Price on Politics: Should you care about the resignation of Liz Truss?

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

On Sept. 6, British Prime Minister Liz​​ Truss announced her resignation after a record-breakingly short 44 days in office. On Oct. 24, Truss’s replacement, Rishi Sunak, was asked to form a government by King Charles III, taking over the job as prime minister.

This comes during a politically tumultuous time for the United Kingdom politically. This is the fifth leader the nation has had since 2016. The four prime ministers immediately prior to Sunak – David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss – each resigned in a firestorm of scandal.

Many Americans do not care about the British government, and rightfully so – “how does it affect me?” one might ask.


I will concede that this is a valid question. Why should the resignation of the leader of a long-declining nation matter to anyone in the most powerful nation in the world?

While there are not many reasons Americans should care, there are a few.

For decades, leaders in both the United States and the United Kingdom have touted the existence of a “special relationship” between the two nations. The two nations first established diplomatic relations in 1785, with a brief pause from 1812 to 1815 during the War of 1812. 

The official website for the US embassy in the UK states, “the United States has no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and British foreign policy emphasizes close coordination with the United States.” The site goes on to say that cooperation in both World Wars, Korea, the Persian Gulf War and other military conflicts only strengthened the ties between the two nations. The two nations are also each members of powerful global organizations like the United Nations, NATO, the G-7 and the G-20. 

All this is to say that the United States and the United Kingdom are always working closely together. The many changes in leadership in the United Kingdom in recent years make it seem to Americans that the UK does not have its ducks in a row.

The United States and its success has been tied to that of the United Kingdom for a long time. The many changes in leadership in past years – and especially this year – shows a Britain that is unstable, or one that seems to be.

Seeming unstable tells the rest of the world that the UK may not be a first-rate nation for much longer, in terms of economic power and standing in the world. The UK has been a powerful ally of the United States, often providing America with assistance in Europe.The constant change in UK politics tells Americans that this is a nation that is not worthy of our partnership.

Instability causes market fluctuations, as well. Major events around the world cause markets to do better or worse. Presidential elections in the United States, prime minister changes in the United kingdom and major disasters are just a few of these events.

The resignation of Truss after only 44 days was one of these events. Prior to her resignation, Truss announced major tax cuts that threw the United Kingdom into economic chaos. After Truss’s announcement of her intention to leave office, markets reacted in the UK and around the world.

Americans have seen inflation in all aspects of their daily lives. Actions at home, like those by the Biden-Harris administration and actions abroad by any one of our allies and trading partners impact the amount of inflation we see. The seeming instability of the UK government could have long-lasting impacts that we have yet to feel.

The fact is, though, that the United States is a far more economically powerful nation than the United Kingdom. These effects, while they may be felt, will not be felt as much as they will be in Europe. The United States has the market power to easily correct certain issues. 

The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is not going away anytime soon because of this. The United Kingdom needs the United States to help its economy. In 2019, the two nations exchanged an estimated total of $273 billion. The UK is the United States’ fifth-largest goods export market.

The United States is also the most powerful member of NATO, the UN and other organizations the two nations are each a member of. The United Kingdom is no longer the military and naval power it once was, so US cooperation and assistance is necessary.

Any prime minister will recognize this, no matter their political beliefs at home.

The resignation of Liz Truss as prime minister made news around the world. In the United States, however, Americans do not need to know much more than the fact that Liz Truss was not able to outlast a head of lettuce, and if that doesn’t symbolize the UK’s new place in the world, I don’t know what does.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.