Philip Hammond and Norman Lamont have more than great gaffes in common
Both Tory chancellors have made tremendous gaffes about unemployment - despite their academic backgrounds.
Philip Hammond’s gaffe - “Where are all these unemployed people? There are no unemployed people” – has been taken by many commentators as the latest evidence that Spreadsheet Phil has a tin ear and a lack of political vision.
The mis-step on the Andrew Marr Show is also being seen as on a par with Norman Lamont’s claim that “rising unemployment and the recession have been a price well worth paying to get inflation down”.
In The Guardian, home affairs editor Alan Travis says Hammond’s remark “carried an echo of Norman Lamont’s notorious phrase at the height of the 1991 recession”.
In his Waugh Zone memo, Huffington Post political editor Paul Waugh states: “Hammond’s irritated swipe at Marr will go down in political history alongside other great Tory Chancellor gaffes, such as Norman Lamont’s claim.”
But a tremendous gaffe about unemployment is not all that Hammond has in common with the former Tory chancellor, it seems.
While Lamont studied economics at Cambridge, successive chancellors* all went in for different degree subjects. Except for one.
Hammond studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. Which means he is the first chancellor since Lamont to have any kind of economics degree….
*Kenneth Clarke read law at Cambridge, Gordon Brown read history at Edinburgh, Alastair Darling read law at Aberdeen and George Osborne read modern history at Oxford.