Liz truss

Sack Andrew Bailey? Let’s look at the case against him

The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, is a loyal and well-intentioned public servant in a role that, by its nature, attracts constant blame and hindsight judgment. Liz Truss is a spectacularly failed 44-day prime minister with a book to sell. So when Truss says Bailey should have been sacked for his part in her downfall –when the Bank intervened to prevent a pension fund crisis after her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s radical mini-Budget of September 2022 – and that he should be sacked anyway for being part of a Keynesian economic Establishment, with the Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility, that has delivered nothing but stagnation, my

Sunak’s Truss problem

11 min listen

The day after her book was published, Rishi Sunak faced down questions from Keir Starmer and Labour members at PMQs about Liz Truss. While he had his replies at the ready, the questions underscored the main issue for Sunak: how should he deal with his predecessor?  Also on the podcast, there is more inflation news for the Government, and how will Starmer deal with internal party discipline? James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Oscar Edmondson.

Liz Truss returns – again

14 min listen

It’s 18 months since Liz Truss left Downing Street and her new memoir, Ten Years to Save the West, is out. She gave her first interview to Fraser Nelson on Spectator TV, covering why she wants to abolish the Supreme Court, Donald Trump, her husband’s warning that her leadership bid would end in tears, and so much more.   We also cover Iran’s missile attack on Israel, and what might come next.  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced by Megan McElroy.  You can listen to the full interview on Spectator TV:

We need to talk about Truss

15 min listen

Liz Truss continues to haunt Rishi Sunak. Labour leader Keir Starmer took aim at her recent exploits at CPAC in the US during prime minister’s questions today. Starmer called on the prime minister to remove the whip after Truss claimed that her premiership was sabotaged by the ‘deep state’. What’s Truss up to this time?  Also on the podcast, chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his budget next week. We expect that he will have made his final decision on the March 6th budget by the end of the week. What do we know so far?  Oscar Edmondson speaks to Katy Balls and Kate Andrews.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

What Liz Truss’s PopCon launch was really about

11 min listen

Liz Truss is back! This time with a conference called ‘Popular Conservatism’, bringing together voices in the Conservative party and aiming to ‘deliver popular conservative policies’. But what does the event really tells us about the state of right wing political thought in the UK today, and why were some of Truss’s key allies not there? Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Sam Leith

Liz Truss, Brexit and the petulant anger at reality

The time it takes to mount a political comeback gets shorter and shorter, doesn’t it? The last prime minister but one barely got his toes in the sand on his first holiday after leaving the post before he was flying home with thoughts of mounting a return to high office. Now his successor, too, is campaigning to get on track to get her old job back.  The first wallop of Liz Truss’s one-two punch was a long article for the Sunday Telegraph explaining why the mini-Budget that so spectacularly sunk her premiership was, in fact, absolutely the right thing to do; punch number two will be an interview with Spectator TV that goes up

How has the Conservative party’s ‘Dr No’ escaped everyone’s notice for so long?

The reason conspiracy theories are so resilient, reproducing themselves from one generation to another, is that they are unfalsifiable. Evidence against them, however solid, has obviously been faked. Anyone who tries to demonstrate that Americans did land on the moon or that J.F. Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald is obviously in the pay of people who stand to benefit. If you ask who those people are, since there seems to be no evidence of their existence, the answer is always the same: they are very good at concealing themselves. And so the theory finds credulous punters. To save time, I should probably point out that The Spectator, which

Sunak’s new strategy: hard truths

The last time Tory activists and MPs gathered for their annual party conference, it didn’t end well. Liz Truss had barely checked in to her hotel before she faced a full-on attack from Michael Gove, who started a rebellion against her proposed tax cuts live on air. Truss U-turned on her mini-Budget and cabinet discipline quickly collapsed. ‘It was the worst four days of my life,’ recalls a former Truss aide. Sunak sees the conference as a potential moment of catharsis that could lead to a Tory recovery Rishi Sunak hopes to improve on this admittedly rather low mark. He sees the conference in Manchester as a potential moment of

Dominic Cummings understands Singapore. The Tories still don’t

I’ve read Kwasi Kwarteng’s surprisingly positive review of my book, Crack-Up Capitalism. Although it was unexpected to see someone from the libertarian corner being so enthusiastic about what is clearly a critical book, the experience was not new. After my previous book, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, was published in 2018, I was startled to find Deirdre McCloskey, a leading classical liberal historian, praising the book as a manual for ‘keeping a liberalism which has made us rich and free.’ Globalists explained how neoliberals wanted to keep decision-making from democratic electorates. I took McCloskey’s praise as a validation of my core thesis. If it’s bracing to see a neoliberal academic

Trussonomics is slowly winning the argument

It was self-indulgent, whinging. Dull in places while completely batty in others. All the usual insults will be hurled at former prime minister Liz Truss for her essay defending her short time in Downing Street, published today. Perhaps it would be better for her to retire gracefully from public life and let some ambitious young revisionist historian in the 2060s make the case that she was treated unfairly. Except she still has one key card to play. Events are gradually showing that she was right along: Trussonomics, or whatever it will be called next, is gradually winning the intellectual argument. Her argument has something else going for it: a ring

Sunday shows round-up: Truss thwarted by ‘powerful economic establishment’

Liz Truss – Thwarted by a ‘powerful economic establishment, and a lack of political support’ After Liz Truss claimed in a Telegraph essay that the ‘economic establishment’, and flaws in the Conservative Party’s preparations, had prevented her from enacting her policies, Laura Kuenssberg pressed Business Secretary Grant Shapps on whether he agreed with any of Truss’ claims: Liz Kendall – Liz Truss is back with ‘no apology and no humility’ Former Conservative party chair Jake Berry told Kuenssberg that he still agreed in principle with Liz Truss’ policies, even if they weren’t delivered in the correct way. But Liz Kendall went on the attack, saying the Conversatives ‘drove the economy

Kate Andrews

Was Liz Truss denied a ‘realistic chance’ to succeed?

