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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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EditorialMess on Downing Street

Mess on Downing Street

The door of Downing Street is revolving, welcoming one prime minister and saying goodbye to the other. The beginning of Liz Truss went unnoticed in Pakistan 45 days ago, as the country was in a government crisis at that time. The shocking, if not embarrassing, resignation of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss this week may have given Britain’s worries over months of incompetent leadership amid deteriorating macroeconomic conditions a brief reprieve, but it is far from a cure-all. Truss resigned 45 days after being a resident of Downing Street which became the shortest period of time ever for a British prime minister. What led to her resignation is her poor performance in office that belied the pledge to clean up the Conservative Party. Her government presented a “mini-budget” on September 23 which was the apex of the Truss administration’s disaster, in which she and her former chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, showed a breathtaking lack of awareness of market fragility and proposed £45 billion in unfunded tax cuts.

Nobody should have been shocked by the crisis that was brought on by skyrocketing inflation which necessitated an immediate Bank of England intervention in the bond market, which undoubtedly foiled the central bank’s efforts to control inflation. These scenes are familiar to Pakistanis: never-ending rumours about a prime minister’s future. The worried economy has downgraded the United Kingdom as the sixth-largest economy in the world from the fifth rank. Prime Minister Tuss is on her way out, and meanwhile, the Conservative Party must make sure that a capable successor to Tuss is nominated and installed when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cut off the supply of natural gas to Europe and the United Kingdom, amid alarming price increases for household goods in these nations. Recent polling indicates that the Labour Party is ready to sweep to power should there be a general election, even though one is unlikely until January 2025, reflecting the gloomier public attitude on the issue.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak might become the third prime minister in a year. Boris Johnson is rumoured to be back in the running despite the mess caused by the Partygate incident. Whoever leads the government will have the immediate task of mending strained ties with Europe to allow for the restoration of trade links and the removal of supply-side bottlenecks, as well as reworking immigration regulations to boost the economy of the United Kingdom’s flagging productivity levels.

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