Liz Truss tries to lead the UK

Liz Truss, as expected, has won the Tory leadership contest fairly easily against Rishi Sunak, whose defection from the Boris Johnson team contributed to his ignominious downfall. According to the NY Times, she faces:

Double-digit inflation, a looming recession, labor unrest, soaring household energy bills and possible fuel shortages this winter — all will confront Ms. Truss as she moves into 10 Downing Street. She also must repair a party deeply divided after Mr. Johnson’s turbulent three-year tenure, which peaked in 2019 with a landslide general election victory but descended into unrelenting scandals after that.

Thoughts on Truss? I’ve been following the leadership race from across the pond with interest, but can only really scratch the surface of coverage over here. What do our UK Dopers think of her? Since I started hearing about her last year, she has always struck me as awkward and a bit dim. Her economic plan seems like the usual conservative trickle-down bullshit that has never worked anywhere, but then again I can’t say I have a firm grasp of how the UK economy functions outside of the basics.

And of course good ol’ BoJo is lurking in the shadows like a bad smell that can’t be cleaned. Will he be vindictive towards his former foreign secretary? Helpful? Neither? Will the conservatives rally around their new leader, or is she doomed to fall to Keir Starmer and Labour at the next election?

No, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there.

Truss is a Margaret Thatcher cosplayer without any of Thatcher’s intelligence, leadership ability, charisma, shrewdness, eloquence, international nous, original thought, coherence or competence, but with all of Thatcher’s worst qualities of pigheadedness, callousness, cruelty and corruption. As a public speaker, she is “Uncanny Valley/alien in a skinsuit” bad; as a leader, she’d struggle to get herself out of a broomcloset, let alone lead the party or the country in any sort of positive direction.

Her election to PM after a career of a few tepid successes and many clueless failures is baffling - I saw her described today as someone who has “risen without a trace”, and I would be hard-pressed to name any notable accomplishments by her from any point in her career.

There are rumours that some Tory MPs are already plotting a vote of no-confidence, ostensibly to bring Boris back, although there’s no way that will fly and even if they succeeded in the vote, the result would be absolute chaos in the Tory Party and the continuing rapid plummet of the country.

TL;DR: The country remains fucked.

Well, her job so far has been to climb the slippery pole to the top of the Conservative Party. This she has done very effectively. She tells them what they want to hear.

Whether she manages to persuade the country she is an effective national leader who can deliver on policy. That remains to be seen. She will be tested very severely in the next months. No amount of rhetoric and blather is going to solve the problems and crises that are looming.

Also, until she wins an election, she has far less authority within the party and her policies are those that have been bequethed by Johnson. He certainly hammered home energy policy for the next decade or so in his pro nuclear power speech.

Truss will now form a cabinet and reward her supporters with ministerial jobs. At the same time she has to come up with a credible solution to cost of living and energy crisis.

Her big idea is to cut taxes and stimulate growth to get us out of the looming economic crisis. That is not going to pay the energy bills of the poor this winter.

Will she rise to the occasion? I very much doubt it. She is no Margaret Thatcher

What would it take to get the Tories out of power entirely? As I understand it, that’d be a general election, which have to happen at least every N years, but which can, under certain circumstances, be forced early: What could force one?

Liz has plans to deal with the cost of living crisis [for the only people who matter]:

I’m sure it will work this time. /sarcasm.

Just imagine if we sent more tax money TO the rich, instead of getting it FROM them. The economy would be booming!

So maybe she is like Thatcher in that she will make policy for the benefit of only the people who might vote for her and let everyone else burn.

Except that’s a problem because of the red wall - a swathe of former Labour strongholds in the north of England the Tories won in the last election. Part of that swing was because voters wanted to push Brexit through and part was because Labour under Corbyn did not connect very well with voters outside of London who weren’t on the far(ish) left.

I’m expecting the next election will be fought by the Tories under the banner of “preserve Brexit!” in order to hold those seats, because those voters may have no other reason to vote for Truss.

I’ll wait to see her next cabinet. If Nadine Dorris in in it we’ll know how seriously to take this government.

A competent alternative. So they’re safe for a while.

By the time of the next election the country will be in such a desperate economic state that Labour should be taking aim at an open goal to win.

However, they have been there in the past. Labour led by Kinnock managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with a triumphant speech to an audience of union leaders. Only to find the electorate preferred the very grey personality og Conservative leader John Major making humble speeches on a soap box.

