Lettuce survives Liz Truss

LONDON — As support for Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain dwindled, so did the lettuce ball.

Bought from a Tesco grocery store for 60 pence (68 cents), the lettuce has become a caricature of the Conservative leader’s grip on power, pitted against the Prime Minister by The Daily Star, a British tabloid.

“Will Liz Truss survive this lettuce?” asked the newspaper in a live video broadcast since October 14, attracting tons of viewers and comments on social networks.

The lettuce gag was inspired by The Economist, which noted on October 11 that between an almost immediate political implosion at the start of his term and the 10 days of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, his grip on power amounted to seven days, or “about the shelf life of a lettuce”.

In the end, Lettuce emerged victorious after Ms Truss resigned on Thursday. Someone flipped the picture of Ms Truss face down on the table, colored lights swirled and a recording of ‘God Save the King’ played on repeat as nearly 20,000 people watched live.

“Lettuce survived Liz Truss,” the video said. A few minutes later, a remix of “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang set the mood.

Being compared directly to lettuce was one of many indicators that Ms Truss has had a nightmarish turn as Britain’s leader since the Conservative Party elevated her in September to replace Boris Johnson. Her proposed tax cut plan so alarmed voters and markets that she was forced to back down and fire her key ally, leaving many wondering if she would be kicked out just weeks after she started.

The Daily Star took The Economist’s joke and ran with it, dropping the lettuce on a table next to a framed photo of Ms Truss. Lettuce was then given a glow, complete with a blonde wig, glasses and potato-head-shaped feet and hands, as she was surrounded by crackers and a mug. At one point the lettuce wore an eye mask to rest, and on Tuesday the newspaper said in a title on the first page: “Leitue Liz on sheet support.”

For many readers of the newspaper, it was a ridiculous statement worthy of a ridiculous moment.

Lettuce hasn’t wilted in its six days in the spotlight. Lettuce can usually stay crisp for about seven to 10 days – although that’s usually the shelf life of refrigerated lettuce, not a head sitting on a table and wearing a wig.

It was a close match with Mrs. Truss. The pressure on the Prime Minister had been growing steadily, but she had hit back at calls to resign, saying during a Prime Minister’s Questions session in parliament on Wednesday that “I am a fighter and not a quitter”. It was a brutal display, with fierce questions from opposition lawmakers, and she relented on Thursday.

News outlets have been using the live video gadget since 2016, when Facebook Live was the tool of choice. Notably, in a video that garnered many copycats, BuzzFeed caught the attention of millions who saw two employees put nearly 700 rubber bands on a watermelon until it exploded.