Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Who could have predicted it; after three and a half years of Parliament and the media doing their level best to scupper Brexit a team steps up with the balls and the popular appeal to demand that the will of the British people be honoured. An 80-seat majority for a Conservative government was a dream after ten years of compromise and half-arsed virtue signalling. At last we could get on and rebuild the country after the damage wreaked by the last Labour government and their project to screw our demographic makeup.
Deficit neutralised, debt repayment well on track and Brexit in the finishing straight, we could finally relax the minimal austerity programme and begin work on improving productivity, education, the health service, transport and infrastructure with no serious opposition. After the general election even the Remain lobby seemed to have finally accepted their defeat and plunge into irrelevance. But then along comes a gift.
Who could have predicted the corona virus outbreak? In fact if some opinions are taken into consideration, WHO should have predicted it. The still new government took command and control and did what every western government did. They watched, took advice, waited, regarded the experience of other countries then launched what seemed to be the only plausible short-term solution; lockdown.
The press was ecstatic; here was the chance they had been waiting for – because no matter what any government did, it could be spun as the wrong thing. At every stage. Deeper lockdown; why not earlier? Lifting the lockdown; why not now? After the lockdown: more deaths bad, but also fewer deaths bad because too much lockdown. Astute spanner throwers could see that whatever the government response was, they could persuade people that it was clumsy, incompetent or poorly communicated.
But still the public broadly supported the government, most of us logically figuring that their handle on the situation was always going to be better than ours. Other countries’ experiences could be edited , as with statistics to tell whatever story the press wanted to tell. If such-and-such has plenty of PPE why don’t we? Well Thisland didn’t lock down and nobody died. And Thatland has been testing since day one. And of course, the darling of the left, Jacinda Arden, managed New Zealand’s perfect response.
The fact that what has happened in every country is largely a matter of fortune, good or bad, is irrelevant. There is no news, good or bad, that cannot be pressed into criticism of our situation. And of course the press still wields powerful influence because once a hackneyed hack has invented an attack line, many of the public will subsume it into their psyche and say they always thought this way. Hypocrisy is built into the human model; it is remarkably effective and the press have pressed every button they could put their grubby fingers on.
Still it was not enough to shift public opinion away from Boris’s crew… but then there was Dom. The bête noire of the chattering classes; a man with a brain so big nobody could fathom its depths. A man with a disdain for idiots that could be pressed into service in the line of toppling the government. A figure to hate, and hate comes so readily to the left-leaning that all they had to do was paint him as the evil genius who deliberately engineered the corona crisis in order to hurt poor people… who he despises!
At last there was a chance to revive all the old animosities. It has been widely reported that during the illnesses of both the PM and his closest advisor a plot was hatched to quietly extend the Brexit transition period. Another bite at the remain cherry in some eyes; an opportunity to engineer the softest of Brexits. But Cummings put a stop to that on his return to duty, thus incurring the wrath of some very senior civil servants. A leak here, a word in the ear there and the race was on to pin something on him.
I'm not alleging conspiracy, but...
There can be absolutely no doubt that the pursuit of Cummings is entirely political; people have done far worse without being censured in any way. But as flimsy as it is Durhamgate is the red square they have bet all their remaining stake on. Even the virus has been abandoned in the unseemly melee to destroy this man. But I have a suspicion he is made of sterner stuff and I hope that Boris stands by his man. When the wheel stops spinning, let’s hope it lands on black.