The circus continues: Britain has (another) unelected prime minister

The circus continues: Britain has (another) unelected prime minister

Seven weeks. Three prime ministers. One hell of a circus. You couldn’t make it up – and unfortunate truth is – you don’t have to. This is the sad reality of British politics right now. Farcical at best, massively concerning at worst. How did we get here though? 

It hasn’t even been two months since I asked where Liz Truss’ premiership would be won and lost. And while we all predicted an uphill struggle from the offset for the shortest serving PM in British history, no one could foresee just how quickly the self-implosion would come to fruition. Just 45 days and one disastrous mini-budget later – Ms. Truss’ government is no more. 

So what next? 

“Integrity and accountability” 

After a week-long recruitment process – which in itself is pretty laughable – Rishi Sunak stood outside Number 10 to address the nation for the first time as PM. He appeared to take a stab at both of his recent predecessors. 

Firstly, by vowing to do a better job with the economy than Liz Truss. Which, when you consider how much of a disaster her premiership turned out to be, is nothing to really shout about. Then perhaps more tellingly, Rishi Sunak’s choice words that seemed to be a (not so) subtle dig at Boris Johnson. He vowed to lead a government that would pride itself on “integrity and accountability.” 

It would be laughable if it wasn’t true. Is integrity appointing Kemi Badendoch – a minister who described trans women as “men” and abstained on the same-sex marriage vote in Northern Ireland – as Minister for Women and Equalities?

Is accountability reinstating Suella Braverman into a cabinet position less than seven days after having to leave because of a security breach? 

You already know the answers to that. But does the prime minister? 

The new norm? 

Mr. Sunak’s arrival marks the UK’s fifth PM in six years. By contrast, in the 28 years prior – there were just three. Whatever your opinions are on Thatcher, Major and Blair, there was never quite this level of chaos and uncertainty in British politics and the worst thing is, it’s showing no signs of slowing down or stabilising. 

For starters, parliamentary system or not – the fact that the current PM is clinging onto Boris Johnson’s three year old manifesto is laughable yet understandable. We saw what a snap election did to Theresa May’s majority in 2017 and if opinion polls are correct, a general election now would see a clear win for Labour. 

Some attribute the precarious position of politics in this country to the hugely divisive Brexit campaign in 2016. However, I’d argue the constant ineptitude from the government in the six years since leaving the EU is more of a pressing issue if you ask me. 

Issues at hand 

Barring any sort of catastrophe – something we know we can’t actually rule out these days – we’re probably stuck with Rishi Sunak as our prime minister for the next couple of years at least. 

So where does he go from here? 

Any vindication the new PM might be feeling after warning Liz Truss about her economic plan will quickly evaporate when he realises the size of the task at hand. The problems don’t stop there either. Our National Health Service is on its knees, tens of thousands of workers are still going on strike and the cost of living crisis will only intensify the closer we get to winter. 

Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, few can argue that our political system isn’t broken. We can barely predict the next six weeks, let alone the next six months. So although the circus continues, the time for clowning around has to stop. There’s simply too much shit to get done.