Enjoyed Steve Richards on Liz Truss’s disastrous start (“The shortest honeymoon”, TNE #311). How are we to qualify it in other terms? The equivalent of England’s start against San Marino in 1993? Of the Barnes Opening in chess (moving the pawn in front of the bishop, closing off the square to the knight)? Of the opening lines of the Da Vinci Code: “Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery”? Any more from other readers?
The killer line in Steve Richards’s article is “All prime ministers that have endured market turmoil and a collapse in the opinion polls never recover fully”.
Truss can row back on aspects of the mini-budget as much as she likes and she can reach out to all the Rishi Sunak supporters she wants. What will not be forgotten is that she and her chancellor took Britain from a drama to a crisis by arrogantly refusing to have their homework checked by the Office for Budget Responsibility before handing it in to the markets. This was an extinction-level event for the Conservative Party.
Your article on chess cheating (“Chequered history”, TNE #311) contains an illuminating panel on the fake chess-playing automaton of the 18th century, The Turk.
Has anyone considered how much better this government would be if a concealed expert could be installed beneath the desk of the chancellor, “working” him into making the right choices rather than sacrificing his Queen on the opening move?
As I write, the country has yet to be exposed to the delights of Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list. As Mandrake reported in TNE #311, the process of approvals is taking some time. Is it possible that Liz Truss’s resignation honours will be approved and published before Johnson’s?
Mandrake notes the losses at Akshata Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures (TNE #311).
While mildly amusing I suspect he’s missed the point.
We would need to examine Ms Murthy’s tax returns – something denied to us – to discover the advantages of such losses, but I have little doubt that they exist.
Thank you for the most illuminating alphabet decorating the front cover of TNE #311. My husband had a much more suitable word for W, but I told him that his choice of word was unsuitable for a family newspaper.
Re: Alastair Campbell’s Tory alphabet. The only letters I’m interested in this week are those being received by the 1922 committee!
T in Alastair Campbell’s alphabet should be for tax avoidance. Under the Tories, the UK has become the biggest money laundering criminal enterprise in the world.
On the dregs
What a good article “Why are they so hopeless?” by James Ball was (TNE #311). The Conservatives are down to the dregs after 12 years in power.
Look at David Cameron’s first cabinet. I don’t particularly care for any of Michael Gove, George Osborne, Jeremy Hunt or William Hague, but next to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Thérèse Coffey and Suella Braverman they look like giants. Ken Clarke, Dominic Grieve and Sayeeda Warsi were all semi-attached to that cabinet, too. The current crop of nodding dogs, has-beens and never-weres are no comparison.
James Ball makes a series of sensible suggestions to stop our politicians being so hopeless. Might I add term limits to his list?
They guarantee an ongoing refresh of the political class and prevent the “digging in” of MPs who then become lazy and complacent.
They also would discourage those MPs (and despite everything, I think it is a very small proportion of them) who enter politics with the main purpose of not enriching the lives of constituents but enriching themselves.
Tory chair Jake Berry, who Mitch Benn eviscerates with such elan in TNE #311 (“Can’t pay? Just earn more, says Tories’ scary Berry”) has a second job that pays him another £3,500 a month on top of his MP’s salary. He estimates that he spends 15-20 hours a month on the role, which means 15-20 hours – roughly half a day a week – in which he is not serving his constituents.
May I propose that Mr Berry’s salary as an MP is reduced by the equivalent amount? If he struggles to make ends meet after the reduction, he can always get a better-paid job.
Jake Berry is in effect telling true professionals in the diverse areas of health, rubbish collection, education, transport and the armed forces to leave their jobs for a better-paid one! How can this man be a member of parliament, let alone in a senior position?
The very people who are pushing for the creation of a low-wage economy then have the nerve to tell people to go out and get better-paid jobs. They also claimed that their policies were stimulating a high-wage economy: gaslighting pure and simple; the opposite is happening.
