By the time this column goes to press, the UK will have a new Prime Minister. Whoever that person may be, they will have been elected under a system which makes China look like a democracy.
As we all know, the only people with a say in choosing the next leader of the Government will be members of the Conservative Party. Estimates put this number at between 180.000 or 200,000, roughly ten per cent of whom may well be dead because of their ageing membership. Indeed, the contest has dragged on for so long that many have probably dies since the start of the campaign.
This long running saga which began back at the start of July, initially resembled a grotesque reality TV show, where a whole crowd of faceless nonentities battled it out to get their faces on the telly. Eventually, it boiled down to a month-long head-to-head between Rishi Sunak, a man who actually looks like he could have been a contestant on The Apprentice, and Liz Truss who would be out-of-her-depth working behind the customer services counter in Morrisons. So difficult is it to summon up any enthusiasm for this pair that even the presenter of one of the TV debates pretended to fall asleep half-way through – by fainting.
The prospect of Liz Truss as the next PM is utterly chilling. She’s like Thatcher without the brains. Even her own father has publicly stated he does not think she’s fit to be Prime Minister. John Truss, a retired university professor and avowed socialist, has had a very strained relationship with his daughter since she became a Tory. If I were him, I’d be demanding a DNA test. How can a left-wing academic sire someone so severely intellectually-challenged with such appalling far-right views? Of course, the fact is that they only have to appeal to committed Tories.
The most pressing issue for the incoming Prime Minister will be to tackle the cost-of-living crisis which has led to a summer of industrial disputes, with undoubtedly more to follow in the autumn and winter. Truss’s policy for dealing with this would appear to do nothing about inflation and to stop people demanding higher wages by making strikes illegal.
Already we have had rail strikes, postal strikes and, of course, the industrial action from council refuse workers in Edinburgh and across Scotland. My first experience of the world of work when I left school was as a bin man in Glasgow. Then, as now, the job was filthy, unhealthy and under-valued. It seems to surprise some BBC Scotland reporters standing next to stage-managed piles of rubbish in the Grassmarket that ‘some people have started complaining about the smell’.
Guess what? The people who normally collect all of that shit have to put up with that smell every single minute of their working week. If nothing else, that smell alone should be a compelling argument to give them a pay rise that at least matches inflation. Edinburgh’s refuse workers are on a basic annual pay of around twenty-five thousand pounds, which works out at roughly twelve pounds an hour. Their work is essential all year round but especially during the Fringe when the streets are always in danger of becoming a sea of litter due to thousands of flyering teams handing out leaflets to members of the public who promptly drop these pieces of paper on the ground.
The going rate for handing out flyers in The Fringe is between eleven and fifteen pounds an hour, but is often cash-in-hand with no tax or NI deductions. In other words, the people who are creating 75% of the litter are being paid more than the poor sods who have to clear up 100% of the mess.
Hopefully, the refuse collectors in Aberdeenshire will be able to organise a massive pile of shite outside Balmoral Castle next week when the new Prime minister arrives to meet the Queen. It is somewhat bizarre that the person is to be appointed in Scotland, a country where they will have been elected by only ten thousand people aka Tory party membership in Scotland. To put this in context, that is roughly the populations of Ballater and Banchory combined.
The reason, we are told is that the Queen unable to travel from Balmoral down to London because of ‘episodic mobility issues’. In lay terms, this means she can’t walk more than five feet without either falling over or pissing herself. But being in same room as either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss can have that effect on many people, as we saw during the aforementioned TV debate.
Despite the fact that they hold a mandate smaller than the crowd at the previous Saturday’s Aberdeen v Livingston game, both candidates have come out with some predictable dog whistle policy statements on Scotland’s future. Truss, in particular, has made it clear that she will not agree to a second independence referendum because ‘the Union cannot be torn apart. The Union is like a family’.
What, like your family, Liz? Where even your own father thinks you’re a piece of shit?