A BBC presenter has given a sobering assessment of the nation’s mood ahead of Christmas and a looming Brexit deadline in a minute-long clip.
Ros Atkins captured the national sentiment in a cerebral monologue broadcasted on BBC World service.
Soaking up news of the Dover port blockade, the uncontrolled spread of a new strain of Covid-19, and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on what was the winter solstice, Atkins reflected: “It’s the shortest day of the year here in the UK and a dank, dark day has matched a profoundly uncertain time.
“A new variant of Covid-19 is out of control. Because of this, nearly 40 countries have banned incoming flights from the UK. In addition, France has shut its border, hundreds of lorries are stuck, and there are warnings some fresh food supplies may be impacted within days.
“Meanwhile, cases continue to surge, families are rearranging Christmas after the government suddenly changed the rules, and then there’s Brexit.
“There’s still no trade deal and if that’s the case at the end of the year then we’ll have a no-deal Brexit.
“Boris Johnson said the UK will prosper mightily in that situation, the UK’s spending watchdog predicts it will deliver a huge economic blow.”
The Outside Source host went on to say: “Better news came on the vaccine. Half a million people have now received their first vaccine jabs, but the benefits of that scientific marvel will come next year. For now, this is a Christmas week wrapped in worry and uncertainty.”
Atkins’ monologue comes as the UK battles potential food shortages over Christmas and over a quarter of its population faces the festive period without their loved ones as they are placed in Tier 4 restrictions.
Meanwhile, the prospect of Britain crashing out of the single market and customs unions looms large as Brexit negotiators remain at loggerheads over fishing rights and the so-called level playing field provisions.
Atkins’ speech struck a chord with many on social media.
LBC radio presenter James O’Brien commented: “Unspun reality summed up in under sixty seconds.”
@IrishGooner surmised: “Like the opening monologue of an apocalypse movie…”
— IrishGooner (@IrishGooner) December 22, 2020
Nick Jack called in “bleak,” while Jan Bird said: “This is superb from @BBCRosAtkins. Concise, honest, unspun. I just wish he didn’t have to say it.”
Ed McGrath sombrely reflected: “The shortest day of the year. But maybe the longest day for many. I am 49 next week and can just about remember the late 1970s. This crisis is far worse than anything else I remember.”
The shortest day of the year. But maybe the longest day for many.
I am 49 next week and can just about remember the late 1970s. This crisis is far worse than anything else I remember.
— Ed McGrath (@Edster1172) December 22, 2020