Liz Trus | Promises to keep, an emotional void to fill

Britain’s new PM is tasked with responding to the energy crisis, enacting supply-side reforms to boost growth, revitalizing the Conservative Party and leading the nation in the mourning of a monarch

Britain’s new PM is tasked with responding to the energy crisis, enacting supply-side reforms to boost growth, revitalizing the Conservative Party and leading the nation in the mourning of a monarch

If there’s anyone new British Prime Minister Liz Truss would probably like to have a quiet chat with in her first week in office, it’s Tony Blair, the former Labor Prime Minister. Mr Blair fired the imagination of a nation mourning the sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris in 1997, when he described her as the ‘people’s princess’. At a time when the Royal Family was being criticized for its lack of public response to the tragedy, Mr Blair’s words brought comfort to the British people and established his credentials as a leader listening to the nation’s pulse .

Ms Truss now faces similar circumstances, with the death of the country’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, upending the Prime Minister’s well-laid plans for his 10 Downing Street debut. These plans include an estimated £100billion package to cap soaring energy prices at their current levels, a budget intervention the size of which has few precedents except in times of war. The Truss government will also, in the coming weeks, launch a comprehensive response to the looming challenge of Britain’s wobbly economy, likely to include tax cuts, avoiding ‘handouts’, enacting supply-side reforms to stimulate growth and by strengthening with resources the National in difficulty. Health service and the defense sector.

Yet these political imperatives may have to play second fiddle, in a political sense, to the collective emotional needs of a nation that is once again mourning the death of a respected member of the royal family. Ms Truss, who was in the presence of the Queen earlier this week after winning the race to become the country’s next prime minister, can she rise to the challenge? A look back at her journey to higher positions over many years in the Conservative Party trenches suggests she has the personal and leadership traits that just might help her accomplish this.

Indeed, if there is one strength that Mrs. Truss has demonstrated in the past, it is the adaptability of her policy, her flexibility of political posture in response to general opportunism. For example, in the early years of Ms. Truss’ political career, she began as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, a great political distance from the position she currently holds.

Born in 1975 in Oxford to a maths teacher father and nurse mother, Ms Truss has described her parents as ‘left-wing’, recalling the many discussions of political activism at their family dining table. When she was still young, she attended marches with her mother for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, “an organization fiercely opposed to the [former Prime Minister Margaret] The decision of the Thatcher government to authorize the installation of American nuclear warheads at RAF Greenham Common”, not far from London.

After completing her studies in Leeds in the early 1990s, Ms Truss went on to study philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University – considered the classic route to the presidency of Prime Minister in the UK. Uni – where she also became president of the university. Liberal Democrats. Her liberal politics were clearly deep at the time as she also spoke at a Liberal Democrat conference in favor of abolishing the monarchy. Yet, at the end of her time at Oxford, she jumped ship for the Tories, an act that would have come as a shock to her leftist parents, but which some of her friends recognized as a natural philosophical progression given that she was a “market liberal”.

Thatcher’s picture

Mrs. Truss’s transformation into a stalwart conservative came several years later when, as she rose through the ranks, she carefully began to cultivate a Mrs. Thatcher-like image, dressing as the “Lady of iron” of the United Kingdom. the policy made to reflect a famous photo of Mrs Thatcher in Germany in 1986 posing in a Challenger 2 tank during a visit to British troops in Estonia when she was UK Foreign Secretary.

The other major transition Ms Truss underwent in her political position involved her move from being a hard-line Brexiteer to becoming former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s frontline warrior negotiating the terms of post-Brexit trade deals with the European Union. In doing so, she took a divisive stance on Northern Ireland’s draft protocols, a tactic which made her popular with the hard wing of the Conservative Party. Either way, Ms Truss’ government will face a challenge on that front on September 15, when it must respond to EU legal action over the alleged failure to implement the protocol.

Ms Truss’ critics have often described her as a political ‘chameleon’ or a ‘shaper-shaper’ with a pragmatic side. His most recent handling of the Mr Johnson exit saga certainly indicates his shifting politics. Although she was shrewd enough to avoid the Tory coup that led to Mr Johnson’s ousting from Downing Street, she still managed to avoid being branded a staunch Johnson supporter, a fine accolade which paved the way for his subsequent ascent to the top. work.

Future challenges

Undoubtedly, a future challenge that Ms Truss will face is the fact that in the Prime Minister’s presidential race against former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, she won the support of 81,326 members of her party, while his rival garnered 60,399 votes. This margin is much narrower than expected and represents less than 50% of Conservative Party members, given that nearly 20% of them did not vote. This means that now Ms Truss will have to convince a substantial proportion of her party members that her approach to tackling the multi-pronged economic and energy crisis in the country is the best one. This would apply to her on the main policy initiatives she has spoken about so far, which include her plan to introduce £30billion in tax cuts, reverse the rise in National Insurance, scrap temporarily green levies on energy bills and to remove a planned increase in corporation tax.

Within the broader framework of British politics, there is an urgent need to revitalize the Conservative Party and underline its ability to deal with the post-Brexit world for the benefit of the British people and British businesses. It also means helping the party escape the reputational quagmire of sordid scandals that have held Johnson’s government back and, in today’s environment, truly representing the spirit of the nation as it mourns the loss of Queen Elizabeth.

For Ms Truss, her biggest learning at 10 Downing Street may be that while her political about-face may offer some benefits, it can sometimes come at a high cost. It may well be that in the highly visible role of Prime Minister, Ms Truss will find voters hold her to a higher standard, one that is built on dogged commitment and keeping promises made.

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