Whatever the flaws in Liz Truss’s campaign for power, the lack of confidence in herself isn’t one of the issues.
Rishi Sunak is spending the last sprint of August scouring the final stages of Conservative Party hustings in search of votes that he hopes will change the tide of her position, and Team Truss is keen to emphasize that she’s already spending a significant portion of her time preparing the emergency budget for September.
Liz Truss will be one of our biggest risk-taking prime minister
“In full Gloriana mode,” says one of her aides about Lady Thatcher in her glamorous best.
Both candidates are meeting with civil servants to discuss the cost of their plans.
For Rishi Sunak, who has been the Chancellor recently, it’s business as usual but with a lower chance of winning.
For Liz Truss, presenting an immediate tax cut plan during rising inflation promises an adventure that makes officials wonder what time – or even if – the seat-belts will be buckled.
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Full-speed ahead was the style for the Truss campaign. It also shows how she will govern as the prime minister should she be chosen in September.
A minister who was with her over a long time during her ten years in top posts would be “a white knuckle ride with a low chance of success”.
But the more warnings are made about the dangers of Trussonomics and her policies, the more pronounced the gap between her and her fierce opposition and the more unambiguous her shift from the confusion and alarmism of the Johnson times into the lure becoming the “tax-cutting, freedom-loving Conservative”.
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You could say (along with Brahmin institutes that are part of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Office for Budgetary Responsibility this week) that It’s not challenging to identify significant gaps in Truss’s fiscal knit.
“My tax cuts will decrease inflation,” she claimed, since “reducing National Insurance and reducing corporation tax increases the economy’s supply side”.
The view is omitted from the ambiguous part that tax cuts will likely increase inflation in the short run as a reduction in NI raises demand; however, not necessarily the supply.
It’s also challenging to locate any evidence to support the idea that tax cuts within a short time will reduce inflation, even though the causes are primarily outside of the control of Britain, including the conflict in Ukraine and the rise in energy prices as well as trade tensions with China that affect the supply of computer chips as well as the post-Covid consequences.
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In politics, framing arguments is a significant aspect of getting the debate to a conclusion, or at least taking control of the terms of the discussion. Thus, her message has been clear mainly that she’s prepared to risk a lot of money if orthodoxies are wrong.
Privately, she’s happy to quote the 364 top economists who wrote letters in The Times objecting to Geoffrey Howe’s budget of 1981.
During his tenure as the Chancellor, Howe increased taxes (with Margaret Thatcher’s help) to lower borrowing costs and stop inflation.
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But however different the approaches to economic headwinds, Truss has the same desire as the Thatcher-Howe-duumvirate for decades: namely, to take a significant risk when there is a dominant establishment view that it is foolhardy and to present the result with panache.
This has allowed her to portray the campaign as a new beginning and a high-energy relaunch of an administration suffering from the rift and discontent from the post-Johnson Johnson period.
This contrasts with the error made by Sunak in launching his candidacy with a negative tone in warning Tory members not to trust that there are “fairytales” on economic matters.
I’m with the former Chancellor. However, few of us enjoy being referred to as vulnerable.
This line was inadvertently used to Truss’s advantage firstly since it emphasized that her story was dominant and that her party is aware that momentum is susceptible to slip after 12 years of being in power.
The rate of support for Johnson after the Brexit gloom diminished – to the point that northern MPs were in directing the anger of voters due to Partygate, which helped to swing the balance in favour of the Prime Minister as well as fueling a desperado attitude in the majority of conservatives who are grassroots Conservatives.
A lot of them grieve for the great blonde man’s child. However, the power Truss created with the mix of Reagan-Thatcher messages on being strict in foreign lands and challenging the conventional wisdom-based sage advice at home suggests that Tories’ general mood is more taken by the sheer dynamism and awe-inspiring energy than any sensible warnings.
It’s Truss, the one who will be enduring the future of reckoning as the repercussions of removing the cap on energy prices will be laid on the number 10 doorstep.
One of the caretakers informed me that the building was not well-insulated, which implies that it’s among the addresses that will soon be receiving an enormous bill, with a demand for additional payments.
In her defence, Truss isn’t unwilling to stand up for any political group she was part of during that time.
There is a common misconception that she was an anti-monarchy Lib Dem: less so than she was on the free market side of the liberal spectrum. Her belief in the individual’s effort and influence is the basis of her philosophy.
This will be evident in her cabinet selection and the presence of some rebarbative figures at the top of the list.
Kwasi Kwarteng is an aggressive Chancellor whose first job is to reconcile the Truss promise not to indulge in undifferentiated handouts with the necessity to address people’s concerns over the energy price pressure swiftly.
In addition, as a brand-new chancellor, Kwarteng will be faced with the difficult task of convincing the market and the City that he’s ready for the highest level of financial responsibility.
Suella Braverman has been touted as a potential replacement for the Home Office to refine the department’s legal authority under challenging negotiations with the EU about issues such as dissuading illegal immigrants in the Channel and penalizing the Rwanda resettlement program to overcome objections from ECHR.
However, Truss has not lasted this long in the wasps’ nests of recent cabinet governments without making compromises.
Because of her commitment to big-ticket issues like boosting and defence spending, as well as being concerned of the entire government that failure to tackle the NHS problem could result in its demise in elections to come, something is bound to have to be sacrificed.
Already, she’s being advised by officials that she may be required to cut back on her tax cuts plan or even put specific sensitive spending sectors on the cutting block.
The Truss journey is going to be fast-paced without a crash helmet. The excitement and spills are ahead for a new and ambitious leader, and for the nation, she is the one who leads.
This motivation will most likely land her the job and the risk of recklessness that comes with it.
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