As Johnson Draws a Happy Face, Britons Confront a Run of Bad News

 As Johnson Draws a Happy Face, Britons Confront a Run of Bad News

LONDON — Britons are lining up for gas, staring at empty grocery shelves, paying higher taxes and worrying about spiraling prices as a grim winter approaches.

But to visit the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this past week was to enter a kind of happy valley, where cabinet ministers danced, sang karaoke and drained flutes of champagne — Pol Roger, Winston Churchill’s favorite brand, naturally.

Nobody captured the bonhomie better than Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told a whooping crowd of party faithful, “You all represent the most jiving, hip, happening, and generally funkapolitan party in the world.”

The cognitive dissonance extended beyond the Mardi Gras atmosphere. In his upbeat keynote speech, Mr. Johnson characterized the multiple ills afflicting Britain as a “function of growth and economic revival” — challenging but necessary post-Brexit adjustments on the way to a more prosperous future.

It was at…

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