LIVE: Can Liz Truss outlast a lettuce?

A brief history of UK media violence

Although the lettuce stunt might seem unusually mean-spirited to viewers outside of the UK, in fact, it’s just the latest in a long tradition of ruthless humor common to country’s media outlets. Whether the topic is the royal family, a major business figure, or the previous prime minister, Boris Johnson, the UK media delights in getting its knives out to craft only the most biting headlines and graphics.

From all appearances, Johnson, with his gregarious speaking style, famously unkempt blonde coif, and penchant for taking chances in public, might have seemed like the perfect target for UK media hazing. However, Johnson, who worked in the UK’s rough-and-tumble news industry before getting into politics, built a reputation for making fun of himself far more aggressively than any media outlet ever could when he served as the mayor of London from 2008 to 2016.

Some believe his thick skin is part of why he was tapped to follow the outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, who was battered after a multi-year political skirmish over Brexit.

The next prime minister will need even thicker skin

The UK expects to have a new prime minister in place by next week. The leading potential candidates are Penny Mourdant, Rishi Sunak, Ben Wallace, Suella Braverman, Brandon Lewis, and Kemi Badenoch. There’s even speculation that Johnson may return to his role as prime minister, now that he’s been properly scolded for his prior failings over Partygate.

Whoever succeeds Truss understands that they, too, may be faced with the prospect of being endlessly roasted in the UK in a way that would make the sometimes colorful headlines detailing US political intrigue look fairly boring.

Nevertheless, as anyone who has ever watched the prime minister’s “Question Time” knows, the UK’s politicians are well acquainted with hand-to-hand political combat, even if that fight involves rotting produce.

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