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For Liz Truss, the only way is up (or out)

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

The following is an exclusive extract from Liz Truss’ diary, found in a skip around the back of 10 Downing Street and taken from under the noses of journalists from the Sun.


Look, we’ve all had bad experiences during the first few days of a new job. Maybe you turned up late on day one. Maybe you used the boss’s coffee mug. And maybe you tanked your own currency so badly that the International Monetary Fund had to get involved. Let those among us who have not destroyed our own economy cast the first stone.

With the possible exception of punching David Beckham in the face, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Truss in the opening few days of her time in the top job.

September 6: Officially named U.K. prime minister, a day after defeating Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership race. September 8: Queen dies. (There is no connection whatsoever between those two events, just in case any lawyers are reading, it was just terrible timing for Truss.)

While there was nothing that Truss could have done about the queen dying, she did have quite a big say in announcing a tax-cutting mini-budget that hasn’t so much spooked the financial markets as crept into their house in the middle of the night dressed as a vampire and stood silently by their bedside, whispering in their ear and waiting to scare them shitless.

Britain’s borrowing costs have soared and the pound has fallen so far that economists are suggesting replacing it with the Zimbabwean dollar, or simply doing without a currency altogether and reverting to a barter system.

It’s already rumored that Tory MPs are sending in letters calling for Truss to be removed from post, and she probably hasn’t even opened all the “congratulations on your new job” cards. Remember, although Truss comfortably beat her rival Rishi Sunak in the ballot of party members, he did better among Conservative MPs, so she was vulnerable before she even got started.

Incidentally, the shortest period in office for a British prime minister was the 119 days that George Canning was in power in 1827. To beat that, Truss needs to hang around until January 3, 2023.

She has, however, already beaten other world leaders in the “shortest time in office” sweepstakes. In Italy, for example, Tommaso Tittoni was prime minister of Italy for just 16 days in 1905 (part of that country’s generous offer of letting all of its people be prime minister at one time or another). And you just know that the EU is praying Giorgia Meloni equals or even betters Tittoni’s record.


“Disappointment as the half-time act for the next Super Bowl is unveiled.”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“Yes, I’ve seen you. Can’t talk right now,” by Luca Curci.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.

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