We should have a Government of National Unity.

We are about to embark on another Conservative leadership election that will divide not just the country but the Conservative party. There is a strong moral argument for a General Election but this is unlikely to happen. Watching Question Time last night, there was an appetite for a general election but that was demonstrated by those who wanted to participate in the political debate. Most people don’t, we need a way of Governing over the next two years that recognises that the will of the country is for something quite different than what we have had over the past 18 months.  I propose a Government of National Unity, please read on.

There are two electable Conservative candidates and a third whose very candidature is an insult to our parliamentary democracy. That does not mean that Johnson, who is currently on holiday will not do his best to mount a comeback. He will have plenty of supporters amongst Conservative backbenchers who will see him as their best hope of getting re-elected.

For those who have given up on politics as a serious business, Johnson would I suppose be fun – the Clown Prince returning after a short rustication. But if we are to take our democracy seriously – and we should – there should be no door open to him. Ideally he should resign his seat before it is taken from him, he should leave the political arena .

But I fear he will hang around like a bad smell, he should be given no job, nor should Rees Mogg – they have disgraced themselves. Johnson should give up his classical pretension to be Cincinnatus , he is a petty criminal who needs to learn the law applies to him as it does to us all.

We have a new monarch but we have an old parliamentary system. Worse we have the old parliamentary Conservative party to contend with.

The Conservative party is  the big problem facing Truss’s replacement, whoever they may be: is this a party capable of unifying around any real-world programme?

This is a party that has, since the UK voted to leave the EU, voted against the spending cuts of Philip Hammond, rejected the tax rises of Sunak, driven itself towards the tax-cutting excess of Kwarteng and may now reject the return of austerity under Jeremy Hunt. It opposes higher inflation and dislikes higher interest rates. It wants a balanced budget but endeavours to keep taxes low and spending unchanged. It wants to be pro-growth but also to have a distant and at times hostile relationship with its nearest trading bloc.

But there is an alternative to a Conservative Government, I’m calling for a Government of National Unity.

This  new Government could be led by the elected party but include in its Cabinet and Ministries, the best of all parties.  We have able leaders in the SNP and the Labour Party and we would probably have more unity between a cabinet including the SNP, Liberals, Greens and Labour than the various factions of the right. Indeed I see much more that unites Sunak and Starmer , Rayner and Mordaunt than the between the left and right of the Tories.

I have been impressed in recent weeks by a number of politicians who have shown good sense in a time of crisis. It is right that the Conservative party forms the Government but that does not mean that it cannot work with other parties to get us out of the current mess we are in.

Ideologically , the center left and center right can work together for the national interest without the rancour we are currently seeing. Excluding the far left and far right from a Government of National Unity makes absolute sense but such a Government should not exclude the Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish , all of whom could and should be considered part of the Union.

This radical suggestion is made seriously. Reaching across the floor of the House of Commons for the remaining two and a bit years of this parliament would make for a more productive political process where we would see things done at a rate. The Conservatives have nothing to lose, if they continue as they are doing they will lose catastrophically and their best hope is to show that they can act in the national interest for the last part of this parliamentary term. For Labour and maybe the Liberals, working within Government rather than against it may mean that at the end of this parliament there is a chalice handed to them which is not poisoned.

This could happen only if the Conservatives agree to play nicely over the next week. They should move fast to ban Johnson from contesting, there should be an agreement between Mordaunt and Sunak that one will stand down if it becomes clear the other will win (Sunak should have done this early in the last contest). There need not be a vote and there need not be any factionalism going forward. Ministers who were doing their jobs prior to the Truss regime, should return to their former positions, those who have behaved vilely, should be banished to the back benches (Bravermen , Truss and  Johnson for starters). Where this leaves vacancies Kier Starmer should be invited to offer his best candidates.

Starmer himself should stand beside the new Prime Minister as Clegg did beside Cameron. Hunt is a passable replacement for Osborne but he should be shadowed by Rachael Reeves and Yvette Cooper in a Treasury team that takes the really tough decisions consensually.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to We should have a Government of National Unity.

  1. Brian G says:

    Compromise and cooperation are good. In order to have a government of national unity we need a general election because apart from Ben Wallace, no other member of this cabinet has the combination of intelligence, integrity and political acumen required to hold high office of start. You cannot have unity with a party who has brought disgrace on the nation and so seriously diminished our global standing. A general election is required so that the Conservative party and its stinking rotten selfish values can be cast out into the wilderness for a decade or more. Those with NY ability and morality should resign from the party and cross the house. The general election may okay not lead to a Labour majority, but assuming that it does not then as the party with the highest number of seats they will be asked to form a government. If that happens then that is the time to draw on the talent elsewhere and invite people of talent in the other parties to join the cabinet. But no thanks to the conservatory or any of its current band of fools.

  2. Brian G says:

    Some typos in my main comment but I hope you can decipher my meaning.

  3. Tim Simpson says:

    Hello Henry,
    Where are we headed…?

    Please think back to the David Cameron government. In order to rule, they originally involved the Lib Dems and, I contend, they did a lot of good work together, thus proving your point. What ‘killed it’ as I recall were the scathing remarks from both the Back-benches and, more particularly, the right-wing Press who, in effect, decimated the Lib Dems.

    What happened in the following Cameron government was that the ‘Brexiteers’ all continually stoked by Nigel Farage (who can only tell you what is wrong with the EU) and continually fanned by the Murdoch/Northcliffe/ Reach Press who ‘urged’ Cameron in trying to ‘get tough’ with the EU (as Mrs Thatcher had). Thus being unsuccessful and possibly in a fit of pique, he called for the 2016 EU Referendum (would Mrs. Thatcher…doubtful). Meanwhile that government ignored what was going on in Scotland, as Alex Salmond easily proved and which haunts us still.

    And we live with that Referendum result now…! If the 17 million who voted for Brexit have obtained what they expected, then good luck to them because I cannot see it; despite what the above newspapers say. The Civil Service is continually held in derision, the very people the Tories need to get them anywhere. Consultants etc might be an answer to Tory funds but little else e.g. the pandemic. Today’s CQC on the NHS opens with: In 2022, the health and care system is gridlocked, unable to operate effectively. A dubious situation, I suggest, that is as much a general comment on the general political situation.

    Kind regards,
    Tim Simpson

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