Sadly, Bozo the clown and his cabinet of equally talent-free no-marks is holding to the idea that all existing pandemic restrictions, such as wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces and on public transport, distancing from one another, and restricting pubs and bars to table service only, can be swept away, because our free and fearless press says so.
But the press establishment, as it did in the days of Stanley Baldwin, wields power, but is not going to volunteer for the responsibility part. Members of Parliament, though, do have responsibility, but here a problem enters: as with Brexit, so many Tories believe in their own alternative reality that they are champing at the bit for restrictions to end.
So when Channel 4 News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy observed “Repeatedly now, asked by politicians and journalists, the government has refused to reveal what it has been warned about the number of deaths and hospitalisations to expect after opening up fully on July 19th. You have to ask yourself why, because they won't answer”, we knew why.
This was confirmed by the FT’s Whitehall Editor Sebastian Payne, who told “Sir Graham Brady's (tight) re-election as chair of the 1922 committee is a sign of febrile mood of the Conservative backbenches. Increasingly lockdown sceptical MPs are more likely to agree with his views on Covid than the government, hence why the plot the remove Brady failed”.
There was more. “Brady's re-election is also a reminder of why Johnson is dropping masks and nearly all other Covid restrictions on July 19: ministers privately say the government no longer had the Tory votes to keep the measures in place. Relying on Labour would have been v difficult for the PM”. Stuff the science, stuff the evidence, Tory votes matter.
The result of this new policy? Phil Hammond, who features in Private Eye magazine as “MD”, and who you can tell as he’s a doctor, spelled it out. "The new Covid plan has officially been called ‘hybrid immunity’. It’s a combination of fully vaccinating the most vulnerable, & then opening up in a big wave to allow a combination of infection & vaccination in the least vulnerable to deliver herd immunity. Unproven & high risk”.
You think he jests? This is what Paul Brand of ITV reported yesterday: "Covid rates have *quadrupled* in England since early June. 1 in 170 people are now infected, according to the latest REACT-1 study by Imperial College/Ipsos Mori. Infection rates are doubling every 6 days, but the double-jabbed are 3 times less likely to be infected”.
The result? As Ian Fraser noted, “Largest hospital in the Scottish Highlands, Raigmore in Inverness, placed on ‘code black’ status after reaching capacity amid surge in Covid cases”. Meanwhile, Mike Ryan of the WHO has called the Government’s idea of more people catching Covid-19 earlier “Moral emptiness and epidemiological stupidity”.
But Bozo will be able to hold the Tory Party together, so that’s all right, then.
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