Et in insania ego

Truss rides back into town

Politicians who ascend the highest peaks invariably have a mountainous ego to match, spurring their lofty ambitions and achievements. Liz Truss, whose tenure of 10 Downing Street lasted just 49 disastrous days, making her the shortest serving British prime minister ever, has never displayed lack of confidence in her own abilities. Having no option but to resign from the top job following a catastrophic mini budget that sent the pound into nosedive and sparked a monumental crash in the markets, she slipped away to write a memoir that soothed, that bashed, bruised and battered amour propre.

Now, restored and reinvigorated, she is back, all guns blazing. Truss went Stateside to stage her comeback fight, no doubt calculating she was in safe territory among the right-wing, Trump-supporting faithful. But at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, billed as the biggest annual gathering of conservatives in the US, Truss spoke to a half-filled opening session and, with some attendees not sure exactly who they were listening to, blamed everyone but herself for her downfall. The many targets in her sight included the “establishment”, with its bureaucrats and lawyers, the Environment Agency, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Bank of England and civil service activists. Later, in a televised Fox News piece, she added “deep state” to the many figures and bodies that “sabotaged my efforts in Britain to cut taxes, reduce the size of government and restore accountability.”

The US visit was also partly to promote her new book, Ten Years to Save the West, which could easily be the title of a 1970s Hollywood cowboy movie starring the likes of Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. Unfortunately for the former PM, many in the CPAC audience were more interested in the British “star” she was sharing the stage with – none other than Nigel Farage. “We love Nigel,” claimed one delegate. He should, “one hundred per cent” be Britain’s next prime minister, said another. It wasn’t the most morale boosting beginning

to Truss’s campaign to re-establish herself as a player on the UK and global political stage. The question remains: is she the comeback kid or headed for the lonesome trail?

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