Liz Truss ‘came back’, but it’s already over - GulfToday

Liz Truss ‘came back’, but it’s already over

Tom Peck


Peck is The Independent's Political Sketch Writer.

Liz Truss

Liz Truss

Is Liz Truss really having a “comeback”? Things move pretty fast these days but does a “comeback” not require the person coming back to have first gone away for a considerably longer time than Liz Truss has managed? Take That waited a full decade before their “comeback”, and they did so with a whole load of new material arguably superior to all that had gone before.

Liz Truss, meanwhile has managed just 100 days in the apparent wilderness and has come back with the exact same witless, intellectually and economically illiterate drivel that was the precise cause of her having been sent away in the first place.

The Liz Truss “comeback” comes with a very real sense of de ja vu. There can be few people who have not witnessed a comeback like it, usually when a friend attempts to “come back” in to a nightclub from which they have been removed.

There are many flaws in the comeback, not least the media strategy. She started her comeback via a 4,195 word essay in The Sunday Telegraph, absolutely all of which were unhinged.

It took relatively normal people all of 15 seconds to see how everything Liz Truss had written made no sense whatsoever (we’ll come on to that in a minute), but by this point she had also filmed part two of The Comeback — an hour long interview with The Spectator to be released at 5pm on Monday, in which the same witless arguments, by this point exposed to mass public ridicule, were made again.

Truss really does believe that her tax cutting agenda was the right one, and that what stood in her way was “economic orthodoxy”. She actually told The Spectator that she “underestimated the scale of the orthodoxy.” It’s an interesting word, “orthodoxy”, which has come to replace “experts” in the thick-as-mince populist playbook.

Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, you might recall, didn’t think much of the “orthodoxy” they found at the Treasury, mainly in the form of long-standing permanent secretary Tom Scholar, so they forced him out on day one and then, liberated from the constraints of his orthodoxy, accidentally set fire to the economy because they didn’t understand what they were doing.

And Liz Truss has admitted this now as well. By far the most remarkable admission both in her hour long chat with The Spectator and her 4,195 word in The Sunday Telegraph, is her admission that neither her nor Kwarteng had any clue as to the consequences of their actions.

Specifically, they didn’t understand that UK pension funds were overly exposed to the kind of market volatility they were about to cause, because no one had explained to them about the Liability Driven Investments that were within them.

“The fact is we didn’t know about the issue!” she breezily told The Spectator’s Katy Balls. “We didn’t necessarily understand the issue, and that is a difficult position to be in as PM and Chancellor.” It is, yes, it really is. It’s not necessarily as difficult a position to be in, however, as the one she is now in, which is after the Bank of England had to intervene to save people’s pensions from the actions of their own government, here she is, back again, telling the world that she was right and they were all wrong, but admitting in the very next breath that she didn’t have a clue what she was doing and if anything, she should have sacked even more of the people who tried to warn her. There is, it turns out, orthodoxy everywhere. She even, at this point, chose to return fire on Joe Biden, who had, back in September, had the temerity to also question whether borrowing tens of billions of pounds just to give it away again in tax cuts, was possibly completely mad. “It reflects a drift, right across the free world,” she said, “towards what are essentially more socially democratic policies: higher taxes, higher spending, bigger government, relatively low interest rates and cheap money.” But it’s not a drift, is it. It’s just a capacity to actually understand reality, as opposed to ideology, and not to be — as Liz Truss very clearly is — one pizza short of a QAnon conspiracy.

Because that’s what it is, at this point, and it is a bulletproof epistemology. Anyone who doesn’t agree with Liz Truss’s deranged ideas is part of the problem, and the fact that she actually tried them out and they failed spectacularly has not had any chastening affect at all.

She’s still right. Everybody else is still wrong. And that’s the way it will always be, long after her comeback is over, which it already is.

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