The following is an edited transcript of a recent interview between Daily Wire editor-in-chief John Bickley and former British Prime Minister Liz Truss on a Sunday Extra edition of Morning Wire. They discuss the importance of conservative leadership, the deep state, and her new book “Ten Years to Save The West.

JOHN: Joining us now is Liz Truss, former U.K. prime minister in 2022. She is the author of “Ten Years to Save the West: Leading the Revolution Against Globalism, Socialism, and the Liberal Establishment.” Liz, thank you for joining us.

LIZ: Great to be on the show. 

JOHN: First, You’ve had time to reflect on your time as prime minister – brief as it was – what did you learn during your term?

LIZ: Well, I think the biggest thing I learned is the sheer power of the term “establishment” and the administrative state. Before I got to that job, I had spent 10 years in the British government. I had worked in the environment department, I had been a minister in justice and when I hit a brick wall, I assumed it was because I wasn’t senior enough. So when I got to the position of prime minister and I saw my plans essentially thwarted, I really understood just how powerful the establishment and the administrative state is.

JOHN: You tried to execute your vision of Britain as a low-tax, low-regulation, high-growth country – what happened? And why wasn’t the country ready for that?

LIZ: Well, I felt that it was the only way to get Britain back on track. We’d been stagnating for a few decades, economic growth hadn’t been high enough. The government was spending almost half of our national income taxes on the federal government — taxes which are at a 70-year high. I could only see the situation getting worse, so I wanted to change the trajectory and that vision did have popular support. I won the mandate of Conservative Party members. It was popular, in terms of the public.

When we put those policies forward, they included things like getting on with fracking, holding down government expenditure, reducing taxes, and reducing regulation, the economic establishment, including the Bank of England and the Office of Budget Responsibility — which is a bit like the Congressional Budget Office in the United States — those organizations actively work to undermine the policies and undermine the policies in the market.

What do I mean by that? Well, the day before we announced our budget, the Bank of England announced that it was selling 40 billion pounds worth of government gilts (bonds). So that was making it harder for us to fund the government. They didn’t tell us there was a tinderbox of bad regulation of pension funds — pension funds that were very, very susceptible to small changes in the interest rate. We were blindsided by that. And then, when the Bank of England stepped in to fix that problem, they said they would only do it for 17 days, thereby creating a deadline in the market. All the time, while they were doing these things, they were blaming the government’s policy for what was happening, rather than acknowledging their own mistakes. So, that is essentially what happened. The problem was, I was unaware that those problems existed. So when the media, as is the habit in Britain, started its “gotcha” activities, I did not know what was going on. And that was fundamentally extremely difficult.

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JOHN: You phrased this in an interesting way in a recent speech at the Heritage Foundation. You talked about the “anti-growth” movement that’s focused on, as you put it, “redistributionism, stagnation, and the imbuing of woke culture into our businesses.” What did you mean by that? 

LIZ: What we’ve ended up with in Britain is a corporate sector big government. By that I mean the civil service and the government agencies, what we call “quangos” in Britain — quasi government organizations — and the wider media. They tend to live in London and the South East and they tend to benefit from government largesse. They don’t want the size of government to be reduced, they don’t want the subsidies to their business to be reduced, particularly if they’re in sectors like green energy. And they don’t want regulations to be reduced because they don’t want competition. So these people have been benefiting from the status quo. 

The problem is, for the average person in Britain, their life isn’t getting any better. They’ve seen massive inflation, they haven’t seen their wages go up, and they haven’t seen the economy grow. It’s become harder and harder to run a small business, because of all of the red tape. So you’ve got a real disconnect between those who benefit from the current status quo of big government, high taxes, high regulation, high immigration, and the average person in Britain who is struggling because of the very high cost of living.

LISTEN: Catch the full interview with former Prime Minister Liz Truss on Morning Wire

JOHN: In your book, “Ten Years to Save the West,” you emphasize the importance of conservative leadership, not only in England, but also the U.S. In your view, why is conservative leadership key to saving the West? 

