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How the British Conservatives channeled Millhouse on ‘The Simpsons’

WArchie Sunak Enjoying his best day as Prime Minister, it’s impossible not to think of the biggest loser in the Western canon.as the tory leader said Member of ParliamentThe specter of Millhouse from “The Simpsons” looms through his renegotiation of the Northern Ireland deal.

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Blue-haired, bespectacled Millhouse is Bart’s best friend and a gluttonous misfortune. However, sometimes things go his way. When floodwaters hit Springfield, water rushed into Millhouse’s bedroom and flooded his shorts. “My feet are wet, but my cuffs are dry!” he cried with joy as he triumphantly stormed out of his devastated home. “It’s all in Millhouse!”

Even when things look bad in the long run, Millhouse’s short-term joy is the order of the day for the Conservative Party. Yes, they may be behind by 25 points in the polls. Yes, unless something changes, election apocalypse is imminent. But other than that, things are going well for the Conservatives. The new deal for Northern Ireland is just the beginning. From public finances to relations with France, everything is on Rishi!

For now, the threat against Mr Sunak has been lifted. The hardcore Brexiteers in the Conservative Party who have been bending the party to its will for a decade are now docile.Previously, they may have lashed out at the new arrangements in Northern Ireland, which made trade between the province and the rest of the country easier, but it was still up to the European Union law. Instead, they were amazed at what Mr. Sunak had managed to make sure he did. He even scares away Boris Johnson, who still dreams of returning to Downing Street one day.

Elsewhere, the Treasury is expected to borrow £30bn less than expected this year, giving the government some room in the March budget. Energy prices have plummeted, making government subsidies cheaper. Inflation is falling. Inflation in the UK could fall to 2% by the end of the year, according to an estimate by Citibank. Pay deals with public sector unions are easier to strike when more cash is available and inflation is at least slowing.

The Anglo-French summit next week is a chance for Mr Sunak to boost the politician’s credibility. The bar is on the floor. Gone are the silly quarrels that marred relations under Mr Johnson. (After one particularly damaging incident, Mr. Johnson began whistling the “Marseillaise” between meetings, a former aide recalls.) A proposed deal would seek to stop the tens of thousands of people who cross the English Channel in small boats each year. people. Unlike the Northern Ireland arrangement, which matters in that province but is largely ignored outside it, voters will care.

A Millhouse idea could affect an entire nation. For the first time since 2016, the interests of the Conservative Party are aligned with those of the country. Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal was bad for the UK but great for the Conservatives as it helped secure an 80-seat majority in the 2019 general election.Now, however, Mr Sunak has set himself modest goals – cutting inflation or normalizing relations with the US European Union— will make both the party and the country better. British everything is coming!

That concludes the reasons for short-term optimism. The case for chronic hopelessness is more convincing. At the end of the day, the achievement of the Northern Ireland deal seems absurd. The Prime Minister has announced that trade in seed potatoes between Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are parts of the same country, will no longer be impeded. Sausages can easily cross the Irish Sea. It’s easy to brag about yourself after a divorce. Millhouse’s father, another loser, bought a cot in the shape of a sports car shortly after his wife left him. “I sleep in a racing car. You?” Homer Simpson replied, “My wife and I sleep in a big bed.”

Essentially, Mr Sunak gets credit for cleaning up the mess he helped create. Other senior Conservatives support Brexit because it is the will of the people; Mr Sunak just thinks it is a brilliant idea. The deals Mr Sunak canceled were ones he once supported. Relations with France had to be repaired only because they were damaged by Johnson, whom Sunak vocally supported earlier in 2019.

Whether Mr Sunak’s government can do more than correct its own mistakes will determine the course of politics over the next 18 months. Public services run out.day of waiting a&e is common. In fact, some crimes have been decriminalized, and even serious crimes like assault now have rates in the single digits. Higher rates mean that about 1.4 million households will stay on more expensive mortgages this year. Inflation may be falling. But voters would still be worse off. Recession can be avoided; widespread misery will not.

Not only did I fail to learn, but I forgot what I used to know

Westminster is not good at absorbing this slow-moving trend. Politicians and the people who write about them get bored easily. The idea of ​​repeating the same story — that sluggish growth, rubbish public services and falling incomes could doom the Conservative Party at the next election — unnerves people. Mr Sunak is best portrayed as a gutsy loser. It was a similar desire that saved Millhouse. In an oral history of what happened to Millhouse, a writer for “The Simpsons” revealed that he sympathized with the hapless boy: “There’s so much sales going to him and his family — I think I had to save him from other writers.” Mr Sunak will benefit from the same protections.

If Mr Sunak can lead the Conservative Party to victory at the next election, possibly as early as next summer, he will gain a reputation as the shrewdest politician of the century. Even if he somehow drags the government from possible demise to a purely hung parliament, the plaudits are worth it. If he fails both, he will be remembered as Millhouse, a man who relished small victories when the water was over his head.

Read more from our UK politics columnist Bagehot:
Bring back Shamima Begum, then put her in jail (February 22)
Brexit Replay Society (14 February)
Sick Tories (February 7)

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