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  • Rikki Lambert

Send in the clowns - could Boris return as British PM?

Rikki Lambert reflects as Liz Truss takes the ignominious record as Britain's briefest PM - at 44 days

The stage is set. His big white clown hands bloodless, the buffoon who put Britain in this mess could yet return, fingers raised in V for victory and suntanned from a Caribbean holiday back to 10 Downing Street.

I mean no disrespect to the key actors, but one must apply the Pythonesque filter to the sideshow that has become the British Conservative Party.

Back in 2010, David Cameron swept away a 13-year-old Labour government then presided over Brexit - backed by a narrow majority of Britons. Theresa May took charge in 2016, only to be broken on the Brexit implementation rocks and succeeded by Boris Johnson in 2019. A scandal over duplicitous breaking of COVID-19 restrictions were ultimately 'BoJo's undoing earlier this year, sparking a lengthy succession process second only to the Vatican. The anointee, Liz Truss, has now lasted just 44 days. For the record, that's 0.1 per cent of the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Truss' attempt to appease conservatives with an end to short-term tax hikes on wealthier income earners - and moving the British embassy to Jerusalem - blew up in her face like an exploding cigar.

But don't hold the cigars, the principal actor in recent times is about to return from a taxpayer-subsidised Caribbean holiday, ceasing parliamentary hookey to swan back on the scene as saviour.

Or, so the majority of Tory voters apparently wish.

The five-year electoral cycle in the UK means the voters' verdict on a turbulent fifth Conservative term in office will only be delivered in May 2024 - at the earliest.

Naturally, the Labour opposition have called for an immediate election. Only Johnson would be cavalier enough to contrive a narrative to suggest this would resolve the present shambles.

Australian readers may get the sense that a return of Boris Johnson has 'save the furniture' vibes a-la the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era - but the charismatic Mr Rudd returned for 3 months before electoral defeat, not (prospectively) up to two years.

If there's some helpful perspective we can offer from the Antipodes, it is that our Washminster hybrid of British tradition and American - ahem - adjustments has seen Australia's economy roaring strong despite what is called here a revolving door of political leaders on both sides of politics. In the last eighteen years Australia had eight prime ministerial instances (Rudd's second instance was brief, albeit Truss has rewritten that lexicon) compared with 25 in the preceding 104 years.

Much as Labour leader Keir Starmer might be inclined to go on a secret Caribbean soiree himself - eating popcorn watching the BBC as the Tories implode - surfing on the polling tidal wave might not reach the shore of 2024.

Here he is tl;dr below on Friday morning Australian time, I'll paraphrase for you: Gimme a go:

Getting Brexit finalised was always going to be hard, but the task got all the more difficult through COVID-19 and the attendant restrictions that have tanked global economies.

The pound is approaching parity with the US dollar, contrasted with the heady heights of 1.7 pound for the greenback in 2014. Parity was almost reached once before in 1985, coming off a 2.6 high in 1972.

If as the saying goes 'Britain will prevail', who is the statesman - stateswoman - Churchillian, you get my drift - to carry the day against an axis of economic self-harm, a belligerent Russia and an undercooked Brexit?

The punters believe it's Rishi Sunak, but is rinse and repeat another greenhorn a risk England can take right now?

One imagines His Majesty is a little more perplexed with his ministers than a malfunctioning fountain pen.

It's fertile ground for those claiming globalists have orchestrated the whole fiasco to undermine or reverse Brexit.

They say to make an omelette you need to break some eggs. Finishing the Brexit omelette has gone double the recipe - but much as some Remainers might be hoping, there's no unscrambling that egg.

Pass the tabasco sauce and never mind the annus horribilis, 2022 is Britain's annus catastropha.


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