Andy Richardson: 'Complacency is our worst enemy'

By Andy Richardson | Opinions | Published:

Boris Johnson is not Nostradamus.

A Happy New Year retweet from his account – followers, 2.9 million, not bad – shows Boris with both thumbs sticking up, like Dave Hill from Slade. His message then reads: This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain.

Hmmm. Let’s examine the facts.

A late lockdown, more excess deaths than any other European nation, a recession that’s the worst in the advanced world, and soon we’ll face the twin economic shock of Brexit – which, were anyone still labouring under the delusion, will not be bringing an extra £350 million per week to our NHS.

And then there’s exams. Teachers have condemned the fiasco surrounding A-level results and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has apologised, again.

A fantastic year, sure. Even the Daily Mail has gone for Boris and Gavin, with yesterday’s front page showing their mugshots and headlined You Dunces! Taking readings from unstandardised mock exams is clearly not a safe way to decide grades that determine university places and jobs. Who’d want to be a university admissions worker right now? Or an A-level student.

The experience of New Zealand shows how dangerous the virus is. Having gone more than 100 straight days without any infections, Covid-19 is back. The nation praised for having the best outcome from Covid and that enjoyed the quickest return to normality is back to square one. We ought to watch and learn, while reminding ourselves that complacency is our worst enemy.

New Zealand has been effectively tracking and tracing contacts of those who are infected – something we have singularly failed to do. As we head towards the cooler autumn and winter months, such failings will come back to haunt us.

Still, there is always Rishi Sunak to pour oil on troubled waters. He may have been stating the obvious when he told us that hard times were here, but it’s encouraging to hear the Chancellor speak with humility and accept that there is no road map.

While others obfuscate, mislead and bluster, Sunak prefers a simple strategy: the truth. In parenthesis: Things are worse than we imagined, there are going to be many casualties, we’re not sure how to fix it but we’re doing our best. Amid the many self-inflicted injuries that the UK has suffered this year – fantastic year? Yeah, right – at least one Minister tells it straight.

Andy Richardson

By Andy Richardson
Feature Writer - @andyrichardson1

Feature writer and food critic Andy Richardson interviews celebrities, writes columns and hangs out with chefs for stories that appear across all group titles.

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