Friday 22 July 2022

Liz Truss could be the greatest ever UK Prime Minister

On the first day of the year (remember those days of cold weather and covid restrictions?) I predicted that Liz Truss would be the new Prime Minister by the end of the Summer. I always start the year with a set of predictions and I've been uncannily spot on several times, as well as unfeasibly wrong. 

Here's a few of my Sageful words

"Rishi sunak faces off against Liz Truss for the final round"

"We have a new Prime Minister. Liz Truss takes over, her first act is to demote the chancellor to the back benches, blaming him for the tax rises that cost the Tories the local elections."

We are not quite there yet, but Paddy Power seem to think I'm spot on. The smart money is on Liz. So the question now surely must be "How will she do?". My answer is "Liz Truss could be the greatest ever UK Prime Minister". This may shock you. But then again, I believe I could be 'the greatest ever Pope'. If I got the job I'd allow married Priests, Bishops and Pope's (mostly as I don't want a divorce), I'd open the books up to the police on all of the nonces, and change the stance on abortion, contraception and support for bonkers right wing politics. In my own mind at least, this would make me a pretty good Pope, although many would say I'm a pretty bad Catholic. Who knows, the Cardinals may read this and decide I'm just the guy and give me a bell. Extremely unlikely, but you never know. 

I'd put the chances of Liz Truss being the best ever PM as about the same. There's a few differences between plans for being PM and mine for being Pope. I'm a lifelong Catholic and I'd like to see the Church be aligned with my views, which I believe are more in tune with times and would be good for everyone, not just Catholics. I believe it may tempt back a few lapsed Catholics put off by the scandals and the archaic attitudes. Liz Truss is not a lifelong Tory. She used to be a Lib Dem. She's not a lifelong #Brexiteer, she used to be a #Remainer. Liz Truss is not seeking to tempt back Tories disgusted by Boris Johnsons antics, she is simply saying and doing what she has to do to win the job and to hell with her principles (if she ever had any). She claims being a Lib Dem and a Remainer were mistakes on 'her journey'. Unlike Mrs Thatcher, she seems more than happy to make a U-Turn on her principles when there is a juicy job. David Cameron was a passionate Remainer, so Liz Truss was as well. If Remain had won and Cameron was standing down as PM, she'd be trumping her Remain credentials and have the support of the likes of Kenneth Clarke, who would presumably still be Tories. 

As it is, when Boris turned up, the Chamaeleon that is Liz Truss changed colours and blended perfectly into the bonkers wing of the Tory Party. She knows that once her feet are under the table, she can change her spots again if need be. The Tories biggest challenge is to reconnect with voters, disgusted by the behaviour of Boris Johnson. Liz is as dull as dishwater, so I really don't see a closet opening, with a stack of skeletons falling out. But if her sole USP is not being Boris, how will she persuade anyone? The one talent Boris had was that he was a very good risk taker. Liz Truss's talent seems to have been to be very good at sucking up to the boss at the time and shinning up the greasy pole. When you are at the top, you have to start showing leadership. I think she's displayed an uncanny knack of working out how to ingratiate herself with her bosses. She's also identified what makes the right of the Tory party tick. But that is a very different constituency from the electorate. 

Her big gamble seems to be that she's going to make tax cuts. As Rishi Sunak rightly points out, this is irresponsible and dangerous. We are seeing rampant inflation. The Bank of England has imposed interest rate hikes to 'take the heat out of the economy'. If Truss gives us all a tax cut, then the Treasury will have to impose even harsher rate rises. This will primarily hit mortgage owners, the very people who vote Tory. When you mortgage goes up, you feel it. She will need a strong cabinet, but the first rule of politics is that you reward the people who put you in the job. The hard right of the Tory party is not stuffed full of clever and high achieving people. All of the best, most principled people have been culled or resigned and most support Sunak. The membership is a long way to the right of the Tory MP's, which is why she'll win. Both the members and the Right wing MP's who backed her do not want a One Nation cabinet. They want hard right Friedmanesque politics and policies. 

With such a cabinet, I can't see any way that we'll get the policies we need to rebuild the UK after covid and put the NHS back on an even keel. I can't see any way that there will be a commitment to overhauling the UK's creaking infrastructure, as tax cuts have to be funded. I can't see any way that we will reach a satisfactory settlement with the EU on all of the issues that are causing chaos at our borders. 

Of course I could be wrong. Maybe Liz Truss will build an amazing team, fix the problems caused by Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson, revitalise the UK economy and rebuild our international credibility and reputation. And I promise you this. If she does, I'll bestow a Sainthood on her when I become Pope. 

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