Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his pals have a problem: a political leader who knows his subject, who is prepared to stand his ground and fight for a decent deal for his constituents. Thus Bozo and Co have tried to impose a Tier 3 Covid-19 lockdown on Greater Manchester, only to come up against Mayor Andy Burnham.
Sadly for the Tories, Jenrick against Burnham is a mismatch. As the BBC has reported, “Mr Jenrick said local leaders had been ‘so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control’”, which is not true. What is true is that when Jenrick, or someone on his behalf, leaked his ultimatum to the media, Burnham saw him coming.
Pippa Crerar of the Mirror had the letter sent by Jenrick to Burnham and local council leaders. “This is [the] letter sent to Greater Manchester council leaders: Govt offering them £22m for 2.8m ppl and is ‘open’ to looking at more to support local biz. Lancashire got £42m for 1.5m ppl. Merseyside got £44m for 1.5m ppl. One GM politician tells me: ‘Utter pisstake’”. Looks like it. So what figure might prove more acceptable?
But here a problem enters: Jenrick, as was picked up during his interview the other Sunday on The Andy Marr Show™, his own constituency, Newark (population just over 105,000, or around 4% that of Greater Manchester), was handed an additional £25 million recently - to spend, it seems, as local politicians saw fit.
Coronavirus versus Cronyvirus. It’s a game of two halves. Halves, and halves not.