It’s barely been a month since the Queen’s Speech and the “relaunch” of the Government. But instead of boldness, certainty and competence we have dither and delay. There’s a lack of substantive Government business in Parliament and what there is, instead of chasing solutions, is chasing headlines.
There’s no shortage of problems. There are long delays in getting passports and driving licences, complaints about ambulance and police response times, GP and dental appointments are harder to get, the courts are clogged up and air and rail travellers face disruption. If that’s not enough petrol and energy prices are going through the roof.
Ministers including the Prime Minister tell us they feel our pain. They are photographed wearing hard hats and high visibility jackets to signal they mean business but then not much happens. Ministers have become commentators. It’s as if when your car broke down the garage mechanic simply confirms it’s not working and tells you he’s really sorry. You would expect the garage to fix it – after all that’s what they’re there for.
The root cause of the Government’s inertia is the weakness of the Prime Minister. 148 of his colleagues voted to say they have no confidence in his leadership – far more than he expected but not enough to remove him. His focus is not on solving problems but on survival particularly with tricky by-elections ahead. His best hope, his only hope, is that he limps through to the summer recess and then prays something turns up. In the meantime we, and the country, are paying the price.
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