October 15, 2020
You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.
Are Johnson And Sunak Ready To Pay The Price To Avoid A National Lockdown?
He may have an 80-seat majority in parliament, but Boris Johnson’s government right now feels as beleaguered as the precarious Theresa May administration it replaced.
Take just today’s developments: Louise Casey says Britons face “destitution” this winter; Marcus Rashford is in a new war with No.10 over a “Scrooge”-like refusal to pay free school meals over the Christmas break; Dido Harding’s test-and-trace posts record low contact tracing figures; and both Tory MPs and Labour local leaders are in revolt over the tiered risk system. All while hospitalisations soar.
The PM may have cannon to the left of him and cannon to the right of him, but it’s the elderly and vulnerable who will be walking into the valley of death in coming months if he fails to get a grip on the second wave crisis.
Yet despite all this, Johnson was invisible. It was left to advisor Eddie Lister to deal with council chiefs, to junior minister Helen Whately to take the wrath of MPs on various Zoom calls, to Matt Hancock to face friendly and unfriendly fire in the Commons and to the PM’s spokesman to deal with Rashford and Casey.
One person who certainly was visible was Andy Burnham. The mayor of Greater of Manchester mixed his metaphors when he claimed his region was being treated like both a “sacrificial lamb” and “canaries in the coal mine”. However his main point was a powerful one: why should the public support an untested system of local lockdowns that lacked both scientific evidence and cash.
The sheer anger of those involved was palpable. Oldham council leader Sean Fielding suggested Lister’s opening line was: “We either do Tier 3 with you or impose it...there is no money”. After the call with Whately, Tory MP William Wragg said the meeting “was entirely pointless - you may as well talk to a wall”.
Hancock tried to placate MPs in the Commons yet it was obvious he wanted to crack on with or possibly without local leaders’ approval. “No further decisions have yet been made, but we need to make rapid progress,” he said. Putting Greater Manchester or Lancashire into new lockdown could yet happen tomorrow. It will be a huge call to make, but it will have to be the PM’s.‌
What will worry Johnson is the way both Burnham and Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese today hinted that his new tiering system lacked the backing of deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam.
The area would need much tougher measures than just shutting pubs and would need neighbouring regions to join in. And here was the kicker: “even then, it would not be certain to work”. Leese added: “What we’re asked to do is accept a proposal which the government’s own advisers say won’t work.”
But just as the PM hid well beneath the surface of these stormy seas like a worried submarine, the chancellor too was conspicuous by his absence. And ultimately it may be Rishi Sunak who holds the key to many of these problems. Burnham’s clear financial demands are for a return to 80% furlough for workers affected, 80% income support for the self-employed and real compensation for firms.
Given that the government insists this tiering is only temporary (because it will work) and given that it is local, the cost to the Treasury doesn’t look enormous. Would increasing its support from 67% of wages to 80% support really break the bank? As Casey put it with characteristic bluntness: “You can only afford two-thirds of your rent, you can only afford two-thirds of the food that you need to put on the table.”‌
Similarly, the cost of paying free school meals during holidays, at least until next Easter, is relatively tiny – though the political cost of going up against Marcus Rashford is potentially huge. One Tory former minister told me today the No.10 line was “just crass”. And Rob Halfon slammed it as hugely disappointing.
It’s arguable too that NHS Test and Trace’s problems could be ameliorated by more money: paid to local public health teams rather than private contractors (see the Germany experience below), and by decent statutory sick pay or “jury pay” for those who self-isolate.
It’s not Hancock or Gavin Williamson who hold the cards here, it’s Sunak – and the First Lord of the Treasury himself, the prime minister. Remember their twin mantras at the start of the pandemic – “we will do whatever it takes” and “no one should be penalised for doing the right thing”?
If Johnson really wants to roll the dice on his three-tiers system, he’s going to have to pay for it, either in hard cash or in political capital. Or both.Related... Return Of No.10 Covid Briefings Would Rally Public To Follow Rules, Senior Tory Says Johnson Rejects Rashford Call For Free School Meals Over Christmas Test And Trace Hits New Low With Worst Ever Contact Tracing Rate
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Interim ‘Jeopardy!’ host Ken Jennings slammed for wheelchair tweet | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
GF8JOA07ZpI
The one with the cast of 'Friends', then and now | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
FLlqmbxCjnI
Bill Murray’s brother Ed, inspiration behind ‘Caddyshack,’ dies | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
VEzPd5ot58g
Kamala Not a Shoo-In for 2024 with Black America, Tamika Mallory Says | TMZ
November 26, 2020
YLoz9LmkeJ8
Flaming Lips Singer Wayne Coyne Breaks Down Bubble Concerts, COVID-Safe Fun | TMZ
November 26, 2020
lp8BvtRXGvw
Donald Trump Hits Golf Ball in the Water And Screams, 'I Hate This F***ing Hole!!!' | TMZ
November 26, 2020
OR2kQEO5Fbk
Kendall & Kylie Jenner Poke Fun At Their Differences in TikTok Challenge
November 28, 2020
Qu23LiIQat4
Necessary Realness: Get Real With Morgan Stewart | E! News
November 28, 2020
vFTUSPXhGso
Bad Bunny Teases New Music & BTS Collab | The Rundown | E! News
November 28, 2020
Pyvzi3Y6BUw
7 Questions with 'Wild Irish Thyme' Star Jamie Dornan
November 25, 2020
bqZLJEd8Gxs
Why 'Selena' star Christian Serratos Chose to Lip-Sync Selena's Songs
November 25, 2020
FNz_Pal3qeo
'Time' Director Garrett Bradley on Covering Incarceration, Why Black Family Archives Are Important
November 23, 2020
m7j3n7dPFOI
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Alaves
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Burnley
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Juventus
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Inter Milan
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Atletico Madrid
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Reading - Bristol City
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Preston NE
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Coventry
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Middlesbrough
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Stoke City
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Cardiff City - Luton
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Millwall
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Bournemouth
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Barnsley
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Wycombe Wanderers
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Sheffield United
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Verona
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Leeds
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Huesca - Sevilla
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Elche - Cadiz
27
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - QPR
27
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Newcastle United
27
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Levante
25
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - Sheffield Wednesday
25
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Middlesbrough - Derby County
25
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Bristol City - Watford
25
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Coventry - Cardiff City
25
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Reading
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
QPR - Rotherham
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Norwich City
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Preston NE - Blackburn
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Luton - Birmingham
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Wycombe Wanderers - Huddersfield
24
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Barnsley - Brentford
23
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Southampton
23
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Real Betis
23
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Crystal Palace
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - AC Milan
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Arsenal
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Torino
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
22
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Alaves - Valencia
21
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Barcelona
21
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Manchester City
21
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Hertha Berlin - Borussia Dortmund
21
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayern Munich - Werder Bremen
21
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Chelsea
21
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Bromwich Albion
21
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Cagliari
21
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Real Madrid
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.