Resignation of Liz Truss: Tax alchemy ends in vaudeville | International
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Measuring in days -exactly 44- the mandate of a ruler elected by her own party to try to straighten the course after an erratic period gives a fairly eloquent idea of the exceptionality that the United Kingdom is going through. Liz Truss was the arrangement that Tories considered more appropriate to quell the turbulence that characterized the last stage of Boris Johnson’s government. Embarrassed by the histrionics of that leader, the British Conservatives decided to give the reins of the country to a leader voted in primaries by just over 81,000 members. The former Foreign Minister responded by proclaiming to the world the keys to her secret potion to revive the country: a historic reduction in taxes combined with a notable injection of spending that would alleviate the energy bill of homes and businesses. The markets responded ruthlessly to this squaring of the circle. The shock alarmed the party, which began to maneuver to improvise a replacement.
The only positive lesson to be drawn from this British vaudeville is that fiscal alchemy is irresponsible. No ruler should resort to tax fables —for example, that lowering taxes at a time of maximum international uncertainty is compatible with increasing public spending and sustainable in the medium term— to rise or stay in power. But the gravity of the overall British framework overshadows any hopeful conclusion. Because the problem of the United Kingdom far exceeds the most visible part that floods the European press these days. It points to the decomposition into which even the strongest democracy in the world can enter if it decides to indulge in populism. That was Brexit: the will to break a complex and unglamorous architecture – but legitimized by history, the ballot boxes and parliaments – to try to recover the glory of an imperial past impossible to resuscitate. Hopefully it would serve as a vaccine against political excesses in other neighboring territories.
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