Johnson's COVID-19 fiasco (contd)
Driving cars? In a pandemic, fixing Climate Change takes a back seat
Transport - another sorry tale of fiasco and confusing messages. "Always Use Public Transport" , became "No don't use public transport unless absolutely necessary". What's absolutely necessary? Is a dockland building worker's journey to work, absolutely necessary? It is to him (or her), so they can feed their family. Did Johnson mean by this, only key workers? He didn't say that. The tube was rammed - no-one wearing masks, re-circulated air conditioning - virus heaven.
The focus should have been, from the start, of using cars as first preference. Cars are steel and glass,virus-proof containers. Mass Transit in a pandemic is a No-No. But cars don't get a mention from Boris Johnson until the end of June - even then, he can't bring himself to say the C** word in the press conference - it was just "other means" of transport. Was Boris conflating the Pandemic with Climate Change, perhaps? Hello! In a pandemic, climate change takes a back seat. Stopping the virus takes priority.
Johnson's message in that first conference should have been "Travel only if necessary as a key worker, or to get to work if you can't work from home. Travel on foot or bike if possible. If it's too far for cycling, all with access to a car should use their car - and leave public transport for the ones who haven't got cars. On the London Tube, masks are compulsory. If you enter the network without a mask, you won't be fined, you'll be forcibly stopped from entering". Simples.
Outside London, trains running nationwide, every day, all the carriages empty. All the way from London to Glasgow, no passengers! What a waste of money! A disaster for the economy and for the environment. It would have been cheaper to shut the network down and pay taxis for key workers without cars, for long journeys.
The worst fiasco is Education. The policy "All schools will close". The fact - nearly all schools stayed OPEN - not for education but as a child-minding service. So a privileged few could leave their children in tow while they went to work. The most expensive child-minding service in human history. (MAINSTREAM has learned, one school stayed open with just ONE child attending. Think of the costs - teachers, caretaker, electricity, catering, cleaners - for one single pupil.) With the announced re-opening of schools in June, Johnson's priority again was the early years first. Why? Most children in the rest of Europe don't start school anyway till they're six or seven. Johnson openly admitted this decision wasn't about education - his focus on early years first, was "so their parents can get back to work and help the economy". Schools as a child-minding service again.
The priority had to be years 10 to 12 - the critical final years which determine a child's whole future. The Germans got it right - they opened years 10 to 12 first. Our government, as with everything else, got it wrong. (One sliver lining after Covid, is we can get schools back to doing what they're supposed to do: Education. Teachers are education professionals, not child minders or social workers.)
What about Johnson's vaunted "Air Bridge" ?. Young people who'd already lost money in cancelled, non-refunded holidays, put their trust in Boris's trumpeting, cobbled their last money together so they could have one holiday in Spain in 2020. Unbelievably, on 25 July when a lot of the youngsters and families had already gone abroad, Johnson with no warning re-imposes the travel quarantine - and refuses to apologise. The devastation felt by thousands of abandoned Brit holidaymakers, can only be imagined.
Free democracies work because citizens TRUST their government to tell the truth, to know what they are doing, to be "in control". This "government" of Johnson, Hancock, Raab, Shapps and the rest of their cronies have lost that trust. Completely.