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British politics

Truss may have the last laugh

Goldwater and Truss: conservative trailblazers? Getty

As evidenced in the 4,000-word opus she published over the weekend, Liz Truss has a distinct “lack of repentance” for her chaotic tenure as PM, says Martin Ivens in Bloomberg. But don’t let that obscure “the hard kernel of her critique of the economic establishment”. Should Britain really be “resigned in perpetuity” to the low growth we have struggled with since 2008? Will the highest taxes in 75 years usher in a “new era of prosperity”? Certainly, Truss’s cure for these ills was “too violent”. But many unhappy Tories think “her diagnosis was fundamentally correct”.

Truss’s successor, Rishi Sunak, “seems intent on squeezing inflation out of the system at any cost”. But Britain is the only member of the G7 to be raising taxes in the face of a recession, even though our debt levels are lower than any of the group bar Germany. And Sunak’s “fiscally orthodox regime” has added to the worst fall in disposable income since 1956, cementing the Tories’ dire showing in opinion polls. Truss could be correct when she likens herself to Barry Goldwater, the small-state Republican presidential candidate who was “routed” in the 1964 election but laid the ground for Ronald Reagan’s victories on a similar platform. If the Conservatives lose the next election, the party may well adopt the “low-tax, light-touch” approach that Truss championed. She could “have the last laugh yet”.