Will anyone be held responsible for the UK’s dismal response to coronavirus?

PUBLISHED: 13:28 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:28 05 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a speech to the Global Vaccine Summit from the White Room of No10 Downing Street. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a speech to the Global Vaccine Summit from the White Room of No10 Downing Street. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Readers have their say on the government’s response to the coronavirus, and how Dominic Cummings has only made things worse.

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So, our new not-quite-yet world-beating NHS Test and Trace system is, uh, on the way to being up-and-running and it might take a few weeks to get it fully in place. Of course, it was heralded, much-trumpeted and hugely over-egged to drag attention away from the Cummings saga, followed for the same reason by idiotic advance notice of some easing of the lockdown just before a really sunny weekend. Brilliant.

It hasn’t stopped the millions of emails being sent to MPs demanding DC’s resignation. (I sent mine twice, to match how Matt Hancock counts gloves, so it must be millions by now).

There’s also a weighty on-line petition for Cummings to go over his non-compliance with his own rules – but shouldn’t he really go on the grounds of incompetence? We’re Europe/world-beaters in terms of numbers of deaths, deaths per million inhabitants, and we still have the highest number of new infections over the last 14 days in Europe.

So those inglorious outcomes arise from what? A muddled, changing, tardy, slogan-ridden strategy (though it’s not worthy of that title) following a failure to plan and prepare for a global pandemic despite warnings and a dry-run in 2016. I wonder why no notice was taken of that?


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Cummings, as the PM’s special adviser has to bear much of the responsibility for this – we appear to have followed DC’s political interpretation of the science, not the pragmatic example of other countries who have managed the pandemic far better. Is anyone going to be held accountable? If Johnson had any sense he would sack Cummings on competence grounds alone, and blame him for the whole appalling tragedy.

Phil Green

Due to the lack of agreement about Dominic Cummings’ actions, a large proportion of the population aren’t that concerned about lockdown and social distancing. The beaches are packed and social distancing is all but gone.

A leader needs to be firm not for the sake of loyalty but for the safety of the people. It’s not about who’s right, it’s about what the right thing to do to ensure we continue to be safe. His loyalty should lie with the British people and Dominic Cummings should apologise so we can all move on.

Tony Howarth

SW3

If anyone is setting out towards a beauty spot, ‘to test their eyesight’, may I recommend George Orwell’s Animal Farm as the reading matter to take along.

In that novella, the animals strive hard to achieve collective success; “they grudged no effort or sacrifice”. After every setback, Boxer the workhorse resolves, “I will work harder”. But the pigs are concerned only with their own interests and undermine all the principles established at the outset.

Finally, the other animals discover to their dismay that the most vital principle of all – that, “all animals are equal” no longer applies. It has become, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

Dr Creina Mansfield

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You use the word “nerd” to describe Dominic Cummings (Front cover, TNE #196). This may perhaps be a misuse of the word.

It originated as a base insult; the original being KNURD which is a “backward drunk”.

Alan Craw

Old Whittington

As a former teacher, I see little Dominic sitting behind his desk making up the most elaborate story. I don’t believe a word of it, and I’ll bet lots of other teachers are saying the same.

Where is there any evidence? We only have his word to take for that and all the rest is just stories.

As for Downing Street vouching for him, do you remember friends at school asking you to ‘cover’ for them? This is just that.

If at any point he did actually “take medical advice” it was probably from Dr Liam Fox.

Peter Tyzack

Severn Beach

Johnson’s weak acceptance of the wrecking ball that Cummings has driven through the government’s coronavirus policy reveals just how dependent he is on his special adviser. The Rod Hull and Emu analogy with Johnson as a rather more subdued bird immediately springs to mind.

But Cummings has learned arrogance from Boris Johnson, the Old Etonian, that mere plebs can be disregarded. The elite, now including Cummings, are not bound by lockdown restraints, that is for lesser mortals. Cummings claimed special understanding of ordinary people. He is now totally out of touch.

Andrew Milroy

• Have your say by sending a letter for publication. Drop an email to letters@theneweuropean.co.uk.

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