Liz Truss's Conservative party conference speech needs to give a worried nation hope – Scotsman comment

In 2014, Liz Truss gave her most memorable Conservative party conference speech to date, in which she railed against high imports of apples, pears and cheese. “That. Is. A. Disgrace,” she said, looking more angry than anyone expected, before appearing strangely delighted that she would be “opening up new pork markets” in Beijing later that year.

Liz Truss does not appear to have learned from the crisis created by her Chancellor's 'mini-budget' (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Liz Truss does not appear to have learned from the crisis created by her Chancellor's 'mini-budget' (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The speech was so bizarre that it ‘went viral’, as they say, and not in a good way.

Today, the newly installed Prime Minister faces the challenge of delivering a speech that will give hope to a worried nation and convince her many doubters that she is up to the job.

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She will need to demonstrate she has learned from her mistakes since taking office, has a clear plan to deal with the growing cost-of-living crisis, and quell the growing unrest among Conservative MPs, likened to an attempted “coup” by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

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However, judging by excerpts of the speech, it will contain yet more empty rhetoric about creating a “new Britain for a new era” and growing the “economic pie… so that everyone gets a bigger slice”.

Truss will also signal that – despite soaring inflation and energy prices and the crisis created by her Chancellor’s mini-budget – she plans to press ahead with her reckless plans for the economy. “Whenever there is change, there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour,” she will warn.

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There were also worrying signs from Braverman, who claimed the benefits system needed “a bit more stick” to encourage people to work. Even metaphorically, talking about beating the poorest people – those who have long experienced the harsh realities of in-work poverty and now face a bitter winter on the breadline – is hard to stomach.

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Tim Montgomerie, creator of the ConservativeHome website, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday that the Conservative party “really has a choice of being a joke or dead – dead under a leader who can’t win the next election or a joke because we have yet another leadership election”.

It was easy to laugh at Truss in 2014, but for millions of people across the country today’s speech really matters. She should lay out a comprehensive plan for a country in crisis. Failure to do so will not be remotely funny.

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