Leaderless and Rudderless.
The forced resignation on Boris Johnson leaves the country in an awkward state, given that the Conservative leadership election is likely to take months, not weeks. No new policies can be introduced, only those that have already been agreed. But what of ongoing situations that need attention?
The rising price of basic items like food and petrol, have led to demands for public sector wage increases. Some - rail workers and barristers - have already taken industrial action for better pay, while unions representing teachers and nurses have suggested they will follow suit.
Last year, the former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak pledged public sector workers would see "fair and affordable pay rises", though due to his resignation, his words can no longer hold. In past years, many decisions about annual pay settlements have been made in the final days of July. Not this year!
As the BBC says, “With inflation at a 40-year high and heading for double digits, any decisions on this, including whether the Treasury provides the funds for rises higher than 2-3%, will not wait for the months' long completion of a leadership contest.”
The situation could have been even more interesting had the Durham Police employed any sense of fairness in decision making, there would be no leader of the opposition either. For let’s face it, if seventeen of us mere mortals had been caught with beer and curry, we’d likely have got a Fixed Penalty – and the organiser a fine of up to £10k. It may just be that Sir Keir’s knowledge of legal processes made the police decide they couldn’t afford a costly court battle. We shall probably never know.
Interestingly, a comparable situation in Spain, where no clear winner emerged from successive elections, meant there was no government for almost nine months. Life went on without interruption. Welfare recipients in Spain still received their benefits, and basic government employees were still paid. Pay disputes had to go on hold – striking would only costs the employees money, for no agreement could be made.
Spain was unable to pass national legislation, handle foreign affairs, or fund new government projects. This meant no new invasive, authoritarian laws could be passed.
An emasculated PM might not actually be a bad thing!
Martin Day - Party Secretary