After just 38 days, new PM Truss sacks finance minister


Liz Truss is not radical and certainly not a political outsider, but her very slight deviation from political norms and Treasury orthodoxy has been punished so harshly by the markets and the media in just 38 days that we are witnessing the unedifying spectacle of a brand new Prime Minister throwing his brand new Chancellor to the wolves to save himself.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng rushed from Washington DC to London on Friday morning for what were euphemistically called “emergency talks” to be sacked by the Prime Minister, reports the BBC. At 38 days, Kwarteng is the shortest-serving Chancellor of the Exchequer since Iain Macleod in 1970, who was rushed to hospital the same day as his maiden speech and later died of a heart attack exactly one month after his appointment.

It is reported that Truss will follow this defenestration of his top government lieutenant, one of his oldest political allies, with a major increase in corporate tax from 19% to, it is said, up to 25%. . It’s the demolition of the Truss-Kwarteng cut the government and go for growth strategy that is barely six weeks old.

As if the previous massive U-turn on cutting the top punitive tax rate for higher income earners hadn’t already happened, today’s events – sacking the most important government minister to carry out her government’s stated vision, and seemingly making more tax U-turns at the same time – likely marks the end of the Truss era.

Even if she limps away as prime minister for the next few weeks, months, or even until the next general election in 2024, her bid to run the country slightly differently from the former prime minister has been utterly crushed. That one of the names being floated to replace Kwarteng is covid-era globalist tyrant Sajid Javid underscores just how much the establishment is settling on Truss.

While Truss was not the leader the majority of Tory MPs wanted – they preferred to replace tainted Boris Johnson with his tainted left arm Rishi Sunak – the fact remains that Truss was really barely noticeable from most other candidates. Former Liberal and opponent of Brexit, while she talked a lot about tax cuts, it was only to return to levels seen in very recent history, or to prevent the introduction of further announced tax hikes by the previous government.

Genuine radicals who would have dramatically changed the direction of the UK government in a new direction like Tom Tugendhat from the left and Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch from the right have been blocked from making the final cut by MPs.

But nevertheless, Truss and Kwarteng tried to move the dial slightly. The reaction to the moderate tax cuts has been abject horror from central bankers, the financial establishment and the establishment media, the same institutions that unhesitatingly waved colossal, uncosted spending at the coronavirus era.

For some, Truss and Kwarteng had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: the Treasury was mismanaged for many years and now, unable to withstand external shocks from rampant spending and borrowing, the blow Hammer of Covid- Ukraine is bringing down the house of cards just as it tries to start tackling the problem. Allister Heath in The telegraph — a neighboring Conservative Party newspaper — notes, for example:

For years, the global economy has looked like a ridiculously high-stakes game of Jenga. Politicians and central bankers continued to take turns removing blocks from the tower, adding them to the top of the pile and congratulating themselves on their brilliance… While nearly everyone in Britain remained in denial, [Truss and Kwarteng] correctly identified this absurd game for what it really was, warned it was about to implode, and pledged to replace it with a more honest system…

Contrary to propaganda from the left, they did not crush the economy – it was on the verge of collapse anyway – but they had the misfortune to rush and hasten the day of reckoning. They’ve been outwitted by better and more ruthless players, and are now being wrongly blamed for all that’s wrong with the economy while the real culprits try to get away with it.

Read more from Heath at the Daily Telegraph

Then again, while Truss clearly represents a slightly different path for the Tories – one of his own party colleagues quite loudly rejects and even actively plots against – there is no escaping the fact that the Tories have failed, approaching 13 of government, to competently manage the national budget, promote growth and reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses.

Brexit’s Nigel Farage, who at the start of the Truss government told Breitbart News critics should give him a chance to hold his rhetoric – then backtracked days later when it became immediately clear she would not hold not at all – embodies this view, and calls for radical change to save the country. He said on Friday:

The great U-turn is approaching. Yes, it will increase corporate tax to 25%, to make us completely uncompetitive. [It’s] totally anti-conservative. Kwasi Kwarteng will go, he was just following his instructions. It no longer has any validity. 12 years of Conservative mismanagement. We need a realignment of British politics under a new electoral system. This lot has betrayed us, let us down completely and completely, we become the laughingstock of the world.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain now. Whether it’s bad timing or incompetence, the fiery end of the Truss era at the hands of the media and the financial establishment means – tragically for anyone who recognizes that the system is deeply broken and needs of top-to-bottom reform – Treasury orthodoxy, the blob, the status quo or whatever you want to call it has won and the hope for meaningful change is dead, probably for a generation.




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