27.10.2022 Author: Seth Ferris

Who Was Liz Truss, And What Could She Have Done Wrong in 52 Days?

Few now remember the unfortunate Shapour Bakhtiar. This is the gentleman who was made Prime Minister of Iran in 1979, for 37 days, just before the Shah was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution.

Bakhtiar had once been much better known that Khomeini, who had only recently come into the consciousness of the people clamouring for him in the streets. He was also a well-known opponent of the Shah, but a moderate reformer rather than a revolutionary, who advocated something akin to a Western-style parliamentary democracy.

Like many politicians of his time, Bakhtiar drifted in and out of favour, holding government posts one minute and being imprisoned the next.  He was made Prime Minister as a last throw of the dice by a Shah who couldn’t understand why the people were finally turning against him, at the time he was executing his own supporters and releasing his most vocal opponents in a vain attempt to appease masses he could no longer either oppress or buy off.

Accepting that job was the worst thing Bakhtiar ever did. A lifelong critic of totalitarian rule, as exemplified by the Shah, he was now accepting a job from him to try and spare the country from the Communists and Islamists he now thought were worse.

So he alienated all his supporters and failed to win over any opponents. His government was seen as a sham, with no public credibility. When the regime collapsed he became a footnote in history, collateral damage, and his subsequent years of service to the National Resistance Movement made no impact on anyone until he was murdered in exile by Iranian government agents in 1991.

A short time ago a certain “Liz Truss” became leader of the Conservative Party and thus Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She followed the disgraced but entertaining Boris Johnson, who got to the top by legitimising being a yob, but nevertheless led the party which is supposed to protect us from that sort of thing.

She has now resigned, and will finally leave office after 52 days, beating Bakhtiar’s 37. Why? Because her own MPs, who never wanted her as leader anyway, have decided she is not up to the job after she crashed the economy and made a fool of herself a the party conference, as if they expected anything different.

Truss has achieved nothing but preside for a few weeks over the collapse of her government, her party and her country. She was unable to understand that the destructive wheels Boris and his anti-human movement set in motion can never turn in any other direction, and are bigger and more important than she is.

The Conservative party members who elected her, having painted themselves into an ideological corner of increasingly tenuous relevance, waved a white flag by appointing another amoral moron to succeed BoJo the Clown. The more noise they made by doing this, the more they would think they were being martyred by going down with the ship.

But no one will go down with the bad ship Liz Truss. They will appoint another leader, likewise not elected by the public, and pretend this aberration never existed.

But she did, and that fact will haunt them for many years to come. This was what they wanted, what they thought represented them. They will take many long years to recover from the fact that she actually does.

Two Faces And No Soul

Like many Conservative leaders before her, Liz Truss was a relatively minor figure until her ascension to power. But although much has been written about Boris Johnson’s boundless ambition, and that alone, propelled him to high office, Liz Truss takes the biscuit in this respect.

Truss was once a Liberal Democrat, and made great capital out of this in parliament whilst simultaneously pretending to be ashamed of it. Conservative leaders since Margaret Thatcher have been criticised for being extreme, out of touch and uncaring. Truss is using the usual cop-out of saying she is more liberal than some others in her party, so whatever she says or does she must be alright really.

Truss’s conversion to the Conservatives is usually explained by her views having shifted rightward over the years. In fact there is a more straightforward explanation, which is supported by many previous examples.

Even in their pomp, the Liberal Democrats didn’t win many parliamentary seats. At some point, everyone in that party has to choose between remaining ideologically sound or finding an easier way of getting into parliament, in one of the other parties which fawn over converts to their cause.

Take for example Rosie Cooper, the current Labour MP for West Lancashire. For a number of years Cooper was a Liberal member of Liverpool City Council, where the Liberals and Labour vied for power, and didn’t get along too well.

After several failed attempts to win a parliamentary seat she switched to Labour, the last place she would have gone if she had been taken at her word. Predictably, she became a candidate almost immediately and eventually gained a parliamentary seat, which she has held since 2005.

Cooper got to where she is because her presence in the Labour Party in Lancashire makes it appear more of a broad church. Ultimately her desire for power has made her a suitable representative for people who want their MP to be there to help them, regardless of their politics.

Liz Truss wanted to get into parliament, so she wore her liberalism with a sly smile and turned Tory. Everyone is entitled to change their views, but does she actually think her views are important?

During the public debates between the two final candidates for the Conservative leadership, the other being then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Truss stated that she was wrong to have backed Remain in the Brexit referendum. This comes at a time when the British public are seeing the harm Brexit is doing, and increasingly regarding it as the wrong answer to the country’s problems.

