Thursday, February 03, 2022

Bona PPE

For  my sins, I was watching Boris Johnson on PMQs at lunchtime and I was particularly intrigued when the passive aggressive narcissist said - as if it was some sort of definitive put down - he had found a letter from the shadow chancellor from April 2020 suggesting that PPE could be "secured from a theatrical costumier" as if this was a ridiculous idea. I wish I could see the letter because it is not a ridiculous idea, it is a good idea.

PG spent his life in the theatre, and I distinctly remember him telling me early in this national calamity that there was a world class industry in this country that could potentially make an enormous contribution to supplying PPE. Guess what it was? The men and women, the talent, the skill, the infrastructure and the experience of supplying what actors and actresses "wear" in films, on television and in the theatre (an industry worth billions remember). At first I thought he was off his head, but gradually he convinced me. "How many medical grade masks a day do you think the Star Wars crew at Pinewood could pump out", he said "if they can dress hundreds of stormtroopers in full body armour."

I think Rachel Reeves' letter, very far from deserving BoJo's scorn, might have been prescient and practical. Though obviously responding to the Prime Minister's cheap shot shouldn't be a priority I hope the opposition won't let it lie. In general, who would you rather have run something Dido Harding or Cameron Mackintosh? Who would be most likely to deliver when the chips are down?

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