Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget was a reckless gamble | Letters

Giving handouts to the rich is a fiscal and moral outrage, writes Prof Alan Walker; plus letters from Howard Fielding, Ivor Morgan, Richard Heller, Helen Briggs, John Platt, Jeffrey Borinsky and the parent of a City worker

Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss’s mini-budget is a fiscal and moral outrage, because it ignores the extensive negative evidence from previous attempts to boost growth by giving handouts to the rich (Kwarteng accused of reckless mini-budget for the rich as pound plummets, 23 September ). It is also a constitutional outrage. Apart from a very small group of relatively rich people, no one voted for this radical policy change. Hopefully the British public will recognise this as a reckless gamble aimed at bolstering Truss’s election prospects. Recent history shows, however, that the public cannot necessarily be relied upon to make wise political decisions, so our outrage must be transformed into practical action to persuade voters that there is a viable, socially just alternative to this morally bankrupt government.
Prof Alan Walker
University of Sheffield

• Let’s not get too envious of the very wealthy who were so cosseted in Friday’s fiscal event. The reaction of the stock market was a 2% loss on the day (Pound falls below $1.09 for first time since 1985 following mini-budget, 23 September ). Most of the rich will have some of their millions invested in stocks and shares. So they lost £20,000 of each million. I wonder how grateful they are for the chancellor’s reckless gamble?
Howard Fielding

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UK’s Truss: Putin lashing out because ‘he isn’t winning’

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, on Sunday said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent moves indicate a reaction to Moscow losing ground in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“The reason Putin is doing this is because he isn’t winning. He made a strategic mistake invading Ukraine, and I think he has been outsmarted by the Ukrainians. We’ve seen the Ukrainians continue to push back against the Russian offensive. And I think he didn’t anticipate the strength of reaction from the free world,” Truss told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“We should not be listening to his saber-rattling and his bogus threats.”  

In an apparent reaction to Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive that pushed Russian forces out of some territory it had occupied, Putin last week ordered the mobilization of 300,000 new troops, a move met with much frustration within Russia.

Putin also threatened the use of nuclear weapons, exacerbating already heightened international concern over the potential use of such weapons in the conflict.

Additionally, Russia moved to hold referendums in parts of Ukraine it still occupies, widely interpreted as an effort to eventually annex those areas.

Truss in the interview aired Sunday called for continued sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine in its counteroffensive. 

“If Putin is allowed to succeed, this wouldn’t just send a terrible message in Europe and, of course, huge threats to the Ukrainian population themselves, but it also would send a message to other authoritarian regimes around the world that it’s somehow acceptable… to invade a sovereign nation,” Truss said. 

She also said the U.K. will continue to work with the U.S. and G7 allies “until Ukraine prevails.” 

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Truss is on an economic rampage with no mandate – so why is Starmer resisting electoral reform? | John Harris

Barely anyone voted for slashed taxes and favours showered on the rich. Yet the Labour leadership still thinks a rigged voting system can be used for progressive ends

Thanks to the febrile state of the Conservative party, Westminster politics seems to be locked into the trajectory of a rapidly deflating balloon. Policies and big ideas zoom into the foreground and just as quickly recede; ministerial careers rise and fall in only a few years. The only constants seem to be a perpetual sense of crisis and the feeling that, no matter how bad it gets, Tory government remains Britain’s default position. Amid recession, mounting poverty and the prospect of a sterling crisis , almost no one ever mentions a glaring system failure: the fact that we are routinely governed by people with only the flimsiest of electoral mandates, if they have one at all.

The relevant numbers are stark. Three years ago, Boris Johnson led the Conservative party to a “landslide” election victory and 80-seat Commons majority with the support of 29% of the electorate. As if he then had power beyond any restraint, he set about trying to lay waste to anything that got in his way . When his misrule became too much even for his own party, he was replaced by Liz Truss, swept into office by 82,000 Tory members, who represent a titanic 0.3% of all voters .

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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Moving the British embassy to Jerusalem would be an outrage | Donald Macintyre

Liz Truss’s pledge to Israel’s Yair Lapid to review the location has appalled the Palestinians and breaks international consensus

So this is what a Liz Truss foreign policy, freed from the constraints of EU membership, looks like. She may be unworried – perhaps even pleased – that her consideration of transferring the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has appalled the Palestinians. She should perhaps be more nervous about the impact on Britain’s global standing of a move that would break with an international consensus so far uniquely violated, among leaders of developed democracies, by Donald Trump. Not to mention the position firmly held since the 1967 six-day war by every British government up to and including even Boris Johnson’s.

Perhaps Truss thinks that position merely reflects a similar “orthodoxy” in the Foreign Office to the one she has repeatedly denounced in the Treasury. It doesn’t. The refusal to station an embassy in Jerusalem ahead of a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians is in keeping with international law and every UN resolution over five decades calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The latter was annexed, in the world’s view illegally, in the aftermath of that war and earmarked by every European country – hitherto including Britain – for the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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The Tories’ huge gamble offers a fabulous opportunity Keir Starmer’s party must seize | Andrew Rawnsley

Labour has a better plan for growth than Kwasi Kwarteng’s sugar-rush of tax cuts. Now it needs to pitch it to voters

Boris who? Theresa who? David who? The names escape her. Rishi who? Philip who? George who? The names elude him. Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, the devil-may-care duo of Downing Street, declare themselves an audacious break with the failed orthodoxies of the past and bold heralds of a new era for Britain.

After the chancellor had finished unveiling his debt-financed bonanza of tax cuts on Friday, I heard one of the cabinet describe this as “a new administration” that had “only been in office for two weeks”. This is one of the oldest tricks in the Conservative playbook. Declare that you have arrived with a radically novel agenda to rescue Britain from the appalling mess inherited from your predecessors and hope that a frenetic display of activity will dizzy the public into forgetting that those predecessors were also Tories. In the case of Ms Truss, the feat can only succeed if voters are induced not to care that she was first given a ministerial job by David Cameron and has sat in the cabinet for eight of the dozen years that the Tories have been in power. In the case of Mr Kwarteng, he’d prefer us not to recall that he voted for every one of the Conservative budgets since 2010, the budgets he now repudiates for dooming Britain to a “vicious cycle of stagnation ”.

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