As listeners to my London Calling podcast will know, I’m deeply sceptical about conspiracy theories. Whether it’s the Great Reset or the Plandemic, I’m usually pretty dismissive when my co-host James Delingpole brings them up. Having seen close up how the political sausage is made, I think the idea that politicians are controlled by dark forces or sinister cabals is for the birds. Most of the time, it’s just a group of hapless chancers desperately trying to hold on to their careers as they’re buffeted from pillar to post by a series of unpredictable events. I’m a believer in Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
But my scepticism has been sorely tested by the events of the last few days. The reaction of the bond markets and the currency markets to the mini-budget, the U-turn over cutting the top rate of tax, Kwasi Kwarteng’s defenestration, his replacement by arch-Remainer and Zero Covid zealot Jeremy Hunt and now the sudden departure of sound-as-a-pound Suella Braverman and the elevation of Grant Shapps… it all seems like a globalist coup. Indeed, Suella used the word ’coup’ to describe the attempts to discredit the mini-budget at the Conservative Party Conference.
Liz Truss, when she gave her press conference on the steps of Downing Street last Friday, looked as though someone had kidnapped her children and she was reciting from a script the kidnapper had handed her. And now Suella has gone too. It seems every genuinely conservative, pro-Brexit member of the Government is being picked off, one by one. Suella might have actually done something about the boats crossing the channel. She’d already spoken up about the police acting like the paramilitary wing of the Guardian and she is a steadfast Brexiteer who did some work on dismantling the Northern Irish Protocol as Attorney General. Was she really forced out because of what looked like a very minor security breach? Or have her children been kidnapped, too?
I know, I know. It’s almost certainly just one cock-up after another. The bond and currency markets reacted as they did because U.K. PLC is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy after paying people half a trillion pounds to stay at home and not work for 18 months and a Chancellor that pledged to spend up to £200 billion helping people pay their energy bills while cutting taxes by £45 billion and not proposing any cuts in public expenditure was a step too far. Hunt was probably Truss’s second – or third or fourth – choice as Kwasi’s replacement, the only ‘Big Beast’ willing to take the job because he doesn’t think he has much of a chance of replacing Liz. Or calculated his chances of replacing her were better if he accepted the job than rejected it. And maybe Suella really did have to go after using her personal email to send an official document to a parliamentary colleague. Or maybe she didn’t put up much of a fight when the men in grey suits came for her because she thinks she has a shot at replacing Liz and has a better chance outside Government than in. Her resignation letter certainly suggested she hasn’t abandoned her own leadership ambitions (although it may just have been prompted by bitterness if the PM was the architect of her demise).
So I daresay it’s just another chaotic shitstorm with no hidden hand guiding events. But it’s getting increasingly hard to persuade the conspiracy theorists they’re wrong. If Jacob Rees-Mogg goes in the next 24 hours (replaced by Matt Hancock) I think I may have to apologise to James Delingpole on the next episode of London Calling.