‘BORIS, you are admired from Kiev to Carlisle.”

A long, awkward silence ensued. Only three seconds but still longer than anything experienced during the long years of uber-confident Boris Johnson.

Yes – in the first minute of her first speech as PM, Liz Truss had accidentally succeeded in exposing a damning if partial truth.

Was Brexiting Boris truly admired anywhere in Europe beyond Ukraine? It’s highly doubtful.

But her unfortunate choice of an English border town as UK terminus of the Boris Admiration Arc served only to remind listeners there was never any admiration north of it.


Whether that was intended as a direct snub to Scotland – if she can ignore our FM why not the whole country or just a subconscious recognition of the Tories enduring unpopularity in Scotland – fa kens? After all, if she wanted toons that start wi a K, Kilbarchan, Kilmarnock and Kinning Park would have served equally well. All near her “home port” of Paisley but all – unfortunately for a Tory PM – represented by SNP MPs.

Och well, you can’t win ’em all.

And if you’re Liz, winning the poisoned chalice of the Tory leadership just as the wheels come aff Britain’s marketised society – might prove to be your only real success.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug reacts to first Liz Truss PMQs – The REAL Scottish Politics

Beyond drawing attention to the Tories’ Scotland trouble, the new leader’s first speech also earned pelters for her pronunciation of Kyiv (the Ukrainian name for their capital) as Kiev (the much-hated and now abandoned Russian name). Surprising really since Liz was Foreign Secretary until last week and has actually visited a few times. But names can be so darned confusing. In February Liz caused a stooshie by telling the BBC “we are offering extra support to our Baltic allies across the Black Sea”. Baltic Sea/Black Sea – I suppose it’s an easy enough mistake to make.

But back to that first speech. There was another unforced error – the unexpected revelation that the next general election will be in 2024. Now the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was repealed this March, so the timing of a General Election is now determined by the Prime Minister, not the law or the calendar. That’s an important prerogative Truss relinquished in five careless seconds.

Now of course, the 2024 target date could yet change. Especially if the economy tanks, the energy price freeze doesn’t happen, doesn’t work, doesn’t apply to public bodies like hospitals and small businesses or turns out to be a repayable loan. Already it’s rumoured letters of no confidence in Truss have been written and plans are afoot amongst MPs who backed rival candidates to cause trouble and boycott key Commons votes. But a third Tory leader in as many years? It’s not a good look. And Conservative turkeys are unlikely to vote for Christmas and the near certainty of defeat in an early election – so 2024 probably will be the date.

But the point is that having mentioned 2024 in her victory speech, Truss will now look weak and uncertain if she “goes early”. And she’s given the Attention-Seeking One in Bute House a pretty good steer about timescales.

Now Truss sympathisers might shrug and say, whatever. Heat of the moment, a lot on her mind, small slip-ups, proves she’s human. After all Trump and Johnson thrived on making fairly massive mistakes.

But Truss ain’t no Trump – and she ain’t no Boris.

She has none of the charm that (unaccountably) worked so well south of the border, none of his humour and florid turn of phrase and none of the unshakeable self-confidence that saw him stand down on Tuesday without a word of apology or contrition.

Nor was she president of the Oxford University Debating Union, learning to advance opposing arguments as wholeheartedly as those she backed with flair, convince-ability and without three-second pauses.

Perhaps this explains her peculiar air of inauthenticity – for all those protestations of fervent right-wingery and pussy-bow Thatcherism, the new PM is neither one thing nor the other. Not to the manor born, nor a genuine product of the “masses”.

Thus, there’s no Johnsonian arrogance or Trumpian swagger about Liz Truss – which some folk may find a relief. But that leaves her as an exceptionally lacklustre speaker, whose very first speech as Tory party leader – visible for months – was also littered with mistakes and unforced errors.

To say this doesn’t augur well is a massive understatement. Look beyond that clumsy “peroration” and her equally perfunctory “speech” outside Downing Street and there’s already a pattern.

Just as she okayed a vital, keynote speech that was actually full of mistakes, Truss is advancing a policy platform that just doesn’t add up. She wants tax cuts to promote growth in the teeth of a certain recession – madness even according to old Tories like Ken Clarke.

She’s planning a “bonfire of EU workers’ rights” to boost growth – even though EU members with better holiday rights, sickness pay and maximum working hours have higher growth rates than the flatlining UK.

And of course, she may still be planning to gerrymander the next indyref, despite the idea being roundly trashed, even by Scots Tories. Yet even that provocative proposal carries a now characteristic Truss mistake. Why bother devising victory thresholds for a referendum that you’ve insisted will never, ever happen – or is that not the official line anymore?


IN a way the crazy plan was a back-handed compliment. It proves that whatever the new PM says in public, in private she knows indyref2 will happen.

Cheers m’dear.

Chuck in her determination to scrap the Northern Ireland protocol to impress madcap Euro-sceptics – although it’ll prompt a trade war that Brexit-bombed Britain simply cannot afford – and the picture is complete. Welcome to Liz Truss and her lacklustre, clumsy, bull-in-a-china-shop approach to governance.

Of course, the chaos and contradiction about to be unleashed on voters will come as no surprise to erstwhile cabinet colleagues. It’s why most of them didn’t vote for her. Boris Johnson was once quoted as saying “anything passed her way needs to be handled with care” because “she does tend to blow things up” – a description that earned Truss her Whitehall nickname, the “human hand grenade”.

Yip, this is our new PM.

Even before a first PMQs where she struggled to explain why there will be no windfall tax, easily-swayed southern voters weren’t impressed. Two snap polls make dire reading for the Tories – YouGov found 67% had no confidence in her ability to tackle inflation and control energy bills. Another by Savanta/Comres found 61% want a general election.

But you don’t need a poll to know that Liz Truss has competition in Scotland. Two women will dominate the airwaves over the next difficult 18 months. One is already struggling. The other is in a different league as a politician and a communicator.

Compare and contrast.

Now, it’s a mistake to write off a new Prime Minister, difficult for male opposition leaders to tackle a female leader without looking aggressive and a mistake to get cocky about the prospects for independence. But surely – this week, they got a whole lot stronger.