When Rishi Sunak rose in the commons to set out his budget for Covid recovery he was speaking to a weary workforce, a nation battered down emotionally and economically by almost two years of pandemic restrictions. His audience was tired, embittered, fed up. He was addressing a nation stuck in a groundhog day, living life in an endless loop often inhabiting little more than a handful of rooms and a local park. They needed to hear something uplifting. They needed a reason for hope.
The words the chancellor chose to deliver this message, and the fact that he delivered them with such conviction, were not coincidental. We were not only witnessing a carefully rehearsed piece of political theatre from a man gearing himself up to challenge for the top job (although it was that, too).
Instead, when he told the people that he would lead them into a “new age of optimism” he revealed something indelible about himself: his generation.