The recent ‘clarification’ letter to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee from the FCO Permanent Under-Secretary is deliciously obtuse and obfuscatory:
As David Allen Green suggests the prose is strangulated and he has obviously been ‘directed’ by Raab to issue the ‘clarification’, which manages actually to be nothing of the sort!
However, my purpose here is not so much to highlight this letter, entertaining though it is, but to point out yet another inconsistency in government policy.
Joint procurement with the EU of health service and carers’ personal protection equipment (PPE) is clearly a sensible idea – indeed Health Secretary Hancock has said it is difficult to purchase ‘at scale’ ( which actually goes to show that government thinking is as limited as it appears).
‘At scale’ is surely the very essence of joining with the EU for purchasing – as in the end, Hancock has said he will do.
So we join with the EU for Covid protection – eventually.
Will this be the same with the ending of transition on 31 December 2020? This is the moment that the UK falls out of the EU regime for licensing medicines (including any vaccines and drugs used to treat Covid-19) and medical devices (including ventilators, and PPE basic regulations themselves).
If that is the case, not only will government have to cope with a pandemic – but also with the new home based swashbuckling British licensing requirements.
Where are the staff?
I regret that it seems to me that our bureaucrats, which, as we have discovered in this letter, are usually reliable, woefully extended as they are in the current crisis, are highly unlikely to be able to cope.
Does our government have the population’s best interests at heart?
If not this is looking like a Johnson and Cummings government Brexit masterpiece – which is likely to harm us all…