Well, today caught me totally off guard – I tuned into the live stream of today’s debate at the House of Commons but had to turn it off because I felt sympathy with Liz Truss! I know right? I can’t believe that I’m writing it as much as you can’t probably believe that you’re reading it. Let me explain though.
So a quick recap as to where we are within the 2022 political timeframe – we’re just over a month into Liz Truss’ appointment as Prime Minister. In that time Parliament was suspended for 10 days out of respect for the Queen, who happened to die the day after appointing Ms Truss to the position. Then as soon as business resumed, Ms Truss’s Chancellor, the hapless Kwasi Kwateng, a long-standing friend of the PM, launched a “fiscal event” straight into the public eye clearly not having done enough or indeed any due diligence about the impact of their economic package.
The pound plummeted, the Bank of England jumped in to try and settle the markets, Kwasi & Liz stood side by side like Batman and Robin with no capes and no masks, adamant that their way was the right way, only for interest rates to rise further, the pound plummeted some more, and they slowly started back-tracking on their masterplan as bit by bit they started to attempt to change the past.
Long story short, it didn’t work, they were trying to stick a band-aid on a gushing wound of self-harm that they had inflicted on the country. Kwasi got fired for implementing everything that rural Tories had voted Liz in for. Everybody started to call for her resignation, and the Tories parachuted Jeremy Hunt in to try and stem the flow of blood. In fact what he did was implement Liz’s rival’s policies, leaving Liz looking somewhat foolish as those around her hurried to try and bury the evidence.
There is clearly so much more to this than the above – but just know it was an almighty mess and it seems perfectly clear to everyone around that Liz is on her way out, and unless there’s a miracle, she’s taking the entire party down with her. Meanwhile, nobody can truly celebrate the demise of the Tories as in turn they’ve taken the country with them.
So why I hear you cry did I end up feeling sorry for the architect of this disaster? Well today we saw her sit in the House of Commons for around 30 mins whilst the Tory parachutist mansplained his way out of the mess, which was just after her deputy had answered the question set by the leader of the opposition which was basically what the f**k are you doing and why don’t you resign?
Now I get that politicians have to have a suit of armour in order to deflect the criticism that they face on a daily basis. I get that for whatever reason our idea of democracy is a relatively small chamber where opposition parties literally holler, squalor and jeer back and fore at each other. There’s no decorum, there’s no respect, just a load of old boys’ noise which nobody has worked out sets a tone for the country of arrogance, as it’s clear that nobody is truly listening to what is being said.
In amongst that raucous noise stepped a clearly broken Liz Truss. Now once again – I am no fan of hers, nor a fan of the party that stupidly elevated her to a position that she was blatantly not good enough for, but elevate and inflate her ego they did. Yet here she was. Left with no pride as the “man” stepped in to help and mansplain the Tory way onto the steadier economic ground. She looked utterly broken. She knew that it was over, she knew that she had royally f**ked up the most important job in the land, but still they made her sit there. They did everything except put her in the stocks and throw rotten fruit at her.
Why didn’t they sack her this morning? Why did they allow her to enter the chamber at all? If she was insisting on it, where were the people around her to advise her not to?
Why did this resonate with me so much? I mean it genuinely upset me as it felt just so cruel. Then I realised.
Twice now in my life, I’ve been in a situation whereby the thing that meant the most to me (apart from my family of course), an entity that I had built up from nothing was taken away from me. Now, of course, the first time a minor miracle happened and it got saved, but as we were going through the process I didn’t know that it would get saved. I thought that I had lost everything (which of course, now I have). Each time was the same though – as the head of the organisation, I had to keep fronting it. As it slowly dawned on me that we might not make it, I had to hold that information whilst simultaneously putting on a front to make out that it was going to be OK.
I had to stand in front of people that I cared about, knowing that something was going badly wrong, but still, I had to front it out. As the ending was revealed I had to stand strong amongst the wreckage as it was my job to ensure that people “got out” as unscathed as possible, whilst knowing that there were casualties, but also whilst knowing that I had been critically injured.
As we sat in meetings with people that we owed money to I had to listen to all the various theories that they had about what went wrong, as god forbid they would just take our transparent narrative as fact. Of course, why should they? They were angry and felt hard done by. I couldn’t stop the meeting to explain what I was losing – I had to hold that all in and absorbed their pain and anger. That was my job. It was exhausting, as in truth I was also still reeling from the reality myself.
As the people around me started to mourn and cry about what was happening, I had to try and (metaphorically) hold and comfort them, as that was my job. I had spent 14 years building up a business that I was so incredibly proud of, in the past year I had allowed myself to hope that there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel. That a path to student funding would be found. That the college would build itself back up again. That maybe, just maybe, our life’s savings that I had at one point “loaned” to the college would be returned to me, securing my children’s future and finally relieving me of the worry of “what if we never get it back”? When suddenly we lost everything – but my position meant that I had to front it all out.
I have no doubt that Liz Truss believed that her approach was the right one. She didn’t want to bankrupt the UK, she didn’t want to sabotage her own party. So as hapless and useless as she’s been, I’d hazard a guess that her intentions were good. Today she looked like she was sitting there just racing through the events of the past month, working out at which point she’d really mucked it all up. How did she end up as public enemy number 1? I guess as PM there is an expectation that you “front it out” but my goodness it was hard to watch.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next and how much longer she’s going to be able to keep going – but I sincerely hope that her friends and family are holding her tight, as she’s going to need all the support that they can muster to get through the next few weeks.
As an aside though – it also made me think briefly how much of a narcissist Boris Johnson must be, as he’d sit there laughing and hollering with the rest of them, enjoying the sport, as his own reign spluttered to an embarrassing stop, but then I don’t think that he cared about anybody other than himself. I suspect that Liz probably does.
Finally for all those that will sit gloating about her demise and shouting that she brought it on herself, or throwing the spotlight onto the countless families and businesses destroyed by this government’s inept handling of literally everything. . . I hear you, but we can still acknowledge the human pain of everybody. . .even the Tory that created the political and economic maelstrom that we’re now all forced to navigate. It’s called empathy. If only our government had understood that concept eh?