2021 is about competence. So was 2020 actually but it’s woeful absence in Government last year intensifies the need for it this. Frankly party politics, who is up or down in the Conservative Party for example, are irrelevant in the circumstances in which we find ourselves now.
Paul Goodman in The Times today gives us a useful summary of the COVID management failures. If we were in The Netherlands the Government would have resigned en masse, and been right to do so. What a shameful catalogue of ineptitude and failure it all is.
The “vaccine success” Mr Goodman lauds is fragile as supplies look to be under pressure. Then there is the astonishing decision to ignore the manufacturers’ advice regarding the timing of second vaccinations. At the very best this gamble, unique in the world, will indeed give us genuine benefits and save lives. At worst it could prove to be a cataclysmic error undoing much of the progress made by our being swift to start vaccinating.
Politics is often seen as a bit of an adult game with repartee in PMQs and photo opportunities being the tools of the trade. But for the past year it has been about much more than this. The past geniality of Boris Johnson may have helped him to achieve the high office he craved. But his manifest inability to manage complexity has shown him to be an utterly inadequate Prime Minister. Conservatives won’t like it but the parallels with Donald Trump are striking.
And then there is Brexit and here, as with COVID, we are in the Ideology versus Competence arena. The “Covid Recovery Group” is the “European Research Group” in a new guise. The same tired bleating about freedom and libertarianism. The same emphasis on flag-waving image over substance. The same addiction to English exceptionalism and the same certainty that “British is best “ 🇬🇧
We can already see Brexit is causing chaos both practical in the short term, at the ports and airports, and operational for the future with a deficit of forward planning. We had four years to prepare for leaving the EU but there are huge gaps in proper arrangements for the event. We only needed to blow the bloody doors off, instead we appear to be putting the whole edifice of our economy at risk.
The future may not be Orange any more but it’s not Rosy either. I normally eschew World War comparisons but one is apposite now. What Churchill offered in 1940 (apart from blood, sweat and tears ) was confident leadership. That was charismatic and needed to be. We need leadership now but of a different style. Biden not Trump. Competent and decent and truthful not utterly confused, corrupt and mendacious. Our cousins across the water needed to rid themselves of Trump before they could start again. We need to do the same here to his bumbling stablemate. Then cleaning the stables can begin. Do we have a Hercules ?