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20th Dec 2021

Boris has spaffed his political capital on boozy nights in lockdown

Ava Evans

The Prime Minister can’t be trusted to handle the pandemic response

In October 2020, Donald Trump attacked his chief medical advisor during a phone call with campaign staff. “People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots – these people, these people that have got it wrong”, he said. 

Most of us know that was an utterly absurd thing to do – so why are we Brits now doing that to our top medical experts – Chief Medical Officer, Chris “Next Slide Please” Whitty and Patrick Vallance – the government’s Chief Scientist Adviser.

In London, four days before Christmas, Omicron is ripping the capital a new one. It’s easier to list who hasn’t got Covid. Pubs are closing for lack of staff. Events can’t go ahead. Thousands of people have found themselves cancelling festive plans. And yet – our Prime Minister can’t announce any new restrictions, having found himself at the mercy of his own political clusterfuck. 

Presumably, the government’s three hour meeting this afternoon had something to do with SAGE recommending a ban on indoor household mixing and closing non-essential shops. And yet – in what can only be described as a mockery of his medical advisors, Boris has ruled out any further measures at this time. 

It’s clear the decision is politically motivated. Appearing in front of journalists this evening, the PM lamented “surging” cases of Omicon and “steeply” rising hospitalisations. But Boris has spaffed the last of his political capital on a photo of him lounging with a dozen members of staff in the garden of No 10. He’s lost control of his Cabinet, and the country are likely to pay the price. 

At a time when outdoor gatherings were limited to groups of two, the PM was pictured sipping wine with his wife Carrie and a dozen Downing Street staff members. It’s rightly angered, well… everyone? And means at a time he desperately needs to bring in new restrictions, his own MPs will battle against him.

Boris’ dwindling hold on power means the country faces the nauseating anxiety of knowing our lives will be upended, but having no clue when. And I might have more faith in the government’s decision making, were members of the cabinet not publicly jousting in the interests of their leadership ambitions. 

I’m not interested in how Liz Truss, Priti Patel or Rishi Sunak might lead the Conservatives. I want to see my mum at Christmas – and know it’s safe to do so, with reasoning founded on some kind of medical basis. 

At a crucial precipice, Britain finds itself encumbered by a government driven solely by a neurosis over who gets to lead the Conservative Party next. And it’s having devastating consequences for our pandemic response. 

This afternoon’s cabernet (cabernet?) meeting should have secured a meaningful route out of the current catastrophe Britain finds itself steaming full speed ahead toward, yet Boris is more concerned with presiding over a stalemate among his most senior allies. 

Once again, this prime minister is acting too late, and putting public health at risk while allowing various industries to implode.

Leaving me with just one thought: if you’ve personally made it politically unviable to introduce new restrictions, should you be in charge of the country during a pandemic?