Preposterous views now the norm for Truss and Co

Posted By: August 31, 2022


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

“Brian Feeney reminds us that just because the awful Boris Johnson is gone, it doesn’t mean that his replacement will be any better. “Little England” nationalism (in the bad sense), which is behind the Brexit extremism, is rampant in the Tory/Conservative Party …God help poor Ireland!

—Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Preposterous views now the norm for Truss and Co

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

David Hart was a colorful, flamboyant millionaire on the far right of British politics.

You probably won’t have heard of him because he was never elected or in front line politics. He died in 2011.

Nevertheless, he was influential. Lady Hacksaw [Maggie Thatcher] consulted him to advise on the 1984-5 miners’ strike and he was also an adviser of Michael Portillo in the 1990s in his days as defense minister before Portillo took up filming travelogues in trains.

Hart’s advice was always simplistic and extremist. Someone in the hopeless NIO even asked him at the end of the 1980s for the benefit of his wisdom on how to deal with the IRA. He came up with the genius idea of isolating them from the nationalist community and then they could be ‘taken out’ more easily. How this simple solution could be achieved at a time when Sinn Féin’s vote was growing he never explained.

On one occasion at a dinner in the NIO he was asked to elaborate on his objective in politics. “Oh, it’s quite simple,” he said. “I want to abolish the state.” As far as he was concerned there was only the most minimalist function for a state, mainly defense, otherwise it should get out of people’s lives. Private companies would build roads, railways, run medicine, education, police and what have you. Tax would therefore be drastically reduced only providing bare, minimum services for the indigent.

Utterly bonkers you might think, but remember, Conservative ministers listened to this guy, and others like him. If you listen to the next British prime minister, Liz Truss, you’ll hear the same crackpot menu. The only items she has detailed in her wish list are cutting taxes, abolishing the increase in national insurance, and switching £10 billion from the NHS to social care. She would love to get the state out of people’s lives. Ah, you might say, that’s only because it’s what her electorate, mainly over 55- year -old white males from the south of England, want to hear. Truss is notorious for U-turns and switcheroos to advance her career including in the last six weeks.

However, she was an enthusiastic contributor to Britannia Unchained, a guidebook for far right Conservatism,  written by five newly elected MPs in 2012: Truss, Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Chris Skidmore, and Kwasi Kwarteng. The book argued for radical free market economics. The authors complained that Britain was ‘a bloated state with high taxes and excessive regulation’ and that British workers are, ‘amongst the worst idlers in the world’. Truss still talks about the need for ‘more graft’ and about ‘a bonfire of regulations’ when she’s in Downing Street. Commentators predict that Kwarteng, who shares her views on state involvement (or lack of it), will be her Chancellor. David Frost, who negotiated the dreadful Brexit deal including the protocol, all of which he recommended as ‘excellent’, is also desperate to be in her Cabinet, though being in the Lords is a handicap. Frost too believes in a small unregulated state.

Extreme right -wing views beyond the pale like those of David Hart, regarded as preposterous thirty years ago, are now about to be those of the British government —and we haven’t even mentioned the anti-Irish attitudes of many of the aforementioned people and the consequences for here [Northern Ireland].

However, look on the bright side. At a time when Britain is falling apart in a six year long nervous breakdown turmoil, when the intervention of the state is more obviously essential than ever, Truss’s government will be turfed out in 2024 or even earlier. Some predict she will even go for an election next summer. Guess what: you’ll never believe this. The DUP are hoping that there’s an election next summer and that they’ll hold the balance of power just like 2017.

We can have an action replay of the DUP and ERG. That went well didn’t it?