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Truss's libertarianism was never going to win over the UK

Martin Ivens
Martin Ivens10/2/2022 09:08 PM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Truss's libertarianism was never going to win over the UK
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The French admire intellectuals for their ideological principles, but the British don’t share their enthusiasm. As the poet W.H. Auden wrote: “To the man-in-the-street who, I’m sorry to say, /Is a keen observer of life/ The word intellectual suggests right away/A man who’s untrue to his wife.”

This mindset dates back to the French Revolution. Across the Channel, the British shuddered in horror when Parisian fanatics guillotined their political opponents by the thousands in the name of abstract ideas. Memories of the Puritan zealots who abolished Christmas and closed the theatres during the English civil war never faded either.

The hostile reaction in opinion polls to UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s ideological “mini-budget” last week, therefore, has a historical template. Following market chaos, the Tories now trail the Labour party by a colossal 33 points ahead of their annual conference. No one wants to be the laboratory animal in a grand experiment conducted by politicians armed with a rigid caste of mind.

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