I DON'T normally respond to my critics. My view is everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how wrong-headed they are and I very much doubt there’s anything I can say to convince them to change their mind.

But when Ken Gough from Great Sankey suggested I could be Trump supporter because I appear to be refusing to accept the result of the EU referendum, a metaphorical line was crossed.

So for the sake of clarity, I’ll set the record straight.

There is one thing Ken got right, I am a Remainer and think we have done monumental self-harm in leaving the EU.

But despite all the lies we were pedalled in the run-up to the referendum, I am prepared to accept that we are where we are.

But assuming I’m a Labour supporter is just wrong. I will happily confess to slightly left-of-centre political sympathies but to extrapolate political affiliation from my criticisms of the current government somewhat misses the target.

I’m critical of the government not because it’s Tory but because it is dangerously, fatally useless. If it was Labour or the Lib Dems in power I would be just as critical if they had overseen one of the worst Covid-19 deaths per capita in the world coupled with one of the worst falls in GDP in the world.

The Conservative government, in its miserably inept attempt to balance the economy and public health, has demonstrably failed at both and tens of thousands of people have needlessly died as a result.

We are an island. We could have chosen to be like New Zealand or Taiwan. Instead we chose to be like America and Brazil. And make no mistake, this was a choice.

If Labour had given billions of pounds to its mates for PPE that didn’t work, I would have been critical. If Labour had put one of its peers in charge of a £22bn (yes billion) Test and Trace system that has never worked, I would have been critical.

If any other party had suggested that putting the economy ahead of public health and the welfare of its citizens by encouraging people to ‘eat out to help out’ I would have been critical.

I don’t care which party it was that said schools should stay open, allowed kids to go back for one day and then closed them the following day. It was the wrong decision.

Frankly the list of mistakes and missteps is almost endless.

And because I am criticising the actuality of the government’s actions, not the political philosophy, I see no contradiction in praising it for the steps it has taken in procuring vaccines.

I do wish we hadn’t left the EU but if we have been able to get so many vaccines so quickly because we’re not in the EU, so be it.

I have accepted we’ve left the EU so maybe the vaccines are the first sign of the sunlit uplands we were all promised.

But, Ken, I think there are a couple of things that really need pointing out. True enough, the government scrapped the five per cent VAT on female sanitary products because it’s no longer in the EU. What a pity it didn’t act sooner and scrap them years ago when Ireland did.

And of course, there are no lorry queues at the ports. In the first instance, haulage traffic is massively down.

And before those lorries ever reach the ports, they have been queued up at the inland customs clearance sites.

While we’re at it, how about rotting seafood on quays up and down the country that can’t be sold because of all the new restrictions caused by Brexit? But hey, at least they’re ‘our’ fish now.

One final point. A report on the website nurses.co.uk in November 2019 revealed the alarming statistic that more than 11,600 NHS staff from the EU left the health service in the three years since the Brexit vote, including 4,783 nurses.

So Ken, I’m banking on you to let us all know when we’ll get our Brexit bonus.