We Tories are in a torpor not seen since Henry VI’s catatonic state, writes SIR JACOB REES-MOGG
The Government is in a torpor not seen since Henry the Sixth was in a catatonic stupor, unable to speak or govern for 18 months in the 15th century.
Nothing is being done to inspire voters to turn out, and to assume that they will do so next year to stop Sir Keir Starmer is wishful thinking.
Sir Keir has been busy putting on Tory clothes, learning from the electorally-successful Sir Tony Blair.
In such a way, he appears much less threatening than either Corbyn or Miliband.
Yet. Henry the Sixth did come out of his stupor and it is not yet impossible for the Tories to do the same.
In recent weeks, some of the Government’s rhetoric has improved a little.
Sir Keir has been busy putting on Tory clothes, learning from the electorally-successful Sir Tony Blair. In such a way, he appears much less threatening than previous Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn or Ed Miliband. However, Henry VI did come out of his stupor and it is not yet impossible for the Tories to do the same
However, as yet, the actions do not follow the words.
Rishi Sunak’s speech on reducing the impact of net zero regulation was a start.
But the penal Energy Bill is just days from Royal Assent.
Among other terrors, it makes provision for sending people to prison who make mistakes on their home insulation
It is simply no good to oppose more regulation in the spoken word while introducing it in the black letter of legislation.
Words and actions must meet and as the words are popular, they need to be followed up with action.
We also need to stop attacking Tory voters.
On Monday, we’ll see the landlord-bashing Renters Reform Bill in the Commons.
It is unpopular with Tory MPs and the Whips’ Office apparently advised against it.
But Downing Street insists on ploughing ahead with a Bill that will hurt renters as well as landlords in a socialist belief in regulating free contracts to stop landlords and tenants agreeing mutually beneficial arrangements.
It should be dropped.
Moreover, whichever clever clogs in Number 10 thought announcing a ban on conversion therapy on the morning of a by-election needs to be found a comfortable place in a rest home.
It is a policy that accepts the most extreme version of the gender change fanatics, bans abuse that is already illegal and is at the apex of woke ideology.
It is in no way conservative and I expect any Conservative who read about it on Thursday morning in Tamworth or Mid-Bedfordshire left their umbrellas firmly furled and their front door firmly closed.
Taxation is another area where there is no incentive for Conservatives to go out to vote.
Even Sir Keir Starmer says that the burden is too high, while the Government is in thrall to the OBR and the Bank of England, whose error-strewn record is only too apparent.
The State spends and taxes too much, and both need to be reduced.
Nothing is being done to inspire voters to turn out, and to assume that they will next year to stop Sir Keir Starmer is wishful thinking
The recently-announced decision to trim the Civil Service is simply not ambitious enough.
It is only two-thirds of the plan that was ready to be put into action a year ago.
More decisions to cut back on folly, as with the welcome cancellation of HS2, need to be made, and Tory Ministers need to stop defining their success by how much they spend.
When a Minister says we have increased government spending on this or that worthy cause, what he really means is: I have placed an extra burden on taxpayers.
Instead, the money needs to be found to help families and businesses.
The Corporation Tax rise should be reversed, death duties scrapped and fiscal drag – that is putting millions of people’s income tax rate up from 20 per cent to 40 per cent on the same real income, needs to be tackled.
To boost the economy further, the Government must use the Brexit freedoms that it has been so timid about thus far.
Instead of scrapping EU regulations, the Government decided to keep them, worried that it might accidentally abolish unnecessary red tape.
However, this has meant it has kept hundreds of unnecessary regulations that British governments opposed when they were introduced, and has so far only repealed fairly unimportant items.
It needs to act swiftly to remove any regulations that damage the consumer interest, such as the ban on parallel imports, or the REACH regulations, which simply act as a barrier to innovation and competition in the chemical industry.
Deregulation lowers costs, helps reduce inflation and makes everyone better off.
The Government also needs to be clear on immigration.
Small boats are a problem which needs to be tackled.
But it is by no means not the whole problem.
Net migration of 606,000 in 2022 is simply too much.
Post-Brexit, it is under the control of the Government to reduce this scale of net migration as the rules are made by secondary legislation.
Yet once again, the malign hand of the Treasury and the OBR is behind the excessive influx as they focus on GDP, not GDP per capita.
But it is not just an economic issue.
It is also about integration and infrastructure.
How can society cope?
Rishi Sunak’s speech on reducing the impact of net zero regulation was a start. But words need to be followed by action
In a way, the focus on small boats has been a distraction from the real problem.
But it has not distracted the communities affected by this scale of inward migration.
Above all, the Prime Minister needs to concentrate on the big issues and forget the trivial.
No-one is excited about maths to 18 or changes to A levels in 20 years’ time, or indeed a smoking ban set for an arbitrary date that means Peter and Mary can buy cigarettes for Thomas, Anselm, Alfred and Sixtus for the rest of their lives.
A ban that encourages a domestic black market for the Rees-Mogg family is nugatory.
It is high time to stop hitting our own voters with policies that make them worse off or with woke nonsense that offends them.
Instead, we need to start cutting the size of the State, tax cuts that give people back their own money and a solution to the migration issue.
Perhaps like Henry the Sixth, the Conservative Party and government will suddenly wake up.
If we don’t, last week’s by-election results will be simply an early taste of the bitter outcome of next year’s General Election.
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