Why the appointment of Liz Truss as our new PM is a cause for sheer dread - Angus Robertson

Usually, and in spite of the party to whom one belongs, the changing over of Prime Ministers has a bit of a buzz to it. Even for those who oppose vehemently the policies of the incoming leader, there is a general interest in the process.

However, this time, I have never witnessed the ascendance of a new Prime Minister greeted with as much apathy among supporters and sheer dread among the vast majority of the general public.

The dread, which I share, is well justified. For a start, we are being lumped with a Prime Minister who has obtained the democratic mandate of a mere 0.03 per cent of the UK population.

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UK-wide, this is a democratic outrage. In Scotland, it is even more so. Just to remind you, the Tories have not won an election in Scotland since 1955. Nearly 70 years have passed, and we are still being subject to Conservative Prime Minister after Prime Minister that we in Scotland unequivocally reject. This will be the fourth new leader in six years and the ninth since 1955.

Liz Truss waves outside Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London yesterday following her victory in the Tory leadership race. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
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What’s more, with no mandate at all – and apparently no sense of irony – Liz Truss’s team have begun to carve out plans that would move the goalposts on any independence referendum in Scotland. This has never been the case or requirement in any normal election or referendum. If that were the case for the Tories, Truss would be leading a minority government, rather than their 80-seat majority.

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However, at least it shows they recognise that Scotland has a right to hold a referendum, even if they will never say it publicly. In fact, when speaking about devolved leaders, Truss has chosen only to make disparaging remarks.

So, what else can we expect from Prime Minister Truss?

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Whether they like it or not, history will judge today’s leaders by their approach to tackling the climate crisis. It is already obvious that Truss will not fare well. The former Shell employee wants to scrap the charge that helps to support the development of our renewable energy sources. This is particularly ill-informed given the need to move our energy supply away from the reliance on gas. Investing in renewables will create jobs and make our energy supply more secure.

Climate change has never been an issue Truss has cared much about. It has featured little in past statements and, in fact, she has more often criticised renewable technology than supported it.

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On Sunday, Truss also said it was “fair” for the richest to get the biggest tax breaks and that there has been too much focus on redistribution. At a time when wealth inequality is at its greatest—and among the greatest of any country in the world—this gives little hope to those on smaller incomes and to those who will struggle most with the cost of living crisis. Furthermore, her plans to cut taxes have been condemned by the near totality of economists and policy specialists as a threat to economic recovery.

To recap: we have a democratically illegitimate Prime Minister leading a government of ministers found at the bottom of the barrel; with no plans to tackle inflation or the cost of living; with no respect for devolved nations or their mandates; with little concern for the environment; but with a clear plan to protect the profits of big business and the incomes of the wealthiest in society.

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In Scotland we have a democratic alternative. We should take it.