I always try to read a good cross-section of the Sunday papers on the day much to the irritation of my wife who often has other plans for me. If I don’t get to finish them I usually try to take in the balance on a Monday morning. As I write this on an unnaturally early train from Kent to Westminster there is little point finishing off the Sunday catch-up; political events have proven themselves so fast moving.
Whatever is written one hour is out of date the next. With Boris Johnson withdrawing from the race this takes another turn. Can it seriously be just four days ago that Liz Truss gave her resignation as the shortest ever serving Prime Minister? And so it is that whatever I write in my regular update will bound to be out of date and be mere history later in the week and most probably within the day.
The reason I’m on the move so early is that I have the opportunity to meet, with a very small caucus, the remaining candidates, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, one of whom will be the PM by either the end of the week, and in the case of Rishi, the former Chancellor, possibly by the end of the day. There could be a third option – that a last minute candidate emerges. Unlikely, but anything is possible in this yet to be written drama.
Although outside of my direct control, I can only offer my apologies to my Constituents that the Westminster bubble is putting the country through this. Perhaps something sensible can emerge – that the role of PM should never again be the quasi-Presidential one that it has become over recent decades mainly due to powerful and dominant figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Boris Johnson holding the post but also because of 24/7 media who quite naturally turn to the figurehead as their primary focus; it makes great theatre. This is actually quite unnatural, there is no constitutional position of PM.
It is a fairly recent addition to the history of our nation with Robert Walpole recognised as the first in 1721. Our system elects Members of Parliament as the primary building blocks of Westminster democracy. Any Party with enough of those blocks are in a position to select a leader who will request of the Monarch to form a government. The British constitution is really that simple.
If my Party has any chance of winning the next general election we need to show the public that we can navigate effectively through the cost of living crisis and higher interest rates which are not uniquely British phenomenons but are being similarly seen internationally. We need to liberate our economy through what are known abstractly as ‘supply-side reforms’ which really means shaking up the layers of bureaucratic sloth which hold our lives, businesses and opportunities back just a surely as excessive tax rates. We need to present sensible policies that appeal to the majority. Saving taxpayers money which harms nobody by simply encouraging people back into work and off of benefits would seem to me an easy, reasonable and good place to start saving £billions.
We need to deliver real Brexit dividends, deliver a sensible long-term energy policy and show up Labour’s plans, whenever they emerge, as ruinous, wasteful and ridiculous. More than anything else I’d like to take the full-on 24/7 politics out of your lives and return to a period of calm where you get on with work, aspirations and normal things. Politicians can then lay the framework of the country’s success calmly and professionally.
In South Thanet I want to see the secured Levelling Up Fund money bringing new projects out of the ground in the soonest possible time. I want Manston to be given the opportunity as a kickstarter for local growth. I want excellent infrastructure, good local governance and a growing economy. It’s what I have dedicated myself to these past 7 years.