Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks at Pepperdine

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Pepperdine University President Jim Gash and former U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss are shown at a speaker series on Thursday, April 25. Photos by Ron Hall.

Shortest-serving prime minister has a lot to say 

The shortest-serving prime minister of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss, discussed conservatism and her just-released book Thursday, April 25, at Pepperdine University as part of the school’s President’s Speaker Series. The outspoken Truss, currently on a book tour promoting “Ten Years to Save the West” served as the U.K. P.M. for just 49 days in 2022. She’s been mocked in her country for a tenure shorter than the shelf life of a head of lettuce, or in American terms, a mere five Scaramuccis. Truss did jokingly agree her tenure was “unmatched.”

Before Truss’ conversation with Pepperdine President Jim Gash, the university released a disclaimer saying in part, “Driven by a desire to connect deeply with our community and inspire meaningful dialogue in the pursuit of truth, the series provides opportunities to cultivate an engaged and impassioned collective through civil discourse. Pepperdine is the convener of this conversation and not an advocate for Liz Truss’ worldview.”

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Former U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss spoke before an audience at Pepperdine University as part of the school’s President’s Speaker Series. It was also part of a book tour for her recently published “Ten Years to Save the West.” Photos by Ron Hall.

A staunch conservative who admired Margaret Thatcher and backs Donald Trump’s re-election, Truss used to align with liberal democrats at a younger age.

“Everybody has a dark past,” she joked eliciting a laugh from the crowd adding, “I gradually moved to the right.”

Quoting from her book, Gash read, “Conservatism must win across the free world, particularly in the United States of America. Perhaps the most immediate challenge facing conservatives is the need to restore conservative leadership to the United States, Canada, Australia, and across the free world.” 

Gash questioned Truss on why she singled out those countries with Truss’ response being, “Well, I like to say the U.S. is Britain’s greatest invention albeit unintentional … If you look at the development of the representative democracy from Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, the American Constitution, we exported some pretty good ideas to the United States. Now what’s happening is you’re exporting all these bad ideas to us, whether it’s the wokeism agenda which started in the United States; in fact much of it started here in California, whether it was Hollywood or what’s going on in the tech industry, the U.S. has a massive cultural influence on the free world and yet, the direction of travel has not been in a conservative direction. It’s been in a leftist direction for I would say a period since the late 1990s, maybe since the early 1990s since the end of the Cold War. We’ve seen these bad leftist ideas.” 

Truss called out what she terms the “new left” or the people who “want to stop drilling for oil, people who want to allow boys who identify as girls to be able to use their restroom, anti-colonialists, and anti-capitalists.

“We’re used to dealing with the old left. The point about the new left is they are actively interested in the destruction of our society. You can’t compromise with people that support Hamas. You can’t compromise with somebody who thinks a man can be a woman.” 

The outspoken Truss said, “I’ve been called many things. One is the human hand grenade.” The former U.K. leader didn’t mince words when she called the official London P.M. residence “flea-infested” or when speaking of the current monarchy said, “I think that some of the more problematic elements of the royal family have all gone to California. You’re dealing with them. Thanks for looking after them.” 

Truss did say though that she thought the British monarchy “works,” adding, “I think King Charles is very respected.”

“Ten years to save the west, from whom or what?” asked Gash. Truss replied, “We’re facing two enemies … We have the woke … with some pretty crazy ideas that people wouldn’t have subscribed to a few decades ago, whether it’s anti-capitalism, eco-extremism, transgender ideology … on some university campuses we’re having people actively campaign in favor of terrorism trying to undermine the United States.” Enemy number two she called, “totalitarian states who want to end our way of life,” singling out China, Iran, and Russia. “I think we’re getting close to a tipping point and that’s what my book is all about,” she added.

Referencing her book, Truss said, “The first thing I want to do is explain to people what is actually going on in British government because there’s a lot of armchair critics … People in Britain are frustrated … a poll said 74 percent of Britons think the country isn’t working, things are getting worse and neither party can fix it. Despite all this I am an optimist. I do believe things can change, but what I’m saying is big changes are required … I want to be an agent of change, and I’ll do whatever it takes.”