UK Politics 2020: A Quickening Pace?

There is evidence that after years of drift, grandstanding, confusion and kicking every can down a never ending road, things are beginning to happen. The Boris government looks confident and in control. This is important. Even if you oppose its policies. Everyone was worse off with a May style government which endlessly studied position papers, fudges and fiddles, then reached the wrong decision which it lacked the parliamentary support to implement. The result was not just the Brexit mess, but an ongoing crisis in every arm of the public services.

The clown aspect of Boris  has given way to a surprising focus and energy both at home and abroad. His record at the Foreign Office was not a happy one and his barnstorming leadership campaign raised serious questions about his grip of detail. But now in the only job he ever wanted and surrounded by some pretty aggressive  advisers, his government, bolstered by his election win and a decent majority, looks as if it is in charge. The handling of the Iran crisis has been a lot more sophisticated than one might have expected, the restoration of the Stormont government a big success, and the calm in the midst of the faux ‘Royal Crisis’ has been refreshing.

The moment so many dread, while an equal number are busting to celebrate, Brexit at the end of the month, is just days away. The other two main opposition parties, Labour and the Lib Dems, are both finding new leaders, so by mid- spring the political landscape will have changed out of all recognition to a year ago. However the honeymoon atmosphere will quickly dissipate as challenges for the future become here and now problems. How to cut taxes and increase spending, squaring  unsquareable circles to do with EU and US trade deals, delivering to the new Tory working class base, matching a hard Brexit to increasing economic output, are all must dos for Boris.

Fail on any and he is in trouble. Fail on all and he is finished.

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