Saturday 15 October 2022

Liz Truss in quotations

I am praying that Liz Truss goes quickly. The MPs during the endless campaign who said she was useless were understating it.

A quotation that came into my head and everyone else's was James Carville musing: “I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”

Liz Truss’s Thatcherism is explained by Carl Schmitt's observation, “An historical truth is true only once.”

And then there's Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them…well, I have others.”

And Mike Tyson: "Everybody has a plan till you hit them in the mouth".

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, returning to London from the IMF meeting a day early, learnt about his sacking on Twitter, which reminded me of Lord Chancellor Kilmuir, who heard about his dismissal from the woolsack on the wireless.

Kilmuir: You have given me less notice than I would a housekeeper.
Harold Macmillan: But good housekeepers are so hard to find.

Kilmuir was one of seven cabinet ministers whom Macmillan fired that day, which led Jeremy Thorpe famously to say:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life".

Thorpe scored a palpable hit with that but was later accused of hiring a hitman to murder one of his friends, something Supermac would not have done.

Professor Matthew Goodwin, opinion pollster: “These numbers mean that Liz Truss is more unpopular than Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn ever were – she is basically in what I would call Prince Andrew territory.”

The Daily Express today:

"But for a woman who models herself on Margaret Thatcher of "the lady is not for turning" fame, Ms Truss has proven less an iron lady and more a woman of straw blown and buffeting in the winds of events.

"Her press conference lasted just eight minutes. Throughout the Prime Minister appeared to be on the verge of tears. She then just allowed four questions before fleeing the room at 9 Downing Street to bunker down again next door."

Matthew Parris on August 19:

"In Times columns I’ve offered my first impressions of this candidate. They were that she was intellectually shallow, her convictions wafer-thin; that she was driven by ambition pure and simple; that her manner was wooden and her ability to communicate convincingly to an electorate wider than the narrow band of Tory activists was virtually non-existent; that she was dangerously impulsive and headstrong, with a self-belief unattended by precaution; and that her leadership of the Conservative Party and our country would be a tragedy for both. “There’s nothing there,” I wrote last December, “nothing beyond a leaping self-confidence that’s almost endearing in its wide-eyed disregard for the forces of political gravity.” I likened any decision to follow Johnson with Truss to the doner kebab which, after a night on the tiles, momentarily seems like a good idea — until you open the bread pouch.

"...Stick to your first impressions. Liz Truss is a planet-sized mass of overconfidence and ambition teetering upon a pinhead of a political brain. It must all come crashing down.

"...She's crackers. It won't work."

Matthew Parris is of course right. 

Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer today ends a dull article rather cleverly:

"I think she’s finished. The outstanding question is how they will finish her off. It won’t be a regicide. 

"It will be an act of euthanasia."


  1. She is indeed awful and the MPs who actually voted for her more so. What is additionally tragic is Hunt being given Chancellor.

  2. I don't see the point of getting rid of Truss, just as I wasn't particularly keen to get rid of Johnson. Yes, she is atrocious, as he was, but who else do they have? The calibre of MPs is so low that I can't think of a single one of them who could reliably run a bath, let alone a country.
    Kilmuir was replaced by the ghastly Reginald Bullying-Manner, a possible model for Anthony Powell's Widmerpool. It is difficult to imagine that he was much of an improvement.

  3. Sunak, the man who triggered the Tory meltdown and created the debt pile that is sinking us, is behind the hate being directed at Truss.

  4. Who ever dreamed that the EU would be happy to be rid of the United Kingdom? It's probably a relief to have a bit of distance from the ongoing drama.

  5. Actually the turmoil in the bond markets might overflow.

  6. One should only ever hire hitmen to murder one's enemies. One's friends, one prefers to murder oneself. It's the personal touch, like sending handwritten thank-you notes.

    From Hill to Mills he stabbed all seven,
    While Bullying-Manna fell from Heaven.
    He used long knives to prune the weeds,
    Replacing them with Noble Deedes.
    The crofter's grandson wasn't soft:
    He found himself a Thorneycroft.

    1. Thorneycroft the last man to speak in Belgravia cockney, a la Lord Peter Wimsey. I loved Deedes and Thorneycroft. I am not old. I remember them from the 1980s not early 60s.


    2. 'Of all the troubles in this life/ The worst is David Maxwell-Fife.'

  7. Some great quotations, Paul! I particularly love the Macmillan one.