DiEM25 panel discusses UK political crisis: Time for a complete overhaul?

Rishi Sunak has taken over as UK Prime Minister, the richest-ever person to hold the job. He’s already promising austerity for the poorest, with public services like the NHS in more danger than ever.

Sunak’s appointment comes after a disastrous 44-day spell for Liz Truss, and the scandal-ridden premiership of Boris Johnson.

What can British people – and those around Europe – expect from this latest (unelected) Tory government? Should progressives be adding to calls for early elections? And how can the state of UK politics be improved?

These were just some of the questions that came up during our latest episode titled ‘Chaos in the UK’.

Marshajane Thompson, previously Head of Campaigns for Jeremy Corbyn and now coordinator of Your NHS Needs You, was a special guest. She gave an insight into the background of Sunak, and the tragic state of affairs facing the UK’s working class.

Sunak embodies the ruling class

“We have Rishi Sunak: twice as rich as the king, a former banker, billionaire, [with] million pound houses in California, as well as Yorkshire and London, and he’s going to undoubtedly try to gloss over his record in government when he was chancellor,” Thompson said.

“He was at the helm when the Tory chaos and incompetence reached its height and caused the cost-of-living crisis.

“You can’t really stress how bad the cost of living crisis is in some parts of the UK. In the North East, we have 39.4 percent of our kids hungry, in complete food poverty, in the sixth richest country in the world… as a direct result of Sunak’s decisions as chancellor.

“We have seven million people living in cold homes, thousands of excess winter deaths last year and this year millions more in fuel poverty because of their failure to handle the fuel crisis.”

Time for a complete overhaul?

Erik Edman, DiEM25’s political director, feels the UK political system is beyond the point of repair, and requires a total overhaul.

“The political system in the UK is completely unrepresentative – for years it has been used as an argument that ‘first past the post’ leads to stable government. What? Look at the past three or four years,” Edman said.

“Look at the state of the country. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s all to do with maintaining power. And the problem we have in the UK is that there is this culture of ‘let’s not rock the boat’, ‘we are a stable country’ and the rest of it which is, day by day, being undermined by reality.

“And on the other hand you’ve got people who are so disillusioned by the entire process and are so fed up of a system that doesn’t lead to alternatives that they simply don’t engage anymore.

“And I think, if the UK is ever going to get out of this mess, it is not by tweaking the current system but talking about how to overhaul it. And you can only overhaul it if you can get people behind such an overhaul.

“You need to have the political appetite in society in the UK, and currently it’s not there. People are pissed off but that anger is not being directed where it’s due.”

You can watch the full episode below  


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