Why are the British comparing UK PM Liz Truss to a lettuce?

For now, Truss romaines in place.

Sulaiman Daud | October 18, 2022, 05:44 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Liz Truss, the embattled prime minister of the United Kingdom, has been stuck with a curious meme -- being compared to a common vegetable.

The Daily Star currently has a live video feed of a picture of Truss next to a head of lettuce. The lettuce currently has various props, like a wig and googly eyes.

The caption reads, "Can Liz Truss outlast a lettuce?"

Why a lettuce?

The origins of some memes are lost to the mists of time, but we actually have a pretty good idea of where this one began.

On Oct. 11, the Economist published an article that assessed Truss's first month or so on the job, having taken up the post on Sep. 6.

Following the rollout of the "mini-budget" which promised massive tax cuts and spending paid for with borrowing, the pound crashed as the markets and investors did not believe the UK would be able to take on the additional debt burden.

This led to the Economist giving a scathing commentary on her time in office:

"Liz Truss has already secured her place in British political history. However long she now lasts in office, she is set to be remembered as the prime minister whose grip on power was the shortest.

Ms Truss entered Downing Street on September 6th. She blew up her own government with a package of unfunded tax cuts and energy-price guarantees on September 23rd.

Take away the ten days of mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and she had seven days in control. That is roughly the shelf-life of a lettuce."

This inspired the Daily Star to set up their live feed of a head of lettuce for a face-off with Truss.

Screenshot from Twitter.

Drawn and Kwarteng-ed

The backlash to the mini-budget's announcement was so bad, Truss eventually sacked her Chancellor (equivalent to Singapore's Finance Minister), Kwasi Kwarteng.

Kwarteng was noted as a close ally of Truss, yet that wasn't enough to save his job, after just 38 days.

The lettuce began to accumulate more accessories, like a blonde wig and a pair of googly eyes.

Screenshot from Twitter.

Start the Hunt

Jeremy Hunt took over as Chancellor next. Hunt, who was a Cabinet minister under Theresa May and lost a leadership challenge against Boris Johnson, had not held a Cabinet job since 2019.

Hunt went about reversing almost everything proposed in Kwarteng's mini-budget, which was approved by Truss.

The pound rallied and government borrowing costs fell sharply, according to The Guardian.

But this was a blow to Truss's leadership and authority, as Sky News's political editor Beth Rigby noted: "The entire platform of the Truss administration is gone, is gone. It's done."

Further embarrassment was in store for Truss after Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer of the Labour Party was granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker of Parliament to ask Truss about Kwarteng's sacking.

However, Truss did not turn up to answer the question in person.

Instead, Penny Mordaunt, who was one of Truss's challengers in her leadership bid, was sent to do the job.

During the debate, a Labour Member of Parliament asked if Truss was "hiding under a desk" to avoid answering difficult questions.

Mordaunt said that the prime minister was in fact not hiding under a desk, but had an urgent reason not to attend the debate.

Truss did eventually turn up in Parliament, but did not answer any questions personally, and left again after a short while.

Predictably, social media seized upon the desk statement and ran with it.

According to British media speculation, Truss's leadership is under severe pressure.

At least five MPs from her own Conservative Party have publicly called on her to resign.

No matter what happens next, it seems likely she will be remembered through a host of memes -- the lettuce chief among them.

Screenshot from Daily Star YouTube.

Related story:

Top image from Daily Star YouTube.