Rather than a reset can’t we just rewind by four years back to June 2016?
With the departures of Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain there has been much discussion of this being an opportunity for the PM to ‘reset’. Personally I would prefer a ‘rewind’, specifically to that point in June 2016, before we broke the country, when Michael Gove told us that “The people of this country have had enough of experts”. I’m not quite sure what the antonym of expert is – is it amateur, inept, or incompetent?
Over the last four and a half years we have seen what government by a clique of journalists and ‘Vote Leave’ campaigners has brought the country to – there has been much destruction, but very little construction – and now those responsible are all jumping ship.
The good news of 2020, that a vaccine might get us out of the Covid crisis in 2021, is a result of experts working together to achieve something remarkable – how different to the recent behaviour in No.10, with the dogma, slogans, unattributed briefings, lies and the failure to take responsibility for anything. Government by ‘special’ adviser has shown itself to be an abject failure.
If we can’t ‘rewind’ then perhaps the PM should ‘repair’. He should stop the infighting and re-engage with the experts, listening and following their advice. We have far too many challenges ahead of us with Covid, Brexit, the economy, international relations and climate change. If ever there was a need for experts it is now. If only there were a ‘Repair Shop’ for broken countries.
Selly Oak, Birmingham
I had to take a deep breath when I heard a Tory grandee describe the departure of Cummings as an opportunity for Johnson to re-establish an atmosphere of “respect, integrity and trust” at the heart of his government.
It’s difficult to identify any time during Johnson’s career as a journalist or politician where those three words could in any way be deemed appropriate. It is precisely the lack of those three attributes on his and his disciples part, and the lack of respect amongst others – most voters, an increasing number of domestic politicians, leading EU and other governments and their officials and now the president-elect of the USA – in his integrity and trustworthiness, that means we face a double whammy of negative impacts from the mishandling of coronavirus and Brexit.
As John Major rightly points out in last week’s TNE (“The State We’re In”), we have become a tier 2 nation on the world stage. The infamous clauses in the Internal Market Bill have had a devastating impact on our international reputation and credibility. The four nations of the UK are pulling apart as never before. The economic and wider social and political impact of Brexit, however hard Johnson and co. try to blame the former on the virus, will be with us for decades.
Johnson has as much chance of healing our social and economic wounds and divisions as UK citizens have of benefitting from the removal of freedom of movement.
My first thought upon hearing that Dominic Cummings was leaving Number 10 was ‘about bl**dy time’. However, and perhaps this is the cynic in me, the departure of Cummings and Lee Cain brought about another thought.
Could it be that, after sailing the SS United Kingdom onto the rocks of Brexit, (especially as the prospect of a ‘lifeboat’ in the shape of a halfway decent deal still seems far off over the horizon), it is more like rats deserting a sinking ship before anyone really gets a chance to point the finger of blame in their direction?
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