We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, Liz

“Labour surges to 33-point lead over Tories”, reports the Times.

Labour has surged to a 33-point poll lead over the Conservatives after a week of market turmoil triggered by Liz Truss’s tax-cutting budget.

The YouGov poll for The Times finds Tory support has fallen by seven points in the past four days amid fears the government’s plans will lead to spiralling interest rate rises.

It is thought to be the largest poll lead enjoyed by any party with any pollster since the late 1990s.

Labour’s lead is fuelled by voters switching directly from the Conservatives, with 17 per cent of those who backed Boris Johnson in 2019 saying they would vote Labour.

Just 37 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters said they were planning to stick with the party, suggesting a Tory wipeout.

Liz Truss now faces a choice. She can pull back. This might regain her a percentage point or two. She would then be 31 points behind instead of 33. Her place in history would be secure: as an answer to a difficult pub quiz question about who was Prime Minister between Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer. Or she can push onwards. She might still fail, but more gloriously. And if she succeeds, she gets to sit alongside Margaret Thatcher in the Told You So Hall of Fame. Even if, as seems likely, she loses the next election but hands Sir Keir an economy in significantly better shape, she will be remembered as someone who put country before party.

26 comments to Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, Liz

  • James Strong

    The Conservatives can win the next election with a significant majority simply by efficiently and publicly stopping the illegal immigrants who come across the Channel and deporting failed asylum seekers.

    But the problem is that they do not seem to want to stop the small boat Channel crossings.

  • Martin

    If Truss isn’t careful, she’ll go down making Teresa May and Boris Johnson look like electoral geniuses in comparison.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Truss has much populist imagination, nor is she good at public speaking. Kemi would have been better in almost every way. Am hoping I am proven wrong, as frankly I’d have Corbyn rather than that scumbag Starmer as PM.

  • Patrick Crozier

    I don’t think there is going to be any growth in the next 12 months. I suspect there will either be a 1990-style recession or a 1930-style recession. Whatever good the budget might have done – and there’s plenty of good there – it will be completely overshadowed by the slump. We have been printing money like crazy over the last decade and a half and at some point we have to pay the price.

  • bobby b

    Is there a chance of growth in the face of the energy shortage? Or is she going to be stuck having to explain that what she did kept away an even larger decline? (Which is a tough argument to sell, and an easy one to denigrate.)

  • Alex

    The polls are useless. People are whipped up into a frenzy by the media will say anything. But when it comes to voting most of these people won’t actually bother to vote. Look at the EU referendum, which was closer than it should have been admittedly, where Remain were confident of winning due to the polls. If there was an election tomorrow, Truss should be worried. But six months out, 1 year out, 18 months out, why should she pay attention to this crap?

  • Further to James Strong (September 29, 2022 at 6:06 pm), fighting the culture war – making the civil service do what the government says, not what it wokely wants – would help. However, also further to James, the Tories seem to have a problem of will or ability in that area. Liz is newly arrived – but does not have much time before she needs to show she’s fighting it, and not that much more before she needs to show some victories.

    Economically, much the same is true. Making deep cuts in the state without annoying some voters you need is hard at the best of times and will be especially so over this winter, but making shallow cuts the woke will scream about, especially over this winter, would be easy – subject to that problem of will or ability I mentioned. Get Labour demanding the NHS rehire all those well-paid DIE officials, or quarrelling internally over it. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. The money for all those heating bills can justify lots of little cuts.

  • Martin

    However, also further to James, the Tories seem to have a problem of will or ability in that area. Liz is newly arrived – but does not have much time before she needs to show she’s fighting it, and not that much more before she needs to show some victories.

    I may have just missed it but I’ve not seen much evidence that Truss has seemed that bothered about culture war issues, which was one reason I much prefer Kemi Badenoch as she comes across as much more willing to go after the liberals and left on culture.

    I’m sure this is perhaps heretical on a libertarian blog, but dare I say that the Tory government needs to be more Fidesz than Friedrich Hayek right now? 😉

  • Paul Marks

    I agree – the media (and the “Woke” international Corporate State people) have decided to destroy Liz Truss and everyone associated with her.

    So go for broke – CUT GOVEDRNMENT SPENDING not just taxation.

