GeneralHow harmful is a Government U-turn?

How harmful is a Government U-turn?


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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng admitted to Tory members that his economic plan for Britain had ’caused a little turbulence’ despite backing his vision for British economic growth.

Kwarteng was forced to change his speech at the Conservative Party conference last minute, after an embarrassing u-turn by the government.

Just hours earlier before his re-written speech was read Kwarteng announced, ‘with humility and contrition’, that he was ditching plans to remove the 45p interest rate of income tax for the wealthiest 1%, which was unveiled at the mini-budget just ten days prior.

Kwarteng admitted that it ‘had been a tough day’ after being forced to do so.

After his speech, it was also revealed that he planned to bring forward his medium-term financial statement to this month from its original date on 23 November.

Despite this, Kwarteng said the government was dedicated to boosting British economic growth.

“We need to move forward. No more distractions. We have a plan and we need to get on and deliver it. That is what the public expect from the government,” he said to Tory members in Birmingham.

“We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announces he will scrap the 45p tax rate for the top 1%.

Not a good start for Truss and Kwarteng

Whilst it’s true that Labour needs to rediscover and reinvent itself, it seems as if the Conservatives have some work to do as well.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the UK public has effectively jumped from the frying pan into the toaster, with the government not seeming to be able to read the mood of the country.

The Chancellor’s proposal to scrap the 45p tax rate could not have come at a worse time, at least from a PR standpoint.

With the cost of living crisis in full effect, and energy bills soaring across the country, even the most staunch Conservative voter would question the timing of such a proposal.

To describe the backlash as ‘turbulence’ – as Kwarteng put it – is to describe such an ill-timed policy as an uncomfortable but minor inconvenience.

It shows a sort of callous, almost arrogant attitude towards the topic. It’s as if, had the backlash not been so significant, the Conservatives would have gone ahead with their plans.

A former Treasury Minister writes an open letter about the Truss/Kwarteng economic strategy to the Financial Times.

It begs the question to some, as to whether or not Truss and Kwarteng are fit to lead the country at all; not only from a financial perspective but also from a seemingly weak character.

If a backlash is all it takes to reverse policies, are they really ‘leaders?’ Do they have the strength of character to pursue their goals and ambitions for the UK?

Is the government being led by facts, logic, reason, economic law and common sense, or by faux outrage and sentiment?

Despite the scandals and antics of our previous Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – for the most part – delivered what he and his party set out to do. Some would argue that he was so determined, he could come across as deluded or stubborn at times.

But at least there were clear plans and goals for his Cabinet. Not so much, it seems, for Truss and Co.

What now?

It seems as if Boris’ departure has caused chaos. The Conservative party finds itself in the middle of an actual ‘turbulent’ transition period.

With MPs and former Prime Ministerial candidates blaming each other for certain failings, the Party would do well to get its act together before this situation implodes even further.

Kwarteng even went so far as to attempt to blame the mini-budget failure on the recent death of the Queen. “We had a nation in mourning and then, literally, four days after the funeral we had the mini-budget,” the chancellor said.

There is also still an estimated £43bn in tax cuts on the table, which could see the poorest in Britain return to austerity.

For their own sake, and for the country’s, it is imperative that the Party gets itself in order.

Aaron Fenton-Hewitt
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt is an aspiring journalist and political commentator. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Film from London Metropolitan University, and a Master's in Writing for Creative and Professional Practice from Middlesex University. He wishes to continue his academic career, with a PhD in Politics or related field. Aaron is also a freelance photographer, an avid foodie and an Arsenal supporter.

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