Forget all the office politics. What really matters is where this Government goes next

Former chancellor Sajid Javid with the Prime Minister

It would be nice to think that the startling resignation of the Chancellor had something to with real politics and not just office politics. We hear a great deal of Sajid Javid’s fury over the sacking of his advisory team, about the enforced authority of a new No 10 squad who would “work in conjunction” with No 11 (ha, ha) on economic policy. We are swimming in rumours about Boris Johnson’s (or Dominic Cummings’s) rage at leaks from Treasury officials. The great Cummings plan for a radical shake-up of Whitehall is well known: is this part of it? Is all this sound and fury really just a tug-of-war, a palace power struggle over who personally has the ear of the king (which is to say, who runs the government)?

538prom精品视频在线播放But maybe there is something much more interesting going on – something more relevant to the lives of the people of the country. All those leaks that reached the press about new taxes – a mansion tax which would have been an unprecedented raid on the value of private property – and a new pension tax hit which would fall on higher earners.

What was that about? Were the leaks a form of briefing against a Chancellor who, his critics may have felt, had been captured by the demonic forces of the Treasury? Or had he actually been following the political direction of the prime minister be whacking the better-off thus demonstrating the Tory government’s commitment to its new Northern voters? We may never know whether Javid would have gone ahead with his wealth taxes now. The hammering he took from newspapers like this one and the traditional Tory advocates of low tax may have put him off. 

Or were those infamous tax proposals ever for real anyway? Were they part of some devilish disinformation plot to undermine the Chancellor’s credibility? Who knows? This is a very secretive, opaque Downing Street operation so the truth is hard to fathom. In the end, what matters for real people is not so much, who is really in charge here? It is, what are the actual plans and intentions of whoever it is who has the power? Do they seriously want to bash the better off in order to make a political gesture?

We will find out, presumably when the brand new Chancellor delivers his first Budget in four weeks. But even when we see the shape of the government’s economic philosophy, we may still have no idea who was responsible for drafting it.