Philip Hammond’s attempt during his Spring Statement today to be – in his own words – ‘Tigger-ish’ has met with widespread derision as a feeble attempt to bluff his way through dire economic realities of low growth, continued austerity and the UK’s continuing place as one of the worst-performing and slowest-recovering developed economies.
But it seems that Hammond’s performance may not have impressed his Prime Minister either. As Hammond pantomimed his way through his claims of Tory success, Theresa May’s face behind him did not depict any sense of excitement or triumph.
The video below is a zoom-in on Mrs May’s expression and behaviour behind Hammond as he attempted to crow. The sound has been removed to prevent Hammond’s droning from distracting the viewer – but while other front- and back-benchers were, in equally pantomime fashion, attempting to ‘ooh’ and cheer each hollow utterance, May was almost deadpan. In fact, she appeared ‘elsewhere’:
While not quite on a par with George Osborne’s bizarre behaviour captured on camera that led to rumours he was high, May’s demeanour certainly made a strange contrast with Hammond’s attempted bravado.
Perhaps Mrs May was under the weather, or tired. But while she did appear to ‘pick up’ a little later in the speech, she appeared as underwhelmed as those informed commentators who dismissed Hammond’s performance as a charade to cover Tory incompetence.
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