Andy Richardson: 'Competence isn’t the Government’s strong suit'
Grant Shapps is in charge of transport – The Secretary of State, therefore, has a hotline when it comes to stuff like, erm, aeroplanes.
Shapps is not a political heavyweight. He’s been called a politician out of his depth in a puddle and famously used made-up names to sell get-rich-quick schemes on the internet. Recently, he gave a press interview telling people face coverings in masks would become mandatory on July 25 – a day after regulations came into force. Phew. Good to know he’s on top of the detail.
In April, he told a different interviewer he had no plans to book himself an overseas holiday this year. Competence isn’t necessarily the Government’s strong suit, however, and Shapps flew to Spain on Saturday morning. Hours later, his own Department announced a rule-change on overseas travel, introducing a new 14-day self-isolation stipulation for those returning from, erm, Spain. No satire is required. This is a story that writes itself – it’s a new contender for the ‘you couldn’t write this stuff’ stakes.
It’s entirely possible that during the course of Mr Shapps’ holiday, the Government will open a new air bridge to Barnard Castle and those arriving will not have to quarantine.
He may use one of his old pseudonyms – Michael Green and Sebastian Fox – and return as a different person, thereby getting round the pesky ruling.
Or Britain’s newspaper editors may send reporters to stake out Jeremy Corbyn’s house to make sure Grant Shapps observes the quarantine.
The more serious question, of course, is this: Why on earth is a minister taking a two-week sun break when the nation is facing its biggest economic crash in 300 years, when transport is at the heart of our return to work and when workers up and down the country have sacrificed holidays in order to retain their jobs and keep companies afloat?
Presumably, the Government’s much-vaunted Green Transport Revolution can wait until autumn.
Meanwhile, BoJo may give up bangers, mash and mustard, his favourite dinner, following a breakfast of birthday cake and a mid-morning snack of a few chocolate croissants. This stuff, remarkably, is true and not made up.
His favourite wine, which is red, white and sparkling, may also be on hold as the Government tackles obesity.
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