No petrol at the petrol stations, empty supermarket shelves, the corona infection numbers are exploding: Great Britain is increasingly being gripped by crises. The fear of winter chaos is growing.
The shock is still deep in the UK. Last Friday, a man stabbed the conservative politician David Amess several times during a citizens’ clinic, and the politician was brutally killed. The motive for the crime was apparently Islamist terror, according to the police, Amess was an accidental victim of the perpetrator. A shock for the whole country and for his family. Amess leaves behind a wife and five children.
This bloody act will change Great Britain, since then a debate about the safety of politicians has raged on the island. British MPs receive death threats again and again, and the number has risen rapidly in recent years. Amess was also threatened shortly before the murder, he had installed a security button next to his bed. Nonetheless, he stuck to his citizens’ office hours, an important British tradition for getting in touch with people as a politician.
It is precisely these contacts with citizens that are becoming more and more dangerous for politicians. MEPs have reported a massive increase in threats against them in recent years: British society is still divided, many people are angry. The consequences of leaving the EU have become increasingly catastrophic in recent months. In addition to the economic evil, the corona infections are also increasing rapidly, and there is growing concern among the population about renewed restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised the British a new golden age after Brexit. But now there are more and more people in his country who feel cheated by the Brexiteers. In the coming winter the collapse threatens, the current chaos threatens to worsen. And the prime minister seems to be increasingly losing control.
Economic vulnerability after Brexit
The promised Brexit utopia has meanwhile become a dystopia for many Britons. Angry drivers are fighting for fuel, there is a shortage of food in the supermarkets, and meat in particular is becoming scarce. The lack of truck drivers paralyzes entire value chains: chickens and pigs are stuck on farms because there is a lack of narcotics and processing personnel. Stores have to close because they are no longer receiving deliveries. Night clubs, for example, also have problems; they lack bouncers.
The economic problems have long determined the everyday life of the British population. The prices for many European imports have risen massively, and heating costs have almost doubled. That could force a million households to rely on blankets in the winter, according to a UK charity. The year in which people and businesses were to experience the benefits of a free, global UK has become a nightmare for many.
Specifically, the US news group “Bloomberg” still expects economic growth of 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, but with inflation of 3 percent by mid-2022.
Many problems, few measures
Boris Johnson promised that the economic situation would ease up by Christmas, but that is unlikely with government policies so far.
There are numerous problems:
- In October there will be over 10,000 Work visas awarded to foreign truck drivers and meat industry workers. The number of missing truck drivers is estimated at over 100,000 and the visas are only valid until February 2022. A short term is not very attractive for many foreign workers.
- The UK Government’s demand that companies shouldn’t cheap labor Employing from abroad sounds like mockery to many entrepreneurs in the short term. “To say that we need a well-paid and well-educated economy is good,” explains Nigel Upson, manager of a poultry business, to the news magazine “Der Spiegel”. “But what qualifications do you need to crate chicken in a box?”
- The British Supply lines turn out to be complicated and expensive after Brexit. For example, transporting a truckload of refrigerators from Italy to the UK costs almost 25 percent more than before Brexit.
- Deliveries to the Kingdom will be new from January 1, 2022 Customs controls exposed on the border with the European Union. From July 2022, tightened rules apply to food products bureaucratic rules and controls.
A lack of debate about the consequences of Brexit annoys more and more people in Great Britain. “What happens when a turning point is reached and the fact that people have been betrayed becomes obvious?” Asks journalist John Harris in one Column for the British newspaper “The Guardian”.
However, in the face of these problems, the UK government is acting cautiously. Prime Minister Johnson is sticking to his Brexit narrative, too loud criticism of Britain’s exit from the EU is considered undesirable in his cabinet. It is not the first time that Johnson does not seem to take a problem of this dimension seriously enough at first.
Playful lead when vaccinating
The Prime Minister also reacted hesitantly to the beginning of the corona pandemic. He did not want to jeopardize the country’s economic development by imposing a lockdown. So far, the virus has claimed almost 140,000 deaths, for comparison: in Germany it is a little more than 94,000.
Then Great Britain ignited the vaccination turbo, more than 60 percent of the population was vaccinated quickly and the government celebrated its “Freedom Day” on July 19 – the end of all Corona measures – and, for example, the final of the European Football Championship in the summer.
But the country gambled away its lead in the fight against the pandemic. In the meantime, the quota of fully vaccinated people is at the level of the Federal Republic (around 66 percent), but the earlier start of vaccination on the island actually requires early boosting of immunizations. That’s where the problem lies: only 41 percent of those who received their second vaccination more than six months ago have been vaccinated a second time.
New Corona variant in the country under observation
The UK now has a seven-day incidence of over 450 again, many Covid 19 diseases have mild courses, but due to the high number of new infections, the health system is again at its limit. Most recently, up to almost 50,000 new infections were registered every day. The number of daily hospital admissions is close to 1,000. The death rate on Tuesday, with 223 reported cases, was last seen in March.
The British Health Minister Sajid Javid warned in a press conference that the number of new infections every day could even rise to 100,000. With winter ahead, UK hospitals are sounding the alarm.
In addition, researchers are currently observing another corona variant in the country. One has the mutant called AY4.2 very closely in view, it said this week from the government seat Downing Street. The variant has two mutations that are already known from other versions of the coronavirus.
However, researchers have not yet assumed that the variant could be significantly more contagious than the previous delta variant – according to initial estimates, there is talk of a possibly ten percent higher transferability. At most, this could have triggered a small number of additional corona cases, said the biologist Francois Balloux from University College London. “That cannot have been the reason for the current surge in the number of cases in the UK.”
Johnsons “Plan B”
But regardless of what triggered the current corona wave, the British government refuses to take countermeasures. Health Minister Javid said that “at this point in time” it is still too early to justify a return to the corona rules that were abolished in July in the largest part of England.
However, there is also a so-called “Plan B” if the government feels compelled to act: This includes measures such as the wearing of masks or the obligation to provide evidence of vaccinations at major events. Despite demands from medicine and science, the decisive criterion of an unbearable pressure on the national health service NHS has not yet been reached, said Javid. Instead, efforts should now be stepped up to vaccinate as many people as possible. The British vaccination program is currently stalling, especially for young people and the elderly who are to receive a booster vaccination.
As in the economic crisis after Brexit, the corona pandemic becomes a problem for Great Britain that the British government is vehemently pursuing a political agenda from which it only slowly deviates in an absolute emergency. The Johnson administration stands for as few corona rules as possible and for a Brexit as a British success story – but that does not match reality. In doing so, the Prime Minister is not only risking a catastrophe in the coming winter, but also a great deal of anger, which is already being fueled by the current hardship in the country. An explosive mix.