An ethical and political vacuum at the top of Government - Nick Timothy for the Telegraph - 05.06.22
Updated: Jun 9
As Tory MPs return to Westminster this morning to cast their votes in a confidence motion on the Prime Minister’s future to be announced this evening, feelings inside and outside parliament will be mixed.
There will have been many who voted for Johnson in 2019 precisely because he was the flawed human being many recognised in themselves and believe the media’s outrage over Party-gate is as confected as the Prime Minister’s own apology.
But as Nick Timothy argues in today’s Telegraph the real crisis lies in the government’s muddled vision for the long-term future of the country.
Flushed with a historic landslide in parts of the country which had never voted Tory before, it abandoned its historic commitment to a small state and low-tax economy in favour of big government, public spending and cutting immigration.
“Less than three years on, this agenda – and indeed any real sense of purpose – has disappeared. Of course Covid destroyed the Government’s momentum almost immediately after the 2019 election. And of course fighting the pandemic and dealing with its aftermath has come to dominate ministerial in-trays.
But it would be a mistake to assume that the Government’s sense of mission was killed by Covid.
Johnson’s manifesto promised lower immigration, but policy deliberately increased it to record numbers. Despite sporadic government intervention, industrial strategy was abandoned. New rights for workers were shelved. A hospital-building programme vanished. Planning reform was dropped. The plan to fix social care was no such thing, and the tax rise to fund it was eaten by the NHS. Levelling-up has been reduced to the treatment of symptoms of an illness caused by wider economic policy.
Even in the culture war, the Government has failed to hold the line. The public sector, including even the police and prisons system, is awash with policies driven by critical race theory and trans ideology. Number 10 had to be stopped from introducing legislation that risked increasing the number of children given life-changing puberty-blocking drugs.
In part this is happening because the original project was not sufficiently well developed, and in part perhaps because not enough Tory MPs bought into it. But it is also because the PM was never serious about the objectives he set and promises he made, and never prepared to trust colleagues or do the hard work to make and execute policy. This is why “the project”, as Johnson’s supporters call it, has evaporated.”
If Johnson is ousted in a no-confidence ballot this evening, these may be the real reasons he goes.
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:
Prime minister Boris Johnson at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on day two of the platinum jubilee celebrations. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA