BORIS JOHNSON resembles a sleigh driver pursued by hungry wolves as he hurls red meat at snapping Tories.
He will tear up unpopular emergency laws, scrap barriers on foreign travel by half-term, force schools to stay open and veto vaccine passports.
“Christmas will come as usual this year,” said the health supremo — a promise Boris broke last year.
Most important of all, no more Covid house arrests. Unless things change, of course.
“I am not anticipating any more lockdowns,” said The Saj cautiously.
But do we seriously believe Boris will stand by while TV news bulletins film winter flu victims queuing in hospital corridors as they did before Covid was invented.
There is also a promise to open nightclubs to all, jabbed and unjabbed.
“We will not be going ahead with vaccine passports,” said Mr Javid.
In which case, why did vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi tell Parliament exactly the opposite two days earlier?
Boris’s credibility, always suspect, has taken a hammering in recent days.
Yesterday’s U-turns will do little to restore it.
Polls show a sharp slump in Tory ratings.
I am not anticipating any more lockdowns
Yet heavily-whipped MPs and ministers have remained loyal.
Plans to boost the NHS and social care are popular — the £1,000-a-year per head tax bills less so.
But the measures have some fans. Ex-Chancellor Norman Lamont, whose controversial tax rises put the UK economy back on track after the 1992
“Black Wednesday” crash, says the PM had no choice.
“He was bound to break those promises,” he tells me. “The backlog of millions of untreated patients is a potential catastrophe.
“As for social care, this was a promise the PM made because it is in a scandalous state. We have been through a Covid emergency.
“Borrowing is high. The national debt is huge.
“Rishi Sunak forced Boris to raise taxes rather than increase borrowing.”
Still, Lord Lamont shares fears that, without plans for serious reform, the NHS will squander the extra £36billion over three years, leaving social care in the lurch.
And there is no known plan. Many remember the £13.4billion of NHS debt simply written off last year by Javid’s disgraced predecessor Matt Hancock as Covid struck.
In addition there is the £400million PER MONTH to commandeer private hospitals during the pandemic.
Plans to boost the NHS and social care are popular — the £1,000-a-year per head tax bills less so
Most remained empty and unused.
Operations and tests were cancelled, boosting the 13million queue of untreated patients now forcing the Government to hike taxes.
The NHS is a cash-guzzling and virtually unaccountable bureaucracy.
The concept of eliminating waste and inefficiency is alien.
Even as Health Secretary, Sajid Javid has little say in how its £213billion-a-year budget is spent.
That colossal figure will rise remorselessly as a share of the UK budget through Boris’s premiership and beyond.
So it is surprising the Prime Minister is reportedly so jolly.
The reason is that his party whips have seen off troublesome Tories, some at Cabinet level.
Ministers have been kept in line by murmured reshuffle threats.
This week’s threatened backbench mutiny is likely to evaporate on the day.
And insiders believe the Government’s poll ratings will rise as
The NHS is a cash-guzzling and virtually unaccountable bureaucracy
Conservatives replace Labour as “the party of the NHS”.
Perhaps rashly, Boris is letting it be known he now aims to remain in
Downing Street for at least 11 years and beat Margaret Thatcher’s reign as PM.
It was her slogan, “Ten More Years”, that finished Maggie off.
Yet for all last week’s accusations of betrayal, Boris Johnson remains effectively unassailable.
There is no serious opposition — either from Labour or his own MPs.
The PM’s reputation for dithering has been transformed by a single act of political ruthlessness.
We are likely to see more like that.
I must find out what the odds are on BoJo for PM in 2031.
Worth a fiver.
Triumph for diversity
EMMA RADUCANU’s Grand Slam victory at Flushing Meadows was a once-in-a-lifetime sporting epic.
Emma’s dad is Romanian and her mother Chinese. She was born in Canada and speaks fluent Mandarin.
Her opponent, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, speaks English, French and Spanish.
Her mum is of Filipino descent and her dad is from Ecuador.
Brilliant umpire Marijana Veljovic is an English-speaking Serb.
A showcase triumph for global diversity, surely.