Sunday Blog 10: April 12 2020: Government Under Fire

The consensus backing the government is breaking up. Attacks are now focussed and telling. There is mounting irritation. It does not stem from government mistakes. Everyone accepts that in an unforeseen chain of events for which there is no template to work from people will, with the best of intentions, get it wrong.

It is the vulgar and unashamed self justification which is pedalled out, like cheap goods at boot sale, at every daily press briefing from Downing Street. There is a naivety that the news can be managed. It cannot. There is a national crisis of undreamed of proportions engulfing every facet of life, society and the economy. And people are communicating with each other as never before, so everyone knows when questions are not answered and plans are not working.

At the centre of it are two lies. The first is that the government is driven by the science. It is not. It is driven by the science that suits it. There is other science which it choses to ignore. The second is that it does the right thing at the right time. It does not. As well it knows.

The country, in other words the people, the ordinary people, have rallied as never before in peacetime, many laying their lives on the line, to save their fellow citizens and their communities. An NHS, managed through a bizarre amalgam of suffocating quangos and agencies, starved of resources over more than a decade, has answered the call on a scale which has stunned and gratified the nation. Every authority and service, each one of which is pared to the bone by cuts and efficiency savings, now responds at levels before unseen to go the extra mile, another one, then the mile after that.

They do this because the government, drunk on Brexit elixir, ignored the early signs of a growing threat, woke up suddenly to the stark fact that with pseudo science amounting to little more than invention, they were leading the country to a biblical scale catastrophe. They changed course. But too late to prevent thousands of unnecessary extra deaths and a cost to the economy almost beyond calculation. What they had to do was to lock down early and make testing the centrepiece of the defence. But no. They knew better. Herd immunity.

Yet still the insulting refrain is sung every single evening from that notorious press room in Downing Street. We are doing the right thing at the right time. With our 67 million we haveĀ  nearly as many cases and three times more deaths than China with its 1.4 billion. We are just reaching the peak. China is more or less at the end. So what did they do wrong?

We are now predicted to have one of the worst death tolls in Europe if not the worst. In the first two days of Easter nearly two thousandĀ  people have died, the actual figure is 1819. We still have Sunday’s and Monday’s figures to come. It is okay for the government to come clean and say it made mistakes and it is working night and day do put things right.

But it is so very not okay to tell us that it is doing the right things at the right time.


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