And just like that, she’s gone…resigning after a mere 44 days as leader, making her the shortest-serving PM in the history of the UK. After dragging out the political turbulence which has overwhelmed her country for nearly an entire year, Liz Truss has left the building. Well, good riddance to her and her endless array of power suits!
Mind you, while I don’t feel sorry for Liz, I must say on some level, I’ve strangely got a teensy-weensy smidgen of respect for any woman who has such a remarkable capacity for trimming her sails to the prevailing political winds. I mean, remember how one-time remainer Liz, without even blinking an eyelid, proved that, unlike her so-called heroine Maggie Thatcher, the lady was definitely for turning, and, with the vehemence of a zealous convert, she unapologetically became a Brexiteer!
Remember how she campaigned hard to secure a job which we now know she was manifestly unqualified to take…yet she took it! Remember how, so confident she knew best, Liz appeared not to bother asking for the support of her cabinet, even (it seems) shunning all advice from the Office for Budget Responsibility, resulting in the nation she led plunging to the brink of recession. Well readers, she did promise them ‘a new era’ and, wearing my pedantic hat, I’d have to say…she didn’t lie!
Remember how, merely a wet day in the job, Truss, with the petulance of a rebellious teenager, not only violated public spending curbs, she sent the pound spiralling to its lowest value against the US dollar, forcing the Bank of England to make a mortifying and historic intervention. What a massive misfire that was! Yes folks, when I look at all the evidence of those 44 days, it seems to me that, given her actions, Lizzy was possibly more in love with the idea of being the PM than she was of actually taking care of business.
‘A new era’ was born alright, but it was clearly the wrong era, and I have to say the Maggie Thatcher wannabe’s wounds are not just deep, they’re self-inflicted because she has, quite literally, got nobody to blame but herself and her massive ego.
Her reign was not simply a fiasco, it was an unmitigated disaster. Indeed one might say that while her predecessor Boris Johnson’s leadership called into question the Tory party’s propriety and decency, Liz’s reign did the same for its capability and competence. What a mess.
Last week, by the end of her tenure, Liz’s popularity levels were mortifyingly plummeting faster than Vladimir Putin’s. Don’t believe me? According to a YouGov poll, Truss was at minus 70 per cent with Putin standing at minus 84 – if that statistic had continued to decline, she’d quite possibly have overtaken the invading little despot before the month was out! How humiliating.
And now, having driven away any friends and allies (remember how she jettisoned long-time pal Kwasi Kwarteng) who’d tried to advise and warn her, Truss was, last week, still trying to front it out, insisting, against all proof, the she was right and it was merely the implementation of her plan that was wrong.
However, despite her massive fizz-up, and her spectacular fall from grace, Lizzy won’t go without. Even though she only spent just over a month in the role, Truss, like all former British PMs will, under the Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA), be eligible to claim the enviable sum of Stg£115,000 per year; that’s €131,828.00 to you and me! I don’t know about you readers, but I believe incentives should only be given out as a reward for good performance, and not for making massive foul-ups.
I’ve no doubt, moving forward, that Anglo-Irish relations will remain challenging, however I hope Rishi Sunak (our neighbour’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer, now newly-declared leader) has a more, let’s say mature, competent and stabilising effect than Ms Truss, especially when it comes to matters regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.
If you’re feeling anxious, please take PJ’s advice…
Back in 2005 when he was just starting out playing the character of struggling musician ‘Whistling Jake Stevens’ on TV’s Naked Camera, I invited the then relatively unknown comedian PJ Gallagher to be my ‘Man Friday’ guest on RTE’s The Afternoon Show.
As we chatted, we bonded over our mutual love of dogs, motorbikes, and ‘stuff’, much of which was personal and nobody’s business.
However, it was because PJ was so genuine and because I liked him so much, that I watched last Friday’s Late Late Show interview with a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and four dogs sleeping on my lap.
I hoped Ryan Tubridy would not interrupt this man with a barrage of questions as he poured his heart out to the nation. Indeed I hoped that, rather than being constrained by the show’s running-order deadline, Ryan would allow his guest the space to deliver his story in his own way, and in his own time.
I can only imagine how challenging it must have been for PJ to speak so candidly and so bravely about his struggles with mental health and his “overwhelming anxiety that kept building and building and building”. Indeed, while I found it particularly distressing when PJ revealed, “I really didn’t want to live anymore”, I took comfort in the fact he pointed out how he had, and still has, a fantastic support network; one which he said quite literally saved his life.
PJ’s revelations were not only brave and raw, they were also inspirational. With that in mind, as we all deserve to be happy and we all deserve to treat ourselves with compassion and humanity, can I urge those who are feeling anxious or having an ‘off day’ to please do what PJ did and seek help from those who love and care for you?
We all experience bouts of anxiety and unhappiness in our lives, (and in some ways this can be a positive thing because it alerts us to possible danger), but when these feelings start to overwhelm us, we should all take PJ’s advice – which is to “Talk, open your mouth”. You can do this by chatting to a trusted friend, family member, work colleague or your doctor. You can also call the Samaritans anytime on 116 123.
Can we afford these late opening hours?
Earlier this week Justice Minister Helen McEntee brought a memo to Cabinet seeking to ‘modernise’ our nation’s antiquated licensing laws. Woo hoo…about time someone dragged us into the 21st century!
These new laws will now be standardised across seven days of the week, allowing pubs to open from 10.30 am to 12.30 am. They will also allow nightclubs to have the option to remain open until 6 am, although there’s a requirement that no alcohol should be served after 5 am; but hey, we can still have the craic and dance ‘till we drop up to 6 am!
I believe this move to be progressive, but I do kind of wish it had been made when I was younger and capable of diving head-first into a nice cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc while doing the Macarena. I’m also wondering where Helen McEntee expects people to find the money to spend on these extra hours of craic, deoch agus rince, when we’re all struggling to keep up with our ever-increasing energy bills?
I don’t wish to sound like the typical party bore, but wouldn’t it be better if the Government helped families battling with the cost of living – rather than seducing us to spend the little we have drinking and dancing ourselves dizzy ‘till dawn?