As our editor noted this morning, our panel’s opinion of Boris Johnson’s handling of Covid seems to have started ticking upwards once he made it clear that he wasn’t bringing in further lockdown measures in time for New Year’s Eve.
But whilst it may be that Omicron doesn’t create a case for new restrictions, there is no guarantee that the same will be true of subsequent variants. So we asked what approach members thought the Government should take in future, in the absence of effective treatments or vaccines.
Obviously the four choices we provided don’t capture the full range of options the Prime Minister (or his successor) will face. The sheer number of individual interventions mean they can be combined in any number of ways. But we think each captures an underlying outlook.
A plurality, 36 per cent, want no further restrictions at all. Some of these will have opposed lockdowns from the start; to others, they will have been justified as an acute intervention in the beginning but retaining them post-vaccines is not sustainable, or simply was not part of the deal.
Interestingly, almost as many (33 per cent) support some sort of vaccine passports. If there must be another lockdown, it should apply only to those who have chosen not to receive their jab. This is not a position with a vocal constituency of Tory MPs making it, and is another reminder that the bubble, online and offline, often fails to reflect the balance of opinion in the country beyond it.
One wonders: would these respondents support selectively applying lockdown on other risk criteria, such as age? Or is it the element of choice in vaccines that makes the difference?
Of the rest, 25 per cent back retaining only the relatively light-touch regime currently in place in England, and only five per cent back a return to full-fat, ‘all-in-this-together’ lockdowns. Not even one per cent weren’t sure.