Seeing the interior of the ExCeL centre being fitted out as a 4,000 bed emergency hospital, to be known as NHS Nightingale, might have brought home the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic. That there were to be two morgues removed all doubt. The addition of field hospitals at Birmingham’s NEC and Manchester Central underscored the seriousness. As did another morgue, this time in a hanger at Birmingham Airport.
The wider public needs to be confident that the Government is taking every action it can to mitigate the pandemic, ease suffering, help as many as possible back to full health, and in doing so, bringing to bear all resources it can muster. People need to believe that, even when the news gets grim, and it is going to get yet more grim, those in power are levelling with them. There must be no evasion, and most certainly no dishonesty.
So the Tories need to address the claims made in a Guardian exclusive which has told “Documents show that officials working under former health secretary Jeremy Hunt told medical advisers three years ago to ‘reconsider’ a formal recommendation that eye protection should be provided to all healthcare professionals who have close contact with pandemic influenza patients”. Covid-19 can attack the eyes.
Worse, they have to cut out any inclination to fib and suggest that the rotten Euro-doggie ate their homework: as the HuffPost has reported, “The EU has cast doubt on claims that an email mix-up was to blame for the UK failing to take part in a Europe-wide scheme for buying ventilators and medical supplies to tackle coronavirus”. There was more.
“Brussels said the UK took part in meetings of the EU’s health security committee where medical supplies and procurement was discussed ‘several times’. The UK government also had the opportunity to signal its interest in joining joint procurements at these meetings … It is understood that officials believe they did not receive an email invitation to join the schemes in time to meet the deadline”. Did they now.has observed, “Public support for the way the Government is handling the coronavirus outbreak has soared in the past week, according to a new poll. The YouGov survey found that 72% back Boris Johnson's approach - up 13 points on a week ago … Support for the Government's approach has also cut across traditional party lines, the poll found”. That support may not survive if there are any more whoppers.
Moreover, news like “The UK’s credit rating has been downgraded to AA- from AA due to the budget impact of the coronavirus outbreak and Brexit uncertainty … Credit rating agency Fitch has forecast that the UK’s economic output would drop by almost four per cent for the year” will not help matters. That can’t be stopped. But the fibbing can.
You want the public’s support? Don’t tell lies. Not even the most craven press will excuse you. And once confidence is lost, you’ll be out. You’re welcome, Tory people.
[The Legalballs Fund has now closed]