December 3, 2022

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UK government reverses course on fiscal plan that shook markets

UK government reverses course on fiscal plan that shook markets
attributed to him…Adam Vaughan/EPA, via Shutterstock

LONDON – As news spread that Kwasi Quarting, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been fired on Friday, Britons on both sides of the political divide expressed their displeasure with Prime Minister Liz Truss’s first month in power, saying her leadership position appeared untenable. growing. .

“It was a complete disaster,” said Simon Pope, a supporter of the opposition Labor Party who was out shopping in London on Friday with his young son. “The direction the government has been taking for the past three or four years has added to the chaos.”

“What we have now is a situation in the country where everyone knows there has to be a general election, but we’re not going to get one,” said Mr. Pope, who said he listened to Ms Truss’s remarks in the car. . “It might swing, but I hope it somehow stays until we get fewer Tory MPs in the next election.”

Mr Pope said the decision to dismiss Mr Kwarteng, Britain’s chief financial officer, was an attempt by the Prime Minister to save her skin, something he doubted would work.

“She threw it completely under the bus,” he said, adding that Ms Truss’ position was “still pretty much impossible” regardless of any policy setbacks or ministerial shifts she’s made.

“Most people are aware that she had a double affair, so she’s not really fooling anyone,” Mr. Pope said.

Morag Draycott, 64, a Conservative supporter, agreed that the last weeks of British politics were like a sinking ship.

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“Obviously they haven’t thought about their policies and their implications,” Ms Draycott said as she emerged from a supermarket, adding that she was struggling to keep pace with Britain’s spiraling cost of living crisis.

Ms Draycott said she still supports former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and that she believes he should be allowed back into the fold.

“They made something like this about Partijet because the guy had a drink,” she said, referring to political scandal This eventually led to Mr Johnson’s resignation in July. “It’s silly.”

Matthew Reddington, 51, a painter and decorator, was not surprised by the news Friday while sipping tea outside the house where he worked.

“At the end of the day, you have to come to terms with the reality of the situation and if what you did cause the markets to suddenly crash, that shows you have to rethink,” said Mr. Reddington. , referring to Mrs. Truss’s mini-budget, which is partly backed off In her comments on Friday.

“You used to believe when you were young that officials were in control, but now you feel they are in such a strange bubble that they have completely lost touch with reality,” said Mr Reddington, who said it. Although his politics are in line with the Conservatives, he never voted for them.

It was a sentiment that was echoed across the country on Friday.

In Bradford, northern England, nursery worker Lisa Thorpe said that after weeks of political turmoil, she was not surprised by the news.

“I wanted to believe in Truss,” said Ms Thorpe, 45, a Conservative supporter and mother of three, after she finished preparing dinner for the family. “Unfortunately, I don’t feel she has the backbone of party leadership,” she added, explaining that she still supported former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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But not everyone on Friday was so diplomatic. Julie Ambrose, who lives in Essex in eastern England, said the Truss government had a “car accident”.

Ms Ambrose, 62, a Labor supporter who lives in a secure Conservative seat, said: “It is a farce that the prime minister is elected with fewer votes than the postal workers who voted to strike – this is not democracy, it is a farce.”