(Image: Martin Rowson)
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As the Covid death toll nears 100,000, this awful 21st century tragedy may soon be followed by another.
After the Second World War, a victorious British people voted out Winston Churchill and his Tories.
It elected Clement Attlee’s inspiring Labour Government which created the NHS and built a decent, fairer country.
But when this pandemic is finally tamed – hopefully later this year – the same Tory rulers will still be in power.
Fatal mistakes, lethal blunders, lost livelihoods and a body count five times the 20,000 “good outcome” benchmark set last April by chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance won’t stop a shameless Boris Johnson patting himself on the back.
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The PM’s arrogance and an electoral cycle keeping the Tories in office until as late as December 2024 blocks any revival of the spirt of 45.
Instead behind the false rhetoric of “levelling up” and “building back better”, a grinding Tory austerity will return.
Pay freezes, Universal Credit cuts, council tax rises, soaring unemployment and squeezed spending are a taste of worse to come.
After the Grim Reaper has filled crematoriums and graveyards, Treasury axeman Rishi Sunak will scythe incomes and services.
I’m told he is itching to reduce expenditure and raise revenues to curb record borrowing – despite low interest rates making it cheap to cover a towering national debt.
One worried Tory MP complained that Sunak, favourite to succeed Johnson at No10, is more right-wing than many of his colleagues realise.
“Behind the smiling face of ‘Eat out to help out’ is a hard-nosed investment banker wanting to balance the books,” warned the Conservative, a blue brick in Labour’s red wall.
“Rishi will blow the recovery, politically and economically, unless he’s checked.”
The fear is Sunak won’t be checked by Johnson – a former London mayor who wasted £53million on an unbuilt garden bridge and is happiest creating a Trump-like alternative universe.
But he cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Virus deaths due to government incompetence will be in vain unless we demand a fresh, hopeful start.