So much for Churchill Reincarnate. If this was 1940, Boris would be cowering in his bunker beneath Horse Guards Parade and waving the white flag.
As the bombs rained down, he’d order the population to stay indoors, huddled under the stairs or in flimsy, back-garden, corrugated iron Anderson shelters, and stand down The Few to ‘Protect the RAF’.
Eighty years ago, shortly before the invading German Army closed in, the French declared Paris an open city to save it from bombardment.
Today, London, too, is an open city. The buildings are still standing but the people are long gone.
Coronavirus has seen the whites of the Prime Minister’s eyes and he’s blinked. Rather than muster the resistance, he’s thrown his hands in the air
This time, the existential threat is not from the Nazi war machine, it’s from an economic blitzkreig.
Coronavirus has seen the whites of the Prime Minister’s eyes and he’s blinked. Rather than muster the resistance, he’s thrown his hands in the air.
Saturday’s shambolic announcement of another England-wide lockdown was an act of abject surrender.
Once-ebullient, swashbuckling Boris Johnson has turned into the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz.
We were promised the Yellow Brick Road, we’ve got the Road To Hell. At a time when the country is crying out for leadership, Boris has bottled it.
Instead of trail-blazing a path out of our Covid coma, he has given in yet again to the dubious ‘science’ and plunged the nation back into suspended animation.
Watching Saturday’s press conference from Downing Street, no one can have been left in any doubt as to who is really running the country.
Flanked by the Two Ronnies of Doom, Boris looked like a lost schoolboy, scared of his own shadow, and taking his cue from his minders stage left and stage right.
So much for Churchill Reincarnate. If this was 1940, Boris would be cowering in his bunker beneath Horse Guards Parade and waving the white flag
Stockholm Syndrome is the psychological term used to describe hostages who become reliant upon, and identify with, their captors.
Boris has gone the full Patty Hearst, the American heiress kidnapped by a group of Left-wing lunatics called the Symbionese Liberation Army in California in 1974.
She eventually became so brainwashed that she was caught on video wielding an M1 carbine during a bank robbery staged by the group in San Francisco.
That’s where Boris is now.
He may not have been filmed running out of Coutts in the Strand with a sawn-off in one hand and a bag of used tenners in the other.
But he’s cost the country infinitely more than any bank robber. Call it £350 billion for cash, and counting.
Ultimately that’s because of his cadaverous captors, Vallance and Whitty, who would cheerfully keep the economy in cryogenic limbo indefinitely.
Boris is utterly in thrall to his medico/scientific advisers. It is they who dictate policy, not him.
Even before Friday’s ‘quad’ meeting of the four ministers in charge of the Covid response, Vallance was briefing reporters that another lockdown was inevitable.
This was entirely consistent with the constant drumbeat from Sage — the Government’s virus advisory board — and the Department of Health that WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Unless we shut down the economy — for ever, if necessary.
It’s a point of view. But, sadly, it’s the only point of view which carries any sway in No 10.
Expert opinion to the contrary is contemptuously disregarded, despite the fact that 40,000 scientists and clinicians from all over the world — including Nobel Prize winners and Oxford, Harvard and Stanford professors — argue there is a better way.
The British Government continues to insist that There Is No Alternative — the last refuge of a scoundrel, to borrow Samuel Johnson’s dictum on patriotism.
Sorry, but there’s always an alternative to doing something. It’s called not doing it.
That, we are led to believe, was Boris’s preferred option. He wanted to persevere with a more nuanced response, region by region.
Today, London, too, is an open city. The buildings are still standing but the people are long gone (pictured)
Why, for instance, should businesses in Cornwall, where the incidence of Covid is low, be shut down to tackle an outbreak in Newcastle?
This column doesn’t usually take much notice of the navel-gazing beloved of the Boys In The Bubble.
But word from Westminster has it that the Prime Minister was bounced into prematurely announcing the national lockdown by a well-timed leak. Why?
He had originally planned to take the weekend to consider all the evidence and then make an announcement yesterday.
So why did he allow himself to be derailed by a leak to the papers? A proper leader would have stuck to his guns, dismissed the leak as speculation and continued on his chosen course.
But Boris has been so competely hollowed out by this crisis — not least after his own near-death experience — that his self-confidence has been shot to pieces.
Rather than follow his instincts, he went into full headless chicken mode, frightened by the latest projections of death and disaster.
But that’s all they were — projections. The Multi Coloured Swap Shop graphs wheeled out by Vallance and Whitty on Saturday were designed to bamboozle.
They were nothing but guesswork. And, by some accounts yesterday, not only were they highly selective and exaggerated, they were also weeks out of date.
Saturday’s shambolic announcement of another England-wide lockdown was an act of abject surrender (pictured, empty shelves)
Yet the word of the ‘science’ is taken as gospel, even though it has been spectacularly wrong up to now.
The BBC is still wheeling out Professor Neil Ferguson as their go-to Covid expert.
You may remember he’s the clown who predicted 500,000 deaths as a basis for negotiation and recommended total lockdown — before being rumbled smuggling his married mistress across London for a bit of illicit rumpy-pumpy.
While Boris’s sidekick Dominic Cummings is rightly pilloried for breaking lockdown to ‘test his eyesight’ on a day-trip to Barnard Castle, Ferguson has been fully rehabilitated.
Go figure, as our American cousins would say.
That aside, where is the empirical evidence that WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!? It is conspicuous by its absence.
We’re not allowed to know. We’re too stupid to be trusted. We’re just supposed to take their word for it.
It seems the whole of Whitehall is in the grip of Covid monomania. The body politic is infected from head to toe by a kind of collective madness.
There’s no doubt the Government has been spooked by the prospect of the NHS being overrun this winter.
And, as I’ve been telling you for months, policy is driven by backside-covering ministers keeping one eye on the inevitable public inquiry.
But that’s no excuse for letting thousands of non-Covid patients die prematurely of everything from cancer to heart disease.
Why are Covid patients more worthy of treatment than, say, someone suffering from leukaemia or kidney failure?
It only goes to show that, despite the heroic efforts of frontline staff, Our Amazing NHS isn’t fit for purpose.
Nor is it any justification for destroying thousands of businesses and millions of jobs.
I simply don’t believe the polls which say 72 per cent of people welcome the new lockdown —unless they’re public sector workers or members of Sage guaranteed their full salaries.
Don’t expect the rules to be obeyed as they were first time round, either.
Frankly, if I was 21 again, I’d be heading for the nearest illegal rave, too.
We can no longer trust or believe a single word coming from Government. So why should we take any notice of their totalitarian instructions?
Covid ‘cases’ are on the increase despite all the precautions we have been forced to observe since March.
As a letter in one of the newspapers observed yesterday: ‘Those masks did a lot of good, didn’t they?’ Precisely.
It defies belief that a Conservative Government is trashing what remains of the economy in an attempt to eradicate a virus that 99.5 per cent of those who catch it will survive.
Look, it gives me no pleasure writing this. I’ve supported Boris as London Mayor, over Brexit and backed him to become Tory leader and PM — even if I’ve never bought the Heir To Winston schtick.
But he’s lost it, big time.
At this rate, his legacy won’t be Brexit, or winning an 80-seat majority.
It will be destroying one of the world’s strongest economies through panicky, ill-conceived policies from which it will take a generation or more to recover.
What worries me most of all is that, despite what he says, this isn’t the beginning of the end.
It may not even be the end of the beginning . . .