- 19 Jun 23
Truss also admitted during the conference discussion led by RTÉ's David McCullagh that she did not see the humour in the viral "Liz Truss versus lettuce" livestream, run by the Daily Star, insisting that it was “puerile.”
Former UK prime minister Liz Truss has stated that she believes the media treats political coverage as “soap opera” – focusing on personality and “froth” rather than policy.
Truss revealed her thoughts on the issue of modern political coverage in a detailed discussion with RTÉ news presenter David McCullagh at a European Broadcasting Union (EBU) News Xchange conference in the Convention Centre, Dublin earlier today.
Liz Truss currently ranks as the shortest-serving prime minister in British history, reigning as Prime Minster for just 44 days, from 5 September 2022 to 24 October 2022. She became Prime Minister when she won the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party, following the enforced resignation of Boris Johnson. After a disastrous six weeks and two days in power, Truss was swiftly succeeded by current PM Rishi Sunak, leaving a legacy of chaos in government and colossal damage to the British economy. Her Chancellor of the Exchequer – the equivalent of Minister for Finance in Ireland – Kwasi Kwarteng had been forced to resign a few days ahead of Truss – though the move did not, in the end, save her political bacon.
In front of a sizeable crowd of international journalists, in answer to a question posed by McCullagh, Truss told the audience that social media had aided in building “a more short-term, instant gratification culture” in political media coverage. She insisted that it made policy planning more difficult for politicians.
“I do think sometimes politics is sort of treated as a branch of the entertainment industry," she said, "who’s up, who’s down, who says what about who. It is a bit of a playground, where they should be covering real issues. It can be frustrating.
“Following someone around, shouting at them, that is not real journalism to me,” she insisted.
Truss also admitted to the conference that she had “made a series of mistakes” during her time as Prime Minister. But she still blamed her downfall on the media’s “poor understanding” of economics.
“Look at the success of Reagan, look at the success of Thatcher,” Truss exclaimed, in defence of her economic ideas, which were widely criticised by economists and triggered a complete loss of confidence in the British economy in the markets.
The Conservative Party mini-budget unveiled shortly after Truss took charge was indeed so chaotic that it led to the early sacking of her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, and her ultimate resignation.
What was her biggest regret during her time as prime minister, McCullagh asked.
Truss acknowledged that she “made a series of mistakes”, saying “did I and my colleagues get everything perfect? No, we didn’t.”
Truss put her mistakes down to an underestimation of the level of resistance with which her policies would meet.
The former Conservative party leader also did her best to defend her predecessor Boris Johnson, who last week was the subject of a damning report from the Commons Privileges Committee and resigned as an MP. “Nobody is perfect," she observed, adding that Johnson “did not establish the divides that currently exist across the UK, as they had existed before him.
“He won seats for the Conservatives that had never been won before," she added, "and he motivated people with his vision. Yes, there are legitimate criticisms of him, but there is a large cohort who like the status quo and don’t want things to change, did not want Brexit, and these people are notorious to get their own way”.
— Mick McCaffrey (@mccaffreymick) June 19, 2023
Truss also praised the growth of right-wing news organisation GB News, saying that the television news channel was “a good development in presenting different views from the orthodoxy in the UK.”
In a light-hearted question, McCullagh asked about some of the humorous journalistic coverage of her time as prime minister.
Truss firmly stated that she did not "see the funny side" of the viral comparison of her reign to the shelf life of a head of lettuce.
In October 2021, as crisis engulfed her government, British tabloid newspaper the Daily Star began a livestream of an iceberg lettuce next to a framed photograph of Liz Truss. The live stream followed the publication of an opinion piece that compared the expected brevity of Truss's premiership to the shelf life of a lettuce.
Truss announced her resignation as prime minister on 20 October 2022, before the lettuce had wilted, and the Daily Star subsequently declared the lettuce "victorious" over Truss.
Truss said that she still did not find the comparison humorous, insisting instead that it was “puerile”.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 15 Jun 22
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 14 Apr 22