A right-wing friend got angry with me because I refused to “clap for Boris”, saying now is not the time to make political points.
If you think this is not a time to make political points, you’re wrong. Boris Johnson has Covid-19 because he went around shaking Covid patients’ hands, against expert advice. Those experts who, in 2016, Gove said everyone is tired of.
He shook people’s hands because he had a plan to boost herd immunity – we should all “take it on the chin” he said. This policy was dreamed up by him and Dominic Cummings, who said “herd immunity to protect the economy and if a few pensioners die, so be it”. That’s your dad and my mum he was prepared to sacrifice.
And because of this deranged policy (which models showed would cause the death of an extra quarter of a million British people), he delayed ordering the Personal Protective Equipment that the health workers need — the health workers whom he voted to deny a 1% payrise to. Mass testing and contact tracing are what got China and South Korea through this. But even the lefty paper the Daily Mail is reporting that the “herd immunity” delay means we won’t have enough of the chemicals needed to produce the 100,000 tests that Matt Hancock promised by the end of the month. (After Johnson falsely promised 250,000.)
In October 2016 the UK government ran a national pandemic flu exercise, codenamed Exercise Cygnus. “We’ve just had in the UK a three-day exercise on flu, on a pandemic that killed a lot of people,” chief medical officer Sally Davies said at the time. “It became clear that we could not cope with the excess bodies,” Davies said. One conclusion was that Britain, as Davies put it, faced the threat of “inadequate ventilation” in a future pandemic.
What did the Tory government at the time do? Nothing. Johnson was a senior Cabinet Minster at that time.
Matt Hancock was invited by the EU to collaborate in bulk-buying ventilators. Johnson said no, because he didn’t like the politics of collaborating with the EU. End result? We don’t have enough ventilators.
I hope he gets better, because I’m a socialist so I value his life more than he values mine (or yours). I hope he recovers and comes back more humble, more humane. And as a patriot, I will not stop holding to account this dangerous man whose bad political choices mean that UK will have Europe’s worst death toll:
In the early stages of the UK outbreak, deaths climbed steeply, which the IHME says is a major driver of predicted deaths.
The flirtation in government with the idea of “herd immunity” as a way out of the epidemic meant there was a delay in implementing physical distancing until 23 March, when there were already 54 daily deaths.
It is unequivocally evident that social distancing can, when well-implemented and maintained, control the epidemic, leading to declining death rates.
His political choices will cause far more of our compatriots to die than would have otherwise. His policies require scrutiny. He deserves no applause.