Will Labour turn themselves into a credible government in waiting? Well they certainly can do the grey and humble with Kier Starmer as leader. The UK electorate may well have had their fill of entitled Tory braggarts and prefer someone competent if a little dull. Politics has for too long imitated the worst of Reality TV.

Nadine Dorries. She was in the last one, so anything less would be a richly deserved demotion. (For non-UK dopers: she was referred to as Mad Nad by her Conservative colleagues.)

Re: Liz Truss. Today I Learned:

In France, meanwhile, she has been branded not the Iron Lady - which was former UK PM Margaret Thatcher’s nickname - but the Iron Weathercock.

This is a reference to Ms Truss’s changing views on the UK leaving the European Union - she went from opponent before the 2016 referendum, to supporter afterwards, saying in July that “some of the portents of doom didn’t happen”. It’s believed the term was first coined in Les Echos in July - but has since caught on among some commentators.

Looks like she has work to do just to be taken seriously.


When does she face a national election?

If people actually go without heating in their homes this winter, she will be, politically speaking, a dead woman walking. And it doesn’t matter if it’s her fault or not… but she’d better do what she can if she wants to keep the job.

Can’t be later than early 2025. Likelier it’ll be 2024, but it’s the Westminster system so who knows.

My impression (vague though it is) is that Labour under Starmer has been more competent than Labour under Corbyn, at least in the most recent Corbyn years. Would you agree or disagree with that?

The talk is she is going to freeze energy bills until the next election and put the country another £100bn in debt to do it. She won’t tax the energy companies.

The policy is “win the next general election”.

Whereat she has form:

Well yes. As a personality and leader, Corbyn always struck me as too much the student opinionator who never grew up, too stiff-necked and tin-eared. Starmer looks far more like a potential PM, but he does seem (so far) to be too cautiously “not Corbyn” to please the Tory media.

There’s been plenty of “speak softly” but not enough “carry a big stick”. For me, now - or a year or more ago - would be the time for a more radical over-arching pro-active narrative of what needs to be done in so many areas, rather than reactive bits and pieces here and there. But that’s me.

Oh, Labour under Starmer has definitely been more stable and better run than under Corbyn. What it hasn’t been since (arguably) Miliband is any sort of Opposition other than offering a few tepid insults. What does Labour actually offer as an alternative? Starmer doesn’t seem to care about Labour’s traditional base of union members and the working poor, offers nothing but vague platitudes to the middle class, and seems to think PMQs is just a bit of fun sniping.

I’ve used this metaphor before. The Conservatives’ record over the past 12 years is so appallingly bad and has caused so much damage to the country that being the Opposition ought to be like shooting at an open goal the width of the pitch. Instead, Labour are milling around midfield and taking turns seeing who can kick themselves in the face the hardest. In short, what is the fucking point of Labour?

Maybe we need a “Dark Keir” meme.

Why am I not surprised? At least she didn’t end up in a freezer.

Starmer would be very unwise to announce any great policies until a general election is certain. The Conservatives are nothing if not agile and they will claim any popular policy as their own. Labour are no doubt having their own internal conversation about what it takes to get elected.

There is still a radical element that would be all for wrapping themselves in red flags, calling each other comrade, singing socialist anthems at conferences and championing the workers in their eternal struggle against the bosses….Their deadly enemies are, of course, the besuited Blairites who actually managed to get elected.

Starmer treds a difficult path, leading a party that is unsure of its own purpose and identity, never mind a vision for the country.

I hope this will change before thr next general election. It may come sooner that the two years. The new PM, Liz Truss, will have to call one if she is to get the authority she needs to lead the party by winning a general election.

So how long will she wait? Six months? A year? Or the full term?

The sea of economic troubles facing the UK is daunting. She will be hard pressed to hold onto the Red Wall seats Johnson won on the back of Brexit. That issue has passed and now we are into bread and butter economic issues. No amount of rhetoric and waffle will impress the poor facing a winter of poverty.

Will Truss rise to the task and show leadership? I have my doubts.

Boris was no Churchill. Truss is no Thatcher.

In a nutshell.

This. And a lot of dim people who will not benefit … will still vote for her because …

except brexit is not “done” and never will be. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for the Tories.

She’s resigned apparently. Will probably be rewarded with “elevation to the lords”.

What a depressing view of politics. The tactics of any political party is to shift the focus of the conversation onto topics that divide your opposition and unify your base. There are plenty of areas where Labour could present a positive vision of the world that affirms core values of the left while highlighting the hypocrisy of the right. That they’re not doing it isn’t some canny political strategy, it’s incompetence mixed with cowardice.