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Liz Truss undaunted by 50 disastrous days in Number 10

When Liz Truss stepped down after 50 disastrous days as Prime Minister it seemed that would be the last of her on Britain’s national stage.

Such was the public humiliation of the markets’ reaction to Ms Truss’ mini budget in 2022 that provoked a collapse in sterling, a crisis intervention by the Bank of England and a warning from the IMF.

Topped off by being publicly outlasted by a lettuce, it was assumed by many that her credibility was gone for good.

However, she is pretty much undaunted and continues to enjoy the support of a small band of followers in the Conservative Party.

There is also an element of the British electorate that believes she was not given a chance for her ideas to work.

That is not the view of most people and certainly not the civil servants who worked with her and labelled her “the human hand grenade”.

But she still attracts attention and was the star turn on the sidelines of last year’s Conservative Party conference. Then there was her appearance at a right-wing convention in the US, and now there is publication of her book – ‘Ten Years To Save The West’.

Liz Truss was forced to resign after her mini budget in 2022 lead to a crisis intervention by the Bank of England

Part of the attraction is the spectacular nature of her fall. Interviewers love asking her about the lettuce – which she has described as “puerile” and “pathetic point scoring”.

The other is that Ms Truss’ belief in low taxes and small government is finding a receptive audience in the growing movement of right-wing ideology around the world.

It once seemed that Europe’s model of social democracy was the ideal to be aspired to. Countries like Sweden, Denmark and Finland which impose high taxes, but provide a secure social safety net, have consistently been found to be the happiest places to live.

But increased immigration, Covid lockdowns and climate change policies have helped to fuel a different mood in Western Europe. The European Parliament is expected to become distinctly more right-wing after the elections in June.

And of course, in America there is the threat of Donald Trump coming back.

Ms Truss is tapping into that mood. When she attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US, she told the audience that the British equivalent of the ‘deep state’ had thwarted her plans.

She sat beside Nigel Farage and the audience included former White House strategist and alt-right figure Steve Bannon. She took part in an interview with Mr Bannon who described the British far-right activist Tommy Robinson as a hero.

‘Unelected elements’

Ms Truss’ central argument is that elected governments in the West have lost power to civil servants and members of regulatory authorities she calls ‘quangocrats’.

She claims that environmental and transgender activists have assumed power in the British civil service.

Conservative aims such as controlling borders, cutting taxes or reforming the welfare system are being thwarted by these unelected elements, she says.

If she had her way Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, who she blames for many of the problems following her mini budget, would be out of a job.

She would scrap the financial watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Supreme Court and take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights. She also does not see much point in the United Nations.

Judges and senior civil servants should be appointed by the government directly, she says.

Her views might seem extreme, but they are mild compared to some of the right-wing ideology percolating around the world at the moment, particularly in the US.

This includes a movement known as the New Right, which Vanity Fair magazine has reported as being popular among hipsters in New York’s Lower Manhattan.

One leading figure – Curtis Yarvin – has espoused theories of white superiority in IQ tests.

‘Anti-woke’

Although the growing right-wing tendency worldwide has many contradictory elements – ranging from free market Libertarianism in Argentina to traditionalism in Hungary, a common theme is being ‘anti-woke’.

And Ms Truss certainly fits in with that. She points out that the NHS now refers to chest feeding rather than breast feeding. She criticises the amount of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training.

While her views keep her in the public eye in a way that another former Prime Minister, Theresa May, is not, it seems unlikely that Ms Truss will have a second chance to be in government.

The Conservative Party has enough anti-woke campaigners. Kemi Badenoch, current Business Secretary and party membership favourite, is the one flying that particular flag at the moment.

In Ireland, Ms Truss is remembered for apparently telling a US audience as British Trade Secretary that the only Irish people badly affected by a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks.

She does not match the current mood in Britain either. Opinion polls there are unanimously pointing towards a Labour victory in the next general election.

It is being predicted that the Conservative Party would react to that defeat by becoming even more right-wing.

But it does not look likely that the next Tory leader would welcome back the woman who is said to enjoy being called the ‘human hand grenade’.


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