Thursday 20 August 2020

Even I didn't expect Boris Johnson to be this useless as a Prime Minister

Back in December (a different decade and a different universe), we had an election. We elected Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and locally in Hendon Constituency, we elected Matthew Offord MP for the fourth time. I wrote an analysis the day after. It seems so 'last decade' now, but some of my predictions were correct. I predicted that we'd see another five years of an absentee MP, with little interest in his constituents. His website has no articles and the news section has nothing about the exam grades cock ups or the chaos that is the governments response to Covid19

With regards to Matthew Offord, he's been around since 2010 and we know exactly what to expect. He never fails to underachieve, but people have voted for him three times, so I guess it is pointless arguing with the democratic will of the people. If they want to pay a bloke to do that, then hey ho. But as for Boris, I didn't expect him to do things I'd like as a Prime Minister. His political priorities are very different to mine, but I did expect a degree of competence and delivery. What we have seen is chaos. The Daily Express reported that we haven't even agreed with the EU rights for Lorries to collect and deliver goods after #Brexit. The Daily Express reported on this in this mornings issue. We should be at the stage of dotting i's and crossing t's, but fundamentals to trade are still nowhere near agreement. I have no idea what priorities Boris has set for his team, but surely smooth trade, which is mutually beneficial, should have been the very first thing to get sorted out. We haven't heard too much on the subject of Brexit recently, but it hasn't gone away and the clock is ticking. I genuinely believed Boris had a negotiating strategy, but there has been no evidence of this at all.

As to the cock ups with education. What we are seeing is the problem when you surround yourself with a cabinet stacked with incompetent yes men who agree with every word you say and never challenge you. I cannot see any way that the Thatcher government would have made these mistakes. Thatcher new that Education policy was important as nothing upsets people more than things that affect their children. Kenneth Baker was responsible for many reforms, including the introduction of Inset days (known as Baker days originally). She'd have tough opponents such as Heseltine and Kenneth Clarke in the cabinet. She didn't agree with them, but she also knew they were heavyweights who would challenge poorly thought out decisions. The likes of Clarke, Baker and Heseltine would have spotted the issues with exam grades a mile off. As Thatcher was a former education secretary, I doubt she would have even needed prompting. 

These are difficult times and there is no question that Boris has had a greater challenge than anyone since Argentina invaded the Falklands or possibly the second world war. The sad truth is that he's cocked up at every term. We have the most deaths in Europe, we spent a fortune on a Track and Trace application, that has never worked. No one knows what the rules are at the moment regarding social distancing. No message is clear and no one believes a word the Government says. The governments chief advisor, Dominic Cummings has become the byword for dodgy behaviour and lame excuses. 

If I was Boris, I'd have a major shake up ASAP. I'd sack Cummings, and most of the cabinet (Rishi Sunak is the only one who looks vaguely competent). He needs a big gesture, as I believe he has one roll of the dice to reclaim credibility. If he gets some competent people around him and draws a line, he can claim that fatherhood and Covid caused the drift and now he is back in charge. But I simply don't think he has the cojones to do it. 

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