The chaotic resignation of Boris Johnson and last-minute conversion of Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies to uphold a level of integrity in politics underlines the failure of the Conservative Party to address the rot within it. Johnson’s character was known when he first elected as leader, with multiple allegations of impropriety and lying well known. Yet MPs like Mims Davies enthusiastically back him even in the face of the Covid Party scandals when her response to the Sue Gray Report was to blame the situation on the “appalling and inexcusable drunken behaviour by officials and advisors” ignoring the real issue which was the disregard for the rules at the top.
Johnson promised to “get Brexit done” – yet Brexit is deeply unpopular, now only supported by 35% of the electorate, it divides the Union and the agreement he claimed was “oven baked” has become such a liability he wanted to tear it up, breaking international law just as easily as he has broken domestic law. There is no Brexit bonus, Conservative promises of lower taxes and better public services have all been delivered in reverse and high inflation is threatening all our living standards.
Yet the Conservative candidates to replace Johnson all have unappealing platforms, focusing more on giving away unfunded tax cuts to the better off and big business, and competing for even harder versions of Brexit that involve breaking international law and withdrawing Britain from other international institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights, which would threaten our civil liberties.
We are facing massive challenges right now – the cost of living, the unsustainable pressures on the NHS and social care, the housing crisis and climate change. We really need our politicians to get serious about addressing these, but it seems none of the Conservative candidates for their leadership seem to have any coherent plan to tackle these problems.