So in what respect was she wrong? She was wrong to take a position which might upset the party members who were voting for her. This was her sole concern – like BoJo, the consequences of her actions didn’t mean anything compared to feeding her ambition.

Truss beat Sunak because the Chancellor had a professional team, with ideas, and tacitly admitted that he knew Brexit was doing harm. He made the classic mistake of looking like the Next Leader of the Conservative Party, while the old one still attracted sympathy in the party rank and file.

Truss positioned herself as someone falling into the job because she is all things to all men, and a desperate country needed her. Now, even though her MPs know the harm it will do to just appoint someone else without consulting the public, they have removed her because they know that they need anything but what their own party members wanted and are.

Lying Down On The Job

Boris Johnson always had one simple, easy to understand policy: he said and did whatever got him attention. Liz Truss also had a simple, easy to understand policy: she identified an audience which would help her fulfil her ambitions, and told that audience whatever she thought they wanted to hear.

She didn’t have to know what she was talking about, or what the consequences of her words and actions would be. Just like BoJo, it was all about her, and she made it clear during her short tenure that it will never be about the welfare of her country or its citizens..

This is one way Truss got to the top. The other is inextricably linked, as can be observed in anyone who does the same.

Liz Truss and still be called a liberal democrat past because she remains both liberal and democratic with a certain part of her anatomy. Put simply, she has shown no scruples about sleeping her way to the top.

The married Truss is known to have had an affair with Conservative frontbencher Mark Field. Significantly, it is stated that this was when she was “still trying to get into parliament”. This affair lasted eighteen months, during which time Truss’s political career blossomed in the party of family values. It destroyed Field’s marriage but not Truss’s, a fact she has shown no remorse over.

On the once-famous “underacted list”, produced by Conservative whips in 2017 to alert their colleagues to potential embarrassments, Truss’s name appears alongside the warning “Fornicated with male researchers whilst backbench MP + sexual relations with Kwasi Kwarteng”

Kwarteng is the man she appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proudly produced a mini-budget which made the UK into a banana republic at the financial markets and then got thrown under a bus in a last ditch attempt to save a doomed project.

People who indulge in this sort of behaviour do so for two reasons: to show themselves they can, like the junkie trying ever more dangerous drugs and still waking up the next day, and to somehow convince themselves they are above the dire consequences. At some level, they do know the wrong they are doing, the harm they are causing to the persons involved and their families, the social consequences of classifying every human interaction in terms of potential sexual outcomes.

But they pride themselves on being able to soar above all that, in their own estimation, and have no genuine sympathy with anyone, much less their random partners. Like Boris Johnson before her, the worse Truss behaved both personally and politically, the more she seemed to think it made her somebody.

Truss would stop at nothing to get what she wanted, but needed constant reassurance that she was entitled to it. None of this had anything to do with public service, or formulating plans which would help her country rather than herself.

But that is what her party wanted, and is now running away from to save itself, not everyone else. As wise men and women of all political stripes told us back in the 1970s, where the lover of money Margaret Thatcher has once led, all the worst elements will inevitably follow.

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

In typical British fashion, Conservative Party members think that their views are sympathies are the only reasonable ones, and everyone else has something a bit wrong with them. Ideologues of any kind have the same view – the Labour Party is no better. But the problem Conservatives have is that they cannot support their position with argument – they are right because they believe it and because they say so, so everyone else better watch out.

This is how the party of the Establishment also became the party of the dispossessed. Many people have seen the world they believe in change in some way, and see no reason why they should be told their beliefs are incorrect or criminal, when there was nothing wrong with that world.

So the Conservatives members have increasingly sought someone who can achieve what they can’t individually: do whatever they find attractive, for the sake of it, and get away with it. Boris Johnson had a media career behind him when he entered parliament, in which he was allowed to write anything as long as he did it with wit and style. After many false starts, he eventually found out how to use this to his advantage in politics, and created the Dadaist shell currently in power.

There have been 55 British Prime Ministers. Their ranks have included lightweights, incompetents, timeservers and crooks. Both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss were all of these things at once, and elected by their friends for that reason.

Liz Truss thought she could turn back the tide of history like Shapour Bakhtiar was appointed to do before her. The more venally she behaved, the more she thought she was above the laws affecting the rest of us, and things like standards and competence didn’t matter.

Now she will not only go down in history as the ultimate incompetent, but condemn her party to the same fate. Every step the Conservatives take now will be about saving themselves instead of serving the public, and the public know that.

Those their supporters thought were the only politicians who would listen to them are terrified of what the same public will now do to them. They can no longer blame some foreign conspiracy for what they have chosen to become, because in Liz Truss they chose, and soon publicly reviled, the alternative.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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