After alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson tried to wing it through an interview once too often, and got roasted by Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid for his trouble, the cost of living crisis claimed another Tory scalp, this being George Eustice, who is supposed to be Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Eustice was lightly grilled on Sky News by Kay Burley this morning, and this did not go well. It was pointed out to him that Bozo’s claim to have introduced the Freedom Pass when he was the very occasional Mayor of London was not true. Eustice responded that he “will know better than any of us what he might have done when he was London mayor”.
But this was a mere hors d’oeuvres for a much more substantial entrée, as Eustice was tackled on food prices, on which he should have a handle, given Food is in his job title. “Generally speaking, what people find is that by going for some of the, sort of, value brands rather than, you know, own branded products, they can actually contain and manage their household budget”. No shit, Sherlock. But here a problem entered.
Significant numbers of people who shop at places like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are already on value brands. Effectively, everyone who shops at discounters like Aldi and Lidl is, too. The 77-year-old cited in yesterday’s GMB interview did not even have the resources to pay value brand prices: she went to the supermarket late in the day to buy food that had been marked down, had been “yellow stickered”.
It’s not that Eustice, and indeed Bozo and the rest of the cabinet, have more money than those having to make hard choices about what they buy: it’s the lack of empathy, the sheer cluelessness, the gaping chasm between the real world of the 94% and the gilded manor of the privileged 6%. The PM cannot empathise; his Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot empathise; rather a lot of his cabinet cannot empathise.
That will be true no matter how many smears are published about Starmer’s campaign curry, or what Angela Rayner doesn’t do to distract Bozo. The press pack is in the same place as in the run-up to the 2017 General Election: then, they believed that making £85,000 a year didn’t put them in the top 5%. Now, they think that one pensioner reduced to riding buses all day to keep warm can be discounted, brushed aside, ignored.
Tory candidates are begging voters not to punish them for lawbreaking at Westminster. Some are branding themselves “Local Conservatives” as a means of putting some distance between them and Bozo. There are reports of infighting within the party. The welter of “Beergate” stories aren’t gaining traction with voters. This is a party, along with its cheerleaders, that is running on empty. It has nothing to offer the electorate.
Apart from channelling Marie Antionette and exhorting the masses to eat supermarket own-brand value cake. Voters know they’ve been conned. You know what comes next.
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