Last night after three hour long delays and it is claimed 2 days earlier than originally intended, as a result of information being released publicly by mistake or conflict, the Prime Minister spoke to us on TV. His words were not as clear or coherent as one might have hoped for and they came after a series of images some of which were very poor quality to try to explain why this national close down is required. However most of these images and the same arguments could have been made several weeks ago and indeed had Johnson chosen to speak to our nation even just a week ago, some of the damaging elements that will take place this week would not have been as dangerous. Clearly the call by Keir Starmer nearly 3 weeks ago for a nationwide lockdown, if adopted would have been even better although many of the members of Johnsons political party chose to stand up and criticise him at that time. However if the Conservative Party had listened to one of their own members, perhaps a different result could have occurred after Starmer’s call. The day after Keir Starmer had made his statement Patrick Cormack who is a member of the House of Lords said the following words which was responded to by Natalie Evans who is the Conservative Leader of the House of Lords so she has a great deal of influence in the party, unlike Patrick Cormack.
PC: My Lords, I have lost count of the number of taxi drivers who have told me that the 10 pm curfew produces too many people on the streets at the same time. Could that be looked at? Will my noble friend also bear in mind that political acrimony does not help to create national unity? Would it not be a good idea if Sir Keir Starmer were invited to No. 10 to sit down with the Prime Minister and discuss all these complex matters?
NE: I agree that we all want to work together to fight this terrible disease. Your Lordships’ House provides a very good model for how constructive discussions can happen. On my noble friend’s point about the 10 pm curfew, public health directors have reported that compliance with social distancing and enforcement of regulations becomes more challenging later in the evening, after people have been drinking. That is part of the reasoning behind the 10 pm curfew, so that drinking does not continue through the evening.
Had Natalie Evans gone to Johnson and demanded that he met with Starmer, and had Johnson paid attention to Starmer’s call and if they worked out a more sensible way forward, some of this weeks conflict could have been avoided or reduced. One of these issues is that the close down is due to take place on 5th November which is the same day that a lot of external events are due to take place involving many people. Clearly a decision last night to cancel those events would have been very challenging because when I was in the shops over the last few days, the purchase of fireworks was very evident and indeed last night in Brighton, there were several firework displays taking place. However if this announcement had taken place a week ago, that would have been a bit less traumatic for many people. Another difficult impact is that last night was the end of Furlough and based on some of the comments in the news and on social media, sadly for some people the end of their working relationship. Had the Furlough been extended from last Thursday, fewer jobs may have been ended. Indeed the Furlough issue seems to be far more significant than the Bonfire night event if one looks at this from a purely political point of view. However sadly the call by Patrick Cormack and apparent response by Natalie has gone nowhere and we are once again facing acrimony rather than an agreed approach between the two main party leaders and they are now calling on the population to celebrate the beginning of their months closedown at a Firework event!