Ms Maitlis had put her audience straight about those who really suffer as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, telling “the disease is not a great leveller - the consequences of which everyone, rich or poor, suffers the same. This is a myth that needs debunking. Those on the frontline right now - bus drivers, shelf-stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers - are disproportionately the lower paid members of our workforce”.
There was more. “They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed. Those in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown tougher. Those in manual jobs won't be able to work from home. This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare and it's a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health”. She then set the scene for the issues the programme would be discussing.
“Tonight as France goes into recession and the World Trade Organization warns the pandemic could provoke the deepest economic downturn of our lifetimes, we ask what kind of social settlement might need to be put in place to stop the economy becoming even more stark”. O’Neill was aghast. Or perhaps he just saw a Sun column on the horizon.
And then quote generator autopilot is duly engaged. “The chattering classes and the regressive left … the Princess Diana of Covid Britain … objectivity-challenged BBC [hark who’s talking, Kid] … the media elite [talking about himself again] … Maitlis’s soppy sermon … moral glee of those socially switched-on people in big houses [as opposed to clever people like Bren who talk loudly in restaurants] … media elites …surreal”.
What is his point? Ah well. He takes aim at “Echo-chamber inhabiting well-off columnists”, which is a dead giveaway: he was one of them, and now he ain’t. This is just a jealousy tantrum. The further giveaway comes as he froths “It isn’t the pandemic that is causing the looming economic disaster … It is the media-demanded, politician-delivered economic shutdown and freeze on social life that will cause economic crisis”. Bullshit.
The lockdown was ordered not by the media, but by Government on the basis of good scientific advice. O’Neill got his beer money cut off? Stop whining and deal with it.