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Liz Truss’s PopCon-tradictions Movement: Political Murder From Within

Updated: May 23



When Liz Truss quit as Prime Minister after just 45 days in office, everyone broke down in tears of laughter because a 60p iceberg lettuce had outlasted her. Everyone thought poor old Liz was gone for good – and she’ll never eat a salad again, we all said.

 

We were wrong. Liz is back but this time as the leader of the Popular Conservatism movement, or PopCons for short. Liz was flanked by several Tory high-fliers at the PopCon launch on 6 February, including former Deputy Chair of the party Lee Anderson, Dame Priti Patel and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

 

But how much of a threat does this new faction pose to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak?

 

Well, going by Liz’s speech, not much. You can tell the woman was once a Liberal Democrat. Her grand launch speech was rather incoherent – with very little actually said in an endless diatribe of words.

 

From what Liz did actually say, the impetus of the PopCons seems to be to restore democratic accountability and deliver popular conservative policies. Preaching democratic accountability is quite rich coming from an ex-PM who had the square root of zero democratic mandate beyond a couple of thousand Conservative Party members. And what exactly are popular conservative policies? I’m not sure, but I’m not especially inclined to take the advice of the shortest-serving PM in British history – she clearly doesn’t know either, otherwise she’d still be in Number 10.

 

Liz claimed that Britain is full of “secret Conservatives” who can’t speak their true minds because it’s unacceptable – especially on immigration. To an extent, this is true. Everyone I speak to about immigration is outraged that we spend £8 million a day to put illegal immigrants in hotels when we can’t even help homeless British citizens. But then the irony is Rishi’s flagship Rwanda policy tackles this exact issue by deporting illegal immigrants elsewhere, saving us the cost.

 

Bearing all these PopCon-tradictions in mind, we have stumbled across the real meaning of PopCon. The backbone beliefs and origins of the PopCon movement are shaky. Perhaps we should get another lettuce out and see how long PopCon’s little march lasts.

 

Despite all this, the biggest contradiction of the lot is this: members of PopCon have stressed they do not wish to oust Rishi Sunak as Tory leader. OK – so why set it up then? Surely the whole point of officially establishing your own party faction is to mount a challenge on the leader. When Neil Kinnock started turning the New Labour crank on Socialist Labour leader Michael Foot in the 1980s, do you think he was happy to sit back and watch Labour flirt with Moscow?

 

The entire purpose behind establishing a party faction is to contest the leader – in a formal manner. This is not simply a dispute round Cabinet’s dinner table. It is a serious statement to form a rival group within the same party. This is because – surprise, surprise – it doesn’t exactly display unity.

 

And what better time to walk out onto the football pitch as Tory Disunited than right before your captain is about to call a general election. PopCon is either telling a barefaced white lie when they say they have no intention of ousting Sunak, or they possess equivalent political antennae to a singular ant.

 

Now, I have no idea which of the two thought processes went on in Liz Truss’s mind when she set this whole saga up – and, dare I say, perhaps she doesn’t even know – but it’s firmly stabbed a pretty large knife straight into Sunak’s back. And, more to the point, it has torn to shreds any Conservative credibility that Sunak had rebuilt with the public since the Brexit and Covid-19 nightmares.

 

You would think, therefore, that Labour are obviously loving life. Not only are they election favourites, but they’re also sitting back with their popcorn watching the PopCons destroy the Conservative Party in a cinematic spectacular. But apparently not. Because Keir Starmer has said his heart sinks every time Liz Truss opens her mouth.

 

Either Keir Starmer is telling the second lie of this article, or he too lacks a single political hair on his body. What a load of rubbish. If I was Labour leader, I’d be rubbing my hands together every time Liz Truss makes a comeback. Because it inevitably exposes an exponential split of the extreme Tory right, which completely undermines the government’s own vision.

 

And, by way of conclusion, the PopCon movement is nothing more than this. It is a last-ditch attempt by a failed former PM to launch herself back into the limelight and have one last stab at regaining power. Unfortunately for any Conservative supporters, Liz Truss’s ‘one last stab’ has ended up in Rishi Sunak’s vertebrae. The PopCon movement is a political murder for the Conservatives – and it’s happening right in front of our eyes, right before a crucial general election.

 

So, yes, the PopCons do pose a threat to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – and the Conservative Party as a whole. Exposing the divide between the extreme and moderate right rips off any bandages that the Sunak Pharmacy has applied to the party since coming to power.

 

This is incredibly disappointing – at least because of the thoughtless, careless timing of this political attack. But, more to the point, the poisonous venom of PopCon-tradictions runs throughout this movement. An unelected former leader – one of the most unpopular PMs in history – proclaiming democratic accountability and appealing to popular conservative policies is a catastrophic contradictory recipe threatening to complete the Tory self-destruction.



Image: Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street

 

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