IT’S a dangerous strategy for any politician to deliberately court unpopularity. Most want to be liked, some desperately. All modern prime ministers, while they might have enjoyed successes along the way, have seen their tenures end badly either at the hands of the electorate or their colleagues.

Earlier this week, the latest member of the high-wire club, Liz Truss, interviewed – fittingly perhaps – on top of New York’s Empire State Building, was asked if she was willing to be unpopular should it mean her policy programme led to a boost in growth for the UK. Without hesitation, she replied: "Yes, yes I am.”

Later, addressing the UN General Assembly, the PM made clear how she was now leading a “new Britain for a new era”.

However, with the cost-of-living crisis unabated – shop prices still high, mortgage costs rising, a recession already here, apparently – it will, for many, still feel like the old Britain stuck in the same economically depressed era. Newness seems a long way off.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will today unveil his not-so-mini-Budget to “end the vicious cycle of stagnation and turn it into a virtuous cycle of growth”.

Much we already know like the reversal of the national insurance hike, the scrapping of the planned corporation tax cut, reducing stamp duty to encourage economic growth by enabling more people to move and first-time buyers to get on the property ladder and the lifting of the cap on bankers’ bonuses to encourage high-flyers to relocate to Britain and, so, supposedly, help boost the economy.

But there will also be plans to speed up more than 100 infrastructure projects across the UK and create investment zones with time-limited tax cuts for businesses and liberalised planning rules to release land for development. The Government in London is hoping to work with the Government in Edinburgh to realise this strategy in Scotland too.

But not everyone is convinced by Trussonomics.

Biden and Trussonomics

The highly-respected Institute of Fiscal Studies warned how the Chancellor was putting the public finances on an “unsustainable path” by combining £30bn of tax cuts with even more borrowing just as it became more expensive.

Sir John Gieve, the former Deputy Governor of Bank of England, noted that the Treasury and his ex-employer were “pulling in different directions”.

The former was putting its foot on the accelerator, trying to boost growth by adding to our mountain of debt while the latter, through interest rate hikes to stem demand, was putting its foot on the brake.

Yesterday’s rate increase will mean a household on an average variable mortgage will pay another £50 a month. Analysts have warned rates could double and hit 5% next year.

Gieve added: “The combination of a squeeze on household incomes and higher interest rates will…bring down inflation but, of course, it will be at a cost of higher unemployment and lower growth and that’s the prospect for the next year or two.” Lower growth until 2024? Not what Truss wants to hear with a general election on the horizon.

As the PM expounded on her policies from a great height in New York, by sheer coincidence Joe Biden tweeted: “I am sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked. We’re building an economy from the bottom up and middle out.”

While his comments were aimed at domestic critics of his multi trillion-dollar stimulus plans, they emphasised the ideological chasm between the US President and the PM.

Truss’s colleagues insist, however, she is not advocating a trickle-down approach but, rather, simply seeking various ways to boost growth, which would mean the whole country prospers.

The PM, having claimed the emphasis on redistribution had been overplayed, said she didn’t accept cutting taxes was unfair, accepting nonetheless how those on higher pay would “disproportionately” benefit from tax cuts because they paid more tax.

She added: “What is important to me is we grow the British economy because that’s what will ultimately deliver higher wages, more investment in towns and cities across the country. That is what will ultimately deliver more money into people’s pockets and it will also enable us to fund services like the NHS.”

Digging graves and 'Ludditery'

Politically, Labour believes the Truss Government is digging its own grave by what it sees as an abandonment of fairness in favour of the blinkered pursuit of helping the better off at the expense of the hoi polloi. “Whose side are you on?” will be a key slogan at the 2024 poll.

When the next round of record profits from the oil and gas giants are announced, the spectacle of UK ministers defending their decision not to extend the windfall tax on the companies’ excess gains will look even more unwise as ordinary folk struggle through the winter.

And while, obviously, businesses across the land welcomed the Government help, announced this week, on halving their energy costs, the taxpayers’ largesse will, presently, only last six months, meaning many firms will see a cliff-edge ahead in April.

And yesterday another Conservative hostage to fortune was unleashed with the Government breaking a Tory manifesto pledge to lift the ban on fracking in England; aimed at helping secure our domestic energy supply as was the announced green light for new North Sea oil and gas operations.

But in the Commons the Minister for the 19th century – aka Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Business Secretary – accused fracking opponents of “Ludditery” and even dared to suggest some anti-fracking campaigners had been funded by Vladimir Putin.

Unhelpful to the Government cause was one energy expert, who pointed out the UK had the “wrong kind of shale” for fracking. Oh dear.

As Truss surveyed the stunning panorama of the Big Apple she knew more than anyone the political stakes of her growth-at-all-costs strategy are incredibly high and the time she has to turn political unpopularity into electoral popularity is short.

The PM also knows, politically, if her Growth Plan fails, she has, like her predecessors who once enjoyed the heady heights of power, a long way to fall.