British readers of a certain age will get the reference right away. At a certain point during their show, Ernie Wise would turn to Eric Morecambe with a hopeful boyish grin and say ‘What do you think of it so far?’ to which Eric would always reply ‘Rubbish!’ So – what do you think of it so far? It’s pretty rubbish, isn’t it? We have the worst death rate in Europe, a chaotic response to the crisis and a government advisor who breaks his own rules and refuses to apologise and a Prime Minister who by backing him, jeopardises not only his own position but the standing of his government. Rubbish barely covers it. As Marina Hyde points out in the article I quoted yesterday, Boris Johnson wanted to be Prime Minister. He wants to have been Prime Minister. It’s just the bit in between that he struggles with. What a clown.
So let us consider the opposition’s response. I’m reserving judgment on Keir Starmer; I don’t see him as another Blair, as many on the left have suggested, though he’s certainly not another Corbyn. He seems cautious in his approach, which may be because that’s his nature or may be because he’s wary of taking too many risks at this stage. It’s the predicament of every Labour leader; with most of the press automatically against you, do you pursue a radical agenda or do you play it safe? Either way you can’t win. But since I was highly critical of those who never gave Corbyn a chance, I feel duty bound to give Starmer a chance – at any rate his current policy of standing back and letting the government destroy itself seems a sensible one.
Speaking of duty, I see Johnson has had the temerity to call on the public’s sense of duty in co-operating with the ‘trace, track and test’ programme; and many of today’s headlines rightly call upon him and Cummings to lead by example. Johnson seems to be getting daily further out of touch with public opinion. Well, this is what you get for electing a narcissist.