Today is the start of the Tory party conference. Whilst ahead in the polls against the mad left of the Labor party, they reality is this feels alot like 1995/6 to me. Back then, John Major's Government had lost its way, focusing on some bizarre things like the Cones hotline. Their credibility was shredded by the ERM debacle and never recovered. Blair breezed to a landslide in 1997.
Today the Tories are lost, Boris is raising taxes to pay for the pandemic, they seem to think that wage rises are the way to improve the economy and that Brexit related shortages are not their fault. The thing is, most of them are and for now the public, unhappily, are ready to accept the Covid excuses, that won't last much longer in the face or incompetence.
Also, the lack of ability to nail some poor behaviours is not helping. Take the DVLA, as we noted here they managed to be on strike and on furlough for long periods last year. Refusing to work at the Unions behest. Now we find ourselves lacking in qualified HGV drivers, the lack of new ones can be squarely blamed on DVLA unions officiousness - if only anyone from the Government could put two and two together. Instead, despite lacking drivers, the Government is against allowing in foreign drivers at a time of desperate economic need. This makes no sense whatsoever, there is no upside to this decision. Get the drivers now and plan for the long-term - don't plan for the long-term during the short-term crisis.
Wage rises are another example of muddled thinking. Of course, over-supply of labour pushed wages down and effectively, along with China imports, caused the deflation which has left us with record low interest rates for over a decade. Closing off both these taps at the same time is going to be inflationary - what good will that do if rising wages are inflated away? There needs to be productivity improvements to match the rise in wages for sustainable growth - automation and digitalisation are the key drivers here which should see taxes cut for business investment.
The pronouncements of Tory ministers are very far from any complex understanding of the situation they find themselves in and Boris famously has no ideology but instead divines the populist will of the moment. This means despite lots of talk about long-term there is no George Osborne sense of actually meaning it or doing much to deliver it.
My personal view is the Tories are at the edge, reliant on Labour being so abysmal to allow them to continue, but it wont be long before this is overcome if they continue with the manifold misteps of late.