Thursday, 20 October 2022 — The Van Says…
After less than seven weeks in the job, trashy politics have left Liz Truss in the trashcan. But with her departure, who will be the UK’s next Prime Minister?
Thursday saw the resignation of Liz Truss after only forty four days in office as the UK premier. This, as well as other factors concerning the UK will have a profound effect on Britain both at home and abroad. This short article will examine what and why matters in Britain are happening as they are.
The Best of a Bad Bunch
With the resignation of Boris Johnson, the Conservative party needed not only a new leader, but also a return to some form of credibility after a string of gaffes and scandals that left the UK government as the laughing stock of Europe. After both MPs and Conservative party members had voted, Truss was chosen over rival Rishi Sunak, yet the fact that Sunak was had more popularity with his fellow MPs may give the first clue as to why Truss’ new job was the mandate that should never have been.
Truss has stated that she is an ardent admirer of Margaret Thatcher and in imitating her idol, she is nothing if not vocal. One only has to look at her performances prior to Johnson’s resignation to see that she was not the quality material of which premiers are made. If not parading around on a tank in Estonia pulling faces at the Russians, she was displaying a truly deplorable knowledge of Eastern European geography to the mirth of the Russians, her demeanor adequately proving that she was hardly suited to any ministerial position at all, least of all leading a country that she considered to be of far greater importance than it really is. The plans she lay out in the leadership race should have had alarm bells ringing, her claims that with judicious decisions the UK could overcome the global recession nothing more than wishful thinking.
Her saving grace in the leadership race was the fact that she remained loyal to Johnson to the bitter end, many conservative voters considering this to better qualify her as Prime Minister than more able rivals who resigned as the former leader’s position became untenable. It was the voters who saw her on screen that got her the job; those who knew her better were fully aware of the problems that lay ahead.
After gaining the top job, she appointed Kwasi Kwarteng as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer or finance minister, yet the budgetary reforms she hoped he would implement made no sense whatsoever. The UK is still adapting to the post-Brexit environment and with the effects of the plandemic still being felt as well as Britain facing the most damaging recession in decades, her wishes were not the desire of a great many people. After giving her former ally Kwarteng the boot after only thirty eight days in the job, she then attempted to reverse the changes that she had fought so hard to implement. Bad politics are practiced by bad politicians, yet reverse gear has never been the best move for any statesman who wishes to put their best foot forward.
To further affirm Truss’ unsuitability as leader, her Russophobic politics and comments simply do not reflect that she has either the nous or statesmanship for any job in high office. She has stated that she will not rest until Russia is defeated and that she would use nuclear weapons if necessary. Furthermore, she repeatedly pledged to help the Ukrainians, yet in a climate where Britons are suffering soaring levels of poverty, it is hardly fitting that the UK leader aid someone else’s war rather than attempting to better the lives of their own people.
Lame Horse Tories
With events over recent months, this leads us to some very uncomfortable conclusions when viewing the Conservative party as a whole. As lame a horse as Truss proved to be, she got the top job. To put this another way, a complete failure of a leader was the best of a very bad lot. As the race to find another premier gets under way, the Tories are now under a public scrutiny unseen for decades. Those who went against her may not want to sit in the hot seat knowing what a hot potato the legacy of her mandate will prove to be in coming months. Things with the party are actually so bad that some are actually calling for Johnson to return. All these matters are against a backdrop of appalling popularity figures and an increasing desire amongst the public for a general election to be held. The conservatives could theoretically hold on to power until January 2025, yet with the current government in shambles and the opposition so strong, it is highly unlikely that the UK public will wait so long.
After she took the top job from Boris Johnson who was the Benny Hill of British politics, Truss has turned her government into a political Benny Hill show, a farce of immeasurable proportions that has done untold damage to her party’s reputation as well as making the UK look more like a banana republic by the day. At a time when her country needs a strong leader to face unparalleled challenges both at home and abroad, she failed miserably in pretty much every area. As she set Britain up for new Cold War with Russia, a wet lettuce of a politician proved to have less staying power than an iceberg lettuce, both Truss and her party now sinking in the ratings faster than the Titanic.
A lame horse who was as much as a victim of the hurdles that she set before her rather than the circumstances in which she found herself, Truss is just one of the many politicians who left the revolving door of recent conservative politics as fast as she went in, but as the pace of global change increases, will it be events in or out of the UK that finally make the tired old nag that Britain has become fall at one of the fences that it has worked so hard to create?