Why is Richi Sunak and his cabinet in the UK government able to act dictatorially in a constitutional democracy?

The UK economy is in a bigger mess than other countries. The government is not being held to account in Parliament. Voters see sleaze and corruption almost daily. Most journalists in the right wing media are not asking the right questions.

The UK Economy and the Bank of England

Inside the Bank of England’s Gold Reserve vaults

At one point in 2022, inflation was at 11%. Latest figures, for December 2022, show 10.5%. The Bank of England sets a base rate to control spending and saving in order to keep inflation low and steady. If inflation is high, they increase the base rate to reduce spending to a level which reduces demand and thus lowers prices, bringing inflation and the cost of living down.

To boost growth in the economy, encourage spending, and job creation; they would increase rates. It’s a balancing act. Increasing rates too much will increase spending, and push up prices as demand starts to exceed supply. In early 2022, they took their eyes off the ball and kept rates low when there were signs that prices and inflation were rising.

The present government did nothing to monitor the situation and warn the Bank to raise the rate to control the pending inflation increase. Cynics have suggested, with some sound evidence, that it was in the interests of the élite, big business, and the richer members of the Conservative party to keep prices high, and keep profits high. Letting inflation climb to its current levels. Letting the richer élite with more wealth.

Although the government set a target of 2% inflation for the Bank of England, the present high cost of living makes that an impossible target for the short term. As predicted earlier, the Bank raised interest rates from 3.5% to 4% on 2 February 2023. The Governor hinted that inflation may have now peaked and there would be less need for any further increase in rates. However, he did not rule out his forecast of a rise to 4.25% in March 2023. His committee is still monitoring the economy.

The current cost of living crisis and high inflation has been caused by several factors.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the resulting increase in gas and oil prices because of the dependence which many western countries have on supply from Russia. Germany particularly depended on Russian imports for 55% of its gas supplies. Although that has reduced in January 2023; the country still imports gas, oil, and coal from Russia in higher amounts than other western states. Because Thailand and China also depend on Russian supply for much of their energy needs, these two countries are reluctant to challenge the invasion in Ukraine.

As well as increases in prices, the war has disrupted supply chains throughout the world. Russia has closed strategic pipelines.

The UK will perform worse than every other major economy this year, according to the IMF. GDP is expected to contract by 0.6% in 2023, due to high energy prices, rising mortgage costs and increased taxes. Britain is the only one of the 30 nations included in the forecast not expected to grow.

Covid Lockdowns and the Furlough Scheme

Although it may stop the spread of Covid, when people stay at home on furlough they are not working and, therefore, not contributing to the economy. Productivity decreases, fewer goods and services are available. Consequently, under the usual laws of supply and demand, prices go up and inflation rises. (Staying at home also meant people were not circulating in the community and thus gaining immunity from the flu and cold viruses.)

Because businesses tend to increase prices just ahead of an increase in costs, price-push inflation, they make higher profits in that short period. Even when people are working from home, they are usually not as productive as when at the workplace or office.

Covid Lockdowns and the Furlough Scheme

Although it may stop the spread of Covid, when people stay at home on furlough they are not working and, therefore, not contributing to the economy. Productivity decreases, fewer goods and services are available. Consequently, under the usual laws of supply and demand, prices go up and inflation rises. (Staying at home also meant people were not circulating in the community and thus gaining immunity from the flu and cold viruses.)

Because businesses tend to increase prices just ahead of an increase in costs, price-push inflation, they make higher profits in that short period. Even when people are working from home, they are usually not as productive as when at the workplace or office.

Are Strikes Dysfunctional and Damaging to the Economy?

Unlike in 1926, the present strikes are not general strikes. They are organised by individual trades unions, after balloting of their members. There is no concerted or coordinated action. That would be illegal under current laws. Members of a trade union are not even allowed to join the picket lines of other unions.

The Unions are supporting their workers concerns over rising food and energy bills
Unions support workers’ concerns over rising food and energy bills



The government have won, by 315 votes to 246, the “Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill 2022-2023”. The bill allows the government to issue “work notices” to force workers on strike to carry out essential services to ensure minimum service levels are achieved. The bill will not become law until it passes through the House of Lords and then given royal assent. The Lords are likely to make sweeping amendments as there are concerns that the bill could be contrary to international law which would take precedence. They are guided by article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Concluding comments from the ICESCR are given below.

The Committee concludes that the situation in the United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 64 of the charter on the following three grounds.

-the scope for workers to defend their interests through lawful collective action is excessively circumscribed; lawful collective action is limited to disputes between workers and their employer, thus preventing a union from taking action against a de facto employer if this was not the immediate employer.

– the requirement to give notice to an employer of a ballot on industrial action, in addition to the strike notice that must be issued before taking action, is excessive.

– the protection of workers against dismissal when taking industrial action is insufficient.

