Home Secretary Sajid Javid – who still has not properly apologised for libelling Jeremy Corbyn last week, in spite of beating a hasty retreat when Corbyn’s lawyers got in touch – has been in the North-East today.
Javid and the rest of Theresa May’s Cabinet had been in Gateshead for a Cabinet meeting – and then split up to start visiting different regions, as part of a PR-tour whose purpose is supposedly to show they are connecting with the concerns and perspectives of local people.
Javid did his bit by meeting wealthy supporters at a stately home, against a backdrop of Bentleys and Range Rovers.
Photographs posted to the Northumberland Conservatives Facebook group by Northumberland Tory councillor Nick Oliver showed Javid meeting Oliver and fellow Tory, council leader Peter Jackson with the stately home in the background:
But a snap Oliver took of Sajid Javid, with a Bentley and a Range Rover behind him, suggests that the Home Secretary was not exactly rubbing shoulders with typical, salt-of-the-earth Northumbrian types:
Northumberland, like much of north-east England, is struggling under the burden of the Tories’ unbalanced economy. The county has some fifteen thousand children living in poverty – one in four of the region’s children.
And while foodbank use has burgeoned across the whole of England by 919% under the Tories since 2011/12, in the north-east it has rocketed by an incredible 8309% – and a horrifying 10,214% for children:
The image also contains a further potential embarrassment for Javid. The other councillor with whom he is pictured, farmer Peter Jackson, is the subject of a multi-million pound lawsuit for allegedly bullying a planning officer into rejecting a planning application that would have inconvenienced him. The matter was also referred to police.
Javid has also previously attacked Jackson and the rest of the Tory-run council to hurry up with plans for housing development, after the Tories cancelled Labour’s plans when they took over.
The people of the North-East are struggling desperately under the weight of Tory economic mismanagement and the party’s attacks on the low-paid, the unemployed and the disabled – as well as their rank Universal Credit incompetence and dishonesty. The region is also likely to be one of the hardest-hit by the Tories’ complete failure to navigate Brexit.
But Javid’s idea of meeting the people and addressing their concerns was to go hobnobbing with the wealthy and Tory politicians at a stately home and deliver a talk framed by premium vehicles.
Meanwhile, Tory councillors, including one accused of mismanagement and misconduct, smile for photos with a minister who had only recently rebuked their failure to get to grips with a key aspect of their responsibilities.
Tory remoteness, callousness and arrogance in a nutshell.
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