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Liz Truss vs. lettuce

CHERYL W THOMPSON, HOST:

We've been talking about the chaos that's taken over the U.K. government in the days since Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned. And now we want to focus on how the British are coping.

ANDREW GILPIN: People are upset. People are angry. But the good thing about Britain is we like to laugh at our problems, and that is where the lettuce came in.

THOMPSON: That's Andrew Gilpin. He's an editor with the British tabloid the Daily Star. And yes, he said lettuce.

GILPIN: The lettuce origin story, right. One of our senior editors saw a piece in The Economist which likened Liz Truss's premiership to having the shelf life of a lettuce.

THOMPSON: Staff at the Daily Star couldn't resist capitalizing on this comparison. And that's how the lettuce versus Liz Truss livestream came to be. They sent a reporter to get a head of lettuce for this sarcastic experiment, but there was just one problem.

GILPIN: He got a printout of a picture of Liz Truss and put it next to the said lettuce. The lettuce at that time was a bit nude. He thought it needed a bit of brightening up, so he put out a call on WhatsApp and got some googly eyes. He liked that. He kept on going. By the end of the first day, the lettuce had googly eyes. It had a mouth. And he'd also purchased a wig off eBay.

THOMPSON: And a viral sensation was born. In no time, the livestream took off, bringing in thousands of viewers. And, of course, social media erupted.

GILPIN: It's quite hard to think that you're going to get something so viral through the medium of vegetables. And we never really thought there would be that much interest in it.

THOMPSON: But there was. And the anticipation of who would last longer, the lettuce or Liz Truss, grew each day. Then on Thursday, the world got its answer. The lettuce was victorious. To honor the moment, the Daily Star livestream put up strobe lights, a glass of bubbly and some party tunes.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

THOMPSON: And for its grand finale, an appearance at Parliament.

GILPIN: We hired a projector. We got a picture of the lettuce, and we shone it on the side of Westminster Palace. And it's the sort of final celebratory, the lettuce won. And, you know, we thought we wanted to go out with a bang. And there it was.

THOMPSON: And let us say, we thought it was quite funny. That was Andrew Gilpin. He's an editor with the Daily Star in the U.K. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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