Cost of living crisis: Michael Gove doesn't have answers, but he can do funny voices
Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech was an opportunity to do more, with opposition parties and many Tory MPs united in wanting to see further support.
Instead the address stressed the Ukraine crisis and Covid had created conditions that meant not everyone could be helped.
This, in itself, is the ideal of Conservatism, that the Government should help create opportunity, rather than handouts.
The issue is those opportunities are not immediate and, what’s more, Mr Johnson knows it.
He admitted as such within hours of the Spring Statement, stabbing Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the back by saying they would go further.
And now it’s happened again. Instead to the Conservative principles of growing the economy, Mr Johnson told MPs the Chancellor would be “saying more” about help with the cost-of-living crisis in coming days.
This gives hope to those struggling that more support is coming as bills soar, but the problem is, it isn’t true.
Minutes after he made the comments Treasury sources slapped down the claims, said they had no idea what he's referring to and nothing specific was on the way.
This speaks to division at the heart of Government, with Mr Johnson desperate to please and say the right thing despite having no plans to do it.
Believing in growing the economy is one thing, hinting support is coming that isn’t is instead false hope to those who need it.
Tone is important, and Wednesday saw Michael Gove make it worse by doing impressions on television.
The Levelling Up Secretary used an American twang to say “an emergency budget”, “major capital letters” and “a big news story” before going full scouse and shouting “calm down”.
Ruling out mixed messages from the Government is legitimate criticism and the public can be expected to believe the Prime Minister when he says things.
When people are burning word to keep their homes warm, false promises and jokes are unbecoming of an issue the Government will U-turn on sooner rather than later.
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