Sunday 23 October 2022

Nerd Church - Caffeinated Current Events: *Laugh-Cries In British*

It's been something of a week here in the UK - so join me as I attempt a coffee-fuelled explanation of the current situation.

'Caffeinated Current Events' with steaming coffee cup

Caffeinated Current Events is a blogpost sub-series where I get jumped up on coffee and explain the slightly/majorly ridiculous state of the world to my darling dearest nerdlets.

Think drunk history without the alcohol, or the benefits of not having to live through this sh**.

This post is one where I'm GOING to get political - you've been warned. Feel free to click away if it's not your thing, I won't even know. 🙈😅

Disclaimer Time: this is written for the purpose of humour and entertainment. It's also opinion, based on the information available to me at time of writing. Don't sue me, I promise it's not worth it.

The good news is that Liz Truss (the UK's Conservative Prime Minister) is gone gone gone!

The bad news is that she managed to nuke the economy in less than 2 whole months. And we're gonna end up with our 3rd prime minister in 4 months. 

(And hopefully number 3 won't be the same as number 1 because I do NOT want Boris Johnson back.)

At this rate I'm kinda expecting Basil Brush to be named supreme leader of everything.

...He'd probably do a better job than most politicians, tbh.

Basil Brush (a fox puppet with a green suit jacket): Boom Boom!
Via Gfycat - #VoteBasilBrush

So - what happened this week in the UK?



OK, so the government imploded. (Which the economy had already done, previously.)

That's the definitiveness of it all - it collapsed and hard, leading to Liz Truss resigning on Thursday and becoming the shortest-serving prime minister in British history, taking that particular title away from a dude who died in office in 1827.

How the government imploded is something that to be totally honest we're not looking at too hard - most of us are just glad that it happened. 

It involved Truss nuking the economy, the chancellor being replaced, the home secretary - Suella Braverman - resigning and somehow making it more about Liz Truss than about the actual reason she had to resign, and then some stuff happened with fracking.

Don't ask what happened with fracking. No-one actually knows. 

I think the people who were involved in the vote don't actually know. 

There was alleged physical assault and the minister for the 18th Century (aka Jacob Rees-Mogg,) and general confusion all around.

Still confused?

Good, so are we.

Let's take a look at the key timeline here.

(My main source for the dates is this article from The Guardian - other sources will be linked as I go along.)

September 5th - Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister, with a majority of just over 20,000 people over runner-up Rishi Sunak.

September 8th - Queen dies, period of national mourning shuts down all government business for 10 days

(That means Liz Truss wasn't able to do any damage in that period.)

September 23rd - Liz Truss' Chancellor of the Exchequer (top economic minister,) Kwasi Kwarteng, unveils the Mini-Budget - Truss' economic plans - which wrecked our economy.

The financial markets thoroughly poop their pants.

September 24th - October 13th - The economy goes Very Badly. All sorts of economic Bad Things happen, and the experts are basically like, what were you thinking?!

The financial markets continue to poop their pants.

Truss attempts both a) sticking to the plan, and b) throwing out a few of the stupider aspects of her plan. Neither thing works.

October 14th - Truss asks Kwasi Kwarteng to resign, so he does. 

No-one knows whether this counts as quitting or being sacked, but anyway, now Jeremy Hunt's the Chancellor - and he's generally useless, but at least he has two brain cells and a calculator to rub together, so it's an improvement. 

...(Kind of.)

It's generally accepted that Truss' In Trouble™, and has called a grown-up to fix it for her.

October 17th - Hunt reverses most of what Truss and Kwarteng put in place, on account of it being stupid.

This makes sense economically, but creates blood in the water politically. 

Liz is hiding under a desk instead of addressing parliament, and throws Penny Mordaunt to the sharks in her place.

Hunt also warns that the damage isn't easily reversed - he basically returned us to the cruelty of Austerity economics.

October 18th - The press tear Truss a new one over the perception that Jeremy Hunt's actually the one in charge now, on account of all the (stupid) policies she was elected with going bye-bye.

October 19th - Iesu Grist.

OK. Here's the stuff that's clear:

Liz Truss said she was 'a fighter not a quitter' in Prime Minister's Questions (regular debate time) - which has not aged well.

Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary on account of allegedly sending government documents from a private e-mail account, and to someone who was not authorised to receive them 

- only she somehow turned it around on Liz Truss and also managed to shove some anti-immigration stuff in there because a lot of Tory ministers/MPs who are People of Colour are... comparable to Candace Owens in the US. 

(I don't know how else to put it, tbh.)

And then...

And then.

There was chaos.

Let's break this right down, it'll still be confusing, but we'll have tried:

  • Labour - the opposition - put forward a vote against fracking. 

It was more bureaucratically complex than that, but the essence was fracking = bad. 

And it would have been a first baby-step to stopping the government's pro-fracking policies.

  • The Conservatives (Truss' party) declared this would be a Vote of Confidence in the government. 

This means those Conservative MPs either abstaining or voting with Labour would lose the whip (...which means they'd be suspended from sitting as a Conservative MP, and would have to sit as Independent MPs.)

  • The vote itself descended into utter chaos.

There was swearing, yelling, alleged assault, and nobody knowing whether the Chief Whip (...the top disciplinary officer whose job is to make sure that the MPs vote with the party leadership) had resigned or not.

About half-way through the vote there was confusion over whether it was a Vote of Confidence. Probably because Truss didn't have confidence in a Vote of Confidence.

October 20th - After having a meeting with Sir Graham Brady - the guy who can tell her whether or not the MPs are gonna try to oust her - Liz Truss resigns.

Less than 2 months that felt like 20 years. I swear.

So, by this time next week, or so the plan goes, we'll have another Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the Tories (Conservatives) have left us in a mess. 

Even those of us (Wales, Scotland, and, when they have a functional government, Northern Ireland,) with the privilege of a devolved-government buffer between us and Westminster face struggles.

The UK government controls the money available to the devolved administrations. And then their parties have the gall to blame those administrations.

I have never seen Mark Drakeford as angry as he was this week.

I know compared to most parliamentary arguments in other parts of the world, this spat between Drakeford and Andrew R T Davies looks tame, but... Iesu. 

Uncle Mark doesn't get this angry. Ever. 

And good on him for telling the Tories off, to be honest.

Nerd Church will be on break next week, (by which point Prime Minister Basil Brush will surely be in office,) and will be back on 6th November 2022

Thoughts? Confusion? Help?

Talk to me! 🙈💬

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  1. I honestly don't know whether do laugh or cry about it all. It would be funny if so many people weren't facing one of the worst winters ever due to the state of their finances. I wasn't in the slightest bit surprised that the iceberg lettuce outlasted Liz Truss. She acted as if she didn't have anything between the ears. I can't believe some people are wanting to bring back Boris, though-are they insane? I wish we could just have another general election now because I don't hold any of the Tory frontrunners in high regard. What a mess.

    1. Yup - total mess. Laugh AND cry - it's only appropriate at this point ;)

      Truss is totally useless - and that's about the kindest thing I can say about her, so I'll leave it there. People are... *sighs* ...I don't know. I don't know how it's possible that things have only gotten weirder since 2020, but here we are. *shrugs*

  2. No comment besides the idea that maybe the cat who's always hanging out at the front door should be PM?

    1. Most of us would vote Larry if given the chance *nods sagely*

  3. Wow, that's complicated and messy. I feel bad for all the people who have to sit on the sidelines and suffer through it.

    1. Ha, yes. It's not the easiest thing, living in the UK right now.

  4. Fun! It's chaos here too in the un- United States lol. Sometimes you have to just laugh because what's the alternative? Seriously though, I sometimes wish our system was more like yours in that elections don't take literally years at a time (the campaigning I mean) or we can't get rid of bad leaders (Trump) when it becomes abundantly clear they're not qualified. We survived him, of course (kinda) but we had to sit through the WHOLE 4 years. Oh well...

    Hopefully your next PM works out better.

    1. Our system isn't the greatest, either. We don't elect the prime minister, we elect the MPs, and the leader of the party with the most MPs becomes prime minister. Which is fine when you know who that leader is at the time of the election, not so great when they switch leaders and you end up with someone you never voted for, or when they *refuse* to switch leaders despite the, y'know, treason (which is how Boris Johnson *started* his term in office.)


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