I won’t say I was astonished by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s saying that people should stop complaining about the shortage of coronavirus tests and everyone should be praising the system instead as a ‘phenomenal success’. Apparently, everyone should heap praise on the government for having system in place at all, and ignore all the flaws that have been made all too apparent. Flaws like for example; people being sent hundreds of miles to be tested or simply being told there wasn’t one available. The government have admitted problems with Boris Johnson telling a committee of MPs on Wednesday that the system has ‘many flaws.’
But to tell the public to stop complaining rather implies you think they aren’t grateful enough. It smacks of an attitude of ‘look, we’re doing something, stop complaining will you?!’ This isn’t the first time that Rees-Mogg has demonstrated how utterly out of touch he is with anything close to the average person’s life. He was forced to apologise last year for comments he made about the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, claiming they hadn’t used their ‘common sense’ in following fire service advice to stay in their flats. The obvious implication being that the people following the fire service advice were stupid to do so.
It just drives home for me out completely out of touch this government is. They decided not to consult with teachers on children returning to school when they would have been told that demand for tests would skyrocket in the first two weeks. The reason being that children and teachers tend to catch sniffles, colds and coughs after having not seen each other for six weeks let alone four to five months. And in this climate, when a child comes home from school coughing or sneezing, their parents are going to want to make sure that their child does not have the highly contagious potentially fatal virus that could be passed on to everyone in the household. It also doesn’t help that the government had previously encouraged people to get tested if they wanted to be sure, only to turn around and say they hadn’t expected such huge demands for tests. How can they not have expected demand to be high when people will be worried about their children’s health?! Also, the phrase that Rees-Mogg used, ‘endless carping’, just makes it seem like he seems to think that the population likes simply moaning about everything around them.
The truth of the matter is that this is the laziest Prime Minister we have had in living memory. No matter who was in office, no matter if I agreed with their politics, they all had an idea that the job would be a slog and they would have to put serious work in. Johnson is far too lazy for any of that and the ministers in his cabinet are there for their support of him and of Brexit, not because they hold any level of competence at all. It also shields him from any strong characters within the party and from any debate within cabinet. Policy is not discussed and debated and Johnson can live in his fantasy world. But now, his competence is being questioned more widely.
The Prime Minister has always operated by trying to please everyone. He loves to be loved. The problem now though is that his charade of perpetually jolly and optimistic Englishman does not hold any sort of water. People don’t want that at the moment. They want and need someone who can knuckle down, do the hard work but also not lie to the public during this time. If it’s going to be hard and difficult, tell us. We don’t always need things to be sugar-coated.
And now he’s decided to break an international agreement he signed less than a year ago. He’s attempting to contravene international law. As Ed Milliband put it in his evisceration of Johnson and the government, either the PM is stupid and didn’t understand what he was signing up for, or he lied to everyone; his party, the people, those who believed in the Brexit fantasy he sold them, even the EU that his government would abide by the terms of the agreements which included a compromise that included a border in the North Sea, something Johnson has always said was incompatible with his idea of Brexit.
Some papers are starting vocalise their doubts and the rumblings of discontent within the Tory party have also begun. My only question would be what took you so long? This man has failed upwards his entire adult life. From one paper to another, where he lied, particularly about the EU, he got into politics. There, he cruised through being Mayor of London, where he survived by bringing competent lieutenants to rescue the situation for him while he acted as a figurehead. As Foreign Secretary, he went around the world for 18 months undermining his predecessor in No. 10 and routinely offending foreign dignitaries. And then voting against May’s Brexit deal multiple times, he was gifted the keys to Downing Street, where he bumbled around for three months before rushing into signing a deal that was virtually the same thing before the October deadline expired. And now, as has routinely been the case throughout the entire process of Brexit, Britain is on the verge of leaving the EU with absolutely no trade deal in place.
The hand Johnson has been dealt since the turn of the year has been a tough one, no doubt about that. But he has played it exceptionally badly. From the exam results fiasco, the PM’s top adviser taking an inexplicable trip to and around Durham to the surge in new COVID cases we’ve seen in the last 10 days or so and many more besides. Johnson has proved his doubters right and his greatest supporters totally wrong. He and his cronies are not capable of leading the country through the biggest health crisis the country has seen for 50 years. They wouldn’t be capable of leading a group of drunkards to the pub.