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UK politics

Another fight the Tories don’t need to have

Since the 1930s, 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost. David Tipling/Universal Images Group/Getty

Britain’s new government has a “split personality”, says William Hague in The Times. Dominating today’s front pages is its “humiliating” U-turn over a “reckless mini-Budget”. But on foreign policy, Liz Truss’s government has proved itself to be pragmatic, careful, and eager to “defuse problems in advance”. The same government that can’t resist embarking on “unnecessary and unwinnable battles at home” has made a concerted effort to improve relations with Dublin and announced fresh talks with the EU over Northern Ireland. On Thursday, the PM will attend President Macron’s “cherished” launch of a wider European political community, having wisely let him persuade her in New York.

Another domestic battle the government “does not need to have” is on the environment. Letters are “pouring in” to Tory MPs decrying an anticipated “attack on nature”: watering down environmental protections; exempting new “investment zones” from rules protecting wildlife; a major post-Brexit rejigging of agricultural subsidies. People really care about this stuff: since the 1930s some 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost. “Populations of starlings, sparrows, cuckoos and turtle doves have crashed. Streams and rivers have lost much of the life within them.” Voters of all political persuasions want society to “become more prosperous while living in better harmony with nature”. But Conservatives have a particular role, since conservatism is about “providing a strong inheritance for future generations”. Truss should make market forces “the ally of these values” rather than discrediting them in a “sudden rush of libertarianism”.

🎓 Kwasi Kwarteng’s neighbours in Greenwich appear to be a “kind and supportive lot”, says Patrick Kidd, also in The Times. Since the “fiscal firestorm” of the Chancellor’s mini-Budget, a sign has appeared at the end of his road reading: “GCSE economics tutor needed. Asking for a friend.”