IT is paradoxical that Theresa May’s political predicament comes at a time when record numbers of people are in work and average earnings are at their highest level for a decade according to new figures.
Performance indicators would normally enhance a leader’s reputation, but Mrs May is unlikely to receive due credit because many will conclude that this progress has been achieved in spite of the Government’s handling of Brexit.
And there’s a widely-held view that Ministers have been slow to respond to the needs of young people – the next generation – in order to enhance their career potential and, at the time, address this country’s skills agenda.
After all, it has taken a year to relaunch the much-vaunted Social Mobility Commission after its leaders walked out 12 months ago in protest at the Government’s inaction on such a fundamental issue.
Yet, while Martina Milburn, the organisation’s new chair, highlighted issues like child poverty, further education, soft skills and the disabled in her keynote speech, good intentions still need to be converted into definitive policies.
And asking town halls to step in – the default response of Ministers – is no longer sustainable when English councils have already had their budgets cut to such an extent that care of the elderly, and most vulnerable, is now compromised as the Government dithers over the timing of a long-overdue Green Paper.
Given these realities, and how Mrs May’s team remain oblivious to them, it is no surprise that the Tories are struggling to reassure the country in these troubled times.