Truss’s attempt at a comeback went unsuccessful - GulfToday

Truss’s attempt at a comeback went unsuccessful

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrives at the BBC headquarters in London. Reuters

Liz Truss

On its own terms, Liz Truss’s visit to Washington DC could hardly have been more of a success. She’d been invited to speak to the very well known and very right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank, presumably as a little lunchtime treat for overworked staff in need of a bit of respite from their main job of trying to discredit all of the multiple criminal investigations into their hero Donald Trump.

They’re not stupid, over at the Heritage Foundation. Entirely malignant, yes, but not stupid. They’ll know that their best chance of getting Trump re-elected next year is by convincing a few million wavering Americans that he’s actually not as stupid and deranged as they think he is. And given that he is very stupid, and very deranged, they know that won’t be an easy job. But what better way to do it — a stroke of actual genius! — than to lay on the only person in public life who is self-evidently even stupider and even more deranged than he is?

I don’t use these words lightly. Truss makes Trump look normal. What’s the maddest thing Trump ever did, or ever said? There’s a very obvious answer. It’s suggesting you can cure Covid by injecting people with bleach. It’s out on its own. But he never actually did it. He just, you know, said it. He just repeated some mad words he’d seen on a mad blog, and that’s it.

And then there’s Liz Truss. She’s spent years imagining she had the cure for all of the country’s — if not the world’s — ills. All you’ve got to do is cut taxes, you get high growth, and everything’s fine.

Of course, there were people telling her it might not work, that it might be a bad idea. Economists, central bank directors; you know, people who actually know and understand things. The people just like that doctor who sat there grimacing at Trump’s big bleach injection plan.

In economic terms, Liz Truss spent years advocating for bleach injection. And then, largely down some kind of mix-up that occasionally happens — you know, like when they accidentally remove the wrong kidney —  she ended up as prime minister. The patient was injected with bleach, the patient immediately died, she was struck off, and now she’s back to exactly where she was before, going around the think tanks advocating for the same old bleach injection.

Trump, to his credit, would simply not have done this. If Trump had been allowed to inject just one person with bleach, and that person had then died, that would almost certainly have marked the end of his belief in the wonders of bleach injection.

Truss, meanwhile, has escalated the mission. She was right all along, and in 40 entirely unhinged minutes she explained exactly why that was, in a crescendo of horror that by a few paragraphs in felt like it really should have been taking place not on live television but in a clinical environment of some kind.

There was nothing wrong with the bleach.The problem had actually been that she hadn’t been allowed to inject enough of it. The patient was too weak.

She is the political equivalent of the pre-enlightenment physician, who just goes on drawing off more and more pints of blood, applying more and more leeches, until the patient dies and they conclude with a weary sigh that there was absolutely nothing that could have been done to save them.

It’s tragic, obviously. It’s also deeply uncomfortable viewing. But it’s not surprising. For many years, everyone who’s ever worked with or known Liz Truss have all become certain of the exact same thing: that there is a towering amount of ambition there, which is unfortunately coupled with an equally towering lack of ability.

It is not surprising that she lacks the analytical skill to see that her defenestration from 10 Downing Street after just six weeks was absolutely no one’s fault but her own.

It is not surprising that she blames “the establishment” for why everything went wrong, because she blamed them before it went wrong too. There are many credible economists who think that Liz Truss could actually have gotten away with almost everything in the mini budget that ended her career.

The reason she didn’t is that she refused to let the OBR provide any analysis of it, she sacked the head of the treasury, Tom Scholar, for no reason beyond petty historic grievances with him (as absolutely anyone in the treasury will tell you if you just ask), and then, for added lols, decided to start threatening to end the independence of the Bank of England.

So when it all went wrong, naturally it was all of these people’s faults. They were, in her own words in Washington DC, the “vested interests who don’t want challenge.”

They’re not that, not in any way. Their job is to provide independent analysis about whether what you are doing is or isn’t mad; and if you’ve chosen to pre-dispense with their services, then the markets are likely to reach their own conclusion.

Remarkably, Truss is not only undimmed by her experience of high office – her insanity blazes ever brighter because of it. The reason former world leaders get paid big money to give speeches is because even their critics will probably admit that they can learn something from their experiences. Truss, on the other hand, doesn’t even seem to remember hers, and they only happened a few months ago and lasted less than six weeks.

She really does seem to reckon that the world is being wrecked – and yes, these were her actual words – by “A new kind of economic model, one that’s focused on redistributionism, on stagnation and on the imbuing of woke culture into our businesses.”

There are, of course, many people who don’t like the politics of redistribution. Indeed many of them are scheming away at very right wing think tanks, trying to come up with new, ingenious ways to convince economically disadvantaged people to vote against their interests.

Liz Truss, on the other hand, when she had to do a valedictory speech about her own late summer holiday job as prime minister, found she had only one thing to praise herself for: paying everyone’s gas bills for them, a task for which she set aside fully £50bn of public money.

She told them it was mad that the UK imports fracked gas from America but won’t frack for gas at home, at no point considering the somewhat different geographical realities of the two locations. This is the sort of thing that hyper right-wing conservatives say when they’re 22 years old and don’t know or understand anything at all beyond a burning hatred of regulation of any kind.

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