The vibes are that the lockdown could be set to be eased

The vibes are that the lockdown could be set to be eased

It was inevitable that there was going to be a more positive mood emanating from Downing Street following the return of the prime minister, Boris Johnson. Most of the front pages reflect this although a move at this stage to relax the lockdown could be a very big gamble and cost thousands of lives.

Certainly the latest numbers of the total fatalities are down sharply and if this does indicate a trend then clearly the time might be right for ministers to think about how long the current lockdown should be sustained. A question is whether some sort of reduced lockdown is possible with people continuing to carry out social distancing without out a return to the appalling figures that we saw a week or so ago.

The thing about the current lockdown is its clarity. A reduced lockdown would inevitably be more complex and less easy to explain. 

This is one of those decisions where getting it wrong could cost lives and Johnson’s handling of this will very much define his premiership.

He made a very big gamble at the start of this by not imposing measures as early as many suggest he should have done. Maybe he is going now to take another gamble by easy things before time is ripe.

Another factor is that Johnson is set to come under levels of scrutiny that PMs have not seen in years. This week he’ll face the new Labour leader for the first time and as we saw last week Starmer takes a very different approach and is clearly a lot more able than his predecessor when it comes to holding the government to account.  His shadow team also appears to be a lot more capable. 


Mike Smithson

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