The sequence has become familiar to British eyes. Technicians quickly install a light wooden desk in front of 10 Downing Street, a wall of cameras is set up, the famous black varnished door opens on a serious-faced leader, who announces his departure…
In June 2016, a few days after the vote in favor of Brexit, David Cameron bowed out without an apology. In May 2019, Theresa May wiped away a tear. More recently, on July 7, 2022, surrounded by scandals, Boris Johnson barely contained his spite. This Thursday, October 20, it was the turn of Liz Truss to announce her resignation, in her somewhat robotic way, without apparent emotion. Dropped by the deputies of his own camp, the Prime Minister broke a humiliating record, that of the shortest mandate in modern history of the United Kingdom: forty-four days.
On Friday, October 28, the country should discover the name of its third conservative prime minister in three months, after an expeditious internal primary. Provided that the tories manage to agree, which is not completely guaranteed. The formation is undermined by divisions, the lack of ideas and the absence of new heads after twelve years of government.
And the movement does not stop at 10 Downing Street. The British, who are facing an unprecedented purchasing power crisis – with inflation of 10.1% in September and energy bills of several thousand pounds a year – have also probably lost count of their chancellors of the Exchequer: we are at the fourth finance minister in four months!
A budget deemed unrealistic
But what happened to British politics, to its reputation for stability and moderation, to its venerable Parliament, tossed about in convulsions at an accelerating pace since Brexit? “This crisis is the most serious since the end of the Second World War”, judged, Thursday on the BBC, the historian Anthony Seldon – even worse than that of Suez in 1956, a terrible humiliation which signed the end of the dreams of greatness of the country.
The mandate of Liz Truss certainly did not start under the best auspices. On September 5, the day of her appointment, Boris Johnson’s foreign minister, candidate for the right of the Tories, had tweeted a little quickly, “I am ready to hit the ground [ « Je suis prête à m’écraser »] » instead of “I am ready to hit the ground running [« je vais me mettre durement à la tâche »] ». A slip, but this dogmatic at least of State and taxes did not believe so well to say.
You have 69.69% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.