The Independent

Just another day of Covid cant in Boris Johnson land

- TOM PECK

A brief run through, then, of “Covid winter plan” day in Westminste­r.

Morning. Cabinet meets. Roughly 40 souls, some of them understood to be human, crowd around the cabinet table. None wear a mask but all agree to keep current Covid-19 guidance in place, which includes wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces.

Picture of said meeting is then published for the world to see, for no reason than beyond those present being far more concerned with tending to their own vanity than concealing their ongoing hypocrisy.

To the Commons next. Another crowded indoor space. No masks. The health secretary, Sajid Javid, explains that infections and hospitalis­ations may be slightly on the rise again, and if things continue to get worse there may be a need to introduced mandatory face coverings and vaccine passports to manage Covid over winter.

There’s uproar, of course, from his own side. As things stand, they’re being advised to wear a mask but they don’t want to so they don’t. And when they’re told if things get bad again then they’ll have wear a mask they’re outraged, but not outraged enough to do their tiny bit to maybe make it not come to that. In some ways it’s a pity John Kennedy was never one of the rightwing Tory backbench fruitcake brigade. Ask not how little you can do to not actively bugger up your own country, ask how angry you can get at somebody else about it. Has quite a ring to it.

On vaccine passports, the latest is that they might be brought in. No, hang on, it’s that they won’t be brought in. No, it’s not that. They’re being kept in reserve, and in some extreme cases might have to be brought in. You know, a bit like tax rises.

We are run by a party in the thrall of a gang of powerful and power-wielding imbeciles who have come to view Covid as little more than an ongoing series of threats to their precious liberty

Next it’s the Downing Street press conference. “Wash your hands, wear a mask in crowded settings,” explains Boris Johnson – the actual prime minister – a few hours after publishing a picture of himself not doing so.

There was no denial. No shame of any kind. None of them, the people running the country, all of them together, caring the tiniest toss about it. At least when Her Majesty’s trade envoy to Australia, Lord Botham, tweeted a highly compromisi­ng picture he had the self-respect to realise he’d have to come up with an excuse (claiming he had been hacked) – however pitiful.

At this point, Professor Chris Whitty was asked a few questions about the unexpected size of Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friends testicles but they only mask the otherwise clear picture of the state we’re in.

It’s very much still a case of, as with all pandemics, acting hard now rather than having to act harder later. But we are, alas, run by a party in the thrall of a gang of powerful and power-wielding imbeciles who have come to view Covid as little more than an ongoing series of threats to their precious liberty, and so will only permit any kind of preventati­ve action once it’s very much too late.

Whitty, at one point, warned that we’ve not yet had a winter with the Delta variant. Which we haven’t. And we’ve also not had a winter with the vaccines, for which there’s about to be a booster round. What we have had before, is a winter under the dim glare of the usual witless Tories and their crushingly thick power games with their leader, for which we all must go on paying the very highest price.

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 ?? (PA) ?? Flagging: the PM at the media briefing in Downing Street yesterday
(PA) Flagging: the PM at the media briefing in Downing Street yesterday
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