It is as if a conspiracy of the gods or the planets had suddenly dropped on the United Kingdom a selection with the hits of the crises of the last fifty years: the strikes and class conflict of the seventies, the inflation of the 1980s, the war on the continent in the 1990s (Ukraine instead of the Balkans), the financial crash and economic instability of the first decade of the new millennium, and the tension with Europe that laid the foundations for Brexit as of 2010.
To face the enormous challenges that fate has brought her, Liz Truss, already on her first day as head of the executive and in her inaugural speech in the Commons, yesterday offered a formula that she sells as a Thatcherist but in reality is more typical of Ronald Reagan : lower taxes to stimulate growth, and that the poor benefit from the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich (what is known as a supply side economy). This mixed with optimism and patriotism like someone who puts mint leaves in a mojito.
The new conservative leader culminated the elaboration of a government in which – just as Johnson did – loyalty prevails. In it are her friends, her associates and her lifelong collaborators, and those who have supported her from the beginning in her rise to Downing Street. Outside are those who have dared to make the slightest criticism or consider potential enemies, such as her rival Rishi Sunak, relegated to a simple deputy.
It is the most racially diverse cabinet and government in UK history. The Minister of Economy, Kwasi Kwarteng, has origins in Ghana; the Foreign Minister, James Cleverly, in the Ivory Coast; Business, Nadhim Zahawi, in Iraq; the Environment Minister, Ranil Jayawardena, in Sri Lanka; International Trade, Kemi Badenoch, in Nigeria; and that of Interior, Suella Braverman, in the Indian community of the Mauritius Islands. But ideologically it is uniform, and very right-wing, with more politicians educated in private schools than ever before. And there is no portfolio for Women's Affairs.
Truss hasn't had time to breathe. The day after she was sworn into office, she was already pushed into the ring, to debate with the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer. In the Commons parliamentary control session, she made it clear where the shots are going to go. There where her rival proposed more State, she less. Instead of taxes on the profits of energy companies (200,000 million euros), less tax burden. Instead of fighting inequality (in Europe, only Bulgaria surpasses the United Kingdom), growth.
Truss is a libertarian who, on economic issues, is further to the right than Johnson – an authoritarian populist who wanted to equalize the regions of the country – and Theresa May – who believed in compassion. She is ideologically averse to government intervention, she affirms the "greatness" of Britain and considers criticism unpatriotic. She is a Brexit and free market Bolshevik, from the wing of the party that she believes, like Reagan, that the state does more harm than good but unfortunately people seek her protection. That neoliberal theories have not failed, but have not been applied well. And that the problem of the Tories is that they have not been “conservative enough”. The question is whether or not her ideas respond to the zeitgeist, the spirit of the time.