Don’t just blame Liz Truss

Over on UnHerd, historian Robert Saunders makes a good point about Liz Truss:

The danger for the Conservative Party is that it turns to one of two comforting myths to explain the Truss debacle. One loads the blame entirely onto Truss, insisting that “the notes were right. It’s just that they were in the wrong order”. The same think-tanks who had hailed Truss’s rise to power now likened her to a “hubristic, or crazy, or incompetent” chef, who had bungled their “perfect and delicious” “recipe“. A second myth blames a “Remainer coup“, driven by the “anti-growth coalition” and “the Remainer elite“; a “very British coup” propelled by a “pushback against democracy“.

The reality is more prosaic. Truss was the product, not the source, of her party’s problems. She embodied a Conservatism that embraced creative destruction, that was dismissive of caution and contemptuous of institutions, that prized ideology over experience and regarded opposing voices as heresies to be burned out; a Conservatism that had ceded power to irresponsible think-tanks, contrarian newspaper columnists and a dwindling party membership.

Though I disagree with the very final point in that quote – having party members elect their party leaders isn’t a perfect system but it’s better than the alternatives – the basic point is a sound one. Liz Truss may have been exceptionally unsuccessful as Prime Minister but it wasn’t a solo failure. She became Prime Minister, despite her flaws, because of the actions of many others. The blame is shared with them.

You can read the full post here.

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