today is Nov 30, 2022

After six brief weeks of political mayhem, Liz Truss has stood down. Not with a tear in her eye, a tremble of her lip, nor any semblance or sorrow or regret — but with the same baffling arrogance that characterised her catastrophic reign.

It was, frankly, unbelievable. Rarely have I felt such a sense of fury while watching a politician speak.

I was ready to feel sorry for her, really I was. The poor woman, whatever you think of her, has had a torrid time.

And for all her faults, she is by no means a bad person.

After six brief weeks of political mayhem, Liz Truss has stood down. Not with a tear in her eye, a tremble of her lip, nor any semblance or sorrow or regret ¿ but with the same baffling arrogance that characterised her catastrophic reign

After six brief weeks of political mayhem, Liz Truss has stood down. Not with a tear in her eye, a tremble of her lip, nor any semblance or sorrow or regret — but with the same baffling arrogance that characterised her catastrophic reign

As soon as she emerged alongside her husband, I thought I knew what was coming. This is it, I said to myself, she’s going to address us human to human.

But no. Instead we got the politician.

There she stood, the smouldering remains of a once-great party at her feet, our economy in tatters.

Yet she was smiling and — still! — blowing her own trumpet.

It was as if this were all just some mildly irritating mishap: as if turning Britain into an international laughing stock and triggering a financial crisis that will mean disaster for millions was just a harmless misunderstanding.

I never expected her to emerge in sackcloth and ashes: but surely an acknowledgement of the colossal cock-up she has brought about would have been reasonable.

As soon as she emerged alongside her husband, I thought I knew what was coming. This is it, I said to myself, she¿s going to address us human to human. But no. Instead we got the politician

As soon as she emerged alongside her husband, I thought I knew what was coming. This is it, I said to myself, she’s going to address us human to human. But no. Instead we got the politician

Perhaps Donald Trump is the closest parallel for this catastrophe. Like the former president, Truss is an isolated figure in her party, a lone wolf who never really got along with anyone ¿ except those, like her, on the margins

Perhaps Donald Trump is the closest parallel for this catastrophe. Like the former president, Truss is an isolated figure in her party, a lone wolf who never really got along with anyone — except those, like her, on the margins

Instead, she offered only the same tone-deaf, tin-eared, stubborn attitude she has displayed throughout her doomed premiership. Honestly, Truss is her own worst enemy.

She spoke of delivery and vision. Delivery?

In full, Liz Truss's Downing St statement

I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability. Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills. Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent. And our country had been held back for too long by low economic growth. I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance.

And we set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy — that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.

I recognise though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.

I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.

This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. We have agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week. This will ensure we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security.

I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen.

Thank you.

Even UPS is more reliable, and that’s saying something. Vision? A vision of Hell, perhaps.

And then, as though she were handing back a slightly soiled item of clothing she had worn once to a party before deciding it didn’t really suit her, she washed her hands of it all.

‘I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected,’ she said. Again, incredible.

Maybe you should have thought about that before you took the job — and before you drove Britain’s economic credibility off a cliff.

Bad enough that she made such a terrible mess of things. Bad enough that she behaved without a shred of honour or integrity throughout.

But failing to show a scintilla of contrition — that’s the cherry on this whole rotten cake.

Not a word of apology to the British people, nor the slightest sense of regret for the agony and embarrassment she has caused us.

No acknowledgement of responsibility, not a word of thanks for her Cabinet, or for colleagues who tried to help — and who crashed their own political careers trying to save hers.

Or, for that matter, her husband Hugh O’Leary and her family, for whom none of this can have been easy or fun. Just more about her ‘achievements’ — and that weird smile.

Even Theresa May, famously dubbed the Maybot, managed to come across as a human being in the end.

Not Truss.

In that resignation speech, she showed Trumpian levels of dysfunction and denial.

Perhaps Donald Trump is the closest parallel for this catastrophe. Like the former president, Truss is an isolated figure in her party, a lone wolf who never really got along with anyone — except those, like her, on the margins. That explains the Cabinet she eventually appointed: a mixture of individuals whose only real connection was the fact that they were, for the most part, fellow outsiders.

