John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for January, 2021

|

The British public are careful and calm – the problem is that the government isn’t | John Harris

Monday, January 18th, 2021

A view of people as rule-breaking chancers is being used as a distraction from the Conservatives’ failures. They mustn’t get away with it

This is what a true crisis feels like. The UK has now recorded more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus and, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser, the daily toll will continue to be awful “for some weeks”. Our capital city is so overrun that Covid patients are being moved to intensive care units hundreds of miles away, and across England nearly 4.5 million people are now waiting for operations.

A test-and-trace system that was meant to be “world-beating” is almost irrelevant; we now learn that the £78m plan for daily mass testing in English schools has not been approved by the agency that oversees medicines and health products. Vaccinations will eventually ease the situation, but everywhere else you look, there are government blunders, delays and failures which – in a more predictable world – would already have had huge political consequences.

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

You don’t have to be a lockdown sceptic to worry about how Covid is being policed | John Harris

Sunday, January 10th, 2021

All the ‘tough’ talk ignores who is always targeted in such crackdowns, and those who still need help

The lockdown sceptics, it seems, are in abeyance. Opportunistic media voices who made a habit of denying the necessity of restrictions and the severity of the pandemic are still here, but noticeably quieter. Only 16 MPs, split between the Tories and the Democratic Unionist party, voted against the government’s latest measures. Bursts of dissent about restrictions and the truth of the virus itself will doubtless continue, as proved by the awful spectacle of those people outside London hospitals, seemingly dragged from the subterranean depths of social media into the everyday world, chanting “Covid is a hoax!” But with the crisis entering this new, frightening stage, the mood has inevitably changed.

At the same time, many things that ought to jangle our nerves are as clear now as they were in 2020. The Johnson government has an awful attitude to basic parliamentary scrutiny – and, in Priti Patel, a home secretary who draws on a deep well of authoritarianism and nastiness. Its current Covid regulations are so complicated that they are reckoned to stretch to just under 50,000 words, which makes any coherent understanding of them, let alone questions of enforcement, much more difficult than many people realise.

Related: How the British government is trying to crush our right to protest | Gracie Mae Bradley

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

‘Open all schools!’ ‘Close all schools!’ What England really needs is creative thinking | John Harris

Monday, January 4th, 2021

The pandemic has sparked a shouting match. Instead we should be working out how to keep everyone in education safe

The crisis enveloping schools, and the noisy resentment it has sparked, reflect just about every aspect of England’s Covid-19 story. The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has taken the government’s grim mixture of arrogance and incompetence to new depths. When Boris Johnson was interviewed by Andrew Marr today it was striking to see so much of the conversation devoted to schools, but there was a wearying familiarity to the vagueness of the prime minister’s position on urgent issues. The fact that there is no clear line even on the proposed opening of all schools in England a fortnight from now hardly answers people’s need for clarity and leadership.

Yet again councils, who are only too aware of local realities, have objected to edicts from Whitehall. In London, boroughs that rejected the demand that their primary schools open on 4 January forced yet another government U-turn. Meanwhile, as concerns grow about the new variant spreading via schools, talk of “a switch to online learning” is now common – yet this could exacerbate many hard realities that have emerged during the pandemic. For plenty of families, “connectivity” amounts to a pay-as-you-go smartphone running on a mobile network; in millions of cases, remote learning is a completely vain hope.

Related: The government has pitted England’s schools against health. It didn’t have to | James McAsh

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Fear, mistrust – and hope: Britain’s long walk away from the EU

Friday, January 1st, 2021

For many, Friday marks a departure as mind-boggling as it is heartbreaking. But the path to Brexit was laid years before the referendum

As a previous Tory prime minister trying to find his way through difficult times once said: this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Brexit is hardly complete. The last-minute nature of the UK’s trade deal with the EU and the fact that it barely covers whole swaths of the economy – financial services are a good example – means some negotiations will have to grind on. The new bodies set up to arbitrate between the two sides will soon have work to do. Northern Ireland remains part of the single market for goods and will be enforcing EU customs rules, the most vivid example of the deal’s contorted provisions, which may have no end of political consequences. Certainly, given that public opinion in Scotland now suggests unprecedented levels of support for independence and that elections to the Scottish parliament will take place in May, what Brexit means for the increasingly fragile union between the UK’s four countries will now start to become clearer.

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

|

John Harris is powered by WordPress 2.8.4 Entries (RSS) Comments (RSS). Designed by Hywel Harris

ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galactic Elite W Blanc Cheap Womens AF Sublimation Graphic Tee 2016 Adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave Shoes Sale Mens AF Active Running Shorts Online ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Vivid Mint F14 Mens AF Washed Out Tee AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Court Star Slim W Sale Mens AF Classic Taper Pants Online Adidas Running adizero XT 5 Shoes Cheap Womens AF Textured Open Cardigan 2016 Mens AF Varsity Logo Cardigan AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Zx 700 W Sabpou Sabpou Noiess Mens AF Striped Icon Henley AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Earth Green S13 Tech Grey Met S14 Solar Pink Mens AF Premium Utility Jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Response Aspire Str W Running White Ftw Pink Buzz S10 Light Grey Sale Mens AF Denim Joggers Online ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball W Noiess Ormeta Nuiflu Mens AF Quilted Bomber jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Tech Super W NOIR NOIR ROSSOL Mens AF Classic Chambray Shirt AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Bankshot 2 0 W Aluminum 2 Aluminum 2 Chalk 2 Mens AF Rib-Trim Crew Sweater AF 2016 Adidas Women adidas Neo Zip Fleece Hoodie New Womens AF High Rise Cropped Flare Sateen Pants 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Glow S14 New Womens AF Denim Mini Skirt 2016 Adidas Men Originals Plimcana 2 0 Low Shoes New Womens AF Lace Midi Skirt 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Noiess Noiess Rosflu Men Running adizero Tempo Boost 7 Shoes ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball Up W Noiess Noiess Ftwbla ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galaxy W Neon Pink Metallic Silver Black 1 Men Running Springblade Ignite Shoes