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There will be better questions than these and there will be worse. Boris Johnson will strain to avoid answering any of them, and ask the public to take the Government on trust.
His policy has had its successes (ramping test numbers up quickly) as well as its failures (settling on test-and-trace the best part of a month into the lockdown, in its third iteration of policy on the subject).
Like most people, we think it’s better to wait for the eventual inquiry before making a final judgement, let alone rushing into one now when so much about the virus is still unknown.
But it’s fair to say that even though international comparisons are plagued with difficulty, Britain is unlikely to win any prizes for keeping cases and numbers down – or for consistent Government handling of the crisis.
Which is why the plan that the Prime Minister will announce tomorrow evening can’t simply be taken on trust. It should be questioned. Hence all the above.
Finally: we believe there is a solid political basis for a slow easing, based on the centrality of the NHS’s capacity to cope to the Government’s strategy.
If it didn’t, Johnson would be left with a bust healthcare system. Leading to mass reactive social distancing. Leading to continued economic paralysis. And to a broken-backed Government with shot authority.
Changing that centrality would mean a national conversation about Britain’s folk religion – NHS worship. That can only be done by a kind of national Entmoot.
It would discuss whether the short-term imperative of keeping the hospitals on their feet is more important than the medium-term one of coping with other healthcare penalities: more cancer deaths, mental illness, domestic abuse, etc.
Plus the costs to the economy, and thus soon to the NHS, of this near-shutdown stasis. Asking questions like some of the above might enable that conversation to begin.