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Ivan Little

Babbling Boris Johnson is weak and confused and he just isn’t up to handling Covid crisis

Ivan Little


Boris Johnson has put almost 18 million people in London and the South East into a Christmas lockdown (Toby Melville/PA)

Boris Johnson has put almost 18 million people in London and the South East into a Christmas lockdown (Toby Melville/PA)

Boris Johnson has put almost 18 million people in London and the South East into a Christmas lockdown (Toby Melville/PA)

All I want for Christmas is a new prime minister.

At least and at last our politicians at Stormont have woken up to the reality of the Covid nightmare by ordering a draconian six-week lockdown.

But watching Johnson’s abysmal performance in the House of Commons last week only reinforced my conviction that his confused and weak stewardship of the crisis has played a significant part in making it worse.

Just after he got the keys to Downing Street in July last year, I wrote here that Johnson would be a disaster for the disunited Kingdom.

“Mark my words — it’ll all end in tears,” I said.

But I badly underestimated just how huge a nightmare the mop-haired incompetent would be in the face of the greatest health crisis of our lifetime.

Obviously the coronavirus would have taxed the best of politicians but it’s proved far too much for the worst of them like Johnson and his friend Donald Trump to handle.

Johnson’s tardy response to the pandemic at the very outset of the crisis was nothing less than shocking as he downplayed the seriousness of the virus despite the dire warnings from the likes of Italy and Spain of what was coming down the tracks. Quite irresponsibly Johnson absented himself from crucial Cobra meetings about the virus so that he could spend time sorting out his divorce settlement.

He even allowed the Cheltenham festival to go racing ahead, attracting tens of thousands of horsey fans into a situation where they were gambling with their very lives.

A lot of what Johnson did was painfully shambolic. He crowed about shaking hands in hospitals and he delayed the introduction of a full national lockdown, a hesitancy that experts have claimed was a factor in 20,000 deaths.

In March Johnson confidently predicted in a news briefing that “within 12 weeks we can turn the tide” against coronavirus.

“I am absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing,” he chirped only to find himself being packed off to hospital with Covid but NHS doctors and nurses saved his life.

All the while there’d been shilly shallying over PPE and care homes and there was also indecision over the wearing of face masks and education, and a lot more besides.

As the horror worsened and people applauded NHS heroes every Thursday night, Johnson clearly took the dogged spirit of the nation for granted.

His right hand man Dominic Cummings took himself off on a 500-plus mile road trip to family in Durham and he insulted everyone’s intelligence by excusing a day trip to Barnard Castle as a journey to test his eyesight.

Johnson showed an astonishing lack of vision himself by not sacking Cummings and instead offered him his “full support”.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the cracks in public trust for Johnson and his regime can be tracked and traced to these Cummings and goings, while over here Sinn Fein’s blatant disregard for the Covid restrictions by attending Bobby Storey’s funeral en masse eroded the message alarmingly.

Last week in the House of Commons. Boris tried to defend himself against criticisms of his Covid policies, his constant u-turns and his empty but regular promises throughout the year that the virus was going to be beaten. At the despatch box last week he claimed that infection rates were coming down when in most places they were going up.

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