I think I’m correct in saying that in the entire history of the United Kingdom, the country has only had six Labour Prime Ministers.

In the last three months, it’s had three Conservative Premiers and in the last few years has had four from that party.

It’s not just a recent phenomenon either; if you study the years in office over the last century and a half, the Conservatives dominate the top office in the land and subsequently it is their ideology and policies which the British people vote for most of the time.

Those statistics alone probably tell you all you need to know about the sense of entitlement the Tories feel in maintaining their grip on power, despite the circus that has been unfolding at Westminster this week as Rishi Sunak becomes the latest chosen one to rule the roost in Downing Street.

Hopefully, Boris Johnson’s gold wallpaper is still intact in the flat as Liz Truss wouldn’t have had time to strip it out. Her 44 days as Prime Minister did see her dignity stripped out; if she had any to begin with that is.

Wondering how someone with Truss’s ability, competence and personality manages to get into power sounds unkind. But some of the analysis has been spectacularly cruel, and back in August the Times columnist Matthew Parris predicted that her leadership of the Conservative Party and the country would be a tragedy for both.

“Intellectually shallow, her convictions are wafer thin,” wrote Parris. In a lengthy evisceration of Truss, among other things he described her as “wooden”, adding: “There’s nothing there. She’s crackers. It isn’t going to work.”

Most of us would say that we didn’t need a Times writer, however extravagant, to tell us something we could see quite plainly for ourselves on television. Surely everyone could see it would end in tears. Not hers, though, ours.

Sadly, while Liz Truss moves on from her embarrassment and gets an ex-Prime Minister’s allowance of £115,000 for life, it is the ordinary people who suffer as Britain’s basket case economy affects our pensions, incomes and many aspects of our everyday lives.

If you do have a smidgen of sympathy for Truss, it should be on the basis that she was simply the latest victim in a power game played out in the wake of Brexit. It’s been coming for years as the right-wing exceptionalism of the Europhobes poisoned British politics.

Elected in 2010, David Cameron thought he’d solve his party’s long-standing internal division over Europe by calling a referendum, never imagining that the British people would actually vote to leave the EU.

All he did was unleash the combined forces of Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg et al, including the European Research Group, a right wing rump within the Conservative party. A rump, but a very powerful one it seems.

The lying and chicanery of the campaign to leave the EU proved a heady cocktail; the threat posed by immigration was hyped up, the UK was going to get £350 million a week back from Europe to spend on the NHS and, generally there would be a return to the glory days when 'johnny foreigner' couldn’t impose laws on Britain because they would take back control.

To be fair, the campaign was pushing at an open door in many working-class areas in England.

There is a worrying trend across parts of the world. Faced with unsettling turmoil, people are attracted to the certainty, or promise of it, that is sold to them. Trump said he’d make America great again and who would bet against his brand of hatred and division convincing the United States majority again.

Italy has just elected its first woman Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, variously described as “far right”, “ultra-Conservative” and from a party with “neo-fascist roots".

Brazil has the aggressive Jair Bolsonaro, France has flirted with far right politics and even Sweden has just elected Ulf Kristersson as Prime Minister, whose far right policies include an anti-immigration stance.

Sweden? I always imagined it to be a liberal country.

But reassuring people by identifying a common enemy within and promising a return to good old values and certainties is taking hold.

There are worrying trends in Britain where English Nationalism is taking a xenophobic grip. One columnist recently wrote an article which was headlined: “Why England should leave the UK to embrace a golden future.”

Yes, UK not just the EU.

That’s the mindset.

The agenda for the last decade has been set by those on the right who are anti-Europe for selfish reasons. Taking back control means the wealthy are getting rid of EU safeguards for workers, indeed breaking free from human rights which somehow from being laudable to protect people has become a term of derision. Ultra rich Rees-Mogg, for example, says that paid holidays are not a moral right.

And weeks ago, the then Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said seeing a flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda was her “dream” and an “obsession". 

I say “then” Home Secretary because last week she was forced to resign because she breached the Ministerial code. This week, she’s back as Sunak’s new, er, Home Secretary. Keep up!

All in all, Britain reached a point where those in power were engaged in self-interest and self-preservation to keep the Brexit dream alive. Except it is a dream that has turned into a nightmare; Brexit has blown up badly in the faces of the British people, not that they will ever accept that because it is not in the vested interests of those who control the agenda.

So don’t imagine Truss was an aberration; she was just the latest puppet in the dark forces of the rich and powerful who manipulate the United Kingdom now.

And so to Sunak, who was hugged and greeted as a hero after being announced as the next leader by Conservatives longing for a figure to unite them so that they can keep their jobs.

A tweet this week reminded us that with Sunak in Number 10 and Leo Varadkar about to become Taoiseach, by the end of the year both the UK and Ireland will be led by men of Asian heritage, one practising a non-Christian religion and the other in a same-sex relationship. Proof that things are changing.

That’s certainly progress and we’ve come a long way in a sense.

Some things never change, though. Rishi Sunak is Prime Minister because his fellow MPs wanted to save their own skins; he put his name before party members a couple of months ago and they rejected him.

One of them told a radio phone-in this week that his party leader wasn’t even British……despite being born in Southampton and going to a private school in England.

Democracy at its best, eh? And Twitter also pointed out this week that Britain now has an unelected Prime Minister who is two times richer than the unelected Monarch.

Nobody would deny that Covid and the war in Ukraine have affected the economy in a major way; but the rot started well before that.

So, what we will see here in the coming days won’t be empathy for the plight of people who can’t afford to put food on the table, or turn the heating on. Or action to help the NHS reduce waiting lists, or help for people waiting up to 12 hours for an ambulance.

It’ll be austerity for us all with taxes and spending cuts in public services. What is dressed up as “fiscal consolidation".

Sunak says the UK is a great country; well, it is for him and the people he really represents.

The polls would suggest that if there was a General Election, the Tories would be decimated. Let’s see; by the time an election comes round, this Government will convince everyone that Sunak has stabilised things, that they’re sorting out the economic mess (probably the one that Labour left them 12 years ago) and the fear will be hyped up of those “lefties” and the trade unions trying to destroy Britain by asking for pay rises. Etc, etc, etc.

The normalisation of Sunak as a good guy has already begun.

Having started this article with Labour, I should remind you that the party was founded in 1906 by a Scottish miner called Keir Hardie.

Born in Lanarkshire to a mother who was a domestic servant, Hardie went out to work at seven years of age to help the family eke out a living, and by age 10 he was working down the mines in Lanarkshire.

Poverty was rife, money was scarce and families couldn’t afford a doctor, never mind any other basics. So Hardie felt the working class needed a political party to speak up for them.

Still think democracy has come a long way?