Liz Truss: it’s time to go

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Liz Truss is finished. Her authority as prime minister is spent. The government she formed six weeks ago no longer exists and Britain needs a general election to choose a new one. Last week, the chancellor was sacked for enacting the prime minister’s will in a “mini-budget” that destroyed the UK’s credibility on global markets. On Wednesday, Suella Braverman, the home secretary, left the cabinet too, ostensibly over a security breach, although the departure suggests more profound clashes over policy and personnel at the heart of government.

Some Tory MPs have been reluctant to act, fearing that a mishandled transition could precipitate a general election that would cost the Conservatives dozens of seats. Another factor is the need to avoid a leadership contest that might put the choice of a replacement prime minister back in the hands of grassroots Tory members. They elected Ms Truss over the summer, and so their judgment on such matters is deemed unsound.

In other words, Britain is expected to endure dysfunctional and negligent government in order that a regime with no authority and a threadbare mandate can think of some way to reinforce its failing grip on power. Inaction is a symptom of weakness that also expresses an arrogance with power.

Ms Truss’s ideas are responsible for making almost everyone in the UK poorer, but she did not keep them secret over the summer. It is the whole Conservative party that bears responsibility now for trashing the UK’s credentials as a creditworthy nation, heaping financial pain on struggling households, undermining the fiscal foundations of public services, and pushing already vulnerable people deeper into poverty. Ms Truss has already packed a lot of misrule into a short time. She must not be given any longer to do worse.

There is no prospect of the prime minister’s performance improving. In parliament on Wednesday she sowed confusion over pensions policy, confirming the triple lock spending commitment that the chancellor had suggested might be abandoned. Whatever stability has been gained by shredding the plans that Ms Truss carried with her into Downing Street is jeopardised for as long as the author of the calamity is still in residence there.

What must not be allowed is a long period of chaos and paralysis as the last drops of authority are wrung out of this ragged government. There is no justification for keeping Ms Truss in Downing Street, and a Tory replacement would not stop the rot. She is the immediate problem, but the party that put her in power has forfeited the right to name a successor. That choice should be made by the British people.

Abortion ban sign of times in US

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on abortion rights in a speech hosted by the Democratic National Committee at the Howard Theatre in Washington, US, October 18, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

At a national event of the Democratic Party on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden pledged that if the Democrats do well enough in the midterm elections to get it through Congress, the first bill that he signs into law will be to codify the Roe vs Wade decision allowing women the fundamental right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy or not.

Abortion has emerged as the key issue in the midterm elections after the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion and overruled the 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling that had given women the right to choose.

As the Supreme Court said in its ruling, until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in US law for a constitutional right to seek or have an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right.

It was not until 1973, after four years of struggle, that the Roe vs Wade case finally gained US women the right to have an abortion. Subsequent legal developments until the Supreme Court’s decision in June had reinforced that.

Since that decision, the constitutional guarantee of women’s abortion rights has been officially abolished, and it is left to the individual states to decide.

In just four months, abortion bans have gone into effect in 16 states, where 26.5 million women of reproductive age are subject to these bans.

The abortion right that stood for 50 years has shaped the lives of women, influencing their choices about relationships and work, and supporting their social and economic equality. The removal of that right marks a reversal in the struggle for women’s rights and the reversal of social progress in the US.

Karl Marx famously said that “Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.”

While French philosopher Charles Fourier observed that “The extension of women’s rights is the basic principle of all social progress.”

Both quotes date back to the 19th century. It is now the 22nd year of the 21st century. But the Supreme Court’s decision is a sign of the times in the US, which is now firmly under the sway of the past and where human rights are regressing rather than progressing.