Autumn statement: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says UK has 'turned a corner'. Polls suggest most people disagree – Scotsman comment

The Conservatives' economic record is coming under greater scrutiny as the dubious attractions of populism wane

As he concluded his speech to the Commons, Jeremy Hunt proclaimed he had delivered “an autumn statement for a country that has turned a corner”. So presumably he agrees the UK has been going in the wrong direction.

Since the 2010 election brought the Conservatives to power, British politics has been marked by a prolonged period of austerity, the folly of Brexit, the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Such situations would have tested any government but the sense of a country in decline has been hard to ignore.

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For all Hunt’s aplomb in delivering his statement, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves was right to suggest that the key question people are likely to ask is: “Do me and my family feel better off after 13 years of Conservative government?” Polls suggest the answer is a resounding “no”.

Boris Johnson won a landslide victory in 2019 with the slogan “get Brexit done”. That feels like a long time ago now as the dubious attractions of populism, and the distraction it provides from ‘everyday’ issues like the economy, have been worn thin by bitter experience for too many.



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