James O’Brien suggests government’s confusing messaging over face coverings could be deliberate

PUBLISHED: 15:18 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:18 13 July 2020

LBC radio presenter James O'Brien has accused ministers of 'deliberately' subverting messaging surrounding the wearing of face masks; LBC

LBC radio presenter James O'Brien has accused ministers of 'deliberately' subverting messaging surrounding the wearing of face masks; LBC

Archant

A radio host has suggested that confusing messages from government ministers over when to wear face masks could be a deliberate ploy to blame the public of ignorance if there is a second wave of coronavirus.

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LBC’s James O’Brien suggested minister could be deliberately misleading the public over face covering in order to shift blame away from the government and onto regular citizens.

“I would not past them now. Johnson says one thing, Gove says the other so when the proverbial hits the fan they can both throw their hands up in the air and say well it wasn’t me, we said black and white so you can’t blame us when things go wrong.”

Cabinet office Michael Gove appeared to contradict the prime minister, who had hinted at introducing rules to make face covering compulsory in public areas, when he told the BBC on Sunday that covering up should be decided by “people’s good sense” and not via government regulations.

Ministers have also been accused of hypocrisy after many were spotted in public without a face mask, including chancellor Rishi Sunak during a photo op at restaurant chain Wagamama.

“It is quite incredible now, the madness that engulfs us,” O’Brien reflect. “Once again I don’t understand why being a passionate supporter of Brexit also makes you likely to be a passionate enemy of face masks,” he said, citing former UKIP supporter Suzanne Evans who “strongly suspected” a face mask gave her herpes.

“Is it just faith versus facts again? Is it this idea that you can win a referendum with exceptionalism and nonsense, so the idea persists that you can also somehow win a battle with a global pandemic with fact-free faith based nonsense?”

He went on to claim that “the loudest enemies of face masks were the loudest champions of Brexit.”

“As all of this falls apart about their ears that they might sit down for a while when it comes to public health having actually inflicted the single biggest episode of voluntary self-harm upon a country that the world has ever seen.

“You think that the people responsible for that would perhaps observe a period of silence when it comes to poo-pooing public health experts.”

Reflecting on the apparent success face covering have had in containing the virus in like Japan and South Korea, O’Brien remarked: “But here’s a newspaper columnist with a degree in history telling you that masks have absolutely no value whatsoever.”

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