With so-called Freedom Day scheduled for tomorrow, several of the papers are leading on the fact that this is going to be nothing like what BoJo had declared not so long ago. It is not helped by the fact that HealthSec Javid has now contracted the virus. This is how the S Times is reporting it:
In the positive column, the UK invested early in vaccines at scale, and Brexit is now behind us. Liz Truss has done a good job at International Development, and we're in good shape for the next five years.
The "levelling up" strategy is also clearly the right thing (morally) to do, and full credit to the Government for not pandering to its Southern supporters.
Against that, I continue to be disappointed by the excessive willingness of Johnson to back people, even when they're in the wrong. I also think it was a mistake to return Patel to the Cabinet, given her behaviour when she lied not once, but twice, to the Prime Minister.
The Cabinet is also - to my mind - too much made up of Johnson lackeys, rather than being the most talented people in the Commons. (The return of Saj is a welcome sign that this may be coming to an end.)
So, I'd give them 6.5 or 7 out of 10. I'd rate them above Brown or May, but below Blair (1997-2001) and Thatcher.
Officials had discussed marking the lifting of Covid restrictions with a rousing speech by the Prime Minister at an historic venue associated with the wartime leader – until scientific advisers took fright at the recent climb in cases.
And Margaret “Single Market” Thatcher?
Yeah. That turned out well.
The Clown is a 2 out of 10. Still, beats Michael “Cocaine Kid” Gove.
The extent to which they are caving in to their southern NIMBY supporters on planning, and also to the big builders by not encouraging self-build enough is also disappointing.
That their only impulse with economic problems is to shovel taxpayers' money at them is also disappointing, and may be disastrous in the long term.
But, in Europe and COVID, they have confronted two challenges that would have broken many other governments (indeed Europe certainly did) and done a reasonable if not stellar job on both overall.
So I'd given them 5.5 or 6 out of 10.
Oh, and I think you far overrate Tony Blair, who in his first term had an incredibly easy ride both politically, with a huge majority and a fawning press, and economically, with a golden legacy from the Conservatives.
So we have ‘Freedom Day’ tomorrow with a lot of people unhappy that we won’t really be free and another lot of people calling for continued restrictions.
Also remember how it was that we came to be awash in this Indian variant in the first place….
Whether or not we are in good shape for the next five years will depend partly on the closing chapters of the pandemic story but mostly upon the economic fallout and how we cope with it.
The government’s support packages have so far done a good job in reducing the immediate social and economic distress from the pandemic - at the cost of a number of looming cliff edges not least of which the large batch of people who will immediately lose their homes when the ban on evictions eventually ends.
But we have also paid people specifically for not working, and given many a taste of an alternative, quieter life - which appears to have resulted in a significant exit from the labour market at just the moment when we have also and separately closed ourselves off to a good supply of labour from our European neighbours. The signs of labour shortages are already all around us. Compare the US approach of giving everyone some money whether they are working or not, maintaining incentives to continue economic activity at some risk to spread of the virus and potentially inflationary. It is way too early to pass judgement on whose approach will prove the better.
The vaccination programme undoubtedly has gone well - largely because government was told to keep out of it - but the long term advantage to us of having handled it earlier and better is slowly slipping away.
As for ‘levelling up’, the likelihood is that Johnson makes the same mistake as Trump in thinking that coming up with a catchy slogan and giving a few speeches can substitute for actually doing something substantive.
I'm afraid it characterises everything this Government does. The initial vaccine rollout was good, largely thanks to venture capitalist Kate Bingham. Now that ministers are running things again it's chaos.
I used to say the same thing as you. Return to live in these shores and you'll soon learn that it is profoundly untrue.
Brexit is causing no end of problems here at the moment and they're getting worse, not better.
It's an absolute shambles right now.
And crowing about our vaccine success over Europe (Fishing) is rapidly coming undone. European countries are starting to fare far better on case rates, morbidity and vaccinations. The UK's decision not to vaccinated under-18's is unbelievably stupid. A disastrous mistake.
In my lifetime the only other Government that competes with this one on shambles is Callaghan's during the Winter of Discontent. Not even Major's 1992-7 farce comes close, nor the Remainer Parliament of 2017-19.
That's how bad things are.
Yesterday, the number of daily cases hit 54,674, with 740 patients admitted to hospital and 41 deaths.
