The news that Britain has passed 100,000 Covid deaths fills me with heart-wrenching sorrow. Such a high death toll – and the highest death rate on the planet – was not inevitable. The government's number one duty is to protect the nation. The government's absolute priority should always be to preserve life at all costs. Tragically, the government failed on these counts. It acted too slowly, too late, too half-heartedly not once, but consistently.
The fact this country is only now acting regarding quarantine hotels for travellers arriving speaks volumes. I grieve the loss of the 100,000 and I feel horror that this figure will continue to rise. It needs to be said, though: I shan't forget, nor shall I forgive the government for presiding over this disaster.
I have to believe the PM when he claimed: "We truly did everything that we could.” The problem is he and his government didn’t do everything they should, and especially didn’t do almost anything in good time. They were incompetently hesitant.
In demonstrating his inappropriate use of metaphor, Johnson thoughtlessly promises: "The government will continue to put its arms around people during the crisis.” What happened to social distancing? In the early stages he enthusiastically shook hands for the cameras with several Covid-19 patients, so perhaps it wasn't a metaphor.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
We need a way out of this crisis
The UK’s record on the coronavirus pandemic has been atrocious – there now needs to be a route map out that includes a plan as to how to construct a more just and equitable future.
The passing of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths is a sad indictment of this country. Over recent weeks there has been an average toll of more than 1,000 deaths a day.
This all comes as we mark the one year anniversary of this terrible pandemic beginning. It is a year that has seen other countries suffer to a similar degree but they took the correct measures at the right times. Now, in those countries, Covid is a sad memory, as normal life has resumed.
In the UK, we wander around in deserted city centres, wondering when the latest lockdown will end. When will life return to normal?
The deaths from the virus are bad enough but what of the collateral damage: the cancer and heart condition treatments not undertaken. The dementia sufferers. The massive impact of this pandemic on just about everybody's mental health. The huge economic damage caused by lockdown after lockdown. How many businesses will never recover?
The pandemic has exposed the great inequalities in our society, with the poorest hit the hardest. The crisis has brought out the best and worst in people, lots of support for mutual aid groups and food banks but also panic buying and selfish behaviour.
There will certainly need to be a reckoning when this pandemic is over. Those in government who let frontline workers down with the lack of PPE. The debacle that has been the test and trace system, farmed out to unqualified private sector firms looking to make a profit, instead of to local and health authorities, who know how to do the job. The failure to provide meals for the poorest children, until shamed into belated action by a young Premier League footballer. The list is endless.
The route map out of this crisis must be based on cutting deaths and infections to zero. It must also include a plan for reconstruction, that will see a levelling up of the standards of living for the poorest. Less food banks and less billionaires.
We must resist the efforts of some in government to make the poorest pay over again for a crisis that was none of their making but who have ultimately paid the heaviest price. The costs must be borne most heavily by those most able to pay.
What is for sure is that our society needs to take a long hard look at itself, then reconstruct in a more just and equitable way.
While MPs have the time to debate trivial, less important bills, one of the most pressing obligations is to reduce our climate footprint. The call, nay shout, from all facets of parliament and British society is deafening yet Boris and his band of myopic wasters seemed either to be caught in a vacuous state or don’t really care – the latter is more likely.
The past year has shown the true nature of Boris’ government by its wavering on free school meals for hungry children, knee-jerk and late reaction on Covid lockdowns, U-turns and procrastination instead of proactive planning. The lack of empathy shown to the British people while we’re literally fighting for our lives borders on the criminal.
Stop making Britain look foolish and get the Environment Bill legislation through the Commons and Lords before any other bills are considered. It appears that we don’t rate doing our bit and our best to save our planet from severe climatic problems is high on our agenda.
Boris, you are not with any stretch of the imagination representing adequately the feelings of the caring people of Britain on reducing global warming by delaying passing the Environment Bill. So get a grip on reality, if possible, and do something which is absolutely necessary to help in saving our planet from burning or flooding huge areas of the world.
If you, and other countries, don’t pull your grubby little fingers out we will all suffer another avoidable disaster – but we must act now!
I enjoyed reading Yewande Biala’s piece – after all, it took my mind off massively depressing issues involving our incompetent, lying, corrupt government. However, I have to disagree with her, although I realise this is dangerous territory since I am not an ethnic minority.
She is fortunate to have been told her name is beautiful. Mine isn’t. And yes, I do blame my parents. Over a long working life, I have been called Bill, Belle, Brenda and, by a lovely Italian friend, Barrel (I was pregnant at the time so we all had a laugh). It wasn’t racist at all. It’s simply an unfamiliarity with certain sounds. In my case the problem was further compounded by my inability to pronounce the letter “r” but my parents could not have foreseen that.
Other things are most certainly racist.
Keep a clear picture
Samuel Lovett’s article is well worth bookmarking. It is an excellent appraisal of what this country has endured and why. The reason for bookmarking is, as alluded to in the article, that the government will likely obfuscate and use the emergence of the Covid variant in Kent to cover its tracks from what was already a failed handling of the pandemic. We need to keep a clear picture now of what really happened.