiating it, whilst the country goes to the dogs in the hands of second-rate, inexperienced, self-justifying ideologues who care more for money than for people. Welcome to May’s World, our future.