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Liz Truss' futile ambition brought her to power and shattered it – POLITICO

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Tanya Gold is a freelance journalist.

Liz Truss resigned as prime minister on the 45th day of her term. The next day, as I wrote, the Conservative Party, Britain’s “natural party in government” for two centuries, receives 14 percent of the vote. They can go lower and will not unite behind any candidate. Like alcoholics who can’t stop drinking because they’re already crazy, the party is beyond the point of renewal.

But why is Truss, 47, a former accountant, the crucible of the apocalypse?

Many narratives meet in it. Some are not his fault, most are certainly his fault. No child looks in the mirror and wants to be a paradigm when he grows up, but sometimes fate demands it. His rise was undeserved, and so was the brutality of his fall.

I met Truss in college, long before she got into real politics, and she mirrors and watches as if she’s trying to learn a new language. That’s why he’s cocky and spiritual: that’s why he can’t speak easily or from the heart.

It’s the most expressive on Instagram, a medium that’s both bland and lively. There is nothing for him beyond ambition, which explains his need for reflection and, I think, anger: the England he dreams of is not a good place.

Born in Oxford to a mathematics professor and a teacher, he grew up in Leeds, in the north of England. His family is left-wing and does not share his politics: I sense an Oedipal drama there. He attended a good public school, but with a tendency to rewrite his life for progress, he smashed his reputation during the summer race to lead the Tory Party, despite attending Oxford University, the Tory prime minister’s kindergarten. There he studied politics, philosophy and economics, which gave the young politician the appearance of knowledge rather than the truth.

He was a notorious Liberal Democrat at the time and gave his all, advocating the abolition of the monarchy at party conferences in 1994. Whichever line Truss chooses, as compensation for the uncertainty, I think he’s giving it his all. inside. He smiled as he resigned. I don’t think I’ve met a more isolated woman.

He became a far-right Conservative—possibly to distance himself from the young Liberal Democracy and because Margaret Thatcher was the obvious person to be projected into in the Conservative Party—working under three prime ministers and spending eight years in the Cabinet. The subtleties and collusion of a liberal democracy do not interest him. While Britain was contemplating how to leave the EU and was prime minister, a powerful tabloid was notorious for not defending the judiciary under the headline “enemies of the people” and prefers to invoke Britain’s exceptional fantasy, insisting, for example, that we eat more British cheese. There’s something so mundane and unimaginative about Truss: If he was a year old, it would be 1951. Nor can it unite people: when he won, he didn’t even shake Rishi Sunak’s hand and largely excluded his supporters from his cabinet.

A scandal—she had an affair with her mentor, former Conservative MP Mark Field, but they were both married at the time—didn’t hurt her reputation or apparently marriage, and that’s interesting: betrayal of her closest relationship. (She also betrayed Kwasi Kwarteng, her prime minister and best friend in politics, and fired her last Friday to try to redeem herself when markets refused unfunded taxation and survey scores plummeted.) Her husband, Hugh O’Leary, is out of Downing. was standing. The street resigned, but when they entered, they did not touch each other.

When Boris Johnson fell, he replaced Truss with two things: his Conservative Party membership and Johnson himself. Truss was Johnson’s choice—although he didn’t say so openly, leaving his most ambitious lieutenants to him and his sin eater. Although he tore up the 2019 manifesto and offered tax breaks and utilities cuts against his nationwide promise of “leveling up”, he never personally rejected it. Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief strategist, who left politics after Johnson lost a power struggle with his third wife, says Truss is obsessed with optics and has no idea how to become prime minister. He also says that Johnson chose it knowing that it would destroy him, and that he could reasonably return. This was the first trap.

Then there are the Conservative Party members, who are largely wealthy, male, southern and white. The parliamentary party that preferred Sunak offered them Sunak and Truss. The member disliked Sunak for destroying Johnson (his resignation was blamed by Johnson aides for triggering the former prime minister’s downfall) and raising taxes, and he loved Truss for mirroring them. He spoke of their selfishness and their desire for lower taxes and a smaller government – they don’t think they need it because they’re wealthy. He told them crazy things that excited them by reviving the empire: he would ignore Scotland’s first minister; He was ready to bomb Russia if he could find it. (He once told the Russian foreign minister that parts of Russia were not in Russia.) A long leadership race made him impress his party membership and likewise the wider country’s disdain for him. You can only project so many people at once. This was the second trap.


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Then Queen II, a much more experienced and successful mirror than Truss. Elizabeth is dead. Britain was dejected and unwilling to tolerate Truss’ petty authoritarianism, avoidable mistakes, and superficial arrogance: Johnson’s successor needed to be humble, especially if he had to tear up his manifesto. When he has no one to guide him, he does not know how to do the simplest things. When he entered Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s burial, he grinned, probably because he had priority over any other living prime minister. This was the third trap.

Beyond his obvious inability to get the job done, Truss is largely a victim of circumstances and bad actors. I see her as a character in a gothic novel: perhaps Daphne du Maurier’s second Mrs. de Winter “Rebecca”, an unnamed girl fleeing Manderley (the burning Conservative Party), obsessed with Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, Who is this arrogant either Boris Johnson or Margaret Thatcher or both: stronger ghosts overshadow him. It has no identity and is better understood as a paradigm rather than an autonomous figure.

It is a paradigm of Conservative Party membership’s distance from the rest of the country, which has been abyss after 12 years in power; a paradigm of the tendency of the political class towards optics rather than substance; an evolving paradigm of shared narcissism; A paradigm of the paranoia, culture war zeal and will to power that Brexit has fomented in its supporters – Truss was typically a late and fiery convert – when they realize they were wrong.

All these threads came together in Truss in a combustible way that devastated him and the Conservative Party. I think I see hope for our democracy because it’s all an end. The cage did not fall: it’s worse than that. On the contrary and obediently it shattered.