A summary for those Americans trying to make sense of internal Conservative Party UK politics. It begins with the leadership race this summer. First and foremost the core candidates stood for different demographic factions as much as ideological ones
Rishi Sunak represented much of the National party machine, the wider CCHQ campaign apparatus, the consultants, ad agencies and ex-SPADs who make the party run. That made him a "centrist" despite having backed Leave in 2016. He turned on Boris on their behalf as well as his own
Penny Mordaunt, by contrast represented backbench small-c MPs. In this she was a centrist but in a cautious way rather than an ideological one. Her coalition represented local officials and was the successor to the forced which installed Theresa May in 2016.
Kemi Badenoch, whose campaign was run by Michael Gove represented the up and coming "Right" of the party. These were ideologically rightwingers, but also the sort of capable performers who would have had careers in office even had Brexit lost and Osborne become Prime Minister
Liz Truss represented not those who backed Brexit because they were Rightwing but who existed because of Brexit. Her grouping stretched from otherwise centrist Boris loyalists(Nadine Dorries) to Boris/Brexit creations(Lord Frost) united by only mattering bc Brexit removed rivals
Liz Truss herself, along with Kwasi Kwarteng who reportedly(now) had doubts seem to have seen her campaign as ideological but it was actually a self preservation campaign for those who would not have had careers absent Brexit and would be finished if anyone else won
This created an internal contradiction when Truss took office. She was elected in her own mind on a platform of doing something, but her supporters backed her precisely because they were risk adverse. Anything that risked her political capital mortally threatened them
This explains why Truss backers like Nadine Dorries were so quick to turn on the Prime Minister for breaking the 2019 manifesto. The further irony is that Truss' economic instincts involving shrinking the state included both tax cuts and reducing spending massively
On both she was closer to supporters of rival candidates than her own backers. On tax cuts and "pro-growth" policies, Jeremy Hunt far from being a "wet" proposed larger tax cuts this summer, and his current spending cuts go far beyond what Kwasi likely contemplated
She has not "abandoned" her entire agenda from Britannia Unchained. She has abandoned half of it, jettisoning supporters who would never be able to implement any of it, in favor of those who would do half now, and objected only to the timing of the rest(Hunt et al)
That was rhetoric situation Friday. And it would be the situation now if the Conservative party was defined on ideological lines. But it is not. It is defined by personal factions. Take for instance the "Wets" or post-Camerons. This included Hunt, Sunak, Cameron, and Boris
However, it is deeply divided by betrayals. Boris/Gove betrayed Cameron by backing Brexit(as did Rishi), Gove then betrayed Boris in 2016, while in 2022 Rishi betrayed and ousted Boris. Hunt opposed Boris throughout, while Rishi was Chancellor.
Truss, by appointing Hunt, reached out to the anti-Boris/anti-Rishi wing of that group. Which made sense, but it also meant that Hunt and Truss waged war On rishi for different reasons. Liz to divide his faction, Hunt to reunite it under his own control.
In turn, Sunak overplayed his hand. Reportedly he was approached by Penny Mordaunt last week and refused any deal which did not involve him becoming PM without a contest. The result was that Mordaunt joined with Hunt against him. In fact there seemed to be a 4 person junta
It was Hunt, Wallace concerned primarily with defending a 3% of GDP defense budget, and Jacob Rees-Mogg who wished to be energy dictator as well as master of the "Right". Mordaunt seems to have been the face of it as seen by her Commons appearance monday
However, this alliance only seems to have lasted 96hrs before beginning to crumble. Mordaunt's Monday performance cosplaying as Prime Minister created an impression she was the Prime Ministerial candidate of the "cabinet party" leading to a decision to have Truss resurface
This not only had the predictable results but emphasized a more dangerous dynamic. By extending her cabinet to include a member of every faction without establishing her control over her cabinet first, Truss merely extended the Tory civil war to every faction and group
Every major ideological and social grouping is now divided between a figure who controls senior Cabinet office and wields governmental power and rivals in opposition. Like a child king in a monarchy the goal of rebellion is to replace a minister with oneself not the throne
The removal of Braverman today occured at the same time as the government faced a rebellion externally and sabotage internally over a vote on fracking the priority of Jacob Rees-Mogg. It was an attack not on the policy but on Mogg and removing Braverman removing his rival
None of this could occur if there was an effective Prime Minister because no Prime Minister would tolerate Ministers fighting their personal wars. Instead this anarchy has spread fractionally. Kwasi Kwarteng declined to vote on the fracking motion. Grant Shapps is a minister
So we have Rishi Sunak and Kwasi Kwarteng in effect plotting against the government now while grant Shapps who was leading plots is now its domestic policy enforcer, as he used his rebellion to take over the Home Office rather than depose Truss
That Shapps accepted the office despite being a leading rebel organizer speaks to the problem. The current anarchy allows anyone in a position to oust Truss to extract a senior Ministry, whereas they cannot guarantee themselves anything if they replace her with someone effective
So until someone is strong enough to make themselves PM it is in their interests NOT to depose Truss but instead trade high office for support. That explains the musical chairs. Not a "globalist/remainer" plot. No deep state would allow this anarchy.
Odds are backbenchers will eventually put a stop to it themselves once they realize that "rebel leaders" have zero intention of doing so.

