The modern Conservative Party is a microcosm of all that’s gone so wrong in modern Britain. The vast majority of the top positions have been gobbled up by wealthy, over-entitled elitists with establishment connections, and there’s practically no social mobility within the party to provide competition to replace people who are manifestly incompetent, so there’s basically no getting rid of the people who created the appalling situation we’re in.
David Cameron bears a lot of responsibility for the state of things given his extraordinarily lax attitude towards the incompetence of his ministers:
- George Osborne’s austerity agenda completely failed to eliminate the deficit by 2015 as he promised it would (current Tory deficit elimination projection 2031, or 21 years to do what they said they’d achieve in under 5).
- Theresa May cocked up one piece of legislation after another, introduced the horrific “hostile environment” policies that created the Windrush scandal, and failed her (ridiculous and arbitrary) promise to cut net migration to below 100,000 so badly that net migration reached an all time high.
- And even the legendarily incompetent Iain Duncan Smith was allowed to continue maliciously and incompetently wrecking the lives of sick, disabled, and jobless people until he resigned just before the Brexit vote in order to damage Cameron as much as possible.
Since Theresa May took over the lax Tory attitude towards incompetence is even worse, especially since May threw away her majority in 2017 and left herself relying on the sectarian DUP bigots to cling to power. Even if she had the will to discipline errant and incompetent MPs, she’s definitely not got the authority.
Take Boris Johnson’s continual array of gaffes and errors as Foreign Secretary that even led to a jailed British citizen in Iran having their sentence increased. Take Gavin Williamson’s utterly pathetic “Russia should go away and shut up” comment that made Britain look a laughing stock for having such a jumped up little squit as their Defence Secretary. And take the way the DWP minister Esther McVey has been allowed to totally get away with barefaced lying to the House of Commons with no punishment.
Karen Bradley was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary in January 2018. She was always an odd choice for the job given the difficulties involved: Brexit and the Irish border question, the absolute deadlock in the Northern Irish devolved parliament, the massive increase in sectarianism, and the very real risk to the peace process caused by the DUP propping up the UK government while the territory is effectively under indefinite “home rule”.
Given the seriousness of the circumstances one would have expected an experienced heavy-hitter to take on the role, but instead Theresa May passed it off to the shockingly lightweight but pliable and subservient Karen Bradley.
In September 2018 Bradley made the shocking admission that she didn’t even know that Northern Irish politics is divided on sectarian lines. That’s the kind of absolute basic that anyone who pays the remotest attention to Northern Irish news understands, not the kind of thing the actual government minister for Northern Ireland was completely ignorant of.
When Theresa May became Prime Minister her decision to appoint Chris Grayling as her Transport Minister was a signal of the absolute contempt she has towards public transport users, because his woeful track record in other departments has earned him the nickname “failing Grayling”.
As minister for Employment in Cameron’s government he introduced unlawful tribunal fees to deter workers from seeking recompense when sacked by bad bosses. The messes he made in the Ministry of Justice were even worse, with his spectacularly botched privatisation of the Probation Service still creating headaches for his successors to this day.
At Transport “failing Grayling” has truly excelled himself, presiding over two simultaneous farces with Southern Rail and Northern Rail services in chaos, meanwhile he ended up having to return the flagship East Coast Mainline to public ownership for a third time as yet another private operator ran away rather than face making losses on the contract they signed.
When it comes to the ever increasing threat of a chaotic “no deal” Tory Brexit Britain faces huge challenges when it comes to issues like aviation, shipping, licencing issues for hauliers, and the infrastructure for customs checks at UK borders. You really couldn’t think of a worse person to deal with all these complexities than a serial failure like Chris Grayling.
Shortly after Theresa May appointed the disgraced Liam Fox as her International Trade minister he bragged that securing a trade deal with the EU would be “the easiest in human history”.
Fast forward two years and Fox is claiming that there’s now a 60-40 chance of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal at all, and attempting to cast blame onto the EU negotiating team for his shocking complacency, and his abject failure to get to grips with his brief.
Theresa May’s 2017 vanity election will surely go down in history as an examplar of political hubris. She had the comfort of a reasonable majority until 2020, but she somehow decided to gamble it in the hope of achieving a landslide election victory and a super-majority so that she could take conduct Brexit as an unstoppable hard-right autocrat.
Amazingly Theresa May learned nothing from David Cameron’s spectacularly misjudged Brexit gamble that was only intended to win a few votes off UKIP at the 2015 General Election, not throw the entire nation into years of turmoil
Having learned nothing about the inherent risks of political gambling from the demise of her predecessor she threw away her parliamentary majority with another ridiculously ill-judged gamble of her own.
But aside from her ridiculous vanity election there’s another telling issue. There’s the fact that she was personally responsible for appointing all three of the other candidates for the most incompetent Tory minister.
There are strong cases to be made for all four of the candidates for most incompetent Tory minister, but since one of them is directly responsible for the appointment of the other three, so she’s surely got to be the leading candidate.