Politics is, as ever, the art of the possible. It is also about leadership. And, whisper it quietly, it is about credibility: there are some individuals in positions of power who are simply not credible as authority figures. After watching the first 2021 edition of The Andy Marr Show™, it is abundantly clear that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is one of them. He is quite simply unfit for office.
Worse, he lied, and contradicted his own claims, notably on school closures. He claimed “Schools are safe. Very, very important to stress that and that the threats to - the risk to kids, to young people is really very, very, very small. Indeed, as the scientists continually attest, the risk to staff is very small … schools are safe, there’s absolutely no doubt … there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe”. Then came this nugget.
“And it’s not that the return will be safe - the schools are safe - the issue is how can you stop schools being places where the virus can circulate and then spread into all the other households?” YOU JUST SAID SCHOOLS WERE SAFE. NOW THEY AREN’T.
Also, despite Bozo claiming that schools would open tomorrow, or later for secondaries, when Marr asked “I ask you whether you can guarantee that schools will open on 18th January. You can’t say yes can you?” he just shambled “Well, obviously we’re going to continue to assess the impact of the Tier 4 measures, the Tier 3 measures. If you think about it, where we got to before Christmas if you remember”.
Where we got to before Christmas was five successive days after Christmas with more than 50,000 new positive Covid-19 tests. Marr put it to him that schools might still have to close. “We’ve got to be realistic about this pace at which this new variant has spread and is spreading. We’ve got to be realistic about the impact that it’s having on our NHS, as you’ve just now heard all morning - and we’ve got to be humble in the face of this virus”.
So he doesn’t know. Perhaps. What about stricter lockdowns? Er. Um. “I’m sure that all our viewers and listeners will understand the sort of things. And you’ve mentioned some - clearly school closures, which we had to do in March is one of those things [hmmm] … we’re entirely reconciled to doing what it takes to get the virus down. And that may involve tougher measures in the weeks ahead”. Take the decision, then? Maybe not.
“I wish I could give you here and now any sort of elaboration on the figures you’ve already heard about how we hope to get up to two million in a week and so on. I can’t give you that yet. What I can tell you is that obviously everybody’s working flat out to do this. We’re greatly in advance of all comparable countries”. Maybe. But for how long?
And with that, via a discussion on the possibility of Scotland having another independence referendum, came a jaw-dropping admission. Bozo was intending to dismiss the idea of Scotland having another vote. But what a giveaway! “Referendums in my experience, direct experience in this country are not particularly jolly events … they don’t have a notably unifying force in the national mood”. Ain’t that the unintentional truth.
Then, on the subject of Brexit, came the lies. Bozo suggested one dividend was freeports. Marr pointed out that we could have those within the EU. “No, to nothing like the same extent” claimed Bozo. This was a lie. And it was followed by another. “For instance one of the things we’ve done on day one of leaving the European Union is to get rid of pulse trawling”. Marr pointed out that the French have done it within the EU.
Come on Bozo! “No, but we’ve done it from day one”. Lie followed by lame spin. Which was followed by a conclusion including another lie: “we now have freedoms that we haven’t had for 50 years”. We’ve all had our rights and freedoms seriously curtailed by him and his Government - the last insult in a very poor interview performance.
Boris Johnson can’t bring himself to make the decisions that he almost admits are going to be forced on him very soon. He brought no reassurance to those concerned at the apparently shambolic vaccination programme. He was unconvincing on countering the Scottish referendum question. And the little he could manage on Brexit benefits was backed up by flat-out lies. It was a shameful and unedifying display.
That was someone totally unfit to be Prime Minister of the UK. But you knew that anyway.