Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were pinged by the hyper-active “Test-Trace and Isolate App” after being in contact with Javid. This is the App that was rumoured to be made less sensitive and dumbed down as it was pinging people left, right and centre, thus there were not enough folks to work in schools, hospitals, construction, hospitality, etc. The App however remained hyper-active and the PM and Chancellor considered availing themselves to the 40,000 person Daily Contact Testing Study that can be used as an alternative to isolation. However, there was “one rule for them and one rule for us” public uproar and both decided to isolate until the 26 July as per the rules. Johnson explained all this on a video from Chequers, where he was isolating. Speculators believe Javid knew of Johnson and Sunak’s participation in the scheme and that he pre-empted doing the right thing as he too could have availed himself in the study.
Come September the “Test-Trace and Isolate APP” is forecast to be reinvented as a vaccine passport, to be used for travel, festivals, cinemas, nightclubs, sports events, and large gatherings. This has infuriated the influential Tory backbench 1922 Committee and much of the public, who see this as the emergence of the 1984 Orwellian school of thought and the precursor to ID cards. The objectors maintain ID papers should not be necessary to go about your daily business in a democracy. Some Tory MPs have threatened to boycott the party conference in October if vaccine passports are required for attendance. Sceptics say the passports are just a mechanism to drive vaccinations uptake and that they will only be needed for international travel.
Meanwhile less young people are coming forward for vaccinations, many people are deleting the NHS App, and there is an outcry against mandatory vaccines for care home staff from October; Nadim Zahawi Minister of Vaccine Deployment has said “we reserve the right to mandate its use in the future”.
The semi-conductor manufacturer Newport Water Fab’s sale to a Chinese entity, Nexperia a subsidiary of Wingtech, has ruffled a few feathers in the national security domain. This is one of several Chinese investment projects in the UK; after the controversy and objections about Chinese investment/influence in UK Universities and Chinese investment/influence in Western mainstream media, what is acceptable policy-wise and what is not acceptable in the way of influence, obligation, and propaganda is not clearly defined by the Government.
The good weather and calm sea conditions have seen a record number of illegal immigrant dinghy arrivals, that have caused havoc on the beaches and in local hotels needed to accommodate them. The French Navy are escorting the boats into British waters where life boats are bringing them in and UK teams are caring for the very young and unaccompanied. Priti Patel talks a tough game but so far in 2021 UK have received more migrants than in the whole of 2020; this week Patel has given a further £50million to France to stop the flow.
Beyond the patient backlog the government has another NHS crisis on its hands, Covid cases are rising, hospital admissions are up but nothing like in January, deaths are down. Disgruntled NHS staff who were only given a 1% pay rise in March have now been given 3% but many are leaving the profession after their Covid experience.
The Northern Ireland protocol that effectively put a border in the Irish Sea is not working and is not sustainable. Johnson introduced the Command Paper that recommends the way forward, by Rt Hon Brandon Lewis Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Rt Hon Lord Frost Minister of State. In The Times Lord Frost wrote, “We are proposing an ambitious compromise built on concepts already in the protocol — with the UK accepting a continuing responsibility to help to protect the EU single market by applying EU customs rules to goods going via Northern Ireland into the single market, but in return for which goods must be able to flow much more easily into, and within, Northern Ireland.” Ursula von der Leyen’s response after a call with Johnson on Thursday was “The EU will continue to be creative and flexible within the Protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate.”
Dominic Cummings, the former Chief Adviser, has thrown a cat among the political pigeons by granting an interview to BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg. A bored-looking Cummings was extraordinarily indiscreet about the PM’s character, leadership, commitment, truthfulness, and judgment. Cummings came across as a sore loser, a Machiavellian character possibly with alexithymia- a condition that affects social skills, empathy, and emotions. God only knows what happened in No10 to precipitate such a public laundrette.
Germany and France have removed India from their travel red list, India is still on UK’s red list.