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So, Liz Truss is a 'quitter' after all

DW Zulfikar Abbany
Zulfikar Abbany
October 20, 2022

Just 24 hours ago, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss shouted emphatically at a raucous House of Commons: "I'm a fighter, not a quitter!" And set herself up for one final U-Turn, writes DW's Zulfikar Abbany.

Liz Truss at the House of Commons in London
Truss lasted barely six weeks as UK prime minister Image: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/AP/picture alliance

Why any UK politician would dare utter the words "I'm a fighter, not a quitter" after a week of their peers labeling them a "busted flush" is beyond any logic or reason. That's like insisting you can swim when your feet are stuck in a concrete slab. The cat was in the sack, in the water, and literally everyone was staring down, shouting "drown!"

The Conservative Party's gang of backbench boys, the 1922 Committee, found itself overrun with letters calling for a change in leadership for the second time this year — that despite Jeremy Hunt's taking over as chancellor of the exchequer late last week and his posting a quick fix for the economy on Monday (17.10.2022).

You would have to have noise-canceling built into your inner ear at birth to have missed the signals, yet Truss wasn't hearing or having it. But, then, what are we saying? Here is a party that has built a legacy on not listening.

If there had been any doubt — or thought whatsoever — in Truss's mind, it should have evaporated the moment that her home secretary, Suella Braverman, resigned, seemingly over an administrative error.

The chaotic Conservatives

Was there no shame in Braverman's resignation letter to Truss on Wednesday, when the short-lived minister wrote: "Pretending we haven't made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can't see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics."

What the former home secretary really meant to say was that she was leaving just in the nick of time to get a promo video ready in time to launch — sorry, relaunch — her own bid to become prime minister.

And what a disaster that would be, Braverman as PM. You may as well bring back Priti Patel and the Rwanda deal for (or against) handling refugees — an idea, which King Charles III, when he was still prince, called "disgusting," and all the other Conservatives, who blab on about the great opportunities that the UK offered their parents... just enough for them, their parents' kids, to get educated as barristers and bankers and pull up the ladder behind them.

Do I digress? I venture, NO. It's worth remembering the policies at the heart of the UK Conservatives, or Tories, and how divided the party is, before anyone considers giving them another chance.

Just hours before Truss announced her resignation, national media were reporting in all seriousness their doubts that enough MPs would back her departure. There was the issue of who would take her place? There was the issue of how — would it be a vote among MPs or the party membership, which would take months? They have now opted for a vote among MPs, within a week or so.

Oh, and now they're saying that former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who lost the leadership to Truss earlier this year, was the bookmakers' favorite. I'm not political strategist, but if I were Sunak, I wouldn't touch the job with a bargepole right now. He's better off sitting it out, grinning through a Labour government, and then trying again. Because this Tory party is finished.

This party and government, as it stands or slides, I don't know... has lost all sight of the people. Government is not a playground for parties to muck about. Governing should be treated as a boring, managerial job that services the people. And right now, the people of the UK need help with heating and feeding themselves, getting educated, staying healthy, protecting themselves against business vultures, including landlords in the poorest neighborhoods, and simply getting some stability back into their everyday lives. Except the Conservatives don't seem to get that.

Time's up for the Tories

So, I reckon it's time for a three-strikes rule. Since 2016, the Conservatives have had three prime ministers — Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and for a brief six weeks Liz Truss. That is just beyond one full five-year term of government. Three leaders. But go back to former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and you may identify the beginnings of all the rot in his coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron had to extricate himself somehow from the coalition and he chose the greatest divider: Brexit. The UK's decision to leave the European Union split the country and smashed his party.

I'm no fan of the Tories or Labour, but it's time the former were benched. They (and the country) need time to recover from some of the most turbulent years in UK political life and, as glib as it sounds, they must let someone else have a go.

Edited by: Anne Thomas

British PM Liz Truss resigns

DW Zulfikar Abbany
Zulfikar Abbany Senior editor fascinated by space, AI, the mind, how science touches people, European perspectives
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