There’s common or garden delusion, and then there’s the industrial strength delusion of former Prime Minister Liz Truss who in her brief time in office cost the public purse some £30 billion according to the Resolution Foundation. This works out at over £612 million for every day of her 49 day tenure in Downing Street. Remember that figure the next time Douglas Ross bangs on about the ferries. Truss is now reportedly attempting a political rehabilitation, despite the fact that the only conceivable less welcome return to public life would be if Prince Andrew was to be appointed as head of the Girl Guides.
Liz Truss has spent the last 100 days engaged in intense introspection trying to understand what went wrong with her time in office, and this deep soul-searching has resulted in her claiming she was completely blameless but she had been done down a nefarious left wing financial establishment that only exists in her imagination. Clearly Truss is as good at introspection as she was at being Prime Minister.
In pursuit of her return to public life, Truss has penned a 4000 word whingefest for the Telegraph. That’s one word for every £75 million that she wiped off the value of UK public assets. Truss uses the essay to blame the ‘left wing economic establishment’ for her downfall. Yes you read that right, Truss was really brought down by those well known socialists of the banking and financial sector. That ‘left wing economic establishment’ consists of the Bank of England, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the bond markets, and currency traders, all of whom Truss believes can regularly be found waving Socialist Worker placards and agitating for improved employment rights, better public services and higher taxes on the rich. Bankers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but a collapsed bond market, soaring mortgages, and tanking pension funds. Unfettered capitalism took 12 years to make Truss and just six weeks to destroy her. Those pesky left wing oligarchs. So mischievous.
“I assumed upon entering Downing Street my mandate would be respected. How wrong I was.” wrote Truss. This is a woman who is spectacularly deranged, the imaginary left wing financial establishment is to blame for showing imaginary disrespect for her imaginary mandate. She had as much of a mandate as she has self-awareness, unless it said in the Conservative manifesto that the Conservatives planned to introduce tax cuts for the rich, protect the windfall profits of the energy companies, raise mortgage costs and tank the economy.
Truss is the embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which holds that people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a certain type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge because they do not have enough understanding to appreciate just how little they actually know. She is the perfect example of all that is wrong with the Conservative party.
Oh dear, who to believe? The Liz Truss in February 2023 saying that her budget was fantastic but those pesky lefties in the City of London ruined it. Or should we believe the Liz Truss in October 2022 saying it was all the fault of Kwasi Kwarteng who hadn’t consulted her and that’s why she had to sack him for implementing her policies. Now Truss is claiming that no one had warned her of the likelihood of the disaster that she created which led to her becoming a global laughing stock, an eventuality which might not be unrelated to the fact that she had sacked the person responsible for warning her.
The thing about having a comeback is that you you have to have been a huge success and very popular. Then you go away much to everyone’s immense disappointment. Then you ‘come back’. However if you cause havoc, and are finally deposed to the great relief of everyone, even those who put you in power in the first place, and then you reappear without displaying the slightest contrition or awareness of why you had to be sacked, then that is not a comeback. You’re basically herpes.
The Conservatives can only hope to improve their dire polling figures if they start to engage with reality, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Those Scottish Tory MSPs who backed Truss bear responsibility for the billions she cost the Scottish public purse, at least £3 billion by some estimates, but there is no sign of contrition from any of them, no admission that they got it disastrously wrong.
Truss’s attempted comeback and the obsession with culture wars are however a convenient smokescreen to hide the corruption and sleaze scandals which are currently battering the Conservatives.
Truss was really brought down because the Institute of Economic Affairs /Telegraph / ERG groupthink is unhinged and detached from reality. It is also utterly incapable of admitting that it could ever be wrong even when we are all standing in the smoking rubble that results from implementing its insanity. We saw that with austerity, with Brexit, and with Truss. What Truss, Johnson, and Zahawi all have in common is that none of them accept responsibility for their own misdeeds. It’s always the fault of ‘lefties’ or ‘remainers’ or ‘the liberal establishment’. Every failed Conservative leader creates a personality cult of supporters with Boris Johnson it’s magical thinking and the fairy tale of British exceptionalism being done down by remainers. Truss is now also trading in paranoid conspiracies. When Sunak is ousted, as he inevitably will be, someone else will be given the blame.
That is why they are so dangerous, because given half a chance they would do it all over again only next time they’d double down and do it even more intensively. The scary thing is that there are still plenty of influential people in the Conservative party who are itching to give them the chance to do it all again. It ought to be unthinkable, but if the last decade in this binfire Britain has taught us anything, it’s that the worst thing that can happen will happen, and it will be cheered on by the right wing press and platformed by the BBC.
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