A transcript of Boris Johnson’s speech with just a few tweaks . . .
WHEN we set out on our roadmap to perpetual frustration a few months ago, we were determined not to make any progress for fear that the progress might then have to be reversed. And step by step – thanks to the enormous gullibility of the British people and the unworkable demands we have made on UK businesses – we now have one of the most fragile economies and societies in this part of the world.
As we have always known and as the February roadmap explicitly predicted, these damaging lockdown restrictions have been accompanied by more infection and more hospitalisation. But we must be clear that we cannot simply eliminate lockdown – we must learn to live with it. With every day that goes by we are more conditioned by the media frenzy and we are better able to live this absurd existence.
Vaccination greatly reduces transmission and two doses provide a very high degree of protection against serious illness and death. But there are still millions of younger adults who were never at risk from the virus and many of whom have probably already had it anyway. We must now wait for these groups to have a tokenistic jab before life can return to normal. Sadly a proportion of the elderly and vulnerable may still succumb even if they have had two jabs because paradoxically this might not provide a very high degree of protection against serious illness and death, despite what I said just a minute ago. This proportion might be either high or low depending on whether we are trying to promote lockdown or vaccination at any given point in time.
That is why we are so pleased about the Delta variant which is now spreading faster than the third wave predicted in the February roadmap. We’re seeing cases growing by about 64 per cent per week, and in the worst affected areas, it’s doubling every week. The average number of people being admitted to hospital in England has increased by 50 per cent week on week, and by 61 per cent in the North West, which may be the shape of things to come. This is very good news indeed, as we are finding it increasingly difficult to justify lockdown by citing numbers of deaths. This remorseless crusade must continue and even if the link between infection and hospitalisation is tenuous we will continue to exploit it. Even if the link between hospitalisation and death is almost non-existent, I’m afraid that I will have to mention it anyway just so I can use the word ‘death’ in a sentence again.
And so we have faced a very difficult choice. We can simply keep going with all of Step Four on June 21st even though there is a real possibility that this would upset members of Sage, the NHS and millions of hysterical hypochondriacs throughout the UK. Or else we can once again allow the NHS, Sage and hypochondriacs to dictate government policy. As I have said before on many occasions throughout the last fourteen months, it is just a few more crucial weeks. This time it will be to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who do not need them. And since today I cannot say that we have met all four vague tests for proceeding with Step Four, I do think it is completely predictable that we will now wait just a little longer.
By Monday July 19th we will aim to have double-jabbed around two thirds of the adult population including everyone over fifty, all the vulnerable, all the front-line health and care workers and everyone over forty who received their first dose by mid-May. To do this we will now accelerate our propaganda campaign and our threats of ostracisation for the non-vaccinated – so they get maximum intimidation as fast as possible.
And we will bring forward our target to give every adult in this country a first dose by July 19th, that is including young people over the age of eighteen, with twenty-three and twenty-four-year-olds invited to book jabs from tomorrow – so we reduce the risk of transmission among groups that are in no danger from it. And to give the NHS everything they demand we will hold off Step Four openings until July 19. There will be an exception for weddings that can still go ahead with more than thirty guests provided no one has any fun, unlike the glorious wedding Carrie and I recently enjoyed at Westminster Cathedral. The same exception will apply to wakes but comforting grieving relatives at these events is a no-no. And we will continue the pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances. We need to ensure that football fans are not antagonised in any way and we also need to keep Andrew Lloyd Webber on our side. We will monitor the position every day and if after two weeks we have not been able to conjure up any more variants we reserve the remote possibility of proceeding to Step Four and full opening sooner.
As things stand – and on the basis of the evidence I can see right now – I am confident we will not need any more than four weeks to come up with our next excuse to go beyond July 19th. It is unmistakably clear the vaccines may or may not be working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than anything we can compare it to.
But now is the time to ease off the accelerator because to quote a personal hero of mine, ‘We need a futile gesture at this stage.’ By being cautious now we have the chance – in the next four weeks – to get that little bit closer to the inevitable autumn lockdown. And once the remaining adults of this country have been pointlessly vaccinated, which is what we can achieve in a short space of time, we will be in a far stronger position to make further demands on them, to cast blame on the unvaccinated, to live with lockdown and to complete our cautious but irreversible roadmap to dystopia.
This article first appeared in Lockdown Satire on June 15, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.