Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Masking the truth

The point has finally come where I am not prepared to defend Boris Johnson and his government any longer.
The decision to impose a face mask on the entire population is the last straw. This camel’s back has broken.
The medical evidence for the use of face masks is not overwhelming. There is some suggestion they may help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and it would seem logical that an airborne disease would be less virulent if it’s spread were to be inhibited.
Yet only a few weeks ago the Government claimed masks were more or less useless and should not be worn by ordinary people.
This, too, was based on medical advice. Not advice about whether masks prevent the spread of disease but advice that encouraging ordinary people to wear them would restrict their availability to the NHS.
This suggests that, back in March, the Government knew masks helped slow the spread of disease and wanted to protect those most at risk.
Fair enough, you may think. But it must mean the Government lied and lied and lied again about the use of masks.
Only now, when infections have fallen, the risk has lessened and supplies of masks are plentiful, does the Government change the law and make wearing face masks compulsory in shops as well as on public transport.
This represents an attack on our very humanity, never mind the fact that it is yet another imposition on our long-lost, late-lamented freedoms.
And why are face masks suddenly necessary? Supposedly to give us more confidence to go shopping without fearing the proximity of other people.
It is yet another attack on civil liberties, like the laws which made it a criminal offence to attend a loved one’s funeral or banned lovers from spending the night together.
And yet the number of deaths from Covid-19 is still lower than the number of people who died from flu just three winters ago when no precautions were taken, no impositions on our liberty were thought necessary and, in reality, nobody noticed.
Whatever happened to common sense? Of course we must avoid situations where infection might be spread, such as Black Lives Matter demonstrations, rave parties or football celebrations.
But as next to nothing is done to prevent such potentially calamitous situations, why launch an out-and-out assault on ordinary people going about their daily business?
For months the Government has been criticised over its response to the virus. It failed to prepare. It reacted slowly. It has squandered billions. It has presided over the unprecedented, totalitarian destruction of our civil liberties.
And yet we have the highest death toll in Europe. So, on any measure, the Government failed to protect us or mitigate the consequences of the virus.
I have so far argued Boris Johnson and his ministers were doing as well as could be expected in these strange times.
I don’t believe that any longer. They are lost, flailing around in the dark, timid, uncertain, so terrified of their own shadows they are clueless and they have exposed their own incompetence for all to see.
The face mask fiasco is a fine example of their failure. Either we should have had them all along or they are a mere cosmetic decoration imposed for no reason other than to make ministers feel they are doing something.
The threat of a £100 fine for not wearing a mask in the shops may give some of us more confidence. Others, me included, will merely avoid the shops as much as possible so I do not have to wear a mask or encounter other dehumanised automatons in their full timidity.
How can we hope for the world to return to normal when we are supposed to walk around in these grim reminders of the great plague?
Boris Johnson and his unimpressive chums have wrecked our economy, destroyed lives and ruined the education of an entire generation of young people.
And in exchange they have allowed the NHS to desert its post so anyone with an illness that’s not coronavirus is neglected while elderly patients have been off-loaded onto care homes where they have spread the infection far and wide.
The scandalous way this government has dealt with the outbreak is beyond belief.
The confusion over face masks is not, in itself, a reason to revile Mr Johnson and his inept administration. But it is symbolic of their utter failure at every stage.
There has been, and will continue to be, a heavy price to pay for their shambolic incompetence. I don’t see how we can ever trust this lot again.


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