UK Prime Minister seeks to appease Tory followers

Britain The embattled prime minister Liz Truss rushed to the podium to deliver the most important speech of her political life on Wednesday – accompanied by a song about a bitter breakup.

After wrapping up her speech to the stormy annual conference of conservatives, she at least found her way out of the 1,500-person Hall 1 of the Birmingham International Conference Center.

An “exit” sign was taped to the door, to prevent abuse by photojournalists, as one of them was pulled by security before the speech was given for unspecified reasons.

When she launched her campaign in July to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party, Truss was briefly lost as she tried to leave the room.

This time in Birmingham, it was her arrival song, “Moving On Up” by M People, likely to chime in with the conference’s slogan, “Getting Britain Moving.”

Also read: UK gears froze energy bills in first major policy shift

But her words—indeed a stinging goodbye to cheating fans—could have been true with those already calling for Truss to leave.

“You got me wrong, your time is up / I took a sip from the devil’s cup.

“You broke my heart, there’s no way to go back / Move from here, baby, pack your bags.”

The 40-minute speech was briefly interrupted by Greenpeace protesters holding a banner reading “Who voted for this?”

The banner was a clear reminder that Truss became prime minister with the votes of only 80,000 Conservative Party activists, not the country as a whole.

Opinion polls have increasingly indicated the country’s deep dissatisfaction with its shocking and awe-inspiring economic policies.

To many Tory critics, Truss is already drinking in the final salon just a month into her premiership.

Its policy package upset financial markets and forced emergency intervention by the Bank of England.

One of the embarrassing team leaders is former minister Grant Shapps, whom Truss unceremoniously fired when she appointed her new government.

Shapps said the speech, and the next 10 days, were crucial if Truss wanted to avoid a vote of no-confidence by Tory MPs – just months after they ousted Johnson.

– “What a great week!” –

As it were, the speech did not break any new political ground, but it did recapitulate the life story of Truss and her low-tax, anti-EU national motto.

I avoided the gaffes that made Truss’ speech at the 2014 conference go viral.

Then the environment minister, she took a surreal turn in praise of British ham and cheese.

But while it wasn’t a disgrace, her leader’s speech did display some of the traits that make Truss such a wooden orator.

She smiled strangely at the dangerous moments, then seemed strangely determined in the lighter sections.

Her eyes stared, leaning forward, she declared that her three priorities were “Growth, Grow, Grow.”

Temporary applause from the room as she praised Kwasi Kwarting as her “dynamic” finance minister.

She continued, before finally realizing that it was time to stop and allow the party to give its approval to the embattled minister after a disastrous few days.

Also read: By South African ministerial standards, Liz Truss’ ex-slips look trivial

On Tuesday, Truss failed three times to profess her confidence in Quarting – one of a series of car crash moments that this week made the Conservative Party look more like the permanently faction-ridden Labor party than the most successful political force in the Western world.

Many delegates admitted this, and many left Birmingham on Tuesday to weather Britain’s national rail strike.

Some empty seats scattered at the back of the conference room.

Tory chief Jake Perry was Truss’ first warm-up act, and he bravely tried to inject confidence despite polls showing Labor ahead strongly and Truss seeing herself as “incompetent” and “useless”.

“Conference, what a wonderful week!” said Perry, to laughter from the ranks of the press and some groans from the party faithful.

“It wasn’t supposed to be the funny part!” He said sadly.

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