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Saturday, February 24, 2024

The unacceptable drift to madness

Like many people I worry about Donald Trump and the possibility that he might be re-elected at the head of a serious right wing coalition determined to impose their medieval views on the rest of us, but am reassured here by the checks and balances built into the UK's non-constitution. 

But could it happen here as well?

If it wasn't bad enough having a Prime Minister echoing some of the sentiments that got Enoch Powell sacked from the Tory front bench in the 1960s, we now have a cohort of Tories determined to use the Trump playbook to further their own narrow self-interests.

There is former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who claims that Islamists are now in charge of Britain, proving, as Nesrine Malik in the Guardian says, that hateful xenophobia is never far from the surface in Britain. She has gone much further than Enoch Powell in misrepresenting British society but she remains a sitting Tory MP.

The fact that the Tory whip has not been taken off her speaks volumes about the modern-day Tory party.

Her style of invective is also present in the latest utterings by former Tory Party deputy chair, Lee Anderson who, the Independent reports, has been accused of racism and Islamophobia after claiming that “Islamists have control” of London’s mayor Sadiq Khan.

Again, he still enjoys the protection of the Tory whip.

And then there is Liz Truss, Britain's shortest serving Prime Minister, who went full-Trump in a rant to a half-empty crowd at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. According to the Independent Truss hit out at Joe Biden and members of the Tory party over the “most almighty backlash” that led to her own failed UK premiership.

The paper says that Truss, who lasted just 49 days in office, also blamed “quangos and bureaucrats and lawyers” for her political demise:

During her 15-minute address on Thursday she claimed that the “catastrophic reaction” to the budget had come from the “usual suspects” in both the media and the corporate world, as well as government, the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England.

She went on to blame the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mr Biden, accusing him of having “intervened to have a go at my policies”. “Can you imagine being attacked on your economic policies by the inventor of Bidenomics? Talk about offensive,” she said.

Ms Truss later launched into a laundry list of complaints and conspiratorial musings about how “the left” is undermining the Conservative-led British government because they “did not accept that they lost at the ballot box” – similar to Mr Trump’s infamous claims of a “stolen” US election.

“Instead, they’ve been weaponizing our court system to stop us contorting illegal immigrants, they’ve been using the administrative state to make sure that conservative policies are faulted and they’ve been pushing their woke agenda through our schools, through our campuses, and even in our corporations,” she said.

Elsewhere, despite not endorsing Mr Trump – the GOP frontrunner and Cpac favourite – by name, Ms Truss also asserted that the world “needs a Republican back in the White House” and that it was the only way to “save the West” from opponents such as Russia, Iran and China.

“Of course we need a Republican back in the White House. By the way, it isn’t just America that needs it desperately, we need it desperately right across the free world, because you are the leaders of the free world, like it or not,” she said.

It isn't just that the Tory Party has lost the plot, of course they have, but these people are dangerous. The nonsense they are spouting is a threat to our democracy.

And is isn't good enough just to denounce them, their arguments need to be met head-on, within their own party and without. The fact that government ministers above all are not doing that, as Heath did with Powell, is an even bigger danger to our democratic state.

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