Boris Johnson arrives at party conference to toast Tory success as crises rage on

Boris Johnson has arrived in Manchester for a Conservative conference where he will be able to finally address the Tory faithful for the first time since his resounding election win in 2019.

Since his last in-person Tory conference, the Prime Minister has got Brexit done, defeated former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and said “level up” enough to trick people into thinking it means something.

This conference should be a celebration, a generational leader toasting his own success to a membership that adores him in a backdrop of seemingly eternal Tory poll leads.

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A man checks his phone on the first day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central Convention Complex. Picture: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
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Everywhere you look there’s slogans boasting how well they’re doing, telling members they’re “getting on with the job” and “delivering on the people’s priorities”, which presumably doesn’t mean delivering petrol.

Conferences for the party of government are supposed to be Tory triumphalism, and announcing more improvements to people’s lives.

Instead Mr Johnson is facing tough questions, with concerns about the cost of living, Universal Credit cuts, and rises in food an energy prices.

This comes on top of the fuel crisis, with a lack of HGV drivers and high demand leading to queues and closures.

The Prime Minister has already stressed this is not a problem caused by Brexit, despite no such issues in Northern Ireland, and tried to reframe it as a stepping stone to Brexit brilliance.

He claimed it is not a lack of EU workers, but a lack of investment, and Brexit will now improve stops, pay and equipment.

This comes a day after he asked Britons to focus on wages, not cancer cases.

Instead of admitting there have been consequences to the decision to leave, Mr Johnson is trying to portray it as all part of the plan, that having to slaughter 120,000 pigs due to labour shortages is actually good.

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This all comes in the backdrop of a Prime Minister who has overseen the highest tax burden since the 1940s after promising no tax rises if he can “possibly avoid it”.

And this is the problem with conferences and the slogans they demand.

To be “getting on with the job”, you have to recognise the issues.

With an eternally positive Prime Minister, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.



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