NO SCORE CAN’T BE A HIGH SCORE : Much has been made in recent days of the perceived failure of leadership from Downing Street. In particular questions have been asked about the decision to stop large scale public testing for Covid-19 in the UK.
LCD Views has reacted to this with our usual insightful, investigative reflex and invented a Downing Street ‘source’ to explain the rationale behind the decision.
“We never started wide scale public testing to begin with,” our ‘source pushed back, in an interview with LCD Views’ ‘Testing Times’ correspondent, “so it’s a bit rum to criticise us for stopping something we didn’t start. We’re not South Korea.”
But how can you know the extent of the problem faced if you don’t attempt to find out?
“That’s not very patriotic of you. Why are you trying to turn this into a party political issue?”
I wasn’t. Although, given the underfunding and intentional deterioration to the scope and readiness of public services over the last decade, you can definitely, legitimately make this a party political issue. Neoliberal economic policies, combined with hard right, nationalist isolationism does not appear to make the UK best placed to confront Covid-19?
“We can’t be seen to be doing the same as the bloody continentals,” our ‘source’ scoffed, “it would undermine the will of the people.”
Most of them are closing their borders.
“See! Outrageous. They can’t do that as members of the EU. This is why we had to Brexit.”
To keep our borders open in a time of global, pandemic crisis, wherein controlling the flow of people will help control the transmission of the virus?
“Exactly. Anyway, we don’t have to close our borders as everyone is closing theirs for us. This way we look international and outward focused. It’s a complete PR triumph.”
[The source then coughed.]
Can we get back to testing for Covid-19. Have you been tested?
“That’s a private matter.”
Arguably it’s a matter of public interest.
[The source then began to sweat.]
“We aren’t testing, except to confirm that people who have passed away from Covid-19 have passed away from Covid-19. It’s all bloody obvious.”
But if you don’t test you don’t know the scale of the problem you are facing. How can you then best prepare to face the challenge?
“Denial of reality has worked to get Brexit. Mixed messaging, leaked briefings, favourite journalists, nudge the public the way you want, it’s a winning strategy. It will work with the virus.”
You’re not up to the task of managing this are you?
“We’re letting the public make the moves and then following. It puts us in the position of being leaders, will of the people and all that. You’ll see. We’ll be on top of this virus in no time. Soon everyone will have it.”
And then you don’t need to test for it?
“Precisely, and the money saved can be spent renting hospital beds off private health interests.”