Does Anyone Even Know Who Liz Truss Is, Then?

“I mean, we didn’t even get to vote for her, so it’s harder to care about her.”
Zhiis, 23 (left) and Shane, 28 (right)
All images by the author

Well, it looks like Liz Truss is the next UK Prime Minister. Truss, previously the current Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, was favourite to “win” over Rishi Sunack. Like a really bleak old episode of The X Factor, except without any votes and with an undercurrent of fear relating to how the UK could possibly be made even worse. 


The thing is, who even is Liz Truss? Does anyone know who she is? Like, would you recognise her if she walked past? But also, does it even matter at this point? How many of us have seen the CEO of our company, or even our landlords in the flesh? We all knew who Boris Johnson was because of his stupid hair, and that was good for absolutely nothing. So does it matter? On balance, it feels like maybe it should.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts of course. She flipped from Lib Dem to Tory in 1996 and staunchly admires Margaret Thatcher. She has also consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change, against raising Welfare Benefits, even in line with prices, and voted for raising university tuition fees. Oh and she recently said that the wealthiest earners should be given more money back

But anyway, does the regular person walking around the street even know who this person is? To find out, I set a no-context photo of Truss to my lock screen the weekend before she became PM and asked a few people around London if they could identify her. Here’s how we got on. 


Zhiis, 23.

Zhiis, 23.

VICE: Do you know who this is?

Liz Truss?

So she’s probably going to become the next UK Prime Minister. 
Oh, yeah I heard about it. Yeah. 

How does it feel not being able to recognise someone who might be in charge of the country?
Well, I don’t really know about her. I’m not too interested in politics. I’ve lived in the UK for three years – so Boris is the only one I know in this country. I know about Sadiq Khan too, but otherwise I don’t really know about anybody. 

Do you think MPs should be making more of an effort to ensure people who live here know they are? 
They could be, maybe. It depends if people even want to know. I mean, we didn’t even get to vote for her, so it’s harder to care about her. But maybe she can do a better job. 

Is This the Most Cringe Government Ever? 

Do you feel like we should have more of a say though?
Not really. Ultimately I think everyone says what we want to hear so that we vote, until they are in power, and then they forget about us and do what they want. That’s why I don’t like politics – in the end, they always get what they want. They say “I will do this for you” and they never do it. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t, but it’s hard to care. 

Emily, 19.

VICE: Can you tell me who this is? 
No, I don’t know who that is. 

It’s Liz Truss, do you know the name?


So she’s a Conservative MP, and is probably about to become UK Prime Minister. 
Oh, wow, right. Yeah. I mean, it’s a bit worrying, isn't it? I've not heard much about her at all. Like, how can they expect us as a country to put our trust in someone that we don't know?

Why do you think people don’t know who she is? 
I just feel like they kind of live in their own world. I do care about politics, but these people really don’t care about other people's opinions or thoughts or how policy affects us. We didn’t get to vote for her. If they paid more attention, maybe we would know who they are. 

Are you at all confident in her being in charge? 
I don’t even know who she is. 

Shane, 28

Shane, 28.

VICE: Do you know who this is? 
Tory politician Liz Truss. 

She’s probably going to be prime minister next week, how does that feel? 
It's scary. I think she’s gone too far, kind of jumped at a chance to get in while hardly anyone wants to. Joe Lycett made a great point on the BBC saying that she’s kind of the dregs of the Conservatives right now, given we’ve had twelve years of them. I think she’s just a continuation of Boris as well so, it’s not so promising in that sense. Is Sunak better? I’m really not sure. 

Do you think we should know what the Prime Minister looks like? 
Well, she’s not Prime Minister yet [at the time of writing]. But I’m sure people will figure it out if it does happen, we’ll see a lot more of her then. 


Billy, 43

Billy, 43.

VICE: So, do you know who this is? 

How about the name Liz Truss? 
Not really… 

Okay, so she’s a Tory MP and is likely to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom soon. 
I live between Germany and the UK – as is my right as a dual citizen – and I don’t know who she is. But Brexit was complete bullshit, among other things in the world, things are hard for a lot of industries right now. We have a lot to think about, and it isn’t nice.

Do you think that means less people care about politics? 
I’m not sure, it isn’t easy to see what happens in Government properly, we never get to know what they really think, so perhaps we listen less. 

Aimee, 23 

VICE: Do you know who this is? 
Yes, I do. 

How do you feel about her going from MP to PM? 
I try not to get too heated about it all, I feel very medium about it. I think they’re both kind of… eh.

So walking around, some people haven’t know who that is. Do you think they should? 
I think people should have an awareness of what’s going on, especially in tougher times like now. 

Why do you think they don’t know? 
I’m not sure, I think sometimes when we are in difficult times people clock out. They keep to themselves and aim to just get through things within their own means. And especially with the current government, the tories, most people don’t agree with that they do and say, but we also don’t acknowledge it. People look out for their own life first.  


Alex, 55


VICE: Alex, do you know who this is? 
Yes, that’s Liz Truss. She’s supposed to be the Prime Minister awaiting, isn’t she? 

She is. Probably going to win, too. How do you feel about that? 
Well, whoever ends up there, is going to be in charge at a very difficult time in our economic life. It’s tough times, wages are stagnant, fuel is going up. Where does it stop? 

Do you have confidence in her? 
Well, in two years time there’s an election. Will she get the public voting for her then, given many don’t know much about her now. Maybe, actually, because Labour haven’t got enough in them yet. The next two years will give her a chance to show whether she can or wants to change things. 

Is it strange that people don’t recognise her? 
I don’t think so. She’s a strong woman, very Thatcherite. Thatcher was also in the background for a while. I know some Tories don’t like Truss. But more so, people do know who Rishi Sunak is, and he’s promised so much and hasn’t delivered. We’re in massive debt. So perhaps she’ll have half a chance of winning the public over. 

Being less known might help her out, then? 
Well, Sunak had a big team around him… Instagram accounts. Very commercialised. She didn’t. Do I think she’ll be a good Prime Minister? Hopefully… but it’s a tough time. 


Update: This article was updated on the sixth of September, 2022 to reflect Truss becoming prime minister.