A last minute farce.

As always during this we see a textbook case of Too Little, Too Late from the government.

Finally finally finally we head towards a *semi* coherent rulebook for COVID restrictions in England. As has been referenced by a variety of commentators throughout the day, these new measures and systems are the compromise result of various warring Tory factions as Johnson’s coalition of free marketeer Euroscepticism, blue collar Tories, and one nation liberals begins to fray.

The positive from this is while it’s still far too complicated to effectively communicate; this package of regulations should slowly embed itself into people, provided it isn’t changed again. We need people to understand the rules; most polling shows since it all went to pot before summer they haven’t. People still overwhelmingly support the measures, but they don’t fully understand the rules because they’ve kept fluctuating and changing in a highly destructive manner. The government has over the last few months demonstrated a masterclass of how to loose support and sew discord, not what you’d imagine they intended, but at this point it wouldn’t surprise me.

As with all things the government has done, this is an example of too little, too late. The problem with such an approach is while preaching caution and worrying about the economy, the inevitable U-turn occurs when you have the “oh bollocks” moment of looking at the projected deaths, before going into a far longer and far worse shutdown than if you’d taken stronger measures sooner. I’m advocating a three week circuit breaker lockdown, and as the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs’ secretary Richard Burgon suggested today: a zero-COVID national strategy. Let’s actually reap the benefits of being an island nation and completely containing COVID; a luxury not many nations are afforded.

Alas, this government, whatever it professes, hasn’t got the ingenuity or talent to do such a thing. For all the talk of moving fast and breaking things, this lot’s idea of radicalism is bullying civil servants. We can only hope, for all our sakes, that the government gets a grip here.

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.