DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Devastating toll of Covid scare tactics
It was a cry of frustration that spoke for Britain. Aiming squarely at Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Tory MP Joy Morrissey accused unelected experts of turning Britain into ‘a public health socialist state’.
She was immediately jumped on by No 10 and made to retract her comments. But this paper believes she was making a powerful and hugely important point.
No one doubts Professor Whitty’s scientific expertise. In recent days, however, he has morphed from adviser to policy maker – with disastrous effect.
By telling people not to mix with others unless they absolutely have to, he instantly torpedoed the revival hopes of this country’s hospitality and retail sectors.
No one doubts Professor Whitty’s scientific expertise. In recent days, however, he has morphed from adviser to policy maker – with disastrous effect
Still struggling to recover from earlier Covid wounds and hoping the pre-Christmas period would be their salvation, these businesses have been left shattered.
The predicted costs are devastating. Three million pub and restaurant booking cancellations. Some £2billion in lost earnings. An estimated 37million fewer pints sold. Rail fare income down by half as people work from home, with all the damage that does to businesses relying on footfall. Also a predicted 50 per cent drop in theatre bookings.
Taken together, it is an utter bloodbath, made infinitely worse because furlough and many other support structures have been taken away. These sectors are effectively being thrown to the wolves.
To be fair, it’s not entirely Professor Whitty’s fault. As a medical adviser it’s his job to be Covid-cautious. It is for Boris Johnson, though, to listen to his advice and balance any call for new guidance against the huge damage it would do to the economy and mental health of the nation.
As Margaret Thatcher said, advisers advise, ministers decide. Yet Mr Johnson seems to have turned this wise maxim on its head, leading many of his backbenchers to ask: Who is running the country?
The PM insisted yesterday that Britain was not being dragged into lockdown by stealth. Has he not seen the pictures of empty streets in our biggest towns and cities? Has he not noticed that the public, spooked by doomsday rhetoric over Omicron have gone into elective purdah?
To be fair, it’s not entirely Professor Whitty’s fault. As a medical adviser it’s his job to be Covid-cautious. It is for Boris Johnson, though, to listen to his advice and balance any call for new guidance against the huge damage it would do to the economy and mental health of the nation
The evidence is damning. Talk of tidal waves of infection and the unremittingly grim prognoses of Professor Whitty have scared people away from shops, cinemas and theatres at the busiest time of year.
And for what? How dangerous is this new variant? All the signs are that it’s a relatively mild strain. Just one person in the UK appears to have died with it.
Shamefully, the Government refuses to tell us anything about that patient. Whether he or she was old, or vaccinated, or had other health issues.
It is claimed he was an elderly anti-vaxxer, yet Downing Street refuses to confirm or deny. This is exactly the sort of detail the public need to know if they are to make an informed decision about their safety.
There must be no more secrecy and no more kow-towing to advisers while great swathes of the economy crumble. Wednesday’s massive Commons rebellion shows it’s high time for a full reset.
Benefits of Brexit
How Remainers loved to mock the idea Brexit would open the door to independent trade agreements across the world.
Well, they’re not mocking now. In less than two years we have a historic free trade deal with Australia, unlocking billions in extra business and potentially slashing consumer prices.
It allows under-35s from both countries to live and work in the other for up to three years and gives protection to our farmers.
It may pain diehard Remainers, but Brexit is paying handsome dividends.
In less than two years we have a historic free trade deal with Australia, unlocking billions in extra business and potentially slashing consumer prices
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