Boris Johnson is delaying the inevitable again – and watching as Covid-19 surges | Polly Toynbee

The prime minister’s inadequate new measures are a product of his reckless nature. They endanger businesses – and lives

There’s so much deja vu, you have to pinch yourself. The difference in this particular version of Groundhog Day is that Boris Johnson learns nothing from his mistakes. Last time, lockdown came too late, thousands of lives might have been saved and delay only prolonged the outbreak. Yesterday, Rishi Sunak said, “We must learn to live without fear”, as he cast thousands of furloughed workers on to the mercies of universal credit.

The speed of rule-relaxing has led to dizzying and contradictory advice. It’s only a matter of weeks since Johnson was bullying people back to work in their offices, with the Telegraph darkly warning, “Go back to work or risk losing your job”, while pressure was put on civil servants to flock back to their offices, no matter how well they worked from home. Office workers, however, balked at putting the survival of Pret and Starbucks ahead of their own.

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