There are no accidental prime ministers, writes John McTernan, who was Tony Blair’s political secretary. “Truss has guile, will and talent,” he says, warning Keir Starmer to avoid joining the long line of men who have underestimated her.
He is right, up to a point. Liz Truss’s simple messages – cut taxes, down with “Treasury orthodoxy”, make Britain great again – could appeal to the broader electorate as well as to Conservative Party members.
On the other hand, the tactical question of whether Labour should prefer to be facing Truss or Rishi Sunak, or even Boris Johnson, seems beside the point. My view is that Keir Starmer would do best against Johnson, and worst against Sunak, other things being equal. But he doesn’t get to choose, and in any case the differences between the candidates pale into insignificance against the scale of the economic crisis that is unfolding.