What the hell is wrong with the UK? | International
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“Our politics is respected around the world,” Liz Truss said in the final days of her term, as she tried to cling to power and appealed for unity in her divided party and her crumbling government. The problem for her was that, while she was talking about her, her deputies were coming to the conclusion that, as much as the politics of the country are respected, she was not respected. They had realized what many of us had been warning them for months… they had elected a worthless as their leader, and as a result, she became the most short-lived person to lead the Government in our history.
It is true that British policy it was respected. In old times. Our democracy and parliamentary traditions, the vibrancy of their debates, the expectation that politicians should tell the truth, and if they don’t, they should resign; the quality of the political leaders who rose to the top; the relative absence of corruption compared to other countries; absolute commitment to the rule of law.
Because many of the principles we have taken for granted for so long have disappeared, respect for our politics, both at home and abroad, is in the rearview mirror. Lying has been normalized; corruption and cronyism have been normalized; the rule of law and the institutions designed to hold politicians to account have been deliberately undermined. Boris Johnson was forced out of office not because he was a liar and a lawbreaker, two facts long established in the public mind, but because MPs Tories they no longer saw him as a winner. Now that Truss and his kamikaze mini-budget, based on unfunded tax cuts and fiscal incontinence, have wrecked citizens’ mortgages and pensions, the Labor opposition has been gifted a hitherto unimaginable lead in the polls. So she had to go too.
The same lack of self-awareness that made her think she was fit to be prime minister is now infecting Johnson and her supporters, who believe she can return, despite having been demoted, and despite the fact that she is being investigating whether he lied to Parliament about his parties during the state of alarm. This raises the tantalizing possibility that she will return to Downing Street, only to be forced out again when the investigation is concluded.
In recent days, I have sometimes had to turn off the phone, so many have been the messages from abroad asking “what the hell happened to your country?”.
One word to explain the decline: Brexit
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As with any major event or trend, there is no easy answer. But if I was allowed a single word to explain how we got here, that word would be Brexit.
The referendum on June 23, 2016 was one of those moments when a country chooses its own decline. It has now eaten four prime ministers, David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, with a fifth due to arrive in a few days. Five prime ministers in six years, four finance ministers in four months; this is the exchange rate that conservatives used to joke about in relation to Italy or Third World banana republics. Now they are the ones laughing at us all over the world. When former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tweets that a lettuce has survived Truss, it is perceived that our country does not take it as seriously as it used to.
Thanks to Brexit, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, we have not only seen the collapse of our economy, but also our global reputation. Now, the same ones who gave us the two worst prime ministers in our history say that they are the ones who will give us the next one, that we must trust the deputies Tories to reduce the number of candidates to two, and then allow the party members who gave us Truss to have the last word.
There is something very fitting about the fact that Johnson is running amok letting speculation run wild that he will seek to be prime minister again despite being kicked out of Downing Street so recently. Because the turning point in the decadence that our politics and our country have chosen came thanks to him, his lies and the Brexit that they have promoted, and the fact that no one has been held accountable for them, or that the Brexit that it was promised has little to do with the Brexit we have now.
It is proof of his success in completely degrading the standards of public life that anyone can even begin to imagine that he, a proven liar and lawbreaker, to whom scandal will always be attached, should be the answer to the enormous challenges that the country is currently facing. But it is proof of the depths to which our politics have sunk. That’s the bad new.
The good news is that, as a result of the political chaos and economic catastrophe they have created, Tories they are surely finished. After 12 years of an unjust austerity programme, a chaotic and self-destructive Brexit, and now the mini-budget wrecking ball, the country feels it has had enough. The chances of a Labor government have increased markedly. That, more than any genuine assessment of the national interest, explains the desperation of the Tories for avoiding general elections that so many ask for. They are finished. And they are fools if they can’t see it.
Serious times call for serious government. The Toriesbased on the horror show that is unfolding before the eyes of the world, they just can’t provide it.
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