National Left - Wales needs a progressive left future.
Thursday, 23 July 2020
The English Prime Minister starts to rewrite his coranavirus response.
Whether he actually believes it (who knows what he beleives) Boris Johnson claim that ahead of Thursday's visit to Scotland. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has shown the "sheer might" of the UK union, Boris Johnson has said ahead of Thursday's visit to Scotland points to a concerted effort to rewrite the history of the UK legislatures and their response to the criis.s
The trip, a year on since he became PM, will see Mr Johnson meet members of the armed forces and their families.
He said troops had done "vital work" to support the NHS during the pandemic and praised Treasury job retention schemes.
But the SNP said the visit showed Mr Johnson was "in a panic" about rising support for Scottish independence.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had no plans to meet Mr Johnson, but that she would continue work with his government on the "immediate priority" of tackling coronavirus.
You dont have to be a supporter of the SNP pr Nicola Sturgeon to think she has handled the situation better than Johnson has in England , for god sake even the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has proved more worthy, than the "English" (in this case ), whose inital response was to rely on 2Herd Immunity" to se us out sacrificing thousands of people.
Coronavirus has exposed serious shortcomings in the current devolution settlement in the UK, according to a new report.
An interim report by the Scottish Affairs Committee has expressed concerns around communication and transparency as well as wider issues over the long-term working pattern between the UK Government and devolved administrations.
The report, which focuses on intergovernmental working during the pandemic, also draws attention to how there was “unprecedented coordination” between the UK nations through the four-nations approach. It says there was a collaborative approach in the early stages of the crisis, citing the UK-wide Joint Action Plan, the Coronavirus Act, and UK-wide procurement of PPE as high watermarks.
However the committee has heard how mixed messaging and policy divergence happened "almost by accident" after key intergovernmental forums coordinating the Covid response ended as lockdown measures were eased, beginning with Boris Johnson’s address on May 10. The speech, announcing an easing of measures and a change of message from “Stay at Home” to “Stay Alert”, was broadcast UK-wide without stating the changes that only applied to England.
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford was an early and vocal proponent of the collaborative four-nation approach but is understood to have had no direct contact with Boris Johnson since May 28.
The committee has said that it is “concerned” by the recent disuse of the bodies that had made the four-nations approach effective, namely Cobra meetings featuring devolved ministers and ministerial implementation groups. It has recommended that the Government outline how the priorities of the devolved nations will be incorporated into the proposed new coronavirus response bodies.
The report also describes structures not keeping up with the pace of devolution and changes in ministerial communications. The Joint Ministerial Committee, unused throughout the pandemic, was “not fit for purpose” for the crisis, the report says. This calls into question how the devolved nations’ priorities will be represented and over the resilience and suitability of these structures the event of a second wave of Covid-19, the report said.
Though Mr Drakeford has diverged from England in lifting the lockdown Wales is limited in how much it can separate itself from Westminster because of its dependency on the furlough scheme. No part of the UK has a higher proportion of workers on furlough than Wales, in part because of the large reliance on manufacturing roles.
The Welsh Government has already indicated that it does not have the “financial firepower” to maintain the scheme alone and will therefore need to be fairly well aligned to England when the scheme is withdrawn by chancellor Rishi Sunak at the end of October.
Yet Boris Johnson will argue with a straight face that he and his government should take the credit and the UK media , wil back him.
Already Boris health secretary Hancock has been accused of a "ludicrous rewriting of history" after he attempted to claim it was "wrong" to say England’s lockdown was imposed on a specific date.
Addressing the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Hancock said the government had "strengthened" restrictions from mid-March, but the idea that lockdown "was a date" was incorrect.
Last week this row kicked off in the House of Commons when Labour MP Zarah Sultana quizzed Hancock on the timeline of lockdown. Hancock said it had begun on 16 March, when in fact it wasn’t until 23 March that Boris Johnson officially told British people to stay home in all circumstances (key workers aside, of course).
It’s true that a winding down of contact was happening before 23 March, but enforcement measures and official instructions were only brought in after the prime minister made his televised address.
Responding to Hancock’s 16 March remarks last week, Sultana said:
I think it is very important that we address the issue of dates because what I fear is that you are taking part in historic revisionism and it is really important we have that sense of accountability.
But now Hancock has scrapped the 16 March claim and decided that, actually, lockdown didn’t happen on a specific date at all.
The idea that lockdown as a date is wrong because what matters epidemiologically is the behaviour of people...
You saw that people were going about their business less and less.
And it’s fair to say not everyone is convinced by his latest pivot.
Labour's Jonathan Ashworth said it was a "ludicrous rewriting of history”.
On social media, people aren’t exactly buying it, either...
Expect more from Unionists including probes into how the Scottish Government handled the crisis which have a remit to report back with a negative outcome whilst , the difference of the much higher rate per capita of infections and deaths in England will be ignored.
It will be spread by a Unionist media in which facts and the truth are abandoned and we will see an attempt to claim Johnson as the hero of the hour.