Op-Ed: Liz Truss’ downfall won’t end trickle-down economics
Liz Truss’ speech at the Labour conference last year was a stinging indictment of the trickle-down economics of the past 20 years (Image: PA)
by Tom McGovern
26 August 2017
Last night, the Labour Party Conference ended with the sacking of the former Treasury Minister Liz Truss as Chair of the national executive committee of the party.
This was something of a shock to Labour supporters who had watched Truss in action for many years as a champion of British capitalism.
It is a significant defeat for the party with many Labour MPs, notably Chris Williamson and Joan Ryan, suggesting that Truss was perhaps an over-zealous member of the New Labour group when she was in charge of the Treasury.
What is interesting about it is that it is not a death knell for the party, but rather a symbolic blow against the New Labour model of the past 20 years.
Truss has been a thorn in the side of New Labour since she arrived at the Treasury in 2005. She spent much of her early tenure in the shadow cabinet defending the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown from what she saw as his “stink” of liberalisation in the markets.
What really irked her was the “big whinge” that she saw as being used to defend the status quo under Brown and his government against the “dilutations” of New Labour.
Brown and Gordon Brown were two political giants, but Truss will never be fully at ease with the one of them—for Truss, the man was “the first” whereas the woman was “the first and last”, the first to use the phrase “trickle-down economics”, and the first to sign the Global Warming Change Act while it was still under discussion.
The phrase “big whinge” referred to the Brown government’s attempt to use the new legislation to give the impression of delivering a “green” economy while continuing to expand public spending on public sector employees. Brown would later say that this was not a plan but a response to Labour’s “big whinge”.
These early battles were, to say the least, bruising, and although Truss was not the first