Liz Truss is a woman who delivers. I know this, because she’s told me. Often.
‘I deliver,’ she says.
Whatever the question, it really doesn’t matter, it could be about autumnal mist – but the answer is always the same: she delivers.
It was her go-to response in the Tory leadership race. You may have noticed: ‘I am someone who delivers.’
Evidence on the ground may be scant. I mean, Team Truss point to ‘numerous trade deals’ around the world.
But brushing off the cheap political glitter, these were mainly routine trade renewals that could have been signed off by a monkey in a suit. And not even the brightest of the colony.
They were also trade deals, Albania et al, that had minimal impact on our economy. You felt they were more for Truss than for us.
And meanwhile, trade deals which might have actually helped, like one with the USA or India or, dare we say it, Europe – she didn’t deliver these.
But evidence aside – indeed evidence hung, drawn and quartered – the image Liz wishes to promote is one of delivery. It is there in every brittle, finger-pointing answer, ‘I deliver.’
It’s who she is, it’s what she does, she delivers – and I’ve written the phrase so many times in this short piece, I’m actually beginning to believe it myself.
‘Liz delivers. I’m convinced.’
And then finally it happens, of course. She does deliver, with her mini-budget or fiscal event or brain fart or whatever it was – and it’s an eye-watering panic-raising catastrophe.
With her hands on the tiller at last, she delivers a nightmare, duly buried without ceremony a few weeks later…but only after significant financial and social trauma for the nation.
And amid the economic wreckage; amid collapse and crisis, there she is in her Tufton Street bubble, the same lines in her muttering mouth, absolutely still assuring us in her tin-eared manner that she wishes to deliver – for the British people, which sounds more of a threat than a promise.
But this is who she wishes to be in our eyes; this is the narrative she insists upon – ‘I will be this person! Dame Delivery!’. And as ever, the self-image demands belief and adoration.
To be fair, we do now believe, she does deliver, it’s true after all. But what she delivers is an aberration, a scar on the face of the human race, conceived by the libertarian far-right, in whose velvet pocket she snugly sits.
God help us – Liz or I – when we live out our self-image; God help us when, intoxicated by our brand, we imagine all others must bend and all others are fools.
‘I deliver,’ says Liz Truss, inching away from relationship and towards the Union Jack.
And driven by the remorseless logic of a deluded self-image, this tragically turns out to be true.