The Daily Telegraph

At the top of the Empire State, PM swats away tough questions with the ease of King Kong

- By Tim Stanley

Liz Truss: blink and you’ll miss her. One day she’s in Westminste­r reading the lesson, next day she’s in New York, New York. Well, if she can fake it there, she can fake it anywhere.

We have a new King. We have a new Prime Minister. And though the Tories only married Liz for the money – I need that upper-class tax cut – the honeymoon is still going strong. “Where are you going to take us, Lizzy?” “How about the Empire State Building?” “Oh honey, how romantic!”

Scene of a billion marriage proposals, and some very crossed wires between Fay Wray and King Kong, Liz posed for her first overseas interview as PM atop one of the tallest buildings in the world, framed by the skyline of one of its worst-run cities. But she was not in the mood for love. Unless your kink is fiscal indiscipli­ne.

“Prime Minister,” said Beth Rigby, the public wants a windfall tax on the energy companies but you don’t: “You’re prepared to be unpopular, aren’t you?” Now, Boris would’ve caved under Beth’s withering gaze and offered to nationalis­e British Gas on the spot, but Truss said: “Yes, yes I am.” She then delivered a mini-lecture on growth, the Laffer curve and Rightwing economics that will have left Conservati­ves weak at the knees. Cut to grow! Deeper, harder, faster!

Outside, Kong stopped swatting biplanes for an instant. He’d heard this sweet song somewhere before ....

Our leader is not technicall­y a Thatcherit­e. Maggie applied austerity in the 1980s, trying to balance the books. It was Ronald Reagan who cut taxes, whatever the cost. So, in a sense, Liz is in America to bring the revolution home. Britain has shown the world how to bury a Queen. Now we’ll perhaps show ’em how to raise a nation from the dead.

And where better to do it than New York City, which has gone to hell in a handcart since Rudy Giuliani left the mayor’s office to focus on being insane. It’s so photogenic. Liz can pose by the Statue of Liberty – click! Next to the bull on Wall Street – flash! Or, the favourite of many a tourist in Democrat New York, at knife point in Central Park.

Chris Mason had a go next. “Lots of families are really struggling,” he said, “and you’re willing to let bankers get bigger bonuses?” (Bankers have families, too, Mr Mason: and they need to pay school fees and Bupa subscripti­ons just like the rest of us.)

Again, the stone-cold certainty: yes, said the PM, if it gets the economy growing.

So, that’s the gamble, folks. Get things going in two years and maybe Britain will look like it’s heading in the right direction and maybe the Tories can stop socialism. Beauty might kill the beast.

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