Dr Philippa Whitford: Goodbye to Boris Johnson after tsunami of exits

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Commentators often refer to the ‘cut and push’ of politics but the last few days have taken things to the extreme!

As I write, Boris Johnson has finally accepted the inevitable and agreed to step down as leader of the Conservative Party, following a tsunami of resignations from ministers and government aides, including some of his closest allies.

He plans to remain in office as Prime Minister until the fall, clearly hoping to use the summer to leave some kind of legacy that is not tainted by scandal and corruption, but there is undoubtedly a wave of opinion, especially among its own deputies. , that he must leave now before more damage is done.

The race to replace him seems to have already begun but I have no hope that his replacement will provide better leadership; after all, many of those with ambitions to replace him put Johnson in office, despite knowing his appalling record, and backed him for months to defend the indefensible through all the scandals.

In the end, they didn’t resign out of integrity, but because he had clearly grown fearful he would seek to overthrow the entire government around him by calling a general election – something everyone fears.

In his desperation to cling to power, he has sought to rally the support of his Brexiteer backbench MPs by battling with the EU by introducing a Northern Ireland Protocol Amendment Bill, an element core of the EU withdrawal agreement.

It’s the very protocol he took credit for during his 2019 election campaign to “get Brexit done”.

As I pointed out when I spoke in the debate, this will not only breach international law, but will ignore the views of the majority of Northern Irish people, who support the protocol.

Recent data shows that the majority of businesses have adapted to it and that Northern Ireland’s economy outperforms Britain’s due to the dual advantage of being able to trade freely with the EU and with the rest of the world. UK.

This is the kind of relationship the Scottish government offered, to at least partially respect Scotland’s vote to stay in the EU, but the request was turned down.

Today, not only outside the EU, but also outside the single market, we have seen a significant drop in our exports and whole industries are in trouble. No individual bilateral trade deal can replace the benefits of being part of the world’s largest trading bloc and some experts suggest Brexit is the main driver of the cost of living crisis.

It’s a harsh reality, and one that the Scots didn’t choose. I am happy that the wheels are now in motion to give Scotland the chance to take control of its own future, so that we are no longer subject to the disastrous decisions of Westminster governments that we did not vote for, including this current group of charlatans.

Elsewhere, to mark the first Manufacturing Day, I was delighted to visit Glennon Brothers in Troon Harbor for a site visit and to hear how Brexit and the pandemic have affected the business as well as developments to make the more sustainable site.

The site employs over 200 people in their sawmill, which is one of the largest in the UK, their Timberframe construction unit and combined heat and power plant which uses wood waste. There has been a lot of investment since my last visit, especially to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste, and it was great to hear more about their drive for greater sustainability.

Finally, although I haven’t spoken about Covid for some time, the Office of National Statistics’ random sampling program suggests that cases have doubled in Scotland, with almost one in 15 Scottish residents currently infected by the virus.

While I would have liked to see more progress in improving indoor air quality through ventilation, we can all still take a little more care to protect ourselves and those around us who are vulnerable, wearing masks in indoor public spaces and washing our hands regularly.


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