Liz Truss Has The 'Anti-Growth Coalition' In Her Sights. But What Exactly Is It?

It's not exactly a common term within the political sphere.
Liz Truss took aim at the "anti-growth coalition" during her speech at the Tory conference
Liz Truss took aim at the "anti-growth coalition" during her speech at the Tory conference
OLI SCARFF via Getty Images

Liz Truss’ speech to the Conservative Party members on Wednesday had one main message: “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back.

According to Truss, those in the coalition “prefer protesting to doing,” and “prefer talking on Twitter to taking tough decisions”.

She also speculated: “They taxi from North London townhouses to the BBC studio to dismiss anyone challenging the status quo. From broadcast to podcast, they peddle the same old answers.”

This elusive but clearly rousing message triggered applause from the room and rounded off an otherwise difficult Conservative Party conference for the new prime minister. But what exactly does it mean?

So, who does Truss think is in this ‘coalition’?

  • Labour

  • Lib Dems

  • SNP

  • Unions

  • “Vested interests dressed up as think tanks”

  • “Talking heads”

  • Brexit “deniers”

  • Extinction Rebellion

All of these groups have little in common other than being opposed to Truss’ controversial economic plans.

And what does she mean by ‘anti-growth’?

After a month in office, Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have faced intense backlash over their “mini” budget, which introduced £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts as part of their Growth Plan.

Amid all the criticism, Truss and Kwarteng have steered clear of any apologies, and maintained that they were simply championing the UK’s “growth” by cutting taxes and encouraging investment.

The response to their budget caused deep splits in the Conservative Party, with many MPs coming out against it and the U-turn the pair did on one of their policies on Monday.

So, during her speech on Wednesday, the prime minister was clearly trying to smooth over the cracks among the Tories.

She said: “The anti-growth coalition just doesn’t get it because they don’t face the same challenges as normal working people.”

This is confusing, though, as the Growth Plan Truss and Kwarteng have unveiled mainly benefits the wealthiest in the country – not the “normal working people”.

The pair are also expected to drop a previous Tory pledge to increase benefits in line of inflation, meaning it will work out to a real-time benefits cut.

What was the point in creating this new phrase?

The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar speculated this was Truss’ way of bringing her party back together. She tweeted: “Liz Truss tries to unite her deeply divided party against a common, rather nebulous enemy.”

It does also group together essentially any body which criticises the government’s economic plan – something even the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England did only last week.

And, as many people on Twitter pointed out, grouping together so many different factions alienates a great portion of the country.

How effective will this slogan be?

The Conservatives do have a history of working with three-word slogans, such as the ones Boris Johnson memorably used throughout his time in office. Remember “get Brexit done,” and “hands, face, space”? And Truss appears to have adopted “get Britain moving” as her new government slogan, pasted onto podiums for the conference.

So, it’s no surprise that she has copied her predecessor’s manner of talking about an indistinct enemy too. Johnson used to stoke cultural tensions by criticising “lefty lawyers” and champion a “war on woke”.

Johnson was kicked out of office after a string of scandals, though – and Truss’ net approval rating is already lower than his ever was during three years in office.

The pound also fell against the US dollar during the speech, slipping down from its three-week high to $1.136 by the time Truss had concluded.

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