The strange return of authoritarian individualism

In an article written for the blog of the Soundings journal, Another Europe’s Luke Cooper argues that the now deceased Truss government recalled a bygone era of hardline economic libertarianism.

Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves no. 10 for the last time. Photo: No. 10 Downing Street (Flickr).

In her resignation speech, Liz Truss was remarkably unapologetic. She stuck by her committment to a smaller state and hardline economic libertarianism. “We simply cannot afford to be a low-growth country where the government takes up an increasing share of our national wealth,” she said, adding, “Our country continues to battle through a storm, but I believe in Britain, I believe in the British people, and I know that brighter days lie ahead.”

What did the Truss government represent ideologically and politically? Drawing on the ideas first put forward in his book, Authoritarian Contagion, Luke Cooper makes a distinction between authoritarian protectionism and the authoritarian individualism seen in Prime Minister Liz Truss’s aborted attempted to transform the British economy.


The piece was published two days before Liz Truss announced her intention to resign as British Prime Minister.