Covid 19 – did we really have to shut down the economy? Millions out of work, businesses destroyed and an extreme cure that’s worse than the infection. Thoughts on the greatest economic folly of our time by columnist Harry Speed.

It is heresy to suggest the Government policy to stop the spread of Covid-19 by shutting down the economy is wrong – in fact I can quite believe you can be burnt at the stake for it. The lock down evangelists have turned the nation into a country of curtain twitchers and snitchers who report to the police on their neighbours for having a back garden barbecue with close relatives. They also take to social media to promote the orthodoxy of health before the economy and demand the lock down continues, schools remain closed, sport is banned and beaches and parks are empty.

The doctrine is flawed as without a healthy economy there isn’t a healthy country. Without jobs and household incomes the nation will become bankrupt. And without work and without the right to go out and about, people go nuts. Suicides, domestic violence and the damage to mental health have a huge effect on society. With health appointments abandoned there is a ticking time bomb for the NHS. Of course it is easy to demand stringent lock downs when you are indefinitely at home on full pay, retired with a large pension or in the pay of the Government with a salary guaranteed. But in the real world and in a mixed economy people need to work.

To suggest anything else and the lock downers are ready to place the self-employed, small businesses and those simply wanting to go for a game of football in the park placed on the rack and tortured for the temerity of having a different opinion.

The reason why we have adopted the insanity of lock down and closing the economy is because we’ve followed the example of China where the Covid-19 virus emerged. The Peoples Republic of China is a one party totalitarian police state who locked up journalists and threatened medics who raised the alarm. Then when they realised the virus was killing thousands of mainly elderly people they went to the other extreme of total lock down and as a result most nations have followed their example. If the virus had emerged in New Zealand or another democratic country things would have been different. South Korea and Germany’s ruthless track and trace policy have shown how the virus should have been tackled – something that sadly the UK failed to copy.

So where do we go from here? Well we don’t go on persecuting the self-employed, retailers and the hospitality, travel and holiday industries. There is only one solution to Covid-19 and that is to live with it. In the UK lock down rules are being relaxed despite the fact there are just as many deaths from the virus now than when the lock down on March 23rd was introduced. So why relax the rules? The answer is the Government has realised it can’t go on forever as apart from a growing resistance to their measures the Dominic Cummings affair blew a hole in the policy. Suddenly it no longer seemed a crime to visit relatives or simply to go fishing. We can even go shopping – hallelujah.

What business needs now is to open up to near normal with basic hygiene and social distancing in place. Pubs, cafes, cinemas should reopen along with airlines and the holiday and travel industries. Yes there will be some restrictions but where the virus flares up then measures to lock down locally can be put in place. Many diseases have no cure or a jab and Covid-19 may never be conquered. We just have to live with it.

Harry Speed

For more on Harry Speed visit his Blogspot and Facebook sites. 

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