Liz Truss took aim at the "anti-growth coalition" during her speech at the Tory conference (Photo: OLI SCARFF via Getty Images)
Liz Truss’ speech to the Conservative Party members on Wednesday had one main message: “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back.”
According to Truss, those in the coalition “prefer protesting to doing,” and “prefer talking on Twitter to taking tough decisions”.
She also speculated: “They taxi from North London townhouses to the BBC studio to dismiss anyone challenging the status quo. From broadcast to podcast, they peddle the same old answers.”
This elusive but clearly rousing message triggered applause from the room and rounded off an otherwise difficult Conservative Party conference for the new prime minister. But what exactly does it mean?
So, who does Truss think is in this ‘coalition’?
“Vested interests dressed up as think tanks”
All of these groups have little in common other than being opposed to Truss’ controversial economic plans.
And what does she mean by ‘anti-growth’?
After a month in office, Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have faced intense backlash over their “mini” budget, which introduced £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts as part of their Growth Plan.
Amid all the criticism, Truss and Kwarteng have steered clear of any apologies, and maintained that they were simply championing the UK’s “growth” by cutting taxes and encouraging investment.
The response to their budget caused deep splits in the Conservative Party, with many MPs coming out against it and the U-turn the pair did on one of their policies on Monday.
So, during her speech on Wednesday, the prime minister was clearly trying to smooth over the cracks among the Tories.
She said: “The anti-growth coalition just doesn’t get it because they don’t face the same challenges as normal working people.”
This is confusing, though, as the Growth Plan Truss and Kwarteng have unveiled mainly benefits the wealthiest in the country – not the “normal working people”.
The pair are also expected to drop a previous Tory pledge to increase benefits in line of inflation, meaning it will work out to a real-time benefits cut.
What was the point in creating this new phrase?
The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar speculated this was Truss’ way of bringing her party back together. She tweeted: “Liz Truss tries to unite her deeply divided party against a common, rather nebulous enemy.”
And, as many people on Twitter pointed out, grouping together so many different factions alienates a great portion of the country.
It strikes me that the 'anti growth coalition' is actually a significant majority of the voters and taxpayers across the whole of the UK. is Truss really saying that more than half of the country are her 'political enemies?'
— Lisa Schneidau (@LisaSchneidau) October 5, 2022
Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Unions, environmentalists... I'm a bit worried the anti-growth coalition makes up 70% of the country.
— THE SECRET TORY 🇬🇧 (@secrettory12) October 5, 2022
How effective will this slogan be?
The Conservatives do have a history of working with three-word slogans, such as the ones Boris Johnson memorably used throughout his time in office. Remember “get Brexit done,” and “hands, face, space”? And Truss appears to have adopted “get Britain moving” as her new government slogan, pasted onto podiums for the conference.
So, it’s no surprise that she has copied her predecessor’s manner of talking about an indistinct enemy too. Johnson used to stoke cultural tensions by criticising “lefty lawyers” and champion a “war on woke”.
Johnson was kicked out of office after a string of scandals, though – and Truss’ net approval rating is already lower than his ever was during three years in office.
The pound also fell against the US dollar during the speech, slipping down from its three-week high to $1.136 by the time Truss had concluded.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.