Boris Trumps The Nation and The Nation Thumps back.
lWhat happens when the Advisor, who advises the Government on how to advise the public, goes against his own advice?
Senior advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr Cummings had been accused of undermining the government's lockdown message over his 260-mile journey from London to Durham to isolate with his wife, as well as making a 50-mile round-trip to Barnard Castle 15 days later to test his eye-sight. He insisted he acted "reasonably" and within the law.
At a press conference/eulogy, on 24th May, Boris chose to back his senior advisor, therefore securing Mr Cummings position in Downing Street. Amidst growing pressure from public and political parties for him to go, Boris doubled-down on his support of Mr Cummings stating ‘we must move on as the British public aren’t interested in ‘a political ding-dong’.
On the face of it, this could be seen as a petulant story that has little value to the political discourse needed to flatten the proverbial curve. This ‘ding dong’ however, has not only captured the attention of the British public but it’s galvanised the political spectrum in such a fashion that we are united in our revulsion at this flagrant abuse of privilege and status.
The issue here is that public compliance with the guidelines are crucial to reducing transmission, but when Boris defended Mr Cummings he knowingly chose to protect his senior advisor over the national interest.He chose to gamble his credibility, when lives are at stake. He chose to dismiss the pain and sacrifices of tens of thousands of individuals who followed their guidelines, while applauding the ‘honourable’ actions of his peer who flauted them. He has confirmed the definition of political hypocrisy, he has confirmed the cynism that is woven into the social-politcal relationship and he’s done all the above with an obnoxious tone which has further fuelled national indignation.
The ability to be so flippant at such a poignant time, with an air of entitled arrogance that defies our collective interests, and highlights his moral bankruptcy can only be understood via the incompetent subscription of Trumpism.
To date, the USA and UK rank 1st and 2nd in terms of total deaths which is an unfortunate podium for any nation to sit upon. Both right-wing governments were slow to act in the face of the pandemic, failed to prioritise testing in their strategies and ignored previous advice relating to Pandemic Preparedness. As a result both Governments have failed to protect their respective populations.
However, this particular story has characteristics normally reserved for the American news teams - a leader who protects his own interests above the nations, blaming the media for their circumstances, using their platform to lie directly to their people and avoiding any form of accountability. It’s a sad day, when a headline associating our leader with Trump is literally accurate.
Even Though One Man Drove Up to Durham, We Must Continue to Drive Down The Disease
Even though the public outrage is justified, the consequences won’t be. Thirty four per cent of confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 32% of deaths in intensive care are amongst people with black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, according to statistics from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This compares with 14.5% of the total population who are of BAME origin (based on ONS 2016 population estimates).
So, while it’ll feel quite satisfying for us to rebel against the Governments hypocrisy it’ll be the high-risk groups like BAME and the over 65 that’ll bear the brunt of such a retaliation. This is a pivotal moment and in the face of weak leadership, there’s only one place to go for appeasement and accurate consultation, there’s only one friend we can rely on to guide us through this arduous journey and that’s to our peers in white coats - the scientists.
Boris has announced that as of Monday 1st June further easing of the lockdown will be allowed, i.e. six people can meet up outdoors in parks and private gardens but must maintain social distancing. With the R number fluctuating between 0.7 and 0.9, and trust in leadership at an all time (post-pandemic) low, is relaxing the guidelines in alignment with scientific advice or political intent?
According to Boris the 5 key tests have been met:
Test 1: The NHS has the capacity to provide critical care right across the UK
Test 2: A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from coronavirus
Test 3: The rate of infection decreased to manageable levels across the board
Test 4: Operational challenges including testing and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand
Test 5:Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections.
In order to avoid a 2nd wave public compliance with the guidelines is essential. As SAGE pointed out:
'even without Government intervention, public behavioural change will have some (potentially very significant) effect.'
