This group of words emerged as headline in the Daily Mail last Tuesday and the article focused on a recent group of calls by the Government to try to persuade our Queen to turbo-charge our nation. The word turbo-charge has a very clear technical background and indeed it was even used in Parliament in a technical context from 1988 and it is occasionally used in that way very recently. It was used for the second time in 1996 again in a technical sense and then again in 2003. However Its regular use began in 2014 and since then it has been used on over 100 occasions with a very clear non technical sense primarily by Conservatives. Now to be clear it was actually first used in that sense by Ed Balls back in 2006 and then in 2008 by Nigel Waterson, the Eastbourne Conservative MP. However this was not a trend. Interestingly although Boris Johnson has used it since he became our Prime Minister, he has not used it himself in Parliament over the last fifteen months. He first used it in Parliament on the 25th July 2019 when he was speaking about our departure from the EU
In the 98 days that remain to us, we must turbo-charge our preparations to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible to our national life, and I believe that is possible with the kind of national effort that the British people have made before and will make again.
Then a couple of months later on the 25th September 2019 he clearly linked the phrase to the Queen and her speech.
As I said in the UN last night—at four o’clock in the morning—this is the country that leads in the tech sector in all sorts of ways, and we intend, as part of our Government programme, to turbocharge that. That was one of the reasons why we needed a Queen’s Speech, and still do.
Now to be clear since that comment there have been three Queen’s speeches, one took place a few weeks after that phrase, just before he managed to persuade the opposition parties to agree to a General Election. There was of course another one straight after the General Election. The third one was on Monday of last week. In terms of the turbo-charge reference he mentioned it a couple of months after the General Election on the 11th February 2020
You can go to the midlands and see the investment already flooding in as a result of HS2. Let us turbo-charge that now.
These appear to be the only three times he has used the phrase, even though it was clear he was referring the words of the Queen to provide the turbocharge actions. Clearly one of the significant speakers in Parliament is the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg who has never used the phrase and that suggests that he is not a big fan of it. However last Tuesday as Parliament began to discuss the Queens Speech and in the days following there were several references to the phrase from a number of Conservatives. The first one came from Felicity Buchan who is the Conservative MP for Kensington
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Conservative party believes in opportunity and equality of opportunity, and that the legislative mandate we have set out today seeks to achieve that, particularly through the skills revolution, which will turbo-charge our economic recovery?
A few minutes later Virginia Crosbie, the Conservative MP for Ynys Mon stated
My right hon. Friend is most gracious. Brexit has created huge opportunities in the form of freeports. Does he agree that freeports in places such as Anglesey will turbocharge the economy and give us thousands of jobs, investment and opportunity across the UK in places where it is desperately needed?
On the following day Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor stated
This Queen’s Speech goes even further to turbocharge our economic recovery and get people into decent, well-paid jobs.
A day later Sally-Ann Hart was discussing the Queens speech and stated
Turbocharging our economic recovery in every part of our country, increasing and spreading opportunity is vital, and I therefore welcome the landmark levelling up White Paper, which will set out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK as we recover from the pandemic, grasping the opportunities of Brexit.
Then on the 17th May in the House of Lords, Baroness Eaton stated
As a member of the APPG for devolution, I think this is a good opportunity to remind the House of the group’s most recent report, which successfully demonstrated how devolution could play a part in levelling up opportunities and inequalities. As we look to the future, the British state needs to be reimagined to manage the burden on central government and turbocharge the powers of local areas to deliver on both national and local priorities. With this in mind, can the Minister confirm whether the levelling up White Paper will take forward the Government’s commitment to devolution?
So presumably the Government will continue to use this phrase until they can persuaded the Queen to turbo-charge our nation!