Will the war against Covid-19 end the same way as most wars, with refugees evacuated by helicopter from embassy roofs even as the politicians declare victory?

Posted By on 11th April 2020

CLICK THE "As I Please" LINK (ABOVE) TO REGISTER AND READ THIS FREE ARTICLE By Graham Smith The bellicose rhetoric surrounding the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis has reminded me of how…

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This article has 3 comments

  1. Facile argument, Graham. You can’t really believe that the government should have spent billions in 2016 on the off-chance that we’d get a pandemic, given that we hadn’t had one for 100 years. Where would the money come from? Cancer services? People witter on about an underfunded health service, but I’m with the senior medical staff who maintain that the problem with the NHS is that it has half a million too many employees, many selling each other services ‘in the interests of economy’. They say that of the £2,200,000,000 a week the NHS costs us (pre-coronavirus) about £1,000,000,000 a week is wasted.

  2. Graham:
    I think you’re unfair. You can’t berate the government for lying, incompetence or anything else. They’ve delivered three quarters of a billion items of PPE so far, much of it conjured out of nowhere, through a delivery chain created from scratch, to service 60,000 outlets for a contingency that could not realistically have been fully prepared for. While that’s no consolation to those dealing with the sick and the dying, I’d like to know how you think things should have been done. Like you I started my journalism career during the Vietnam War; I don’t see the analogy.

    Pat Malone

    • Greetings, Pat!
      Actually, I think it is part of all journos’ jobs to berate the government for lying and incompetence. We are not seeing enough of it (the berating, I mean. There’s no shortage of lying and incompetence)
      In 2016 the government undertook an exercise to test its preparedness for an influenza pandemic. The drill was known as Operation Cygnus and it revealed major shortcomings, including the lack of PPE and ventilators. The government’s response to these warnings was so woeful that even today Operation Cygnus remains classified. That’s just part of the incompetence.
      The crowning glory was the Downing Street “nudge unit” which as late as 13th March was elevating social behaviour science over hard clinical data. This was the “scientific” advice which the politicians wanted to hear, rather than the scientific advice which they did not want to hear. The peak of this folly was the decision to permit the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
      As for the lying: You had only to watch Matt Hancock’s Half Hour, knowing that two thirds of Cornwall’s PPE had not been delivered, to realise that here was a stranger to the truth. I am quite sure that when all this is over, victory will be declared regardless of any facts.
      The war-time analogies go well beyond Vietnam, although that was probably the first time that reporters started to doubt the veracity of what they being spoon-fed.
      Here’s another analogy – one which Boris Johnson himself is fond of – comparing himself to a war-time leader. But in this case it is not Winston Churchill. It is Neville Chamberlain.
      I look forward to an over-a-pint debate as soon as circumstances permit!
      Stay safe

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