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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Let’s hope Boris Johnson blows the bloody doors off the Covid Inquiry


Back in March 2021, the EU was stockpiling Covid vaccines and preventing them being shipped to Britain.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was the first to be approved, as a result of an inspired gamble by then prime minister Boris Johnson, freed from the dead hand of Brussels obstructionism and suffocating regulation. The brilliance of British scientists, with the backing of the post-Brexit Tory Government, ensured that we led the world out of the pandemic.

Contracts were signed with manufacturers in a number of countries, coupled with a guarantee that the vaccine would be distributed worldwide for no profit. These binding contracts were paid up in advance and spread around pharmaceutical companies at home and abroad.

Having pioneered the treatment here, the understanding was that the British people would be the first to benefit.

But still smarting from our democratic decision to leave the EU, Brussels had other ideas. First they set about trashing the drug, scaring their own vulnerable people into refusing it. Millions of vials remained unused in fridges across the Continent.

Boris doesn’t need any advice from me, but he should remind that smug, self-satisfied lead barrister in no uncertain terms of his Government’s successes in beating the bug and bringing us out of lockdown, as well as admitting to his well-documented mistakes, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

Boris doesn’t need any advice from me, but he should remind that smug, self-satisfied lead barrister in no uncertain terms of his Government’s successes in beating the bug and bringing us out of lockdown, as well as admitting to his well-documented mistakes, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN

Boris Johnson at a Downing Street Covid press conference in February 2021

Boris Johnson at a Downing Street Covid press conference in February 2021

As a result of an inspired gamble by Boris, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine freed from the dead hand of Brussels obstructionism and suffocating regulation

As a result of an inspired gamble by Boris, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine freed from the dead hand of Brussels obstructionism and suffocating regulation

Such was their resentment over Brexit, the European Commission even proposed closing the Irish Border, in open defiance of both the Northern Ireland Protocol deal and the Good Friday Agreement, to stop supplies of the vaccine reaching the U.K.

When that petulant, illegal initiative collapsed, they targeted factories within the EU manufacturing vaccines bought and paid for by Britain. Brussels tried to prevent the export of Covid jabs from Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

After it was reported that officials had staged a smash-and-grab raid on an Italian factory to halt 29 million doses bound for Britain, the Mail accused the EU of acting like a rogue state, not a family of nations. In this column I went one step beyond, urging an Italian Job-style raid to rescue the vaccines. Here’s what I wrote:

‘We have the expertise to recover the goods. We could send for Charlie Croker and his boys to intercept The Italian Jabs as they leave the factory. With a trio of red, white and blue Mini Coopers and a vintage Harrington Legionnaire coach, we could liberate what is rightfully ours from under the noses of the Italian carabinieri and the EU Cosa Nostra.

‘Provided the chaps remember that they are only supposed to blow the bloody doors off and take it easy on the bends, they could be back in Blighty before the bureaucrats in Brussels had finished their subsidised lobster suppers. Altogether now:

‘We are the Self-Vaccination Society…’

It was only half in jest. What I didn’t know at the time was that Boris was having similar thoughts. Great minds, eh?

As the Mail’s Political Editor Jason Groves has revealed this week, Boris asked the security services to draw up ‘military options’ for retrieving Covid vaccines destined for Britain from a factory in EU-occupied Holland.

One source told him: ‘The EU had basically sequestered five million doses of our vaccine. Of course the PM was enraged — they were putting British lives at risk to make a political point and distract from their own failings.

‘He ordered officials to look at all options, including whether there were any for physically going and taking the vaccines from the Netherlands and bringing them here. They were effectively stolen.’

Boris also had a furious shouting match with France’s posturing, pint-sized, toyboy Napoleon wannabe Emmanuel Macron, no friend of Britain at the best of times.

Another source said: ‘Boris was infuriated, as you would expect. It went well beyond trade retaliation. He felt he was fighting for British lives and he did ask whether there were military options. At that point the EU’s actions were so aggressive it didn’t seem such an outlandish idea.’

In the event, diplomats managed to persuade the PM that a military incursion into the EU would be A Bridge Too Far, but I don’t blame him for running it up the flagpole. I can imagine Boris summoning up the spirit of the SOE (Special Operations Executive), convened by Churchill to do his dirty work behind enemy lines during World War II.

I have visions of him leading the mission — parachuting into Holland wearing Winston’s trademark siren suit, chomping on a Romeo y Julieta cigar, at the head of a heavily armed regiment of commandos, and whistling Lili Marlene.

