Boris Johnson’s Russian Roulette

Last
week
we
heard
how
Boris
Johnson
was
resisting
pressure

from
his
backbenchers
to
open
everything
up.
Had
he
caught
a
bit
of
caution
and
drawn
appropriate
conclusions
after
the
third
national
lockdown
and
120,000
dead?
Not
a
bit
of
it.
At
his
address
in
the
Commons
on
Monday
afternoon,
we
definitively
learned
all
schools
and
colleges
are
to
open
on
8th
March.
No
phased
return,
just
home
Covid
tests,
masks
for
some
pupils,
and
the
return
of
the
fines
for
parents
who
refuse
to
comply.
10
million
kids
back
school,
mixing,
and
then
returning
home.
Clairvoyance
isn’t
required
to
forecast
the
result
of
this
ridiculous
big
bang
approach
to
education.

Then
we
have
the
other
steps.
The
rule
of
six
returns
on
29th
March
for
outdoor
meeting
and
socialising.
12th
April
sees
non-essential
retail
opening,
alongside
outdoor
attractions,
gyms
and
swimming
pools,
but
the
rules
on
social
mixing
still
apply.
17th
May
sees
outdoor
social
contact
rules
lifted
with
hospitality
and
hotels
opening
up,
and
finally
21st
June
marks
the
end:
no
more
restrictions.
Because,
by
then,
Coronavirus
will
have
respected
the
government’s
timetable
and
done
the
decent
thing
by
disappearing.
Johnson
said
matters
would
be
kept
under
review
and
implementation
of
subsequent
stages
delayed
if
this
was
what
the
data
suggested,
but
we
know
what
this
means:
more
dithering,
more
delaying,
more
nothing.
How
many
unnecessarily
died
because
the
country
was
late
into
all
three
of
its
quarantine
measures,
and
how
many
more
are
going
to
be
killed
by
this
government’s
indifference
to
the
data
and
determination
to
stick
by
its
arbitrary
timetable?

It’s
not
just
about
deaths
or
serious
disease.
With
the
old
largely
protected
and
the
voter
base
secure,
entirely
coincidentally
the
rest
of
the
population
can
take
their
chances
until
they
have
their
jabs.
Some
will
die,
and
the

R
number
is
set
to
ramp
right
up,
but
these
are
acceptable
losses.
And
here
lies
the
risk.
Thanks
to
Tory
recklessness
which
merrily
left
the
virus
to
circulate
in
late
Summer
and
Autumn,
the
even
more
infectious
Boris
variant
emerged
and
has
become
the
dominant
version
of
Covid
in
this
country.
This
act
of
careless
stupidity
has
cost
the
lives
of
tens
of
thousands
of
people.
Allowing
schools
and
colleges
back
with
little
restriction
gives
infection
a
new
lease
of
life
and,
just
like
last
time,
multiplies
the
chances
of
a
harmful
mutation
emerging.
With
so
much
disease

and

millions
of
people
not
fully
vaccinated,
it’s
not
difficult
to
imagine
the
emergence
of
a
new
strain
that
pays
our
Pfizers
and
our
AstraZenecas
no
mind.
And
we’re
back
to
square
one
again:
more
restrictions,
more
lockdowns,
more
waits
for
a
new
treatment.
Vaccines
are
essential
for
suppressing
Covid
but
in
the
early
phase
of
the
roll
out,
it
can’t
do
the
heavy
lifting
on
its
own.
A
magic
bullet
will
not
stop
Johnson
from
playing
Russian
roulette
with
lives
of
tens
of
thousands.

Where
does
this
reckless
impulse
come
from?
This
impatience
to
get
back
to
normal
betrays
Johnson’s
impestuous
character
and
hurry
to
get
on

with
his
programme.
But
the
urgency
also
has
its
roots
in
Tory
anxieties
about
class
relationships.
Forced
into
the
Job
Retention
Scheme,
providing
(limited)
support
for
the
self-employed,
uprating
Universal
Credit,
and
suffering
political
damage
for

being
beastly
to
the
poor
is
not
just
what
Toryism
is
about.
Having
successfully

depoliticised
the
crisis
and
largely
escaped
sanction
for
the
catastrophic
failure
they
presided
over,
there
is
a
danger
of
losing
the
post-Covid
peace

because

of
the
expectations
raised
over
the
last
year.
The
feeling
we
cannot
carry
on
in
the
old
way,
the
(temporary)
decoupling
of
income
from
work,
the
importance
of
key
workers,
the
huge
sacrifices
made
by
NHS
staff,
the
life
support
for
many
businesses,
the
inadequacy
of
social
security,
the
all-in-it-together
solidarity
fostered,
and
a
mental
heath
crisis
unlikely
to
disappear
with
the
opening
of
the
pubs
are
huge
challenges
for
any
government.
“Johnsonism”
and
its
talk
of
levelling
up
is
only
really
a
more
Keynesian
turn,
with
added
arbitrary
government
interventions
in
the
day-to-day.
Is
it
capable
of
taking
on
the
huge
social
challenges
it
faces?

No,
therefore

the
haste
to
get
back
to
normal
is
the
hope
these
challenges
might
sort
themselves
out
and/or
not
have
the
time
to
cohere
around
an
oppositional
politics.
What
are
several
tens
of
thousands
of
deaths,
cases
of
long
Covid,
and
the
possibility
of
a
vaccine-resistant
variant
against
preserving
a
favourable
political
climate
and
returning
to
the
balance
of
class
forces
as
was
before
the
pandemic?
Mere
trifles,
confirmed
each
and
every
time
Johnson
condemns
others
to
infection
and
disease.

Image
Credit

Latest posts