Left and Right

The Tory Present Is The GOP’s Future

The New Right buckles under its own contradictions.

People wearing masks of Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, and Rishi Sunak take part in a Labor Party photo-call in London (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

There is political churn all over the world right now. A once-in-a-century plague, a hot war in Europe, massive public debt, and a huge global spike in inflation, will do that kind of thing. In Italy, a new government is now headed by the one figure, Giorgia Meloni, who was not part of the previous government; in France, President Macron has just used an emergency provision to get his budget past the parliament, and is facing a wave of strikes; and in Britain, of course, a party that won a triumphant, landslide 80-seat majority less than three years ago is now on life support.

But it’s the British case that’s the most telling for America, it seems to me, because it helps answer the question as to where the Anglo-American right is now going. And the answer, I’m sorry to say, looks like some version of incoherent chaos. The formula under both Trump and Boris (however vast their differences) was pretty simple only a short time ago: a nationalist turn in foreign policy, a leftist pivot on economics, and a vigorous resistance to woke extremism in the culture.

At least, that was the working theory. But as a theory, it has worked for only a very little while, if at all.

In Britain, the Tory faithful decided they would replace their landslide-winning, big-government, Red Tory Boris with a charisma-free Reaganite who ran on reversing Boris’ legacy, with unfunded tax cuts and unlimited banker’s bonuses as ordinary Brits were facing a brutal cost-of-living crisis. In one dramatic swoop, Truss destroyed the Tories’ credibility with both the working-class Brexit voters who gave them their 2019 majority and with the financial markets and mortgaged homeowners who had been their backers for decades. That’s quite an achievement in such a short time.


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