Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just another victim of the Pandemic – a busted flush with his bolt now well and truly shot?

SEE ALSO ASSOCIATED POST: The Elephant In The Room and with Boris Johnson’s Government in ‘real trouble’ following a number of “massive errors” of judgement during the coronavirus pandemic plus the ‘stench of sleaze’

You don’t have to be a poker player to see that no one could better could match the dictionary definition of ‘a busted flush’ than British politician, author, and former journalist Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of Leader of the Conservative Party since 2019, do you? No, as a card game ‘busted flush’ is something or someone that began successfully but later fails, so is anything which ends up WORTHLESS despite great POTENTIAL, and that’s exactly just where Johnson has ended up, eh?

You see, just 6 months into the role of running the Country as Prime Minister, he got floored and found wanting by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Whereas, the public had rightly and understandably had expected Boris by his previous utterings, to lead the Country into the coronavirus WAR with the same vigour and panache as his own hero Winston Churchill had delivered during WW2, whereas instead he succumbed to the powerful appeasers within government and in the end had orchestrated an unconditional surrender to the virus, hadn’t he?

His problem has always been is that he is an excellent orator rather than a dogged doer and his past success as mayor of London rested solely on his great ability to appoint good doers and ditch the poor ones, but he has singularly failed to do that in government.

In direct relation to the virus, he has for example relied on inexperienced wet-behind-the-ears, Matt (hopeless) Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Careand that significantly has led to the unacceptable death UK toll

Also, despite the fact that he had originally appointed an ex-banker ‘doer’ from a British Pakistani family, Chancellor Sajid Javid who became the first Chancellor in 50 years to not have delivered any budget as he was subsequently lost by resignation due of a rift with Johnson over special advisors, although that itself was preceded by Johnson’s apparent plan to reduce the power and political influence of the Treasury. [Moreover, Johnson had offered Javid to keep his position on the condition that he fire all of his SPADS (special advisers) at the Treasury, to be replaced with individuals selected by 10 Downing Street (upon resigning, Javid told the Press Association that “no self-respecting minister would accept those terms)]. The PM then appointed instead an ex-investment bank analyst of a Punjabi Indian-East African family Rishi Sunak, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who was considered to be a Johnson loyalist, and seen as the “rising star” minister who had ably represented the Prime Minister during the 2019 election debates – but some of us believe that Sunak has shown a sad lack of worldly experience in dealing with complex company financial issues resulting from the pandemic, like an inflexible and unsustainable over-egged furlough plan, eh?

Well, in dealing with and managing this pandemic there were a number of metrics to be considered by Boris. In no particular order they were and still are:-

  • Minimizing cases and deaths
  • Shielding the economy
  • Defending businesses
  • Protecting jobs

These are all interlinked so priority given to one would have an effect, probably negative, on some if not all others.

So just how well does Boris Johnson’s performance stack-up on those metrics and which ones got the priority at the expense of which others, would you say?

Well, the Johnson SCORE CARD looks to be DISASTROUS, doesn’t it? Yep, to date he has FAILED to deliver on every single element involved

•        Minimizing cases and deaths:

THE UK IS 4TH WORST IN THE WORLD FOR NUMBER OF CASES AND DEFINITELY DEATHS, much worse even than CHINA, and BRITAIN currently has the worst death rate in EUROPE despite really bad outcomes also in ITALY and SPAIN

  • Maintaining normal life, upholding public wellbeing, retaining regular social activity and generally keeping people happy

THE UK lockdown, despite being fairly mild and non-harsh by other European countries’ standards, has nevertheless destroyed all semblance of life normality, has prevented even close family liaisons, and had halted all social and pleasure activity, which consequently left people fearful, frustrated, distressed, mentally challenged, and extremely unhappy

[In mid-April 2020 foreign secretary Dominic Raab had announced that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown would be extended by three weeks]

         •        Shielding the economy

THE UK lockdown arrangement has resulted in the Country’s economy going into freefall. Chancellor ‘Rishi Sunak’ reports that just “a few days of impact from the virus” in March, pushed the economy into decline and has warned of a ‘significant recession’ as figures showed the economy contracting at the fastest pace since the financial crisis (the economy shrank by 2% in the first three months of 2020 driven by a record fall in March output and that came after the economy stagnated in the final quarter of 2019, while economists expected an even bigger slump in the latter quarter, and the BOE warned that due to the unprecedented downturn, the UK economy is heading towards its sharpest recession on record and there would be no quick return to normality. For the YEAR as a whole, the economy was expected to CONTRACT by 14%. This would be the BIGGEST annual decline on record).

