“It’s no wonder people won’t do the jobs that are on offer. I am fed up with businesses complaining about a shortage of staff, just because they can’t get cheap labour from abroad anymore. We need a high wage, high skilled economy. There are no supply issues as far as fuel is concerned. The queues are a figment of Hauliers groups imaginations. And inflation? No problem. It is economically savvy to suggest huge increases in wages, then for prices to go up accordingly, but for inflation to remain low. Brexit? Well, we got it done. Well, maybe we didn’t get it done as we would have liked, but David Frost is furious with the deal he signed off, and he’ll shout, scream, and stamp his feet at every opportunity to get those rascals in the EU to change the Northern Ireland protocol if it’s the last thing he does (and it may very well be).”
Not quite what Boris Johnson said during his array of public pronouncements in Manchester at his party conference this week. But not a million miles away in summarising the approach of a man who has been described in recent days by our good friend Gary Neville as Spaghetti, by a Daily Telegraph political commentator as the ‘Heir to Blair’ and by the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party as ‘Scum’.
One of the reasons his political opponents find Boris Johnson difficult to handle is that, on the face of it, he doesn’t stand for anything. If a Telegraph journalist can suggest he is a modern-day Tony Blair, Angela Rayner sees him as Scum, and he makes speeches about businesses that would have Margaret Thatcher spinning in her grave, and Jeremy Corbyn applauding, then Neville’s spaghetti comparison is an accurate one.
Like the Italian dish, Johnson is challenging to deal with, but nonetheless, still a firm favourite when it comes to how the electorate want their politicians served at the moment.
His party’s poll lead and his positive personal ratings justify the Blustering, bombastic, bugger- the -facts approach- for the time being.
However, contrast the prime ministers’ statements and indeed his speech – full of optimism, humour, and bonhomie, with that of his neighbour in Number 11 Downing Street, and it is easy to detect a very different approach to post -Pandemic Britain.
Rishi Sunak is like the parent who is finding it difficult to say no to the spoilt child. He knows that it is bad to keep signing off on Boris’ promises, but he is fearful of his boss’ tantrums.
He knows that the time of reckoning for the splurge of COVID cash, Brexit, the end of furlough, and the cancellation of the Universal Credit uplift is just around the corner. But, like the greedy child who is told that eating too many sweeties is not good for them, Boris refuses to listen.
It will be an economic first if a boom in wages does not result in a hike in prices, which will then inevitably lead to inflation, which then means that the extra pounds in your pocket are worthless, because the cost of living has gone through the roof.
Let’s see what the Winter and New Year brings. But, if supply chain issues, labour shortages, and, most damagingly inflation, do become long-term issues, don’t be surprised if the Chancellor decides to make mincemeat of his prime ministerial colleague before the next General Election.
An economic downturn would have the Tories saying ‘Arrivederci baby’ to Boris, quicker than Jacob Rees Moog could turn his nose up at a bottle of vino.