MOSCOW, October 4 – Novosti, Mikhail Katkov. In Birmingham, Britain, a Conservative convention is taking place that does not bode well for them. Liz Truss, who was elected party leader and prime minister just a month ago, is plummeting. Why the UK cannot get out of a protracted crisis – in the material of Novosti.
According to the Opinium research center, in the last week of September, the popularity of the Conservatives fell by seven points, to 27 percent, while Labor, on the contrary, added to 46. Truss herself is even worse: a fall from 25 to 18 percent and an increase in the number of dissatisfied with her from 34 to 55. As noted by The Guardian, even Boris Johnson’s predecessor was in a better position on the eve of his resignation. Reuters writes that Truss achieved in a week the same “disgusting” confidence indicators that Theresa May and Johnson have been going for for several years.
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein –
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
And the leader of the Labor Party, Cyrus Starmer, is supported more and more in the country. According to the latest polls, 35 percent of Britons consider him the best candidate for prime minister. At the same time, 18 percent of those who voted for the conservatives in 2019 are now ready to support their opponents.
The big discontent among voters was caused by the law on decrease in the maximum rate of surtax from 45 to 40 percent for those who earn more than 150 thousand pounds sterling a year. As a result, the treasury will miss about 45 billion, which London plans to borrow from international financial organizations. However, Truss has been criticized by the IMF for widening the social gap between rich and poor. In addition, the fund warned of a high risk of driving up inflation.
Truss’ declaration of intent alone was enough to equalize the exchange rate of the British currency and the dollar. The last time the pound was this cheap was in 1985. About 75 percent of Britons believe that the Conservative Party has lost control over the economic situation in the country. In particular, this opinion is shared by 71 percent of voters who voted for the Tories three years ago.
Nevertheless, Truss does not intend to abandon economic reform. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, she said that the government simply could not explain to people all the advantages of such a policy, but this is fixable. And she stressed that the decision was made personally by the head of the Ministry of Finance Kwazi Kvarteng. However, in the escalation of the crisis, in her opinion, it is not the British authorities who are to blame, but Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Sit down and that’s enough
Under Conservative rules, a leader cannot be removed from power in the first year of office, but according to The Guardian, the Tories are already thinking about how to get around the ban. One of the possible scenarios is the mass resignation of government members. The other is changing party laws.
Several former Tory ministers told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that Truss was a political corpse, but not everyone understands this yet. She needs to be dismissed as soon as possible so that in 2024 the party has a chance to win the parliamentary elections.
© AP Photo / Jane Barlow II
© AP Photo / Jane Barlow
Queen Elizabeth II and Liz Truss
Conservative MP Rob Powell told Sky News that the government’s announcement of the reform plan was a “stupid show” and Truss must be got rid of before it’s too late. A total of 12 Tory deputies publicly expressed dissent. The unofficial leader of this group was the former Minister of Housing, Regional Development and Local Government Michael Gove.
So far no candidates for replacing Truss have been discussed, but the media consider her the main rival of Rishi Sunak, who lost the internal party elections. He does not participate in the conference with Birmingham, but among the conservatives, only the lazy does not compare him with the current prime minister. “Sunak’s invisible presence will be constantly felt at the convention,” notes the European branch of the American publication Politico.
Betting companies still do not write off Boris Johnson. According to polls, 48 percent of conservative-minded Britons believe that he would be a better prime minister than Truss. And in the party itself, there are many who remember Johnson with warmth, because with his help the Tories defeated Labor in the parliamentary elections in 2019. The ex-premier is a ready-made alternative. Another thing is that his return may finally bury the reputation of the Conservative Party – after all, they themselves got rid of him quite recently under public pressure.
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Game for money
The parliamentary opposition, led by Cyrus Starmer, is calling for unity to thwart Truss reform, which he calls a “threat to the national economy” and “playing for the British money.” The shadow government (the opposition cabinet of ministers) believes that the implementation of the prime minister’s plan, which is nothing more than reckless economic self-flagellation, should be immediately stopped.
A passionate admirer of Margaret Thatcher, Truss decided to carry out radical neoliberal reforms, explains Lyudmila Babynina, senior researcher at the Department of European Integration Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “In addition to tax cuts for the super-rich, she wants to launch mass privatization and raise the key rate. Truss hopes to attract investment to the country. But ordinary Britons are sure that because of such a policy, jobs will be cut and prices will rise. The scale of the personality does not allow her to become the second Thatcher “, says the expert.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1987
Most likely, Truss will not sit in the prime minister’s chair until 2024, believes Natalya Eremina, professor at the Department of European Studies at the Faculty of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University. “She was chosen by the party, not ordinary citizens. This deprives Truss of the legitimacy that, for example, Johnson had. The Tory decision did not initially find universal support among the British. The situation worsened even more after Truss completely failed tax policy – one of the strongest tendencies of the conservatives. Their electorate began to realize that both the prime minister and the entire cabinet of ministers, which she formed, are not coping with their duties.”
However, it cannot be said that the days of Truss are already numbered, experts interviewed by Novosti clarify. In the past, she has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to adapt to the situation, and this time, too, she can find the extreme, on whom she will blame the unpopular reform. In addition, there are no those who would like to take the prime minister’s chair, and not just criticize the current head of government. There are very few people in the British political elite who want to govern the country in the conditions of a severe economic and political crisis.
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