Lockdown No 2.

This avoidable catastrophe has happened; and it’s Johnson’s fault.

The measures brought forward by the government are right. We need a lockdown, and we have to get these infection rates under control. Rather than furlough back at 80% we should be doing a temporary Universal Basic Income. The government should go further on economic support and pay out whatever is needed for small business and for people, while not letting the very wealthy and big corps take advantage of the give out system, risking another corporate free for all at the taxpayer’s expense. Costs shouldn’t be an issue here; in a global pandemic, all governments become the big spenders. The overall premise of these measures are right however.

The thing that should shock us all is the ineptitude of the whole thing. Briefings to papers that the govt gets favourable press from last thing on a Friday night, a three times delayed presser on Halloween Saturday night. The sheer hypocrisy of toting a lockdown while calling Labour opportunists a matter of a fortnight or less ago for proposing a shorter one. The government sat on its hands until things got so dire a lockdown this severe was needed.

Questions remain on education, unions are warning that the staff are at risk in schools, and while education is vital and keeping schools open (in consultation with parents and teachers) should be priority No 1, teachers and kids cannot be put at unnecessary risk. Schools should be shut if the teachers don’t feel safe; and they don’t. Without that you have a super spreader in the community. That is a drastic measure however, and it inflicts developmental and educational damage, therefore the govt would need to provide tech and support for every child to be safeguarded and educated during lockdown, be it at school if vulnerable or suspected at risk, or at home with support and consistent check ins with parents and any financial worries regards tech and internet reimbursed to them.

The addition of socialising in a safe outdoors manner with one other person is beneficial for mental health, and mental health during this second lockdown is a serious issue and safeguarding and emboldened provisions for that, and for domestic abuse need to be doubled down on; these deaths matter as well. We need to remake a Test Trace Isolate system that’s run aggressively and in public local hands, and we need to pivot to a ZERO COVID strategy if we want to avoid wall to wall shutdowns.

Everyone must follow the rules, and we can get through this. We’re all furious at the govt and its U-turns and its hypocrisy; but this is about each other, not Boris Johnson. Stay safe, keep each other safe, seek help or talk to someone about how you’re feeling, and remember this: it will end, and it will be OK.



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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.