There’s been a predictable swing in the Tory ranks, and it’s not the errant appendage of a statistical modeller. Neither to the right nor centre in political terms, but away from health onto pounds, shillings, and pence. Yes, they had knee-jerked into welfare, but for Conservatives it’s always a safer bet to stick to the knitting – and that means charging up the economy.
But the scene is set for one monumental, albeit slow-motion, about-turn on the lockdown.
Sure, we’ll have the window-dressing of some limp relaxation while we are all still docile in VE party mood, but these will simply pave the way for the lockdown to fall away. The issue for the government is white-rabbiting the reason for ditching it without admitting that doing it in the first place was astronomically dim.
Time for some subtle slippage, then.
It will be paradoxically essential for the economy to re-ignite while we are still ‘following science’ because every day we are losing now is costing zillions. That will furnish the top dogs with some face-saving collateral while we replenish the coffers. When the moment arrives, the government will tell everybody what they want to hear and spin out whatever interpretation best suits them at a later date. In the meantime, they’ll be pushing for the restart of the Football Premier League with games made free-to-air. You won’t get a wider-ranging blanket distraction than that.
When we do change course, it’s not only the right-wing in-fighting that will tip the balance. Financially speaking, we have to endure the added spectre of political Europe on our doorstep. As the EU states repeal their lockdown legislation, they will become more economically competitive versus a UK that is sitting on its hands gorging cheesy puffs and watching Netflix.
Does the continental easing of restrictions mean that Europe has subjugated the germ? No way José. But they have realised that the self-harming madness needs to stop. We could have all beaten the bug by not putting all our eggs into one basket; namely, that cataclysmic disaster was overwhelmingly the most likely outcome.
In gambling terms, we placed all our loot on the 5,000-1 shot with the confidence that it would be romping home with a donkey field trailing in its wake. Yet all the currency speculators who will be making their monster killing from this shambles (and that truly was the favourite in the race) never even had to slip Dobbin a ropey sugar cube. We spiked the nag ourselves.
The chancellor is now desperately trying to cross the paddock waving the yellow flag, but it’s a tad too late. The stalled economy and aid package combo was always going to make for quick-burn depletion of our readies and a mighty meaty clog into the machine for the generation of any more.
Our one saving grace (well, it won’t save us per say, but you’ll get my drift) is that we are no longer members of the EU. Think what our contribution would have been as one of the larger subsidising entities for the European venture that also opted for flight over fight.
Interestingly still, imagine how rosier it would have been for the UK with a still-pumping economy while the EU had floundered in lockdown. After all, Brexit was supposed to be about ploughing our own furrow and our immediate primary goal was to mitigate any initial jolt from leaving the bloc. That’s all whistling in the wind now. That immediate dip and the corona hangover will be cumulative, and it’s going to bite hard.
Some contend that the coronavirus (and the potential threat of further contagions) strengthens the case for a more united Europe, but that just reverts us to the question of whether the EU in its present form is the right body to administer it. From their abjectly hopeless performance over the last few months, it is eminently clear that it isn’t. It’s one foie-gras-fat talking shop, and even the psycho-federalists are now fervently dogpiling onto the main Brussels bodies.
So, will anybody be scuppering ‘Operation Volte-Face’? Well, Boris won’t need to be worrying about Keir and the gang. They are wholly clueless. Political opposition is effectively emanating from two sources in the current climate.
Firstly, from the Civil Service who are more than slightly miffed by the wrecking ball into administrative tradition that Boris and his chums have been swinging and whose passive resistance was magnificently exemplified by the cock-up with the 400,000 unfit-for-purpose PPE gowns. They could have been ballgowns or dressing gowns, for all we know.
That rick was surely a procurement botch that would have fallen within the remit of the Crown Commercial Service. They would normally have been charged with running the process, of which central responsibilities would have been to have defined the technical specifications and checked advance samples prior to green-lighting the full purchase. Well, apparently, not. Looks like our mandarin friends had fortuitously surrendered ownership and thereby afforded the politicians enough rope to hang themselves. After all, the Government hasn’t suggested that they were let down by their officials. They just sucked it up, buttercup.
For the rest, we’ll have to fall back onto the fabled traditions of the Tory Party and the relentless surge for personal power on the back of top-notch bastardry. Johnson’s about to be faced with some challenges somewhat closer to home from the hawks within his own party and the axe-grinding, embittered hard rump.
We’re heading for a hard core of bonkers right-wingers kicking into gear against a backdrop of a great depression.
What could possibly go wrong?
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