Johnson's booster isn't doing it for him
What a "safe" rebellion by those 99 Tory MPs! The unpopular new rule which imposes the government's Plan B Covid pass, which they opposed, still got through. It was certain it would. Well in advance, Labour's great patriot, “Sir” Keir Starmer, said he'd support the government "in the national interest"...
In other words there was no real risk to the government, nor to Johnson himself. Even if his popularity is at an all-time low, with his MPs trying to outdo him in their populism, he is not about to be ousted.
Of course, the new Covid rules are full of contradictions. But Tory "resistors" in parliament hardly mentioned these. They went on ad nauseam about "individual freedom", "liberty" and the right to go where they please; "rights" which these hypocrites are not prepared to extend to those beneath them in the "lower" classes - and, by the way, certainly not to the refugees who risk death because they are denied them.
Johnson, looking more dishevelled than usual, said on Sunday that a "tidal wave" of accelerating infection justified redeploying NHS staff to boost his booster campaign - it was "the only way out"... But the NHS is on its knees already, with a drastic (Brexit-related!) staff shortage.
So is that Johnson's real reason to be prioritising his boosters? Not to prevent the already overwhelmed NHS from being even more overwhelmed tomorrow, but to provide a justification for the cancelling of surgery and cancer consultations today - treatments which might have been impossible to carry out anyway?
Besides allowing Johnson to claim to be the fastest jabber in the West, his boosters, along with the pass, are meant to allow the government to say that it's "OK" to keep businesses and hospitality open and workers at work, keeping the flow of profits coming in. And where business might lose out due to new rules (but Javid wasted no time in lifting the Red travel list), Sunak will easily justify relaunching targeted subsidies for the bosses.
Whether Omicron is as dangerous as Delta, Beta, or Alpha, is still a question mark. We are told that currently, 8 MPs and 42 Premier league footballers may have it... At the time of writing 78,610 daily new cases - more than ever before - have been identified.
So yes, maybe this time Johnson is not peaking too soon, nor peaking too late, with his latest Covid policy. But the social damage after his "let it rip" approach prior to the two lethal waves in 2020, has already been done and cannot be undone. Which is why it is a shame to see his popularity dealt a blow, not because he is a danger to society, but because he might have known something about last year’s Downing street Christmas party.