As the Conservative Party descends into chaos again following Liz Truss’s resignation, can we draw any lessons from the failure of her plans for the economy? How should we understand the now-abandoned ‘Trussonomics’? And could it have made any real economic difference, if it had been given the chance?
One lesson is that whoever emerges as the next prime minister is unlikely to solve our problems. This is not just a reflection on the individuals involved. Any new leader, regardless of their economic insights and thoughts, is likely to be caught in the stranglehold of Westminster. Over several decades, the political class has absorbed the undemocratic notion that governance is a process of delivery, rather than of leading and persuading people about how things might be changed for the better.
Truss’s government failed to understand that the only audience that it should be accountable to is the electorate, not the fetishised ‘financial markets’, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). Not that Truss or her legion of critics understood this.
The fatal flaw of Truss’s brief administration is that having sensed that a growth plan would be disruptive, Truss and her team failed to lead the UK through those great upheavals. They failed to bring the people with them. This was a dereliction of democratic duty. People aren’t going to put up with ‘disruption’ as an edict from Downing Street. They can’t be expected to just go along with it. They need to understand the reasons for the economic tumult. Ultimately, they need to understand why it is necessary to reorganise and rebuild production anew.
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