What ‘The Great British Growth Rally’ reveals about current British Politics

A microphone at a conference
Catrin Hadaway 

This year, Liz Truss made a guest appearance at the annual Conservative party conference where she distracted from Rishi Sunak’s battle to defend his position as Prime Minister. This conference, which was held from 1st-4th October, marks a year from when Truss herself was, notoriously having the shortest tenure of any British politician. Her period as Prime Minister and her subsequent period of hiding made her appearance at the conference this year highly anticipated, as over 200 people had to be turned away from her rally due to overcrowding.

Truss hosted this rally alongside other disaffected cabinet members; Jacob-Rees Mogg, Priti Patel and Ranil Jayawardena, in an attempt to try and push for a plan to make Britain grow again. The rally attracted a huge crowd that was far more popular than the speeches that were given by current cabinet ministers in the main hall, such as Mark Harper and Grant Shapps. The standout message that was delivered by Truss was a demand for Sunak to cut taxes ahead of the election, as she succinctly stated “Let’s stop taxing and banning things, and start producing and building things”.

The amount of positive feedback that Truss received perhaps reflects the way that British politics is currently splintered

Amazingly, after Truss’s overwhelmingly negative experience at the Conservative Conference in 2022, she was met with loud applause, and admiration from audience members. Nigel Farage, who has not been allowed into a Tory Party conference since the 1980s, praised Truss as he claimed there was much to admire about how Truss was not afraid to fight for radical change. The amount of positive feedback that Truss received perhaps reflects the way that British politics is currently splintered. Is there such desperation for some kind of change that interest is being directed towards someone who was so outwardly and explicitly hated this time last year?

The success of Truss’s rally is also accompanied by the creation of her Conservative Growth Group. Although previously this group was not deemed a threat to the Conservative Party, it has recently amassed over 60 members, putting the government’s current majority into potential peril. The success of her Growth Rally at the party conference seems to worsen this threat as Truss’s ideas gain more traction. However, could it be suggested that the high level of attendance at Truss’s event was spurred on by an interest to see her position after having previously caused such disarray? There may have been such exaggerated interest in her rally out of curiosity, rather than a genuine widespread desire to support her ideas.

the praise she is attracting from controversial figures such as Nigel Farage points towards the potential for even more political instability 

If her speech at the Tory conference is treated in isolation, this reveals little about the current state of British politics other than the fickle nature of members of the Conservative party. However, when coupled with the formation of her Growth Group, there appears to be a growing level of dissent in the Conservative Party. Although the Tories encompass one group of people, it is only natural that there is a spectrum of beliefs on how the party could be run. However, the fact that there appears to be a growing interest in Truss who caused huge amounts of trouble not only to her party but also to the country, suggests that there has been a complete loss of faith in current leadership. Moreover, the praise she is attracting from controversial figures such as Nigel Farage points towards the potential for even more political instability.

Party conferences are allegedly designed to give each party and their leader a moment in the spotlight where they can exclusively discuss their goals and manifestos. However, Liz Truss stole this spotlight for herself, revealing more about the splintered state of British politics as a whole. It appears that the grass always seems greener for Conservative party members, which ultimately hinders the level of stability that they can achieve. Interest is not being shown so strongly in the cabinet ministers that have more of an ability to make some kind of change, but instead in controversial and supposedly ‘radical’ figures. It is perhaps ironic that Truss’s rally was about growth when the support that she has received implies a lack of ability to grow and support new potential leaders.

So, what does this say about the conservative party? Perhaps they appear to have an appetite for self-destruction? Or do they have no sense of what is best for their continued success? Whatever this sudden support for a pariah member means, it certainly proves what has always been known; the Conservatives do not act in the way that they know will most likely support their country, but in a way that they know will serve themselves.

Catrin Hadaway

Featured image courtesy of Kane Reinholdtsen via Unsplash Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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