    You have broken the international tax cartel – the unofficial rule that taxes on business enterprises and businesspeople must not be lower in London than they are in New York and other major American centres, they are not going to forgive you for that. And the media will say you are “cutting the Welfare State” and “grinding the faces of the poor” (“laughing as they suffer and die”) whatever-you-do. So hit spending – it is the only way the economy, including the poor, can be saved from the international crash that is upon us.

    You have burned your boats – the international elite will never forgive you for what you have done on taxes (as the IMF might say – “you have violated Equity”) – but the international economy is going to crash.

    Make the crash in Britain less bad – by hitting government spending and hitting it hard. Real “Austerity” – not George Osborne fake “Austerity”.

    It has been done – in the late 1930s the Republican Governor of South Dakota decided to cut government spending, in the face of the New Deal ideology of the time.

    The prosperity that South Dakota has today was built upon that decision.

    “Too small an example” – O.K. here is a bigger one, In 1921 Warren Harding (the most lied about and smeared American President in history) inherited an economic crash – his response to was to cut (yes cut) government spending (and allow money wages to fall in response to the already existing crash) – it worked. If the biggest economy in the world (and America was the biggest economy of the time) is not a “big enough example” I do not what is.

    You have cut taxes, now you must cut government spending.

  • Paul Marks


    If John O’Sullivan (Danube Institute) was here – he would tell you that the government of Hungary rather liked F.A. Hayek.

    Absolutely we need to fight back against the “Woke” elite – but that must include destroying their economic position.

    What to have Freedom of Speech? Then you have got to defeat the ESG (Environment and Social Governance) and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) agenda – and that means defeating the Credit Bubble banks and the Central Banks that back them (Cantillon Effect).

    Why do you think the vast Corporations do not care about customers? Because in the future they will not have to please customers (Disney and co have just jumped the gun a bit) – money will come from the Central Banks and people will be told what to spend it on, “Stakeholder Capitalism” (the Corporate State) will have arrived.

    Do not laugh – it is already starting.

  • Paul Marks

    James Strong – to control illegal immigration, and to do other things that need to be done (at least in the minds of the British people) the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland must withdraw from a series of international agreements – and those terrible agreements are written into various British laws (including the messed up “devolution” in Scotland and Wales, and the Belfast Agreement).

    I believe all this international “governance” stuff should be ripped up – but that will mean crossing some very powerful, and utterly ruthless, people. As a certain German-Swiss is fond of saying “we, in this room, decide what the future will be” (the fact that he feels secure enough to say that openly, on camera, shows how confident he and his friends are).

    It will take a lot of guts to say to the international bankers (backed by the Central Banks – very Saint-Simon) and the Teck billionaires (not just Mr Gates – there are many) – “no you do not decide what the future will be – and, for example, if we want to stop illegal immigration that is what we are going to do”.

    However, these very powerful, and utterly ruthless, people now want Liz Truss (and everyone associated with her) utterly destroyed (especially as she used to go to their conferences – “traitor to the international community!” the “international community” being the already mentioned Corporate types) – so “in for a penny, in for a Pound”.

    Or, as the post puts it, “might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb”.

    Lots of European and World treaties to get rid of, and domestic legislation to.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Here is another female conservative leader showing the backbone that Liz will need.

    Please note that Giorgia starts her speech with full, unqualified support for Ukraine, followed by unqualified contempt for “Biden’s” foreign policy.

  • Fred Z

    The assumptions that the polls are either honest or accurate are unwarranted.

    Pollsters are paid pipers and the payer calls the tune of the perverse incentive.

    The polled lie. I have changed my practice of refusing calls from pollsters or hanging up on them. I now suss out their bias and if I smell any hint of lefty shit I lie as much as I can. I believe more and more of us are doing so.

  • Lee Moore

    Martin : If Truss isn’t careful, she’ll go down making Teresa May and Boris Johnson look like electoral geniuses in comparison.

    This seems a little unfair on Boris. Certainly La May managed to blow a 20 point lead, but Boris has an excellent electoral record. He won Mayor of London twice, retired undefeated, then led the successful Brexit referendum campaign (or at least co-led and was seen as the No team’s star asset) and then won a thumping majority in his only election as Tory leader – from a dire position inherited from the dismal May.

