Sketch: To Liz Truss goes the spoiled country
It’s a great day for pork markets in Beijing. And Isaac Newton’s British apples. And tea – Yorkshire tea. We have never had it so good [pause for applause].
The confirmation of Liz Truss’s coronation was clear from the moment she entered the room, big smile on her face. Rishi Sunak trudged in miserably behind her. You’d have thought she doesn’t have the massive task of turning the country back from the brink. Or maybe she just doesn’t care.
As Sir Graham Brady read out the results – standing at a podium which appeared to be built from Union Jack Jenga, an appropriate metaphor for the time – Truss smirked at how much she had trounced her opponent.
But to make sure he didn’t feel too bad about it, she offered: “It’s been a hard-fought campaign. I think we have shown the depth and breadth of talent in our Conservative party.” That is to say, about as deep as a puddle and broad as a bean pole.
The camera pans to Sunak. Is he crying? Turns out stabbing your boss in the back isn’t the way to become the new boss. House of Cards was wrong, and that’s his entire political career up in smoke. But at least he has that huge pile of money to fall back on.
Truss, of course, never had to dirty her hands. Let the others topple Boris Johnson, then she could sweep to victory claiming she was both a fresh start and continuity Boris.
She had kind words for the former leader. “My friend,” she emphasised. She didn’t want him ousted but if that had to happen, then she would take on the mantel of becoming the next prime minister. If she had to. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them, after all.
“Boris, you got Brexit done,” she continued, blandly. Where is that showmanship we first saw in her great food and drink speech all those years ago? The (creepy) smiles? The twinkle in her eye? It’s like she’s been put on auto-mode.
“You crushed Jeremy Corbyn. You rolled out the vaccine. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin.” You also partied and stuffed your face with cheese and wine while the rest of the country was in lockdown. That last bit was left unsaid, though.
“You are admired from Kiev to...” Truss checks her notes. “Karlisle.” She absolutely knows where Carlisle is and did not have to be told or have it pointed out on a map. There’s a brief pause in the room as the members present quickly Google it on their phones before applauding.
At least Truss is proving she’s a tad more honest than her “friend” though. Admiration for Boris almost certainly stops just north of that town. Kiev to Kirkwall or Kirkcaldy or even Kelso would have been a stretch. But it’s fine, Truss has got a plan for dealing with those pesky Scots: ignoring them. Though she did warn at the Perth hustings last month that she would use her “skills of persuasion”, but that sounds even worse than being ignored, frankly.
Truss continued: “During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a Conservative and I will govern as a Conservative.” Big cheers in the room because, after all, this crowd like nothing more than a meaningless soundbite. Brexit Means Brexit. Get Brexit Done. In Liz We Trust.
But she’s not done making pledges. Oh no. She will deliver a “bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy”. And she will do that fairly, of course, by ensuring those who earn more get to keep more and struggling families get less than the bare minimum, as it should be. Meritocracy, innit?
She also has a plan for “dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply”. Get your drills ready, guys, the country is open for fracking. Climate emergency, schmimate emergency.
“And I will deliver on the National Health Service.” Deliver it to where, or to whom? No further info was forthcoming on that.
“We all will deliver for our country,” she insists. “We will deliver, we will deliver and we will deliver…” Deliver what? A cost-of-living crisis sure to cause harm to millions, deaths from starvation and exposure, and a way of life much worse off for many?
“And we will deliver a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024.” Ah. Of course. Liz Truss’s main ambition is for Liz Truss.
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