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Liz Truss’ ‘Lazy Brits’ Comments Expose her Own ‘Plastic Patriotism’

A leaked recording of the Tory leadership frontrunner deriding UK workers for lacking “graft” gives the game away about her real views of the British people, reports Adam Bienkov

Liz Truss. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

Liz Truss’ ‘Lazy Brits’ Comments Expose her Own ‘Plastic Patriotism’

A leaked recording of the Tory leadership frontrunner deriding UK workers for lacking “graft” gives the game away about her real views of the British people, reports Adam Bienkov

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Liz Truss has spent her campaign to become prime minister posing as a ‘patriotic’ successor to Margaret Thatcher, while accusing her opponents of betraying the country.

Whether it’s recreating Thatcher’s famous photo opportunity in front of a giant Union flag, defending Britain’s colonial past, attacking the media for “talking our country down” or accusing Keir Starmer of being a “plastic patriot” – Truss has sought to position herself as a champion and defender of the British people.

However, as new leaked audio of her deriding British workers for lacking “graft” reveals, the reality is quite different.

In the clip, Truss suggests that the UK’s low productivity is down to the lack of “skill and application” of British workers, who she compares unfavourably to workers from other parts of the world.

“There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture,” she said. “Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change.”

This is not the first time that Truss has put her name to such comments.

In 2012, she jointly co-authored Britannia Unchained with her fellow Conservative MPs Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng and Chris Skidmore, which accused British workers of being “among the worst idlers in the world”.

The book claimed that British people “work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music”.

Liz TrussA Prime Ministerfor the Super-Rich

Adam Bienkov

The Foreign Secretary has recently tried to distance herself from these comments, suggesting that this particular passage was authored by Raab. However, the newly leaked audio suggests that it is in fact a sentiment which she also personally endorses.

This is not her only attempt to hide her real views. In recent weeks, she has also sought to distance herself from a plan to cut the wages of public sector workers outside of the south-east, claiming her intentions had been “misrepresented”.

However, the audio leaked to the Guardian suggests that this is, in fact, also a core part of her beliefs. In the clip, Truss tells officials: “If you look at productivity, it’s very, very different in London from the rest of the country. But basically… this has been a historical fact for decades. Essentially, it’s partly a mindset and attitude thing, I think. It’s working culture, basically. If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you.”

Truss is not alone in publicly trading-off of patriotism, while privately acting quite differently.

Her predecessor Boris Johnson spent his own premiership posing as a staunch defender of the British people – despite spending his previous journalistic career deriding British workers as “shirkers” and the working-class as “drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless”.

His flag-waving appeals to public pride over the NHS during the pandemic were also exposed as a sham after it was revealed that he had personally broken his own Coronavirus lockdown rules designed to protect them.

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And while Johnson and his supporters had called on British people to do their “patriotic duty” by returning to the office after the pandemic, he has himself chosen to take two holidays in the middle of a major economic crisis, and now reportedly plans to spend his final weeks working from his grace-and-favour country mansion.

Liz Truss’ rival Rishi Sunak has also sought to trade-off of appeals to patriotism, suggesting that his own patriotic values are “non-negotiable”. However, as was exposed earlier this year, the former chancellor’s claimed commitment to this country does not quite tally with the revelation that he only recently gave up his green card, which required him to declare himself as a permanent resident of the US.

The fact that Truss’ own appeals to patriotism also do not match up with the reality of her own actions should therefore not be terribly surprising.

Yet, while Johnson and Sunak’s real beliefs only became fully apparent to most voters at the end of their time in office, Truss appears to have given the game away even before she sets foot in Downing Street.

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