Western Morning News

This is a war, and Boris went missing in action


I THINK it started with the Cobra meetings. That’s where the unravellin­g began, where we can pinpoint the first real indicator of the incompeten­ce which has come to define this Prime Minister and this government’s reaction to the corona crisis.

With China in lockdown, Italy struggling to cope and dire WHO warnings about the spread of the disease, Boris Johnson decided not to chair five consecutiv­e meetings of his most senior advisors.

Meetings which would discuss Britain’s response to the emerging pandemic.

Why? Well, for at least part of this period, he was on holiday.

Yes, that’s right. Just at the point at which you might expect the PM to have been marshallin­g our forces against the biggest threat this country has faced since the last war, he went missing in action.

And the government’s ability to cope, to lead, to make the right decisions, has been missing ever since.

From the shambles of providing PPE equipment to frontline staff – both the correct sort and enough of it – to the chaos of procuring the right ventilator­s, the dishonesty of the timescale when it comes to testing, to the lack of nurses in hospitals, what we have seen over the past few weeks is ineptitude on a grand scale.

And it continues. Do we or do we not need to wear masks in public? Where are we with the ‘trace, test. Isolate’ policy that has proved so successful in other countries? (Answer: a million miles away.)

And why are so many of our frontline NHS staff still dying?

Because what we’re seeing here isn’t just politics gone bad. This isn’t a bit of knock-about argy-bargy in Westminste­r or even Brexit, it’s culpable failure which has resulted in people losing their lives.

Johnson is a man who doesn’t do detail. Buoyed up, dazzled and distracted by Brexit, he simply didn’t take the threat of coronaviru­s seriously enough until it was too late. Likewise his cronies in cabinet. Layer on top a decade of austerity which has stripped the NHS to the bone, devastated our social care system and crucified local government services and you have a recipe for disaster.

And that’s what we’re seeing – a perfect storm of incompeten­ce, lack of leadership, lack of planning.

Sadly, it’s us, the ordinary people clinging to the flimsy life rafts, who are paying the price.

Of course history will be the true judge of this government and its actions.

And history will find, that in this country’s greatest hour of need, it failed us all.

RETRIEVING the new, expensive shower cream from its hiding place in the back of the bathroom cupboard – if you have a daughter you’ll understand – I stepped into the shower and slathered it on. Strange, I thought. Not much of a lather.

And a bit greasy too.

And what was that odd smell? It was only later when I put my glasses on to take a good look at this so-called luxury product that I realised I’d been using a hair conditione­r.

That’s another thing I miss about life before lockdown.

Eye tests.

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