A farewell to Liz Truss
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As first predicted by the Economist last week the UK was officially tied up for less than the shelf life of a lettuce. Liz Truss, the shortest Prime Minister in British history, now seems destined to remain known as the Iceberg Lady forever – thanks in large part to the daily star, who ran with the joke in an inspired cosplay act, dressing a head of lettuce in a wig, googly eyes and glasses and performing a ‘Lettuce Cam’ live on Youtube to see if she could survive the prime minister ( there was, in the end, no competition). Those damn Romans.
The episode reminds Rakewell of nothing more than Louis Philippe of France, who declared freedom of the press upon his establishment of the July Monarchy in 1830, only perhaps to wish he hadn’t. – the following year, Charles Philipon founded the weekly satirical newspaper The caricature with a design of the king’s head, metamorphosing into a pear (Pear, in French, being slang for ‘imbecile’). Philipon was taken to court for defamation and won – a victory that he and his team of brilliant artists, including Honoré Daumier, treated as license to continue their ruthless ridicule.
So maybe Truss can take some comfort in the fact that she’s by no means the only leader in history to get the fruit and veg treatment. On the other hand, with Charles Baudelaire able to write casually about the “cursed tyrannical pear” until 1857, and the images of Philipon, Daumier et al etched in the minds of many future generations, she may not want to be reminded that this is a joke that may stay fresh for a very long time.
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