This is the view from Paris: ”La prudence, ce n’est pas son truc,” is how a L’Express headline put it.And she’s seen simply as being besotted with trying to recreate an image of Margaret Thatcher. “Une nouvelle Dame de Fer à Downing Street.”
Her political journey has been a jumbled one. She was an anti-monarchist in her student days. And a Liberal Democrat who campaigned for legalised cannabis. She was once an ardent ‘Remainer’, but when she felt it was politically expedient to do so, she flip-flopped to become a Brexiteer.
She’s adept at making gaffes, and couldn’t find her way out of a press conference recently. She’s quite often confused or badly briefed, or hasn’t studied her papers. And she’s been widely mocked for several speeches she’s given.
The last twenty years of economic policy haven’t delivered growth,
she said recently, forgetting that her party has been in charge for twelve of them.
Her predecessor, Boris Johnson resigned way back on 7 July under all kinds of pressure.
In his farewell speech, he said settling relations with the EU was one of his greatest achievements. That claim was greeted with derision in Brussels and Paris where his legislation to end the Northern Ireland Protocol is seen as unilaterally tearing up the Brexit divorce treaty.
PM Truss – what about the priorities?
But PM Truss will have more important priorities to attend to than trashing international agreements.
She’s promised tax cuts on day one, followed by an emergency budget that will be designed to minimise the impact of a recession — especially on households with families.
Hightime, when it’s just been confirmed that there are more food banks for the poor than McDonald’s in Britain. And twenty percent of British kids regularly go to bed hungry.
Liz Truss has confirmed she will keep Britain safe with a multi-billion pound boost in defense spending.
As if to emphasise the need for more money, the pride of the Royal Navy, the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales broke down and was stuck off Portsmouth for several days.
Luckily it wasn’t at war, and not far from home either.
But her budget plans have been ridiculed by leading authorities. The Institute for Fiscal Studies put it quite simply: “You clearly can’t do all of this without completely crashing the public finances.”
She’s said the NHS shouldn’t be put on a pedestal.
That won’t help with grossly underpaid health workers or doctors and nurses who are thinking of striking.
She’s called British workers “among the worst idlers in the world.”
That didn’t go down well on the docks — or on the transport system.
She’s accused civil servants of being lazy and threatened to cut their pay. That won’t help with striking barristers, teachers, and Whitehall administrators.
The Barrister’s Strike
Green ideas don’t seem to have gained much traction with Liz Truss.
A recent mission to Australia and back on a charter jet burnt an estimated 150 tonnes of fuel, generated nearly 500 tonnes of CO2, and cost “at least £500k.”
Had she flown Qantas business class, the total bill for Ms. Truss’s entire trip, including everyone in her entourage, would have been between seven and eight thousand pounds.
Former PM of Australia, Scott Morrison
President Macron caused a stink recently when he accused Australia’s former PM Scott Morrison of lying over the Aukus security pact between Australia, the US, and the UK. But things quickly got better when the new Australian PM Anthony Albanese announced a multi-billion euros compensation settlement. He added, “I’m looking forward to taking up president Macron’s invitation to me to visit Paris at the earliest opportunity.”
So what’s next? Bridge building?
The pragmatists who run both countries behind the scenes need to get their ducks in a line — and read them the riot act. The huge challenges the world faces won’t be overcome unless our politicians start to focus on bridge building — instead of being divisive or grandstanding to make headlines
In Paris, it was hoped that as soon as “that clown Johnson” departed, a reset in Anglo-French relations might be possible. And President Macron does seem to be trying to hold out the olive branch. Can he come to Liz Truss’s rescue after her recent gaffe about not knowing whether France was a friend or foe of Britain?
Has President Macron calmed things down enough by saying: Of course, the British people, the nation which is the United Kingdom … is a friend of France.
Unfortunately, with politics, it’s quite often two paces forward followed by several steps back.
But it’s nice to know how the new UK leader will act in a tight corner. She left no doubt about this one. In a nuclear crisis, she wouldn’t hesitate for a moment, she said, to push the red button and blow us all to smithereens. Astounding as it may seem, the audience of crazies cheered emphatically.
At the prospect of their mutual destruction, they were all simply saying, “Yes, Prime Minister.”
What is your reaction to the Liz Truss leadership announcement? Please share in the comments below.
Image credits: 1-6 and 8 from wiki commons
1. Liz Truss – official portrait, 2.- 3. Food not bombs, food bank, 4. HMSPrince of Wales, 5. Summer of strikes 6. Barrister’s strike 7. Harbour Bridge & Opera House via Twitter 8. Liz Truss with Scott Morrison
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