CRAIG BROWN: All aboard the Truss bus – and hold on tight

CRAIG BROWN: All aboard the Truss bus – and hold on tight

09/06/2022

CRAIG BROWN: All aboard the Truss bus – and hold on tight

Our train, we were informed, would be going no farther. ‘This is owing to the absence of the driver due to circumstances beyond our control.’

After dawdling on the platform for what seemed like weeks, we were told a ‘bus replacement service’ was now available. So we trooped out of the station and on to the bus.

The bus driver — a perky blonde lady in her mid-40s — welcomed us aboard. She spoke very, very slowly, and very, very simply, almost as though we were children.

‘I am your. New driver and. I am confident. That you are. Now on a. Replacement bus service.’

I couldn’t help noticing she had a peculiar way of talking. She would pause every three words, regardless of what she was saying.

After dawdling on the platform for what seemed like weeks, we were told a ‘bus replacement service’ was now available. So we trooped out of the station and on to the bus

‘Yes, this is. A challenge but. I am absolutely. Confident that the. Road ahead will. Not always be. Downhill in fact. It will sometimes. Be the reverse.’

Hadn’t I heard her somewhere before?

‘But where exactly are we heading?’ piped up a grumpy voice from the back of the bus.

‘Are you taking us to where we want to go?’ asked someone else.

‘What’s our first port of call?’ asked another.

‘I won’t lie,’ said the bus driver. ‘There is no. Doubt about it. We are facing. Some very very. Very tough challenges. But I have. Every confidence that. We will get. To where we. Want to go.’

I was becoming irritated by the way she spoke. Not only did she talk in those self-regarding three-word batches, but she said nothing of substance.

By now, I was sure that I had encountered her somewhere before. Was she the Great Western hotel receptionist who asked me if I had enjoyed my stay and then answered the phone while I was trying to reply?

She successfully navigated us through the car park, only bumping into one or two vehicles along the way. Arriving at the entrance, she looked left and right and left again, then stopped. Did she know which way to go?

‘Are we going north or south?’ asked a young man.

‘I’m not in. The business of. Making predictions,’ the bus driver replied.

‘Earlier you said north. Then you said south. Then you said north,’ complained an old man. ‘Which do you mean?’

‘What I want. To be absolutely. Clear about is. I understand your. Concern over this. Very real issue,’ she replied. ‘And that is. Why I am. Absolutely determined to. Get to the. Bottom of the. Issue in question.’

At last, it dawned on me! I knew I recognised her! Our bus replacement driver was Liz Truss!

‘All we want to know,’ said a disgruntled passenger towards the back, ‘is are we going to get to where we want to go?’

‘You wouldn’t expect. Me to tell. You that but. What I can. Say is that. I will be. Making an announcement. In due course,’ she replied.

At last, she closed the doors of the bus.

‘Off we set!’ she chirruped. We all sat back in our seats, thankful that we seemed to be on our way.

Faced with a barrage of complaints, Miss Truss told us the bus would go much faster without all that extra luggage weighing it down. In the past, we had all been weighed down with bags and such like, but now we would all be much more free and independent

She successfully navigated us through the car park, only bumping into one or two vehicles along the way. Arriving at the entrance, she looked left and right and left again, then stopped. Did she know which way to go?

‘What I do. Know is this. You certainly don’t. Go the right. Way by not. Going the wrong. Way but then. Again I am. Confident that we. Will get to. Where we are. Going by not. Going where we. Don’t want to. Go I can’t. Be clearer than. That can I?’

But only a few minutes after setting off, I sensed that most of the passengers had begun to lose faith in our new driver.

Looking out of the back window, one passenger noticed to his alarm that most of our bags and cases had been abandoned on the station forecourt.

Faced with a barrage of complaints, Miss Truss told us the bus would go much faster without all that extra luggage weighing it down. In the past, we had all been weighed down with bags and such like, but now we would all be much more free and independent.

‘I am one. Hundred per cent. Focused on the. Road before us,’ she added forcefully.

The bus turned left, then right, then left again. Before long, it was stuck in the middle of a ploughed field, with its wheels spinning round and round.

‘I am determined. To ask the. Bus conductor to. Set out a. Very real plan,’ she said, with a cheery grin. ‘To deliver and. Deliver and deliver. But first I. Would ask you. To leave the. Bus by the. Nearest exit and. Make your own. Way home safely.’

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