Council lockdown powers are just another way for Boris Johnson to pass the blame when things go wrong

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

We’re going to be hearing a lot about local lockdowns in the weeks and months to come. Leicester’s will not be the last imposed with the aim of keeping a cluster of Covid-19 contained.

If they prove effective, such targeted actions are obviously better than the nationwide snooze we’ve been living through since the end of March.

With this in mind, something unusual has happened. Local councils have been handed new powers. They will be able to close some premises, shut down outdoor spaces, cancel events if the virus starts to rage in their localities.

Sharing power with anyone is a highly unusual occurrence under Boris Johnson and his puppet master Dominic Cummings.

Their fondness for the idea of ruling by decree is well known. Their high handed treatment of the devolved administrations may yet blow up the United Kingdom. The sinister plans in the Tory manifesto to torch even the limited checks and balances that exist to restrain them under Britain’s creaking constitution are there for all to see in black and white.

Airplanes of the Scandinavian Airshow draw a heart in the sky, above the Turning Torso building in Malmo, Sweden

TT News Agency/Reuters

2/50 16 July 2020

Farmers protest outside the Indonesian Parliament against the cancellation of an ‘omnibus bill’ that aims to revise dozens of existing laws to ease the way for investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy in Jakarta

Reuters

3/50 15 July 2020

Flooding in Sunamganj. Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade

AFP via Getty

4/50 14 July 2020

Second Republican infantry guard regiment take part in the annual Bastille Day military ceremony on the Place de la Concorde in Paris

AFP via Getty

5/50 13 July 2020

A man walks his dog through thick sea foam blowing ashore during a storm in Seapoint, Cape Town, South Africa

EPA

6/50 12 July 2020

Security forces on the outskirts of Amritsar take part in Van Mahotsav, an annual tree-planting festival in India

AFP via Getty

7/50 11 July 2020

People covered with coloured powder enjoy music during the Holi festival in Minsk, Belarus

EPA

8/50 10 July 2020

A demonstrator during clashes following the funeral of 29-year-old Palestinian Ibrahim Abou Yacoub, who was killed by Israeli forces, in the village of Kifl Hares, south of the West Bank city of Nablus

AFP via Getty

9/50 9 July 2020

The sun rises in Timmendorfer Strand, northern Germany

AP

10/50 8 July 2020

Portraits of healthcare workers are pasted on the Opera Bastille, designed by Anne-Christine Poujoulat, to pay tribute to caregivers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Paris

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty

11/50 7 July 2020

Tengger tribe people make their way to the summit of Mount Bromo volcano to make offerings in Probolinggo, as part of the Yadnya Kasada Festival. The Tenggerese climb the active volcano to seek the blessing from the main deity by presenting offerings of rice, fruit, livestock and other items

AFP via Getty

12/50 6 July 2020

A healthcare worker checks the temperature of residents during a check-up campaign in Mumbai, India

Reuters

13/50 5 July 2020

People wearing protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus sit at a bus stop in the city of Zanjan, Iran

AP

14/50 4 July 2020

Protesters blocking an exit to the precinct of the officers who arrested Elijah McClain, cover their ears anticipating the use of flash-bang grenades by police in Aurora, Colorado

Reuters

15/50 3 July 2020

A member of the Israeli border police jumps during a Palestinian protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, in Kafr Qaddum near Nablus

Reuters

16/50 2 July 2020

A surfer jumps clear of his board while enjoying winter waves at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch, New Zealand

AP

17/50 1 July 2020

A man is detained by riot police during a demonstration in Hong Kong. China imposed a new national security law which has faced international condemnation

Getty

18/50 30 June 2020

A man smokes a pipe while wearing a face mask during a demonstration in Nantes, as part of a nationwide day of protests to demand better working conditions for health workers in France

AFP via Getty

19/50 29 June 2020

Lawmakers from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party scuffle with people from the main opposition Kuomintang party, who have been occupying the Legislature Yuan, in Taipei

Reuters

20/50 28 June 2020

Protester holds crosses during a demonstration in honour of the victims of coronavirus in front of Brazil’s National Congress

Getty

21/50 27 June 2020

A demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a sign during a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the Victory column in Berlin

Reuters

22/50 26 June 2020

Hygienists inside a decontamination area in a coronavirus treatment centre that cares for positive patients that show little or no symptoms in Dakar

AFP via Getty

23/50 25 June 2020

A seagull snatches a croissant from a buffet during a press conference at the headquarters of AP Moeller – Maersk in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty

24/50 24 June 2020

A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker during the country’s first human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against coronavirus, at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa

Reuters

25/50 23 June 2020

Swiss acrobat Ramon Kathriner performs during the “Glacier 3000” Air show, an event marking the reopening of the Alpine facilities above Les Diablerets

AFP via Getty

26/50 22 June 2020

A worker cleans volcanic ash off the stupas at the Borobudur temple in Indonesia, a day after Mount Merapi erupted in nearby Sleman, sending a plume of ash into the sky

AFP via Getty

27/50 21 June 2020

Aerial view of a burial at the Vila Formosa cemetery during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 21, 2020. – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 464,423 people worldwide since the outbreak began in China last December, being Brazil Latin America’s worsthit country with 49,976 deaths from 1,067,579 cases.

