She’s also become the butt of quintessentially British jokes – most notably being compared to a head of lettuce by both The Economist newspaper (regarded as one of the world’s leading news outlets) and The Daily Star, an entertainment-focused tabloid calling itself labeled as the “home of fun stuff” and regular photos of scantily clad celebrities.
Liz Truss fires Chancellor of the Exchequer and reverses policies that made the British pound fall
The joke began in an article by The Economist, which earlier this week referred to Truss as “The Iceberg Lady,” bluntly predicting that her career has “the shelf life of a lettuce.”
By Friday, the Daily Star was offering its readers a live-streamed camera feed of a store-bought lettuce (worth 60 pence — just under a dollar — and with a shelf life of about 10 days), alongside a framed photo of Truss, accompanied by the question: “Day one: Which wet lettuce lasts longer?”
The livestream decline has since drawn more than 350,000 viewers, as people tune in to see if Truss’ or Salad’s political career (who briefly wore a wig and googly eyes) will speed up.
The Daily Star accused Truss of being a “lame duck PM” after a “chaotic day”, on Friday when she fired her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, after just 38 days in office and changed tax policy in an attempt to to stabilize the shaky economy.
Kwarteng, who will go down in history as Britain’s second-shortest-serving Chancellor of the Exchequer, also received jokes from the British press – pointing out that the shortest-serving Chancellor had died (Iain Macleod in 1970 after 30 days on the job) instead of being dropped off.
On social media, the hashtag “#lettuceliz” gained steam on Saturday, with users unsure whether to laugh or cry at the state of affairs.
Some online complained that they had cheese in the fridge that had lasted longer than Quarteng’s tenure, while a transatlantic observer joked“In the US, we measure things like that in Scaramucci’s,” referring to Anthony Scaramucci — the short-acting White House communications director who lasted less than a week in the Trump administration.
The British Prime Minister has also been criticized for holding an abnormally short press conference following Friday’s announcement of Kwarteng’s departure, which lasted just eight minutes and 21 seconds.
The Daily Mail newspaper called the press conference a ‘car accident’, Guardian’s front page criticized “A day of chaos,” as the Mirror tabloid simply said, “Time is up.”
The opposition parties in Britain meanwhile are calling for a general election.
‘Changing Chancellor won’t undo the damage in Downing Street. Liz Truss’ reckless approach has caused the economy to crash, sending mortgages skyrocketing, and undermining Britain’s position on the world stage.” said Labor leader Keir Starmer, whose party gets a boost 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 abandoning our country, and now Liz Truss has destroyed our economy. It is time for the people to have their say.”
Larry the Cat hunts much bigger fox from Downing Street
Truss’ pledge to simultaneously cut taxes and maintain social programs without borrowing much money has rocked the market and its party members in recent weeks, causing the pound to plummet and forcing the Bank of England to hit unprecedented levels. interventions to quell the financial revolt.
She quickly replaced Kwarteng (who had attended an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington DC before flying frantically back to the UK) with former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who promised on Saturday to restore economic credibility. Hunt lost the Conservative Party leadership race to Johnson in 2019.
Truss has also rolled back one of her key campaign pledges — and will now allow corporate taxes to rise from 19 percent to 25 percent by April 2023, she said.
Like other countries in Europe, Britain is grappling with rising inflation, a cost of living crisis and multiple strikes by workers from the transport, health and postal sectors, with some predicting a possible winter of discontent on the horizon.
In any case, the average price of lettuce has not risen too fast.
Karla Adam and William Booth contributed to this report.