Final month in an Opinionista I criticised Liz Truss’s “mini-budget”, delivered by her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, as a shambles. Now it’s change into a Kami-Kwaze omnishambles, as she clings on in Quantity Ten Downing Road, having sacked her “pricey buddy” Kwarteng for delivering her very personal model of Truss fantasy economics.
The British financial system has tanked, dwelling mortgage charges are rocketing and the monetary markets and the Worldwide Financial Fund have been spooked. Each delivered excoriating verdicts, as, in its personal manner, has the Financial institution of England.
Few commentators suppose Truss can survive. However whether or not she does or not, there are greater classes — together with for South Africa.
The story begins with the 2016 Brexit referendum, narrowly received on a mantra of “taking again management”. Reminiscent of long-gone imperial glory, the Brexiteers persuaded sufficient voters that their financial insecurity and alienation had been all right down to being “dictated to by Brussels”.
Break away from these dastardly foreigners, “British sovereignty” may very well be reincarnated, and all can be properly.
Really, Brexit has proved a catastrophe — and never simply by destabilising the peace course of in Northern Eire or boosting help for independence for Scotland. It triggered a 5% collapse in GDP, a 14% fall in funding and an analogous fall in bodily commerce in contrast with what would have been the case had Britain not left the European Union, due to sudden boundaries put up in opposition to the largest richest single market on the earth accounting for absolutely half of all UK commerce in items.
This monumental act of nationwide self-harm additionally meant Britain was worse positioned than different G7 international locations to resist the present international turmoil following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine: rocketing vitality prices, accelerating inflation, hovering meals prices and rising rates of interest. We’re the one G7 financial system to not have returned to pre-pandemic GDP ranges.
Enter Liz Truss, cheered on by right-wingers and Brexiteers, along with her plan for slashing taxes and deregulation to construct a brand new British nirvana of prosperity. One way or the other the large £60-billion gap in her 22 September mini-budget wouldn’t be stuffed by chopping public spending, however as an alternative by a huge hike in borrowing.
Not surprisingly, the monetary markets she worshipped as a rabid free marketer hated it. The pound crashed and rates of interest surged, with the Financial institution of England scrambling to guard pension funds from an unsightly contagion.
Go to Each day Maverick’s dwelling web page for extra information, evaluation and investigations
She’s had a impolite awakening to actuality because the Tories in a single day misplaced their cherished declare to being the celebration of “sound cash” and competent financial administration. Labour’s Keir Starmer is instantly seen as prime minister in ready along with his celebration using excessive on unprecedented opinion ballot leads.
As necessary, the delusion that Britain may construct a low-tax, small state “Singapore-on-Thames”, as soon as extra accountable for its personal future, free of European or different international financial constraints, exploded.
As The Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland noticed: “It’s the monetary markets which have taken again management.”
The knock-back in opposition to Truss got here not from Brussels, however the international cash markets, which succeeded in eradicating her finance minister, changing him with one in every of her ideological opponents, and brutally reversing her financial agenda.
She one way or the other anticipated that her £45-billion of unfunded tax cuts may very well be delivered with out these lending her the cash mountaineering the price of borrowing, relating to her coverage as a foul threat.
The entire shambles has revealed to the Tory zealots that beneath right now’s globalisation, no nation is basically “sovereign” any extra. Truss tried to “break away” and “take again management” and has been humiliated.
The identical may have occurred to a Jeremy Corbyn Labour authorities, and the identical would occur to South Africa if there ever had been to be an EFF authorities.
There are classes for different South African political events. If the ANC’s RET faction ever received again energy, the worldwide markets would ship a shock that made the nation’s present dire financial predicament look like a tea celebration.
If the present ANC management feels the nation can get well with out an environment friendly public sector changing the present bloated, corrupt one, then they’re affected by Truss-like delusions. And so, conversely is the DA with its model of neoliberal shrink-the-state and all-will-be-well agenda.
The political chief seeming to speak probably the most sense within the nation right now is Songezo Zibi of the Rivonia Circle, along with his social democratic programme of financial effectivity and social justice. He not less than appears to know what must be performed — starting with studying from Truss what to not do. DM