Sunak's version of The Thick Of It
Armando Iannucci, if he has been watching this week’s Conservative Party Conference, may be wondering if Rishi Sunak and co had decided to try to update his brilliant comedy series, The Thick Of It, for 2023.
How else would you explain:
· Announcing the cancellation of a rail link to Manchester, while you are in Manchester;
· Allowing the HS2 fiasco to dominate the agenda for the whole of the conference;
· Withdrawing a high profile railway investment while holding a conference in a disused train station;
· Clumsily ejecting one of the Conservatives’ most prominent London politicians for a very British version of heckling – i.e. complaining loudly enough for his neighbours to here but not anyone else – during Suella Braverman’s speech. This meant that Andrew Boff ended up gaining as much, if not more, airtime as the Home Secretary;
· Peddling conspiracy theories about 15 minute cities from the podium of the conference;
· Pursuing untruths about the Jewish community’s relationship with the London Mayor which were immediately denied by the Board of Deputies – the leading British Jewish body;
· Sunak prejudging – and maybe even prejudicing - the legal case against Nicola Sturgeon in his speech, when she hasn’t even been charged. I wonder if his line about her going down was checked with lawyers as it might lead to him being in legal hot water;
· The terrible slogan – Long-Term Decisions For A Brighter Future. Slogans should be three words long – Yes We Can, Take Back Control, Education Education Education – not six-and-a-half. It sticks to the tongue like a rancid toffee rather than tripping off it. And what does it even mean anyway?
I could go on. However it is clear that – from a communications point of view – this has been a less than ideal conference for a party well behind in the polls. From a comedy perspective, though, it’s been gold.