Do you agree with those who say that there are greater considerations than your own life through the COVID crisis?
Hello there and welcome to my latest Podcast.
To quote Professor Calum Semple, who appeared on yesterday’s BBC PM programme, “It takes a lot to get my blood pressure up”; I know what he means!
He was reacting to the previous interview from Mr Charles Walker MP (vice-Chair of the Tory 1922 Committee, who was reacting to the latest Coronavirus initiative from the UK government and declared that it was as if we were “trying to abolish death”.
He was trying to rationalise how the government and country was reacting to the crisis and initially declared that he could “not understand how you could save the NHS if you have basically a bankrupt economy”, (he went on and clarified that the UK was not bankrupt yet).
Mr Walker expressed his concerns about the direction of travel and how it was the “middle-aged and well heeled, paid out of the public purse” that were making the decisions for us all. A strange comment when he was presumably happy for the Coronavirus Act to pass through the Commons without a vote?
He went on that he simply would not accept that the pandemic was rampant, again a strange conclusion when the word pandemic represents the spread of a virus across a large region or one that crosses continents and the fact that the WHO continues to express very deep concerns.
His rationale was that this was a disease that affected the elderly or those with underlying health conditions and that the measures to be taken, affected the life chances of the young and of the viability of businesses.
He was excoriating about the role of Sage, the UK’s government’s scientific advisory panel, accusing them of ramping up the rhetoric and with it the fear; he even evoked the WHO as being against the imposition of lockdowns because they disproportionally affect the vulnerable.
Mr Walker even questioned whether the elderly wanted to be sheltered, perhaps viewing the limits on their engagement with their family and friends as a “price too high for them”.
He offered what some would consider as a common sense approach by highlighting the ‘news’ that those in the 80’s or 90’s probably do and should expect that they will die, the logic being that this is the natural order of life. He concluded that we “can’t save every life”, because the “cost to the living was too high”.
Was Mr Walker preparing the country for the worst as did his Prime Minister in March 2020? At that stage Johnson offered serious warnings about the nature of the pandemic and with great solemnity stated:
“It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”.
By any measure, the PM interview was quite a shocking because it reduced our National reaction down to basic economics and not the well-being of every citizen in this land. For in those moments, it presented the message, that some of us have reached a certain age, thank you for all you’ve contributed, but now the time has come for you to go because quite simply, you are proving to be a burden on our lives and that of our economy.
Another aspect Mr Walker appeared to miss was the fact that whilst he spoke of the loss of life chances for the young, is it not the case (a point raised by Professor Semple and very briefly acknowledged by Evan Davies), that many of the ‘hot spots’ in the current crisis are found on the campus’s of the Universities and Colleges around the UK? Are the young really that invulnerable to the ravages of this disease?
But through this radio segment, in the week when the US’s ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ took root on the shores of the UK (noting the high criticism of the declaration and of the so-called ‘fake names’ within), I could not help but feel that the ghost of ‘herd immunity’ was lurking in the background of he words spoken. The logic of herd immunity is that if enough people catch it, the virus will die out and that we shall all be able to return to normal. But then ‘herd immunity’ is really a political concept, used to mask the inactions or incompetence of government, but don’t take my word for it.
In comments made by the Head of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, he made clear that:
“Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached. Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic”.
As the words of Mr Walker disappeared down the plughole of broadcasting, already his ‘die with dignity’ expectation was consumed by the real news, that government had ignored the science three to four weeks ago when they recommended action and that the tiered-announcement was probably already ineffective. What a state we have gotten ourselves into.
I say this with complete respect to Mr Walker. I know many people well into their 60’s and beyond who already recognise that there are more days behind them than before them. But, and here is the distinction Mr Walker, they already understand the genetics of cancers, strokes and heart disease and how those issues may affect their longevity. What they do not accept however, is that a respiratory disease, for which they did not invite into their lives, should become the reason why any notion of their continued contribution to society, should give way and bring about an early demise to their own lives.
To suggest otherwise is simply to offer the admission that politics and indeed party politics is insolvent. Let’s not get too hooked on the words of the honourable member, because a majority of MP’s waived through the Coronavirus Act and the measures to be taken to apparently deal with the crisis. Many of the Members of Parliament are actually deaf to the real issues affecting our society, from the inability to be protected in the workplace, to a corrupt tendering process, to Consumers having difficulty in getting their monies back to various Industries crying out for help.
Since the very outset of this crisis, the UK government is guilty as charged in their neglect of the British people. The only way back is for the UK government to govern for all its peoples, be honest about the nature and extent of this dreadful virus and to spend money to save the nation, after all, this government which likes itself to be seen as a war-time government, should learn the lessons from the past. When the chips are down in a National crisis, the money was and indeed is found for weapons and military action. What is needed here is cash for health, cash for people and cash for Industry. Now that would be the mark of a good government instead of preparing for some of you to die!
(This is the script from Frank's CreatingRipples™ Podcast: COVID - And the herd shall stop trying to abolish death! You can listen to Frank's Podcast here. Please note that content is the copyright of Frank Brehany, unless stated otherwise, © 2020)