UK in Crisis: Should Covid claim another victim while self-righteous wrath sets the tone?

Boris apologised – but is it too late? Resolving the innumerable crises facing the UK requires political focus, and less of the politically expedient indignation being displayed in parliament. It won’t make anything better, threatens further destabilisation, and diminish the UK’s global competitiveness..  

Blain’s Morning Porridge – Jan 13h 2022: UK in Crisis: Should Covid claim another victim while self-righteous wrath sets the tone?

“My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”

This morning:  Boris apologised – but is it too late? Resolving the innumerable crises facing the UK requires political focus, and less of the politically expedient indignation being displayed in parliament. It won’t make anything better, threatens further destabilisation, and diminish the UK’s global competitiveness..  

 The objective of the Morning Porridge is to connect the dots on markets – so let me ask the most pertinent question today: Would you be a buyer of UK plc? Probably not.

The optics from Westminster look terrible. The prospects for the nation look even worse. Its situation normal: FUBAR!

Coronavirus was a terrible and tragic event for innumerable families. Many people are justifiably angry having watched from afar as loved ones died alone. Yet, the events in parliament yesterday were a masterpiece of staged-managed faux indignation. The self-appointed Covid Truth and Reconciliation Committee has a whole list of names pricked, queued for the tumbril, and a terminal appointment on the Tower’s chopping board – like that is going to change anything…

The problem is such grandstanding while the government is on the ropes doesn’t achieve much – except make a bad situation worse. While Boris flounders, we can forget any meaningful effort to deal with the impact of soaring Energy prices on consumers, addressing the insatiable appetite of the NHS for more and more cash to do less and less, and as for the perceived benefits of Brexit? Well, that’s a boat that’s already sailed….

None of the critical crises blighting an increasingly dysfunctional Blighty look likely to be fixed as government lurches from crisis to catastrophe.

Every politician is looking to their own survival or advancement. Prime Minister in Waiting, Rishi Sunak, made sure he was out of London and singularly failed to post support for the PM. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives wisely put the boot in with the first call to resign – knowing Scots will love him for it. Et tu Brute? As new Tory MP spilloried the prime minister in the hope they might be able to hold on to “Red Wall” seats, something extraordinary happened in Parliament yesterday: Labour party leader Sir Kier Starmer looked almost competent and actually scored some telling blows.

The latest polls say Labour is leading the Tories. There was a time that would have caused me to rejoice – but now? Years of Tory rule has shown them mired in scandal, disregard for rules, and arrogance. But Labour shows little sign of a becoming a credible government.

Unless Boris goes against his grain and gives up, the reality is little is likely to change in the short-term. Next week we’ll see a civil servant’s report into the Tory Covid Parties. It might say a few damning things, apologies will be made, and that that will be it.

What happens next will be “interesting”. It’s likely the government will lurch on from crisis to crisis for another 3 years. Boris may or may not fall. Who would really want to take on the reins of power ahead of local elections in May (where the Tories will be spanked), ahead of massive energy bills in Q2 (when the Tories will be blamed), and the possibility inflation plunges the UK into a stagflationary recession later this year?

Who knows? Maybe Boris will remain – and maybe have learnt a lesson.

Yet, improbable as it may seem, this morning I feel deeply sorry for Boris. Who would have thought a lifelong Labour voter like myself would ever say it…

Whenever the opportunity presented itself, I’ve never hesitated to do Boris down, to lambast him for all his innumerable faults, and to repeatedly call him out for the way he’s diminished the office of Prime Minister. Boris makes us look stupid and that does not make Britain a better place..

But this business of the “summer party” at Downing Street? Come on. Is it worth breaking the nation on? Let it rest…

Take off the Covid Indignation Goggles and think about it. The email sent to the 100 Downing Street Staff is entitled: Socially distanced drinks. It specifically says: “this evening”, “in the garden” and “bring your own booze”… That is not a planned party designed to mock the populace.

I can pretty much imagine how it happened. Right through the pandemic staff worked around the clock in the complex of offices beneath the Downing Street residences. On a warm, balmy May evening.. probably as they were discussing easing covid restrictions, someone thought: “it’s a lovely evening… what’s wrong with a little Distanced Social moment with colleagues in the large spacious gardens out the back.” – the same guys they’d been sitting next to all day every day.

Tell me you would not have done it yourself?

We were all depressed about Covid Lockdowns back in May 2020 – and we all remember how wonderful the weather was as we celebrated VE Day. It cheered us up as we struggled with lockdown, doing our part by not mixing with strangers. And I am sure the majority of the staff who gathered 2 meters from each other in the Downing Street Garden felt the same way that day after work drinking the prosecco they’d bought from the newsagent next to Westminster tube station.

I was probably that same week when my wife and I, and our son snuck out on my boat and spent a night moored up on a river elsewhere – out of sight and mind. It was maybe the same week I shared cheeky lagers sitting on the shore after I ran into a chum who works for a major institution while out for a walk. We all kept our moment very quiet and low-key, concerned some Corona-Nazi would report us, or create a stink.

