Like vast numbers of people I read the Sunday Times article on the government’s failure to address Covid 19 on a timely basis yesterday. I did not bother with every detail. I know full well such things could be disputed, as the government has now done. What mattered were the soft issues. And the facts. But first, the soft issues.
First there was the Prime Ministers astonishing, and recklessly dismissive reference to Covid 19 in his speech on 3 February, to which I have referred before.
And the inevitable feeling that Brexit dominated everything in January.
Whilst the feeling that February was lost to Johnson’s divorce, other family affairs and a second holiday within a few weeks, is based on evidence: he did simply disappear.
And then there was the herd immunity policy, which will be denied forever but not only clearly happened but is by default still happening.
Add those together and an overwhelming impression of indifference was created. This was backed by a complacent belief that it was not for the UK government to intervene in such issues, whatever other governments might do, because we had both British exceptionalism (which means we supposedly never suffer these things the way others do) and the power of free trade on our side.
The government has tried to rebut the detailed claims in the article. I suspect they protest too much and harm their cause by doing so.
It does not matter whether the PM attends Cobra as a matter of routine or not. His judgement on this issue was so wrong he did miss five. And that error of judgement is his crime.
It;s not just the journalists who have lost faith in him though.
I suspect the public has over PPE.
And they will support the doctors who might refuse to work without protection on this issue.
Whilst I note that the Scottish government is now rapidly distancing itself from Westminster.
Has he been found guilty as yet? Not quite. But the charge is now well and truly laid. And I think the public jury will definitely be out soon.
When it is the evidence of failure will be overwhelming.
By tomorrow we may well have 30,000 Covid deaths when the data from the ONS is taken into account and reasonably extrapolated.
And I believe the UK death toll from Covid 19 may well increase for a long time to come as yet. If that is disproportionate to other countries, and so far it is because, for example, the decision has been taken to keep borders completely open, then Johnson will feel the heat.
I think the Sunday Times knew that. They sensed Johnson will go the way of Chamberlain and others who are overwhelmed by events during the crises whose early events they oversee. To put it another way, they do not think Johnson is a Churchill. They think he's an Asquith. And so his days are decidedly numbered and they got their attack in early.
I strongly suspect that they were right to do so.
The question is then, who, when and what next?