The internal struggles herald the end of a long cycle of ‘tory’ government

The speech of a British prime minister at the closing of his party’s congress is usually the equivalent of a Roman emperor parading inside the triumphal arch, a bullfighter walking around the ring, a photo of a football team after winning the Champions or the greeting of an opera diva after a memorable performance at the Scala in Milan. But Liz Truss says that she wants to break with “orthodoxy”, and she has done that too.

The conferences of the parties are always a circus, but that of the Tories in Birmingham it has been an unconventional circus in which the clowns have not made people laugh with their jokes, no one has believed the magicians when they promised to generate wealth by lowering taxes, the elephant has crushed the conjurer (Economy Minister Kwarteng) and the lions looked like they were going to gobble up a couple of trapeze artists and the mistress of ceremonies (Truss) in public.


read also

Raphael Ramos

The premier defends her dogma and repeated the word ‘growth’ 39 times in her speech, but she is very touched

Far from being a triumphal parade, the Conservative conference has been a funeral after the markets’ attack on the British government, the disastrous reception of its plan to lower taxes, the subsequent reversal of the elimination of the top rate of 45% to the higher incomes, the confusion about whether or not the presentation of the budget is going to be brought forward (it seems so, but there is no date and it is not certain), the mass rebellion of deputies and some ministers to the suggestion of not raising the subsidies inflation-level social welfare, polls pointing to a Labor avalanche in the next election and the state of civil war declared within the Tories . A long political cycle is drawing to a close.

What could Liz Truss do in the face of such a scenario? Go home as soon as possible, if allowed by a railway strike strategically declared by the unions on the days of the congress to make it difficult for participants to arrive and leave (the room was not full to listen to the prime minister). And that is what he did, with a brief intervention of just over half an hour in which he repeated his mantra of “growth, growth, growth” (he mentioned the word 29 times), he promised to “take the country’s finances with an iron hand ” and “making difficult but necessary decisions to steer the British ship through the storm.”

But what she calls the “small disturbance of the last few days” and Minister Kwarteng a “slight turbulence” is for the British working and middle classes like when the plane jumps in the middle of the mountains, loses altitude and masks appear. of oxygen. More expensive mortgages with the rise in interest, more expensive or impossible vacations due to the fall of the pound, a skyrocketing cost of living… Supermarket chains have registered a drop in their income because people opt for the most cheap.


read also

Raphael Ramos

The monetary policy of the British Government has alarmed the markets, causing the urgent intervention of the Bank of England

Boris Johnson, in his authoritarian drift, attacked the BBC and the judges who would not let him suspend Parliament when he pleased, and Truss – who is much more to the right and lacks his charisma – added yesterday to the blacklist to “the enemies of growth and free enterprise”, the unions, those who dare to criticize Brexit, the SNP and the defenders of the environment. Leaders of Greenpeace, as if they knew what he was going to say, interrupted her with a banner that read “No one has voted for you” (she was elected by 150,000 militants). Tories ).

Truss’s goal was to buy time and a bit of calm, but he has not succeeded. His speech did not please the markets, who do not see where the money will come from to finance the tax reductions, the price of the pound fell by 1.5% and the cost of Treasury bonds rose, while the conservative deputies They didn’t stop fighting. In the Commons, there are two former party leaders (Johnson and May), two former Ministers of Economy (Sunak and Javid) and 119 former Ministers and Secretaries of State who feel left out and capable of doing better, a real bomb.

Norman Tebbit had the Work and Pensions portfolio when at the conference tory of 1981 declared that “the best way to generate growth is for the unemployed to take the bicycle and go out to look for work”. Truss thinks the same 40 years later, he despises those who receive state subsidies (in the United Kingdom there is a chronic abuse of the system) and it seems unfair to adapt them to inflation when this does not happen with the salaries of civil servants. But his idea of ​​compensating for falling tax revenues in this way with a new wave of austerity is politically explosive and he won’t bring it to the Commons until the spring.


read also

Raphael Ramos

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng visit Berkeley Modular, in Northfleet, Kent, Britain, September 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/Pool/File Photo

Liz Truss has gone so far to the right that she is the equivalent of what Jeremy Corbyn was to Labour, more the leader of an ideological cult than a party, addicted to neoliberalism like a drug and who sells growth in town squares. as the miraculous tonic to cure all ills. But few buy it. Her role is to manage the sclerosis of a country that, unlike Belgium or Italy, does not know how to function without a government. And she’s been without him for months.