When I first saw the cover of AND N #313, I thought you had lost your mind and suggested that the next PM would be Thérèse Coffey. On closer inspection I saw that it was the much more palatable Mr Blobby.
Matthew Walls
Roma, Italy

Liz Truss had no mandate when she took office – except for 81,000 members of the Conservative Party, a fraction of the population. Nor was it allowed to turn around, again and again, shifting the fundamental foundation of government on taxes and public spending.

Tendering her resignation, Ms Truss added that another prime minister would be chosen within a week. This is unacceptable.

Who rules our country at this precarious moment should be resolved by a general election. Not in a moral vacuum, nor by a subset of people, but governed by the central terrain. The democratic principles on which our governing bodies are based must be respected at all costs.
Professor Dr. Kevin Kit Thompson
N Ferriby, East Riding of Yorkshire

How much longer will the country have to endure this catastrophe of a government? If the Conservatives had an ounce of decency, they would call an election.
ruth butcher
Through Facebook

A general election right now, when the fever is high, would not be a good idea. It would produce a caricature of a parliament. However, it is also not a good idea to allow the current government to remain in power. The country is in a mess. Honestly, I don’t know what the best short-term decision is, but a long-term solution would require serious cross-party thinking about constitutional reform and a serious reconsideration of the Brexit mistake. But probably only the flying pigs could win.
Alain Baillie
Through Facebook

What a great article “The Faceless PM” by Jenny McCartney was (AND N #313). There is something strange and unknowable about Truss. Even her resignation speech, with its ignorance of her husband standing next to it, was deeply bizarre.

How on earth did someone so clearly odd, whose ministerial record was poor to say the least and whose brief stint at No 10 led Britain to the brink, manage to rise to the top of the political party that has dominated our politics for so long? We have become an unserious nation.
Chloe Watts

I noticed that the desk used by Liz Truss outside No 10 when she quit had a spiral stand. Was it to signify how she (with a little help from Kwasi Kwarteng) totally screwed up the economy?
Dunton Green

Blooming Brexit

This line in “One Word Brought Us Here: Brexit” by Jonty Bloom (AND N #313) says a lot about the damage that was done: “’Put it like that,’ Carney said. “In 2016, the UK economy was 90% the size of Germany. Today it’s less than 70%.'”

And make no mistake, the German economy has not been spared by Brexit either.
Alexandra Beisl
Through Facebook

hard work

Many Labor Party members and supporters, as well as many former members and supporters, will take issue with Alastair Campbell’s approving description of Keir Starmer as “a serious working adult” (Journal, AND N #313): this being the re-emerging “received wisdom” being promulgated by the mainstream media. But this is a Labor leader who has been misleading in his leadership bid about his intentions and values; whose leadership has focused on attacks and censorship of Labor members which constitutes treason.

Amid the current national political turmoil and corruption, the Labor Party and its movement urgently needs a courageous evidence-based as well as values-driven approach that exemplifies its historic purpose and manifests its ethical commitment. for economic, social and environmental justice.

by Oliver Eagleton The Starmer Project: A Journey to the Right (2022) is a vital story for Labor MPs, members and supporters, and former members and supporters. Measured but devastating in its tracking of Starmer’s personal and professional journey to Labor leadership, it exposes the authoritarianism that has become increasingly visible as his modus operandi, and his hostility to those who hold socialist values.

So he cannot be considered “a serious working adult” unless an authoritarian, anti-socialist white man, in hierarchy, control and punishment, is your measure of being “adult”.
Val Walsh
Crosby, Liverpool

Starmer claims he can “make Brexit work”, just as a growing majority of the population demands that the whole disastrous scheme be relegated to the dustbin of history. He ruled out joining the single market and customs union and restoring freedom of movement, even if it would give our faltering economy an instant and massive boost.

Given that I have the choice of voting for the SNP, whose official policy is for an independent Scotland to join the EU as soon as possible, he and his party will certainly not get my vote. It does terrible harm to the people of England by depriving them of the opportunity to vote for a credible alternative government committed to defeating Brexit as quickly and as completely as possible.
Ian Anderson
Through Facebook

Keir Starmer is expected to win a second term as prime minister to command and build a mandate for reintegration into the EU. Labor must tackle the reasons and concerns that made people vote for Brexit, especially the issue of immigration.

