The last time the Tories launched a manifesto it was a disaster. Both a disastrous manifesto and a disastrous Tory manifesto speech. That, of course led to the subsequent weak and unstable government of Theresa May.
So we can only guess about the nerves before the Tory's manifesto launch in Telford yesterday. Of course Theresa May was in charge last time around. But this time it was Boris Johnson set to give the Tory manifesto speech. Would that add or detract from Conservative nerves?
As it was there was precious little to worry about. Not least because the manifesto itself proved lightweight. Not dissimilar to the svelte Mr Johnson himself. But we can only suspect that the manifesto was purposefully lightweight for a party wanting to get Brexit done. And this Tory manifesto speech made that abundantly clear.
The Prime Minister was certainly in an ebullient mood for a Sunday morning on the campaign trail, with fewer than three weeks to go. And this Tory manifesto speech was no less ebullient, characterised throughout by humour, hesitation and flights of apparent fancy. Indeed, it was quite at odds with the Labour manifesto speech in Birmingham.
As for Labour – as for Labour, they will plainly give in to Nicola Sturgeon and waste the whole of next year in two more referendums, one on Scotland and one on the EU
except that Jeremy Corbyn won’t tell us whether he would even be willing to advise people to vote in favour of his own deal
He used to be indecisive – now he’s not so sure
We heard some good use of repetition.
Do we want that kind of leadership my friends? Do we want more delay? Do we want more dither and drift and deadlock and division?
Do we want 2020 to be a year of defeatism and despair?
No we don’t. We want to move forward because this country has an incredible future
This Tory manifesto speech, all 14 minutes of it, was probably more typical of a Boris Johnson speech of a few years ago. Certainly it was prone to flights of fancy, changes in tempo, madcap story-telling and some dramatic pauses. But, also some dramatic hesitation for effect. At times, you could be mistaken for wondering if he'd hold it all together.
And, of course, that's what he did. Since this manifesto speech was in the same league as earlier conference speeches. He also managed to unleash some cracking position takers, that perennial favourite of politicians everywhere.
You can come with us, and have a government that backs our armed forces as a power for good around the world
or you can have Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party who has said he wants to scrap them
We support our police, putting more and more on the street, support them in fighting knife crime –
they say stop and search is inappropriate and oppressive
and, in conclusion we heard,
Do you want to wake up on Friday 13th December and find a nightmare on Downing Street, a Corbyn-Sturgeon coalition of chaos?
I say let’s go carbon neutral by 2050 and Corbyn neutral by Christmas!
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