It may seem like an overly dramatic statement to suggest that in 2018 the United Kingdom does not have a government, but in actual fact hat is exactly where we are at.
The purpose of a government is surely to have a collective view, vision, and commitment to a set of policies and ideals that they will deliver for the betterment of the country they serve.
Of course, as with all administrations, there will be certain policies and ideas that an individual within the cabinet may not agree with. However, if they feel so strongly about that issue then the norm is a principled resignation.
What we have in Theresa May’s rag, tag and bobtail outfit is a collection of individuals who see the departments they head as a platform to advance their own leadership bids for the Conservative Party when the job next comes around.
We have the Defence Secretary demanding money with menaces from the Prime Minister, and very publicly saying that if she doesn’t agree to his demands he will “break her”. Nice.
Sajid Javid has undertaken a series of measures around issues such as Windrush, immigration targets and, again, a demand for more cash for the Home Office he presides over. He has also done a triple somersault on his views around Brexit in an attempt to attract the support of the Eurosceptic heavy Conservative Party membership. A talented player, Javid may find himself being the Heseltine/Portillo of the twenty-first century if he isn’t careful. Frontrunners for the party leadership seldom end up with the prize in the Tory Party.
This week the impressive Treasury Secretary Lis Truss, who addressed a group of Downtown members earlier this year, has outlined a personal manifesto of sorts in a speech she made to the London School of Economics, where she compared her colleagues to “Gremlins”.
Not only did Truss make it clear that there would be no additional cash released for her ‘moaning Minnie’ colleagues around the cabinet table, but she took a direct, personal swipe at her ‘friend’ and likely leadership competitor, Environment Minister Michael Gove.
And what about that loveable rogue Boris Johnson? Well, he has been on manoeuvres since the turn of the century. His latest flurry of activity has included running off to Afghanistan to avoid the vote on the Heathrow Airport extension and telling business leaders to “Fuck Off”. Outstanding from an individual who has the badge of Foreign Secretary!
All of this would be acceptable jockeying for an opposition that was looking to find its way, discover a purpose, a vision, a mission, a reason for being. But, if you are in government, then all of those things should be in place.
The fact is that, from Brexit to the Health Service; from Austerity to devolution; and from Policing to Transport, the ‘government’ has no purpose, no vision, no plan.
At a time when the UK needs courageous, clear leadership from its politicians, we find ourselves with a group of people ‘in charge’ who seemingly spend more time planning their respective moves for the Tory Party’s top job, rather than getting on with the job they have now – running the country.