Stop it Liz Truss, please stop it.
Now, apparently, she’s a ‘child of the Union’. A union involving what genetic parentage, I hear you ask. Good question. It’s not that kind of union we’re talking about. It’s the inclusive, respectful benevolent, enlightened, forward-looking kind of union exemplified by the UK Government (aka the English) rather than the oppressive, anti-British, undemocratic version that is exercised by the EU. The impertinence of the Scots to choose which union they prefer!
From Renfrew to Roundhay to ruler?
In addition to going to an inadequate Leeds secondary school that failed so many of her peers, while being a steppingstone to Oxford for her, it turns out that Truss was at junior school in Renfrew. Of course, that makes her practically Scottish. And explains why she is entitled to suggest to everyone, including those Scots who voted for the Scottish National Party in large numbers at a general election, that Nicola Sturgeon should be ignored because she’s just an attention seeker who fluked her way into office by having a clear purpose and values she stuck to all her life.
Quite right of Truss to point out that lack of self-awareness in Sturgeon.
And quite in keeping with the colloquial Yorkshire expression she’ll remember from her school days in ‘working class’ Roundhay: ‘She wants ignorin’. In case Roundhay has never impinged on your consciousness, it’s a leafy suburb of north Leeds with a historically well-regarded comprehensive that straddles some less affluent areas of Leeds in its catchment area.
The underlying message – that having somewhere in the region of 125,000 white, older men voting for you in southern England confers much greater legitimacy as a national leader than a vote involving the entire population of Scotland – will no doubt have Sturgeon reconsidering her sense of entitlement to represent the interests of her supporters and the remainder of the Scottish population.
It’s obviously an inferior claim than the support of a small bunch of southern Sassenachs who have openly declared they don’t care if Scotland Leaves the UK as a result of Brexit. Serious thinkers like the Scots should be able to rise above those kind of exceptionalist, patronising insults and see that at heart, the English Conservative Party is affectionately disposed to Scotland because it needs to keep the Scotland in the Union so they can go on feeling superior. After all what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what Scotland’s for? Truss seems to think so.
Within hours of announcing yesterday that she was going to rip £11bn of operating cost out of the civil service operations, Truss had performed a major U turn, the screeching of which can probably be heard in Inverness. It was an impressively quick turnaround in Team Truss’s response to the semaphore signals from the Tory faithful about which strategies they find appealing, or not. And the one about civil service cuts fell resoundingly into the ‘Not’ box.
She can’t be accused of not being in touch with the political ticks of Tory members. She’s so in touch, she can whip out a new policy and a dodgy narrative about what she always believed more quickly than it takes her to say, ‘Scrub that, it’s a dud’.
One of the things that Truss always believed is that being in the EU was the best thing for the country and its citizens. Her assessment of the consequences and concerns about our leaving have proved to be accurate. These are well documented in press and social media pronouncements. She is to be congratulated for being right.
But the new integrity in the Tory Party includes never admitting any defect in the Brexit outcomes that are lying around for everyone to see. She’s wearing the right earrings to strike empathy with some of her would-be supporters, while clearly sporting the empress’s new clothes. So many of her promises are empty and fall away when subjected to scrutiny.
Keep TrUss Turning
As part of the ‘keep Liz turning’ project, it would be on message and in line with the values she exhibits if she were to rebrand herself Liz TrUss. It’s vital, for example, that she keeps on message and displays the integrity she’s previously hidden from us by not saying anything about the litany of defective policies that have emanated from the previous government all the time she was a member of it. It’s almost as if she has been keeping a tally of policy shortcomings especially for the time when her opportunity to grab power came.
As her opponent, Rishi Sunak has played into her hands by basing his appeal on deciding to be honest with the Tory electorate. Though he himself was not exactly quick to condemn the self-serving, dishonest, corrupt, incompetent, illegal, conduct of Boris Johnson as PM. By setting his stall out as ‘I’m the one being honest’ and having that stance roundly rejected by the Tory members, TrUss was given an open goal to offer ‘not that’.
She’s done ‘not that’ with aplomb.
Her renowned ‘Fizz with Liz’ meetings with Tory MPs attest to her long-term stealth strategy to woo their support. Her rapid changes on policy and conviction, which happen with dizzying regularity and speed, shows we are again faced with a leader who will say whatever they need to say to take power.
We do now know, through earworm repetition, that TrUss can be relied on to deliver. Such reliability is helpful. It means we can plan to be out when the van rolls up at No 10 and our TV screens record the scene. If indeed that’s what happens.