BFP10: 17.10~23.10 The lettuce won
As many expected, the Daily Star’s lettuce outlasted Liz Truss as PM. At least British humour is on top form right now. The same cannot be said for its government. The chaos of the past few weeks means the country is headed for even worse problems than it was a few weeks ago. The rest of the world looks on in horror or delight. Liz Truss will soon be replaced by a new prime minister. She enters the record books as the shortest ever occupant of 10 Downing St. Alec Douglas-Home, who served as prime minister for 363 days in 1963-64, was once described as a punctuation mark in the history of prime ministers. Liz Truss might just earn the right to be a tittle (the dot above the i) in that same history. The political and economic cost of her premiership mean it’s a dot that’s left a deep imprint.
Here then are my British Foreign Policy 10 from the week when Liz Truss declared she was a ’fighter not a quitter’ and then quit the next day: 10 of the best reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. that I’ve added to my Zotero database this past week.
Last week there were several claims the UK has sunk to the status of an ‘emerging market’ Over in the New Statesman, John Elledge argues ‘Britain is not an emerging market – it’s worse than that.’
The last few weeks have been the culmination of an 11 year project that has fused Brexit with libertarianism, argues Emilio Casalicchio and Jack Blanchard over at Politico. Does this mean the libertarian agenda is dead? Not a chance. The beliefs are deeply embedded in parts of the Tory party and the deep structural problems facing Britain mean the solution of turning the UK into a ‘Singapore on Thames’ will inevitably reemerge. ‘The Brexit cult that blew up Britain.’
Philip Stephens argues that the Tory’s obsession with Brexit has doomed them. ‘After Truss, there is no way back for the Conservatives’ (see this FT piece by Tim Bale for why its unlikely that the Tory party is completely doomed).
‘I look forward to who my new colleague will be — I think it will be number five,’ mused Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as reported by Politico. Schadenfreude? Yes, but also concern for a country that is a friend, ally, leading trade partner, and despite Brexit a core part of what it is to be European. ‘Quips, smiles (and concern) in the halls of Europe as Liz Truss resigns.’
Over on Politico, Monica Prasad thinks through the international lessons for those pursuing a tax cutting agenda. ‘Did Liz Truss Finally Kill the Tax Cut Zombie?’ (President Biden’s own dislike of Trussonomics was widely reported on)
Bronwen Maddox, Director of Chatham House, offers ideas for the way Britain can rebuild both itself and its international reputation. ‘After Truss, the UK can still rebuild its global reputation.’
Brian Klass at the Atlantic argues the UK’s political chaos is nothing compared to that of the USA. If anything, the way Truss was disposed of shows British democracy functioning better than that of the USA. ‘What Happened to Liz Truss Can’t Happen Here.’
Could the chaos of the past few weeks and the mounting longer-term economic damage from Brexit pave the way for closer UK-EU relations? Peter Foster in the FT reports on work by the Tony Blair institute showing Britons have warmed to pragmatic closer relations with the EU but not to joining either the EEA or EU. ‘British public supports reset in relations with Brussels, poll finds.’ The full report can be found at the Tony Blair Institute.
Staying with the FT, this week they released a 30 minute film looking at the full costs of Brexit so far. ‘The Brexit effect: how leaving the EU hit the UK’.
And finally… nuclear war. At least that’s what some think UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was discussing in a series of ‘mysterious’ meetings in Washington. ‘Ukraine war: Mysterious defence secretary trip to Washington amid fears of Russian escalation.’