Prime Minister’s Question began today with a minute’s silence for Captain Sir Tom Moore and all those who have lost their lives during this dastardly pandemic.
It is sobering to think it took a centenarian raising 30 million quid for the NHS and dying for Boris Johnson to get to his feet, shut up for a minute and remember the fallen.
There is already talk of a statue for Captain Tom. Perhaps they will put one up for each of the next nonagenarians, putting themselves through ever more arduous tasks, helping to bail out our health service. It will rival the Terracotta Warriors by mid-2025.
As sad as Captain Tom’s death is, the passing of the Union under Johnson’s helm could be the next tragic loss the prime minister oversees.
Today, Ian Blackford was raging – no change there – that the SNP told Johnson not to come to Scotland last week, but he came anyway.
Reports have since claimed that the PM’s advisors knew there had been a Covid outbreak at a vaccine production centre just days before he travelled – but he decided to make the trip regardless. The PM denied it – which means the stories are almost certainly true.
The truth means literally nothing in the distorted moral crevice he inhabits.
Johnson was heading to Scotland regardless. The possibility of his entourage transmitting some Caledonian coronavirus was nowhere near as dangerous as backing down to those quarrelsome Scots, in Pfeffel’s head.
He told Blackford he will visit any part of this country he wants, seemingly forgetting Scotland is – technically – a separate country, albeit one that is ultimately governed by Johnson, much to their annoyance. Still, his comments likely knocked off the few Scottish people left on the fence over independence, like a master archer at a coconut shy.
But Scotland isn’t even the major border flashpoint, Northern Ireland is. The PM was eager to slam the EU for putting a border up to stop the movement of vaccines, and threatening the Good Friday agreement.
Then he immediately said he too would consider ripping up Article 16, which would create a border anyway. The PM also forgot to mention he was willing to break international law over Brexit, until pro-Brexit Trump lost power and pro-Irish Biden swept in and, literally, cleaned up the Oval Office.
Johnson dismissed that there is a border down the Irish sea. If this is the case why are checks not being carried out at Northern Irish ports after threats of violence? A border is a border, whether it is fluid or fenced or someone is willing to fight over it.
As if we were walking back in time, to our most recent civil war, Ian Paisley Jnr echoed his father. A zealot for the Zoom generation, he slammed the government for leaving his supporters “like foreigners in our own country”.
Lie after lie
When Michael Gove told the world about the Northern Ireland Protocol he bragged it was the “best of both worlds”. Lie after lie, line after line.
But what about the outside world? Sir Keir Starmer – the somewhat embattled leader of the Labour Party – told Johnson that “our schools are shut and our borders are open”. He demanded tighter border controls. Tens of thousands of people are still flying into Heathrow every day while people in Northern Ireland can’t get their hands on a Cornish pasty
Johnson replied that it isn’t practical to close the borders completely as we get 45 per cent of food and 75 per cent of medicines from the EU (could be an idea to team up with them in some sort of coordinated shared market model?)
But nobody said we can’t let haulers in, it’s about random, unchecked, travellers. We will happily send in our Navy to protect our border from dinghies of desperate souls, but will let a deadly virus saunter through duty free.
As a member of the Armed Forces, who put his life on the line to protect our borders, Captain Tom brought out the best of Britishness. Johnson is bringing out the worst.
Sadly for the people of the UK, and especially Northern Ireland, tomorrow may not be a good day.