By David Ogg
Well that got your attention.
Exhibit 1: Britain had a pandemic plan, based on decades of experience and science. At the start of 2020 Boris Johnson wanted to go with the plan. No doubt it would have been done with the Tories’ usual incompetence and greed, but at least they would have been implementing the right strategy badly. Others wanted to do the impossible and stop the spread of the virus, encouraged by professional doom monger Neil Ferguson. It has never worked before and it didn’t work this time. The virus went it’s merry way, in this and every other country. Perhaps for the wrong reasons, but Johnson was right.
Exhibit 2: More in the way of WTF than a defence of Johnson. Britain has (almost) the worst death record in Europe, even using realistic data rather than the relabel-cancer-death-Covid nonsense. But that’s not bad enough. The government has just published SAGE’s very limited but truly crackpot cost-benefit analysis from December saying another 97,000 people would die this winter without lockdowns, on top of the 100,000 they estimate for October to March. Seriously. But this side of the looking glass, looking at the very useful and accurate Zoe project data, the rate of infections from October to December rose and fell and rose again with no reference to lockdown policies, then infections started going sharply down exactly when they ‘should’ have gone up after the Christmas mixing. (Hospitalisations and death rates change correspondingly later of course.) Obviously SAGE are trying to justify their ineffective and hugely damaging lockdown policies, but really, wtf.
Exhibit 3: This is going to be a rather back-handed defence of the hapless Johnson, but Britain was always going to have a bad 2020. It followed three low mortality and one very low mortality year, which meant that in Britain there were 8% more over 80s in 2019 than 2015 (3.28M vs 3.03M) when the total population only went up 2.6%. That’s a big increase in the very elderly population. Sorry if it’s a shock to you, but old people die. I’m planning on doing it myself if I survive long enough – hopefully not in solitary confinement in a nursing home with masked warders in another barbaric lockdown. The next bad flu or coronavirus was always going to have a bad death toll, and the chronically under-resourced NHS was always going to be in crisis when it happened. We can certainly blame Johnson and the parade of previous privatisers and austerity-mongers for that.
Finally, in defence of King Canute: Against popular myth, he was actually showing to his courtiers that he couldn’t stop the tide. Would that he were alive today.
David Ogg is a retired public sector Project Manager