Vaccination rates are slowing, with 67,956 people having their first dose on Friday, and 188,976 their second: daily rates were running well below the level at the height of the rollout.
The total number of people who have had both doses across the UK is now more than 35.7 million – just under 68 per cent of adults.
Simply not good enough.
And let's see. That long slow slide is well underway. I predict that the latest shambolic week, and England's defeat last Sunday and evaporation of 'football's coming home' euphoric hype, will see Mr Johnson's Conservative lead dip even further into the 4-5% range.
They were sensationally defeated in their Chesham & Amersham southern heartland and they failed to win Batley & Spen, much to the surprise of political commentators.
But we have a serious fiscal hole at the moment and Johnson's credit card attitude to spending is not 'moral', regardless of where that plastic is splurged.
FPT: I wonder if that mine will reopen, given that this is just before an election ? Is this going to give Bouncing Baerbock a bounce in the polls?
In Australia terms I think a change in German coal production will not have a material impact on the market - unless that mine is say 10% of production, or dominant in one specialist product.
Pollution wise, Germany's coal production currently makes them one of the 4 dirty men of Europe - Ukraine, Poland and Russia being the others.
I think they will pivot the regional economy instead.
Continually pumping out the same rubbish every day. Always suspicious of these new accounts. The Tories have been steady in the early 40s for a long time now. Not sure where you think these Tory votes will disappear to right now unless you know something about the Reform Party the rest of us don’t.
If this had happened in winter, especially if it had coincided with a period of low winds, it would have been a very different story.
The argument for the North taking "vastly more than its share of public money" seems like a tough one to make stick to me. Just look, for example, at relative regional investment in transport per pop for the last 2 decades.
On self-build, it already gets quite a lot of support - eg zero rated VAT on your supplies, and exemption from Community Infrastructure Levy. I'm trying to get hold of some numbers, but by my initial estimate that might be worth 20-30k or more on a 500k project.
I think one issue with "self-build" is that it is an activity for wealthier people - you need to have, or be able to raise, perhaps 300-600k for even a normal modest project. And 100k-200k of that would normally need to be free savings.
The cheap route onto the property ladder is what it always was - a doer-upper 2 bed terrace or poor condition flat.
You scoffed the same old rubbish at Mike Smithson for even daring to suggest the LibDems were in with the vaguest chance of winning Chesham & Amersham.
They not only won, they trounced the tories.
Wisdom is proved right by her actions.
The LibDems performed less well in 2019 for a number of reasons, not least the weakness of the then leader. Ed Davey is a more effective operator and much more trustworthy in the eyes of voters.
We have this extraordinary tendency for recency bias. You can see it in Brom's snide post, and you can see it time and again amongst others on here. It runs like this: because the tories won in 2019 and have 'consistently' polled in the 40's ergo they will continue to do so.
Great political commentators and even better political gamblers know how to read the runes ahead of the event. Like Mike Smithson (Chesham & Amersham, Batley & Spen) they correctly spot the trends when others (including scoffers on here) do not.
The long slow slide of Boris Johnson is underway. The tories, especially after this past week, will soon start to see poll ratings in the high 30's. You mark my words.
Covid: Ministers wait to hear if they face quarantine after Javid tests positive
If they can’t even trace the movements of their own boss, they might as well shut up shop.
Was it £37 billion we spent on this? For half that money, we could have opened ‘Nightingale Schools’ and reduced class sizes by 40%, which would have had a far more dramatic effect on transmission than a series of billion pound bungs to utter failures like Dido Harding.
I could see what was coming ...
That's with .. as "Cactus Jack" John Nance Garner used to .. the husk off.
As far as I am aware, the only US President from the Red River Valley .
Personally I never installed it - worked out my own rules based on everything and generally stuck by them. I was shielding, however.
It runs deeper than this though for me. It's what the Pingdemic is a symptom of: a deeper malaise which I realised within hours of installing the bloody thing:
It's menacingly invasive. It tracks you everywhere. It, effectively, spies on you. To me it was evidently part of Government control. The dystopian Big Brother that Boris Johnson so loves.
I hope this site continues to receive new subscribers, bringing fresh insight, comment and punditry. And I hope they receive a rather more polite response than that.
He's an idiot.