LIZ: All of the problems we’ve got are due to bad ideas on the Left. Whether it’s Keynesian economics, the idea that the government can run the economy; whether it’s the climate change measures that are stopping us from producing enough energy; whether it’s the wokery in our schools saying that kids have 100 genders; or the DEI agenda pursued by major corporations, which means they’re not focused on delivering valuable products and delivering profits to their shareholders — they’re focused on ticking boxes and doing identity politics. All of those bad ideas have come from the Left and the issue is conservatives have not taken these ideas on enough. Instead, we’ve kowtowed to them, you know, we’ve tried to meet them halfway, and that has resulted in the current stagnation we’re experiencing, and it’s not just economic stagnation, it’s also a sense that, certainly in Britain, our country is not moving forward. People want the future to be better than the past, but it is not clear that that is happening. The other issue is the Left has been very effective at in Britain is embedding a human rights culture into our legal system, which essentially makes it very, very hard to deport illegal immigrants. The priority put on keeping illegal immigrants in the country seems to be higher than the priority of people already living in the country and people are immensely frustrated about that. Unfortunately, there are too many conservatives who want to be popular at London dinner parties, who want to get good corporate jobs, who have essentially gone along with this leftward drift. And that is the problem we’re facing. And that’s why conservatives need to fight back, in order to make our country dynamic again and put the power back in the hands of people and families rather than the power lying in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, which is where the power at the moment lies.

JOHN: And is that part of the reason you’ve been a supporter of Brexit? Does this connect politically and ideologically? 

LIZ: Yes it does, because Brexit was all about returning power from an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels to people in Britain. The problem is that while people voted for Brexit, we still have all the E.U. laws on our statute books, because the bureaucrats in London don’t want to change things. Because they are happy with high levels of regulation, it gives them more power, it gives them more influence. They do not want to see power returned to the people, and the people in Britain are very frustrated because they voted for change when they voted for Brexit in 2016. They voted again for change when they voted for Boris Johnson in huge numbers, and lots of people who didn’t normally vote conservative, people from what you would call the Rust Belt in America, voted conservative for the first time because they wanted to see a change and they wanted to see the status quo disrupted. The problem, however, is that the bureaucratic establishment, the corporate establishment in Britain, do not want to see that change happen and they’re resisting it. I’m somebody who went into government to try and change that and I got thoroughly trounced by what they did to undermine my policies.

JOHN: How do you feel about the current leadership? What direction do you feel like they’re taking the country? 

LIZ: Well, I want to see much stronger focus on conservative principles. We have to be honest with the British public. The reason why we haven’t been able to deal with illegal immigration, the reason why people’s energy bills are so high, the reason why people’s taxes are so high is that we have not taken on the administrative state, and we have not reversed all of the regulations and laws that Tony Blair put in place in Britain. I think we need to be honest with people and we need to be prepared to be much bolder in taking on these institutions that have acquired too much power in Britain. My book walks through my ten years in government and all the battles I had and the fact that, too often, decisions that used to be in the hands of elected representatives now lie in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. And the public are rightly frustrated by that, and I think conservatives have to be honest about the state we’re in and be prepared to make some very serious changes.

JOHN: You’ve talked a lot about the U.S. and what it needs to do – obviously we have a major election going on and polls show it’s a very tight race. If Donald Trump is elected, do you have hope for the U.S. to turn around some of this bureaucratic “stagnation,” as you say, in the sense that it’s difficult to make real changes in Washington? 

LIZ: I think you’ve got real problems with the administrative state here in the United States, who do not want to see the Trump agenda enacted. I want to see Donald Trump get elected as president, but that will not be enough. He needs to dismantle the administrative state. I’m very supportive of those changes because I know what it’s like to be in the trenches fighting against officialdom when you don’t have the power to change things. So, yes, he needs to win. I think if he wins and he successfully takes on the bureaucratic state, that will be a huge win for the West and it will send a signal to countries like the U.K. about what can be done.

JOHN: Final question. What is not being emphasized enough in British and American media in terms of the national political conversation?

LIZWell, the thing I’m trying to really highlight in my book is the way that unelected bureaucrats have seized power, in both of our countries, and the need to take them on. Too often politicians, and I’ve been there myself, get the blame for everything that happens. While that is not right, it’s also not going to help us fix our countries. We’ve seen the way woke, Left-wing ideas have taken over institutions. Look at what’s happening in universities in the United States, the appalling anti-Semitism that is being condoned by senior figures in those universities. That shows to me a system that has gone completely wrong. So, I want people to understand the scale of change we are going to need to see to deliver conservative ideas. We’re not in the 1970s or 1980s anymore. The Left has found new ways of fighting us. They’re not just fighting us in the ballot boxes, they’re fighting us in the institutions, they’re fighting us through the courts and we need to be absolutely resolute to take them on.

JOHN: Liz, thank you so much for joining us and for your analysis – and good luck with your new book.

LIZ: Thank you very much.

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Listen to the full interview with former Prime Minister Liz Truss on Morning Wire.


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