U.K. PM Liz Truss compared to a lettuce, amid jokes and economic chaos

LONDON – What do British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ political tenure and a wilted lettuce have in common, you might ask? Both have an expiration date.

Truss was installed by her party just last month following the dramatic ouster of her predecessor, Boris Johnson, and has been in office for less than six weeks. However, some pundits are already saying her days at the job are numbered as she clings to her political life on a dizzying economic roller coaster ride for which she has been largely blamed.

It’s also become the butt of quintessentially British jokes – largely because it’s featured by both The Economist newspaper (regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent news magazines) and The Daily Star, an entertainment-focused tabloid that bills itself as the Labeled “home of fun stuff,” likened to a lettuce, it regularly features photos of scantily clad celebrities.

Liz Truss sacks Treasury Secretary as she reverses a policy that sent the British pound down

The gag began in an article by The Economist, which earlier this week dubbed Truss “The Iceberg Lady” and bluntly predicted that her career will have “the shelf life of a salad.”

On Friday, the Daily Star offered its readers a live stream camera feed of a store-bought salad (worth 60p – just under a dollar – and has a shelf life of around 10 days) alongside a framed photo of Truss accompanied by the question: “Day one: Which wet salad lasts longer?”

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The live stream lapse has since drawn more than 350,000 viewers as people tune in to see whether Truss’s political career or the staple salad (who briefly donned a wig and googly eyes) will speed up.

The Daily Star accused Truss of being a “lame duck” after a “muddled day” on Friday when she sacked her Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng after just 38 days in office and reversed fiscal policy to help stabilize the ailing economy.

Kculteng, who will go down in history as Britain’s second shortest-serving Treasury Secretary, has also been the subject of jokes from the British press – who pointed out that the shortest-serving Chancellor had died (Iain Macleod in 1970 after 30 days on the job) , instead of being pushed aside.

On Saturday, the “#lettuceliz” hashtag gained momentum on social media, leaving users unsure whether to laugh or cry at the state of national affairs.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg” wrote a person on twitter. “Brilliant,” wrote Another.

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Some online complained that they had cheese in the fridge that had lasted longer than Kwarteng’s tenure, while a transatlantic observer joked: “In the US, we measure things like this in Scaramuccis,” referring to Anthony Scaramucci — the short-acting White House communications director who was less than a week in the Trump administration.

The British Prime Minister was also criticized for holding an unusually short press conference, lasting just eight minutes and 21 seconds, after announcing Kwarteng’s departure on Friday.

The Daily Mail newspaper called the press conference a “car accident,” the Guardian front page abused “A day of chaos,” while the tabloid Mirror simply said, “Time’s up.”

Meanwhile, the British opposition parties are calling for general elections.

“A change of Chancellor will not undo the damage done at Downing Street. Liz Truss’ ruthless approach has crashed the economy, sent mortgages skyrocketing and undermined Britain’s standing on the world stage.” said Labor leader Keir Starmer, whose party is enjoying a resurgence in opinion polls. “We need a change of government”

The smaller Liberal Democrat Party echoed a similar feeling: “Enough is enough. It started with Boris Johnson failing our country and now Liz Truss has destroyed our economy. It is time for the people to have their say.”

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Larry the Cat chases a much larger fox out of Downing Street

Truss’ pledge to simultaneously cut taxes and maintain welfare programs without heavy borrowing has reeled the market and its party members in recent weeks, plunging the pound and forcing the Bank of England to launch unprecedented interventions to quell the financial revolt .

She quickly replaced Kwarteng (who had attended an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington DC before flying back to the UK in despair) with former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who vowed on Saturday to restore economic credibility. Hunt lost the Conservative Party leadership race to Johnson in 2019.

Truss has also backtracked on one of her key campaign promises — and will now allow corporate taxes to rise from 19 percent to 25 percent in April 2023, she said.

Like other nations in Europe, the UK is grappling with rising inflation, a cost of living crisis and multiple strikes by workers in the transport, healthcare and postal sectors, with some predicting a possible winter of discontent on the horizon.

At least the average price of lettuce hasn’t increased too much.

Karla Adam and William Booth contributed to this report.


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