MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Enjoy your holiday, Boris Johnson – you have some mighty battles ahead

The Mail on Sunday fervently believes that at this time of year our Prime Minister needs and deserves a break by the warm blue Mediterranean Sea in the sunshine – as do we all. 

Alas for him and us, his Ministers have made such a mess out of the travel and quarantine rules that no wise spin doctor would let him do this.

But wherever he does eventually choose to pitch his deckchair and relax this summer, the PM’s mind will need to turn to the busy months that lie ahead, once he has taken a much-needed – and hopefully undisturbed – rest.

There are mighty challenges on the horizon.

If, as we all so very much hope, we have seen the back of the worst effects of Covid, September will be the first proper chance for Boris Johnson to show us what his premiership is all about.

The past 18 months have been almost like wartime, with all other arguments, controversies and activities put to one side as the nation faces one huge and unignorable problem. 

The Mail on Sunday fervently believes that at this time of year our Prime Minister needs and deserves a break by the warm blue Mediterranean Sea in the sunshine – as do we all

It is as if the country has been smothered by the urgent demands of the State, whose interventions in all our private lives have been so profound that we have ceased to think much about any other issue.

But now this period seems to be over. We can leave our homes, meet who we like, travel reasonably freely inside our own country and – under restrictions – to some of the rest of the world. And the all-powerful words ‘Don’t you know there’s a pandemic on?’ can no longer be used to stifle discontent about anything else.

We need to throw all that off, resume our lives, start going to work again, start thronging our high streets, for our own sakes, for the economy’s sake and so for the sakes of our fellow citizens.

Civil society, adversarial argument, parliamentary opposition and general lively disagreement must and will begin again. So we must all resume several major debates, vital to the future of the country.

The question of social care must at last be resolved. With our large ageing population, the present arrangements are intolerable and unsustainable, and the nettle has to be grasped.

The enormous growth of NHS waiting lists, for non-Covid complaints, during the pandemic, must also be tackled.

Of course we all care for our common planet, but a Tory Government should be careful not to use this as an excuse to bully us into ill-conceived and overly expensive green schemes that risk annoying normal people and will only end by transferring pollution, as well as prosperity, from the UK to China and India.

Meanwhile there are the great issues of levelling up, ending the neglect of our former industrial areas. A sensible compromise must be found between the need for new housing and the duty to preserve our countryside. Every effort must be made to bring illegal migration, especially across the Channel, under control.

The pursuit of new trade agreements has to be stepped up. And it is time the Conservative and Unionist Party gave proper attention to the defence of the United Kingdom against those who wish to break it up.

Enjoy your well-deserved break, Prime Minister. But come back ready and armed for battle.

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