Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, Apr 01, 2023

Why prime minister Truss might surprise us all

Why prime minister Truss might surprise us all

Labour is hoping Truss triumphs over Sunak. They might come to regret it
Many Labour supporters are quietly allowing themselves to celebrate: if Liz Truss does win the Tory leadership, a Labour government, they think, is much more likely. It may well be so. Among the general public, Truss is on many measures the least popular of the last three Conservative contenders who fought it out last week. YouGov found that even Tory members preferred Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt to the Foreign Secretary.

The reason is obvious, and personal. Truss comes across as by turns slightly eccentric, a bit vacant and – well, there’s no easy way to say this – just a tad weird.

Truss has failed to win over even a third of Conservative MPs to her cause, seems to have failed to impress most colleagues as Foreign Secretary, and is no-one’s idea of a sharp debater or impressive public speaker. Only the arcane strangeness of our blended constitution, suspended somewhere between Parliamentary democracy and a direct democracy led by members, could put her in No. 10.

But, as usual, there’s room to at least raise some doubts about this received wisdom. So many prime ministers have surprised in office that we’ve got to at least entertain the possibility that Truss might be an unexpected hit in No.10.

Ted Heath had immersed himself in policy, and management techniques, before he took office in 1970: if stiff and not particularly popular, he seemed serious and credible. But it all fell apart in short order. Gordon Brown was an intellectual heavyweight, a tough operator and a very experienced chancellor. Within months, his aura of invincibility had been stripped away.

On the other hand, Margaret Thatcher was seen as something of a joke when she outmanoeuvred her party’s big beasts to seize control of the Tories in 1975. Her opponents eventually had their laughter stuffed back down their throats. You never do quite know how anyone will do in really high office. They don’t even know themselves.

So it’s at least possible that Truss will surprise on the upside. Indeed, the chatter in Westminster and Whitehall places the bar so low for her that it’s likely she’ll step (though perhaps not leap) over expectations pretty easily.

After all, any prime minister can deploy enormous inbuilt advantages. They control the Government’s agenda. They are able to brief the press, placing campaigns, stories and ideas where and when they want.

New leaders almost always receive some sort of bounce in the opinion polls, too, as ex-loyalists return home after scandals and recriminations, and more uncommitted voters not unreasonably give a relatively fresh face a chance to see what they can do.

Combine the two, and anyone moving into No. 10 can feel the wind at their backs. It will help Truss in this respect that chunks of the legacy print press – especially the Daily Mail, key to her appeal at the moment among members – seems very strongly behind her.

Consider, also, her strategic positioning. She is making absolutely clear that she will slash taxes, at a time when many voters in every income group feel very squeezed indeed by some of the highest taxes they have known for decades.

That populist appeal to keep money in people’s pockets is likely to chime much more with an age of big promises (and small delivery) than Sunak’s belief in budgetary responsibility – deferring income, yet again, for employees who have not seen their wages rise since before the Great Recession.

Sunak can easily be painted as a rich man playing at politics, committed not so much to struggling workers as to his own rather smooth and over-burnished image. His slickness and fluency jar with an era when it is authenticity, not advocacy, that seems to convince.

Somehow, Truss has also managed to paint herself as some sort of ultra-Brexiteer (despite having campaigned for Remain). This will shore up her rightwards flank against any renewed insurgency by Nigel Farage, or at least prevent more votes leaking away to the Reform party.

Party management will also be easier under Truss than Sunak. Hard Brexiteers seem more willing and able to make trouble than those One Nation Conservatives that remain within the fold, and Truss seems to have convinced them that she has their best interests at heart.

Boris Johnson, nursing his wounds on the back benches, is also far less likely to take aim at Truss. She is much closer to him in outlook, and was more loyal to him near the end, than Sunak was.

All of this is meant as a corrective to conventional wisdom. In fact, Truss has shown little in the way of the vision, competence and authority she will need as she confronts Britain’s present crises. But politics also retains its capacity to surprise. So, just possibly, does Liz Truss.

Related Articles

Don’t Dismiss China’s Peacemaking Bid
China and Brazil have signed a new deal that will allow them to trade in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’
Nashville style execution
“We've had evidence prior to the pandemic that masks were largely ineffective at preventing community transmission of influenza “
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejects being labeled a "billionaire"
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Mexican President Claims Mexico is Safer than the U.S.
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...