When cases began to rise at the start of the present COVID wave, Boris Johnson laid the blame on the general public i.e. us. He said that people had been too relaxed and freedom-loving to obey the rules and that if restrictions were needed it would be our fault. The blame game is utter nonsense. Yes, some people broke rules, notably Dominic Cummings, Robert Jenrick and the PM’s father. But Brits are generally very rule-abiding and complied with lockdown etc. more than other European countries. This isn’t surprising … one of our national traits is a love of queues. We join one even before we know what it’s for! The likely reasons for the rise were the government’s easing from first lockdown which was:
- Too early – the science suggests cases would have halved if it had continued for 2 more weeks.
- Too much too soon and all at once so the cause of the rise was unclear.
- Telling people that going to pubs was their ‘patriotic duty’.
- The Government’s reluctance to ask people to wear masks until the end of July.
- The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, encouraging going to restaurants. This did not create any long term impact on the economy, but kept people mixing.
- Announcing summer holidays were ‘on’.
- Telling people to return to the office and that those who didn’t would be more likely to lose their jobs.
The public did nothing wrong except follow government advice
The first new restrictions applied by Johnson were too feeble to stop cases from rising exponentially. These have led to general lockdown. Johnson and his cronies probably knew this would happen. However, by blaming the public for the initial rise and telling us it would be our fault if it carried on, he had to maintain the credibility of his scapegoat for sufficient time, to avoid taking any responsibility himself.
History is now repeating itself
In March, Johnson’s failure to lock down 10 days earlier cost the deaths of twice as many people as would have otherwise occurred. Delay this time in putting effective measures in place will again result in the needless deaths of thousands of people.