Tuesday 28 April 2020

Johnson returns - chastened(?)

As expected the right wing press has given an enthusiastic reception to Prime Minister Johnson's return to work.  The Express reports a "defiant " Johnson now "properly at the helm," which I suppose it thinks its readers will find re-assuring. The Sun is a little more circumspect, but reports in full how up-beat Johnson wants to "thank the people of this country for the sheer grit and guts we have shown" and likens the virus to "a mugger" we can "wrestle to the floor." 

It is not however, guts, grit and determination  (G squared D - the rallying-cry of the girls of Roedean as they cheer on their Lacrosse teams, or so I'm told) but careful planning and rational decisions which will minimise the damage the pandemic is doing to our society.

These are not Mr Johnson's strong suite.  The wasted weeks and poor decisions in the early days of the virus, during which Johnson  was in full commend (or could have been, except he apparently didn't bother to attend the key meetings) are the reasons why the UK is in the big league for deaths and damage rather than control of the virus.

There is, however, hope.  There are calls from right wing Conservatives, apparently anxious to resume normal economic activity as soon as possible if not before, and keep the profits flowing, to end the lockdown.  Johnson has, to his credit, so far poured water on these and opposed any end to the lockdown until there is clear evidence that the virus is under control.  Maybe his own unfortunate experience has taught him to be cautious.

What is clear from the progress of the virus so far  is that Brexiteer claims  that the UK, released from the constraints of EU membership, is about to bounce forward as a world leader are nonsense.  
Rather, we are a world laggards.  Our total of coronavirus deaths is in the 20 000+ range, along with Italy, Spain and France, although we had more time to prepare.  Germany, with a larger population, has deaths in the 6 000 region, Greece, battered by by austerity even more severe than ours for a decade, has, with a population of around 
11 million, kept deaths down to 134.

Boasts of British exceptionalism have become laughable.  We need to put the Brexiteer drum-bashing behind us and humbly accept  that we can learn from other counties and that a sustainable future requires us to work with them

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