Political disaster looms set in as UK Prime Minister attempt to grip schools in the UK

Political disaster looms set in as UK Prime Minister attempt to grip schools in the UK

Political disaster looms set in as UK Prime Minister attempt to grip schools in the UK

Political disaster looms set in as United Kingdom Prime Minisy Boris Prime Johnson Minister attempted to grip schools in the UK. Even the standards of a world leader navigating a pandemic, Johnson has had a tumultuous 2020. The UK's P.M returned to work on Monday, having spent a week on vacation with his fiancée and baby in Scotland. In that time he'll have had the chance to reflect on his extraordinary year to date, in which he took yiis country out of the European Union, got divorced, got engaged, got Covid-19 so badly he was taken to intensive care, had a baby and endured months of criticism over his handling of coronavirus.

The return of students to universities could pose a particular risk, said Rob Ford, professor of politics at the University of Manchester. "It will be a miracle if we don't have a major shutdown within a month of the university term starting," he said. "Around 500,000 students traveling from all over the country to mix with each other in high-density student housing and campuses."

Supporters of the government claim that it is essential for the UK economy, which contracted by 20% in the last quarter, to open up again. But health experts worry about the consequences. "If we go back to the same level of contact that we had in March then we will go back to the same level of epidemic growth," Graham Medely, professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said.

This would be politically difficult for the government to handle. "It's quite possible we will need another round of extremely interventionist lockdowns, and in the six-month gap from the first lockdown, they have thrown away good will by looking like an incompetent shambles," said Ford.

  • Brexit challenges ahead

Another challenge in the fall is the rush for the UK to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. While both sides are committed to reaching an agreement, talks have not progressed significantly in some time. The current transition period with the EU expires on December 31.

Johnson, of course, led the campaign to leave the EU in 2016, resigned from Theresa May's government over what he called the softness of her Brexit policy, and ran his leadership campaign on a promise of taking a harder line with Brussels.A UK government source, not authorized to speak on the record said  that while a deal "can be done" by early October -- the absolute latest date in the eyes of the UK  but that "doesn't mean it will." The source added that Brussels' negotiators still didn't really understand the UK's position and that lack of process and a ticking clock meant the mood was gloomier than in previous rounds.

Of course, it could be the case that schools and universities reopen without a hitch and the economy starts to bounce back. The gloom around Brexit talks could be laying the ground for a stunning breakthrough. It is entirely possible that Johnson ends the year with his Brexit deal and the country on its way out of the pandemic, head held high.

Or everything might go wrong. "A spike in the virus, Brexit talks going badly, schools and universities having to shutdown, all of these things combined would create a tornado for the government," said Ford. "And if they handle these crises as incompetently as they've handled nearly everything else, the opposition just needs to start back and let them get on with trashing their credibility."

Either way, the next four months will not be easy for Johnson. Even if everything goes the way he wants, so much of how that happens is out of the Prime Minister's hands. And if the worst-case scenario comes true, he might be faced with the unenviable reality of having to make some tough decisions as to how Brits will be allowed to celebrate the Christmas period.

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