For the past three months there has been a marked reluctance from politicians to criticise each other. We have recognised that those in control at both national and local levels are facing huge and unprecedented problems. They have been making it up as they go along and I don’t say that as a criticism. Has Joe Anderson got some things wrong? Probably and we would probably have made the same mistakes if we had been in control of the Council.
As a Council we must have a thorough review of our activities post coronavirus not so we can play the blame game but so that we can ensure that the learning of what worked and what did not work is captured within our ongoing public health and emergency planning procedures. Liverpool’s Lib Dem team has no intention of going on a party political attack. We have the opportunity to influence events and some of our suggestions have been taken on board. In light of the huge financial, economic and societal problems that our City will face we are determined to work together with Labour for the coming months.
Things look very difficult at a national level. This is perhaps exemplified by the Cummings case. In old fashioned parlance Dominic Cummings was caught ‘bang to rights’. The fact that our buffoon Prime Minister supports him as do the sycophantic sheep in the Cabinet shows that they have a very clear view of society. There is one rule for the likes of ‘us’, the Masters of Society and one rule for ‘them’, the plebs who just pay taxes and have to lump it.
The fact that the Government’s quasi Prime Minister was able to act in breach of both the Coronavirus law and guidelines shows societal norms have broken down. Worse than that in the short term it will cause deaths. Some of our citizens are sufficiently tired of lock down to see the Cummings case as a reason for ignoring the lock down themselves. “If Cummings can do it why not me?” they are asking. Most people will continue to do what is right for their family and neighbours by staying in but an increasing minority will not.
Meanwhile the Government is ignoring its own guidelines by recalling Parliament next week. I know the palace of Westminster well. Tight and winding corridors with no hope of a one way system or proper social distancing will mean that the coronavirus will spread to Peers, MPs and staff. The more elderly and those with underlying health problems will lose their vote and Parliament will lack proper balance as, for example, the Scottish MPs will have real problems in getting to and staying in London. There is only one reason for the return. Johnson now lacks the courage to face a serious set of questions without the braying donkeys that make up the majority of the Tory Party in the Commons.
There are still many things that the Government is getting right. There would be few who would have a go at the Chancellor for the steps he has taken to keep our economy as strong as possible. Increasingly, though they are taking acts based not on the needs of 100% of us but the prejudices of a minority of us. Two examples will suffice:
The farce over immigration and the NHS levy for immigrants. On the latter of these the Government changed its mind three times in 24 hours and eventually gave an exemption for care and health service workers not to have to pay extra, above their tax and NI, for risking their lives to save ours. However, although the pandemic has shown that we still need immigrants to work at all levels in these services there will still be huge restrictions on so-called unskilled workers. Workers that we need to keep our society functioning.
Europe is becoming a tragic farce. Remember being told in January that there would be no border between Britain and Ireland. Well, as we said at the time, there will be. Some goods will be inspected and there will be an effective customs border between Britain and the island of Ireland. Remember being told that there would be minimal ‘friction’ on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU? Well the latest Government estimate is that 50,000 people will be required to deal with all the forms and declarations that will be needed to allow goods to flow. This costs money but there will be more costs than this.
It will take more time when we have a hard border with the EU as we will be in the same position as any other external Country. Hard borders take time to get through and need facilities put in place to enable this to happen. But the facilities have not been put in place, the people have not been recruited. In fact, in the absence of an agreement there is a total lack of clarity about what is required. Our businesses and indeed Government have been spending all their efforts on trying to survive.
The Tories are now quite relaxed about all this. They have a scapegoat! As things go wrong it won’t be their failure on Europe that will be the problem it will be the fault of the Coronavirus. At a time when we all need friends more than ever before the loathsome Tories are putting barriers between us and our friends in Europe. Their best hope is a trade deal with mad dog Trump but that will be a deal which can only work in the Americans favour. Perhaps as the sick country of the Western World they won’t be in such a strong place as they were to negotiate with anyone.
So my view is very simple. It should now be gloves off with the Tories at a national level whilst we should be prepared to work with people of good faith (and there are good Tories in local government) at a local level.