The Queen is dead. Long live the King.
Her Late Majesty
Many things have been said in recent days about Queen Elizabeth II’s dedication to God, to this country and to the Commonwealth. At Briefings we add our appreciation and condolences to the national chorus, and our confidence that King Charles III will be a worthy successor to her noble legacy.
It is rare news that pushes the nomination of a new prime minister to second place. Liz Truss was Queen Elizabeth’s 15th and final prime minister and now the third woman to hold the office. She comes to office at a difficult time, facing high energy prices and a fraught geopolitical situation.
Her early appointments have been somewhat mixed. Brexit stalwarts Ian Duncan Smith and Lord Frost both seem to have refused posts in her cabinet. On the other hand, dismissing Treasury Permanent Secretary and arch civil service insider Tom Scholar, and appointing Steve Baker to the Northern Ireland Office, suggests some seriousness about dealing properly with the Protocol.
Her early policy announcements have likewise reflected a variety of priorities. The government has announced a package of support for households and businesses over bills, and (as importantly) new measures for gas extraction and power generation to prevent such a crisis recurring. It has also pulled Dominic Raab’s Human Rights Act reforms from the House of Commons – a possibly wise conservation of political capital for more significant fights, though it wastes yet more time to address the constitutional issues the Act creates.
A resurgent Kiev
In Europe, Ukraine has recently launched a successful offensive in the north east of the country, reportedly retaking over a thousand square miles of territory and advancing close to the Russian border. Ukrainian forces are also making headway in the south, an impressive feat given the pace of their northern attack. Meanwhile the EU has secured enough gas, albeit at huge cost, to avoid an energy disaster this winter. Soon Russia will lose its entire oil and gas markets in Western Europe. Even his Russian supporters must eventually wake up to Putin’s costly failures.
Editors Robert Tombs has written on Her late Majesty for the website – check it out below.
The Queen and the people, by Robert Tombs
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and “her other realms and territories,” Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, has died aged 96, after 70 years on the throne, the oldest and longest reigning monarch in the twelve centuries since the kingdom began.
“In recent years, what were once seen by some as weaknesses have come to be praised as virtues—not least because they are virtues that the 21st century West finds difficult to practice: duty, restraint, selflessness, discipline, discretion. One of her maxims was “Never complain. Never explain.”
How to start fixing our chronic problem, by Neil O’Brien
Neil O’Brien, until recently a Minister at the Department of Levelling up, argues that the new Prime Minister will be grappling with housing and planning straightaway. He argues that to solve our housing shortage both supply and demand matter. To reduce demand we must reduce immigration.
“Although it’s a small part of the picture nationally, overseas demand for housing as an asset is a problem in places like London. Over the last decade a quarter or more buyers in Greater London have been overseas. We should levy a recurring tax on overseas ownership – as in many other countries – to rebalance from investment demand towards homeownership.”
Is Kipling’s Ulster Recognisable today?, by John Wilson Foster
How different Liz Truss’ tribute to Boris Johnson in her acceptance speech must have sounded to its audience and viewers in Great Britain from those listening in the part of the kingdom called Northern Ireland or Ulster.
“For here is a curious, perhaps unique thing: no amount of betrayal of unionism (which I fear is by now hardwired into English political mentalité) could cause unionists to “rethink” the Union, as one commentator recently thought a betrayal by Truss on the Protocol could trigger. Thus there is no way a programme for Irish unification could end otherwise than in tears and fears.”Twitter
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How you can help
There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency – for example, in rural areas, articles on the threat to British agriculture. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in in his post-election address, it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU benefits the UK economy and our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
A Cambridge PhD Student
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge