It is budget week in the UK and Rishi Sunak can hardly be described as a hardman or dictator. But the challenges facing the UK now are very hard to answer by democratic political targeting. No amount of money can fix the NHS, the concept is not right for modern medicinal costs. The hardest up in society will always want more, the cost of fixing the economy to net zero is incredible. Minor tax rises wont be the answer.
If Government could look to the long-term there maybe a way forward that involve some very hard choices and some real ones - guns or butter - nuclear power stations or nuclear missiles? The lights going out or more tax breaks for relatively less polluting gas. These don't seem insurmountable even in a democracy, but the way that say Singapore or Dubai are able to take steps forward seems much clearer to making hard choices - there is a ruler and that it that, no pesky polls or the Guardian to assuage.
Within the ruling Conservative party what is clearly missing now is any political guidance, we are left with post-Blair focus group leadership - what is right is what is popular. The media have undue influence, but worse, the policies of today can be changed tomorrow. Even worse still, the policies of today make no sense for tomorrow but have the votes and popularity today. It is a rum state of affairs, literally.
Things therefore are a very bad short-term mess and the Chancellor has a dud hand to play with. All the more reason to start taking some serious long-term positions. Look how well George Osbourne did with his 'long-term economic plan', such that it was. When all around are driven mad, some clear sightedness will come in handy - which is why Rishi has to grab the chance that Boris is not capable of and make some hard nosed decisions this week. I am hoping they will be of a capitalist bent and not socialist dreaming.