In a big statement in today’s PMQs, Boris Johnson announced he will allow a public inquiry into UK’s coronavirus horror show.
It should come with a note of caution. You might have to file this latest promise alongside the inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party and the still-elusive Russia report.
The question is when will the coronavirus inquiry – which Boris won’t read – be published, and how old will he be when it finally arrives?
The PM’s obsession with besting others in the middle of the pandemic suggests that he sees the current crisis as a global battle with other nations, and not co-operation to tackle a crisis that knows no borders.
So when the PM boasted that the UK’s track and trace system “is as good or better than anywhere else in the world”, it’s nonsense.
The sad fact is that the test and trace system had a 90 per cent contact rate in the first two weeks. It is now down to 70 per cent.
We don’t need to beat the world we just need a system that works, but that point was, of course, ignored by the PM.
The one report he did need to read to prevent a second spike recommended ‘intense preparation’ throughout the summer, so Starmer asked if he had read it.
The PM stood up and said: “I am aware of the report”, seemingly waving away intelligence that could send the second wave away.
It shouldn’t be ignored, the worst-case scenario from the conclusions of this report is 120,000 deaths during the second wave this winter.
Will those deaths go into this inquiry or will it be a separate one? Perhaps there will be volumes of this going on for years, each with a relentlessly grim ending.
Starmer carried on scrutinising the Government, as is his job, but it was no use. The PM has his shtick now; Keir needs to build up the confidence of the people “instead of endlessly knocking their confidence”.
The Labour leader did ask about the 30,000 BA workers who are being brought back to work but with worse conditions, and would the PM do anything about it. Of course not, for most Tories cutting workers’ rights could be a fringe benefit of this crisis, saving them a job post-Brexit.
Then Johnson went on the attack, saying Sir Keir needs to decide whether he is going to support the government and what brief he is taking today – a reference to Starmer’s legal hinterland.
“Because at the minute he’s got more briefs than Calvin Klein,” Johnson ‘joked’, to some cheers in the chamber.
Was his quip, in response to a question about families bereaved by coronavirus, misjudged? That’ll be for you to decide.
If this coronavirus inquiry is finally published a grubby image is conjured up of an ageing Johnson in his armchair being passed the report by his live-in carer (too dangerous in a care home), taking a brief glance at the front page and dropping it on the floor as an excuse to get a good view of her bending over.
Is it a white wash? Is it damning?
Who cares, he just got his cheap thrill in his race to see her bottom.
While you’re here
While you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Free, independent journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free, independent media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can’t do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting free, independent journalism.
The shop can be found here.