MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Too much to ask for caring and able leaders?

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Too much to ask for caring and able leaders?

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Is it too much to ask this year to get caring and able leaders?

Well, that was a year we did not expect. In fact, last January 1, many of us – including our then Prime Minister – looked on the months ahead with a reasonable amount of optimism. We could, we thought, count on it being a better year than 2021, without asking for very much.

The worst of the Covid crisis was over, we were getting back to work, the world was in reasonable shape. But then, in a series of events that began to feel like repeated blows upon a bruise, it all went wrong, or failed to get better.

Russia invaded Ukraine – the single worst action undertaken by any European nation in a generation.

The repercussions of this savage, lawless return to the age of brute force are even now unclear, but they continue to spread across Eastern Europe like a bloodstain on a bandage.

2022 became the year of the three Prime Ministers, of the collapsed Liz Truss budget – and also the year when Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party finally began to surge in the polls (something many of Sir Keir’s keenest supporters had begun to think would never happen)

This catastrophe was a far bigger blow to the world’s economic wellbeing than we ever thought it would be, and Vladimir Putin cynically weaponised winter in ways never previously seen.

Here, it is hard not to feel that this country and society have gone backwards during the past 12 months – and this in an age when we have for many decades confidently expected each year to end with a feeling of progress.

The brutal facts are that this New Year’s Day we are less well off, more heavily taxed, less safe from crime, less well covered against sickness and injury, colder and a good deal more chaotic than we were 12 months ago.

Was it really impossible for the authorities involved to avoid the plague of painful, damaging and sometimes frightening strikes now affecting so much of our economy and the NHS? 

Our nation is more divided and less stable, with devolved Scotland’s government flexing its nationalist muscles and pressing for another independence referendum, while permanent tranquillity in Ireland is as far off as ever.

Even the Covid menace is beginning to stir again in China.

But perhaps the most regrettable, and avoidable, reverse in recent times has been the strange self-harming frenzy in the Tory Party. 

Russia invaded Ukraine – the single worst action undertaken by any European nation in a generation. The repercussions of this savage, lawless return to the age of brute force are even now unclear, but they continue to spread across Eastern Europe like a bloodstain on a bandage

This newspaper has long been puzzled by the way in which the supposed ‘Partygate’ events were magnified into a gigantic scandal. Conservative MPs lost all sense of proportion, joining in a kind of mass hysteria against Boris Johnson.

Like other irrational eruptions, it continued until it had done the maximum damage, leaving many of those involved perplexed as to exactly why it had seemed so important at the time.

And so 2022 became the year of the three Prime Ministers, of the collapsed Liz Truss budget – and also the year when Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party finally began to surge in the polls (something many of Sir Keir’s keenest supporters had begun to think would never happen).

If those polls are right, millions of people are planning to vote Labour at the next General Election – even though they realise it might harm them.

Once, many took the view of the two main parties – expressed adeptly in The Mail on Sunday today by Lord Saatchi – that ‘Conservatives are efficient but cruel and Labour are caring but incompetent’.

This newspaper has long been puzzled by the way in which the supposed ‘Partygate’ events were magnified into a gigantic scandal. Conservative MPs lost all sense of proportion, joining in a kind of mass hysteria against Boris Johnson

But now it seems that many have decided that the Tories are incompetent as well as cruel, and this has caused many to toy with the idea of deserting them.

Yet Labour are still quite unfit to run the country.

Sensible Tories of all opinions have a huge duty to those of us who do not wish to endure another Labour government.

Their year of self-indulgence has cost us quite enough. There is just still time for them to repair their reputation.

A year, as we have just discovered, is a very long time in politics. We beg Rishi Sunak and his Cabinet to use this coming one wisely, and we beg Tory MPs to lay aside small differences for the greater good.

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