Whatever Boris’s faults, no one can deny his sense of adventure, nor his achievements in Getting Brexit Done, in however imperfect style, and championing Britain’s genuinely world- leading vaccine programme.

Those recalcitrant Remainers still pining for the embrace of Brussels need reminding that, when push comes to shove, the Eurocrats are not our ‘friends’ or our ‘partners’, they are our rivals at best and our enemies at worst.

Their behaviour during Covid, in trying to prevent supplies of vaccines reaching Britain, was beyond disgraceful. It was life threatening.

But then again, we should expect nothing less from this corrupt, incompetent, sclerotic superstate, which was prepared to put their own citizens’ lives on the line, along with ours, simply to score a political point.

The EU’s determination to punish and belittle Britain is apparent in everything from the petty squabbles over the Brexit departure deal, to its shocking treatment of Northern Ireland and French indifference to cross-Channel illegal migration, facilitated daily by the French despite us bunging them the thick end of half a billion quid to stop it happening.

Tomorrow, Boris is due to appear before the ludicrous, turgid, gloating Covid Inquiry in London. No doubt more details of the EU’s shameful, partisan behaviour during the pandemic will emerge

Tomorrow, Boris is due to appear before the ludicrous, turgid, gloating Covid Inquiry in London. No doubt more details of the EU’s shameful, partisan behaviour during the pandemic will emerge

We’re well off out of it.

Tomorrow, Boris is due to appear before the ludicrous, turgid, gloating Covid Inquiry in London. No doubt more details of the EU’s shameful, partisan behaviour during the pandemic will emerge.

He’s big enough and ugly enough to fight his own corner. Boris doesn’t need any advice from me, but he should remind that smug, self-satisfied lead barrister in no uncertain terms of his Government’s successes in beating the bug and bringing us out of lockdown, as well as admitting to his well-documented mistakes.

We didn’t emerge from the pandemic before everyone else despite Brexit, as the BBC always says. We did so because of Brexit and Boris’s courage in putting our pursuit of an effective vaccine on a war footing.

So let’s just hope he goes in there tomorrow and blows the bloody doors off.

According to Israel’s most senior British-born politician, the ‘woke’ Left have formed a ‘toxic alliance’ with Islamists to stoke anti-Semitism in Britain. I told you that nearly 17 years ago in a documentary I made for Channel 4. Now you see it on the streets every weekend.

Back then, few people were listening. Let’s hope they’re listening now.

While 70,000 freeloaders attend the Cop 28 jolly-up in Dubai, the North of England and Scotland are experiencing heavy snowfalls. So no change there, then. Elsewhere, the RAC warned motorists to watch out for ‘ice- rink Monday’ and London’s two-bob chancer of a mayor Genghis Khan declared a ‘severe weather emergency’ after half a dozen snowflakes fell on the Strand last Friday.

Yet again, the Met Office has gone into Armageddon mode, talking hysterically about ‘Thundersnow’ and ‘Weatherbombs’. Oh, and some reindeer have been spotted on the A11 in West Suffolk.

This has nothing to do with ‘climate change’. It’s called winter.

Needless to say, the Cop 28 crowd are having a whale of a time in the desert, with not a snowflake in sight. Many of them went by private jet, so they could discuss how to stop the rest of us flying anywhere.

Yet again, the Met Office has gone into Armageddon mode, talking hysterically about ‘Thundersnow’ and ‘Weatherbombs’. Oh, and some reindeer have been spotted on the A11 in West Suffolk

Back home, the hideous wind turbines designed to waft us to Net Zero have stopped turning because the big freeze has brought with it eerily still air. One chink of light has come from the new President of Cop 28, an Arab oil minister from the UAE, who let slip that phasing out fossil fuels is unrealistic ‘unless you want to take the world back into caves’. Which is exactly what the Extinction Rebellion muppets do seem to want.

Meanwhile the weathermen have come up with a new menace: Yellow Rain. Never heard of it, but with so many motorists stranded by the side of the road Oop North, you’d be wise to give the yellow snow a miss.

In time for Christmas, the world’s smelliest cheese has gone on sale at Asda. Called ‘Minger’, it’s a Brie-style fromage which has won approval from foodies. Cheesemaker Rory Stone said it ‘smells meaty, cabbagey’ and there’s ‘no nice way’ to describe its aroma, the result of it being washed in a solution of Brevibacterium — the microbe responsible for sweaty feet — then left to mature for two months. Just one question: Why? 

As ‘tampons for men’ hit the market, the NHS has come up with yet another new gender — Demiboy, sometimes also known as Demiguy or Demiman. I give up. 



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