Woeful Journalism

I avoid clicking into her articles on the app in case they count as reads. Breda O’Brien too.

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She was paid an advance of 1500 quid. Publisher not holding out for too much I reckon.

Ah go way. That’s sad. Where did you read that.

The Times I think. Yesterday

It may be some things, but sad isn’t one of them.

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Here you go, a bit spiteful I suppose but the raw material is there.

Ten Years to Save the West by Liz Truss review — as readable as a crisp packet

The former PM’s 300-page self-justification of her disastrous premiership is whingey, wooden and baffling

Patrick Maguire

Wednesday April 17 2024, 6.00am BST, The Times


Boris Johnson

Conservative Party

UK politics

Liz Truss

Liz Truss promotes her book on Fox News. She eventually turned it the right way round

Liz Truss promotes her book on Fox News. She eventually turned it the right way round




Challenge yourself with today’s puzzles.

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Puzzle thumbnail|autox40px


Puzzle thumbnail|autox40px


Yesterday morning Liz Truss went on Fox News to promote her new book. Convention, if not the basic aversion to shame and embarrassment that governs most interpersonal interaction, usually prevents most authors from admitting openly that they are on telly for the sole purpose of shifting copies and making money. Within half a second of her introduction to a no doubt bewildered US audience, however, Truss was brandishing Ten Years To Save the West for the camera. With this enthusiastic declaration of intent there was only one problem: it was back to front. She turned it round. The cover was upside down.

Eventually the former prime minister got there, still grinning vacantly, not quite acknowledging what had just happened. As a spectacle it was excruciating, but in its utter weirdness sort of compelling. And, to be fair to Truss, it turns out to have been the perfect advertisement for the experience that awaits anyone who reads this confused and confusing account of her journey from obscurity to notoriety.

At first it’s impossible to read. It jumps about a lot. Truss doesn’t seem to know what the book is doing. Then, finally, it ends up in something resembling the right place — with only the briefest hints that the author might bear some responsibility for the preceding ordeal. “I could write a whole book identifying what went wrong, complaining about the unfairness of it all and justifying the choices I made,” Truss declares at the outset of this 320-page yomp over the boggy ground of recent political history. A little later: “My purpose in writing this book is not to relitigate the battles of the past quarter of a century.” Surprise! That is precisely what she does.

Somehow, though, it is all worth enduring if you wish to understand what right-wing politics in Britain and beyond may yet become, and why. For anyone who cares about the future of the Conservative Party, Truss’s writing would be funny were it not so serious. For everyone else it will be funny — on a couple of occasions even consciously so — because its author is so serious, even after the abject humiliation of her 49-day premiership, which has reduced her 11 years of unbroken ministerial service under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson to a national joke.

Liz Truss’s book reveals a total absence of self-reflection



W GLS to nigdy nie jest tylko doręczenie

Przekraczając wielkie granice czy przemierzając małe miasteczka zawsze troszczymy się o Twoją przesyłkę na całej trasie do celu. Dokądkolwiek docieramy, jesteśmy blisko naszych klientów, a dostawa pod drzwi jest naszym priorytetem. Bo dla nas to nie są tylko paczki, to przesyłki od ludzi dla…


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Take this rallying cry for right-wingers to face down environmentalists whose green politics supposedly conceal their extreme-left politics: “The department and its officials had been hijacked by watermelon-oriented non-governmental organisations . . . It’s time conservatives fought back against the watermelons and called them out for the damage they’re doing.” Or this, on her first foray into the gender wars: “When I put out my tweet in 2018, I wasn’t expecting to be called up to fight on the front line of the equality debate, but I am glad I did it.” Woe is invariably Liz: “It’s not much fun being in the Foreign Office during Covid, when drinks receptions are cancelled and travel is replaced by Zoom calls.”

It is already difficult to take Truss seriously, and, as ever, she does not help herself. She chooses as her first vignette her observation of a school maths lesson in that most ignominious of locations: Wuhan, China. Dozens of pages on the British curriculum follow, most of them anodyne, but such is her disgrace that one spends them wondering whether she also spent the trip munching raw pangolin in a wet market and triggered the pandemic herself.

Kwasi Kwarteng was fired as chancellor by Truss after just 38 days


Nonetheless, this book poses some important questions. What drove this stalwart of Cameron’s modernisation project to introduce such a destructive economic programme as prime minister and call for Nigel Farage to be readmitted to the Conservative Party? Why did her government fail so spectacularly? Is she right to blame the technocrats of the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England, all of whom tend to look and think like one another, for constraining the power of democratically elected politicians?

What I cannot do is pretend you will enjoy the experience of finding out, or that her answers are easy to discern, or that they don’t contradict one another. To read Truss, the great self-publicist of her generation, bemoan leadership plotters and “a political establishment driven by short-term popularity, drifting on the prevailing winds of fashionable commentary” is like reading Benny Hill complain that too few people subscribe to Spare Rib.

