What Have We Learned Through Lockdown?

Posted on May 1, 2020

As we reached the end of April, I tried to reflect on what we have learnt over the last six weeks of being in lockdown. Things have moved on quickly. There are daily developments that swing from feeling hopeful to downright depressing. Where is the way out of this and can we avoid being the world leaders on death rates?

When the lockdown came, the consensus was that we could not have seen this coming and the best we could do is be reactive. This was no time for politics or criticising the government. We were all in this fight together. It was time to unify.

Up for the Lockdown Challenge?

I was up for the challenge to start with. What else could we do when an unknown virus attacked us without warning? Then I started feeling increasingly uncomfortable with a tone that suggested that the government were being led by science and should be beyond interrogation in a national crisis.

The government was so keen to be free of questioning, I found myself feeling like I do when I am working for a client and something is telling me I should not be. It is called ‘thin slicing’ or ‘gut feeling’. It comes with decades of being in an industry where getting stitched up is an ongoing threat to survival.

Journalists looking at the detail of the preparation, started fishing. Old videos of Barack Obama and Bill Gates warning of pandemics started turning up on YouTube videos. Then came text from the World Health Organisation outlining a pandemic warning in 2016. It suggested the UK were ill equipped for a pandemic and needed to get their shit together, pronto.

Cobra Meetings

A Guardian newspaper investigation revealed that UK PPE stocks had been reduced by 40% since 2013. The Sunday Times proved that Johnson has made enemies aplenty over the years with a damning report. Johnson had missed FIVE Cobra meetings.  Cobra meetings were created to ‘co-ordinate the actions of government bodies in response to national or regional crisis, or during overseas events with major implications for the UK.

Johnson missed five of them. Blimey. Imagine if that had been Jeremy Corbyn having holidays whilst a health crisis unfolded. There would have been demands for him to be hung in parliament square or publicly flogged for treason.

The populist Bojo sycophants rallied hard. Getting a dose of the virus was handy, as it made him a hero in The Sun and The Telegraph. If anyone could win a fight against this killer virus, Boris could. Unlike those weak people who have died, Boris is a born fighter and he could win this personal battle in Britain’s war against an invisible enemy. He was a one-man Dunkirk, wrestling the virus to the ground.

If you found this tone unsavoury, unlucky, because you are now a traitor who hates this country. You have paid taxes for 30-40 years but that does not give you the right to question a government strategy when our PM is fighting for his life, only coming through it because he is a born fighter. This war did not reckon on Johnson, a battle-hardened warrior from humble beginnings.

Preparation and Procrastination

The truth is the government have messed this up with bad planning followed by procrastination. They are throwing money around like confetti to cover up a decade of handing out quantitative easing cash to their mates. The magic money trees are producing bumper crops now. The government must cover up 10 years of systematic starvation of public services, even if it means acting like socialists.

As an analogy, they are like a Premier League football team who, on transfer deadline day, realised they couldn’t compete and in a state of panic, bought Andy Carrol for £50 million. How long before Michael Gove is pointing at the camera with a pair of headphones on saying, “This virus has gone down in my estimation and I’m telling you, it still has to go to Middlesbrough and get something”.

As a reminder, the pandemic warning came in 2016, a time when the country was obsessing over Brexit. Ever since then, the nation has been divided and the focus of all the political parties has been Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Nothing else has mattered as battles to force it through came up against court case after court case as people using 21st century logic, rather than WWII nostalgic impulse, saw what was coming.

Brexit has been an utter waste of time, energy and focus. The only thing it will achieve is major complications with trade and industry followed by a recession. It left us totally exposed in the event of a natural disaster, war or a health crisis.

It is almost as if though Coronavirus was waiting for the perfect time to strike. It is like it saw a nation wallowing in its own hubris, bleating on about the war and believing that some sort of delusional spirit would make it greater than any other nation in the world could dream of.

No one could have seen the virus coming?

Don’t be silly.

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