In January, Grant Shapps said that if the Government did not fully unlock the country by early March after the most vulnerable groups were vaccinated, he would personally stand “on the barricades to get [all of] our freedoms back”. This date has passed, and restrictions are to remain in place for at least another three months, but Mr Shapps has lost his nerve.
He appeared on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s talkRADIO show this morning and was forced to listen to his promise to stand up to the Government two months ago if it continued to keep hold of Britons’ liberty. Mr Shapps claimed his promise had not been broken as we are now “starting to get our freedoms back”. He insisted that he “stand[s] by what we were saying before”, and then went on to contradict what he said before.
“If there hadn’t been a roadmap, if we were saying these cases are coming down but we’re not going to tell you how we’re going to get out of lockdown, then you and I would be out there.”
Julia was having none of it. She pointed out the fact that more of the over 70s have been vaccinated than we had expected, and at a quicker rate too. The effectiveness of a single dose of the vaccine is also greater than was originally presumed. So, she asked, “how could you possibly say you stand by what you said in January”? Mr Shapps’ response featured a lot of political talk – highlighting that “everybody… has contributed enormously to what has been a very difficult and painful year” – and a reutterance of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, which contradicts his previously stated position. His words were littered with the phrases “all being well” and “earliest dates”.
“The goalposts always move, don’t they. They’re going to keep moving forever.” Julia asked – in a question which rather answers itself – “do you understand why lots of people don’t trust the Government anymore?”
She seemed to give up completely when Mr Shapps said “I want you to have your civil liberties back, but I don’t want you to have them back in a way that kills other people”. Will this ever end?
Worth watching in full.