It is traditional at this point for commentators to offer advice about priorities to the new prime minister.
As I wrote last month in “Holy Illusions”, my essay for the think tank Policy Exchange, “there is no point in investing effort in policies which are politically possible but which cannot in fact solve our problems”.
For Ms Truss, taking the party and potential voters with her in these extraordinary circumstances will require extraordinary political skills. We don’t yet know for sure that she possesses them: indeed, as we have discovered, it’s hard to know who is really up to the job of prime minister until they actually do it. We will know things are starting to go wrong if she shies away from the difficult decisions under pressure in favour of purely crowd-pleasing answers to our problems.
I don’t think that’s likely, which means she will need to build, if not consensus, at least political momentum and broad support behind policies which will be unwelcome to many. There, I do have some advice to offer. It’s to be honest about the situation, explain the choices, and seek to persuade about the decisions taken.
This is counter-cultural for British governance. Normally, policies and legislation are sorted out internally within Whitehall. Outsiders don’t get much real say, though controversial policies may be floated in the media, deniably, to test reactions. The key choices are made early, confirmation bias starts to apply, and doubts get suppressed. By the time of the public announcement, those involved will genuinely believe they have got the best possible solution to the problem, the perfect balance between all the trade-offs, and the only sensible way to proceed.
That’s why, so often, policies just get driven through. Ministers say there’s no better way, the policy satisfies all possible objectives, and deny there are trade-offs.
This heroic style of governing does sometimes work, but more often its outcomes are simply undermined by real life. …
This is all best avoided. Politics is about persuasion. In the very difficult decisions to come, maybe it will be better to explain the issues, be honest about the dilemmas, and take people into the government’s confidence about how it has come to its conclusions.
… On housing, it’s even simpler. Either we build more houses where people want them, in southern England, or prices go up and younger people will never get on the ladder.
The best way to deal with these dilemmas is not to pretend they don’t exist or there is some magic way out, but set them out and explain why the government has chosen as it has. Be open with people. Explain we can’t have everything. If even the Conservative Party seems to suggest that magic solutions work, the risk is the electorate turns to the authentic purveyor of illusions, the Labour Party. Let’s not go there. The next government should be honest and take people with it instead.
Total bullshit on renewables and HS2 though. He’s guilty of what is called the Turnip Taliban bias fallacy, that something must be wrong if people moan about it in the saloon bar of the local conservatove club.
HA HA though on the day Moggy has scrapped a nudge unit training course on confirmation bias as ‘woke’, showing above all that Moggy needs to be sent on such as course by his new boss to stop him making such dumb mistakes again. Come on got up to speed Moggy, Lord Frost is outshining you.
Definition of ‘doserism’ politicians who fall asleep as they are too lazy , entitled and hate-filled to learn about critically important issues of equality, opportunity, prejudice and bias.