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UK politics

“Mad, bad and dangerous”

Kwarteng and Truss at the Tory party conference yesterday. Leon Neal/Getty

“The only sort of leader more dangerous than the rogue the UK used to have is the zealot it has now,” says Martin Wolf in the FT. It’s ironic. Die-hard free marketeers like Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng see “the market” as a god – but the actual markets have rebuffed them, with investors fleeing sterling and UK government bonds. Truss’s “growth plan” is like a magical potion – she says “abracadabra” and suddenly we have 2.5% annual growth. “Such dreams might be amusing if they were not so perilous.”

And even if they were successful, what good would they do? Oxford Economics, a consultancy, estimates that Truss’s plan might deliver a meagre 0.4% growth – in five years’ time. “The mountain labours and brings forth a mouse.” In reality, this is not a growth plan but a plan for inequality and insecurity. It will reinforce the government’s desire to cut welfare and public services, which would benefit the rich at the expense of the poor in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. The Tories, as one commentator puts it, “have become unmoored from the British people”. They have also savaged the credibility of UK institutions – institutions which are the “bulwark” of our civilisation. The Conservative Party used to understand this. No longer. “These people are mad, bad and dangerous. They have to go.”

🤦‍♀️🎩 “I knew Truss would be bad,” says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, “but I didn’t imagine she’d be this bad.” Listening to her interviews, you realise there’s simply nothing there: no real understanding of economics or of politics. “Why couldn’t she have stayed in the Lib Dems?” For if the Tories have any consolation, “it is that Truss is quite clearly not one of them. She is a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party libertarian who is seemingly incapable of distinguishing between the asinine shibboleths of her creed and real life, where things happen differently.”