12.07.2021 – 08:29
In the British comic film Monty Python’s Life of Brian, there is a dispute between members of the Judean Popular Front over “what have the Romans ever done to us?” It is soon accepted that the Romans did many good things: such as water supply, sewerage, roads.
The question for voters in the next election will be what the Boris Johnson government has done for them and what Labor will do if elected. Johnson’s election promises were not modest: he will “increase the country” after securing Brexit. Expectations were very high. It is not clear that the prime minister can achieve them.
This contains hope and grievance. The phrase suggests that it is time to stop treating the poorer areas less than the richer ones.
Johnson claimed he would “level” Britain and “answer the prayers of forgotten people and the cities left behind.” In fact, he is echoing Margaret Thatcher, whose party said in 1976 that they “believe in levels, in opportunities, not…”.
This is what Johnson means, but he cannot say it because the polls show a widespread distrust of business and capitalism.
Instead, the Conservatives dress up their true purpose in the language of government empowerment, addressing inequality and the devolution of power.
But judge the ministers by their actions, not by their words.
Johnson’s plans will have little impact on regional inequality.
His priority is to reward those who vote Conservative and oppress others.
A decade of austerity has cut the council’s budgets by 15 15 billion, with Labor-controlled authorities hit hard. That’s far more than the 9 9 billion pledged in Downing Street-run beauty pageants that, through a fundraiser and a city fund, seem to do more than reward constituencies that elect Conservative MPs.
This is also a mechanism to bypass political opponents in nations outside England. The money is allocated on the basis of “needs”, but the assessment of what constitutes a “need” is set in London without consultation with devout governments.
Johnson does not say what it means because it would be unpopular.
Instead he is relying on the fact that parliamentary controls and balances can be ignored with little consequence.
Using state machinery “to buy votes” is bad for Britain.
It can also be popular while no one notices the gap between reality and rhetoric.
This will be harder to sustain as policies that prioritize corporations over people materialize.
Covid-19 is the kind of clash that opens the eyes of voters. Johnson’s planning reforms contributed to his stunning election defeat last month.
Voters rightly thought they undermined local authorities and gave too much power to private developers.
Johnson risks being exposed for what he is: a shameless impostor who says what he wants, regardless of the truth.
For Britain’s sake, it could not happen quickly.
Translated and adapted by The Guardian / konica.al