    So he may be a prat but he’s hardly an electoral dunce.

    Perhaps he’ll be back in charge of the Tories in a year or so, if Liz is still 33% behind 🙂

  • If Truss isn’t careful, she’ll go down making Teresa May and Boris Johnson look like electoral geniuses in comparison.

    Who cares? We are nowhere near a GE. If Truss can’t do anything meaningful, none of it matters. Truss is doing the right things & if UK electorate can’t figure that out before next GE, we will get the ruinous Labour govt we deserve.

  • Lee Moore

    Perry is overlooking the fact that the template Tory MP is Piers Fletcher-Dervish.

    They will panic at a balloon popping, never mind a 33% poll deficit.

  • John

    Media-led friends and family members who fell hook line and sinker for everything they were told to be true about Covid are now foaming at the mouth about “Truss” (who has become the new “Fatcha” in remarkably quick time).

    Argument is futile, they have lost the ability to hear any contrary opinion.

    For now the tacit agreement that we’ll change the subject holds firm but for how much longer?

  • Paul Marks

    Agreed Perry.

    Lis Truss will either reduce government spending – in which case the economic crash will be less bad here in the United Kingdom than in the United States and other lands.

    Or Liz Truss will not reduce government spending – in which case the next election does not matter as the United Kingdom is likely to collapse.

    Snorri – the speeches of the winner of the Italian Election are now being censored by YoutTube and other major corporations – even though there is nothing this lady is saying that would not have been said by Prime Minister Gladstone, or President Grover Cleveland and President Calvin Coolidge, or by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan.

    The censorship campaign of the international corporations started with Alex Jones (“he does not check his facts” – and it was true, he did just blurt out any rumour he heard) and “Tommy Robinson” (there was also police persecution of this man which, contrary to a certain dishonest lawyer who used to be around here, hit him for things that most other people are NOT hit for – it was a political persecution campaign by the British authorities directed against an individual because they did not like his opinions). I did not much care for “Tommy Robinson” either (for example his accent grates on me – that is a snobbish point, but the truth must be told), but what was done to him was disgusting – and yet most of “the right” did not defend him (partly because we did not like him – but mostly out of FEAR that we ourselves would be attacked by the corporatios and the state).

    However, now mainstream politicians – American Presidents (Donald John Trump) and future Italian Prime Ministers are being censored and smeared (“you are an insurrectionist traitor”, “you are a Fascist and a Nazi”) by the international corporations – their dishonesty and their alliance with Police State tactics (for they are the Fascists they accuse other people of being – it is “Projection”) has no limit.

    For many years I defended the Corporations – and mocked people, such as Dr Sean Gabb, who suggested that they might have a political and cultural agenda – a very bad political and cultural agenda, involving censorship and persecution.

    I was wrong – and I would like to publicly apologise to Dr Gabb (and others) for my past conduct.

    However, there is an economic root to this – and, oddly enough, the thinker I so often attack, David Hume, grasped it.

    This concentration of the economy into a few hands (a handful of corporations – mostly linked to the financial system) is not a natural process – it has been artificially created by Credit Money, the “Cantillon Effect” (named after Richard Cantillon three centuries ago).

    The “Woke” tyranny is only possible because the economy (the financial system and so on) has been concentrated into the hands of a few corporations (such as, in the United States, BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) – and that has happened because of fiat money and the Credit Bubble financial system. As well as, to a lesser extent, a taxation system that favours the corporations over individuals and families – “but individual shareholders control the great corporations” – no, I am sorry Professor Milton Friedman, they do not – they do not even own most shares (in Britain the last year when they did was 1965).

    Both the monetary and financial system of the West, and (to a lesser extent) its taxation system, is not fit for purpose. It is dysfunctional.

    And, yet again, GOVERNMENT SPENDING is massively too high – in the United Kingdom and most other Western countries.

    The whole idea that the state (the government) should take over the basic functions of Civil Society – had both undermined Civil Society (most importantly the family) and has destroyed economic prospects.

    Even in the terrible economic conditions of the 1930s society in the United Kingdom and the United States held together – but now society has been horribly undermined by the state taking over the basic functions of Civil Society “from the cradle to the grave”.

    The rolling back of the state is not “just” an economic necessity – it is also a cultural, societal, necessity.

