Ruled by the Stupid

As bombs reign down on hospitals, as incubators shut down and politicians display astonishing displays of hypocrisy and dark cynicism, up pops David Cameron. What fresh hell is this? Having toodled off from his podium at No 10 in 2016, his hot-mic recording him humming away as if not a care in the world, now he is back. Fast-forward seven years, History-Wipe his record on austerity, alt-delete his role in the Brexit debacle and hey-presto, here he is! As war surrounds us Britain emerges as a hapless 19th C nation where Foreign Secretary’s are appointed out of the blue and elevated to the House of Lords on a whim. Democracy is a sort of add-on in Sunak’s regime with its fusion of Hedge-Fund work culture circa 2021 and Tin-Pot/Crackpot Britannia Unleashed madness.

A variant on the old Renton “It’s shite being Scottish! We are colonised by wankers” quote, it strikes me we are not colonised by wankers, but ruled by very stupid people. The technical term for this is apparently a kakistocracy (a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous people.) 

This idea of a menagerie of dullards came to mind as I saw Therese Coffey had resigned, possibly the stupidest Cabinet member ever in a very competitive group. Incredibly she has been a minister since 2014, and served under five Conservative prime ministers proving the theory that very dull people thrive in British politics. Now it turns out her replacement Steve Barclay is married to the exec of a sewage-dumping water firm. You couldn’t make this shit up.

This feeling of high farce is everywhere. Coffey was surrounded by thickos. Nadine Dorries (‘Mad Nads’) is just about to publish her first book The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson HarperCollins (a snip at £25). In it she alleges that Boris Johnson’s downfall was the result of a plot by a secret group of baddies known as The Movement. So too was Iain Duncan Smith, Therese May, and yes, you guessed it Liz Truss.  The Movement are according to Nadine, “a small group of men, most of them unelected and some totally unknown outside the Westminster bubble, operating at the heart of the Conservative party over the past 25 years and controlling its destiny”. There you have it.

Then there’s GB News presenter Esther McVey. She has been appointed as a minister without portfolio, McVey’s role is to be as a “Common Sense Tsar”, tasked with “tackling the scourge of wokery”, we were told, via the tabloids. She would be “leading the charge on the government’s anti-woke agenda” a government source said. This is the pantomime season come early.

Pressed for clarification on the BBC’s Today programme about what “common sense” meant to the reshuffled government, the newly appointed Tory chair, Richard Holden, mentioned “freedom of speech at university campuses”. He was also challenged on McVey’s views on trans rights and said she was a “plain-speaking northerner”.

Of course this was a party that couldn’t stomach electing Rishi Sunak so voted for Liz Truss, a woman compared unfavourably to an out of date lettuce.

The Logan Roy idea that these are ‘not serious people’ is cemented by the chummy way the media treats the whole unhappy charade. The press pack gushed at David Cameron’s return. Quentin Letts over the Daily Heil wrote:

“With a loping gait and a tug on his Charles Tyrwhitt cuffs, David Cameron strolled up Downing Street as though he had barely been away… Walnut-veneer suntan, salon-schmoozer crow’s feet, the receding hair now a little greyer: he is ageing like Fonseca vintage port. The foreign secretaryship and a seat in the Lords? How very agreeable. How very Edwardian… He strode past without vouchsafing small-talk to the reptiles but his ripely pursed lips betrayed velvety pleasure. With his beaky nose and that glassy avian quality to the eyes, he could have been a Harris’s hawk that had just gobbled up an unexpectedly plump dormouse.”

As the Tory party unravel day by day, hour by hour, the Spectacle of Stupid involved the performative task of them issuing letters to each other variously stabbing each other in the back (though front and sides are also optional). This used to be a procedural task exchanging banalities “it’s been an honour to serve” etc.

Now it’s just mayhem.

The thanks after you’ve been sacked letter is an art form, but so too is the Fuck You I’m Resigning one. Andrea Jenkyns’s letter to Graham Brady calling for Rishi Sunak to go was a classic of the genre.

In it Jenkyn’s (pictured above) refers to ‘Rishi Machiavelli’. The journalist Zoe Williams described it as the ‘main event’:

“It seemed like the main event to me: clumsy syntax, pantomime histrionics, Jackanory cadence, ham-fisted recapping for the gerontocracy; could a Conservative sound any dumber? Well, happily, yes. Later in the same letter, Jenkyns warned of Keir Starmer and his imminent “socialist cabal” in Downing Street, and the who-are-these-idiots bingo card was complete.”

