Britain’s political fever dream continued apace this week as Rishi Sunak became prime ministerwithout anyone even voting for him. The former chancellor, the country’s third prime minister in less than two months and the fifth in six years, is also the UK’s first leader of colour and the first Hindu to take the office.
Jonathan Freedland considers how big a blow Truss’s ill-judged stint in power has delivered to the school of neoliberal economic thought.
Brazil also faces a judgment day this weekend,as Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva square up in a presidential runoff of deep significance for the country and the planet, with the protection of the Amazon at stake. The outcome is on such a knife-edge that not even the nation’s gangsters can decide who to vote for, as our Latin America correspondent Tom Phillips reports.
On the subject of the environment, don’t miss Naomi Klein’s long readabout how Egypt’s government has used the coming Cop27 conference to greenwash its own oppressive political activities.
Then, there’s a revealing interview with Chelsea Manning, who opens up to Emma Brockes on what really happened when she leaked thousands of classified US military documents.
After a chaotic 45 days in office, Liz Truss has stepped down as the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister. Plus: Nigeria prepares for elections, a flick through the day’s papers, and the latest business news.
A country of political instability, low growth and subordination to the bond markets
In 2012 liz truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, two of the authors of a pamphlet called “Britannia Unchained”, used Italy as a warning. Bloated public services, low growth, poor productivity: the problems of Italy and other southern European countries were also present in Britain. Ten years later, in their botched attempt to forge a different path, Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng have helped make the comparison inescapable. Britain is still blighted by disappointing growth and regional inequality. But it is also hobbled by chronic political instability and under the thumb of the bond markets. Welcome to Britaly.
Russia launches a fresh offensive on Ukraine’s cities, the British public is reassured that the prime minister “is not under a desk” as political turmoil continues, and Canada and the US send defence equipment to Haiti as the crisis deepens. Plus: the winner of the 2022 Booker Prize and the BBC marks 100 years.
The new prime minister must eschew pantomime radicalism if she is to succeed. The sceptics have many reasons to be dubious—yet underestimating Liz Truss is a mistake her opponents have already made to their cost.