Given what’s happened since her death on September 8, it would’ve been fitting for Queen Elizabeth II, in her final days, to have said, in an echo of Louis XV, “Après moi, le déluge.” Because it’s taken no time at all, since her passing, for the British ship of state to run aground.
In her last official act, on September 6, the Queen invited Liz Truss to succeed Boris Johnson as PM. Johnson – whose Spectator columns I’d read with enthusiasm for years – had been swept into power in a 2019 election in which the Tories won an 80-seat majority. The mandate: to get Brexit done. Boris got it done – sort of – but otherwise, in many ways, he spectacularly betrayed basic Conservative principles.
Backed by many voters who hoped he’d be a British Trump, Boris did little or nothing to tackle his country’s version of the swamp. On his watch, English police ignored Muslim rape gangs and arrested law-abiding citizens for criticizing Islam online. Boris championed strict COVID lockdown rules and mandatory vaccination, but broke the lockdown himself and then lied about it – a move that was used as an excuse to give him the heave-ho.
For me, the big lesson of Boris’s downfall was that a terrific political journalist doesn’t necessarily make a decent prime minister. As it happens, during the last months of his premiership I was fitfully making my way through Charles Moore’s magnificent three-volume biography of Margaret Thatcher. What a woman! The more I read, the more I admire her. It really can feel as if she was born to be prime minister. She had what it took – unshakable core beliefs, strong self-discipline, excellent management skills, etc. – to rescue Britain from socialism and help bring down the USSR. Why wasn’t Boris able to do something similar for the UK – and the world – at a time when globalism was threatening liberal democracy? Could it be he just wasn’t wired for the job? Alas, some writers aren’t good for anything other than writing.
Truss won the nod to replace Johnson via a ridiculous process, reminiscent of the game Musical Chairs, whereby Tory politicians knock off candidates one by one until a single individual is left standing. Tory voters reportedly preferred the smart, articulate Kemi Badenoch – who voted for Brexit, rejects critical race theory, admires Roger Scruton and Thomas Sowell, and supports immigration controls. But she got voted off the island soon enough. In the U.S., imbeciles like Kamala Harris have risen to power because they’re “women of color.” Badenoch is one woman of color who deserved to reach the top. There was a very good chance that she could’ve been Britain’s Trump. Much of the electorate would’ve loved it. But the electorate didn’t matter. The party hacks said no, and that was that.
Oh, well. At least Truss was better than some of the alternatives. But now, 44 days in, she’s out – the shortest-serving British prime minister ever. The 21st century’s Lady Jane Grey. The Tippecanoe of No. 10.
What happened? Truss’s own Tories, including her finance minister, resisted her low-tax, free-market agenda from the git-go. She fired her Chancellor of the Exchequer on October 14. She forced her home secretary, Suella Braverman, an advocate of strict immigration curbs, to resign on Wednesday, supposedly over the kind of minor e-mail flub that Hillary Clinton commits a dozen times before breakfast. The Tories’ Chief Whip, Wendy Morton, quit the same day. And then on Thursday, Truss announced that she’d be leaving, too.
On Wednesday and Thursday, one British TV commentator after another expressed absolute astonishment at these developments. A woman on TalkTV said that Westminster was a site of “complete and utter dysfunction.” On GB News, Nigel Farage declared that the Tory Party “is now dead and it needs to be replaced.” Others echoed his verdict, with some adding that Farage himself, founder of UKIP and the Brexit Party, needs to form yet another new party, one that actually represents the low-tax, anti-immigration, pro-Brexit views of most Englishmen living outside of London. The Tories, as podcaster Connor Tomlinson observed, are now “a Blairite institution entirely.”
I can’t pretend to follow all the nuances of British politics: keeping up with them these days is a full-time job. But a long list of Brits whom I respect – Farage included – have characterized the takedown of the Truss government as “a globalist coup.” In the U.S., we wonder who’s really calling the shots in the White House, given that Joe Biden is a corpse; in Britain, one TV talking head after another has declared that the real power in today’s Tory Party is the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, an old Commons hand who’s previously served as Foreign, Culture, and Health Secretary – and who was an ardent Remainer. Farage even said that Hunt now “has total control of the country” and called him “president of the UK.”
Why should Americans care about Britain’s government? Because the parallels are stunning. Trump, who unlike the self-seeking, short-sighted empty suits in the establishment wings of both major U.S. parties actually represented the interests of the American majority, got into office only to spend his term fighting off efforts by the D.C. swamp to take him out – after which, despite his remarkable accomplishments, his immense popularity, and Biden’s status as a cadaver, he lost re-election under exceedingly dubious circumstances.
The situation in the UK is strikingly similar: both the Tories and Labour are dominated by blinkered, mediocre careerists whose personal ambitions and fealty to woke ideology, the globalist agenda, and big corporate interests (but not small businesses) far outweigh any loyalty they feel to the voters who put them in office. “The Westminster establishment,” thundered GB News’s Dan Wootton on Thursday, “is stacked against the people – and thus against democracy itself!”
However imperfectly and partially, Truss represented something of a reaction to the Westminster consensus and a threat to the House of Commons swamp culture. But she crumbled quickly. Who will replace her? There’s talk of Boris coming back. But at the moment the big money is on former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. On the one hand, Sunak, a graduate of Oxford and Stanford, was pro-Brexit. On the other, he’s a high-taxing big spender who’s notorious for boosting a global minimum tax on multinationals and IT firms and for proposing a “green levy” that would’ve raised gas taxes for the usual cockamamie environmental reasons.
In short, he’s the Tory equivalent of a RINO. Last spring, it emerged that Sunak and his wife, a wealthy Indian fashion designer, are both registered, apparently for tax purposes, as permanent U.S. residents. Such a revelation would’ve destroyed some political careers; but, as with Ilhan Omar’s marriage to her brother, Sunak easily survived the unearthing of his shady shenanigans. On Thursday night, Mark Steyn of GB News labeled Sunak, quite soberingly, “the IMF candidate, the Klaus Schwab candidate.”
In 2016, UK voters defied their globalist political establishment and stunned the world by choosing Brexit. Britain First! Later that year, U.S. voters defied their globalist political establishment and stunned the world by electing Trump. America First! Now, six years later, in Britain as in America, the globalist political establishment is striving, with the utmost cynicism and naked self-interest, to thwart the aspirations of the electorate – and thereby make a mockery of democracy itself in the two countries that are the ultimate symbols thereof. If what’s going on in Britain now is really a globalist coup – an attempt, among much else, to undo Brexit – it’s pretty much the equivalent of the ridiculous “insurrection” hearings and sundry anti-MAGA mischief in the U.S. whose only purpose is to keep Trump from running again and to intimidate his supporters into silence.
On both sides of the Atlantic, lovers of freedom need to quash this deviltry – pronto.