A day in the miserable childhood of Liz Truss

LIZ Truss has been accused of distorting accounts of her Northern childhood. Here the surely-this-is-a-joke leadership candidate recounts her impoverished upbringing. 

7am. Get up. This was Yorkshire in the dark days of the 1980s, when Labour’s Harold Wilson was wrecking the country. In my family, we children slept one to a bed. It was terribly lonely. My only friend was a Speak and Spell.

7.20am. I go downstairs for breakfast. Spartan rations were the order of the day. A single glass of orange juice, cornflakes, two fried eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, three slices of toast per person, and that was your lot. But we knew there were even poorer families who couldn’t afford fried mushrooms.

9am. Go to school in the Leeds ghetto of Roundhay. I was 12 years old but already aspirational and ready to deliver for Britain. I clearly remember saying: ‘Mrs Sheridan, I want to go to Oxford, like that weird maths girl on Wogan, and become prime minister at 15.’ 

Mrs Sheridan looked at me patronisingly, the way people do when I’m delivering an important speech about cheese. ‘Before you go to Oxford, maybe you should get out of remedial maths,’ she said. A typical socialist teacher, trying to crush gifted children’s ambition.

1pm. Lunch. We often had trifle for dessert, but delivered in equal portions to all children, regardless of how aspirational they were. This wasn’t a school, it was a socialist experiment.

3pm. Drama. The task is to dress up as your hero or heroine. I choose Margaret Thatcher, pussy bow and all. There are titters, even from the drama teacher, Mr Logan. I say: ‘You can laugh, but one day she’ll be Prime Minister, and then you’ll be sorry!’ 

Mr Logan takes me to one side and says, ‘Mrs Thatcher has been prime minister for several years, and yes, we are sorry.’ It’s indicative of the low standard of education I was receiving that I wasn’t aware of this already.

5pm. Homework time. They still haven’t managed to teach me my times tables properly. This is a disgrace. The teachers were all too quick to write off kids like me from a five-bedroom detached hovel in one of the most under-aspirational areas of Leeds.

What I’ve learned from my schooldays is that an exceptional child like me can overcome adversity. I’d love to see the look on my teachers’ faces when they find out I’m going to be prime minister. Probably disbelief, fear and confusion. It seems to have that effect on people.

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The messy bastard's guide to leaving everywhere a total shit tip

THINK how easy life would be if you didn’t feel the need to be even slightly tidy. Nikki Hollis, who ‘doesn’t see mess’, explains how to achieve this state of nirvana.

Think in three dimensions

Some wannabe messy f**kers make the rookie mistake of putting their shit into one or two Himalayan piles. The pro knows you’ve got to spread outwards as well as up – no inch of kitchen worktop or sofa should be free of your mess. Errant objects should be bafflingly random and not belong together: a hammer, trainer cleaning spray, a pack of paracetamol.

Stay on top of the mess

If anyone has the audacity to tidy your shit up for you, restore disorder immediately. The last thing you want is for your housemates to remember they actually live in quite a spacious house and don’t need to walk up the stairs hopping over objects as they go like a pissed-off dressage pony.

Have good intentions 

If you really want to hit peak scuzziness, it’s important to truly believe you’ll tidy up later. That way you’ll free yourself from any subconscious feelings of restraint and have free rein to create even more of a pigsty because there’s nothing to worry about – you’re just about to sort it.

Defend your habits 

What have clean and tidy people got against you anyway? There may not be a visible system, but you know EXACTLY where everything is. This will usually fob off a housemate, but isn’t so effective at work when you lose some critical document among piles of grimy folders, increasingly terrifying coffee mugs, and half-eaten packs of Oreos that got lost before they could even be eaten.

Inspire others

To be able to keep up this kind of behaviour long-term without being being kicked out by flatmates or divorced by your partner, make them become your allies. If everyone under the same roof learns to use the floor as a wardrobe and stops caring about silly details such as drinking tea out of a mug instead of, say, a wok, if that happens to be the one clean receptacle, then life will be harmonious.