The Queen is buried, business is in full swing for Liz Truss

The Queen is buried, business is in full swing for Liz Truss

The Downing Street debut will not have been what Liz Truss, who was appointed two days before the death of Elizabeth II, had hoped. The sovereign, who has now been buried, is running at full speed again, between a diplomatic marathon and a cost-of-living crisis.

On September 8, Liz Truss had been in office for 48 hours when she slipped off the benches in Westminster shortly after a long-awaited speech in Parliament on energy bills. A few hours later she is informed: The Queen is dead.

For twelve days, commemoration and stirring put an end to all political life. Strikes are suspended, opposition is muted, the government is focused on organizing gigantic funerals, while the economic and social crisis rocking the country calls for “immediate action”, according to the prime minister.

After this false start, Liz Truss wants to act quickly. She called her government last week to prepare for her second return to school, and just hours after the monarch’s funeral, she flew to New York and the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

– Biden and Northern Ireland –

On her first trip abroad in her new role, the Prime Minister will meet US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

She will talk to him about Ukraine, the energy crisis but also the situation in Northern Ireland amidst a political impasse due to post-Brexit regulations in the British countryside.

Faced with the blockade, Liz Truss, while still head of diplomacy, introduced legislation to unilaterally alter these agreements negotiated with the European Union. But at the risk of alienating Brussels, Dublin and Washington, for whom any change to the text would weaken peace on the island.

During a strike at London’s Waterloo train station on August 18, 2022 (AFP/Archives – CARLOS JASSO)

The US President, who has Irish roots, has often criticized Boris Johnson’s handling of the issue, and his government is closely watching Liz Truss’ first steps amid press speculation of further escalation.

Alongside Joe Biden, Liz Truss has exchanges with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Emmanuel Macron after she refused to say whether France was a “friend” or “enemy” of the UK this summer .

– Taxes and premiums –

Brits are awaiting Liz Truss above all on the economy, even more so after a summer of virtual power vacuums in which the resigning Boris Johnson left the burning issues to his successor.

The Queen is buried, business is in full swing for Liz Truss
Striking postal workers in north London, September 8, 2022 (AFP/Archives – Justin TALLIS)

The Prime Minister has already promised a freeze on household energy bills and inflation is back below 10% (9.9% yoy in August) but Britain is still experiencing its worst crisis in decades.

On Wednesday, the government plans to announce a plan to help companies. Thursday, a major program for the NHS, the free public health system on the brink of collapse. And on Friday, Liz Truss promised a first wave of massive tax cuts to seduce the Conservative electorate.

As a fervent liberal on the economic front and proud heir to Margaret Thatcher, she wants to crack down on deregulation, wants to abolish bankers’ bonuses, according to the press, or even relax anti-obesity laws for the sale of obesity candy.

To the chagrin of the opposition, she ruled out extending a special tax on energy companies accused of discouraging investment at the expense of energy security.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer in London on September 12, 2022 (POOL/AFP/Archives - Markus Schreiber)
British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer in London on September 12, 2022 (POOL/AFP/Archives – Markus Schreiber)

An argument difficult to uphold with Labor – who are holding their annual congress this weekend – and Britons drowning in bills, national mourning or not.

The death of Elizabeth II eclipsed everything else from the headlines, crisis like the death of Chris Kaba, a black man, killed by a police officer in early September, and revived the – incomprehensible in the context – debate on racism in London Police.

But the ceasefire is over: the strikes, which have been multiplying for several months, should start again.

Train drivers have already confirmed that they intend to resume their strike – suspended following the death of Elizabeth II – from October, while other social movements in the areas of transport, health or education are planned.


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