Today was set to be a boring day in Westminster. Sajid Javid, a courtier to George Osborne, was billed to give (yet another) speech about how the economy is going ‘gangbusters’ and why evil Labour would trash the recovery. Dutiful hacks were pottering off to the Centre for Policy Studies, the venue for Javid’s speech, when news broke of Boris Johnson’s ‘off the cuff’ announcement that he might stand in 2015 after all.
This political hand grenade blew the government’s media plan completely apart. Javid was spotted calling CCHQ for a line to take on the Boris comeback. He duly took to the podium and prepared for questions that would have nothing to with George Osborne’s ‘long-term economic plan’. The blond bombshell is the only story in town.
Javid did, however, try to regain the initiative for ‘Team Osborne’. Last week Chris Grayling took 47 seconds before uttering the Tory mantra ‘long-term economic plan’ in a speech. Mr S thought that was quick; but Javid took only 28 seconds today. A phenomenal achievement!
The rest of Javid’s speech was familiar: a rehash of countless interviews and profiles of the Culture Secretary. Javid’s immigrant father instilled the value of thrift — ‘not spending more than you’ve got — in the young Javid, while the family lived above a shop, struggling gainfully. The lesson is lifelong; this government, Javid said, understands the need to be economically responsible.
You could have fooled Mr S: national debt £1.3 trillion as of spring 2014. That’s the fact. The rest is just noise.