This is not to so much the Banality of Evil as the Stupidity of Evil. The condition is not confined to the ladies above, god knows the absurd times we live in are celebrated by Jonathan Gullis, Lee Anderson, Bob Seely (and many others) who have today celebrated the overturning of the Rwandan policy as a ‘victory’. Who knew the Sunlit Uplands would be so dim? It is of course us that are the stupid ones for putting up with all of this.

Comments (11)

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  1. SleepingDog says:

    I presume David Cameron is simply the puppet of the USAmerican State Department, while Tory ‘common sense’ revolves around genuflecting to royals, worshipping corruption and embracing the British version of Herrenvolk:
    without the cuddly Nazi views on animal rights.

    Meanwhile, excavations of early 19th century London workhouses apparently show a far less hostile environment than today’s immigration centres, presumably including child-friendly nursery paint schemes, charting the imperial metropole’s descent into the abyss over the last 200 years.

    1. SteveH says:

      I do find your earnest left wing critical social justice comments interesting. They follow a certain type of playbook covering critical race theory, critical decolonization theory, Gender and Queer theory, anti capitalism, etc.

      Critical theory techniques are clever tools that are misused for political aims. They are used to narrow debate, stifle free speech, divide populations, justify the most oppressive behaviour of the graduate elites. More often than not they are used to keep the believers in line.

      Its a new grand narrative that is worse then the one it replaces. That is what happened in the Russian Bolshevik revolution. Yet, smart people like you still don’t spot the irony of promoting regressive ideology, and labelling it as progressive.

  2. SteveH says:

    Its not just the stupid Tories, Its all the mainstream parties, including the SNP.

    In fact, when you look at all our institutions, we are led and governed by the most selfish class of people imaginable.

    The crazy thing is that these are the educated elites.

    Technocracy doesn’t work. We have a civil service who may be expert in their fields, but they have been indoctrinated by identity politics, and believe mad things like race essentialism, and tend to pander to each other’s illusions which they consider is more important than objective truth.

    This class of people are ambitious and driven by Narcissism.

    Most of the ministers are hoodwinked by their civil servants, many of whom they went to school or uni with..

    We need a new party. A party not burdened with Russell group education arrogance. Not burdened by privilege and loathing for their own nation and people.

    1. Wul says:

      So many words. So little to say…

      Paint us a picture of your ideal UK Steven. Who’s in charge? What are their values? What are their policies? What colour is their skin?

      1. Drew Anderson says:

        What colour is their skin?

        Might I suggest grey, Wul?

        There’d be no educated elite in Steve H. Ludd’s version of the future. Logically, that means no doctors or nurses (they’re graduates too these days); an unhealthy populace would soon ensue.

        1. John says:

          Guys Steve H is full of the type of hateful batshit ideas you can get in Express or Mail any day of the week.
          He is only commenting here to disrupt discussion and get comments around his aggressive ignorance.
          Best approach to this type of disruptive trolling is to ignore him and not give him the attention he seems to need.

    2. 202310-23 says:

      “The crazy thing is that these are the educated elites.”

      Maybe something has gone wrong with, at the very least higher education. Perhaps not teaching critical thinking from primary school onwards?

      Or politics needs to be taught in schools?

      Or education needs to be valued for itself, not as a requirement for a career?

  3. Hugh McShane says:

    That Quentin Letts quote is destined for Pseuds Corner! Outrageously oleaginous!

  4. John says:

    Excellent overview of a discredited government and democratic institution.
    Even by Westminster standards this week has been bizarre though yesterday was ‘world beating’ inanity with the plan to pass a law to contradict evidence and state that Rwanda does comply with all human rights standards and Labour & Tories whipping members to vote against stating that Hamas & Israel should cease hostilities and stop killing innocent civilians.
    You would struggle to make this type of nonsense up and would be ridiculed if you did.

  5. florian albert says:

    Mike Small starts his article bemoaning the stupidity of the Tory government. So far, so routine.

    However, by the end of the article he has moved on to, ‘not so much the Banality of Evil as the Stupidity of Evil.’

    The phrase ‘the banality of evil’ was coined by Hannah Arendt to describe Adolf Eichmann, the bureaucratic architect of the murder of millions of Jews in World War ii. Introducing such a phrase into a description of the present Tory government destroys the article’s credibility.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @florian albert, the United Nations finds we are murdering a million species, something this Conservative government seem quite happy with complicity in, so I’d call that evil, for starters:,20%25%2C%20mostly%20since%201900.
      especially considering the War on Nature fought by successive royal governments in these isles that has led the World Wildlife Fund to say:
      “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.”

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