I believe in giving a new politician their own space, a white leaf of paper for them to write their political epitaph. Truss, however, has already written it
Elizabeth Truss has been elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, with a population of around 60 million souls, by around eighty thousand members of the Conservative Party. Then she speaks about Freedom and Democracy in her inaugural acceptance speech. If that is Democracy, I am a Mongolian yak herdsman.
Truss is, in two words, a political animal. What is a political animal? It is not someone who states their convictions clearly, sticks to them and resigns if the environment goes against what they have stood for. Rather, it is someone whose main aim is to remain in politics, somewhere, somehow, changing position where necessary, leaving options open where possible, using personal relationships where it is fitting and to hell with everyone else, including family and friends, and then claiming the higher moral ground while presenting her/himself as a winner, using Establishment-cooing soundbites in the process.
At Oxford University, she was not a Conservative, she was Chair of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats, in which she expressed vehement views against the Monarchy and Royal Family. A Member of Parliament since 2010, by 2012 she was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Childcare and Education, and then in 2014, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in David Cameron’s Cabinet.
In the run-up to the disastrous 2016 election in which England dragged the rest of the United Kingdom out of the European Union, signing its economic death warrant for the medium and long-term future, she was a supporter of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign and followed the majority of MPs in supporting Remain (in the EU). No sooner had the result been publicized, she was already a supporter of Brexit.
In the cabinet of Theresa May, she was appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord (Lady) Chancellor, the first woman to hold this post and in 2017, moved to Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Her reward for supporting Boris Johnson after May resigned in 2018 was the appointment as Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, adding the post of Minister for Women and Equalities in 2019 and then in 2021, the pinnacle of her incompetence, Foreign Secretary, where she displayed shocking degrees of ignorance, incompetence and sheer, shitfaced insolence. Finally, she added the position of chief negotiatir with the EU and Chair of the EU-UK Partnership Council, in December of 2021.
Impressive CV? Well, anyone can achieve meaningless titles. I myself was President of the Portugal-Romania Chamber of Commerce and Industry once. Wow, eh? Yeah, but without any companies as members. So let’s get down to the details, where the Devil resides.
From the beginning, it is clear that her mind was set on a political career, somehow, somewhere, using whatever means it took to get there. That is why she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, where first, she was a Liberal Democrat and like Churchill, soon saw she was going nowhere with that. So she switched sides to the opposition, the Tory Party. While a Liberal Democrat, she supported the abolition of the monarchy and belittled the importance of the Royal Family, a British Institution. She changed tack and today will curtsey before the Queen. She also supported the legalisation of cannabis, and did a U-turn when that was frowned upon. Like, legalising drugs???
Fast-forward to Foreign Secretary. Her comments on China and the Pacific were described as “demented” by the then Australian Prime Minister, she called for Russian troops to be withdrawn from Russian territory (like, WTF?), she said “we are supplying and offering extra support into our Baltic allies across the Black Sea, as well as supplying the Ukrainians with defensive weapons”, I repeat, “Our Baltic Allies across the Black Sea” (OK only a thousand kilometres from the Black Sea), then said that the UK would never recognise Russian sovereignty over the regions of Voronezh and Rostov (again, like, WTF?). These have been an integral part of Russia/the Russian Federation for centuries.
OK, the average person in the street can make such gaffes, but a Foreign Secretary? If Elizabeth Truss reached her Peter’s Principle (point of incompetence) as Foreign Secretary, how is she going to handle the top job as Prime Minister?
I will be honest and state that she has forwarded a number of initiatives in the areas of education and the environment and since I do not live in the United Kingdom, I do not consider myself worthy of commenting, other than proposals such as placing mathematics in the school syllable until 18 years of age is a soundbite but one devoid of any detail, since many school pupils are already floundering in maths at the age of ten and by the age of twelve, being in the classroom or not does not make any difference, since by this time they cannot understand a word the teacher is saying. If the Devil is in the detail, examining the record of Elizabeth Truss might be an interesting project.
Where she comes across, however, as a nasty person, is in her sheer insolence. She appears to have a penchant for Vladimir Putin, who I am convinced, would not touch her with a barge pole, so every time she refers to the Russian President as “Putin” with negative diatribes, we shall refer to the British Prime Minister as “Truss” which in Russian translates as “coward”. Or better, we could call her Mrs. Bean! More on that later...
But being a Russophobic guttersnipe is part and parcel of wooing the British Establishment which likes to invent a THEM to justify the US, which is in turn an Anglo-Saxonic fantasy of cool relations and pats on the head from the bedmaster across the Pond and an in-bed, hands-on grappling and heavy petting relationship with Australia and New Zealand, soundbites about leading the world or ruling the waves, and vapid, meaningless references to Great England from North to South from East to West, in speeches. Elizabeth Truss is the sort of person who would have made public speeches about The Perfect Englishman (a racist, imperialist, supercilious, elitist bigot) in public speeches while a teenager.
Finally, Elizabeth Truss is evidently no more or less than an empty, wannabe Margaret Thatcher, today one of the most unpopular people ever to have held office in the United Kingdom. The French have nicknamed her already the Iron Weathervane, because it changes direction all the time. I name her Wannabe Maggie, or Mrs. Bean. I mean, she looks like the wife of Mr. Bean, doesn’t she? And the foolish antics of Mr. Bean put Truss in the shade.
Obviously, one wishes her well and hopes that she does her job competently because at the end of the day, journalists can write diatribes but it is always those at the bottom of the pile who suffer. In very challenging times, with health services stretched because of Covid (which will come back this Autumn, mark my words), with a massive fallout because of the reverse effect of sanctions on Russia (why Russia didn’t impose sanctions after Iraq and Libya, God alone knows), energy cost increases in the UK which are exponentially higher than anywhere else and leading a Conservative Party which is trailing hopelessly in the polls, the question is does Elizabeth Truss have what it takes in a country which no longer chooses between heating and eating because many will have neither?
What do you think?
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at [email protected]