The first step must be to re-enter the single market and then bounce us back into the EU quickly, or he could try to do it all in one fell swoop. Starmer could even bring us back to the single market without a referendum by simply including it in his manifesto for the second term.
AJS Craig
Through Facebook

The conservatives are at war with each other and it is not inconceivable that they will soon break up or, perhaps, even cease to exist (hooray!).

A situation that has relatively rational actors like Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Rishi Sunak and Ben Wallace operating alongside fruitcakes, staunch ideologues and/or fanatics – Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, Jacob Rees -Mogg et al – just isn’t sustainable. And don’t get me started on the conservative members.

Labor should recognize this unprecedented opportunity and seize it. Since the Brexit vote – the origin of all this political madness – there has been an undemocratic and authoritarian American president, a pandemic, a near Third World War and an energy crisis. The UK, Europe and the world have moved on since June 2016.

Politics is not a magnificent game of cricket. Starmer should go for the jugular. Imminent reintegration into the EU should be seen as a realistic goal. Labor should ditch the crystal ball and seize the moment. They won’t have another.
gobble
Rayleigh, Essex

The Labor Party rightly has a reputation for advocating fairness, so it is disappointing that Sir Keir Starmer apparently does not see electoral reform as a key priority.

I imagine few people know that in the 2019 general election, Labor and the Liberal Democrats got more votes than the Conservatives; but due to an electoral system shared in Europe only by Belarus, there was little correlation between votes cast and seats awarded.

Labor won 18% of the vote in Scotland; but one seat out of 59. My party won 18% in the south of England and one seat out of 84.

As we have seen so well recently, the first-past-the-post system has very unfortunate consequences for voters.
Jamie Sharpley
Chairman, South East England Lib Dems 2014-20

Cash back

Thank you for this interesting article on European countries – led by Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands – going cashless (Wideangle, AND N #313).

We face growing online fraud, computer outages and the possibility of major solar flares disrupting communications, as happened on the US East Coast a few years ago. It used to be that public bodies had policies to not discriminate against elderly or vulnerable people who had difficulty with computer systems, but that was thrown out the window to nurture business convenience and smart app opportunists on the market.

As data from billions of internet-connected ‘smart’ devices increases exponentially, fueling the relentless demand for phone screen addiction, it’s estimated that the ICT industry could consume 20% of the world’s electricity by 2025, up from around 4% in 2015. This time it looks like the UK has taken a more balanced approach to cash transactions that many people feel more comfortable with than hard cashless spending to manage.
Brian McGavin
Wilmslow, Cheshire

Classic error

I have to protest Paul Mason’s negative comments about engineers in ‘Musk, Cummings and Trump are all wrong’. AND N #312. Engineers are trained to address and solve practical problems in society, many of which are caused by politicians. Or does he think we should all have degrees in the classics?
Jane Drummond BSc, M.Eng, PhD
Glasgow

Future project

I walked through Zurich airport after my delayed flight from Kenya. The disruption forced me to fly from Nairobi to Amsterdam, Zurich, Brussels and finally Manchester. I loved jumping in four European countries in the space of seven hours.

Being in Zurich made me feel like I was in the heart of Europe. I could hear German, French, Spanish, Dutch and English and I felt totally European. My mood plummeted thinking Britain had left the EU.

Then it occurred to me. I was in Switzerland, which is not in the EU. We welcome two Ukrainians, whose country is not in the EU. I have an Italian son-in-law, whose country now has a far-right government and whose politics and economics we seem to yearn for. Europe is imperfect, and it’s not just the EU.

With Macron’s speech on a new group of European nations, I see a positive path forward as the UK begins to recognize its losses of not being part of the world’s largest single market and the opportunities it has offered, allowing people to live and work in 27 other countries.

Things can only get better.
Tony Howarth
London SW3

Second Reading

Like a New European aficionado, it’s perhaps no surprise that I care so passionately about the environment. May I suggest that before relegating old issues of our newspaper to the recycling bin, we give them a second life by leaving them, seemingly inadvertently, on our work environment? Whether common room, wellness room or conference room.

Even if no one reads them, it helps promote the brand we all love.
David Combes
Corby, Northants

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