Boris Johnson should follow Mark Rutte's example in taking responsibility for pandemic
- Credit: PA
The prime minister of the Netherlands took responsibility for his government's mistakes.
Boris Johnson says he takes full responsibility for our 100,000 Covid deaths. Robert Jenrick says he’s proud of the many things the government has achieved in response to the pandemic.
Really? Let’s just list a few of the arrant failures: to heed the WHO and ECDC warnings of a pending pandemic; to act on the outcomes of the previous government’s Cygnus exercise, still not published; to stop arrivals by air from Italy at the end of February when it was clear the disease was rampant there; to allow arrivals from all over the world for far too long, completely unchecked; to protect care homes (where’s the plan?), their residents and staff; to lockdown immediately when it was necessary and everyone else did; to prevent rather than encourage people gathering in groups to eat out; to keep restrictions in place for long enough to drive infection rates really low and keep them there; to repeat many of the foregoing over and over again.
If Johnson takes full responsibility, surely he should resign with immediate effect and take his cabinet with him? That’s what prime ministers who are honest and mean what they say do (e.g. Mark Rutte), even when the scandal is not their direct responsibility.
One hundred thousand people dying from Covid-19 is a sad landmark. Boris Johnson’s apology and acceptance of responsibility looked heartfelt and sincere. He says that he did everything he could.
Well it wasn’t good enough. As a nation we seem to have warmed to his personality. We seem to accept anything that we are given, be it poor behaviour by his colleagues, a Brexit that has been a shambles and the appalling Covid figures.
Surely our leaders have a responsibility for results and should be held accountable for these. Politics of personality have not served us well.
Boris Johnson’s apology is not enough.
The principle of quarantine is well understood. If implemented immediately globally at the point of pandemic, and enforced, the situation would have been controlled with minimum mortality and with minimal economic impact.
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We need a global strategy to address the next pandemic, that will hit the planet later this century and ensure that political descendants of this disaster have no place in causing the next one.
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