Will Liz Truss Still Be the U.K.’s Prime Minister When This Head of Lettuce Goes Bad?
Pretend you're a failing prime minister: What vegetable would you want to try to outlive?Politics
Liz Truss has been the British prime minister for less than six weeks and she’s already destabilized the country’s economy, fired her finance minister, backtracked on a major economic policy, and served under two monarchs. She appears to be in a race against time before her government collapses—and, as of Friday morning, she’s also been pitted in a race against a head of lettuce.
The Star, a British tabloid, is livestreaming a nicely framed photo of Truss next to a crisp, (currently) green ball of lettuce with googly eyes. The newspaper asks, “Will Liz Truss still be Prime Minister within the 10 day shelf-life of a lettuce?”
The answer is genuinely unclear. On Friday afternoon, Truss held a press conference to discuss her dismissal of Kwasi Kwarteng, her first chancellor of the exchequer (aka finance minister), with whom she announced a “mini-budget” in late September. The plan—which no one asked for—included cutting income tax for the country’s highest earners, which in turn sent the value of the pound plummeting. The mini-budget was intended to prop up Britain’s already-ailing economy; instead, it accelerated the downward trend.
Less than two weeks after the plan was announced, Truss backtracked on the tax cut, but it was too late for Kwarteng. Someone had to pay for this disaster—and it wasn’t going to be Truss. (She appears to have borrowed her predecessor, Boris Johnson’s, golden rule: Don’t take responsibility for anything.)
One might hope that the Conservatives would now internalize how genuinely stupid “trickle-down economics” is as a concept, but given how much Truss was compared to Margaret Thatcher during the most recent leadership campaign, the party seems thoroughly unaware that there are lessons to be learned from the past say, 40 years of politics.
After Johnson’s chaotic, sputtering resignation over the summer, Truss was elected the new leader of the Conservatives by 57 percent of party members, or under 0.2 percent of the British population, which is truly just a wild way of electing a new head of government. (And yes, that’s coming from an American! I think I have a pretty decent leg to stand on when it comes to being able to identify a bananas electoral process.)
Some Conservative members of Parliament are already finger-wagging in the direction of their colleagues, who might see Truss’s impressive failure as an opportunity of their own. However, Truss’s personal approval rating is -47 as of Friday morning—even worse than Johnson’s were at the height of one of his many scandals in office, the Guardian noted. At least to me, that spells “my tenure won’t outlast this head of lettuce.”