Worse things were done during the Pandemic. There was an almighty scandal in our village when a bunch of yummy-mummies managed to get themselves and their partners vaccinated right at the start of the programme – ahead of everyone else. If they’d kept it quiet no one would care, but they boasted about it. They were foolish to brag, but they were hardly evil incarnate – which is how Boris is now being painted.

Lest we forget, Boris had a pretty bad time with Covid himself.

Yes – Boris should have known better than to go to the “socially distanced gathering”, yes, he probably should have stopped it. But if we really want to hang and quarter Boris the Buffoon.. then stop and ask… “Let he without sin cast the first stone.”

Boris is a complete Richard, but he’s what we’ve got… Have you looked at the alternatives? Sunak lacks experience, and there are questions to be asked. Javid is highly competent, but could he win? If not, and you really, really feel the need to hang Boris, I have one thing to say to you:

 Yes, Prime Minister Gove..

 Please…. No..

Five things to read this morning

FT – Citadel Securities sells $1.2 bn stake to Sequoia and Paradigm

WSJ – Turks Pile Into Bitcoin and Tether To Escape Plunging Lira

WSJ – Fed’s Bullard: Four Interest Rate Rises in 2022 Now Appear Likely

Bberg – For Macron and France, It’s the Economy, Stupide

Bberg – Fed Says Economic Optimism Showing Signs of Cooling in Places

Out of time, and back to the day job..

Bill Blain

Strategist – Shard Capital


  1. Like you I am not a traditional Tory voter, and having reached the age of 74 without supporting them in any plebiscite I cannot imagine ever doing so in the future. But the press have applied the “party” nomenclature and everyone has piled in on that basis.

    It is highly likely that this was intended as a wind down session for a team of people who had been working incredibly hard for an extended period. Since they had been mingling together inside all day it seems only too reasonable and much safer for them to spill out into the garden to do so.

    Boris might well have been told about the event after it had been organised and did the right thing by showing his face for a very short time. I cannot imagine him carrying a bottle downstairs or even sipping anybody else’s Prosecco.

    I could well see the investigation clearing his name completely, and a good thing too.

  2. Well said Bill. Strikes me the one thing UK plc excels in producing is self-righteous and hypocritical indignation. Maybe it is a symptom of Long COVID!

  3. Yes, Sir! True dat….

    Fwiw, the now infamous “Peppa-Pig-Society” is the most probable and rational choice-left given the remainder(brexiter) sum of unbalanced equations.

    Meanwhile in Murica-Today (MT)*, the stirrings are pointing to the axiom: “Live by the 911, die by the 911” –

    To wit, do not be blind-sided by a return of “Sir Blair” LOL –,_die_by_the_sword

    *TradeMark (TM) by FED circa 1913 Anno Domini

  4. Interestingly, as a long-term member of the Conservative party I disagree with you Bill. I have no sympathy for Boris, this is his own fault. The rights and wrongs of the party are not the point. He told the House that there were no parties, now he admits there were. If he really thought it was just a continuation of work he is too stupid to be an MP never mind PM. Lying to the House is a resigning matter, it doesn’t matter what the Sue Gray report says.

    The real problem is the interregnum while a new leader of the party is elected; at least the men in grey suits were quick before the party became all democratic in electing leaders, I blame Ted Heath. 2 months of self-absorbtion by the majority party is the last thing we need.

    I agree about PM Gove though, the best hope for the country. The party would lose the next election but at least we might reduce the damage in the meantime.

  5. That is all very reasonable Bill, were it not for the other parties, nine in all I believe.
    That particular event I can easily see as you describe above, but the rest?

    I have a query about the parties: Why would anyone attend?

    The point of the rules was about slowing/stopping/mitigating Covid. These people all have parents, grandparents, children with comorbidities, aunts and uncles on the heavy side, maybe a COPD sufferer or two in their immediate circle. IF they believe the restrictions were aimed at protecting their loved ones, and themselves, why go to such an event?
    These were pre-vacccine.
    I don’t believe for a minute that their attendance of parties was to “put one over the commoner”, maybe a few might think that way, but in reality these are people with families that they would want to protect.
    So why go? Were they concerned about Covid? Did they think it a laughable concern? A mild flu?

    I think we need to think about the motivations behind the widespread ignoring of rules/laws from both sides of the house. Conferences still went ahead, MOBO parties still attended unmasked.

    Is there something these people know about Covid that we do not? Because unless they all had absolutely no fear of Covid for themselves AND family and friends, how do you explain their behaviour?



    • Yes, this morning’s news about parties the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral suggests endemic rule breaking… A culture of entitlement at Westminster.

    • Good point, Pete and one that has occured to me also. I have been leary about this ‘pandemic’ for two years now and my researches indicate that all is not what it is purported to be. Our ruler’s behaviour appears to support my contention especially in the light of past affairs like Matt Hancock, Cummings et al.

      Methinks they doth protest too much, especially the manic drive to have every last one of use injected with an untested, experimental gene therapy against a virus with an IFR of 0.2% which is futher evidenced by the stats on Omicron. Here is my take on it all:

  6. Oh yes, that reminds me, the hypocrisy of the far-right.

    They love their free speech, except when that free speech hits them between the eyes, with some stark facts.

    I would hope your financial advice is better than your political musings, but based on the garbage written here, I highly doubt it.

Comments are closed.