Monday, 6 April 2020

Please don't die Mr Johnson.

I absolutely loathe Boris Johnson. He wings everything he does, making up things to suit and his word means nothing. He's a man who'd deny stealing your car after being seen driving it away by hundreds of witnesses. He's a man of no principles, he doesn't especially believe in anything and would reverse himself if it were convenient to his latest whim. In his personal affairs he is a man of zero integrity and something of a thug.

I don't know what it is about the English psychology that excuses this. To simply describe him as a buffoon undersells his incompetence and unfitness for office, but his persona as a buffoon somehow propels him to high office. Worse still, people who should know better will make no end of excuses for him. I'd like to think it's just because the alternatives of late are a magnitude worse. Even I have to admit he's preferable to Jeremy Corbyn. I have to cling on to that notion because I'm not sure I could assimilate the idea that the British public actually looks to this man for leadership.

That said, that's about the only charitable thing I have to say about the man. But unlike the left I'm not hoping he croaks it. I really couldn't stand the gushing sentimentality that would come with his death, as they canonised the new martyr, St Boris. It's far better to see him discredited and forced out of office. I would enjoy that and it'll be worth the wait. His early check out would deprive me of the pleasure.

More to the point, Johnson is really only the result of a backroom pact. No leader could have wangled the leadership without the backing the ERG. But while Johnson has largely let them steer the agenda, he's still the linchpin that holds a fragile party together. If Johnson does croak it, and the crown falls to Raab, the free trade jihadists might well "take back control". I can only guess how it would play out but I'm quite sure the country is not in a position to cope with the ruling party at war with itself. Under the veneer of unity the overall health of the Tory party, I think, is not much better off than Labour. 

Whatever happens, Corona is going to be with us for a long while to come. Some think the reduction in the death rate in Italy is a sign of light at the end of the tunnel. It's never so simple though. The doctors are learning to be more selective about treating patients in ICUs, so fewer people are dying in hospital. That alone could account for the downturn. However, it could be that the lockdown is working - but if so, that is a double-edged sword. The moment it is relaxed, the virus will spread again.

That means we're screwed any which way. The government will have to relax some of the restrictions sooner or later otherwise it will be faced with civil disobedience, and more economic damage than it can handle. But the moment it does, the case/death rate will go soaring up again, and the measures will have to be reintroduced. This will have to be the pattern until the vaccine is ready and administered. Even once a vaccine is ready, it will take six months to manufacture it, and then more months at the tail end to complete the vaccination programme. At the most optimistic, we are looking at a year, possibly two before we have a handle on it.

The only thing that can even make a dent until a vaccine is ready is an aggressive test and trace programme - something we have thus far failed to do and there are no signs this administration will push for it. Though Johnson cannot shoulder the blame for the virus, his is responsible for his failures thus far and the failures yet to come. It is perhaps insensitive to say Johnson has blood on his hands, but I very much want him to be around to face the music. Between this and a bodged Brexit, Johnson's only hope of a favourable legacy is to shuffle loose of the mortal coil now - but he's undeserving of such an honour. 

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