In possibly the most stupid – and tiresomely on-message – contribution to the Covid Inquiry so far, Lee Cain, once Boris Johnson’s most loyal aide, has said Johnson was wrong to canvass a diversity of views on lockdown (i.e., he listened to people actually sceptical about closing down the country over a flu-like virus) but also wrong not to have more diversity in his team because they were too “white and middle-aged”.
Asked this morning whether he thought Mr. Johnson was not up to the job of being Prime Minister, Cain replied: “It was the wrong crisis for this Prime Minister’s skills, which is different from not potentially being up to being Prime Minister.”
Asked by inquiry Chair Baroness Hallett what he meant by that, he said:
He would often delay making decisions, he would often seek counsel from multiple sources and change his mind on issues. Sometimes in politics that can be a great strength… I think if you look at something like Covid you need quickly that strength of mind to do that over a sustained period of time… I felt it was the wrong time for him.
Cain also told the inquiry there was a lack of “diversity” among decision makers during the pandemic. In his witness statement he wrote:
One of the challenges you face when you work on policy is the dynamic of the room, which in this case was white and middle-aged. They were doing their best, but without diversity, some policy decisions slipped through the cracks.
Ah, 21st century diversity: the same set of on-narrative views neatly packaged in a pleasing variety of skin tones.
Messages from Johnson to Cain further show that by October 2020 Johnson was on the verge of moving decisively away from lockdowns. In a message to Cain on October 15th 2020, he wrote:
Jeeez. I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on Covid fatalities. The media age is 82-81 for men and 85 for women. This is above life expectancy. So get Covid and live longer.
Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital (4%) and of those virtually all survive.
And I no longer buy all this NHS is overwhelmed stuff.
Folks I think we may need to recalibrate.
There are max three million in this country aged over 80.
Pity they got to him and within days he was imposing yet another lockdown on the country.
Another juicy revelation was that Dominic Cummings blasted the decision to leave the “proven liar” Matt Hancock as Health Secretary. He wrote to Cain:
I also must stress I think leaving Hancock in post is a big mistake – he is a proven liar who nobody believes or should believe on anything and we face going into autumn crisis with the c*nt in charge of NHS still.