Since 2012, Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss have all been at the helm of the Conservative Party. By the standards of the UK’s other major parties, of course, they are all very right-wing.
But how far right are they by traditional Conservative standards?
From the perspective of traditional Conservatism, this government is dangerously extreme:
- Johnson’s government was considered by many Conservatives to be a lurch to the extreme right;
- Truss has shifted the cabinet far further right;
- Even what used to be considered right-wing Conservatives see today’s government as dangerous extremists.
Johnson’s government was a Lurch to the Extreme Right
When Johnson pulled together his first cabinet, we called-out the dominance of market fundamentalists it contained – more extreme even than his predecessors – and suggested that this created a constitutional crisis for the UK. And we were not alone: leading Conservatives like the former Chancellor Philip Hammond, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry, David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and many others also spoke out.
Philip Hammond said: “the Conservative Party has been taken over by unelected advisers, entryists and usurpers who are trying to turn it from a broad church into an extreme right-wing faction. Sadly it is not the party I joined.”
Anna Soubry agreed: “The right wing… are now running the Conservative Party from top to toe. They are the Conservative Party.”
And others voiced similar concerns.
But that was by no means the end of the shift to the right.
Truss Has Shifted the Cabinet Far Further Right
The Financial Times carried a detailed analysis of the shift under Truss: they concluded that:
“The [Truss] government may have adopted the most extreme economic position of any major party in the developed world … A week into “Trussonomics”, one could make the case that this represents the first time in modern history that the government of a major developed country has decided to completely unmoor itself from not only economic orthodoxy but its own electorate.”
They created the following chart.
Under Truss, the Conservatives have moved “well beyond where the Republicans stood under Trump and just to the right of … Jair Bolsonaro,” they concluded.
This radical shift has, of course, no democratic mandate: the public did not vote for such a change.
Conservatives see Today’s Government as Dangerous Extremists
The Conservative MP Robert Halfon, interviewed by Sophie Ridge, used striking language:
“I worry that, over the past few weeks, the [Truss] government has looked like libertarian Jihadists and has treated the whole country as laboratory mice on which to carry out ultra, ultra-free market experiments and this is not where the country is. There’s been one horror story after another: it’s not just about tax cuts for the rich, but about benefit cuts, cuts to public services. Even today, we’re reading that they may impose charges on long-term sick and disabled who are parking at hospitals. This is not what the public wants…
Yesterday in my constituency, one person after another expressed dismay, but one or two people actually said to me that they were frightened: frightened about everything that has been going on, worried about their payments, worried about their mortgages, worried about their small business. I don’t want a government where people come up to me in the street and say they are frightened.”
There is no doubt that the Truss government is dangerously extreme. As Martin Wolf wrote in the Financial Times:
“Truss and Kwarteng will not deliver [growth]. Unfunded tax cuts and investment zones will certainly not deliver this. Another big jump in inequality will not deliver this. These people are mad, bad and dangerous. They have to go.”
Kwarteng is now gone, but Truss remains Prime Minister, for now. This is something we can all help fix. The first step in restoring sanity to the UK is to get rid of Truss; the second is to force a General Election.
These notes show how you can help accelerate the process.
And if you would like to help more, please take a look at the 99% Organisation and join us.