MARGARET Thatcher once said: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’ Recent events have proved this to be true. It is, of course, no surprise that the usual suspects – Ed Miliband, Nicola Sturgeon and Gary Lineker to name but three – have been quick to put the boot in, but the attacks on Liz Truss from MPs who are nominally Conservative are worrying and deeply upsetting for anyone who desires an independent, confident and prosperous United Kingdom.
Liz Truss’s premiership feels like watching your team appear in the Cup Final. In the days before the match you dream of glory, but when your opponents score a third goal with only five minutes remaining, you know your dreams are over for yet another year. Sticking with the football analogy, is there any doubt that Leicester City have a better chance of survival this season than the Prime Minister remaining in office?
The cognoscenti tell us that the markets didn’t like Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget. Of course they didn’t. Market manipulators have become so drunk on quantitative easing and artificially low interest rates that the realisation we would have to get up off our lazy fat backsides and start doing some real work was anathema to them. It was the perfect opportunity for them to talk down sterling and make hundreds of millions in profit along the way. They made George Soros look like an amateur.
In the eyes of the IMF and all the other so-called experts, stealing hundreds of billions of pounds from future generations of taxpayers to bail out the banks after the Lehman collapse and to pay for economically ruinous lockdown measures was OK, but to spend but a fraction of that sum on getting the economy back to where it was just 15 years ago is somehow risky and dangerous. In my last piece for TCW I wrote: ‘I do not possess a crystal ball and have no idea whether the Chancellor’s mini-Budget will have the desired effect on the economy.’ It is one thing to seek to remove a Prime Minister or Chancellor if their policies have proved unsuccessful, but when they haven’t even been implemented it is nothing short of madness.
Liz Truss is not completely blameless here. In her election campaign, she talked the talk. As Prime Minister she failed to walk the walk. Margaret Thatcher famously remarked that she was not for turning. With multiple U-turns already under her belt, Truss clearly is and I wonder if she now realises how damaging that is, not just for her own credibility, but for the government’s? The Prime Minister should have stood up to her dripping wet Tory detractors and issued a ‘back me or sack me’ ultimatum.
In a recent article for the Daily Telegraph, Vernon Bogdanor stated that there was no constitutional requirement for a General Election when the ruling party changes its leader mid-term. Whilst obviously correct, it would nonetheless be unprecedented to change leaders twice in the same period without the consent of the electorate.
For Truss and the Conservatives, they are now in a lose-lose situation. If she remains in office (but not in power) it will be nothing more than a lame duck premiership, propped up by the Tories’ own Captain Hindsight, Jeremy Hunt. If she jumps, or is pushed, the Conservatives will be wiped out whenever they go to the polls.
Margaret Thatcher also once said ‘You may have to fight a battle more than once to win.’ Unfortunately, Liz Truss cannot and will not win the battle to restore the UK’s fortunes. Perhaps Kemi Badenoch will be our next Boadicea, but the Conservatives will probably have to suffer a long period in opposition for a new saviour to emerge. The Establishment will do everything in its power to ensure that the public are shielded from reality for as long as possible.