NO wonder Boris Johnson is desperate for us to stop talking about Brexit.

Not so much the elephant in the room, more the family guest that upsets everyone and ruins get-togethers, from birthdays to Christmas. The bad smell that you can’t get out of your nose, the uneasy feeling that you can’t shake, the great black shadow over all our futures. Brexit.

Because Brexit and trust go together like some sort of reverse Morecambe and Wise, the not-so funny duo, the antithesis of national treasures, the big fat blot on the landscape. Like uttering the name “Macbeth” in the theatre, Johnson wants us to turn around three times to rid the jinx of his own making.

But he can’t escape this nemesis. Northern Ireland and the UK Government’s carelessness and hobnailed booted attitude followed the PM around the G7 summit like a trail of purple dye in the swimming pool. Not only is it ruining the UK and belittling relationships across the globe, as it was plain to see at the Cornwall capers, Brexit’s impact on international coherence was illustrated by this pusillanimous, pathetic, paltry agreement on vaccines.

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The whole point of the G7 is to show the world that the great and the self-appointed good of global powers can come together as a force for change and take big steps towards solving the massive crisis of our day. In 2021, these are clearly the pandemic and climate change.

The National:

While presidents Biden and Macron got cosy over their new special relationship, Johnson and Raab were only invited to the evening section of this wedding of powers, left out of the day-time celebrations because, well, they just aren’t important enough.

The year 2021 is pivotal in so many ways – pivotal because, to use that oft-repeated phrase, no-one is safe until we are all safe from Covid-19, and time on the doomsday clock is ticking on when it comes to protecting the planet and life as we know it. The UK, as hosts of this G7 and COP26 in Glasgow, were potentially this year’s movers and shakers, the hosts in a moment of history. It is a time for radical and ground-breaking action. However without trust, this cannot happen. Without a deep belief in the hosts’ own ability to make good on pledges and force real commitments, no-one else is willing to go the extra mile.

A week is a long time in politics, and it was only last week that Johnson pledged to vaccinate the whole world. Unfortunately, he may believe his own hype, but no-one else believes or trusts him. Beyond the PR releases, the hard reality is that only one billion of the 11 billion vaccines that the World Health Organisation recommended in order to protect 70% of the world’s population has actually been committed at G7. It seems that “vaccinating the world” has now been postponed until next year.

If you live in a low-income country, you just can’t afford to wait for the G7 to get its act together. Unicef have said that across Africa, if current vaccination trends continue, then it will be 2024 at the earliest before the continent reaches Western levels of protection. Meanwhile, more deaths, more mutations, and more possible lockdowns are inevitable. The world is on pause begging for global leadership.

Imagine what would be possible with real global leadership. Devote the rest of 2021 to the manufacture, distribution and deployment of vaccines on a global scale. Divert every resource, commandeer every patent, make vaccines, not bombs. Just imagine how good and how much safer that would make us feel.

Johnson has shown himself totally incapable of controlling the infection rate at home, making the same mistakes over and over again. Thus there was perhaps little realistic hope that he could motivate anyone else. The Delta variant is 62% more infectious and is now roaming around the UK looking for new victims on which to prey – all thanks to Johnson’s repeated failures.

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When history is written, the Cornish summit will be seen as the time of destiny – last chance saloon for the G7. It was the moment when leaders could have explained to the planet why collective action was required. It is enlightened self interest to use human science to protect humanity and to set a realistic timetable. However, the chance has come and perhaps gone. In retrospect, the PM was the last man the world needed to chair the crunch talks. He is totally incapable of it. And because of his refusal to honour treaties, he’s also incapable of galvanising trust required when it comes to demanding early action on vaccinating the world.

In response to the paltry vaccine agreement from the G7, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said: “We need more than that. We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy and we are still far from getting that.”

Unfortunately, when Johnson was in the room, logic, urgency and human priorities were nowhere to be seen – bluff, bluster and bragging are poor substitutes. And we are all the greater at risk because of that.