Last week marked the dawn of a whole new legislative era, the age of Quantum Politics, in which all laws and policies are simultaneously existent and non-existent, real and unreal, material and immaterial.
I’ll elaborate: my last column was given over to a parody of the Tory Party’s conference agenda. It turns out that it was only JUST a parody.
Things I did NOT foresee included the bug-eyed wing of the party adopting Liz Truss as their saviour, barely a year after she crashed and burned in six weeks as prime minister. No jokes about Truss here – she will be the punchline of jokes cracked about other people; she’s way beyond the reach of satire herself.
Other things I didn’t foresee were the sight of Nigel Farage boogying the night away with Priti Patel, and Penny Mordaunt making a speech that ended with the words “stand up and fight” repeated 12 times while at no point explaining exactly what her audience were supposed to be standing up to or fighting against.
I DID anticipate much of Rishi Sunak’s speech, especially his theme of the need for change, which sounded great until you remembered that the Tories have been in power for 13 years and that he has been either chancellor or PM for most of the last four.
The bombshell was the cancellation of the northern branch of HS2, although many had anticipated it – including the PM himself, given that he distributed a video, explaining why the cancellation was a good thing, which he’d recorded in London the previous week, despite having spent the whole conference insisting that no decision had been made.
A list of infrastructure projects that the savings would facilitate was soon released, although some of these “projects” were hastily deleted immediately afterwards and others, upon inspection, turned out to have been completed years ago. Pressed on this, transport secretary Mark Harper explained that the deleted items hadn’t been intended as pledges, but rather “examples” of the “sorts of things that the money could now be spent on”.
Thus the Tory flight from reality is complete: having spent weeks congratulating themselves on saving the country from green measures that Labour had never proposed, they were now congratulating themselves on a list of improvements they weren’t going to make.
There you have it, folks, Quantum Politics. A simultaneously cancelled and uncancelled railway, which is both funding and not funding public works that are already happening and are NOT happening all at the same time. Some more examples of Quantum Politics in action…
“STOP THE BOATS”
This is the catchy mantra Sunak has appended to his policy of making sure that asylum seekers CONTINUE to attempt to cross the Channel in leaky dinghies (so that they can be used to scare racists into voting Tory) by keeping all the legal channels of entry closed. So the one thing “Stop The Boats” is NOT intended to do is actually stop any boats.
“THE PARTY OF LAW AND ORDER”
…who illegally prorogued parliament, announced their intention to break international law “in a specific and limited way”, and of whom more than 50 are currently under investigation for sexual misconduct.
“NOBODY WANTS A GENERAL ELECTION”
Apart from the 53% of the population (according to a recent poll) who do, and the 250,000 people who signed the online petition demanding one.
“LONG-TERM DECISIONS FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE”
This rather unwieldy slogan disguises the fact that all the administration’s current decisions are by definition short term as even its most zealous supporters already know that it’ll be out on its proverbial by the end of next year, and, moreover, any “brighter future” the government did manage to accidentally engineer would only benefit an incoming Labour regime. Thus the actual goal of “Long-Term Decisions For A Brighter Future” is to make impulsive, reactive choices in order to mire the country in as much trouble as possible so that the Tories and their pals in the press can start lambasting the Starmer government from day one. And while we’re here:
PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING LABOUR IS AND/OR ISN’T SAYING/
PROPOSING RIGHT NOW
One can’t help but feel that Keir Starmer’s extraordinary ability to “oppose” the government in all concerns while pledging not to change or reverse anything the government has actually DONE may not be sustainable in the long run…
POEM OF THE WEEK
They’re not gonna love you, Suella
The bigots that you suck up to
They know what they want in a leader
And that’s never gonna be you
Remember what happened to Rishi
The first time he got in the fight?
The members refused to support him
And he’s all that they love (except white)
No, they went with the nice blonde lady
Who, while cataclysmically dim
For some imponderable reason
They liked her better than him
They’re not gonna love you, Suella
However intolerant your stance
And they would send YOU to Rwanda
If they ever got half a chance