Sunday Blog12: April 26 2020

Many expected Boris to be on sick leave longer. The news that he is returning to work tomorrow will be welcome even by those critical of the government. First on a human level because he has been through an extremely challenging experience, not to mention the torment of his loved ones who will have lived his ┬áthree nights in intensive care minute by anguished minute. Second because a time of acute national crisis is not one when the absence of the nation’s political leader is appropriate.

But let us not forget that the terrible Covid UK death toll comes not because it is unavoidable, but because in the critical early days when it became clear that a pandemic was in the making, Boris, especially Boris, most of his ministers and much of Whitehall, were asleep at the wheel. Ever since there has been a race to catch up, with plans and promises in bewildering abundance but delivery of them uneven and fragmented. So we end up with fantastic and brilliant nightingale hospitals with no patients (they should be mothballed for future pandemics for dedicated use to avoid compromising regular NHS facilities) and increased testing capacity at last and very late in the day, but then without the infrastructure to deliver to those who need and want testing.

Boris will need to sort this out. He will also have to bring an end to the damaging mystery surrounding our exit strategy, which merely fuels the fear there isn’t one. He will have to open the nation’s eyes to a very different future too. One not dominated by bankers, hedge fund managers and lawyers, but one in which the forgotten millions become the vanguard. One in which a much bigger state is appreciated, valued and paid for. All of which is anathema to the Thatcherite tradition which has inspired the Tory party for over forty years, but one which by chance Boris, his chancellor and the sinister gang who advise them, are only to happy to dump.

For this Blog, that is the bright light up ahead.

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