Towards the end of the mourning
This week: politics is back, oh joy, oh rapture, so let’s try to get to the bottom of Liz Truss. Also: some notes on the TV housing crisis; and one of the weirder rail maps I've come across recently.
There’s an idea abroad at present that Liz Truss is a sort of political chameleon, a woman who’s repeatedly changed her views to get ahead. She was, after all, a LibDem before she was a Tory. After switching sides, she climbed the ranks in the Remain-y, Cameron-led coalition government, only to end up as Boris Johnson’s foreign secretary and the annointed leadership candidate of the likes of Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Given this record, well, who knows what she really thinks?
Liz Truss sitting on a pile of gold like Smaug. Image: Craiyon (formerly Dall-E Mini).
This is almost, but not quite, complete and utter nonsense. Sure, she does genuinely seem to have switched sides on the Brexit thing – a move consistent, I’d guess, with caring more about advancement than she does about Leave or Remain – but on everything else, Liz Truss has been entirely consistent. We know exactly who she is and what she wants to do.
There are, after all, some economically very right-wing LibDems on the small state liberal wing of the party: no reason to think, in her youth, Liz Truss wasn’t one. And while she was in the Cameron government, she was very junior, and anyway, being right-wing economically was hardly a barrier to membership of that government, as you could tell from its economic policies. (We have no reason to think Truss is anything other than liberal on matters of social policy.)
What’s more, everything we know about her government so far suggests an approach entirely consistent with being one of the authors of that godawful Britannia Unchained book (you know the one: British workers the “biggest idlers” and so forth). Some of the things she has made clear she will do, over the past few weeks, while we’ve all been distracted by pageantry:
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