Even Jacob Rees-Mogg, an extreme right-wing Tory politician and former cabinet minister, has criticised the government for including a clause that allows them to amend the statute whenever they wish by an Order in Council, bypassing debate and approval by parliament. The government can legally do this bu using the so-called HenryVIII powers.

The present disputes are not about pay.

Medical staff want the government to improve resources for ALL PATIENTS in the NHS

Consultants,doctors, and nurses, in the National Health Service are concerned that government strategies are destroying the public health service as it was intended to operate when first introduced in 1948. Staff are leaving the profession, ambulances can take hours to respond to emergency calls, and hospitals cannot admit patients when they eventually arrive because there are no free beds.

Medical staff want the government to improve resources for the benefit of all PATIENTS

The government claim that medical staff are endangering lives by striking is stretching their propaganda too far. Strikers on picket lines DO respond to life-threatening emergencies. In a sense, they are providing their own Minimum Service Levels. Striking is a last resort, the only way they can get the government to listen to their concerns that the NHS is under-resourced. Although the government are promising to increase staff numbers, the number of hospital beds, and providing more ambulances; these new resources will not be fully in place for at least two more years. It should be noted that Conservative governments in the past have reduced employment numbers in the public health sector, the police service, and other areas. All in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency. The promised increases should, therefore, be seen in this context. The strikes are not only about pay deals. The initial pay increase was, as is usual in all negotiations between unions and employers, only a starting point for discussions.

Barristers are worried that cuts in legal aid by the government will result in a lack of adequate resources to ensure fair and timely trials. Even civil servants, including the United Kingdom border force, warn that reducing staff numbers will make the service unworkable. The consequences for controlling illegal immigration and terrorism are serious.

It’s not just pay. Teachers fear for the future of our kids’ education

Teachers highlight that insufficient recruitment, the increasing trend of teachers leaving the profession, and the employment of staff not qualified in the subjects being taught; will damage our children’s education in the future.

They are striking as a last resort. Teaching unions say that the government are just not listening to their warnings that, unless parliament does something effective very quickly, the education system in the public sector will fall apart. Most teachers join the profession because they want to give children the best start in life that they can. It certainly isn’t only about the money. They can earn more elsewhere. Many have, for example, left their jobs and started a career in the hospitality sector where they will feel less stressed and not spend so much time form-filling instead of getting on with the job for which they are paid.

Ambulance drivers and fire-fighters are also stressing that government procedures are preventing them providing the standards of service that the public rightly expect.

Mick Lynch, of the largest rail union, has pointed out the union’s concerns on passenger safety when travelling by train. The government want some trains to be driver-less, and some trains to only have a driver but no guard on board. There would be no rail employee in the carriages to assist passengers in an emergency. Particularly dangerous for women and those travelling at night.

The government’s plans to reduce the number of employees working on track maintenance will likely result in more accidents, some could be fatal.  19 people were seriously injured in April 1981 when an express train derailed in Bushley, Hertfordshire, due to a broken rail. If you use a search engine, you will see there have been accidents every year since records began.

Lynch points out that the government’s bill on minimum service levels is disingenuous. Although certain parts of the railway can work while small sections are on strike, the signally system does not function in that way. If just one signal box is unmanned during a legal strike, trains cannot progress along that entire route. They would all be held in a queue in front of the unmanned signal box. Sunak knows this. By issuing a “work notice” on the employees of one signal box, he is effectively shutting down the whole system. The RMT union, led by Lynch, never called signalmen out on strike. He only ever called out sections of the rail network, never a whole section.

The UK Government is Not Being Held to Account.

The House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Question Time

The main opposition party in the UK is called His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Its purpose is to hold the current government to account. If Labour were in power, the Conservative party would be tasked with holding the Labour administration to account. It is not unpatriotic for an opposition party to criticise the elected government of the day. Because they are the loyal opposition of the King, it is their duty to do so. They do not oppose out of malice, they oppose out of duty.

In practice, it is the media that puts pressure on parliament and the government for change. With an 80 seat majority in the House of Comments and with Conservative MPs having to vote the way the Whips tell them, parliamentarians can’t always vote according to their conscience or how they really would like. Even at weekends, cabinet members are keen to attend interviews with political commentators to counter some of the allegations made against them. They usually avoid the questions asked and read from a prepared script, approved by officials in Number 10, following a brief by the Prime Minister.

You will also notice that many questions to the P.M. from Conservative MPs are “planted”. The questions are really statements rather than questions. They merely agree with whatever Sunak has just said. Their questions almost always start with, ‘Does the Prime Minister agree with me…”. So he is well-prepared to expand on points he has already made. All parties use this tactic.

Former Prime Minister Blair, when called as a witness to the Leveson Enquiry between 2011 and 2012, spoke of his anger at the media’s ability to harass politicians and their families. He had personal experience of smears being made against his wife, children, and friends. It was unacceptable, he said, that the press barons should be allowed, through the newspapers that they control, to continue in this way. He went on to say that Lord Justice Leveson now had the opportunity to “drain the poison from the media”


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