Also like Trump, she was a consummate self-publicist, someone who pushed themselves forward at every opportunity, regardless of her actual abilities.

Such unshakable self-belief is all very well, but it can only get you so far — as we have seen.

She behaved just as irresponsibly as he did: over-promising with reckless abandon and refusing to listen to voices of reason or experience.

And like the ex-president, she believed that all you had to do to govern successfully was to ram through your policies, that only weaklings needed to win the respect of colleagues and find useful compromises.

In the end, she presided over a culture that became so toxic that MPs were physically attacking each other in the Houses of Parliament, according to some reports.

I was ready to feel sorry for her, really I was. The poor woman, whatever you think of her, has had a torrid time

I was ready to feel sorry for her, really I was. The poor woman, whatever you think of her, has had a torrid time

I hate to be so hard on her, and it’s never nice to kick a person when they’re down.

But this is not some minor error of judgment we’re talking about.

This is a person whose naked vanity and lust for power drove her to mislead her own party, making promises that she could never deliver. She treated the job of Prime Minister as a vehicle to serve her own ambitions rather than the best interests of the British people.

And that, frankly, is disgraceful.

The only good thing about this fiasco is that it was all so mercifully swift. America had to endure four years of Trump — and his play might yet have a second act.

The Tories managed to dispatch Truss in less than two months. For that, at least, we should be grateful.

And it gives me hope, actually, for a divided and fractious party that — for some unknown reason — seems determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of an 80-seat majority.

Already Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tories’ 1922 Committee, has wisely announced that leadership candidates will need at least 100 backers before they can put themselves forward. This will not only simplify the process of replacing Truss, it will also ensure that whoever gets the job can command decent support from the parliamentary party.

And if, as some are suggesting, Boris Johnson decides to make a return to the fray, it may yet be possible to restore some semblance of respect beyond the confines of Westminster.

After all, he actually has a mandate from the British people — and a resounding one at that.

And if, as some are suggesting, Boris Johnson decides to make a return to the fray, it may yet be possible to restore some semblance of respect beyond the confines of Westminster

And if, as some are suggesting, Boris Johnson decides to make a return to the fray, it may yet be possible to restore some semblance of respect beyond the confines of Westminster

Whether MPs who so recently deposed him will see it that way remains to be seen.

In the meantime, we can only hope that an end to this absurd psychodrama is approaching and that MPs can return to their day-to-day business of representing their constituents, instead of acting like cast members in a particularly over-the-top EastEnders Christmas special.

With luck, Truss may yet go down in history as the Tory Party’s coup de foudre, a disastrous dalliance that served only to remind us what a real leader looks like.

A mad hiatus in which the Tory Party persuaded itself that the one person who knew what they were doing deserved to be ousted over a bit of cake and a glass of wine — to be replaced by a political incompetent who very nearly burnt the house down.

She comes out on top... as shortest-serving PM 

Her 44 days in No 10 make Liz Truss the shortest-serving UK prime minister in history.

The previous holder of the unwelcome title was Tory George Canning, who served for 119 days in 1827 before dying in office at 57 from pneumonia.

He is known for fighting a duel on Putney Heath in 1809 against Lord Castlereagh, a Cabinet colleague, who accused him of conspiring to get him sacked.

He was succeeded by Frederick John Robinson – who resigned after 144 days with a coalition in disarray. He wept when asked to arrange his replacement, and so was nicknamed ‘the Blubberer’. Next comes Andrew Bonar Law who served for 211 days in 1922-1923, and resigned due to ill health, dying of throat cancer six months later. The shortest-serving PM of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the ‘unknown prime minister’.

Whig William Cavendish was PM for 225 days in 1756-1757. He took the job only as a stop-gap caretaker in a period of crisis triggered by war with France.

Fifth is William Petty, a Whig who served for 266 days in 1782-1783, and oversaw peace negotiations which ended the American War of Independence. In more recent times, Sir Alec Douglas-Home managed 363 days as PM in 1963-1964.

Tory George Canning served for 119 days in 1827 before dying in office at 57 from pneumonia

Tory George Canning served for 119 days in 1827 before dying in office at 57 from pneumonia