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Thursday 23 April 2020

Tory Infighting - UK Rudderless

The lockdown continues, or rather, it should be doing: the Coronavirus pandemic means the UK should be undergoing at least another fortnight with many businesses temporarily closed, along with schools, libraries and shops that do not sell food. But the amount of traffic out there on the roads is beginning to increase. Some fracturing of the lockdown has occurred. And the people who should be providing the guidance are absent elsewhere.
Those people are the Government, and many of them are fighting not the Covid-19 pandemic, but one another. There have been briefings from one part of Government against another, and in an echo of the Astroturf US protests, rich Tories are agitating for a reopening of the economy, which, as in the USA, will mean those rich people get to make money again, while the poor get to be infected, and in some cases, die.
The first sign of serious dysfunction came when someone in Government tipped off the Guardian: “Downing Street ignored a firm warning from Matt Hancock’s Department of Health that ministers should not publicise the expected shipment of protective kit for NHS staff from Turkey in case it backfired, a senior departmental source has told the Guardian”. It duly backfired - the shipment was seriously delayed. And there was more.
In a sign of deepening tensions between the Department of Health and Downing Street, the source said that Hancock’s Cabinet colleague Robert Jenrick was ‘strongly advised’ not to mention the consignment at the government’s coronavirus media briefing last Saturday … [Jenrick] with No 10’s approval went ahead and promised that it would arrive the next day … Its non-arrival on Sunday led hospital bosses to go public for the first time with their ‘intense frustration and exasperation’ with ministers over botched deliveries”.
It got worse. “Hancock was subject to a public attack in a front-page story in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph, quoting government insiders, over his struggle to deliver the 100,000 tests for Coronavirus a day by the end of the month that he promised in early April”. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson should be stopping this.
Not only is he not stopping it, he’s not stopping the agitation to reopen the economy, and after last night’s 1922 Committee, Nick Watt of BBC Newsnight noted “Every Tory MP at the meeting and every MP who dialled in expressed deep concern at the impact of the lockdown on business … Am told the sentiment at the 1922 was: unless the lockdown starts to be lifted soon the UK may not have much of a functioning economy to come back to. Fears expressed that thousands upon thousands of businesses could soon go under”.
There was more. “Some members of the 1922 executive believe the lockdown needs to be relaxed after the first week of May. ‘If we don’t do that we really will see thousands of businesses go under,’ one 1922 member tells me … One 1922 member tells me: ‘Social distancing and hygiene measures were the key. We should follow the government guidance. If you can’t work at home then you can go to work if [you] observe social distancing and hygiene”. Nothing about the FT estimate of more than 40,000 deaths.
And, apparently, no thought that, once again, it’s the proles who are being lined up to play mine canary. Worst of all, the impression is given that the Tory ship is rudderless.

The Tories need to quit scrapping and do some governing. That’s what they’re there for.
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Anonymous said...

Wrong, Tim.

That's NOT "what they're there for".

They're there to thieve, lie and corrupt on behalf of themselves and their chums.

It's what blue and red tories do.

Hence, for instance, Starmer's denial of Universal Basic Income.....Way to go, Quiff. Your paymasters will love you for that start.

Arnold said...

Bozo only spent one day in a normal ward after leaving intensive care, and that was nearly two weeks ago. Since then nothing. Is he coming back?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Things are bad. Festeringly so. But mostly we plod on from day to day.

Do we really, really want bloviating BoJo back in charge? Has he ever made things improve?