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Truss lashes out at “deep state” and “trans activists” at US conservative conference

By Felix Flanagan, BA Politics

Photo caption (CPAC Logo, American Conservative Union, Public Domain)

Shortest ever serving Prime Minister, Liz Truss, has come under fire for a speech she delivered at the most recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, USA. In recent years CPAC has become notorious for “woke-bashing” and being a space for spurious conspiracy theories to be discussed freely.

This year’s event was no outlier, hosting everyone from alt-right stalwarts like Steve Bannon to Argentina’s controversial new President Javier Milei. What has proven most attention-worthy for British audiences was Truss’s bizarre speech in which she defended her policies, positioning herself as a victim of the left-wing “establishment” before a reportedly half-empty ballroom.

She suggested that the political climate in the West has become a “hostile environment” for the political right and that the solution to this was that “a bigger bazooka” was needed. These comments come after Truss’s record-breaking 49-day stint in office during which the British economy lost £30bn. Her comments are particularly ironic given that the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer had dubbed her flagship policy as the ‘kamikaze budget’.

One part of the former PM’s speech that angered and upset many was her comments on the civil service, which she suggested had become overrun with “trans activists” and “environmental extremists.”

According to Truss, it was for this reason that she fell so swiftly from grace, rather than the disastrous ‘mini-budget’ delivered at the beginning of her premiership. This is not the first time Truss has insulted the trans community, having recently described supporters as “left-wing extremists.”

Truss appealed to the necessity of returning a Republican to the White House and claimed that “the left did not accept that they’d lost at the ballot box,” referring in a puzzlingly incoherent manner to the now widespread belief in the GOP that the 2020 General Election was rigged. While this rhetoric was popular at CPAC, which over the last few years has adopted Trump’s version of nativist-populism, it is difficult to see how this relates to her political career in the UK, where she is Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk.

Truss’s new book, Ten Years to Save the West, was on prominent display at CPAC leading some, including the leader of the opposition, to question whether the event was merely a publicity stunt. However, analysts have suggested that this could mark an effort by the ex-Prime Minister to reinvent herself, aiming for an American audience.

Whatever the future holds for Truss, there is widespread agreement from political analysts that this move from “free-market fairy godmother” (New Statesman) to “US right-wing darling” (Independent) is particularly out of character.

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