On the day we learn from Sky News that the South African variant of COVID-19 could reduce vaccine efficacy by half and that the BMA urges the government to halve the gap between Pfizer doses, how optimistic do you now feel about 2021? How many times have you said to someone else, ‘When this is all over…” as you dream of a brighter day? Gradually, it feels to me anyway, that rather than 2021 being better than last year, it could be even worse.
Why worse, you might ask? Well, at least we had hope last year. Bolstered by Boris Johnson’s endless optimism, it was safe to assume we would have wrestled the virus to the ground by now. That Johnson’s promises predictably turned to dust within weeks should have prepared us for the worst, but still we believed. Eventually, Johnson would say something that was actually true. But he never did.
When we booked a holiday for June 2021, having twice cancelled it in 2020, the “things will be much better by the summer” promise was real. But this was not the promise of the real. It was nothing more than a guess. The vaccines would have been widely distributed and soon we’d be back on that sun bed. Except that even in January, there are signs of the New Year unravelling.
The idea that the Glastonbury festival was ever going ahead with tens of thousands of unvaccinated people in attendance was frankly absurd. It would have been the biggest super-spreader event in the grim history of COVID-19. And if Glastonbury 2021 was never going to happen, then what price anything else could go ahead this year? Events like Wimbledon will go ahead, probably with vastly reduced crowds or no crowds at all, events abroad like the British Lions tour of South Africa or even the Olympics? I just can’t see it.
Johnson’s promise that restrictions will be reassessed in the middle of February is laughable in the extreme. Does anyone really expect anything to change? Given that virtually no children will have been vaccinated by the summer, there must surely be doubts as to whether schools will reopen until September. And even that is an optimistic scenario given the unknowns, such as further virus mutations.
It beggars belief that just before Christmas, Johnson was battling experts ‘to save Christmas’. That’s right: Johnson was actively ignoring scientific and medical advice in order to risk spreading the virus and killing people. Johnson is not an expert at anything, apart from lying. The shocking situation we are now in, with deaths and hospitalisations at catastrophic levels, is not down to the people: the blame lies squarely with Johnson.
It is Johnson’s government that calls people to stay at home but then tells them to go to work. I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration that Johnson has blood all over his hands. Tony Blair is still, wrongly in my opinion, vilified for removing a genocidal maniac from power in Iraq. What price Johnson’s incompetence and negligence as a virus killed over 100,000 people?
The battle to ‘save Christmas’ painted Johnson as some kind of hero, knowing how important it was for people to get together, eat too much, get shit-faced and buy each other things they don’t need or want. But in truth, Johnson is the villain of the piece. If things stay as they are, or get even worse, people will realise they’ve been taken in by an opportunistic narcissist, a liar, a shyster, a huckster and an imposter.
As someone said on twitter last week, every time someone refers to ‘Boris’, as if they know him, as if they regard him as ‘one of us’, part of me dies. A former US president called him Britain Trump. It doesn’t get any worse than that.