7 August 2022
Liz Truss is Britain’s new Prime Minister. A few things are worthy of comment. She was elected by the members of the Conservative Party 81,326 votes to 60,399 for Rishi Sunak.
Prime Ministers used to be elected by their Parliamentary colleagues, which is obviously a lesser number but at least has people doing the job assessing the candidates’ competence. I am not a huge fan of Presidential systems, but the 141,725 Conservative members who were in the ballot are only 0.002% of the UK population and the Conservative party members are 63% male, 58% over 50 and 80% in the top half of the class demographic spectrum. So much for government ‘by the people’.
Her defeated rival, Rishi Sunak, had at least been Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasurer) and had resigned to force Boris Johnson’s resignation. He was a multi-millionaire in his own right, having worked for Goldman Sachs and being involved in hedge funds. His wife, Akshata Nurty was one of India’s wealthiest women as an heiress of Infosys and worth 690 million. Together they were said to be worth 730 million pounds. He was also dogged by stories that his wife had the money offshore in various trusts and paid minimal tax. (ww.india.com/explainer/rishi-sunaks-net-worth-how-he-entered-uks-super-rich-list-explained-5523793/ ) Some commentators said that his Indian heritage may have been a problem with the Conservative party membership.
It is part of the continuation of mediocre candidates winning in Anglo elections. Trump, Johnson, Morrison, Truss. Something is clearly wrong with our systems. My view as often stated is to go to Swiss-style Direct Democracy. Politicians are part-time and keep their previous jobs, which they return to after the maximum two terms. People can collect signatures to force debate on issues or even overturn Federal legislation with quarterly referenda. Political parties exist as here and the Parliament in similar, but the party hierarchies are much less powerful as there is no long-term career as a politician.
Here is a better summary of Liz Truss than I could have written. It has been in a number of papers and journals: