Rishi Sunak quizzed by Richmond constituent
As Rishi Sunak prepares to jet off to the wokest spot in the wokest state in the world (Disneyland in California) the last thing which will be ringing in his ears will be the succession of whining leftwing callers LBC brought on to ask him questions this morning.
We had everything from a well-paid junior doctor demanding a 35 percent pay rise (even though the UK has the fifth highest averages wages for doctors anywhere in the world), we had his Lib Dem Remoaner constituent Jo complaining about Brexit and wanting more immigration, there was the anti-Nadine Dorries question, the usual climate change net zero demands, and the caller who wanted the Government to pay his massive mortgage.
Broadcasters – not just LBC but also the BBC, Sky and ITV – are always given the opportunity to pick the most leftwing tree hugging wokerati callers with a hard luck tale to justify their demands to paint a picture that this is how Britain thinks.
The truth is far from that but politicians on either side of the divide in the main parties seem all too willing to dance to this liberal tune.
However, this will not win Mr Sunak the next general election. What he needs is to replace his rather flaccid five pledges made in January with five conservative Conservative policies that many of his backbenchers yearn for and the wider country would support.
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READ MORE: Rishi Sunak slaps down own constituent in heated Brexit row live on LBC
1. Cut taxes and Government spending
What is the defining aspect of being a Conservative? For many is an economic concept that people know how to use their money best and they should not have much of it taken from them.
The other part of this is the Thatcherite view that the state should be small and not interfere in people’s lives.
Somehow – not just with Mr Sunak – the Conservatives appear to have forgotten these basic conservative concepts in 13 years of government apart from about 35 days of Liz Truss’s 49-day premiership.
Bringing these policies back is probably the top of the wishlist of every Conservative MP in the Commons – certainly, the many who speak to Express.co.uk.
With the party lagging 20 points behind in the polls currently, there seems to be one easy way of restoring popularity and that is to cut taxes.
While Mr Sunak has rightly pushed on bringing down inflation as a major target in tackling the cost of living, he will not be able to ignore the tax issue for much longer with Britain now at its highest level ever of taxation.
That’s not a legacy a Conservative government wants hanging around their necks when they go to the country next year.
Also, a note to the PM: a promise to cut taxes was what won last year’s leadership election for Liz Truss – the idea is popular, especially among disgruntled Tories.
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2. Actually stop the small boats (don’t just say it)
This is one of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges which remains in this list of five policies.
But for the Prime Minister to actually deliver this promise it feels like a change of attitude will be needed.
Thankfully LBC allowed one right-of-centre caller (Angela) on at the very end to put this issue to Mr Sunak.
With hotels still filling up, and talk of housing illegal migrants in big tents and larger boats, the main issue itself is not being resolved which is that the numbers coming over keep increasing.
That’s 13,000 as of the beginning of July and hundreds more since.
Mr Sunak is relying on his newly passed Illegal Migrant Bill to finally tackle the issue, especially with the Rwanda deportation scheme currently off the table.
In theory, it will allow for speedier deportations but nobody is holding their breath.
It may well come down to the Prime Minister finally having to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights – that, at least privately, is what his Home Secretary and a succession of Tory MPs on the right have believed for a long time.
If the new legislation fails to make a difference the pressure “to do what is necessary” will pile on Mr Sunak.
And there are seats up and down the country, particularly in the former Labour Red Wall, which are dependent on getting this issue resolved once and for all.
Controlling our borders was the promise of Brexit, as a supporter of Vote Leave Sunak must deliver.
3. Bonfire of EU red tape
This issue is actually related to one of Rishi Sunak’s original five pledges to grow the economy.
Apart from taking back control of borders, one of the conservative arguments for leaving the clutches of Brussels rule was that it would allow Britain to get rid of the massive amount of EU red tape choking the economy, businesses and growth generally.
Yet, despite having an image of a bonfire of EU red tape in his leadership campaign video, Mr Sunak as Prime Minister allowed his Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch to water down the Retained EU Law Bill and only get rid of a few hundred mostly already redundant regulations.
The bank account scandal unveiled by Nigel Farage has highlighted the damaging effects of at least one regulation the Politically Exposed Person (PEP) for banks.
The Government agrees that at least needs to go or be diluted. But there are many thousands more harmful regulations from the EU which must be eradicated to allow Britain to flourish.
With the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteer MPs on manoeuvres and angry about his Windsor Framework deal on Northern Ireland, this seems an obvious way to secure his position in the party, get economic growth and gain popularity in the country.
4. Ditch the ‘green crap’
David Cameron famously once said as Prime Minister that he did not want to hear of any “green crap” being brought to him as he tried to drop regulations.
Since then though, first with Theresa May and then even more with Boris Johnson the advance of stringent Net Zero policies has become apparently unstoppable.
Unstoppable that is until the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last month when the voters of that London seat rose up and rejected Labour because of Sadiq Khan’s policy of expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) tax of £12.50 a day to outer London.
It was an “I told you so” moment for many Conservative backbenchers who had been warning of the nanny state interference on the excuse of climate change with costly measures which made very little impact on a worldwide issue.
Mr Sunak not only needs to stop ULEZ (his ministers have the power to do so), but he also needs to listen to his MPs and abandon the ban on new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, currently five years ahead of everyone else.
The Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (another means of getting money off people) and 15-minute towns also need to be clamped down on and he needs to reconsider the plan to ban gas boilers.
There are some positive signs that Uxbridge was a wake-up call for the Prime Minister and he is at least championing getting British oil and gas.
Labour meanwhile appears wedded to the green tax policies and would roll ULEZ out around the country, so there is an opportunity here to give voters a real choice.
5. Wipe the smug smile off Gary Lineker’s face
Otherwise known as the policy to end the BBC licence fee.
This out-of-date tax funds a Corporation which pushes woke policies; gives a platform to woke celebrities like Gary Lineker as well as a large cheque paid for by taxpayers’ money; and lost any pretence of impartiality since people voted for Brexit.
Worse still it is out of date in a world where people watch streaming services and traditional broadcast viewer figures are dropping faster than the Conservative poll ratings.
Over the years dozens of people – mostly young mothers from poor families that cannot afford to pay – have gone to prison for not paying the licence fee and the salaries of people like Lineker.
Poll after poll shows that people want to end the licence fee and for the BBC to be a subscription service.
This would also be hugely popular among many Conservative MPs and even more Conservative Party members.
People talk about the culture war, but tackling the BBC once and for all would be the greatest victory a Conservative Prime Minister could have in it.
In Margaret Thatcher’s time, California was the state that had elected her American political soulmate Ronald Reagan.
Sadly, now with Mr Sunak heading there, California is the state of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Hollywood wokerati run by a champion of leftwing policies Governor Gavin Newsom.
But in between visits to Disneyland, it may give Mr Sunak the opportunity to understand why so many people have fled California for Florida and Texas where conservative policies have boosted economic success and individual liberty.
California’s green taxes are particularly strangling the economy of the state.
With a reshuffle expected after the summer recess to kickstart his Government, maybe Mr Sunak can have a reshuffle of ideas and adopt some proper conservative policies with an eye on actually winning the next election.
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