James Forsyth, embedded by the Government’s propaganda department in The Times, has yet another of his woefully unbalanced articles in that newspaper today. We wants us to take more risks, I kid you not.
A year into the biggest medical disaster to hit the world for more than one hundred years Britain is still blundering around in ignorance as Mr Forsyth’s characteristic parade of confusion shows. The problem is not risk aversion but a mindset stuck somewhere between insouciance and bravado. Do we know what we’re doing ? There are few signs that we do.
Empirical evidence is, or should be, the driver of decision making. Yes things have been handled better in Asia than here – most things are. But have we learned from that? Not much. A society that culturally matches ours closely, New Zealand, has handled the pandemic with skill, intelligence and leadership. Have we studied that in depth? Few if any signs that we have.
Arrogance along with the insouciance has been Britain’s downfall. A year ago the deadly threat of COVID was grossly underestimated here. When the Kiwis were taking rapid action we delayed and dithered. With deadly results. As we blathered with herd immunity claptrap others acted. Johnson was up there with Trump and Bolsonaro in his failures of judgment and action.
In truth herd immunity – a callous acceptance of genocidal level deaths – never went away. If you take that path then it requires mass vaccination – which is why this policy received such priority. If you want evidence that surreptitiously herd immunity was still the policy you need look no further than the speed and extent of implementing first dose vaccinations. We were told 20,000 deaths would be a “good result” – what does that make 130,000 ?
No country, other than Britain, has ignored the vaccine makers instructions over the gap between the first and second dose. These instructions were not serendipitous – they were based on empirical evidence. Science. Yet we’ve implied we’ve known better than the scientists and ignored them. Uniquely in the world. The result of this is yet to be seen.
We are still deep in the mire and there is zero credible evidence that a roadmap of gradual removal of grestrictions is appropriate. New cases are still happening in substantial numbers. Citizens are still dying. Of course we all want to return to normality but let’s at last be driven by reason and science not populist politics.