Business trashed, jobs lost, economy ruined, lives destroyed, 60,000+ dead: yes the Government’s handling of Covid 19 has been a balls up from the start
For a so-called libertarian Tory Boris Johnson has turned Britain into a depressing, red-tape filled, job’s worth empowered, nanny state where the economy is trashed, the arts destroyed, jobs lost by the million and businesses driven to the wall in their tens of thousands.
It’s enough to make you long for the days of Theresa May or even a Jeremy Corbyn Government – I can’t believe either of those two administrations would have been worse at handling the Covid-19 crisis.
Bunglers in Downing Street
Apparently the crisis is over according to the bunglers in Downing Street – and yet there are as many deaths now (if not more) from the wretched virus as there were when we entered lockdown. So what was the point? And why are the restrictions under lockdown being eased in such an uneven and unfair manner?
Cinemas can open but not open air theatres like the Minack Theatre on the cliff tops of Cornwall. Pubs can open but with so many restrictions it will be impossible to make a profit for many and the convivial atmospheres taken away. Private schools remain closed but state schools are told to reopen, shops can open but all the pleasures of shopping such as having a good old browse are denied. Then there’s the continued ban on village cricket, taking a dip in your local swimming pool and as for the restrictions on how hair salons can operate – don’t get me started. We are living in a dumbed down dystopian future when the police can stop you in Wales if you travel more than five miles from home or arrest you if you refuse to wear a mask on a bus in England.
Barnard Castle affair
Ever since the Dominic Cummings at Barnard Castle affair a big chunk of the population have taken the common sense approach and broken the lockdown rules by assessing their own personal risk. It’s what adults do every day and it certainly doesn’t need the Government to instruct them on how to live their lives. The Governments of the UK suddenly had a chance to assert their authority by laying down unworkable rules during the coronavirus outbreak but failed spectacularly to protect key workers, health workers and residents of care homes. Their first priority should have been those most vulnerable to the virus and allowed the rest of the population to have the facts and warnings and make up their own minds as the Swedish authorities did. And in Sweden they have a lower death rate from Covid-19 per million people than we do – but they haven’t sacrificed their economy and jobs to the extent we have.
One million left with nothing
The furlough scheme may have been a godsend for many workers but all the grants, loans and subsidies were not available to around one million freelancers, recently employed, company directors of tiny businesses and a whole host of other workers. Many firms have abused the system insisting their staff continue to work from home by taking emails and sorting out orders and queries – and thus subsidizing companies with tax payers’ money. And as the scheme comes to an end – many firms are simply shutting up shop, buying the core of the business off the administrators, dumping the debt and restarting under another name.
What is needed is a Government that treats us as grown-ups. Here are the facts – nobody should be forced to work or be placed in a situation where they could be infected or if they are simply vulnerable – now decide how to deal with the virus using your own judgement. We do it when we make a call over flu, mumps, measles and all the other common diseases which can kill or certainly make us very ill. Instead the curtain twitchers and the holier-than-thou lockdown evangelists lambast the demonstrators in London, sunbathers in Bournemouth and picnickers in the parks – reporting them to the police who cannot enforce the regulations – and surprise, surprise – despite the hysteria outdoor gatherings haven’t created a peak in infections. Instead it is confined and over-crowded spaces where the virus has been passed on – you’d have thought the air heads in Downing Street would have worked that one out themselves since the PM contracted the virus that way.
A bureaucratic and dictatorial Britain
Pubs without the camaraderie, school without gossiping in the corridor, shopping without browsing and football without supporters. It’s a bureaucratic and dictatorial Britain which has destroyed businesses, livelihoods and jobs, put the fear of God into otherwise reasonable people, left a health time bomb and an economic and educational legacy that will take years to recover from. It could have been handled so much better.
Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. His website is at http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/