To describe the national leadership of Boris’s government as politically chaotic is to understate the case. The spectacular U Turn of loads more cash for businesses and individuals facing ruin because of restrictions in escalating Tiers, cascading out of the Treasury today when it was not there yesterday, shows that Downing Street was rattled that Andy Burnham, while losing his battle with the frightful Robert Jenrick over how much money, had won the political argument.
Unfortunately we are now at the point where the failure of test and trace is really having not just an impact on the lives and health of Covid victims and their families, it is packing a massive negative economic punch. In spite of gobbling up £12 billion. Part of this lies in the political fixation on test numbers, as if testing was an end in itself. It is not . A test is to find an answer. The answer is to formulate a response. The response informs the action. And in the fight against Covid 19, the priority action is to hunt Covid down.
So what should now be happening is an army of test track and tracers should descend on every Tier 3 region. The mission to test every single member of the population of those areas over the age of twelve. This will show who has the infection, where it is embedded, who is at risk, who needs to be protected and what scale of medical response must be at hand.
That is the fastest route, indeed pre-vaccine, the only route, through this multi-layer crisis, to some kind of predicable normality in which the economy can be re-booted. The fact that this route is not open amounts to an historic political failure which will be remembered for many generations to come. Like Churchill, in whose shadow Boris imagines himself to dwell, Boris will indeed be remembered. But for very, very different reasons.