AFP via Getty

28/50 20 June 2020

National Guards form a line in front of “Black Lives Matter” protestors in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Donald Trump was holding a campaign rally

AFP via Getty

29/50 19 June 2020

Nurses, doctors, midwives and health care workers attend the fourth Zumba dance session organised by the Nursing Council of Kenya at Kenyatta stadium where screening booths and an isolation field hospital have been installed. The dance sessions have been organised to re-energise and uplift health care providers sprits during this pandemic

AFP via Getty

30/50 18 June 2020

Alpha jets from the French Air Force Patrouille de France and the Royal Air Force Red Arrows perform a flypast over the statue of Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris to celebrate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader’s appeal to the French people to resist the Nazi occupation, broadcast from London

Reuters

31/50 17 June 2020

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion movement block a street outside the German Automobile industry association during a protest in Berlin

AFP via Getty

32/50 16 June 2020

Barbers wearing protective suits and face masks inside a salon in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Reuters

33/50 15 June 2020

Siegfried White raises his hand as he protests outside a burned Wendy’s restaurant on the third day following Rayshard Brooks death. The black man was shot by police in the car park in Atlanta. The mayor ordered immediate police reforms on Monday after the fatal shooting by a white officer

AFP via Getty

34/50 14 June 2020

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest march in central Tokyo

AFP via Getty

35/50 13 June 2020

Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Paris, France. The march was organised by supporters of Assa Traore, whose brother Adama died in police custody in 2016, in circumstances that remain unclear

EPA

36/50 12 June 2020

A pro-democracy supporter shouts at riot police during an anti-national security law rally in Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China. Protesters heeded online calls to gather as the city marks the one-year anniversary of the major clashes between police and pro-democracy demonstrators over the controversial extradition bill

Getty

37/50 11 June 2020

A section of the River Spree next to the Reichstag building coloured green by activists from “Extinction Rebellion” to protest the German government’s coal policies in Berlin

AFP via Getty

38/50 10 June 2020

A woman poses in front of a decapitated statue of Christopher Columbus at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston Massachusetts. The statue’s head, damaged overnight, was recovered by the Boston Police Department, as a movement to remove statues commemorating slavers and colonisers continues to sweep across the US

AFP via Getty

39/50 9 June 2020

Ivy McGregor, left, reads a resolution during the funeral for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston. George Floyd is being laid to rest in his hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism

AFP via Getty

40/50 8 June 2020

People raise their fist and stand on their knees as they demonstrate in Nantes, during a Black Lives Matter protest

AFP via Getty

41/50 7 June 2020

A woman looks on during a protest against the killing of George Floyd in Osaka city, western Japan

EPA

42/50 6 June 2020

Demonstrator raise their fists at the Lincoln Memorial during a protest against police brutality and racism in Washington, DC. Demonstrations are being held across the US following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, while being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota

AFP via Getty

43/50 5 June 2020

A handout photo made available by 2020 Planet Labs shows an aerial view of the large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk in the Arctic. Russia has managed to contain a massive diesel spill into a river in the Arctic, a spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry told AFP. Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place last May 29, was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region

Planet Labs Inc./AFP via Getty

44/50 4 June 2020

Activists hold a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong, after the annual vigil, that traditionally takes place in the park to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, was banned on public health grounds because coronavirus

AFP via Getty

45/50 3 June 2020

A visitor walks in Odaiba as the sun sets in Tokyo

AP

46/50 2 June 2020

Activists of the Socialist Unity Centre of India shout slogans in Ahmedabad in solidarity with protests against the recent killing of George Floyd

AP

47/50 1 June 2020

Activists take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Zurich after the recent death of George Floyd

EPA

48/50 31 May 2020

A black man and a white woman hold their hands up in front of police officers in downtown Long Beach during a protest against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Protests sweeping the United States over the death of George Floyd reverberated on the other side of the globe when thousands marched in solidarity on the streets of New Zealand

AFP via Getty

49/50 30 May 2020

Police officers are seen amid tear gas as protesters continue to rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Reuters

50/50 29 May 2020

A boy holds a sign as refugees protest outside the UNHCR offices against a government decision that they should leave their accommodation provided through European Union and UNHCR funds by the end of May, in Athens, Greece

Reuters

Nothing is the government’s fault. Everything is down to someone else’s foul up, whether that’s a quango (created to take tough decisions ministers want to avoid taking themselves), the EU (which they’re still going to find a way to blame for anything they can), or local councils.

Giving the latter new powers also gives them new responsibilities while opening up the opportunity for the government to land the liability for anything that goes wrong on the steps of the town hall.

Cluster in Tolford? Yes it’s terrible, I know. But we gave the council the powers to shut stuff down and they didn’t do it. I suggest you contact them if you’ve got any questions.

Business gone kaput in locked down Lamworth? I think you should ask them about why they jumped the gun and shut the place down before they needed to. We know. It’s a mess. But local councils, eh, what can you do? Next time we’ll keep things in Whitehall!

The government is still retaining the power to jump in and impose lockdowns of its own bat if it feels the need, if Tadford’s refusal to act was because council leader Harry Fellows is a canny operator, was around Oxford when Johnson and the other Bullingdon boys were raising hell, knows the way he operates and understands what a political trap looks like.

Otherwise, here lies a marvellous opportunity for Johnson and co to put the sort of failings that have seen a 20 point poll lead going up in smoke because 55,000 British people have died from Covid-19 and maybe half of them could have been saved, on someone else’s shoulders.

And if it’s a Labour council on the wrong side of a row? Well that’s just gravy.

Read more

Mental illness will be the second pandemic, but there’s no plan

The Tories will have to raise taxes. When will Rishi Sunak admit it?

Tearing down the Colston statue is just the start

Things won’t ‘go back to normal’ until the public feels safe

50 show all

Source Article