The lessons we must learn from a Covid-19 inquiry

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, Lo

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London. - Credit: PA

When (if?) we finally have a public inquiry into the government’s response to the pandemic I think we will find that the combination of ‘Boosterism’ (entering lockdown late, coming out early, eat out to help out etc.) and ‘Chumocracy’ (purchase of PPE, Test and Trace etc.) has not served the country well, with both a higher number of deaths and deeper economic impact than most other countries.

With the realistic prospect now of a way out of this crisis with a roll-out of vaccines in early 2021 let us hope that the government does not make the same mistakes yet again by easing up on restrictions so that we can have a ‘near-normal’ Christmas and then failing to have an effective and speedy vaccination programme (and please don’t call it “world beating”).

I appreciate that telling us all that Christmas will be very different this year will be a tough and unpopular message, particularly with the prospect of salvation coming, but now is the time to keep focus on the end game. If we can keep transmission low over the coming months, then there will be plenty of opportunity to celebrate with family and friends later next year.

I would like to suggest that to compensate for Christmas, we should have a new national holiday – our own “Thanks Giving Day” – where we can come together again to celebrate, but also to reflect – on what we have come through, our real values, and our vulnerability.

Covid is a wake-up call for the world – after the Second World War we had the ‘post-war consensus’, which I think it served us well until we abandoned it under the Thatcher governments. Let us now start thinking about a society built around a new ‘post-Covid consensus’.
 

Nick Roberts
Selly Oak
Birmingham


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