You may laugh, but Liz Truss' leadership has aged better than you think

Imagine you have just started your first day at your dream job.

It’s the role you’ve been working towards your whole life and now – you finally have it.

You’re filled with idealism, buckets of enthusiasm and, best of all you know you have the support of the majority of the stakeholders who have overwhelmingly backed you for the top job.

You’ve got plans to radically change the way in which things are done, and you’re certain the blueprint you created will flip the old way of doing things upside down and you’ll be hailed as the hero who dared do what those before you couldn’t.

But then something so incredibly seismic occurs, something that upends the very reality of the world in which you operate. 

And before you know it – your new boss is saying ‘you’re fired!’

I am, of course, talking about Liz Truss, who became prime minister on this day a year ago. 

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Love her or loathe her – and I appreciate there aren’t too many people in the former camp – you can’t deny that her time in office was unbelievably short, with her premiership lasting a record-breakingly low 49 days.

And I’m going to stick my head above the parapet – I think her reign was too short – and we should have given her much more time. 

Truss, a respected minister who had served in a number of major departments, saw her minuscule tenure largely dominated by the death of the Queen – a century-defining historical event from which many people still haven’t recovered. 

Then there was the knee-jerk reaction to her economic plans, which may have been radical and spooked the markets, but in my view – in the context of the wider economic crisis – might not have been as bad as first assumed. 

Before you mock me, before you accuse me of having less brains than the infamous lettuce that outlasted Truss, I want you to ask yourself this – do you really feel better off since she left office?

In truth, we don’t really know what could have happened if she had got more than just her feet in the door. Nobody can be expected to implement their long term strategy in just over a month, and I feel it was unfair and rash for the Tories to force her out after a few bumps in the road.

Truss had big ideas, radical new ways of doing things that, if given time to breathe, may have worked out for us all, and she’s not the first PM to come in and disrupt the traditional thinkers of Whitehall.  

Sir Tony Blair, David Cameron and even Boris Johnson came in with huge, nationwide plans to make sweeping changes to the fundamental nature of how society in the UK operates. 

In Blair’s case, that was things like the national minimum wage, for Cameron, his austerity programme, and with Boris we were promised a ‘levelling up’ agenda that would alter Britain for the better. 

The jury is still out on whether any of those changes were a success, but you can’t deny the leaders who conceived them were given some time to carry them out. 

It would be far easier to deride Truss as an incompetent clown who wrecked the economy and helped erode the trust of the public in the Conservative Government.

A year on, however, the public still doesn’t trust the Tories, with a poll in July finding 64% considered the party untrustworthy, just 4% down on the peak of Truss’ rule. 

But ultimately I think what let her down and caused the end of her reign was her poor communications. 

The way in which her propositions were delivered to the press, the public and her fellow politicians was nothing short of catastrophic.

The abolition of the 45p rate of income tax was, in my opinion, a decent idea that should have encouraged investment, however including it in the September mini-budget scared the markets. 

Truss also failed to sell how that cut could have benefited the whole economy, and so was accused of only making the rich richer. 

This June, borrowing costs soared past the level they were following the mini-budget, so perhaps Truss’ team weren’t the bad mathematicians that we said they were.

Of course, during Truss’ time at the top, there was an elephant in the room – Rishi Sunak. 

I believe the constant sniping from Sunak supporters, who never truly accepted his defeat in the leadership election, played a big part in Truss’ downfall. 

Much like we saw in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, Sunak’s backers constantly undercut and undermined Truss at every opportunity when they should have helped her and stood united.

But now Team Sunak has exactly what they want.

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Rishi and the so-called grownups took control of the situation and vowed to steady the ship. In political terms, it seems like they are sinking it instead. 

Sunak may have knocked a few points off Labour’s lead since the Truss era but polls were always going to tighten as we edge closer towards an election.

However, he’s still miles behind Keir Starmer’s party, and failing on all of his pledges thus far. The boats haven’t stopped, inflation has not halved, national debt has reached a 62 year high and NHS waiting lists are growing longer each day.

History might judge Truss harshly – or I might end up vindicated in my view that she was removed too soon. But given Sunak has had far more time than her and isn’t doing much better – isn’t it time he was given the lettuce treatment?

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