There is a Canker in Britain that has seized the minds of Government. Time to remove it.

Something is rotten in the state… A deep rooted canker underlies the current crisis. Removing it will give the UK a real chance at some kind of Brexit Bonus, Growth and Prosperity. But we have to change, and change utterly.

Blain’s Morning Porridge Oct 20th 2022 – There is a Canker in Britain that has seized the minds of Government. Time to remove it.

“Things can only get better… Things can only get better…”

This Morning: Something is rotten in the state… A deep rooted canker underlies the current crisis. Removing it will give the UK a real chance at some kind of Brexit Bonus, Growth and Prosperity. But we have to change, and change utterly.

Liz Truss is not the problem. She is just a symptom. She will be cauterised.

The UK’s democracy and politics is floundering in a chaotic sea of crisis and confusion. It was the sad looking Tory MP last night asking all these ministers with their red cabinet boxes if it was “worth-it”? Or was it the MP on Radio 4 hectoring us how the Conservatives remain the natural party of Government – really? The self-destruction of the Conservatives begs many questions. Where have all the good men and women gone? Whatever happened to doing the right thing?

This morning on Radio 4’s Today Programme I was asked what it all means for voters struggling with rising mortgage rates. Not good I’m afraid.

The bad news is the UK’s Virtuous Sovereign Trinity of Political Competency, a Stable Currency and a Sustainable Bond Market has been tipped. Interest rates will continue to rise to address inflation (now “inflated” by the currency) and bond yields will rise on uncertainty. The only way to address this scale of crisis is a dramatic shift – and I dared to say it on National Radio, a market commentor calling for a General Election.

And even then, it’s not certain a new Government will be able to deal with, let alone rectify the absolute economic omnishambles they will inherit after 12 years of Conservative … well, I won’t call it good government.

At times like, deluged by confusion and darkness, there is really only one thing to do… get out the Works of Shakespeare and consider out some suitable quotes…

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark England.

Shakespeare got it. Hamlet, his tortured tale of betrayal, corruption, and indecisiveness at the court of Elsinore, is about great issues of politics and the state. Its increasingly clear there is a cancer tearing out the soul of Britain’s conservative party, and to quote the Bard’s Danish play again: “Diseases desperate grown, by desperate appliance are relieved. Or not at all.”

(Were it Rishi Sunak sitting on the throne surveying the spilt goblets, wrack and ruin around him, I would probably write: “The serpent that did sting they father’s life, now wears his crown.”)

Britain needs to root out the canker, be decisive and pray Fortinbras marches in at the end to build a brighter future.


Global Markets are watching the UK bemused and stunned.

How could one of the leading democracies tumble into chaos in just a few weeks? If it can happen here – who is next?

UK markets will remain volatile while this chaos continues – and the events of yesterday show the amplitude of the chaotic wave is unlikely to change anytime soon. Liz Truss will continue to be overwhelmed by the mounting distrust and conflict within her own party.

Markets know that.

Traders are watching shocked at the slow motion trainwreck of UK Inc, but they are analysing the opportunities. In the next few days things could get even more chaotic as the government self-destruction deepens. Markets want to see credible solutions – and frankly that’s not going to happen under the current riven, fratricidal bunch of maniacs.

I expect a buy-the-fact rally when the General Election is called.

But even then the questions will remain multiple.  How quickly could Labour restore stability? Will they prove any more aligned in their purpose? Will the mounting economic catastrophe they inherit be solvable, or will it overwhelm them? How good and realistic is their growth plan? Can the notoriously divided socialists hold together (as they did under Tony Blair)?

Labour has one massive advantage – they are not riddled with the Cancer of Brexit.

(Before you dismiss me as a Remoaner – I was one of the useful idiots who voted to leave. I was wrong. But what is done is done.)

Liz Truss got one thing right – she made her own decision to engage with President Macron of France and attend the Prague summit, demonstrating to Europe a clear break with the Boris era. It wasn’t just the insults and the buffoonery, but I don’t think we appreciate just how much Europe hated Boris and the damage he did to our trade and prosperity prospects. Nor do we understand just much Europe would like us re-engaged – although they deeply fear our future constancy.

Last week I told the story of how Cruella Braverman was out canvassing support for a leadership bid of her own. A Tory MP told me she prefaced her pitch with how Truss had betrayed Brexit by attending Prague and coddling up to Macron. Now we know why the right-wing frothing-at-the-mouth wing of the Tories have their knifes out for Truss. No wonder her Cabinet now contains committed Sunak supporters…

The problems we saw multiply in the wake of Brexit have metastasized into a cancer that’s ripped away the…. Enough… Enough of this Tory Civil War.. let’s deal with the cancer at its core..

Brexit got done… except it didn’t.

Brexit was supposed to be about establishing the new UK as a confident, mercantile global trading partner, the place where new industry would be welcomed to partner up our skilled workforce, unmatched financial skills and global soft power, and to be part of a glorious future of growth and prosperity.

If ever there was an opportunity for the UK to soar in a burst of creative company formation, trade deals and a jubilee of red-tape cutting, I must have blinked and missed it.

I don’t particularly care that the true Believers are blaming the Remoaners for the missed opportunity. We are where we are. We are out of Europe – but to generate growth and prosperity any sensible man knows its not what you wish for, but what you can achieve that actually matters.

