Big dramas can make politics look small, and in an age of constant upheaval voters can miss how badly the country is being run
Politics in Britain is again marching to strange rhythms. Officially, nothing much has been happening this month, because of an all-important period of national mourning. But in reality Whitehall has been busy, even frantic. The Treasury has been purged of its most senior civil servant and given a new, pro-growth mission. The latest emergency budget is being drawn up, thinly disguised as a “fiscal event”. And a new, potentially very risky government has been settling in. Yet another Conservative experiment on the country is being prepared, largely unscrutinised.
Much of our politics has had this simultaneously stuck and manic quality since at least the EU referendum. Brexit deadlocks and “cliff edges”, the pandemic, Tory leadership contests, the cost of living crisis, the invasion of Ukraine and now the Queen’s death – each has accelerated or paralysed politics, making a mockery of the once common idea that British democracy is about steady progress.