‘I assumed upon entering Downing Street that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was.’ This is the crux of Liz Truss’s defence of her 49 days in Downing Street: the shortest-ever stint for a Prime Minister. It is also the start of her attempt at a political comeback. Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, Truss gives us, for the first time, her account of things: 4,000 of her own words on ‘what happened’ last autumn and what she’s learned from it. Mistakes were made, she admits: in fact, they were all-but-guaranteed, she says, as she had ‘a vast amount to do and very little time in which to

Is Trussonomics really dead?

16 min listen

Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and James Heale about the former prime minister’s lunch with her loyalists at Ma La Sichuan, and whether her ideas might be mounting a comeback.

What everyone knows but no one says about Brexit

Theresa May’s premiership is now a memory. Boris Johnson’s time in office assumes the status of a rather brief, if often embarrassing, interlude. Liz Truss has gone in short order. The threat of a comeback by Johnson has been lifted. What a rollercoaster. Each of these events, in its time, took centre-stage in our politics and each prime minister became for a while the object of contempt, suspicion and rage. I called Mrs May the death star of British politics; I called Mr Johnson a moral toad; I called Liz Truss a planet-sized mass of over-confidence and ambition teetering on a pinhead of a political brain. Invective comes easy and,

Liz Truss: my part in her downfall

Now that the final curtain has fallen on Liz Truss’s brief and tumultuous premiership, it is time for reflection. A chance to set the record straight and also to own up to mistakes – especially for those of us who tried to advise her. What went wrong? Yes, the tipping point was Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget. But three problems were by then already brewing. First, the leadership campaign over the summer had become very focused on tax cuts. Even Rishi Sunak ended up saying he would cut the basic rate of income tax from 20 per cent to 16 per cent by the end of the next parliament, while Jeremy Hunt

Who was George Canning? (1973)

Until Liz Truss, George Canning was the shortest-serving prime minister. He needn’t be forgotten by pub quizzers, general knowledge collectors and historians alike. In 1973, Richard Luckett reviewed a major biography of Canning’s life for The Spectator. Every schoolboy knows about the duel with Castlereagh; students of that neglected subject, abusive language, remember Brougham’s description of his behaviour over the Catholic question (‘the most incredible specimen of monstrous truckling for the purpose of obtaining office which the whole history of political tergiversation could furnish’); historians recall his reputation as an orator, his part in the decision to bombard Copenhagen, his divisive effect on Tory ministries, his forceful conduct of foreign policy

Fraser Nelson

Why Liz Truss had to go

The Liz Truss survival plan was, in the end, unworkable. She not only hired her enemies – Grant Shapps and Jeremy Hunt – but let them govern: tearing up her policies, while she held on in No. 10. She thought the Tory right had no candidate to replace her with and the Tory left would be happy because there had been a Cameroon restoration. So yes, it was a humiliation – but one that was supposed to keep her in post. The wheels feel off yesterday, and Truss had to accept that her game was over Could it last? Earlier this week I spoke to several MPs who could see Truss surviving

Divided they fall: can the Tories save themselves?

Seldom has support for a government fallen so far, so fast. Polls show that 24 per cent of the public would vote for the Conservatives if there was an election now, vs 52 per cent for Labour: figures that make 1997 look like a good result for the Tories. This is not just a one-off rogue poll, but the sustained average of six. It reflects what Tory MPs hear from voters appalled at the disgraceful shambles of the past few weeks. It won’t be forgotten in a hurry. This magazine gave its verdict on the Liz Truss agenda in August: ‘To attempt reform without a proper plan is to guarantee

James Forsyth

The lady vanishes: the Truss agenda is dead

‘Governments don’t control markets,’ the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, likes to say. But there are times when markets control governments. The market, or the fear of how the market might react, is now the driving force in British politics. It explains the dramatic developments of the past week and will determine the new Prime Minister’s fate. Last month’s ‘mini-Budget’ was doomed because it required that the government borrow £70 billion more than had been planned. This money would have to be raised in the gilts market, and Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng assumed that the markets would be happy to continue to lend so much at such low rates. But

Liz Truss and the art of rhetoric

Liz Truss was spot-on in arguing that the only way in which a state can flourish is by combining low taxes with economic growth. But she failed to persuade her audience that she knew how this could be achieved. If only Dr Kwarteng, a classicist, had drawn her attention to Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric (4th century bc), the first full analysis of the means of persuasion, the day and her career would have been saved. First, Aristotle defined two general types of persuasive proof. One he called ‘artistic’, because it depended upon human ingenuity, the other ‘non-artistic’, because it derived from pre-existing evidence, e.g. witness statements, written contracts, etc. Then