The ‘Unexpected and Invisible Mugger’ is Back – But We Should Have Seen Him Coming

The second wave is here. Blindsided by their desire for a sharp economic bounce back and a summer of vanity obsessions the Government have failed to deal with the virus.

Perhaps an eye test at Barnard Castle would have helped Boris Johnson foresee the mess we’re in? Or better yet, perhaps he should have just listened to his Sage committee who warned three weeks ago – yes, three weeks ago – that a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown was needed to reduce the spread of the virus.

It’s no surprise that this time, just like in March, the government have ignored the advice and reacted slowly. Johnson’s rejection of a circuit breaker now only confirms that one is on the horizon – although it’ll likely be much harder and lengthier than it ever needed to be if it was done sooner.

Instead, the prime minister announced new measures on Monday that would divide English cities and regions into a three-tier local lockdown system. Ranging from ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ the tiers place increasingly tighter measures on hospitality and social mixing.

Alongside Johnson stood the Chief medical officer who reassuringly said that the new tiered system “will not be sufficient”.

I would probably have a bit more sympathy for the government if we hadn’t already been in this exact situation 7 months ago. Back in April, Boris Johnson described coronavirus as “an unexpected and invisible mugger” that we had to wrestle to the ground. But if we’re being honest it’s a little more expected the second time around.

If only lessons had been learned from the first wave by those who asked us to put our lives on hold, only for them to not be ready when the second wave came. They were warned about it, but it wasn’t inevitable.

This government has been too slow to react, lacked imagination with financial support and generally been behind the curve at every turn. When the public inquiry is finally carried out, much will be said about how this summer was spent. Huge amounts of time and effort were wasted on ideological and vanity obsessions that were completely pointless considering the circumstances: futile culture wars, reorganising the Civil Service, even committing to breaking international law! Instead, the time spent handing out £12bn worth of contracts to private giants should have been used to establish an effective test, track and trace system centred around local authorities and public health bodies.

Ultimately, are we to expect anything different a former newspaper journalist and his rabble of Brexit charlatans? I for one am not surprised that Boris Johnson has turned out to be an incompetent chancer, a blustering waffler and a monumental failure. I’d hate to say I told you so.

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