HENRY DEEDES watches Rishi Sunak riding to the rescue again


Fire up the Batmobile, Alfred. Boy Wonder’s back. Once again, Rishi Sunak strode back into the Commons to wave around that increasingly battered chequebook of his.

Rishi Rides to the Rescue has been a common narrative of this crisis. While most ministers’ stock has crashed these past six months, the Chancellor’s is on a bull run. Heck, he even makes those hardened union boys go all gooey.

Yesterday, he outlined his new jobs support plan to replace the wallet-spankingly expensive furlough scheme, which ends next month. 

Rishi Rides to the Rescue has been a common narrative of this crisis. While most ministers’ stock has crashed these past six months, the Chancellor’s is on a bull run

The Chancellor was still handing out goodies, but this time his rescue parcel wasn’t nearly so deluxe. It was time to get real, people.

What we heard was a speech dripping with hard, uncomfortable truths. A cattle prod up the kilt to the cloud-cuckoo merchants who think the country can carry on the way we have these past six months.

It was clear from the outset that some of what he had to say was gonna hurt. one were the days of spraying salmon-coloured £50 notes around like fancy hooch. The money hose was staying on, but the pressure gauge was now set to low.

The Chancellor was still handing out goodies, but this time his rescue parcel wasn’t nearly so deluxe. It was time to get real, people. What we heard was a speech dripping with hard, uncomfortable truths

The Chancellor was still handing out goodies, but this time his rescue parcel wasn’t nearly so deluxe. It was time to get real, people. What we heard was a speech dripping with hard, uncomfortable truths

‘I cannot save every business,’ he said, sorrowfully. 

‘I cannot save every job. No Chancellor can.’

His words were heard in near silence. The cold atmosphere inside the chamber reflected the starkness of the message. The language was striking. 

When Rishi said things such as ‘we can no longer put lives on hold’ or that ‘we must learn to live with it and live without fear’, this sounded as much a warning to his own leader as it was to the country.

‘Adapt and evolve’ was the phrase du jour. ‘Our plan needs to adapt and evolve in our response,’ he said. 

‘We needed to adapt and evolve to the new normal.’

Incidentally, there no sign of Boris. Hmmm. Thought he might have gone along to give his boy a reassuring thwack on the back. Do hope there’s not trouble at t’mill…

The Chancellor’s delivery was bang on. He managed to sound sympathetic as well as authoritative. Not easy. You’d love to have him as your family doctor.

We heard about the ‘awful trade-offs between health, education and employment’ that Covid-19 had forced Rishi to make.

Incidentally, there no sign of Boris. Hmmm. Thought he might have gone along to give his boy a reassuring thwack on the back. Do hope there’s not trouble at t’mill… The PM is pictured visiting Northamptonshire Police Headquarters this week

Incidentally, there no sign of Boris. Hmmm. Thought he might have gone along to give his boy a reassuring thwack on the back. Do hope there’s not trouble at t’mill… The PM is pictured visiting Northamptonshire Police Headquarters this week

Does he write his own scripts? If not, a pay rise is in order for whoever does. That’s if there’s any money left.

Anneliese Dodds responded for Labour. ‘Anna whoooo?’ do I hear you cry? If you have never heard of corkscrew-haired Mrs Dodds, fret not. During the summer recess, I asked several friends to name the Shadow Chancellor.

I know, I know, my company really is that sparkling.

Funny thing, though – not one of them knew who it was. And nearly of all them work in finance. 

Mrs Dodds accused the Government of ‘lagging behind’, of not having a ‘forward plan’. Rishi retorted that Labour have not had a Plan A during the crisis, let alone a Plan B.

The general noise from the opposition benches was that any new cash was welcome, but that it was not enough. It never is, of course. Chris Bryant (Lab, Rhondda) quipped: ‘As a former curate, I know a curate’s egg when I see one.’

The Lib Dems’ Treasury spokesman Christine Jardine forgot to unmute herself on her computer.

For a moment I thought we’d hit the jackpot, but Deputy Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton allowed her another go. 

The Chancellor’s delivery was bang on. He managed to sound sympathetic as well as authoritative. Not easy. You’d love to have him as your family doctor. We heard about the ‘awful trade-offs between health, education and employment’ that Covid-19 had forced Rishi to make

The Chancellor’s delivery was bang on. He managed to sound sympathetic as well as authoritative. Not easy. You’d love to have him as your family doctor. We heard about the ‘awful trade-offs between health, education and employment’ that Covid-19 had forced Rishi to make

Mrs Jardine thanked Rishi for ‘listening to Liberal Democrats’ by extending furlough. 

The Chancellor never broke it to her he was doing no such thing. Too chivalrous, perhaps.

Lucy Allan (Con, Telford) thanked him for being ‘agile’ throughout the crisis. Funny, I know what she means. It’s not just Rishi’s imaginativeness which has stood out during this crisis. 

It’s his ability to play the strong man, making the tough decisions, yet still retaining people’s respect. There is a rod of steel running through that spindly frame.

We got a gracious cameo from Sajid Javid who welcomed his protege’s ‘decisiveness and resilience’. 

Good old Saj. Being shunted out of No 11 to make way for Rishi must have been brutal but his dignity remains intact. 

Sunak said any attributes were in ‘no small part’ to Javid’s instruction down the years. Class.

It took some of Dame Cheryl Gillan’s matronly prudence to ask the question which had been preying on many people’s minds: How on earth are we going to pay for all this? For Rishi Sunak, that is another daunting day’s work.

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