•        Defending businesses

THE UK lockdown restrictions resulted in Companies stopping or scaling back their operations despite action by the government to support workers and businesses through wage subsidies, loans and grants, as  many companies simply could not operate in a world of social distancing

•        Protecting jobs

Before March 2020 and so prior to the coronavirus pandemic crisis lockdown, the UK EMPLOYMENT rate had hit a record HIGH –Apr 2020 saw the UK unemployment rate tick up to four per cent, a small increase on January’s 3.9 per cent rate. In fact, the UK employment rate was at a record high of 76.6 per cent BEFORE the coronavirus lockdown, which was up from 76.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

The UK unemployment rate for the three months to February 2020 was estimated at 4.0%, largely unchanged compared with a year earlier and 0.1 percentage. However, economists had warned that the UK unemployment rate was set to rocket amid the coronavirus lockdown, and they had feared a huge 170,000 increase in UK unemployment for March, but the number rose only by 12,100, nonetheless job vacancies sank by 52,000 year on year to 795,000 for the first three months of 2020, while UK unemployment also inched up by 22,000 to 1.36m in the three months to February ahead of March’s coronavirus lockdown

UK unemployment was expected to rocket in lockdown – the estimate was that as many as 13m jobs are in sectors highly affected by the lockdown, representing 36 per cent of all jobs in the UK,” and that could see unemployment rising to just under NINE PER CENT during the lockdown period.

[Past UK UNEMPLOYMENT rates

2018           4.1%

2017           4.4%

2016           4.9%

2015           5.4%]

However, a job catastrophe seems to be impending here  – a research study in April 2020 by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex predicted that more than 6.5 MILLION JOBS are to be lost in the UK Coronavirus lockdown, with accommodation and food services worst affected by restrictions with 75 per cent of jobs – about 1.3 million positions – lost. It warned that this would equate to about a quarter of the UK’s total jobs, with more than half of the positions in certain sectors being lost. While some sectors referred to as “other services” are predicted to lose 50 per cent and “wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles” is predicted to lose 47.6 per cent. About 700,000 positions (44 per cent) in the transport and storage sector could be lost and 26.5 per cent of jobs in “administrative and support services” are expected to go as well, the study said [The research followed an earlier report by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which warned the UK economy could shrink by 35 per cent this spring and unemployment could rise by more than 2 million due to strict lockdown measures]. The University of Essex study showed a knock-on effect for certain industries from job losses, with the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector predicted to lose one job in 10 due to reduced demand from the accommodation and food sector.

However, some sectors could fare better than others as the institute’s modelling reflected the capacity of some people to work from home, leaving certain industries less affected by the lockdown

Moreover, some sectors, most notably health and social work, were predicted to see an increase in their workforce.

Although job losses are expected to be mostly temporary, an expert on modelling labour markets who led the research, has warned jobs could be permanently lost depending on further lockdown duration.

If this is short, say a few months, the links between employers and employees of affected industries might not be severed, and individual careers might not suffer too much, it was said. But under a longer lockdown, losses of human capital and scarring effects will occur. The economy will still bounce back, but at a higher cost for individuals.”

The analysis confirmed fears that a continued lockdown was economically unsustainable, raising pressure on the government to work out a way to ease restrictions.

We need to make the most out of the extra time the lockdown is buying us, and increase our capacity to better TRACE and ISOLATE new cases, especially asymptomatic cases, so that the economy can be restarted before a vaccine is ready.

There was a call for the lockdown to be PHASED OUT across SECTORS and REGIONS, rather than switched on and off altogether. Countries which had taken strong EARLY ACTION, such as Taiwan, were suffering reduced economic effects from the pandemic, while countries which have attempted to prioritise the economy, such as the US, were not performing very well in the crisis.

Doubtless, the economy is in trouble, but there seems to be no plan to fix it

Capital Economics agreed with this view, estimating the current four per cent UK unemployment rate could hit nine per cent. And it also predicted household income could slump 10 per cent.

Capital Economics’ chief UK economist, Paul Dales, warned March’s “small crack… may soon turn into a chasm

He pointed to a fall in employment numbers of 17,500 for March, saying: “That’s not a big fall, but as it relates to the average number of people paid to work in March it would have been supported by the normal two weeks at the start of March.

“It suggests that [the ONS’] labour force survey employment will soon slow.”

“We think that employment will soon plunge by about five per cent,” Dales concluded

Employment minister Mims Davies said today’s UK employment data was already outdated, but argued the unemployment rate show the economy has a robust underpinning.

“In the midst of the worst public health emergency in our lifetimes, today’s employment figures have already been overtaken by current events – and we’re doing all we can to help families make ends meet,” she said.

“But the statistics – including a four per cent unemployment rate – do serve as an important reminder of the strong foundations we have built as we look to withstand impact on the global economy

NOTES

shoot (one’s) bolt – to exhaust oneself doing some task and thus struggle to complete it. In this idiom, bolt refers to an arrow that was shot from a crossbow The expression comes from archery and referred to using up all of one’s bolts (short, heavy arrows fired with a crossbow); it was a proverb by the 1200s.

If someone has shot their bolt, they have done everything they can to achieve something but have failed, and now can do nothing else to achieve their aims. Note: This expression uses the idea of an archer who has only one arrow or `bolt’ and is defenceless once he has fired it

Shoot your ˈbolt (informal) make a final attempt to do something, especially if this attempt comes too early to be successful: In an argument it’s important not to shoot your bolt too soon. Keep one or two good points for the end.

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