What kind of preparation do Tory ministers undergo before appearing on the morning media round, spouting their nonsense? Preparation H?
As a friend said to me after Alok Sharma’s humiliation today (December 14): “He’s got to be buttsore after that!”*
Sharma had appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where presenter Nick Robinson listened to his claims that the UK could end up with an Australia-style trade deal with the EU, then delivered a comprehensive shafting:
-We want Australia terms
Does Australia have a tunnel to mainland Europe?
Does Australia have direct ferries to mainland Europe?
What percentage of its trade does Australia do with Europe?
Er, er. #r4today
— Paul Johnson (@paul__johnson) December 14, 2020
Now, it is bad enough when a politician fails to answer a question that they could reasonably have expected to come their way.
But when that person then traipses to other studios and fails to answer other questions in the same way, it is a calamity.
So, for example, we had this:
“Tesco say food prices could rise by 5% in the event of no deal”
“No, just 2%, it’ll be fine”
— kerry Hooper 🥀 (@hewitson10) December 14, 2020
Alok Sharma, actual Business Secretary, is unable to answer Susanna Reid’s question as to how businesses can prepare for massive tariffs in case of No Deal pic.twitter.com/JyaPVSaMqJ
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) December 14, 2020
'I think we'll find we will be absolutely fine.'
Business Secretary Alok Sharma says 'I am very confident the supply chains will still be in place' amid fears supermarkets and shoppers will stockpile in the event of a no-deal #Brexit.https://t.co/sg4nEYuR0w pic.twitter.com/zqDRDoCGq2
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 14, 2020
(Anybody remember trying to find toilet rolls in supermarkets, back in March and April? That was a fun game, wasn’t it?)
And, indeed, this:
Business Secretary Alok Sharma: "We will prosper on WTO terms."
Nick Ferrari: "Has any business said 'I can't wait for a WTO deal'. I sense not."
Sharma: "There are businesses that supported the vote to leave the European Union."
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) December 14, 2020
Some have suggested that perhaps Sharma was hoping to send us off to sleep by droning at us…
Alok Sharma a very effective weapon in explaining away #BrexitDisaster by sending the entire nation into some kind of deep sleep coma
— dave ❄️ 🥕 🧻 (@davemacladd) December 14, 2020
Our paint has now dried exactly the same time as Alok Sharma finished speaking…
— Rodders 🚩🌹🏴☠️ (@rodjgrimmer) December 14, 2020
Despite the fact that Sharma was sent out with a message that all is well and no matter what happens in the trade negotiations with the EU, people here in the UK will be able to get on with their lives as normal, we came away with the following information:
Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is still lying to us about the threat of trading with the EU on WTO rules, by saying it will be an “Australia-style” deal. The Aussies don’t have a deal with the EU.
Finally! Someone has the balls to call out the government's ridiculous use of the term "Australia style deal" and gets Alok Sharma to admit it would be a no deal, WTO rules arrangement. Well done @MrDanWalker 👏
— 💬 ✋🌹 (@Syn0nymph) December 14, 2020
Business will face the imposition of huge import/export tariffs and Johnson’s Cons are not providing the information they need, if they are to be prepared.
Shoppers can expect the price of their groceries to rise by five per cent and this will be a disaster for people who have a limited budget.
There will be shortages of some products, meaning shops – and shoppers – will try to stockpile them… and this will make the shortages of these products worse.
Alok Sharma is an imbecile.
Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business etc #r4today
Couldn't give a straight answer – beyond the usual cliches and empty platitudes.
He wriggled and squirmed – trying to get a sensible honest response was like trying to nail jelly to the wall.
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) December 14, 2020
Some Twitter wits have enjoyed themselves at his expense:
Alok Sharma says absolutely nothing will happen as a result of no deal Brexit pic.twitter.com/37C7taOExb
— Pascal Jacquemain 🇫🇷in🇬🇧 #the5million (@jacquep) December 14, 2020
— Craig Hall #GeneralStrike #Worldwide (@w41gy) December 14, 2020
But it’s cold comfort. We all know that, in the end, it is the public who will suffer as a result of Sharma’s incompetence.
* Preparation H is a well-known treatment for haemorrhoids.
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