Truss’s troubles

An Environment minister who is ineffective. Photo: Policy exchange via wikimedia commons
An Environment minister who was ineffective.
Photo: Policy exchange via wikimedia commons

Schadenfreude is an unworthy feeling, but the fact that the Germans have a word for it and we do not is entirely to their credit, for it is a common human emotion.

I thought we had seen the end of mentions of the hopeless Liz Truss on this blog as she exited to the Ministry of Justice to become the first female Lord Chancellor but I cannot help but notice that her path has been a rocky one. Two ministers have resigned rather than serve under her, Lord Faulks and Anna Soubry, on the grounds that Ms Truss knows nothing about the law.

Blimey! We’d be pretty short of Environment Secretaries, in all recent governments (yes including Labour ones), if knowing about the environment were a necessary qualification for being in charge of it.

There are two serious points, somewhat contradictory, mixed up in all this. First, that the number of scientists or former conservation professionals in the House of Commons is almost vanishingly small and so from that perspective, the Secretary of State for Defra is almost certain to be a bit of a novice. The second point is that former ministers that I have known, of all ranks, have varied considerably in how well they have done their jobs but it has rarely seemed to be closely related to their initial knowledge of the subject. Good ministers have often been good ministers despite their lack of initial understanding of the subject.

What is more important in being a good minister is often that they recognise that they do not know much about the subject rather than that they do know about it.  Labour ministers (with some exceptions) and Caroline Spelman and John Gummer (and that’s as far back as I can comment through personal knowledge) have consulted widely and brought people in from many perspectives to advise them. Rather too many Tories (Owen Paterson, Richard Benyon, Liz Truss) have shut out inconvenient voices and shut down or gagged sources of independent advice.

Liz Truss, remember, sent a rather curt and ungenerous note to the Lead Ammunition Group rejecting their years of hard work and misled the public in doing so.  That’s a more damning indictment for someone to be taking on Justice than the fact that she is no lawyer.

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8 Replies to “Truss’s troubles”

  1. Faulks and Soubry have a point. Law is one area where MPs have some experience, whether as practitioners or convicts, so there are plenty to choose from even at random. My guess is that Mrs Truss thinks a tort is some kind of cake. Or a pork pie.

    Lord Faulks has gone back to his other job of being Lyle Lovett.

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    1. "My guess is that Mrs Truss thinks a tort is some kind of cake. Or a pork pie."

      or perhaps some kind of truncated testudine.

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      1. "Of course she's qualified by experience. Apparently she once spent time sitting in the back of Leeds Crown Court. Add in the near certainty that she will have watched at least one episode of Judge John Deed, and what more do we need?

        Moving the conversation along, I can correctly spell 'occipital', and once watched an episode of ER. If anybody would like me to perform brain surgery on them, I am qualified by experience and my rates are reasonable."

        So someone says in the Gaianurd today

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  2. How much public money was spent on the LAG project? You can't go and spend a load of money and just ignore the result because your Eton puppetmaster, in this case, doesn't like it. It all reeks of spinelessness. There are two groups of people diametrically opposed to each other, shooter lobby and nature lobby, for want of better or more appropriate names, and the government just wash their hands of the problem rather than bear the flack that they might get if they act. Totally spineless.

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  3. This current trend of ideas only to be acted on if they come from within the party, and all disagreement or other ideas to be crushed, is a totally toxic one. I suspect it came from the Bush-Blair alliance, but it has now completely infiltrated all UK parties to some degree. It is worse than old fashioned authoritarianism in many ways.

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    1. Ultimately I think it came from the US Republicans, whose concept of debate is to stick their fingers in their ears and see who can shout the longest and loudest. And look where that's got us. The age of ignorance.

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  4. 'the fact that the Germans have a word for it and we do not'

    ###

    Epicaricacy.

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