I flick through the papers or watch TV news for a a few minutes. The impression that I get is that there are a number of challenges that the Government is not dealing with very well. These challenges include the Covid 19 virus outbreak which still does not seem to be fully under control. The restrictions are now being lifted. Where before there was at least complete clarity – now (post Cummings) there is no clarity and less support.
We have the Black Lives Matter protest which have led to statues being defaced. Churchill’s statue in Whitehall is boarded up. I don’t have any sympathy with this movement, which is mainly “woke” youth. I personally don’t see what the death of a black man by the police in America, has to do with us here.
We have the finer detail of Brexit to deal with. Boris expected to spend this year banging the drum and saying that we wont give an inch to the EU. I think that is pretty much what is happening but due to the pandemic, he has not been able to gain any traction by doing so. One gets the impression that he is not really in charge of the government. It seems obvious that the Government wants to do a no deal Brexit, but there is not strong public support for it.
And then there is the economy. It shrank by 20% of so in the last quarter. All the economists said it was the biggest fall ever seen. Given that the entire economy is being propped up by the state, it is hard to know exactly what this means for individual people.
Somewhere I read an article which said that even Conservatives worry that they have managed to inflict on the country, the worst of all possible worlds.
I don’t know what a significant number of people really think about the pandemic, lockdown and everything else. It seems hard to think that a nation can go through an experience like this without being scared in some way. We have had a situation where people could not see family members for an extended period. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers died alone and could not have a proper funeral. So this has been a massively traumatic period.
There is controversy about whether it is safe for children to return to school. It is unclear exactly how many people wull still have a job go go back to as the economy re-opens.
One senses a sheer will to survive to among many businesses, especially small ones. Many of the local shops around where I live continued to trade over the lockdown. They refused to go under. I have shopped very locally during the pandemic. There are still a fair number that are not open and I wonder if they will ever re-open given how high the rents and rates are in any part of London.
Overall, I get the sense of a weak government. It may have an 80 seat majority, but it seem like a weak government. It is dependent on scientific advisors re the Covid 19 pandemic. That relationship to have broken down. Johnson himself seems unduly reliant on his svengali, Cummings, much like Blair and Alistair Campbell. . Johnson is not happy when he has to do “serious”. He is a jester. He likes to play to an adoring gallery. A hard slog is not for him. He could be gone before the year is over.