long months of conservative leadership campaign almost at the end. An exhausting debate came to an end. It will be the biggest shock since the Brexit referendum if Liz Truss doesn’t announced how winner on Monday.
this is traditional in this moment for commentators to give advice on priorities for new prime minister. It hardly seems necessary at this time. urgent matters facing country is well known: receiving growth going again by reducing the tax burden and regulatory reforms, energy security and cost NHS lagging, defending the Union through the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and supporting a strong Ukraine policy avoiding catastrophic escalation.
It would be a grand agenda for Any government. Per one with just two years left on its mandate, divided by party and 10 points behind in polls, it will be very difficult. But the task must be accepted on all the same. as i wrote last month in “Holy Illusions”, my essay for think tank Policy Exchange, “does not make sense in investment of effort in politicians who are politically possible but who cannot in fact solve our problems”.
For Ms Truss, taking party and potential voters with her in these extraordinary circumstances will require extraordinary political skills. we are not yet know for sure that she owns them: indeed, as we found out, this hard to know who really up to work of prime minister until they actually do it. We will know things are starting to go wrong if she avoids the difficult decisions under pressure in service of purely public-friendly responses to our problems – for e.g. energy price caps or other round of massive handouts from taxpayers.
I don’t think it’s likely, which means she need to build, if not consensus, then at least a political impulse and a broad support behind policy that many will not like. There I have some advice. You need to be honest in the situation, explain the choice and try to convince of the correctness of the choice. decisions taken.
It’s countercultural for British management. Usually politics and legislation are sorted out inside Whitehall. Outsiders don’t get much real let’s say though conflicting policies can be proposed in in the media no doubt to test reactions. key choice made early, confirmation prejudice begins to emerge and doubts are suppressed. By that time of in public announcement, participants will sincerely believe that they have received best possible problem solving a perfect balance between all trade-offs, and the only sensible way continue.
That’s why so often politics just drive. Ministers say there’s nothing better way, policy satisfies everyone possible goals and deny the presence trade-off.
This heroic style of sometimes work more often its results are simply undermined real life. We have seen it most clearly on Covid where rational discussion of in trade-offs were rare and only clear Disable of in policy from reality finally got me to change. we see it on HS2. And we see it on The Internet Safety Bill, a grossly flawed proposal that should be humane down.
It’s all best shunned. Politics is about persuasion. In a very difficult decisions come, maybe it will be better to explain the problems, be honest about the dilemmas and accept people in governments confidence about how he came to his own conclusions.
For example, on energy, foundation problem not Vladimir Putin (although he made worse) but bad policy give us network that cannot reliably provide enough power when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, leaving us subject to very high spot prices for gas and kindness of (semi-)friends for power through interconnectors. basic trade-off that if we want more renewable energy sources, we will have more unreliable and expensive grid and, probably, rationing; If we want safety of delivery, we need more and more modern, gas power stations and possibly some coal mines, but this will affect path to net zero. It won’t be possible to say that we can have both – it’s net zero remains in goal but there will be no food.
In a similar way, on NHS fundamental problem it’s a disadvantage of potential and inability of our semi-Soviet system to use what is effective. Either we expand this ability with incentives and rewards to use private health care, or we’re holding queues. Yes trade-off. Housing is even easier. Either we build more at home where people want them, in Southern England, or prices go up and younger people will never get on stairs.
best way to deal with with these dilemmas are not about pretending they don’t exist or there is some kind of magic way out but set them out and explain why government chose as is. To be open with people. Explain that we cannot have everything. Even if the Conservative Party seems to suggest that magic solutions work, risk the electorate turns to a genuine supplier of illusions, the Labor Party. Let’s not go there. next government should be honest and take people with it instead.