Opinion: Avoiding the Trussonomics Spiral – An Open Letter to the UK’s MPs (and Constituents)

‘Going for Growth’ Liz Truss’ Style Has Led the UK to A Precipice – Can MPs Pull it Back In Time?


Dear MPs,

As Liz Truss launches her pincer movement in parliament this week – a ‘charm offensive’ coupled no doubt with a touch of the lash from the whip’s office – we’d like to provide a zoomed-out perspective on the next week or two in parliament from where we, outside Westminster, are sitting.

“If the government does not reverse its fiscal plans in the coming weeks, it may be left with little option but to cut public spending so significantly it could result in the end of the National Health Service”

Sir Charlie Bean, former deputy governor of the Bank of England and member of the Office for Budget Responsibility

Reminding us all of not just the real priorities for MPs and Parliament but also of what’s at stake in the coming days.

This is not Politics As Usual

While Liz and her whips would have you believe otherwise, this is hardly politics as usual. Her chancellor has crashed the pound, the mortgage market, and the pensions market at a massive cost to everyone in the country as part of an excursion of their own, mounted without a mandate. Executed by abrogating collective responsibility and evading normal scrutiny.

Not to mention becoming the most unpopular PM in living memory – and probably British history. Forced into a humiliating U-turn on the much-vaunted flagship giveaway policy for the 1%, but doubling down on all the rest.

A Calamitous Loss of Confidence

After eight weeks to prepare and two more since his calamitous ‘Fiscal Event,’ her Chancellor wanted eight more to make his sums add up after it took moments for the world to find he had not done so. Now he wants three more weeks to achieve what he himself has made impossible in light of the doubling of borrowing costs he caused: find enough cuts to make it work without completely backtracking.

Any newly hired Financial Director would be long gone by now and wouldn’t have lasted three days after having a fraction of the effect on the company employing him!

We are in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’

Liz and Kwasi are in denial – but it is we who’ll suffer the consequences for decades to come if democracy is not restored.

They had and have no mandate. Not a whiff of a mandate for their unaccountable experiment with all our homes, livelihoods, and pensions. Yet they’ve tried out their economic ‘theory’ and thoroughly disproved it in the process, at our cost.

Now double down, have on and play for more and more time – but we are in the last chance saloon.

Unless the experiment is ended, decisively, by the actions of our representatives, we, not they, will live with the dire consequences of entering the same debt spiral that impoverished the entire nation from the 70s into the 80s. A spiral that, once entered, is all but impossible to exit until reaching the bottom, as the IMF could clearly see from day one.

Only by repudiating the insanely doctrinaire programme and its architects quickly now do we stand a chance of escaping that deadly spiral that will otherwise impoverish another generation.

Which is why we beg to remind of, via the words of Winston Churchill, of the most important consideration as parliament reconvenes and for the next two weeks:

The first duty of a member of Parliament is to do what they think in their faithful and disinterested judgement is right and necessary for the honour and safety of Great Britain. The second duty is to their constituents, of whom they are the representative but not the delegate…  It is only in the third place that their duty to party organisation or programme takes rank. All these three loyalties should be observed, but there is no doubt of the order in which they stand under any healthy manifestation of democracy.

— Winston Churchill, Duties of a Member of Parliament

Please remember this crucial order of priorities as the charm offensive is launched and the whips do their business – they will never tell you this and will lead you to think and act otherwise.

At a time of national crises in energy, the cost of living, and much else being so badly managed as to attract international ridicule, please ask yourself what is in the interests of the nation and the people you represent.

What is the interest of the democracy we all rely on?

It’s time to come together, if necessary, across party lines, to restore and reinforce both democracy and the integrity and reputation of the UK in the world.

There is still time – but not for much longer.

Barry E James, Founder Humane Economics, Industrial Fellow at Royal Docks School of Business and Law at the University of East London. Views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of the organisations I lead or support.

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