“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people“, said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1932 acceptance speech at the Democratic Party convention; “Build, build, build”, said Boris Johnson in 2020, during his marque speech in the midlands.
This tongue-in-cheek comparison would be unfair on the British prime minister – whose speech would never live up to that of Roosevelt – were it not for the fact that he had made the comparison himself.
Boris Johnson pledged £5 billion to invest in building projects in the United Kingdom, as he stared unveiling his recovery plan to bring Britain out of the coronavirus induced economic catastrophe.
The investment will include schools, roads and hospitals, aiming to create jobs and provide long term growth. Speaking on his Snapchat account, Boris stated his intention to either build or rebuild 50 schools across the country, to create better learning environments for children in the United Kingdom.
When questioned on the investment programme by Sky News’ Beth Rigby, Boris Johnson did not rule out tax rises in the near future, saying: “I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the tax burden, insofar as we possibly can, is reasonable and that we continue to be a dynamic, competitive, open market economy”.
Speaking in the Midlands, Johnson went on to say: we cannot continue to be prisoners” of Covid-19 and that the investment programme is part of a vision for what a post Coronavirus Britain might look like.
Before any journalists made comparisons between Boris’ coronavirus recovery investment and the New Deal programme, that led America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Boris Johnson said: “It sounds positively Rooseveltian”, making it clear the kind of esteemed company he wishes his leadership to be seen within.
“All I can say is that, if so, then that is how it is meant to sound and to be because that is what the times demand – a government that is powerful and determined and that puts its arms around people at a time of crisis”.
“We will build, build, build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster, and to do that at the pace that this moment requires”.
Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, questioned the prime minister’s speech: “The prime minister promised a ‘New Deal’. But there’s not much that’s new and it’s certainly not much of a deal.”
Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)