Time for a New Prime Minister

1. Brexit would have been challenge enough but with the pandemic at the same time the government has had to deal with the most severe threats to the UK’s health and economy.
2. We do not need a complicated algorithm to grade the government’s performance too date.

It has failed most of its tests.

During the first wave, the slowness to lock down cost lives and lengthened the period of confinement, causing even worse economic damage.
3. The UK has the fifth largest global death toll and its economy is projected by the OECD to contract by 10.1% this year, greater than the Eurozone as a whole, the US and Japan.
4. After this disastrous track record, any government worth its salt would have strained every sinew and brooked no other priority than preparing for the inevitable second wave.

Failure should not have been an option.
5. And yet.
6. Now, as the second wave grows, the much vaunted ‘world beating’ test and trace system has all but collapsed and the government’s messaging has turned full circle from getting back to normal to confusion and near panic.
7. The Brexit situation is no better.

The Prime Minister hosannaed his deal with the EU to anyone who would listen. The Conservative Party fought and won an election on the basis of his ‘oven ready’ deal.
8. Before the onset of the pandemic, the Prime Minister had one job - get Brexit done on the basis of that oven ready deal.
9. And yet.
10. Now, in an embarrassment to duplicity, the Prime Minister is attempting though the Internal Markets Bill to disapply key aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol, an illegal act which has jeopardised the trade deal with the EU and alienated close allies.
11. Can anyone remember the state aid reach-back in the Protocol being cited by the government as a key problem?

Can anyone remember the Prime Minister announcing before the election that the ‘oven ready’ deal would need to be renegotiated?
12. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion the voting public was hoodwinked.
13. Worse, the pandemic and Brexit denouement are happening at the same time and the combined problem is not additive but multiplicative.
14. For some Brexit supporters, there has been a tendency to separate the two challenges - the PM is doing a terrible job at the pandemic but a good job at Brexit.
15. And yet.
16. There is a clear relationship between them: gross incompetence is the burning bridge that links both ongoing disasters.
17. Does anyone think a government that cannot successfully engineer a contact tracing app can quickly redesign the UK’s customs borders with the EU?

No one can seriously believe that either the government or the country will be ready for the end of the Brexit transition period.
18. Not extending the transition period, despite the pandemic, will be seen as one of the most disastrous public policy decisions in recent history.
19. And as for those in government and elsewhere who might think the pandemic is beneficial to a No Deal Brexit, even holding this view is evidence of incompetence.
20. None of this is Boris Johnson’s fault alone.

His advisors and ministers must take their share of the blame.
21. But he is the Prime Minister, the leader of the country.

Every decision good or bad is his responsibility.
22. The country faces the most difficult of times and deserves the very best of Prime Ministers.

Mr Johnson has proved unable to rise to the challenge.

He must go.

/ends

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