  • Paul Marks

    Lee Moore.

    Consider the economic and cultural (societal) challenges that we face – how the United Kingdom and the Western World generally face destruction, due to a monetary and financial system that is based upon nothing (NOTHING), and a state (government) which has usurped the basic functions of Civil Society.

    Then consider the record of Alexander “Boris” Johnson.

    How can Mr Johnson be part of the solution – when his time in office shows that he is part of the problem.

  • John

    On a separate note it has been eleven years and we’re now on our 4th conservative pm since the boundaries commission made its recommendations. Nothing has happened.

    It’s a puzzler, what and who do they really represent?

  • Lee Moore

    I was not suggesting that Boris was a good PM (though he will always have the accolade of being the chap who delivered Brexit.) I was merely pointing out that he has been good at winning elections.

    One could say the same for Tony Blair, execrable PM, but excellent vote harvester.

    PS Maggie never lost an election btw

  • Alex

    On the electoral front, there’s some utility in being a polarising figure. Truss has quickly claimed the inheritance of Thatcher and the left are busy making sure their tribe hates her with a passion yet to be earned by anything she’s actually done. The public are tired of the Tories, tired of politics in general after a very political decade with the EU referendum, the betrayals and treachery after that, Boris, COVID lockdowns et cetera. There’s a very real danger for the Tories that the danger of a Labour government will be forgotten, and the siren call of their big state policies will become more attractive, that the Conservatives could lose the next election through sheer boredom and a sense of “Let’s give the other side a try”. However the polarisation may serve to highlight the clear blue water between the two parties, clear blue water than many of us ceased to believe even truly existed in recent years. Starmer is boring, unlike Corbyn who was unpopular yet somewhat well known, so it is probably a good thing that Truss and Kwarteng have quickly become household names. If they continue to hold their nerve they may also gain a degree of grudging respect, I suspect that the u-turns and apologies do more to make a politician truly unpopular than any policy perceived as dubious.

  • Paul Marks

    Lee Moore.

    I apologise for misunderstanding you Sir.

  • I may have just missed it but I’ve not seen much evidence that Truss has seemed that bothered about culture war issues (Martin, September 29, 2022 at 7:41 pm)

    Likewise not so much till now, but her justice secretary is reported today to have told the Tory party conference of his intent to enshrine “the right to offend” in law by amending the human rights act.

    On the same day, IIUC, a young Tory had his membership suspended for tweeting that Birmingham was a dump. He said his remark was prompted by experiencing an attempted mugging the moment he arrived, but it seems Conservative Central Office intends that the right to offend potential voters shall not be protected.

    IIRC, circa 2012, Liz Truss said some stuff about Marcuse and the Frankfurt School of Marxism. I only know it (if I recall it correctly at all) because she was mocked at the time in the Grauniad or the BBC (but I repeat myself) for what they characterised as meaningless drivel suggestive of a senior moment (the kind of thing the MSM now work to underplay when Joe-Biden does it). It was a decade or so ago and I’m not aware of her returning to the subject.

  • Paul Marks

    The “U turn” on the top rate of income tax does NOT mean that everything is over, and the United Kingdom is finished – but it is not a good sign.

  • Liz (I assume) thinks her U-turn averted her being hanged for a sheep, but she and the Tories may merely have decided to be hanged later for a lamb. That said, if she found at conference that she has not the votes – then she has not the votes. It is difficult to imitate Thatcher’s distaste for U-turning when you have not the Tory votes. It is also difficult when you become Tory PM 7 years into a continuous period of Tory rule, when most people recall the preceding 5 years as also Tory rule not coalition, and almost no-one recalls that the rise to 45p was imposed by Gordon Brown only at the very end of 13 years of Labour rule.

    Would the cut indeed have cost “nothing at all” in terms of revenue raised, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests. (Guido says “Even the IFS’ Paul Johnson thinks in revenue terms it might plausibly cost nothing at all” – I note it would not be hard to find lefties who would challenge the political appropriateness of the word ‘Even’ in that context). It would have taken a year to know; now we won’t.

  • […] Kwarteng, nor out of any great concern for Ms Trust’s reputation, but if she does fire him, she is a fool. Does she think they will back off once they have tasted […]