In my last piece in my Covid diary entry, I said that Boris Johnson – while obviously trying to make a Churchillian morale-boosting gesture – was held hostage to fortune by claiming the UK’s Trace & Test system would be world-beating. At the very least, it seams to be a competition that has only produced losers. Similarly, in a moment of boastful swagger, opposition leader Keir Starmer tweeted recently that the Labour leadership of Wales was “showing the difference we make when we’re in power.”
As we now know, the Welsh response was as unsuccessful and chaotic as everywhere else.
We all know that when it comes to computers and data, shit happens. It always does. Some of the biggest and most robust organisations in the world have been prey to hacking, data-breaches, outages and sometimes people just pressing the wrong button.
So I think it was both disgraceful and another example of the nasty impulse to politicise sincere efforts to manage the virus that the Tory shadow health minister for Wales, Andrew Davies, commented that “‘another staggering cock-up’ over the missed cases, and accused them of ‘clearly losing control of the virus in Wales’.”
We have to stope this mode of blame and recrimination. And as I have said before, without the political partisanship, the point-scoring and the grandstanding, we all would cope a lot better and collective our mental health would benefit.
In other news, The Daily Mail which has led the pack of media attempting to keep everyone riled up and upset throughout the pandemic crisis today complained that there aren’t enough women representing the government in press briefings. This sort of silly identity politics used to be the preserve of The Gaurdian! Proving that what the tabloid does best is a hodge-podge of contradictory complaints, it raged today that the government was plunging the country into “a ridiculous lockdown” while also noting in another piece that “Covid was November’s biggest killer“.
This whole year has been a struggle to stay sane and find useful information in a media-cesspit and political longdrop for critics screaming from all sides that every effort is too expensive or too austere, too soon or too late, to much or too little, too tough or too lax. Even the vaccine itself was taking too long before it was developed and launched too quickly when it was found. Never has the noise of isolation been this loud or given me such a headache.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (Labour) has blamed the public for the spread of Covid in Wales. He told the BBC that “small acts of selfishness” were “adding to the problems”. Firstly, I think it is wrong to blame the public in any case simply because the public in a free society is not used to following such stringent rules. This is why calls for tougher measures over the Christmas holiday are misguided. They are doomed to fail because they will be impossible to enforce and efforts to do so will damage public morale and confidence in the law. But I digress. What is particularly annoying about Mr Drakeford’s call is that when the Government complained about non-compliance, Labour crowed that they were “blaming the public”. “The British people deserve better,” raged Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, John Ashworth.
So, as I said in the title of this post, perhaps it is time we stopped trying to apportion blame and just do our best to get through this together.