Mr Cummings is a Public Health Risk
A new poll by Kings College Policy Institute states:
How attitudes changed between 1-3 April and 20-22 May
The proportion of people who trust the government to control the spread of Covid-19 declined by 18 percentage points, from 69% to 51%.
The proportion who trust government information on coronavirus fell by 17 points, from 76% to 59%.
59% agreed that the government’s response had been confused and inconsistent, up 17 points from 42%. And three in 10 people strongly agreed – twice as many as in early April.
37% thought the government’s plan had adapted well in response to the changing scientific information and situation, down 21 points from 58%.
47% said they had found the government’s communication and advice on coronavirus helpful, down 21 points from 68%.
51% agreed the government’s advice on protecting yourself and others had been effective, compared with 69% previously – a fall of 18 points.
68% thought the government acted too slowly to control the spread of coronavirus, up 6 points from 62%.
The above draws a very simple conclusion - Mr Cummings presence in Downing Street, is a national public health risk. and a legal nightmare when it comes to policing the guidelines.
How can any officer enforce the rules when the Government have shown that it's okay to break them if you are worried that you might experience a hypothetical situation based on your instincts. Not only is this ‘legal and reasonable’ but it’s honourable. A precedence has been set which undermines authoritative recourse. It could be said he's earned the title of Mr Covid-Cummings.
Boris has stated on numerous occasions that he’ll make decisions based on the science and the data. Well at this critical juncture where the Pandemic is just scraping below the threshold, and we prepare for track and trace, open schools and usher in the return of non-essetential retail it’s incredibly important that public adherence is maintained in order to save lives and reboot the economy.
The impact of CODIV-19 and the subsequent lockdown is too serious a situation for our current leadership to deal with, it’s above their station. The impact this is having on the Nation’s mental health is severe:
1 in 5 people surveyed (20.55%) – and more than one third (34.01%) in full-time work – are concerned about losing their job.
One fifth (19.70%) of people surveyed who identified as unemployed have had suicidal thoughts and feelings in the last two weeks – this is compared to 8.64% of people in employment
Twice as many unemployed people (25.85%) surveyed say they are not coping well with the stress of the pandemic compared to people in employment (12.25%).
Over one in 10 (10.93%) unemployed people surveyed say nothing has helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic
As it stands, trust in the government has plummeted due to the precedence set by Mr Cummings and the Prime Ministers insistence on his ‘honourable’ decision. The perception of our leaders message has been undermined by their own architects. The majority of the country across the political divide feel that the pain, suffering, and financial consequences they submitted to has been minimised, mocked and dismissed. The toll this has taken on our mental health has been significant. Abuse, Suicidal thoughts and anxiety have increased significantly across the country.This doesn’t even begin to cover the trauma felt by frontline staff as they experienced scenarios that no one could be prepared for. The scars of Covid have cut deeply into our national psyche and will take years to heal.
As 80% of the public trust the leadership of scientists it makes perfect sense for Boris give scientists more powers to dictate policy and strategy.
As social behaviour is a significant factor in managing the pandemic. The Government must recognise that this scandal isn't just politically consequential but it directly reduces trust which increases the probablity of defiance and therefore transmission. with the r number between 0.7 -0.9 and 8,000 news cases per day - how does this satisfy test 5's objectives?
It's clear that the intention to ease lockdown is politically driven, as opposed to scientifically advised. The Government are gambling with our lives, because the Prime Minister wants to distract us from this 'ding-dong' and protect his emotional support pet.
Secretary of State for the Home Department
We have been quite clear. The advisor who advises us, on how to advise you was completely right to follow his instincts which contradicted his own advice because that’s what we’ve been legally advised to state. So while we’re working 9 days a week to bring this virus to that place outside of the EU, but below Mexico, it’s imperative you follow the advice we give you otherwise we’ll have to enforce penalty fines of up to thirty-hundred and two-ten pounds. The advice is clear, stay home unless you fear a hypothetical situation based on your instincts.
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