Saturday , May 25 2024

Covid-19 Heroes and Villains

It’s been a while.  I last posted a blog here, back in June 2018 and since then have managed to contain my utterings to 120 and then 240 characters but..  That just isn’t enough.

What follows mostly applies to the UK but I suppose some will resonate in other countries.

Like so many other people, I have been in ‘lockdown’ since the middle of March.  I am a Type 2 diabetic (my own fault) and so have been at home since March 17.  If the sometimes ‘echo chamber’ that is Twitter, is anything to go by, then most people in the UK, outside of London and certain communities and self-imposed ghettos, have observed the rules on social distancing.

Our police have sometimes been over-zealous in interpreting the laws and thereby opening themselves to ridicule – exactly what is wrong with going for a walk in the wide-open spaces of a National Park?  There continues to be a danger that support for the restrictions will diminish, when people see Londoners gathering en-masse, along with police and other emergency services personnel on Westminster Bridge, sometimes accompanied by the Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick (a Common Purpose appointment) or when they see churches and temples following the closure rules but mosques not.

We’ll see how this pans out as we likely continue in some kind of lockdown for a while longer.  I sense that outside of London, people will follow the rules not because they’re a government diktat but simply because family and community mean so much more in the less metropolitan towns and villages.

Likewise I expect the weekly ‘clap for carers’ will continue as people genuinely want to show appreciation for ALL those who serve our local communities – be they nurses, doctors, police, fire fighters, refuse collectors, military personnel, shop workers or delivery drivers.

I do wish though, that there was a way for this exercise to not be a ‘clap for the NHS’.  I certainly don’t clap for that organization.

If you’re an NHS Procurement ‘Manager’ or Supply Chain executive – resign now.  If you’re an NHS trustee or Executive manager or director, resign now.  I certainly do NOT clap for you.  You have failed.

There’s lots of ways to say that but that’s what it boils down to – complete and utter failure.  You haven’t done your job.  You have left us exposed to empty storerooms and warehouses and supply chains that simply don’t work.  You have exposed us to a supply situation where we depend upon throwaway PPE – I have absolutely no doubt that every one of these PC clowns will also be signed-up members of the Green lobby and regularly try to lecture the general public on the need to protect the planet by paying extra taxes and going back to a pre-industrial existence!

NHS Executives have failed in their duty.  They have been bailed out by the Government and the military but these Executives failed – they must resign or be fired.  Oh, and no special ‘Golden handshakes’, no pensions fully paid-up and sweet-heart redundancy-type severance payments.  They should just simply go.  I’ve said they should resign and if they had any sense of dignity, they would but, if they don’t, they should ALL be fired.  They have failed and must go.

Covid-19 has not all been about villains though.

What’s that saying about ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’?  Well in the UK, we have had such men.

Of course there’s Boris Johnson, our PM.  That Monday night, when it was announced he had been taken into intensive care – I can’t explain why but it felt so personal and like it was affecting a close member of my family.  Seeing him now on the road to recovery is like an analogy for the UK – we are starting to come out of this.  It is a journey and we don’t know how long it will take and we do know that there will be bumps long the way (2nd and 3rd wave, etc.) but we have turned the corner.

Matt Hancock (apparently connected to the Eyam Hancock’s – look it up!) our Health Secretary and Rishi Sunak, our Chancellor have stepped-up and performed well.  By this I mean, they’ve considered what the country needs and delivered it.  They haven’t gone about pointing fingers and laying blame – they’ve just got on and done their best.  As have their teams and many other Government ministers.

It’s hardly worth mentioning the military – for them it was ‘just another day at the office’.  Every day, in every way they serve.  “Need a Nightingale Hospital built in days?  Okay step aside, give us a few electricians and plumbers and we’ll get it done” No fuss, no histrionics, just delivery – pure and simple.  And yet….  We’d have been in grave danger had they not stepped up and did their job – I am in no doubt that their work in logistics is what has led to PPE supplies getting delivered.  I hope that doesn’t sound like I take the military for granted.  I take every opportunity to thank them for their service and I recommend you do too.

Back to villains though – the media!  With a couple of exceptions, what an absolute shower.  If the daily press briefings ended after the official statements, I would have all I need.  The inane questions, the search for a ‘gotcha’ moment has exposed the absolute weakness and anti-Government and anti-British sentiments of the media.  I appreciate that as we exit the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, the Government will have its hands full, but the ending of the TV Tax has to be very high on the agenda.  There is no way, people should be forced to pay for such Leftist bile, day in, day out.

I’m not going to give the media villains the ‘oxygen of publicity’.  You know who they are!  Basic integrity and decency would oblige them to resign and enter a period of deep self-reflection but since when have ‘journalists’ had either integrity or decency?

The Labour Party are a mixture of heroes and villains.  Jon Ashworth the Shadow Health Secretary has performed well, on the whole, focusing on solutions rather than picking holes and pointing fingers.  The new Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer hasn’t done so well.  On the surface slightly supportive but then attacks the lockdown strategy and wants to know what the exit strategy is, and all the while brings forward nothing constructive to say or offer.

This place probably isn’t the best place to say what I think about the SNP.  However, if there was a political villain in chief, then Nicola Sturgeon would get the prize.  She attends secret COBRA meetings and then immediately blabs about the outcome – I shouldn’t be surprised, she has a habit of breaking confidences.  She has constantly sought to make political capital out of the crisis and to seek to differentiate the response in Scotland from that of England.

Unfortunately, this has back-fired as the response of NHS Scotland, for which the Scottish Executive is responsible, has been woefully inadequate – even worse than that of NHS England.  I say unfortunate not out of any love for the SNP, but because the victims of their incompetence are the people of Scotland, especially those in care homes.

The SNP have also failed to share out the funds sent from England in support of businesses and communities.  They have ‘form’ on this and so maybe it’s time for Westminster to bypass the Holyrood farce and manage these help programmes, directly.

There are of course, other heroes.  People like Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £33 million and all those individuals up and down the country who are doing their bit, in their local communities, including the more than 750,000 volunteers in England who signed-up to help in just two or three days.

At the end of the day, the real heroes have been the British people – not all of them, but the overwhelming majority – who have looked at the situation, listened to the experts and decided, we’re going to get through this.  We’ve faced adversity before and we have overcome.

As a great man said.  Tomorrow will be a good day.

Stay Home, save lives.

This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog:

About Tom O'Brien

Tom is an English Conservative Christian currently working as a Finance Manager in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. When not in Iraq, his home is in Grantham, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom; also the hometown of Margaret Thatcher.

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