Remember how last November saw much speculation in the national media that Boris Johnson would step down from his premiership as soon as February this year, and how I disagreed robustly with that suggestion? Well, where are those gloom-mongers today?
Let’s just pause and regroup by considering what has been achieved already and what 2021 might reasonably hold for Boris Johnson and his team.
A vaccine is being rolled out to millions of vulnerable people and front-line carers, and a British vaccine at that. We have a workable trade-deal with the European Union and have finally seen Brexit done. There are no queues into or out of Dover and Calais. The Troubles haven’t returned to Northern Ireland, where there is no hard border between the North and South.
We have a workable deal on fishing, and our national sovereignty has been returned, free from control (for better or worse) by the institutions of the European Union. Sterling and the stock markets have risen. Further trade deals with other nations are being rolled out one after another.
There are serious challenges ahead for the National Health Service, for care homes, and for our children’s education, but nobody is seriously suggesting, wisely not even Sir Kier Starmer the Labour Leader, that the Labour Party would actually be doing a better job were it in office.
The Liberal Democrats are nowhere, and the coming boundary changes and an end to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – deliverable with the Conservatives’ majority – will shift the electoral arithmetic substantially in the Conservatives’ favour as we approach the next general election.
Boris Johnson will be given a global platform this year with the G7 Summit here in the UK, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November. His Government has stability, with key players like Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak all delivering and likely to keep their senior roles at the heart of Boris’s Cabinet come any reshuffle later this year.
Business now has a degree of certainty about the rules of trade, certainty that will untie substantial funds for commercial investment; and even household savings which, for the middle and higher earners, have risen during the pandemic, will be unleased to fuel a consumer-led boom.
Not everything is rosy. The Union with Scotland remains under threat, and I fear particularly for the future of a generation of children whose education has undoubtedly been blighted, for our high streets which may never recover, and for our entertainment sector which has had a dark and dismal year; but for Boris Johnson the future is bright and the sky is blue.
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