Not long after taking over as Britain’s Prime Minister, Liz Truss had vowed to lead her Conservative Party into general elections due two years from now. But the betting now seems to be, that like many other things, she got that prediction horribly wrong. A YouGov poll says that Ms Truss is the most unpopular leader in the country’s political history, with 80 per cent of voters having an unfavourable opinion about the Prime Minister and 62 per cent seeing her in “very unfavourable” light. These numbers are fatal and guaranteed to cripple Ms Truss, as her party colleagues sharpen their knives and the hunt for a successor begins.
On paper, the man who predicted everything that would go wrong with Ms Truss’ economic prescription for Britain, and which did go horribly wrong once she embarked on the path she had set out on, ought to be the front-runner to succeed her, especially as he did enjoy some support within the party. But Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is considered by many a divisive figure, and is widely blamed for the ouster of Boris Johnson. While Britons and Conservatives will not admit it, Mr Sunak carries the additional baggage of his colour, a factor that may be of greater import to hardcore Conservative voters than it is to fellow politicians.
In a curious turn of events, even Mr Johnson may consider himself a contender to replace his successor; certainly, the YouGov poll found he is significantly less unpopular than Ms Truss. But he carries the baggage of a scandal-tainted administration, one marked by personal conduct that many deemed morally reprehensible. Others thought to be in the race are current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt and another member of Ms Truss’ Cabinet, Penny Mordaunt. While leadership of the Conservative Party and of the country are important from a political perspective, they are critical considering the position the country finds itself in, with an energy crisis looming and public anger rising.
The government’s decision to embark on several expenditure cuts after committing billions of pounds to support Britons facing huge increases in energy costs has had a backlash. The cuts will, among others, affect those who draw salaries from the exchequer. Already, teachers and education staff have announced they will vote later this month on whether to strike for more pay. Nurses and junior doctors running the health service are said to be mulling similar action. The country has already faced strikes from workers in various sectors this year. After a scorching summer that saw political games offer occasional comic respite, Britain must brace for a crippling winter of discontent marked by more shenanigans within the ruling party