Believe the naysayers and you will convince yourself that Britain is doomed. We face rampant inflation, impending recession, impending blackouts: another terrible winter of discontent.
Yet, based on his speech yesterday, our new Prime Minister seems remarkably fearless, even optimistic. Liz Truss is therefore not only a conservative, but also a patriot. She believes in Britain – and she believes we have a better future.
If only the same could be said of his detractors.
Like many, I will miss Boris Johnson’s eloquence, drive and leadership – never better displayed than in his magnanimous farewell speech yesterday.
And while Truss will never rival Boris as a speaker, I’m genuinely excited to see how she’ll tackle not just the immediate energy crisis, but the task of steering Britain through the stormy weather at come.
The first signs are promising. There are three things that immediately strike you about Liz Truss.
Liz Truss is therefore not only a conservative, but also a patriot. She believes in Britain – and she believes we have a better future. If only the same could be said of his detractors.
First, she says what she thinks. It doesn’t matter if she’s talking to a schoolboy or a head of state – there’s no sugar-coating, none of Boris’ bonhomie or people-pleasing.
Second, she always argues from first principles. Every policy proposal that crosses his desk will have to pass rigorous tests. Does it increase the tax burden? Will he impose more red tape? Would it generate growth?
Third, she is less interested in popularity than in delivery. Her own polls have never skyrocketed – but she doesn’t care. What matters to her is the end result.
As a woman who reached Oxford from a suit, she is the ultimate meritocrat. She chose Kwasi Kwarteng to lead the Treasury not because he went to Eton, but because he is the right man for the job.
This pragmatism, combined with his famous determination, is inspiring. Many people underestimated her: no more deceiving them.
She is formidable once she is convinced that she has found the right solution to a given problem. Look at how she outmaneuvered her rivals in the leadership race.
Like many, I will miss Boris Johnson’s eloquence, drive and leadership – never better displayed than in his magnanimous farewell speech yesterday
Rishi Sunak started out as the frontrunner – the stylish financial child prodigy and darling of the establishment – while Truss appeared awkward in his first TV appearance.
Still, she quickly learned from her mistakes – and quickly overtook Sunak in the polls to secure a comfortable lead.
If you look at Truss’ career, you’ll see that she spent a lot of time learning from her mistakes and coming out stronger. To take just one example, she turned her youthful past as a Lib Dem to her advantage. Today, she is a real conservative, but she had to do it on her own.
Her instincts are still liberal, but she now appreciates the importance of family, nation and tradition. As a freedom-loving Tory, she seems keen to echo her two greatest recent Tory predecessors: Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson.
Similarly, Truss started out as a Remainer, but after the referendum she accepted the will of the British people. This adaptability is one of his greatest virtues, whatever his enemies say.
Who in Westminster could claim to have never changed their minds on a policy? The difference is that Truss has never been ashamed to learn from the past.
Although some have maliciously suggested that she “rose without a trace”, Truss is actually probably the most experienced and seasoned minister in government.
She’s been a cabinet minister since 2014 – and has taken her time getting to the top of Disraeli’s ‘greasy pole’.
As Foreign Secretary, Truss demonstrated his remarkable work ethic by securing a compelling list of post-Brexit trade deals, with what seemed like effortless flair.
She also quickly understood the threat posed by Vladimir Putin. As early as last April, it put in place a strategy aimed at “containing” Russian aggression. I predicted at the time that she would be our next PM.
Rishi Sunak started out as the frontrunner – the stylish financial child prodigy and darling of the establishment – while Truss appeared awkward in his first TV appearance. Still, she was quick to learn from her mistakes – and quickly overtook Sunak in the polls to secure a comfortable lead.
This audacity has proven to be something of a rarity in the Western world. Even after the invasion of Ukraine, the French and German leaders are too timorous to stand up to Russia so frankly.
Like Boris, whom she hailed this week as admired “from Kyiv to Carlisle”, Liz Truss can be trusted to defend Ukraine, then – and resist the sirens of appeasement from Paris and Berlin.
So, what about his domestic baccalaureate? I confess that it is a daunting prospect. Yet I also believe that Truss will avoid the temptation to zigzag from issue to issue – a tendency that Boris, for all his skill, has often fallen prey to.
Boris’ premiership was hampered by a lack of management skills. His downfall was not caused by the big issues of the time (on which I believe he made the right decision), but by petty office politics.
It’s safe to say that scandals such as Partygate are unlikely to derail the new Truss administration.
She’s gathered a talented team around her, however – perhaps because she’s less eager to please than Boris – she won’t let overly powerful courtiers like Dominic Cummings hog the limelight.
Instead, our new PM will keep his characteristic steely focus on the challenges facing his government.
Her first priority – she said – is to get the energy crisis under control this fall. In the medium term, it must also deliver on its promises of lower taxes and a smaller state before the next election – now just a few years away.
Can she achieve it? Ironically, this passionate free-market player seems willing to spend an estimated £100billion of taxpayers’ money to cap our energy bills.
Still, Trussonomics is not a pie in the sky. The government has borrowed larger sums before. The pandemic bill is more than triple that amount. Other countries like Germany are borrowing on a massive scale for similar reasons.
Overall, I believe Truss strongly believes that the role of government is not to tax and spend, but to grow the size of the economy.
Once the immediate crisis is over, unlike the opposition, they will genuinely want to reduce the crippling tax burden – the highest it has been in most of our lifetimes – as soon as possible.
She has already declared her intention to reverse Sunak’s hated corporate tax and national insurance increases. This should just be the start.
Unlike snobs on the left and right, Truss cares about customers and cost-conscious business owners — and she believes that a government that lets people keep more of their own money is a government that wins. the elections.
Our new Prime Minister is anything but a ‘Little Englander’ – but she is essentially English. Although she is a passionate believer in fair play, she also feels that “fair” means equal opportunities, not equal results.
To those who think Britain’s best days are behind us, or even that the future seems hopeless, Liz Truss has a clear message: give me the tools and I’ll finish the job Boris started. Let’s hope she gets there.
Daniel Johnson is the editor of TheArticle.com.