UK vs China: A democracy stumbles as an autocracy steps in

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A leader for life and a whirlwind prime minister: this week there’s a masterclass in how not to govern around the world.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that she would resign before the age of 45 working days He failed to survive in power after pushing through a tax cut plan that shocked the markets and horrified his Conservative Party colleagues. Read CNN’s full report.

It is a story of a failed leader and a public humiliation that includes the sacking of his longtime ally, a scathing resignation letter from the Home Secretary and allegations of manipulation of MPs by Truss aides. about fracking.

Truss had the shortest-ever tenure as prime minister and is only the second leader to fail since the last British election after disgraced Boris Johnson announced his resignation in July.

Truss won a months-long battle to succeed him, but now Johnson is among the Conservatives who would try to succeed him. It is considering asking members of the Conservative Party to return their jobs. Meet the competitors.

The details of who exactly will choose his successor are still unclear. It could happen that Conservative MPs narrow the field to a few candidates and party members choose the next prime minister.

Fewer than 150,000 Conservative Party members voted when Truss rose to the top spot in September. This is part of the British system where the majority and not the people choose the Prime Minister.

A new leader is expected to be announced on October 28. Millions of British voters have not had a say for years until the next general election in January 2025.

A Conservative prime minister, whoever he is, may call for a new election, but not likely when faith in the Conservatives is shaken. Britain’s House of Commons could force an election, but that would require the Conservative majority to turn against their own government.

Johnson called for that last general election, in 2019, at a moment of Conservative power. Calling it now, sooner than needed, would likely cede control of the government.

The opposition, led by Labor leader Keir Starmer, can only complain.

“They don’t have a mandate to make the country another experiment,” he said. “Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run as they wish.”

But under the rules, the Conservatives can get more than two more years before the people have their say.

The current state of Britain may seem chaotic and confusing, especially to the majority of voters who may not have it How about electing the country’s leader until 2025 at the latest.

But the instability of not having a strong prime minister and the ugliness of open failure are certainly preferable to being a leader for life, which is what the Chinese people are seeing in autocrat Xi Jinping.

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China is likely to install Xi as China’s leader for a third five-year term, after earlier planning to change party rules to remove term limits.

In China’s hierarchical one-party system, more than 2,300 representatives are elected. 96 million party members to go to Congress. As CNN’s Simone McCarthy explains, the vote to elect a leader is seen as a formality, with the real decisions being made by an elite circle behind closed doors, long before Congress begins. Read more from CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter.

There is little doubt about the outcome of Congress and little room for dissent in a country that strictly censors protest and speech.

The video shows a rare protest in Beijing that the Chinese leader will extend his reign

Banners against Xi’s ongoing Covid-19 lockdown and authoritarian rule were posted on social media, CNN reported.

From the CNN report:

Public protest against the supreme leader is extremely rare in China, especially in the run-up to important political meetings, when the authorities turn Beijing into a stronghold to maintain security and stability. … Xi, China’s most powerful and authoritarian leader in decades, has carried out a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent, both within the party and in wider society.

Chinese stocks fell in New York and Hong Kong in part because Xi, in his opening two-hour remarks, did not back down from a strict zero-Covid policy that has brought daily life in China to a standstill, stalled the country’s growth and continued to cripple supply chains around the world.

Xi also struck a more aggressive tone toward Taiwan, which democratically-run China claims is its own.

The US has said it respects China’s One China policy, which sees Taiwan as part of China, but President Joe Biden has also made it clear that the US would respond if China invaded Taiwan.

The distinction takes on new importance in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Another country led by an autocrat – Vladimir Putin, who changed the rules to stay in power – Russia this week declared martial law in parts of Ukraine after fake referendums.

Looking at China and Russia, which are not free, Americans can be grateful to have a role in their government.

Looking at the UK, a free democracy where voters are likely Despite the flurry of multiple leadership changes that read like a farce over the next few years of deadlocked leadership, Americans can be thankful for their regular elections. There will be one in November! Please vote and feel free to protest!

Speaking of the US election on Wednesday, I wrote about how Republicans will tackle inflation if they win control of the House or Senate.

I didn’t talk to the professor at the University of Michigan Economist Justin Wolfers in time for that report, but I caught him shortly after Truss announced his resignation. He saw some important economic lessons from the spectacular failure of his tax cut plan, which was scrapped before it could take effect.

Here’s what Wolfers had to say:

What I found most interesting is that – one word would be supply-side, another word for Reagan – he tried to establish a set of policies. That, of course, is what certain wings of the Republican Party are very interested in. And he says the markets will usually like that. The markets would love it. But the truth is that even the financial markets believed that these claims to be paid for by these huge tax cuts were complete nonsense.

I think it changes the terms of the debate about big tax cuts. The claim you’ve often heard, especially in the US, has been that if we give more tax cuts to the rich, it will encourage so much entrepreneurship that they will pay for it themselves.

We heard that debate with Bush and Trump with the tax cuts.

And real people bet billions of dollars here saying that sounds like BS.”