Boris’s Levelling Up Speech Leaves Us None the Wiser

The reviews for Boris’s long-awaited levelling up speech are in, and the consensus is more-or-less universal: no-one knows what “levelling up” means in specific policy terms, including Boris. A round-up of the punditry’s reaction paints a pretty clear picture:

  • Dan Hodges: “What’s already obvious from this speech is Boris has no clear idea himself what levelling up actually is.”
  • Eleanor Langford: “This “levelling up” speech from Boris Johnson is mainly just buzz-words and drivel… It’s odd to hear he’s been working on it for weeks, it sounds like it was written last night…”
  • Mikey Smith: “So if I’ve understood that speech right, Boris Johnson wants other people to tell him what levelling up means?”
  • John McTernan: “Levelling up = Listing unconnected things”.
  • Sophie Morris: “The PM invites anyone who can think of a better name for a mayor-like position in a county to “email” him…”
  • James Mills: “The only thing worse than the contents of this ‘levelling up’ speech is the bumbling way it’s being delivered…”
  • Kate Proctor: “Levelling up as a concept could be so good for the Tories. But that speech just didn’t really cut it. Johnson himself said he was setting out a “skeleton” of plans, two years in.”

Of course, there were also a few classic Borisisms that did little to add clarity: apparently “Levelling up is not a jam spreading operation”, and “the most important factor in levelling up, the yeast, the magic sauce, the ketchup of catch up… is leadership”. This was not the anticipated delineation of cake-ism in theory and practice. You’d think some actual new policy announcements would’ve been an important factor as well – levelling up appears to be a buffet of regional cake-ism rather than a strategy.

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