Tanit Koch writes that German nudist clubs are running out of members (Germansplaining, TNE #311). I understand the Dogging Union have said they have been reaching out to new members for years but they’re not out of the woods yet.
I have just caught up with Tanit Koch’s “Queen of reconciliation” (TNE #308), a lovely portrayal of Her Majesty’s state visit to Germany of 1965. This should inspire the future.
In the 1960s the United Kingdom was not in the EEC. However, this was offset by a big commitment to Europe’s security via the “British Forces Germany” – and it gave the UK a role and respect. We need a latter-day version of this. The big reduction in UK bases in Germany, coupled with many US bases still in Germany, is ridiculous when we are trying to build a more self-sufficient Europe.
Brexit needs to be offset by some kind of reinstatement of British Forces Germany via appreciably bigger defence spending and a deep strategic relationship between London and Berlin.
Already the UK and Germany are hard at work on the Challenger Tank upgrades at Telford via the BAE/Rheinmetall collaboration. This needs to be developed much further. Such a deep involvement in Europe’s security will give the UK more much leverage over post-Brexit arrangements, from trade through to the pesky NI Protocol. And Germany is the EU’s biggest shareholder.
Such a reinstatement of British Forces Germany would also increase UK influence in Washington. Washington aspires for a more self-sufficient Europe – we can fill the void.
Intrigued by the mention of the film The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak in your quiz (TNE #311), I found this intriguing snatch of dialogue on IMDB…
[Willard, Beth and Gwendoline are tied up at the Cheops’s encampment]
Willard: Gwendoline, have you ever made love?
Willard: I can’t let you die without making love. Here, move as close as you can.
[They can’t reach each other. Willard picks up a straw with his teeth and begins gently poking Gwendoline’s face with it]
It sounds like a classic. Have we signed a trade deal with the Land of the Yik-Yak yet?
“Mussels are a beautiful British ingredient,” writes Josh Barrie (Recipe, TNE #311). Hmm, just consider where they come from and what they eat if they’re picked from British waters.
Rather you than me.
How very disappointing that the supplement on European Street Food (TNE #310) featured not one vegetarian recipe. We are a more diverse group of readers than your meat and fish recipes would suggest. Please do better next time!
Ed: In this case, the recipes included were reflective of food created by the finalists in the European Street Food awards rather than being our writers’ choice. Look out for more vegetarian and vegan recipes in our regular recipe page in weeks to come.
I was surprised to see Lionel Barber’s approval of the lifting of the EU cap on bankers’ bonuses, with his describing it as a “drag on the City of London’s competitiveness” (“The disastrous debut of Trussonomics”, TNE #310).
I would have thought that a certain cataclysmic political folly was the drag.
But even if one accepts Lionel Barber’s argument, is he also going to acknowledge the fact that railway workers, postal workers, refuse collectors, medics, barristers, teachers etc are not going to be happy about inflation eating into their wages whilst the City boys and girls whoop it up?
Freed by Truss
I feel so liberated by Trussology. It’s more fabulous than scientology. The other day I stubbed my toe and was berating myself for being clumsy, then realised it was all Putin’s fault…
A poem about Liz Truss:
Something wicked this way comes
I feel it pricking in my thumbs
Her hair is blond, her stature small
And she gives no fucks, none at all.
She hits the ground with a thick thud
Its echoes reverberate through the land
But if you see her looking for the door
She may need a bit of a hand.
She wants to bleed this country dry
And frack our protected space
She won’t advise us on saving energy
Our prime minister Is. A. Disgrace.
Waiting in line
My arrival at an airport of a European country for the first time since Brexit found EU citizens passing through their passport control without delay, while UK and other nationals had to join a pitifully long and tightly packed queue that ever so slowly snaked its way forward.
Some choice remarks were overheard about Brexit and its backers. Brexit must also be upsetting visitors to EU countries from the rest of the world. Because if we hadn’t left the EU we wouldn’t be in the same queue as them, adding to their delays – a point later made to me by an American.