These, he declared to the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, were to be relaxed on July 19. This move, he asserted, would make the nation healthier. Yes, increasing the transmission of a potentially deadly virus would make us all feel better. Ignorance is strength. This may have impressed our free and fearless press, because they wanted to hear it. But for those not swimming in cash, and the more vulnerable, it was anything but.
One look at the data - and alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson claims to be guided by data, and not dates - shows the UK is experiencing an alarming rise in Covid infections. From being ahead of the pack in early May, we are seeing cases soar, as other European nations, the USA, and indeed India, are seeing reductions.
The level of new infections is now running at three times that when the Government decided to delay the ending of restrictions for four weeks. Comparison with the rest of Europe is a devastating indictment of Government ineptitude: people in Spain and Portugal think their Covid numbers are bad; the UK’s are of a magnitude worse.
Javid’s first assertion was enough to set alarm bells ringing: “We are going to have to learn to live with Covid and find ways to cope with it - just as we already do with flu”. Covid is not, repeat is not, REPEAT IS NOT, flu. At least a million - that’s a one with six zeroes, Saj - suffering from Long Covid is testament to that. Few were impressed by that line.
Zubaida Haque, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, responded “Someone needs to explain to Health Sec Sajid Javid, that THE REASON we have had long lockdowns is because his govt have repeatedly failed in suppressing the virus and taking action early. And letting the virus rip & cases rise will mean MORE lockdowns and restrictions; not less”.
Lay people were also less than impressed, and Richard Murphy was one of them: “We have a new Health Secretary whose plan is to actively encourage the spread of a massively contagious disease that causes considerable harm to many who are not vaccinated against it, most of whom are children. What sort of insanity is this?”
Some journalists were also not swallowing the MoS line: the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr mused “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Health is the deliberate mass infection of an entire nation’s children with a novel & mutating virus with unknown long term consequences”. Jon Worth, a Brit in Germany, looked on with horror.
“This approach genuinely scares me. Life is steadily returning to some sort of normal in Germany, but conscious of the risks and some restrictions continue. Javid and Frost are saying to hell with deaths and impact of long COVID. Open up anyway. Extraordinary”.
Meanwhile, politicians who are not Tories could see where Javid was heading, even if he couldn’t: Caroline Lucas concluded “Government approach to Covid is now to abandon all measures to control it & *leave it up to individuals* … Other public health & safety measures aren't left up to individuals so why is Covid? This isn't *restoring freedom* - it's ministers washing their hands of any responsibility”. So what was to be done?
From the North West, Andy Burnham tried a gentle hint to Bozo, Saj and their press cheerleaders: “I struggle to see how Ministers can drop the requirement to wear masks on public transport without causing real problems for some people who are dependent on it. Those more vulnerable to infection or anxious about it will be put in a very unfair position. Rethink needed?” The Government is supposed to be driven by data, and not dates.
If they want the decision to be, to quote Bozo’s chosen phrase, a terminus point, to be irreversible, then caution has to be the watchword. We are not in a lockdown, but merely subject to some restrictions, like table service in pubs and bars, wearing face coverings on buses and trains, and a cap on the numbers allowed in shops and supermarkets. None of these presages the end of the world, and nor do they remove our freedom.
What does remove our freedom is turning the UK into Plague Island and having the rest of Europe banning our nationals from going there. And shackling more of the population with Long Covid. This may not trouble Bozo and Saj, or indeed their backers in the press, as they have the means to be chauffeured everywhere, kept away from the hoi polloi.
So they are so divorced from reality that they make the worst of bad decisions, for which everyone else has to suffer. Don’t do it, Saj - this time the voters will not forgive you.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at