In her introduction Truss insists she has not written a conventional political memoir. This broken promise, and the millenarian title, imply that Ten Years to Save the West is the sort of bracing polemic one would expect from a politician now marooned far adrift of establishment respectability. I wish it were. Instead Truss has managed to combine the more tedious hallmarks of both genres into a book that is for whole chapters readable only in the most literal sense of the word, like the ingredients on a crisp packet. At its worst it reads as if the publisher Biteback, which paid Truss an almost disrespectful advance of just over £1,500, asked ChatGPT to imagine Keith Joseph and Richard Littlejohn reading Wikipedia to one another.


This, believe it or not, is a shame. Her account of running for the Tory leadership after the fall of Johnson, against her husband’s advice, is as colourful and gripping as anything in Alan Clark’s diaries. So too are the chapters on her government’s collapse, her sleepless nights mockingly punctuated by the chimes of Horse Guards Parade every quarter hour. Assailed on all sides by her detractors, she likens life in No 10 to prison. Minutes before her resignation her daughter calls from the school playground, pleading with her to stay.

Truss with Boris Johnson during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in 2022


So there is plenty of insight on the claustrophobic reality of high office here for those who can be bothered to find it, but unfortunately you almost certainly won’t, for the preceding chapters describe her persecution in several government departments, the University of Oxford and her implausibly left-wing home in suburban Leeds in a prose style that is by turns wooden and startlingly exuberant. Just as you begin to despair of another page denouncing the woke establishment, out of nowhere comes a jolly aside about Tony Blair that ends with a question mark and an exclamation mark?!

But the prose isn’t the only problem! There’s also the small matter of what Truss actually thinks! On every page lies a different answer. “Some have accused me of being a wilful disruptor, setting out to upset political orthodoxies for the sake of it,” she writes. “I dispute that characterisation.” And, unwittingly, she does: long passages of this stuff could feasibly come out of the mouth of Keir Starmer. We learn that school standards in England have improved over the past decade. Britain made the right call in arming Ukraine before other G7 powers. Xi Jinping isn’t a nice man. Is that it?

The rise and fall of Liz Truss: a biography of a hapless prime minister

Well, no because these unremarkable reflections are salted with monosodium glutamate for Truss’s new mates on the radical right, like her proposal to abolish the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation. She cannot decide whether she is the diligent technocrat who put down prison riots by ordering chips or the “human hand grenade” whose response to the most minor resistance she encountered in government is best compared to Barry, the hapless white convert in Chris Morris’s jihadi caper Four Lions: “Bomb the mosque! Radicalise the moderates!” What candour there is here is submerged beneath an incontinent rush of whinges about lobby journalists, Michael Gove and even her left-wing parents. “I know who these people are,” she writes of her ideological enemies. “I literally grew up with them.”


More’s the pity. As we stare down the barrel of yet another Tory leadership election we are no closer to knowing what Truss actually wants. The clever-clever answer is that she doesn’t care about selling this book in Britain and its real purpose is to secure her lucrative speaking gigs in Washington. But what American wants to read a book, despite its promise of a prescription for western revival, that is so relentlessly parochial? Its vernacular is stuffed with references to Line of Duty, sabbatical officers at the University of Oxford’s student union, Paddy Ashdown, Geoffrey Boycott, Ian Botham, Ben Stokes, Claire’s Accessories and fish and chip shops in Paisley.

You cannot help but suspect Truss has a different audience in mind: the establishment she so maligns. Nothing delights her like the little affirmations of the powerful: congratulations from Prince Philip on the badger cull; an invitation to feed the koi carp at the Japanese foreign ministry. “Thanks to David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson for giving me the opportunity,” she writes in her acknowledgements, as if she were an X Factor contestant leaving Louis Walsh’s Dublin mansion with her dreams dashed.

Buried in a long critique of the Blair government’s judicial reforms is a telling cry of anguish: lawyers did not applaud her speeches as justice secretary with sufficient enthusiasm. When Hugh Gaitskell gave a speech denouncing the European Economic Community at the Labour conference in 1962, his wife, Dora, noted sourly: “All the wrong people are clapping.” There it is: Truss, beneath the conspiratorialism, bluster and blame, wishes the wrong people would clap a little more loudly. If only they had, we might have been spared the madness of her premiership — and her book.

Ten Years to Save the West: Lessons from the Only Conservative in the Room by Liz Truss (Biteback, 311pp, £20). To order a copy go to timesbookshop.co.uk. Free UK standard P&P on orders over £25. Special discount available for Times+ members

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Ouch. That’s a great review.


Another belter from Finny today


Is it three or five?


Story one.

Davy fancied for Galway job

Story two.

Galway want internal candidate if at all possible.

The indo has become a rag.

Become? Its been a glorified tabloid for the last 10 years


It’s all about those clicks

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Davy Fitz quit his Waterford job, you won’t believe what happened next

Top 5 job opportunities for Davy Fitz, can’t believe number 5!!


TFK Cranks: The Indo is a rag. All papers are rags now

Also TFK Cranks: Can someone copy and paste this article that I wont pay for?