N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Few new British prime ministers has as many crises on their plate from day one as Liz Truss. Last week Tuesday she excepted the appointment by Queen Elisabeth II as the 56th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The visit of the new leader of the British Conservatives to Balmoral, the royal domain in Scotland, was her first and last audience with the Queen.
Most prime ministers take office with an ambitious agenda, which is then confused by an endless stream of events. But it is hard to imagine many new prime ministers who had to deal with so many difficult crises from day one as Liz Truss. A few days later, there was also the death of Elisabeth II, the Queen who embodied almost the entire post-war era in the United Kingdom.
The death promptly pushed Liz Truss’s first major achievement into the background on Thursday. Her announcement of a massive plan to contain the energy crisis was regarded as the moment that could make or break her entire tenure. Hours later, the challenge hadn’t gone away, but the public impact of her debut appearance in the Commons had.
But at the same time, the mourning for a popular monarch , the succession of the throne and the ceremonies that go with it are an opportunity for a right-wing politician to profile herself as a national conciliator. Her initial reaction on the Queen’s death was less flamboyant than that of her predecessor. Boris Johnson spoke of ‘wave after wave of sorrows that engulfs the world’. Liz Truss kept to understated praise for the ‘rock on which modern Britain is built’. More did not seem necessary under the current circumstances.
If Prime Minister Liz Truss continues to make a solid impression, she can garner political credit for the extremely difficult road ahead.