The advent of the New Year is a time when many of us take stock of the previous year and make resolutions for a better new one.
Sadly, Government ministers don’t appear to have taken time over the festive break to follow this useful tradition.
We are now faced with a much more dangerous version of the virus than in March, but it seems the Government has learned nothing and is making the same mistakes it repeatedly made throughout 2020.
Throughout this crisis, Boris Johnson has over-promised and under-delivered. He has ignored scientific advice. When he needs to take urgent action, he dithers and delays.
Every time the Government has introduced new measures it has been days or weeks after they were first advised to do so, by which time the situation has been allowed to get much worse.
At no point has the Government been able to get ahead of the crisis.
Boris Johnson – desperate to announce some good news and unwilling to deliver unwelcome messages – clung to his five-day Christmas rule relaxation long after it was obvious it would be a disaster.
Before Christmas, the Government threatened legal action against London councils who wanted to shut schools to stop the spread. A fortnight later – and only three days before schools were due back – Gavin Williamson announced that all London primary schools will stay closed.
There is every likelihood that schools across the rest of the country will end up having to be shut too but again, Boris Johnson will only act after seeing the situation spiral out of control rather than taking the necessary action to stop it from happening in the first place.
The Government seems to be gambling that the vaccine rollout will slow the spread sufficiently to avoid a further national lockdown but the current rapid spread of the new variant, emerging vaccine supply issues and the normal winter pressures on an NHS depleted by 10 years of austerity make this a pretty reckless assumption.
If Boris Johnson’s gamble fails, we will see many more deaths and much more economic damage in 2021 than if he had taken the necessary tough measures he was urged to take before Christmas.