James Heale James Heale

What Liz Truss gets right (and wrong)

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After three months of silence, Liz Truss has spoken out – first in a 4,000-word article for the Telegraph and now in a 50-minute-long interview with the Spectator. Truss, the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British political history, feels enough time has now elapsed to give her account of her 49-day premiership, the collapse of which was caused by a combination of the financial and political markets. As the co-author of a book on her long rise and rapid fall, I was intrigued to hear Truss speak for the first time publicly about where it all went wrong.

Both the interview and article make clear that Truss’s time in No. 10 has not fundamentally altered her or her political beliefs. Truss’s faith in free markets still burns bright; tax cuts remain the cure to our ails. The prose in her piece was dry, dispassionate but mercifully devoid of self-pity – with a few characteristically catty swipes at her enemies. In her interview she displayed the same relaxed self-restraint which marked her 60-second resignation statement outside No. 10, with none of the tears of Theresa May or the self-indulgent rhetoric of Boris Johnson.

She notably ducked the chance to say the 45p tax cut in her mini-Budget was a mistake and insists that ‘raising taxes’ won’t ‘lead to reducing debt in five years’ time.’ Her central argument in both is that her economic agenda was thwarted by, first, a ‘powerful economic orthodoxy’ – embodied in much of the Treasury, OBR and the Bank of England – and, second, a lack of political support.

It is the tragedy of Liz Truss that such a diagnosis of Britain’s economic woes will forever be clouded by her lack of political nous. There are reasonable criticisms to make of Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England Governor, and his handling of the double-digit inflation crisis of the past year.

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