I think this is a shambolic government that will not be remembered well by history. Brexit is not done in NI for example, nor has a deal on most financial services been agreed. We got a good headstart on the vaccines, but large parts of the EU are not far behind us, while we enter a summer pingdemic farce.
But I have seen 55% against our decision to leave, which is how I phrased it.
I think there's an important difference. A majority think it was a mistake but that doesn't mean the same number would want to go through all that aggro again in order to rejoin. What is done is done. I'd like to say 'for good or ill' but the good is rapidly evaporating.
We have significant Brexit problems at the moment and most commentators, including in newspapers like the Telegraph, argue that they are only going to get worse.
Brexiteers will either pretend they don't exist, which is increasingly impossible, or hope they will be resolved in a relatively short amount of time.
But the idea that Brexit is behind us (Robert) is risible. We're currently going through the rockiest part.
If you look at the state of public services and infrastructure across much of the North, it is hard to argue that they haven’t had a bad deal.
‘We shall isolate on the beaches, we shall isolate in the hills…’
F1: backed Hamilton at around 4 on Betfair to lead lap 1. He got very close to reclaiming his place in the sprint, and can do it either off the line or on the straight where the Mercedes looks superfast.
Full pre-race ramble here; https://enormo-haddock.blogspot.com/2021/07/uk-pre-race-2021.html
“It isn't so much that they are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.”
Missed out "vice".
Point of Order conceded.
It is still a good quote.
Brexit is Brexshit.
I really don't know what Robert is on. 7/10 for Boris. LOL.
2/10 is generous to this wretched PM and Government.
I happen to be a moderator on a self-build forum, so I'm just collecting some real numbers as to how much some people are saving by exemptions- obvs indicative only, but valid.
But yes, it is still a good quote.
I'm relying on there being a valley in the relevant bit of Texas
In mitigation, I restrained myself from posting a link to Roy Rogers the Singing Cowboy performing the song.
Here you go:
[Mr Javid] has had two jabs, both Oxford AstraZeneca.
While the PM will no doubt be angry and frustrated at being "pinged", there are worse places to self-isolate than the 16th-century grace-and-favour mansion in the beautiful rolling countryside of the Chiltern Hills.
"If Boris doesn't isolate and uses this 'pilot scheme', I will be encouraging my constituents to do the same," one unnamed Tory MP was quoted as saying. "There cannot be one rule for us and one for everyone else."
“Unnamed Tory MP. Ho ho. Next PM market:
Rishi Sunak 14/5
Michael Gove 10/1
Jeremy Hunt 12/1
Dominic Raab 20/1
Spot the sneak.
Sooner or later, electoral winter is coming.
Things to do.
I looked at the data (as you requested above) and saw the reality that new cases in Kirklees has gone vastly higher than when you said that and that Bolton and Bedfordshire's fall has stalled and in fact new cases have been increasing for the last month.
And we are over 40,000 cases a day.
Yet somehow you think your predictions were correct and you didn't pronounce too hastily given the data available?
It's a view I suppose.
How does one get on the 'pilot scheme'? As far as I can see it only applies to senior ministers.
The PM and Chancellor have been contacted by track and trace and are to use contact testing pilot
Just came across a rather wonderful self-build rabbithole if anyone wants to lose half an hour over breakfast.
All about how to fix timber cladding, screws, wood, finish, appearance. Brilliant read. The only thing not discussed in Shou-Sugi-Ban (scorched larch).
LOL at how well it sticks to the wife too. She appears to have turned into a Zebra
Now, back to my nettles and fencing.
One rule for them, another for everyone else.
I will be deleting the ap today. This is the last straw. Feckers
But this is a total joke. What the hell are these stupid bastards thinking?
If it works for them, who can work quite easily from home and still be paid, it can work for the rest of us - especially those on zero hours contracts who don’t get paid if they don’t work.
And in that case, that should have been happening days ago.
Totally expected - lost all moral credibility
To be honest Boris and HMG deserve all the criticism they are receiving
Their PR is worse than even Ratner
Pile on Hunt to be next leader.
What they have built is not good for the current situation. It would work, potentially, at the very early stages of an outbreak of a severe infectious disease; but now they are trying to use it to control a virus that about 5% of the population may well currently be infected with, and for which there is something like a 99.97% survival rate. In doing so they are causing vast and pretty much unprecedented economic and social harm through the theatrics of self isolation, if this goes on for much longer the crisis will be existential.