As a complimentary piece to Philip Johnston's political column, Ben Wright looks at the worrying lack of economic detail in Boris Johnson's address to the CBI earlier this week.
"What substance could be extracted from the rubble - other than an extended paean to Peppa Pig - mostly related to green initiatives. It was as if No 10 decided to pull a rejected Cop26 speech out of the bin, dust it off and shuffle up the pages.
There was next to nothing on high energy costs, labour shortages, supply chain issues, rising taxes or increasing regulation. There was no real hint of a plan to boost productivity nor economic growth.
But all acts wear thin eventually. A lack of seriousness is fine - funny even - until things get serious. You still wouldn't bet against Johnson fighting and winning the next election, but this felt like a moment.
The early rumbles of discontent emanating from the business community were easy to dismiss. They will be harder to brush off now they're coming from Tory MPs following a catalogue of mishaps piled on top of deeply unconservative policies and tax increases. One Westminster insider says he’s never seen backbench anger like it in 30 years."
There appears to be a contradiction at the heart of Johnson's attitude to business:
"In many ways, the Prime Minister hopes that business will help cure many of society’s ills, be that achieving net zero, improving skills or correcting inequality. Unfortunately he keeps saddling the cavalry with additional burdens. And then, to add insult to injury, he reflexively blames the corporate world for those self-same woes.
It’s a similar story from those business leaders who have talked to the Government about the need to overhaul regulation. They are greeted with nods but also shrugged shoulders. Officials agree with the broad thrust of the argument but say there is simply not enough bandwidth to take on such projects."
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: