Voices: Liz Truss’s first speech as PM: What she said – and what she really meant

·2-min read

What Liz Truss said: I have just accepted her Majesty the Queen’s kind invitation to form a new government.

What she meant: I have the job I wanted. I am Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher rolled into one.

What she said: Let me pay tribute to my predecessor. Boris Johnson delivered Brexit, the Covid vaccine and stood up to Russian aggression. History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister.

What she meant: Consequential is a good word, isn’t it? Boris had consequences. One of them is me, here.

What she said: We now face severe global headwinds caused by Russia’s appalling war in Ukraine and the aftermath of Covid.

What she meant: I pretended during the leadership campaign that all we need is tax cuts and then we shall be on the sunlit uplands. I regret to inform you that things are not quite so favourable.

What she said: We will transform Britain into an aspiration nation.

What she meant: But never mind all that doom and gloom. What we need is rhyming slogans and all will be well. We will make Britain into a prosperous frosperous, an opportunity bopportunity, a happiness rappiness.

What she said: I will take action this day and action every day to make it happen.

What she meant: I can give Boris a run for his money in pretending to be a mini-Churchill. Action this day. But I won’t tell you my plan for the energy crisis until Thursday. Or possibly later. Kwasi said he was a bit busy at the moment.

What she said: As prime minister, I will pursue three early priorities. Firstly, I will get Britain working again.

What she meant: What do you mean, you were expecting something about energy prices? I don’t want to worry people.

What she said: I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment. I will drive reform in my mission to get the United Kingdom working, building and growing. We’ll get spades in the ground to make sure we’re not facing unaffordable energy bills.

What she meant: I will assemble phrases composed by artificial intelligence that seem to make sense but cannot be pinned down to any actual meaning. It confuses your opponents and has worked very well for me so far.

What she said: Secondly, I will deal, hands on, with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war. I will take action this week to deal with energy bills.

What she meant:Details to follow. I think Kwasi has some numbers.

What she said: Thirdly, I will make sure that people can get doctors appointments and the NHS services they need.

What she meant: The NHS is a disaster area and it is getting worse. I have absolutely no idea how to fix it. My friend Therese is good on detail.

What she said: We shouldn’t be daunted by the challenges we face.

What she meant: We have no idea how bad it is going to be. I know many of you are worried about whether you will be able to eat this winter, but you really shouldn’t be. I’m in charge now and I will speak in a loud, steady voice.

What she said: As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger.

What she meant: Is it going to rain again?

What she said: Our country was built by people who get things done.

What she meant: Our country was not built by wasters. Some people are idlers who don’t want to put in the graft. I am not interested in them.

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What she said: I am confident that together we can ride out the storm.

What she meant: I have an umbrella. You too should be prepared.

What she said: We can rebuild our economy, and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that we know we can be.

What she meant: Boris has left me a wasteland. I’ll do my best to make something of the scorched earth.

What she said: I am determined to deliver.

What she meant: I have no idea what I am doing, but I have the job I want.