The Tory leadership contest “has an air of unreality about it”, says James Forsyth in The Times. Take frontrunner Liz Truss’s pledge to scrap the planned rise in corporation tax. Voters will have little patience for businesses’ tax bills being slashed when their own bills are soaring. The energy price cap is predicted to peak at £3,649, and inflation at 13.3%; the Bank of England is forecasting a long recession. “It is not difficult to imagine Angela Rayner chastising the Tories for having given ‘big business’ a £17bn tax cut while refusing to offer nurses a decent pay rise.” That’s why one senior civil servant reckons the new PM might call a snap election on arrival in No 10 – once the economic storm hits, “it will be extremely difficult for the government to get re-elected”.
The Tories are “gaslighting us”, says Judith Woods in The Daily Telegraph. The wasteful water industry is “leakier than a colander”, but we get hosepipe bans. Structural issues have the NHS on its knees, “yet they want to fine us for failing to keep appointments”. I’m not a Conservative Party member, and I have no idea “whether mad-as-a-box-of-frogs Truss will make a less awful PM than prissy Rishi”. But I know we’re all tired of their “spittle-flecked” bickering, and “borderline hysteria” that the real danger is Labour. “This backbiting bunch has been in charge for 12 years. The country is falling apart.” Yet rather than rise above “ugly factionalism”, they blame the public for their own “abject failings”.
🌡🥶 Across Europe, “sensible governments” are already preparing for winter, says Iain Martin in The Times. In Germany, officials in Hanover have turned off the hot water in public buildings and banned the use of floodlights on monuments. Spain has decreed that air conditioning should not be turned on below 27C in summer, and central heating must not rise above 19C in winter. But in “blithe spirit Britain”? The government is acting as if we’re not directly connected to the European energy market and will thus be spared any fallout. Wrong on both counts. If “the worst happens”, we’re in deep trouble.