Andy Richardson: 'We’re not all in this together'
BoJo is done with Churchill.
Other than pepper his Dudley speech with references to statues, he’s moved on from Britain’s greatest Prime Minister. Now, he’s channelling his inner Roosevelt. President Franklin D Roosevelt led the USA through its New Deal programme following the Great Depression. Roosevelt spent his way out of trouble. Each year, he invested between five per cent and seven per cent on the recovery programme, taking US Government debt from 16 per cent in 1929 to 44 per cent by 1939.
Boris wants us to imagine he’s just like Franklin D. Except he isn’t. His build, build, build announcement was anything but a New Deal. As one journalist suggested, it was simply a Speeded Up Deal that honoured election pledges while giving Boris the opportunity to indulge his drive-a-digger fantasies. The money is unlikely to be spent in one year but, if it was, it would amount to less than a quarter of a percent – small potatoes against Roosevelt’s 7 per cent.
Talking of potatoes, millions of tons are going to waste due to restaurant closures through spring. Farmers have been caught in a Catch 22, tending crops for which there is no demand.
The unprecedented public health crisis has diverted attention away from an issue that had dominated UK politics for three years: Brexit. Yesterday was the deadline to extend the transition period. It came and went with little or no comment. While Leicester is in lockdown, stockpilers are again hoarding toilet paper and as The Daily Star is providing free masks of Dominic Cummings for those who want to avoid restrictions, we are heading out of Europe’s back door.
Redundancies are piling up. EasyJet, Intu, TM Lewin, Bensons for Beds, Harveys, Airbus , Byron Burger, New Look, Monsoon, Accessorize, Victoria’s Secret, Microsoft Retail and others are looking at job cuts while Redrow has scaled back construction and Shell is devaluing its oil and gas assets by £18 billion. Businesses in the UK are going broke. The creative industries, meanwhile, are being hung out to dry with no timetable for their return and no sector-specific support.
The US is in worse shape, heading for 100,000 new cases per day of a disease that Donald Trump said he’d wipe out in weeks. Their response? They’ve bought almost all the world’s upcoming supply of Covid-19 treatment drug remdesivir, so there’s none left. Sadly, we’re not all in this together.
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