Liz Truss’ term was a disaster but she is just a symptom of deeper problems

The outgoing UK premier was brought to power by a chaotic political climate that was caused by issues festering for over a decade

By Timur Fomenko, a political analyst 

Liz Truss’ term was a disaster but she is just a symptom of deeper problems

Liz Truss’ term was a disaster but she is just a symptom of deeper problems

Liz Truss. ©  Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Liz Truss could go down in history as the single worst British Prime Minister of all time. It is very difficult to top the legacy of being in office a mere 45 days and then being forced out after a U-turn on a disastrous ‘Mini-Budget,’ having sacked your chancellor of the exchequer for your mistake.

The Conservative Party has a notorious reputation for pulling out the knives on their leaders – just look at Truss’ idol, Margaret Thatcher. But she lasted 11 years, not a month and a half. This situation is, even by the Tory standards, unprecedented.

That’s of course because everyone who said Liz Truss was unsuitable and unqualified to be Prime Minister was right. But that begs the question: how exactly did she get there? And how is it that British politics has descended into a farce that has allowed this to happen?

Liz Truss is the embodiment of a trend in British politics wherein nationalism, populism and ideology have displaced rational decision-making in government, creating instability and chaos. It is a product of Brexit, which aggressively reformed the political landscape of Britain and the balance of factional power in the Conservative Party.

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British politics is unstable. It is divided, it is chaotic, and only in a climate like this could someone like Truss possibly have come to office. Her entire political career and her rapid ascension to power is a product not of her being “capable” but of having mastered the art of blasting talking points and slogans matching the political climate of her time.

She never had any serious policies. Everything was based on a fantasy blend of ultra-neoliberal economics, nationalism, and geopolitical crusading. From a “network of liberty,” to fanatical assertions of great power dreams. Everyone knew it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Yet, her rhetorical instincts were favoured by Boris Johnson, who sought to make her the ‘face’ of the Brexit agenda and the spokesperson of ‘Global Britain,’ and not surprisingly by the right-wing membership of the Conservative Party, who swiftly put her into office.

But when it came to the crunch, she quickly found populist sloganeering could not save her. She discovered it was not her words but her actions which had real consequences and, even by her standards, the outcome of her government crashing down in just 45 days exceeded anyone’s expectations. Now, it stands as a testament to the extent of the decline British politics finds itself in.

And things are unlikely to get much better once Truss is replaced. The immediate news after her resignation was that Boris Johnson might be about to run again. The same party membership that favours him could very easily put him back. This means more division, more internal conflict, and more incompetence could be on the way.

Boris Johnson plots his return as UK PM – media

Boris Johnson plots his return as UK PM – media

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But even if it’s not Boris Johnson again and a more ‘sensible’ candidate such as Rishi Sunak wins, the outlook for Britain is not favourable. The political circus takes place in a country beset by an economy on the brink of recession, growing inflation and industrial unrest. There is no reason to believe anyone who succeeds Truss is going to be able to immediately change anything. That’s because the systemic problems run deeper and farther back than the terms of the few most recent PMs, and the economy consistently fails to deliver for ordinary people.

The country has never truly even recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, let alone Brexit, Covid-19 or the toll taken by the Ukraine conflict. As statistics show, real incomes have shrunk by almost £20,000 between 2008 and 2021. This led to growing social and political divides, which in turn have produced the disastrous ideological turn to the right. What, after all, paved the way for Brexit? And made the more liberal government of David Cameron untenable?

When viewed like this, Liz Truss isn’t the cause of all these problems, she’s just a symptom. A symptom of a long and deep-set British decline. Hard times are ahead for the United Kingdom.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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