"I'm not tetchy" barked the Prime Minister. The British PM has been accused by both critics and allies of being bad-tempered in recent weeks. Rishi Sunak has denied being “tetchy”, insisting he just gets “frustrated” when things don’t work out as hoped.
“I don’t understand that term … there’s nothing tetchy, (about me), the prime minister told the Spectator magazine.
It was as if Sunak had added a new character to the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, not Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful or Sneezy and certainly not Tetchy.
Tracking the number of dwarfs in the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale is easy. Historical reference for the latter (with names) is provided by Walt Disney in the 1937 animation "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
Tracking the number of families in the Conservative party is becoming more difficult. There would appear to be five families in the camp. A reference to the five families controlling the mafia in New York in the 1930s, including the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families.
The mafia families were involved in criminal activities, including racketeering, extortion, drug trafficking and prostitution. They had a long history of organized crime in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Florida.
The families were organised under the leadership of a "Capo dei Capi" but a series of assassinations, led to the abandonment of the role (it was too high risk) and a more democratic structure was put in place under a mafia "commission".
So what of the Tories?
The five families of the Conservative party include the European Research Group (ERG), the New Conservatives, the Northern Research Group (NRG), the Common Sense Group and the Conservative Growth Group.
On the sideline for the moment appear to be the "One Nation Tories", and the ABR "Anyone But Rishi" Group.
Key questions remain. Under the five family structure, is Sunak the high risk capo di capi or is the Tory Back Bench 1922 committee the "Commission?"
Some suggest “The ‘five families’ thing is complete bullshit. It is something that Mark Francois (leader of the ERG) and John Hayes, (leader of the Common Sense Group) like, because it makes them feel personally important."
So what happened to the great Rwanda debate? According to Iain Martin in The Times, "After all the pompous huffing and puffing, all the ultimatums and dark threats, the Tory Right’s great Rwanda rebellion against Rishi Sunak that was meant to rock the government, or perhaps even bring it down, turned out to be a parliamentary peashooter." The bill was passed with a majority of 44. There appeared to be thirty or so abstentions from the Tory "Cosa Nostra".
It was Shakespearean event more comedy than drama. "Much ado about nothing" just about sums it up. They're maybe a second act in the third reading of the bill to follow.
By then the Tories will realize the threat of a stay on the Bibby Stockholm, is a greater deterrent than any flight to Rwanda.
The Saturday Economist
John Ashcroft publishes the Saturday Economist. Join the mailing list for updates on the UK and World Economy.
|The Saturday Economist
The material is based upon information which we consider to be reliable but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. We accept no liability for errors, or omissions of opinion or fact. In particular, no reliance should be placed on the comments on trends in financial markets. The presentation should not be construed as the giving of investment advice.