As far as I can see, the Government has binned last week’s policy. Matt Hancock has just said on Marr “herd immunity” is not government policy. The reign of experts did not last long. Johnson and ministers do not know what to do.
There are 8.3 million Brits over 70 and 4084 intensive care beds - lower than half of the EU average. Gove announced the hiring of 50,000 new bureaucrats to deal with customs-related paperwork post-Brexit but we are short of that number of doctors and nurses, after 10 years of NHS cuts.
There is no sense of national mobilisation or grip. Johnson is more focused on pushing through Brexit - pulling out of the European Aviation Safety Agency, a purely technical body with the Swiss as members, just because it has Europe in the title - or making Chris Grayling, chair of the HoC Intelligence + Security Committee, despite Grayling having zero experience or knowledge in this area. But Johnson has to keep signalling to the party activists and new anti-EU Tory MPs that he is one of them.
The quality of ministers like Priti Patel, Nadine Dorries and Suella Brakeman is so low they would never get into a normal government but are seen as fanatic anti-Europeans so get their red box.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced £19 bn of new money last week to tackle the economic consequence of Cornoavirus. Berlin has announced half a trillion euros. Just no grip, or leadership.
Last night via Robert Peston and an op-ed in the Sunday Telegraph, government briefed that 8.3M Brits aged 70 or over would be placed under some kind of house arrest.
This morning on Andrew Marr, Matt Hancock reversed-ferret and said it was all untrue.
Earlier on Marr, the BBC had invited Vote Leave CEO, Matthew Elliot, one of the chief Europhobes. He was there to comment on Coronavirus, just as Nigel Farage was on Newsnight last week as an “expert” on Coronavirus.
This is utterly irresponsible editorship by the BBC who are still in Brexit coverage mode.
By Denis MacShane - former Labour Minister of Europe. His latest book is “Brexiternty. The Uncertain Fate of Britain” (IB Tauris-Bloomsbury)
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