This evening the Prime Minister will stand before the nation wearing his bad news face.
He will tell us this cursed Delta variant is rising exponentially, that we do not know yet its full impact on hospitals or deaths, and we need “one last heave” due to an “abundance of caution” so as not to “lose all we have gained”, and there’ll be a short delay of a mere four weeks before we can get back to normal.
I haven’t seen his speech but I’m guessing those’ll be his buzzwords. And I’ll likewise take a punt that he WON’T say “3 weeks to flatten the curve”, “12 weeks to turn the tide”, “eat out to help out”, “we can save Christmas”, or “freedom by next Easter, perhaps, if you’re lucky and I fall down a hole”.
He might use the word “unprecedented”, though. Which is a lie: every single freedom you want and he won’t give you has been lost, not because of something unforeseen, but because our pillock of a PM has done almost everything wrong at every stage.
A delay to freedom was predictable, because every time he’s locked down he did it late, and every time he opened up, cases rose.
A fresh, catchy new variant running rampant was inevitable, with planes still arriving from high-infection areas every single day, self-isolation payments too low to be effective, and a test and trace regime that is better than it was but still pretty dire.
And the long-promised end of all restrictions was never anything more than a holiday, before he gives Britain another big pile of Covid-19 for Christmas.
There were always going to be complaints that the freedom he promised is not materialising at the time he said it would. What has he EVER done, except let people down?
Children. Wives. Voters. Taxpayers. Colleagues. Bosses. Publishers. Sub-editors. Tailors. Veterans. Restaurateurs. Lawyers. The Queen.
The man has a long and consistent history in disappointing and lying to absolutely everyone he’s ever met, and millions more that he hasn’t.
So when he tells you this is “unprecedented”, remember that it is entirely precedented. This world-beating agglomeration of cluster-f***ery was visible from space as soon as anyone gave him the keys to the clown car.
You wanted a disruptor, you got one.
There are some points of light, though. Every Tory backbench headbanger talking about “Orwellian” hellscapes, a bonfire of masks, and mass civil disobedience is reaping their own personal whirlwind of backing a prat for a PM.
It is their pressure which deterred him from doing better. It is the rabid barking of every self-styled ‘Brexiteer’ in the commentariat that has stopped him locking down sooner, which would have been shorter and more successful, and left us with fewer hotspots now.
And there’s also something peculiarly pleasing about all those complaining about the delay to “Freedom Day”. He sold it to them so well that they are demanding something they’ve mostly got, and which he’s probably going to keep withholding for months even as a third, and then fourth, wave appears.
You can already go to a wedding, the cinema, and the pub. You can choose whether to work from home, use public transport, and your children are all at school. Holidays are what they always have been – a luxury for those who can afford them.
You can even have a barbecue on the beach, if you want, without any of the daily testing, double-jabbing, or security details and extra rules that the G7 leaders and their contingents had to follow in Cornwall.
Imagine if he came out and asked you to get tested every morning before you left your house. In one way, at least, the PM is facing tougher restrictions than you or I. One rule for us, a shedload for him.
But from whence did those wingnut backbenchers and media freedom fighters spring? Those noisy, demanding, fact-free, I’m-all-right-Jacques that plague the school run, the supermarket, and the airwaves were all born of Boris – the millions of unacknowledged children that are the result of his 30 years in public life.
They came from the Eurosceptic Tories he fed with lies about bendy bananas, from columnists who thought they could be as well-known as him, from the newspapers and magazines where he published unjustifiable bilge. They combined to create the grandchild of Brexit, and from that beast’s fecund loins we have Creationist politicians, sausage wars, freshly-warlike murals on the Shankill Road, and a long-term refusal to spend money on important, thoughtful things, like an economy that doesn’t depend on shopping for tat we don’t need and a health service that doesn’t nearly expire in the mildest of flu seasons.
He didn’t do it all, he didn’t do it alone, and he didn’t do it intentionally. But he did it so well that now he’s first among the equally gittish, and of course he hasn’t put common sense or normal people first. He doesn’t know what either of those things are.
He let the disease in. He ignored the science. He locked down late. He let the bodies pile high. He imports the potential for new variants every single day, while hoping against all scientific advice and knowledge that the vaccines which represent his administration’s one success will be enough.
The fact they have been, so far, is because they were someone else’s idea.
So when he tells you freedom is delayed, remember: it’s freedom he promised from the mess he created, and it’s delayed because he didn’t stop making more.