An Actor’s Life: The Tory horror show

Lettuce pray: Rishi needs to make it to the second week of December to overtake Liz Truss (photo: flicker/number 10)
November 13th, 2022 5:29 am| by Ian Burns
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Rishi Sunak is Britain’s first non-white PM – that’s the only positive out of the calamity that has descended on the country this autumn. Not sure how long we might have to wait for Denmark to follow suit, although the UK did have a 40-year headstart in terms of society-changing immigration. 

It certainly says something that Denmark, with a general election of its own to look forward to on November 1, has been diverting so much of its media attention towards Britain, politely poking fun at recently discarded PM Liz Truss with cartoons proclaiming “Yes, the lettuce lasted longer!”

Jacob: you’re on sewer duty
Even now, after the installation of the third Conservative PM in seven weeks, the ‘Tory Horror Show’ continues to provide amusement for many parts of the world, but it ought not to be this entertaining. 

British (English) politics is like a cross between ‘House of Cards’, ‘Yes Minister’, Monty Python and ‘The Muppet Show’, but for too many people living in the Disunited Kingdom a very harsh winter is approaching. 

Calling for unity in this shambolic political party is like drawing straws to get the job of cleaning out the sewers at Westminster before facing a firing squad from public opinion.

The hubris of a hard Brexit is obvious except to the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the Tory Mafia who told us that Engerland would benefit greatly once freed from the shackles of European legislation and rules. Deniers of climate change like him should not be given so much air-time in my humble opinion, so it’s a joy to see him removed from the Cabinet by the new PM.

More than meets the eye
Thankfully Liz Truss has been discarded to the dustbin of history. How she ever got elected to be our shortest-lasting PM in history (45 days!) is another question that we should all be asking. I refer back to my earlier ‘Tory Mafia’ reference and I’m sure it’ll all come out in the whitewash one fine day. 

Boris Johnson made the heroic gesture of pulling his modest and nimble sun-kissed frame out of the PM leadership race in the sake of the public interest and party unity … but maybe he didn’t want to risk suffering the slings and arrows of defeat yet again and so soon? His interest in the race certainly ensured his ‘old mate’ was the only one left with the necessary support – we don’t need an inquiry to confirm that.

Plus, there’s that small matter of waiting for the result of the Privileges Committee who will probably find him guilty of deliberately misleading Parliament, but in these days of soundbite politics does it matter? 

Time to strike them off
Here’s a list of words that spring to mind when I think about the British Conservative Party: selfish, broken, incoherent, chaotic, divided, calamitous, turmoil, farcical, pathetic, appalling, disgraceful. 

They have been in power for 12 years and cannot blame all the problems on the pandemic or Ukraine. 

A ‘General Strike’ is looming because workers across all sectors of society are understandably angry.

Level the field ASAP
The Tory mantra of “levelling up!”, which every Tory MP spouts in almost every interview, is fading fast into the distance, the distance, the distance … becoming another echo of too many untruths that are too numerous to mention here. 

Their idea of ‘levelling up’ only focused on the elite, and the majority of the country has stopped believing in them. None of us voted for the financial disaster that Truss & co imposed on the nation, and the only way of restoring Britain’s reputation, both home and abroad, is to have a general election ASAP. It would be pleasing as a Scot to see the SNP as the party of Opposition.

Mark Twain once said “Truth is stranger than fiction”. Witnessing the daily Tory soap opera only serves to confirm this and as amusing as it all is I’d prefer politics to be a slightly duller business, wouldn’t you? 

Ian Burns


A resident here since 1990, Ian Burns is the artistic director at That Theatre Company and very possibly Copenhagen’s best known English language actor thanks to roles as diverse as Casanova, Shakespeare and Tony Hancock.

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