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More from @DanielBerman2

Oct 17
We are witnessing a new dynamic. Right now the rationale for Rishi Sunak to remove Truss NOW for himself is diminishing, yet if he allows Mordaunt and Hunt to "show off" for a week or two his own position will rapidly deteriorate. Which means Team Rishi will need to escalate
Expect a lot of "leaks" from "insiders" describing how Truss has lost all credibility from dropping the energy scheme, how adopting Labour's approach somehow makes her continued presence by even a day a "humiliation for the party or country".
Read 5 tweets
Jun 20
German policymakers are taking an almost trollish pleasure in the reactions to their blatent geopolitics and open contempt for moral arguments being made. But behind that is a message that is being dismissed. What is the argument for why Germany's interests are served by this?
Assuming a Ukrianian victory and Russian collaspe is possible, the "best case" a vision of the "New" Russia and its relationship with Europe is vital. Short of that you need a vision beyond an indefinite commitment to defend American, not German allies.
The costs of victory or anything short of it will be paid by Germany both directly in economic support, but also in being asked to give up other interests(EU disputes with Poland, abandon Ireland in the interests of relations with the UK). Germany is fighting to be worse off
Read 4 tweets
Jun 18
Geostrategy Thread: I want to address an idea that has been floated, including by friends I consider very clever. That recent experience of Franco-German-Turkish attitudes towards Ukraine suggest replacing NATO with some sort of UK-Eastern European alliance. This can't work 1/16
Alliances can serve many purposes. They can restrain allies, contain/deter adversaries and enable collective action in pursuit of common ends. But they can do these things not because statesman will it or lawyers draft agreements ot academics dream but because everyone profits
If any member of an alliance is losing more from taking part than they would from deserting they will desert. See Italy deserting the Triple Alliance in 1914. So the question is what problem is the new "NATO" trying to solve. For Ukraine hawks it is evident. Confronting Russia
Read 17 tweets
Mar 1
We are reaching the point where the Ukrainian successes in the political war are risking interfering with the military one. Expectations have been raised sky high about the Ukrianians holding everywhere. They probably can't. Will likely lose east and probably Kyiv
If there is not a political settlement in the near future that is. Absent that the Ukrainians and their allies need to prepare for the next phase which will be ensuring a Ukrainain army remains intact with a secure supply line to Poland/Romania. That means falling back westward
It also means preparing Western opinion. The scenes of defiance in Kyiv and Kharkiv have increased the stakes of holding out to an almost zero sum level. This is unwise. It is militarily reckless given the forces arrayed if this is to be a long war,which it is if a deal isnt made
Read 7 tweets
Feb 28
From reading Russian nationalist sources one thing I feel that is overlooked is the dynamics of immigrant politics in the West. Almost everyone who left Eastern Europe for NA/WE left to escape "Russians". Even re Nazis it dosent work with American Jews
Vast majority of American Jews are descendants of the victims of Czarist antisemitism. The Jews who were victims of Nazi extermination were dead. The result is that the Nicholas II/White Guard Russian nationalist stuff offends everyone not already offended by Soviet images
The result is "ethnic nationalists" all have reasons to identify with any nationalism that is not Russian. That leaves ideology. Here the Russian anti-LGBT/Woke stuff offended the anti "imperialist" left. That leaves rightwing "nationalists" who have no "nationality" themselves
Read 4 tweets
Feb 28
Pretty much what I said their strategy would be two days ago if they were shifting from political to military objectives. Politically this is a sunk endeavor for now. Militarily they aren't pushing beyond Dnieper against organized opposition so need to win in the East if at all
By politically sunk there is no way this operation is going to look good - to Ukrainians, to Russians, to anyone else - at its conclusion, whence it is. Even if it ends with Russians in Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Kiev Putin himself is almost certain not to be happy with it.
But Russia's options, whether they are to try to salvage something through the minimal "defensible domestic" deal with Zelenksy involving Donbass and Crimean recognition(in exchange for a call for sanctions and a worthless neutrality promise) or partition
Read 7 tweets

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