Posted on 10th September 2022

This week I’ve been in hospital and believe me it has yet again made me appreciate the care and kindness shown by the staff at St. James’s Hospital. However, there is no question that the HSE is going to be under enormous pressure this winter. In my view there are simply not enough nurses to go around. Health care professionals are going to be faced by a winter of difficult decisions. It fills me with trepidation.

Distant view of Slane Castle

So across the water Liz Truss goes to Balmoral to kiss the Queen’s hand and become her 15th Prime Minister.  Out goes Boris, the most colourful politician of his generation to whom we should be grateful for standing up to Vlad the Bad.  I was relieved to see that Liz Truss decided to keep Ben Wallace on as Defence Secretary.  We may be neutral but in every way possible we need to support Ukraine and that includes properly sheltering the refugees that have ended up coming here.  Having them join the homeless on the streets of Dublin is hardly the right way to treat traumatised people.  So what should we expect from the new Prime Minister ?  There will now be a distinct ideological divide between the Conservatives and the Labour Party.  Liz Truss will govern in close co-operation with her new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, who has been a close political ally since they both entered parliament together in May 2010. The following year they set up the Free Enterprise group of M.P’s which aimed to “ Free individuals to create, innovate and take risks”.  They then wrote a book together called “ Britannia Unchained”.  Get the drift ? They are free marketeers.  Nothing more clearly defines the difference between Labour and the Conservatives than a Windfall Profits Tax.  Labour is for it but Trussites against it.  They will fund the massive intervention to suppress electric and gas bills by borrowing more money.  The Trussites will seek to increase production from the North Sea and also free up the planning process to allow for fracking – the controversial process to enhance the extraction of natural gas.  In fairness to the new Prime Minister she has got off to a no-nonsense-like stand and handled her first Prime Minister’s Questions with confidence and competence.  Let us just hope that she devotes the same care and attention to dealing with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

As I put pen to paper, news comes of the death of Queen Elizabeth.  Acres of news print will be devoted to Her Majesty, who presided over governments led by Sir Winston Churchill to Liz Truss.  I can’t claim to have met the Queen but curiously I literally bumped into her by mistake many years ago at Royal Ascot.  You cannot but admire the extraordinarily stabilising role she has played at the centre of British life.  Prime Ministers do not by convention talk about their conversations with the Monarch but it is clear they all valued her wise counsel.  Now we are in a new age.  Long live King Charles III.  Sounds weird doesn’t it ?  It will take a lot of getting used to, as the Queen’s image is everywhere.  The Queen ended her life in Balmoral, in the North East of Scotland.  A direct descendant of Mary, Queen of Scots.  I can’t ignore this significance.

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