August Review: Tory Leadership Race, Part One mdi-fullscreen

August was dominated by the Tory leadership race. With Liz Truss squeaking past Penny Mordaunt in the fifth MPs’ ballot, she and Rishi Sunak hit the road for a never-ending series of hustings across the country, trotting out the same soundbites over and over again: Truss arguing we had to go for growth, Rishi claiming we had to control inflation before waving “the country’s credit card”. At the time, given how far ahead Liz was in the polls, and with a looming energy crisis, it seemed excessive to an entire month repeating the same routine over and over again. Especially since they both ended up getting the job anyway…

Nonetheless, Guido diligently churned out a daily campaign update every morning, rounding up the latest goings-on in each camp. Sometimes these would be pretty short, if the candidates were struggling to think of anything new to say after a CCHQ organised marathon campaign in the regions: at one point Rishi promised to “restore NHS dentistry”, and Liz said she’d “look at” speeding limits on motorways. Other times, however, the blue-on-blue attacks upped the ante. After Liz backed down on her plans for regional pay boards, Rishi’s campaign sprung to life, accusing Truss of U-turning under pressure. The Truss camp immediately shot back by compiling a list they claimed showed Rishi had performed “more u-turns than a DVLA test centre” – which as the DVLA’s Press Office pointed out to us, doesn’t make any sense since they don’t conduct driving tests. Meanwhile, in the real world, inflation continued to climb higher and higher…

Away from the travelling circus, Guido also published footage of Boris and Carrie enjoying a dance and a sing-song at their belated wedding celebrations. While Guido thought it was just a bit of fun, Downing Street weren’t happy and threatened legal action. The video is still online for co-conspirators’ viewing pleasure. Boris’s moves weren’t great, but they weren’t that bad…

August also saw the beginnings of the relentless strike action that still grinds the country to a halt as this post goes to pixel. Rail workers walked out throughout the month, with RMT chief Mick Lynch becoming the left’s favourite new poster boy. The strikes proved yet another head scratcher for Sir Keir, who was forced to drop his party’s picket line ban after multiple Labour MPs showed up anyway – including ex-shadow Transport Secretary Minister Sam Tarry, who had finally given Starmer an excuse to sack him at the end of July. Labour then promised Sir Keir would eventually come up with a new strike protocol for his MPs… as soon as he returned from holiday.

Honourable Mentions:

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