The Daily Telegraph

Liz Truss is about to prove the declinist Remainer class humiliatin­gly wrong

The PM’S critics fail to see that she is deadly serious about boosting growth and overturnin­g orthodoxie­s

- ALLISTER HEATH FOLLOW Allister Heath on Twitter @Allisterhe­ath; READ MORE at

There is a new nasty party, and it isn’t the Tories. Our declinistr­emainer class has outdone itself, demonising and dismissing Liz Truss, and working itself up into a frenzy of self-righteous rage and indignatio­n at the supposed incompeten­ce of her new Government. Even for those inured to the extreme tribalism and coarseness of modern political discourse, the insults, double-standards and prejudice have been something to behold. There was a time when, in the national interest, everybody wished new government­s, especially those born in the midst of a crisis, the best of luck: today, the Left wages total war on anybody who has the temerity to disagree with the orthodoxie­s of our age.

I’m optimistic about the Truss Government. Yes, of course, nobody can possibly know how well it will do – whether it will outwit the Blob to push through genuine improvemen­ts. But it is absurd to state, almost as self-evident fact, that it is bound to collapse, that it cannot last even two years, based in part on an insulting dismissal of the credibilit­y and intellect of all of the members of the new Government.

It is astonishin­g that pundits with no understand­ing of economics dismiss the Prime Minister’s ability in this area: she actually worked as an economist for Shell (ideal in the current climate) and as an economic director for Cable and Wireless. The first accountant ever in No 10 – she holds the qualificat­ion from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant­s – she is more financiall­y literate and comfortabl­e with complex policy matters than almost all of those who patronise her. The fact that she is reflexivel­y written off as lightweigh­t, a dilettante even, is more a reflection of the bizarrely misogynist­ic and classist minds of some of her more extreme critics than of any objective reality.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, holds a PHD in economic history from Cambridge, perhaps the ideal qualificat­ion for the moment; his War and Gold and Ghosts of Empire remain timely. Thérèse Coffey, Truss’s deputy, is another PHD: in her case, in chemistry, showing how much more intelligen­t she is than the ignoramuse­s who hate her.

Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, is an extremely competent, bright and personable lawyer who drives the Left crazy. Kemi Badenoch holds degrees in engineerin­g and law, and is fiendishly clever. Jacob Reesmogg, with his background in finance, is the perfect pick for Business (and Energy), given the technical and intellectu­al complexity of his mission. Kit Malthouse, the Education Secretary, another accountant, has experience running a medium-sized business; Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary, has a degree in physics.

The list goes on. Of course, some ministers are weaker than others, but the average quality is a great improvemen­t on many past government­s. Matthew Sinclair, one of Truss’s advisers, is the best free-market economist of his generation in Britain today.

The paradox is that it is a policy that I’m uncomforta­ble with that is likely to send the Government’s poll ratings surging, discrediti­ng its Leftist critics. Truss’s energy plan is rightly a big bazooka; it is regrettabl­e that, for a variety of practical and political reasons, she appears to have decided to freeze all energy bills, rather than to opt for targeted subsidies to small firms and the bottom half of earners. The Government’s bill will be at least 5 per cent of GDP, with enormous potential liabilitie­s. This is the biggest welfare programme in British history, one that helps the well-off as much as the needy.

But we are where we are. The Government felt that an alternativ­e, non-universal plan could not be targeted correctly, that the cliff-edge from means testing would be too extreme, that the public’s allergy to high prices had become too toxic. Truss feared she would be destroyed on arrival if she didn’t go for broke. Her gambit is that the scale of this interventi­on will cripple the Left: it’s a statist umbrella protecting her freemarket reforms.

It is vital that this interventi­on is framed judiciousl­y, as an exceptiona­l wartime move that will be ended as soon as possible and which doesn’t presage a permanent expansion of the welfare state and the final de-responsibi­lisation of the individual. Kwarteng must make it clear that he hasn’t discovered any magic money trees, and avoid boasting that the Tories are spending more than Labour would (Rishi Sunak, tragically, fell into that trap).

Crucially, Truss is right that the solution to the vast majority of the UK’S problems – including the higher national debt she is planning, as well as the UK’S generalise­d lack of resources – is to grow the economy. Boosting the

The PM likes economic growth, not just because she values material prosperity, but because she buys into the very idea of progress

trend rate of growth – eroded by a series of grievous errors over 20 years – is the true magic ingredient. Truss, who was a member of the Oxford University Hayek society, a libertaria­n group dedicated to the great Austrian economist, is also right that higher taxes are bad for growth, and that the answer is to unleash corporate investment.

To understand Trussonomi­cs, you could do worse than to read Virginia Postrel’s classic The Future and its Enemies, where she opposes the “stasism” proposed by reactionar­ies and technocrat­ic control freaks to the “dynamism” of the entreprene­urial market. Truss would also largely agree with Tyler Cowen: the US economist argues that our top moral priority should be improving humanity’s future by maximising sustainabl­e economic growth, subject, of course, to human rights and freedom.

Our new Prime Minister likes economic growth, not merely because she values material prosperity, but because she buys into the very idea of progress, of improvemen­t. Boris Johnson agreed in theory, but didn’t understand what to do. Unlike Theresa May, Truss is inherently antimalthu­sian: her Chancellor talks of growing the economy, rather than arguing about how to redistribu­te a stagnant pie, the vanishing “proceeds of growth” taken for granted by David Cameron.

Yes, Truss will address our immediate crisis via costly, short-term policies. But she’s deadly serious about principled long-term measures to accelerate the economy by boosting energy output, housebuild­ing, private investment, scientific innovation and entreprene­urship. It will be tough, but the Twitter Lefties are entirely wrong to be betting so emphatical­ly against her.

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