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Top US magazine slams Britain after 14 years of Tory ‘psychodrama’

A top US magazine has published a damning assessment of Britain after 14 years of Conservative rule, lashing out at Brexit and the “quickening, lowering churn” of prime ministers since 2010.

The New Yorker’s excoriating report on the state of the UK lays bare how Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) “catalysed some of the worst tendencies in British politics”, its superficiality, nostalgia, and love of game play.

And it says under successive Tory PMs the country has “suffered grievously” from “years of loss and waste”.

The New Yorker magazine laid into 14 years of Conservative rule in Britain (Getty/The Independent)
The New Yorker magazine laid into 14 years of Conservative rule in Britain (Getty/The Independent)

“Living standards have fallen. The country is exhausted by constant drama. But the UK can’t move on from the Tories without facing up to the damage that has occurred,” journalist Sam Knight wrote.

The piece comes just months before Rishi Sunak is expected to face the country in a general election this October.

His Conservative Party is 22 points behind Labour in the polls, and barring a dramatic turnaround in Tory fortunes Sir Keir Starmer is on course to move into No10 Downing Street.

The Labour leader has promised a “decade of national renewal” if he wins the election, turning the country’s back on “never-ending Tory decline”.

The influential New Yorker’s piece said: “Some people insisted that the past decade and a half of British politics resists satisfying explanation.

“The only way to think about it is as a psychodrama enacted, for the most part, by a small group of middle-aged men who went to élite private schools, studied at the University of Oxford, and have been climbing and chucking one another off the ladder of British public life—the cursus honorum, as Boris Johnson once called it—ever since.”

Keir Starmer has promised to turn the page on ‘never-ending Tory decline’ and usher in a ‘decade of national renewal’ (Getty Images)
Keir Starmer has promised to turn the page on ‘never-ending Tory decline’ and usher in a ‘decade of national renewal’ (Getty Images)

And the piece pointed out that while “a single party has been responsible”, the country has not been ruled “against its will”, blaming the unpopularity of Labour leaders Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

How readers interpret the Brexit vote explains how they have viewed the last 14 years of British politics as a “prism that clarifies or scrambles the picture entirely”.

It added: “One perspective sees the whole saga as a woeful mistake. In this view, Cameron decided to settle, once and for all, an internal Tory argument about Britain’s place in an integrating EU, a question that had haunted the Party since the last days of Thatcher.

“In the process, he turned what was an abstruse obsession on the right wing of British politics into a much simpler, terrifyingly binary choice for the population on how they felt their life was going.”