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21st November 2023

What on earth is going on in the House of Commons?

Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet is like a reality TV episode; there’s constant shocks, surprises, and strains. It’s entertaining, but there’s a deeper issue of trust underlying the show
What on earth is going on in the House of Commons?
Credit: Foreign Press Association in London @ Flickr

Surely Channel 4 are in talks for a political drama premiering in 2026 about Rishi Sunak’s government. The premise of the show is similar to Love Island with its constant entrances and exits, mixed with Black Mirror, scenes cut from The Thick Of It, and politicians who are most accurately dramatised in a Delores Umbridge-esque pantomime villain (who the audience boos off the stage) crossover. The ad breaks are blitzed with memes about pigs and 101 Dalmations.

It’s a riveting show which never fails to pop up in everyday conversation and keep the public on its feet. Sunak’s government may be making my Twitter feed constantly entertaining, but his Cabinet’s continuous chaos is eroding public trust and faith in the government.

The selection process for the offices of state seems to operate like the blindfolded ‘stick the tail on the donkey’ party game. This makes the offices become a laughing stock, but while this may seem very amusing to the general public, it detracts from the  gravity of the offices. The cabinet is self-destructing, as no one is actually in office long enough to acquire the specialist skills needed nor to effect the positive change which will, allegedly, fulfil the Tories’ goal of a “brighter future.”

We’ve had seven Foreign Secretaries in seven years, but I can’t think of any of their beneficial or positive achievements; only their contribution to Britain’s state of permacrisis.

Can anyone say which absolute certainty and belief that any of the Tories in public office who’ve played a key role in the last year are fit for service? Think about Liz Truss and her awe-inspiring 42 days of premiership; Rishi Sunak’s appointment, which saw party voting intentions plummet to 24% and a spike in unfavourability ratings up to 51%; Nadine Dorries and her constant bitter attacks on pretty much anyone after being refused a peerage from Johnson; the multiple Tory politicians who are being investigated for sexual misconduct; Suella Braverman and her cruel rhetoric.

(Cr)uella Braverman is the most recent Cabinet member – and in one of the Great Offices of State no less – who epitomises the Tories’ awfulness. It’s hard trying to get your head around the daughter of immigrants making it her key policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda – which the Supreme Court ruled as unlawful on November 15. But it’s even harder to understand why a Foreign Secretary, whose job should revolve around values of stability and fairness, would try to do the exact opposite in office.

This is seen in Braverman’s (self-destructive) article against police bias in The Times and her far right-wing rhetoric regarding huge domestic and international issues; she purposefully added fuel to the fire at a time when the fire was already spreading. The only possible consolation in Braverman’s demise is that she has been sacked twice – one being on a Monday morning probably before she’d even her opened her inbox – by two weak Prime Ministers. This is worsened by the fact she tactically scheduled her fall so she could avoid facing the Supreme Court’s verdict. Embarrassing.

You know when you have a local politician come and deliver an assembly to a group of half-asleep teenagers sprawled on chairs, and inspirationally, philosophically, preaches that ‘anyone can become a politician?’ The Tories have taken this assembly a bit too literally. In a huge throwback to 2016, (Lord) David Cameron has been appointed as the Foreign Secretary. We may as well dig Topshop Joni jeans, the Harambe meme, and Pokémon Go out of their graves while we’re at it.

Even worse, hearing ‘Daddy’s home’ in reference to Cameron’s return was something I really could have done without hearing. Oh, and also: Cameron’s appointment also means that there are no women in the Great Offices of State, which is a disgrace. This is made worse; there are only ten women in the cabinet, out of a possible 32 positions. The Tory party is still very much a ‘boys’ club.’

Cameron’s appointment suggests that the Tories are walking on thin ice. They’re running out of candidates – let alone suitable candidates – and are having to resort to extreme measures. The gobsmacked tone of the Sky News presenters when Cameron walked into 10 Downing Street neatly summarises what we’re all thinking; that Sunak is really trying to scrape together some political allies in order to maintain his grasp on political power.

There must be some somewhere, right? Even if they resigned in 2016 over failing to succeed in a foreign policy matter, in the biggest moment of recent British history, and can only really play the ‘experience’ card? Asking the British electorate to trust the Tory government encapsulates how out of touch the Tories are with their members, voters, and the public.

No wonder 80% of the British public are dissatisfied in Sunak’s government. They couldn’t run a sweet shop, let alone a country.

One poll predicts that the Tories would only have 19% of the vote if there was a general election tomorrow (compared with Labour’s 49%), have seen multiple by-election defeats, are embroiled in scandal after scandal, and are out of touch with the public. It’s time for a General Election to be called and the Tories voted out. But, moving the issue of trust from Sunak to Keir Starmer, can we trust Starmer to be the leader of the party the country needs? Only time will tell.

Alexandra Baynes

Alexandra Baynes

Head Editor of Opinion Section. Radio Host on Fuse FM. Twitter: @lexiebayness

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