Ferdinand Mount and Thatcher

Ferdinand Mount, head of the Number Ten Policy Unit under Margaret Thatcher in 1982-83, in the London Review of Books on 2nd July:

It has been painful to watch the steadiness and sombre dignity of the first ministers of the devolved parliaments – notably Nicola Sturgeon – and then turn to the slapdash boosterism of Johnson and his associates, many of whom seem to have caught his feckless tone as well as his frightful virus. It is jarring to hear ministers claim that they are ‘proud of our achievements’ in the middle of a pandemic which has cost, so far, more than fifty thousand lives. The world’s second highest death rate per capita – wow, that’s really something. Bolsonaro, Trump and Johnson: these are men you wouldn’t put in charge of containing an outbreak of acne.

In a piece saturated with contepmt for Johnson, Mount writes:

There have been at least three key moments in the government’s handling of the pandemic when Johnson made the wrong decision in what looks like unbridled panic: the initial failure to lock down quickly, then the abandonment of any effort to track and trace, and finally the failure to quarantine travellers from abroad until long after the virus had passed its peak. There is nothing novel or obscure about the measures the government failed to take. They have been recommended for the containment of plagues since the Middle Ages.