Boris Johnson rattled through his speech like a man desperate to escape the room
The prime minister's conference speech provided few answers to the crises facing the UK.
In the end Boris Johnson’s conference speech was over almost before it had begun.
After 45 minutes of gags about beavers and burgers, but very little in the way of actual policy, Johnson’s speech came to a screeching, juddering halt.
The rapid finish caused a brief awkward pause among the crowd, as if they were asking themselves “is that it?”
Delivering his speech at a furious pace, Johnson had the appearance of a man desperate to escape from the room, like a shoplifter afraid of being caught out by security.
As he departed the compound, only the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries was left to explain the speech to the waiting cameras.
Yet once you waded through the rhetoric comparing Keir Starmer to a bus conductor and the gags about Michael Gove’s dancing, there was little in the way of actual substance in the speech.
On a day that 5.5 million families had £1,040 a year cut from their Universal Credit payments, Johnson had vanishingly little to say about the cost of living crisis hitting the country.
And as supermarket shelves thin out and families struggle to fill their cars with petrol, there was little evidence that Johnson had answers to the UK’s chronic labour shortages either.
Indeed after years of dismissing warnings of empty supermarket shelves and gridlocked ports as “project fear,” Johnson has now switched to suggesting that such shortages were in fact expected and indeed part of the government’s original Brexit plan.
So for the many admiring Conservative activists who queued for several hours to watch Johnson rattle through his speech this lunchtime, there was plenty to keep them satisfied and entertained.
But for everybody else, Johnson’s speech triggered lots of questions, but very few answers.
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