How Boris Johnson has already created a bunch of high-paid, low-skilled jobs – Vladimir McTavish

The Tory faithful were in their most ebullient Union flag-waving mood this week, as Boris Johnson delivered his keynote speech to the party conference in Manchester. It was hailed by many as a brave vision for the future.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 4:45 pm
Boris Johnson's party conference speech was just double-speak and waffle, says Vladimir McTavish (Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

What we actually got was 45 minutes of double-speak and waffle.

But not according to his deputy. Dominic Raab claimed the Prime Minister’s vision for the future illustrated “a buzz and pent-up energy”.

I’m not sure that is entirely a good thing. You see plenty of buzz and pent-up energy in Lothian Road at 2am on a Saturday morning, but you wouldn’t really want those people running the country.

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Johnson spoke a lot about his plans for “levelling up”. He did this on the same day when millions of the poorest families in the UK were becoming £20 a week worse off. What has really happened is, of course, not levelling-up but levelling-down, across the entire economy.

Quite where the high-salary jobs are going to come from is anyone’s guess. I suspect this promise was merely a slogan.

Johnson is a very poor public speaker and has a very poor memory. Hence his preference for soundbites over detail. His speeches always sound as if they were scribbled down on the back of a fag packet.

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After all, this is the man who claimed that Brexit would free up millions of pounds in extra money for the NHS, and travelled around the country with that ridiculous promise painted on the side of a bus.

In the end, it feels to me like the only extra cash the NHS has received during his time in power was raised by a 99-year-old Second World War veteran walking up and down his own garden.

The opposition was, of course, quick to condemn the Tory leader’s speech. Many described it as “economically illiterate” – but that is an insult to people who are genuinely illiterate.

While many condemned Johnson’s speech as the lot of the flannel it clearly was, some disagreed.

It contained “a lot of content,” said Nadine Dorries. Because we all want to know what a former contestant on a tacky reality TV show has to say about the government’s long-term strategy.

When an ex-entrant in “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” is in the Cabinet, we really have reached sub rock bottom. We are just one step away from seeing Kerry Katona appointed as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Prime Minister has actually created a number of high-paid, low-skilled jobs. Within his own Cabinet.

When someone as intellectually challenged as Liz Truss can rise to the dizzy heights of Foreign Secretary, it should give hope to millions that anyone, no matter how untalented or unexceptional, can aspire to a career at the top level of politics.

Because Boris surrounds himself with nonentities like this, he can appear almost statesmanlike. Well, nearly almost.

At the Labour Party conference, Angela Rayner got flak from the Tories for describing this government as “scum”. What was less widely-reported was that she also called them “racist”, “misogynistic”, “vile” and “nasty”. Did anyone object to that? The silence spoke volumes about how the modern Conservative Party views itself and the future of the UK. Much more than Johnson’s vacuous bluster did.

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