Build back better. Levelling up. High wage economy. Memorable slogans from a prime minister whose political career owes much to the rousing speech and the snappy soundbite.
But as Boris Johnson showed us when he got Brexit done, he’s less likely to be remembered for his focus on the details or the consequences of his words.
Wednesday’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference was laced with humour and quotable moments, covering cancel culture, Thatcherism and everything in between.
What a fantastic Conference!
We’re getting on with the job to deliver the people’s priorities.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 6, 2021
It was delivered with gusto and went down a storm with the party faithful in Manchester – a masterclass in whipping opportunity and optimism out of upheaval and uncertainty.
But on the same day, Mr Johnson’s government ended the £20 uplift to Universal Credit introduced early in the pandemic, against the advice of campaigners and ignoring the pleas of claimants.
Cruel cut for hard working families
It has been labelled an act of political cruelty which will plunge 840,000 people – including 290,000 children – into poverty.
These are not idle spongers, getting rich off the welfare state.
'To reduce universal credit payment at this time is brutal.'@GNev2 says this language is 'divisive and dangerous' and the government should 'work on the theory that people at home aren't sitting there lazy, they really want a good job.' pic.twitter.com/CKCFsHWaWI
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 6, 2021
Around 40% of the 5.8 million people in receipt of Universal Credit are in work – work that doesn’t pay enough – and this move will leave them and their families £1,040 a year worse off.
Boris Johnson’s vision of a nation that can fend for itself after Brexit – a “high wage” Britain that is not reliant on benefits, with jobs for all and decent earnings – is an admirable one.
But we are a long way from that point and the details of how we get there are far from clear.
Let’s hope we see some direction to support the slogans soon.
Because for a lot of people in the real world outside the conference hall, the notion of levelling up must feel further away than ever today.