For most of the media it is never ‘our’ fault and the government may be in charge but it is never, ever their fault either. Up till now it has invariably been the EU’s fault.
But that excuse is shortly to become unavailable. So what could the plans be from January 1st?
I’m not in on the plans but we can make some guesses, which I’d like to term – well why not? – ‘intelligence led’.
First we have seen Health Secretary Hancock blame Public Health England (PHE) – for which he had complete and direct responsibility, as somehow faulty and his scheme to abolish it, in the middle of a pandemic, is of course an entirely logical and coherent method of improving the public health response.
So that is the first strategy – blame civil servants, who you actually control.
We’ve seen Williamson do the same thing by blaming Ofqual for which he is responsible, for his own incompetence. He doesn’t resign because his career has taught him that if you’re benefiting from the system, why rock the boat? Others can take the heat. And bureaucrats are well known to be useless…
Then of course Hancock continues: “The truth is we couldn’t have done this without the private sector.” The truth is, of course, and I’m sure he meant to say this, that they could not indeed have made such a complete and utter horlicks of the whole test and trace system without the private sector. The public sector still traces the majority of contacts. The hollowing out of state capacity with Osborne’s 40% or more funding cuts to PHE is the major reason why there was no resilience and the UK’s response to Covid-19 has been so appalling.
Then Hancock sets up National Institute for Health Protection to focus on ‘rigorous science-led approach to public health protection’. Running it is our favourite PPE graduate Dido Harding – who is thus a non scientist and has no background, expertise or training in public health. I’m sure Hancock believes that Gove is right and we do not need experts. And so Harding, as a Tory wife, is completely safe, even if pretty incompetent.
All this lack of both competence or discernible skill is worrying.
But in the absence of the EU – and any actual government expertise – we are all, I fear, in Libertarian style, being lined up to take ‘personal responsibility’.
So naturally this ‘personal responsibility’ will mean that the government, being already denuded of most expertise, will just scapegoat us…
I think we have been warned.