It's time to end the coronavirus slogans and focus on the substance

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus - Credit: PA

I wonder what clever slogan the ‘genius superforecaster’ in Downing Street is going to come up with as the UK hits a tipping point over the pandemic?
“Get Covid Done” sounds like the best. It’s short and snappy and it’s something we can all believe in. 
What is brilliant about this slogan is it taps into the sheer weariness that the population feels over the virus? With the slogan, we can all get on with our lives as soon as it is done. It soothes and makes us feel hopeful.
I particularly like it because it is fantastical. Like “moonshot” and “world-beating”. It’s like the “circuit breaker lockdown”. Deliciously seductive. A quick fix.
It gets Covid sorted in 14 days. It’s something we can all live with. None of this 12-week malarkey.
It’s like “Eat Out to Help Out”. For heaven’s sake, don’t mention who will eventually pay for it.
Covid-19 will only get our attention when we do the real work behind any catchy message. The superforecaster and his mate can spin and spin to their heart’s content, but only real substance – including mass testing – will save us from the nightmare.
Rick Frame
Eastbourne

It’s a small, small fish in the ocean of his incompetence but the PM cannot even get his analogies right.
A pandemic most definitely does not require a circuit break, it requires a fire break. The latter has a chance of preventing a further spread, the former just halts proceedings for exactly the time that the circuit is broken then starts up as before...
Amanda Baker
Edinburgh EH12

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claims of Labour “carping” about people not being able to get coronavirus tests could be taken at face value as just trying to spin the message in favour of the government.
But to me it carries a deeper and much more unpleasant, patronising message: you plebs should all stop “carping” about lack of tests and start showing some cap-doffing gratitude to us, your ruling elite, for deigning to give you any tests at all. Now, get back to work and stop whining.
I doubt Rees-Mogg will have any trouble accessing a test should he need one.
Adrian Ward

In response to Julian Self’s article stating that Britain cannot stand another six months of Boris Johnson, I fear this is not the case.
I come from and still live in a very rural and conservative part of the UK. My constituency has elected a Conservative MP in every election I can remember, though I am only 21.
I recognise therefore that those around me and the majority of those who I speak to will be supporters of the government and Boris Johnson. However, what scares me is those that told me they voted Conservative for the first time in December last year still support Johnson and his shambles of a government. I worry this is a similar occurrence around other parts of Britain.
There was local support for Johnson over the Dominic Cummings affair, and when figures were released which showed Britain to have one of the worst records on coronavirus in Europe and the world, the view was that other countries were lying. I have heard support for Johnson’s ‘fast’ action over lockdown and the furlough scheme.
I recently spoke to a close friend who voted Labour in 2019. He told me he believed Johnson is an “inherently nice bloke” doing the best he could with a bunch of idiots behind him.
I fear people the image that has been created around Johnson as a man of the people, a normal guy who you’d see down the pub, has rooted itself deep into the fields that surround me. My concern is that it will be a long period before those roots are able to be dug up and exposed for the lies that they are.
Billy Collier

As an arch-liberal in normal times, I am fast becoming authoritarian in abnormal ones. This change in attitude is being predicated by the government’s shilly-shallying and strategic incompetence on the one hand, and the irresponsibility of a small minority of social anarchists on the other.
What the country needs to prevent a second wave disaster are clearer strict rules that are legally enforceable and which are in fact legally enforced for the duration of the pandemic. Here is my short action list, which seeks to balance health and economic needs.

  • Continue with the rule of six (which may have to be reduced to the rule of four) both indoors and outdoors;
  • Close down again all indoor activities where social distancing has proved impossible to maintain – pubs designed for drinking only, nightclubs, similar private functions etc;
  • Face masks compulsory in all indoor or enclosed public places including schools and outdoors in shopping areas – malls and high streets;
  • General social distancing to remain at two metres (recognised bubbles like school classrooms excepted);
  • Enshrine all the above in legislation and provide and encourage full powers of enforcement with significant fines/other penalties for breach. Snitching is OK to ensure compliance.

This would allow schools and workplaces to remain open provided they are otherwise compliant with the above. I leave aside the test, track and trace issues (currently chaotic) and financial consequences which would need to be dealt with separately.
A draconian virus needs a draconian response. This way, we may have a relatively liberal Christmas.
Martin Richardson
Fenstanton


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