After three years of hopeless but populist government, could we be seeing the start of a sensible but unpopular government?
There’s no question that ditching the bankers’ bonus cap would be treated by the Labour benches – and by much of twitter, and perhaps even the patrons of the apocryphal Dog and Duck – as a heinous giveaway to the rich amid a cost of living crisis.
But it’s the right thing to do, and this newspaper at least hopes the government doesn’t cower in the face of the inevitable opposition. Indeed one British newspaper, loosely attached to the City, seemed to be desperate to bash Kwasi Kwarteng’s intentions, as if they were breaking some kind of imagined European solidarity against the vulgarities of Singapore and New York. This is nonsense. If the City of London’s competition is Frankfurt and Berlin we are on a path of managed decline; if we dare take on more dynamic competition, then we might actually get somewhere.
It is not difficult to find Truss-sceptics. Her ascent to power seems at times to have been a happy accident, and there are many who both quietly and loudly wonder quite what we’re getting ourselves into.
Perhaps, though, a little outsider radicalism is welcome.
The sacking of Tom Scholar from the Treasury has so far made most of the right people upset, with many declaiming some kind of assault on the impartiality of the civil service as opposed to acknowledging the right of an elected minister to decide exactly who surrounds him or her. There was much hair-pulling earlier this week at Kwasi Kwarteng’s instruction to the Treasury to ‘go for growth’ on all fronts.
It says something that this is controversial.
The cap has served its purpose. Scrapping it will be unpopular, but worthwhile. Let’s hope that attitude extends to everything from infrastructure to taxation. The government has an 80-ish-seat majority. Boris wasted his – perhaps Truss might take the opportunity.