What the UK can maybe achieve is a reproachment with Europe. That is critical as part of any growth strategy. It does not mean giving up our independence or sovereignty, but simply to re-engage, get the best terms we can, and move forward. We hold a significant hand – energy, gas and defence.

The Conservatives can never lead reengagement with Europe. Labour might be able to do. I briefly met Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal-Democrat leader, the other night on a radio prog, and he may have a role to play establishing trust.

A large swathe of the Tories (largely the ones who voted for Truss) will want to fight the coming election on a Get Brexit Done/Protect Brexit platform. They will set it as a flag under which to energise hard-line Brexit support.

The more pragmatic and honest Conservatives will see the game is over and campaign to move the party back to a sensible footing and real growth strategies.

“Things are never as bad as you fear, but never as good as you hope”.

Five Things to Read Today

FT – It’s hard to see a way back: Liz Truss reels from deepening chaos.

BBerg – How to Get Away With Just a Mild Case of Mortgage Pain

Thunderer – Starmer must show there’s a point to Labour

WSJ – China’s Surveillance State Pushes Deeper Into Citizen’s Lives

Guardian – UK Hospitality sector declines at fastest pace since lockdown

Out of time, but not out of hope… Things can only get better….

Bill Blain

Strategist – Shard Capital


  1. “Liz Truss is just the symptom” – great point. Her desire to increase immigration (which Braverman took such exception to) would help tackle inflation and ease the labour shortage. It’s good policy. And yet she’s held captive by the right wing of her party who block it on idealogical grounds. It’s the same as it ever was. These are the same Brexit divisions, cast anew. I’m no apologist for Truss – she either failed to see the unity problem from the start, or simply thought she could bulldoze her way through (more likely). But the Tory party at this point is ungovernable whether you’re Sunak, Gove, Mordaunt or Truss. Off to opposition they should go for some family therapy, for the good of themselves and the country.

  2. I was one of the idiots who voted to remain – on the precautionary, “devil you know”, principle. In my opinion neither side in the referendum debate gave a credible view of the future, with or without Brexit. During the Brexit negotiations the supercilious and arrogant attitude of EU negotiators convinced me – who would want to be in a union with these people? I am a Liberal Democrat in terms of policy because the only sustainable policies are centrist ones. To be able to pay social benefits a country must have a strong economy. I have never voted for them in all my 54 voting years because the first-past-the-post election “system”, i.e. lottery, disenfranchises me. All the same I was disgusted by Lib Dem MEPs lobbying Guy Verhofstadt to make life as difficult as possible for UK negotiators. Liberal? Democratic? Patriotic? No. In my opinion judgement should be suspended until the collapse of the Euro and the fracturing of the EU into Gemany/Netherlands+ and Greece/Italy+.

    • “In my opinion judgement should be suspended until the collapse of the Euro and the fracturing of the EU into Gemany/Netherlands+ and Greece/Italy+.”

      Haha nice thinking. Yet:
      – where is France?
      – What if EU does survive? Suspend judgement 10 years? 20?
      – Where goes UK? To GermanyNetherlands+ ? I guess they allow only states with at least 2 of the sovereign Trinity

  3. The one good thing I can see possibly coming out of this mess is that if most Conservative voters in Scotland transfer their allegiance to Labour (my enforced tactical vote unless the UK economy would be greatly endangered by a Labour victory) the unjustified dominance of the SNP alliance with the Scottish Green Party could be overturned. Contrary to general belief, the Holyrood election system is not proportional. The constituency vote, being by first-past-the-post, disenfranchises at least half of the voters. The regional/party list vote has votes scaled up for parties with no or few MSPs elected in the constituency vote. SNP votes are multiplied by a factor because the Western Isles vote exclusively Independent! The Scottish Green Party has its votes multiplied by a huge factor because they cannot manage to get an MSP in the constituency vote! The SNP/Green alliance has neither a majority of first preferences expressed in the constituency vote or a majority of first preferences expressed in the preferential, not proportional, regional/party list vote. Democracy being rule by the people – ALL the people – or in practical terms ALL the people who vote, the SNP/Green alliance does NOT have a democratic mandate for an independence referendum.

  4. Nay, had I pow’r, I should
    Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
    Uproar the universal peace, confound
    All unity on earth.

  5. After today’s resignation and all those of the past week, the Taming of the Shrew comes to mind, both from the title of the comedy and the following line:

    “There’s small choice in rotten apples.”

  6. As always on point Bill. Britain somehow needs to get back into anything resembling the European Economic Area which will boost the country and the EU immensely. And ensure that the UK and European financial regulatory systems are as reasonably aligned as is politically feasible, going forward. I’m sure there are enough brave and sensible UK politicians like the current Northern Ireland secretary, that recognize, its time to start being a bit more pragmatic about dealing with the EU.

  7. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
    Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
    And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
    To be commenced in strands afar remote.
    No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
    Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood;
    Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields,
    Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs
    Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
    Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
    All of one nature, of one substance bred,
    Did lately meet in the intestine shock
    And furious close of civil butchery
    Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
    March all one way and be no more opposed
    Against acquaintance, kindred and allies:
    The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
    No more shall cut his master.

  8. Vast income inequality did for UK and centralisation of political power and media in London. It started under Edward Heath whose Selsdon Man programme jointed with Redcliffe-Maud and Competition & Credit Control Act topped off with EEC accession without referendum and a Dash for Growth to blow up the postwar world and for the first time UK interest rates entered double-digits.

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