Section: Johnson

Central Bylines ‘rona round up

Anna Girolami

Today sees the launch of step three of the government’s roadmap to get us out of lockdown. Today, I can go to a sauna (yeah..no), have a meal inside a pub (blessèd relief, it was snowing here last week) or stay overnight with my in-laws (I’m more likely to go for that sauna, to be honest). It all sounds wonderful. Our region has been in one sort of lockdown or another almost continually since November last year, bar a brief and lethal giddy spell over Christmas. It’s been hard but it’s worked – by the end of April, new cases, hospital numbers and deaths were all down, down, down.

If not now, then when? – Enough of the excuses

Joel Bates

In the early stages of the pandemic, excuses centred around its unexpected nature. The government was ‘doing its best’. Fast forward to the peak of lockdown one, suddenly making excuses was much harder than it had been. An enormous death toll, failure after failure, it was proving more difficult to defend the government’s actions, or rather, inactions.

Boris’s Culture War

Stephen Wilmot

Since last summer Boris Johnson has established himself as a committed culture warrior. With his union jacks, his imperial nostalgia, his right wing appointments to media bodies and his denunciations of radical protest, he is clearly imposing an authoritarian nationalist agenda on the country. In effect he is recruiting the machinery of the state to shift Britain’s cultural centre of gravity to the right.

The day the music died

Ann C Holland

The stark change to the lives of the UK’s musicians and actors is heartbreaking. Prior to 31 December 2020, lockdown aside, a musician could jump onto Eurostar, pass speedily into France or Belgium and carry their instrument without paperwork, tariffs or red tape to their venue. Maybe for a week, maybe for a whole season. Post-Brexit, only 90 days is permissible.

Carrie Antoinette’s Dead Cat Diary

Central Bylines Team

Carrie Antoinette’s position at Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) improved when, after eight weeks of cohabitation, she started having children. She became increasingly unpopular among the people, however, with the Liberal elite accusing her of being profligate and harbouring sympathies for England’s perceived enemies—particularly her Friends in Russia.

Boris’s disappointing Christmas present

James Lindsay

Brexit has tested to destruction the limitations of devolution. It could and should have been different. Scots will rightly ask why the special arrangements accorded to Northern Ireland cannot be granted to Scotland which also overwhelmingly voted to remain part of the EU.

Dear Prime Minister

Cath Moss

Events have changed everything and, in the words of one of your predecessors, ‘events dear boys’ shape politics above all else. Now is your opportunity to be our Churchill, to bring the country back from the brink at the eleventh hour.