Letting unemployment boom betrays the inner Thatcher in Boris Johnson.
Both share a political DNA worshipping the wealthy, hating regulations, disliking public services, shackling trade unions and bashing European neighbours.
The unprecedented coronavirus crisis may have forced free-marketeer Johnson to become temporarily a socialist, adopting the job-saving furlough scheme.
Labour and trade union leaders voiced support for an intervention as bold as Gordon Brown’s bank nationalisation because it was a Left-wing answer to a capitalist calamity.
Yet winding it up in a few months, allowing dole queues to stretch to lengths not seen since Margaret Thatcher dumped 3-million on the scrapheap in her 1980s carnage, would be Johnson’s tribute act to the callous lady.
The PM stating the nation can’t afford a scheme costing upwards of £100-billion during the emergency is looking at a problem from the wrong direction.
Labour Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has made a reasonable start in the post but she requires an iron fist in her velvet glove.
Britain can’t afford to allow unemployment to soar in the 2020s, discarding thousands of communities and hundreds of thousands of grafters – including the young whose livelihood will be blighted forever.
Thatcher threw away coal miners, shipyard and steel workers. Johnson’s ditching people in shops and the music industry, gyms and theatres.
Red wall Tories, nervous blue MPs in constituencies borrowed from Labour in England’s North and Midlands, quietly fret the charlatan who helped them win last year is this year signing their electoral death warrants.
Equally a Rishi Sunak basking in poll ratings superior to a line manager he dreams of supplanting in No 10 could quickly go from hero to zero.
The jobs-sized gaping hole in his financial package on Wednesday highlighted in advance by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady repeats the mistakes of Thatcher.
Johnson declaring there’ll be no return to David Cameron and Theresa May’s austerity is sophistry unless employment, particularly in sectors he’s shuttering or keeping barricading, is saved until “open as normal” signs hang in every window.
The paucity of Johnson’s ambition is clearer every day as the Great Betrayer strains to abandon policies which sustained incomes and jobs since March.
A radical leader would grasp far-reaching answers to build a fairer economy, introducing a universal basic income to abolish poverty and stride towards a four-day working week.
Tory business as usual, Johnson washing his hands as he jet fuels unemployment, is Thatcher without the handbag.
His fooling around, speaking in Greek and ruffling a blond mopp, fools nobody any more.