HENRY DEEDES: All we got from Dominic Raab was fun-free gloom

HENRY DEEDES: All we got from Dominic Raab was fun-free gloom

Restock the drinks cabinet. Break out the emergency hair dye. 

Joe Wicks, if you’re listening, don’t let up on those burpees… yet. Fellow citizens, you ain’t going anywhere.

It’s official, people. Three more weeks of lockdown. Yup, that’s nearly another month of this carry-on and still no end in sight.

To be fair, Raab had endured a breakneck day. There had a been a Cabinet meeting that morning followed by a ‘virtual summit’ with G7 leaders

Dominic Raab announced the news at yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing. It was a gloomy, fun-free affair.

‘We still don’t have the infection down as far as we need to,’ Raab said to collective grumbles up and down the land.

But this was never going to be a decision for a mere acting Prime Minister to make. Lifting the lockdown will be Boris’s call.

Still, what we could have done with was hearing a bit of sunny uplands stuff, not least as the mood is that we might just be turning a corner. The NHS, we are told, is coping, the boffins acknowledge a levelling-off in infection. 

And so it might have been an idea to have been tossed a few sweeties, a glimpse into what relaxing current restrictions might entail. Instead, we got the usual spiel. ‘The worst thing we could do right now would be to ease up too soon,’ said Raab.

The NHS, we are told, is coping, the boffins acknowledge a levelling-off in infection. And so it might have been an idea to have been tossed a few sweeties, a glimpse into what relaxing current restrictions might entail. Instead, we got the usual spiel. A stock image is used above [File photo]

There was plenty of tea and sympathy, of course. He mentioned the elderly having to endure difficult conversations with their grandchildren, the parents struggling to manage home schooling and the millions who were anxious about their finances. ‘I get it,’ Raab assured us.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance flashed an encouraging slide that showed how the number of people occupying hospital beds with coronavirus was on the wane. 

This pleased him – and us – momentarily… until up popped another slide showing the number of deaths was still on the up.

Questions from the media focused on lifting lockdown restrictions. We didn’t learn much. The BBC asked why the Government couldn’t just share its thinking as to what comes next. 


Dominic Raab announced the news at yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing. It was a gloomy, fun-free affair. ‘We still don’t have the infection down as far as we need to,’ Raab said to collective grumbles up and down the land

Another man from Sky accused Raab and his Cabinet colleagues of absenting themselves from the debate.

Naturally, the acting PM felt both points were unfair. At one point his voice prickled a tad, as if desperate to impart he was merely minding the shop while the boss was away.

To be fair, Raab had endured a breakneck day. There had a been a Cabinet meeting that morning followed by a ‘virtual summit’ with G7 leaders. 

Moments before this briefing, he had overseen a meeting of Cobra. Considering his schedule, he was holding up pretty well.

Not so Matt Hancock, during a grumpy appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme. 

His mood soured when presenter Nick Robinson repeated some disparaging remarks that Government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson had made about the Government’s slow progress in decision-making. ‘Well, he’s advising government, he’s not IN government,’ huffed Hancock pulling rank.

Later, when Robinson deigned to interrupt, Hancock bit his head off. ‘Let me pleeeaaaase! Let me finish this answer!’ he hollered, his voice straining like a maths teacher lumbered with the thickos. 

Being radio, Robinson’s facial expression went unrecorded but, in these depressing times, I wouldn’t have begrudged him a faint smirk.

Lifting the lockdown will be Boris’s call. Still, what we could have done with was hearing a bit of sunny uplands stuff, not least as the mood is that we might just be turning a corner

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