Saturday 15 October 2022

Clarity is a virtue. Usually.


If there’s one thing that can be said with certainty about this month's outgoing PM, Liz Truss, it is that she is always ‘very clear’. Reminding us just how clear she is has become something like a trademark catch-phrase, a form of words which seems to open almost every sentence which utters forth from her mouth. The difficulty is not that what she says isn’t clear, it is that she has an amazing ability to be very clear about two complete opposites at the same time.

·        She was very clear that abolishing the highest rate of income tax was absolutely (another favourite word) the right thing, and equally clear that scrapping the proposal to abolish it is also the right thing to do.

·        She was very clear that increasing the rate of corporation tax, as proposed by Rishi Sunak in a budget which now seems like it took place sometime last century, would definitely cause a recession and would in any event not raise any additional revenue. She’s now equally clear that going ahead with the increase is an important part of her plan for growth and will also raise an extra £18 billion for the government’s coffers.

·        She is very clear that the government can increase planned expenditure, cut planned revenue and borrow less all at the same time, and that there is absolutely no need for any cuts to departmental budgets. She’s now equally clear that the numbers need to add up, and that means some hard decisions on spending will have to be taken.

Being clear is usually a virtue, and she now seems to be very clear that she’s done quite enough to convince people that she has a clear way forward which is clearly understood by everyone. Clarity, though, is a bit like beauty: it’s all in the eye of the beholder, and in this case there seems to be a distinct lack of beholders sharing her perception. To be entirely fair to her, though, there is one big thing that she has achieved. Tory MPs are now falling in behind her in droves, exactly as she asked. I wonder when she’ll realise that most have them have knives in their hands, even if the rest are armed only with the traditional offering of a glass of whisky and a revolver. Perhaps Brutus Kwarteng will initiate the final denouement next week by making the customary personal statement allowed to ousted ministers. Pass the popcorn.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Let's hope that Brutus Kwarteng's parting statement has more clarity of integrity than anything he did or said while in office.