Through the looking glass…

October 06, 2022 08:40
British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng (Photo: Reuters)

‘twas brilliant how the slimy Gove
Did jibe and drivel in the wake
Of whimsy Kwarteng’s over-reach
As the Tory wrath o’ercame
(apologies to Lewis Carrol)

The bizarre behaviour of Prime Minister Mary Liz Truss and her Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng is readily explicable as the consequences of having been born genetically lobotomised.

Consider, if you will, the consequences of surgical removal of the frontal lobes of the brain, clinically termed a frontal lobotomy. It deprives the patient of the sense of reality.

The frontal lobes of the brain mediate executive tasks including such as problem solving and the ability to plan and organise.

Personality characteristics having to do with judgment, social appropriateness, inhibition versus impulsivity and motivation are also partially related to the activity of the frontal lobes.

In the light of this, consider the first major decisions taken by Truss and Kwartang within days of assuming office.

Together, and this is significant, together they decided to abolish the 45% tax band with the consequence of depriving the government of £2 billion of revenue.

As this only affected those earning over £150,000 per annum, one might have thought that at a time of grave economic stress and a desperate need to find funds for the NHS and education, let alone ameliorate the effects of the dramatic increase in the cost of fuel, this category of taxpayer could readily afford to continue paying a little more.

Not content with aggravating the already prize-winning disparity between rich and poor – the UK is on a par with Latvia and Nigeria – this prize pair of undergraduate level ideologues decided to remove the cap on that prime obscenity, the banker’s bonus.

Pandering to the Conservative Party’s wealthy donors, quite apart from the 81,000 nostalgia deluded party members who voted her into power, strikes one as counterintuitive to their claimed intention of inspiring an entire nation to focus on growth.

As if these steps were not sufficiently crass, whilst making unfunded tax cuts the Liz and Kwasi Show plans to borrow in excess of £100 billion without a realistic plan for how this is to be repaid.

Even an ‘O’ Level Economics student would know that this package would impact disastrously on the value of the pound as it did, also causing the Bank of England to raise interest rates with the inevitable effect on the cost of everything, including mortgages.

Kwarteng, wearing that curiously zombie-like expression of lack of affect – another sign of a lobectomy - announced that there would be cuts to social services to pay for the loan.

So, just as the populace is about to face winter and the necessity to heat homes and businesses and meet the exponentially rising cost of basic foodstuffs as a consequence of the invasion of the Ukraine and Putin’s increasingly desperate measures, the financial stability of the UK is thrown out of kilter.

This egocentric behaviour – note the blindly ambitious motivation – must also be seen in the context that they made these decisions without consulting their cabinet colleagues, though in truth they might just as well have consulted Madam Tussaud’s chamber of waxwork horrors for all the good it would have done.

More to the point, despite being relative novices in the field of fiscal policy this hapless duo chose not to consult the Office for Budget Responsibility, the very organ established to provide independent economic forecasts and independent analysis of the public finances.

Compounding this brazen stupidity, the first thing that Kwarteng did was sack the senior civil servant in the Treasury.

Having done untold damage to the pound, the international perception of the country, when it became clear to them that many of their own MPs would pull the rug out from under their tiny stumbling feet, they found themselves forced to reverse the tax cut measure.

Now consider their actions in the light of those cognitive functions which are governed by the frontal lobes, problem solving and the ability to plan and organise: rather than solving problems they created them, their planning ignored seeking let alone taking the advice of experts in the field, they did not even organise a cabinet meeting to discuss the plans.

Manifestly they lack judgment, the manner in which they sprang the decisions on their cabinet colleagues and the country at large smacked of undergraduate impulsivity.

How socially appropriate was it, in all the circumstances, to spring the U turn on a society already reeling from the initial impact.

Much can be learned from watching their interviews and reading their body language – note the way Truss’ mouth curls up when she speaks and the vacuity of Kwarteng’s facial expressions – neither has the ability or willingness to address the issue of their catastrophic error, heaven forfend that they apologise.

Anyone who watched Kwarteng laughing to himself in the course of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral ceremony would query the man’s cognitive balance.

Neither of them show embarrassment or shame, all these attributes and absences of rational human behaviour are almost certainly because their frontal lobes are defective.

But it’s too late to climb back out of the rabbit hole. As the very eminent economic commentator Martin Wolf observed in the Financial Times, these people are mad, bad and dangerous. They have to go.

Would that they took the whole Mad hatter’s Tea Party of this government with them.

Will they, won’t they
Will they won’t they
Throw these lobsters out to sea

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King's Counsel