A Westminster scorecard could be helpful to most Americans to keep track of all the happenings the last couple of months at Westminster, both Westminster Abbey (built by Benedictine monks) and Westminster Palace (built by St. Edward the Confessor, who was Canonized by Pope Alex III). In a three-month time, Westminster saw three Prime Ministers and two monarchs.
While predicted in these pages that PM Lizzie Truss would not last long, one was still surprised by the historic brevity of her governance. At least Lizzie likely did not have much to pack up and she did not even have time to fill any closets at No. 10.
Unfortunately for all, especially the residents of the Emerald Isle, Lizzie’s successor, Rishi Sunak, also defines himself as an acolyte of PM Marg Thatcher. While running for the PM post, Sunak penned that: “I am a Thatcherite, I am running as a Thatcherite, and I will govern as a Thatcherite.”
Not much gray area there. However, Sunak, the first person of Color to move into 10 Downing St. at PM is much more the corporate globalist that Lizzie. While a child of the Empire (his grandparents immigrated to England from India) he is reported to be the richest PM in history.
Sunak used his time and contacts developed at England’s most elite educational establishments to make some serious cash in the finance world. His cash was greatly magnified when he married into the richest corporate family in India (Murty).
It will not help his success to lead the Tories into an inevitable general election with it being known that his wife used her status as a “non-dom” (not domiciled) to avoid paying any UK taxes on money earned outside of the UK. Whatever the Tory tax policy will be under his watch, Labour will have much grist for the mill to attack; the commercials almost write themselves.
This will be coupled with decades old footage of Rishi being interviewed during his last year at Oxford indicating he had friends who were aristocrats and wealthy, but no working class friends. Even as the youngest Prime Minister since William Pitt over 200 years ago, he is a very starched shirt, difficult for the UK electorate to warm up too. And as the new PM is heading into a winter with Europe at war, with high inflation (much higher than the U.S.), coupled with rising interest rates, a likely energy crisis and continuing reckoning with a post-Brexit hangover, one would say Sunak has his hands full. This stew does not bode well for a Tory future.
The N.I. Protocol
The Irish Sea Border will also be a heavy lift for Sunak. Boris and Lizzie both punted on the Protocol, Rishi is not going to be able to punt as easily. Hope is faint for Irish Republicans from one who is a self-described Thatcherite to lead the UK.
However, Sunak’s insufferable elitism and his global corporate view of the world, may, in the end, be an opening for those advocating for a United Ireland. Sunak will be much more susceptible, via his education and aristocratic nurturing, to the European Union’s push to resolve any issues associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol. Combined with a push from the Biden Whitehouse and U.S. House Democratic Leadership, Rishi will be highly sensitized to the needs of the Canary Wharf (UK’s Wall Street) to put the Protocol matter to bed.
Canary Wharf knows that it cannot maximize trade with the EU nor the USA while the Protocol is unresolved. And the longer the drift, the harder the cold realities of Brexit will hit. At his first meeting with The EU’s leader, Ursula von der Leyen, Sunak admitted a need to reach a “final solution” to the Protocol imbroglio. Declan Kearney, of Ireland’s pro-nationalist Sinn Fein party said there is “no credible alternative” to The Protocol.
Toppin’ the Poll
Toppin the Pole used to mean something in parliamentary elections, however the people in the north of Ireland have been waiting since last May 2022 to have a sitting, operating government. Michelle O’Neill, the leader of Sinn Fein in the Six Counties earned the spot of First Minister Designate by virtue of Sinn Fein toppin’ the poll, but loyalists refuse to return to Stormont.
The loyalists argue that they will not return to the Northern Ireland Parliament until the Protocol is removed. Not that one has to do with the other, but that is their stated reason. Their real reason is that they refuse to enter Stormont to see a Nationalist (O’Neil) assume the position of First Minister. Loyalists should look up the listing of pride as one of as one of the seven cardinal sins.
British Law calls on the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to call for new assembly elections if a government is failed to form. October 28th was that date and Chris Henton-Harris, N.I. Secretary of State has failed to call for those elections. By law, those new elections are to be held within twelve weeks; that would mean elections by January 20, 2023.
The DUP, while leading the refusal to form a new Northern Ireland Assembly, is also afraid of a new election, afraid that their vote total will drop even lower. London and Dublin and Brussels seem to be pushing to put off an election, feeling it will only inflame community passions rather than provide a path forward.
Of course, Westminster could also change the law to remove this new election requirement. But this will only force the new Sunak led government to face the failure of their positions that much sooner. The best outcome would be for Sunak to recognize, to give in to his inner corporate globalist self, and accept that the Protocol is here to stay.
U.K. Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, stated: “We need to get the Northern Ireland government up and running and the sooner the better. That requires the government to get people around a negotiating table to resolve the issues on Protocol.”
A seemingly simple, logical request, but the Tory Government allows its Loyalist partners to continue to have their cake and eat it too, with no consequences. Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill stated: “The British Government and the DUP are leaving us in a prolonged state of political limbo with NO assembly, No Executive and No caretaker ministers.” Ironically, the longer the Tories and DUP drag this matter out, it becomes self-evident that the Protocol IS working, and trade is moving on just fine without any significant changes needed
Heiress, Rebel, Vigilante and Bomber
So titled Sean O’Driscoll’s recent book on the life of Rose Dugdale. It does the job of an overview of the fascinating life of Rose Dugdale, who was born into a wealthy English family, presented to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace as a debutante, studied at Oxford and yet, in 1972, at the height of the Troubles, joined the IRA.
This seemingly improbable story is a quick read and, while telling a remarkable personal story, gives another take of the history of 1970s and 1980s-armed defense in Ireland. For Irish Clevelander’s, they will find mention in this book providing details of some of the strong links to the cause for equality and social justice in the Six Counties.