Nigel Farage, who recently repurposed his Brexit Party to challenge the UK’s handling of the pandemic, says that the rollout of vaccines needs fresh thinking from outside the government.
Leading the vaccine rollout, Farage suggested, could be none other than a long-standing political nemesis: former prime minister Tony Blair.
“Much as I don’t like Tony Blair, he does get things done, he does command respect, he is seriously bright,” said Farage in a Jan. 4 video posted to Twitter.
Farage noted that the former prime minister had pushed for a change in approach to the rollout of first and second vaccine jabs, which was later adopted by the government.
In November, Farage and the Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice announced they were repurposing the party to challenge government policy on pandemics, including the use of lockdown measures.
After the announcement of a third national lockdown in England yesterday, however, Farage said he was resigned to it happening.
“It does seem to me that lockdown doesn’t really work, because it isn’t stopping the virus,” he said. “But the fact is, there’s nothing any of us can say or do about this lockdown that is going to make any difference. Their minds are made up. They believe this is the right strategy.”
When it comes to the challenge of rolling out 2 million vaccines a week, Farage suggested that placing the responsibility in the hands of the NHS and quangos wasn’t the best approach.
“We’re in a national crisis, no one can deny that, this is a very serious national crisis. And that means you’ve got to think differently. It’s not 1941, it’s not a war, but it is a time to have a government … who’ve got genuine talent, even if they disagree on many other policy matters.”
Farage suggested that Blair would be an ideal person for such a role.
“Why not get people like Tony Blair involved to help us solve a national crisis. We have got, absolutely got, to up the pace of vaccinations,” he said.
“I do not agree with so much of what Tony Blair stood for: not just Iraq, Europe, many other things. But you know something, it was Tony Blair that made those arguments about the vaccine. It was Tony Blair that said, ‘Give one jab to each person, not two, and we can then get a bigger part of the population dealt with quickly. It was Tony Blair advocating not hundreds but thousands of centres where we can get people to get the vaccine.”