By now Boris may have used Prime Minister’s Questions to settle the issue regarding the May 2020 gathering at No 10. The most uncomfortable part of 2020 for me was supporting the most difficult and previously unimaginable impositions on people's lives in order to manage the spread of a dangerous virus. At the time no one really knew how severe coronavirus was or how to treat people who contracted it so there is some justification for what we imposed.
I remember only too well these restrictions placed on every home and family for big chunks of 2020. The restrictions (not Covid) led to loved ones dying alone and people stopped from visiting care homes and hospitals. For this reason, I understand why people are angry and feel betrayed by the PM when the indication is that a significant gathering took place seemingly organised by the PM’s personal secretary in the middle of the first lockdown.
The inquiry looking at all of the alleged breaches of Covid restrictions linked to No 10 must flush out the truth and present the findings to Parliament. If the enquiry or the Metropolitan Police find that the alleged activities were illegal and that the PM knew this, or was involved, then I than see no other outcome than for the PM to resign.
However, until we know the truth I won’t follow a media-led trial and execution. Let’s wait until all the facts are considered in the appropriate way.
Returning to Covid there are three things the Government must scrap at the earliest opportunity.
Let’s start with scrapping lateral flow testing of physically well people. The current obsessive testing of asymptomatic people and children is costing £6 billion a year, wreaking havoc on the NHS with 100,000 well people not at work and disrupting transport, public services and businesses across the country. If this is the new norm in the face of epidemics and pandemics, we will be a slave to them forever. By all means test anyone in a high-risk environment, visiting someone at high risk and everyone who has symptoms. The test itself, whilst it might confirm you have covid, has little value in relation to stopping the spread of omicron. This very transmissible variant will have spread to others before the test.
Next scrap the compulsory requirement for NHS staff to have the vaccine. I agree NHS clinical staff should recognise that having the vaccine it is the responsible thing to do. However, compulsory vaccination for staff, including those who have little interaction with patients, is the blunt instrument that I suspect will lead to tens of thousands of staff leaving and never returning. We said ‘Protect the NHS’. This won’t do it. Instead, more must be done to engage with frontline staff who are reluctant or fearful.
The third is to scrap the use of face coverings in secondary school classrooms. The argument for this is weak and the omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain, is not the lethal virus that people feared it was over Christmas.