If the televised debates taught us anything about Liz Truss, it’s that she has terrific stage absence. Talk TV’s interrogator Kate McCann zoned out so completely while Truss was recycling half-baked ideas from Conservative Home that she crashed to the floor unconscious, bringing proceedings to a grinding halt.

There’s a delightfully revealing moment in that clip, where Truss checks, with a sideways glance, whether Sunak is going to score points by appearing more heartless than her in this drama (compassion, after all, is for Tory losers) before offering assistance to the stricken McCann. In a second of TV footage, you get to see the whole political calculus of whether “tough on debates, tough on the hosts of debates!” will play best with the Tory faithful – before she allows normal human emotion to take over. It’s fun to watch someone, for a half a Trumpian second, entertain the idea that maybe the bloodthirsty public want to see all TV hosts bash their head on a lectern, before crashing to the floor insensible.

For someone who’s spent so much money on staged photoshoots in tanks and with Union Jack backdrops, Liz Truss is incredibly difficult to picture

It’s rare to see Truss – a creature of such naked calculation that she could easily become a brainy-but-hubristic robot sidekick from a 1980s’ cartoon – so transparent about what she’s thinking. Or for it to be memorable. For someone who spends so much time scheming what to say for effect, it’s amazing how little impact she’s had on anyone’s imagination. For someone who’s spent so much money on staged photoshoots in tanks and with Union Jack backdrops, she’s incredibly difficult to picture.

Over the last eighteen months, I’ve devoted thousands of words to lampooning politicians in this magazine, but still only managed to allot one sentence to Truss (I pointed out, given her sustained devotion to Boris Johnson, that a truss was a device for supporting a wayward bollock). She slips through the fingers, utterly unmemorable. Trying to get your imagination to fizz about Liz Truss is like trying to generate a reaction to argon gas, or mashed potato. Her rise has been so precipitous, odd and slippery that it’s hard to put your finger on her without her squirming away like an oiled eel. She’s like a Stephen Moffatt villain from Doctor Who, who possesses the dastardly ability to race forward every time you look away from them (if you haven’t seen Moffatt’s “Weeping Angels” episode, then do). There’s just the added twist that she’s going to be our next prime minister.

She’s only been an MP for twelve years. It seems like just yesterday she was haranguing cheesemongers from the lectern at the Conservative Party conference. And an even less notable 28 years since she denounced the monarchy from the podium at the 1994 Lib Dem conference, saying “I agree with Paddy Ashdown when he said: ‘Everybody in Britain should have the chance to be a somebody.’” Little did we realise that the somebody she wanted to be was the corpse of Baroness Thatcher.

The only memorable thing about her early career was the opposition of local Conservatives to her candidacy. Her adversaries became known as The Turnip Taliban, which is particularly disappointing given all the other names the press could have chosen: the Mujapumpkeen, Al Cider, or the Parsnip PLO. No one believes Truss has any firm beliefs. When outlining why the European Research Group was throwing its weight behind ex-Lib Dem and ardent Remainer Liz Truss, Steve Baker smirkingly explained that she had convinced the big brains of the ERG, like Mark Francois, Bill Cash, and Jacob Rees-Mogg (three men denser than the school suet puddings they fantasise about while masturbating), that she was now a fervent Brexiteer. Being quizzed by the ERG brainiacs must be like turning up for the viva on your DPhil to find the examiners are Mr Blobby, a deceased toad, and… Jacob Rees-Mogg. These are men who are regularly outwitted by zips.

What, then, do we know of Liz Truss? She has expensive tastes, taking a private jet to Australia and lunching at private members’ and secretive millionaires’ club, 5 Hertford Street, owned by Tory donor Robin Birley (overruling civil servants’ pleas to dine somewhere cheaper). It was there that she hosted events such as Fizz With Liz and Biz With Liz. It’s a mark of real cowardice that she didn’t continue the theme with Jizz with Liz.

We know she’s addicted to baffling photo opportunities, where she fails to hold telephones correctly or dresses up in tip-to-toe red as Ofboris from A Handmaid’s Tale (in David Quantick’s delightful rendering “Dogwhistler’s Mother”). We also know that Newsnight had to use long hours and photoshop to produce an image of Jeremy Corbyn looking like a Russian agent, while Liz Truss happily provided her own version, looking pensive in front of St Basil’s Cathedral complete with Russian hat. If I aimed to lead a party that was refusing to return large sums of money to Russian donors to refute suspicions of undue influence, I probably wouldn’t hang around Russian landmarks at every given opportunity.

But then, what do I know? When it comes to Truss… almost nothing. Which probably redounds to her credit. A vacuous, valueless space, haunted by misremembered images of Mrs Thatcher. Maybe Truss is the perfect embodiment of England, after all.

Nathaniel Tapley is a comedy writer and performer on the TV shows you hate

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