Skip to content

Corona Diaries – please answer the damned question, Minister

April 1, 2020

I’m not sure I’m going to keep listening to the British government’s daily TV update on the coronavirus situation. The only thing I learned today is that even our medial advisors seem to have had training in evading questions.

I yearned for a straight answer on at least one of the questions. All I heard was smooth deflection.

For example, the question on why we are struggling to test more than a few thousand a week when the Germans are managing half a million. The answer wouldn’t require a detailed exposition on the differences between the two health systems, though it would be interesting if we could learn why Germany has twice as many hospital beds as we do.

All it would take would be a little humility. How much more satisfying and how much more honest, it would be if Mr Sharma, the minister at the podium tonight, said this:

“We are full of admiration at the way our German friends have handled their testing programme. To date, we have not been so successful, for a number of reasons, some structural and some practical.

What I can tell you is that we have much to learn from Germany’s outstanding effort. Based on their experience as well as our own, we are doing our best to get to the same level of testing.

Yes, we have made some mistakes, and yes, perhaps we should have mobilised sooner. But now is not the time for a detailed inquisition on what has gone wrong and why. Now is the time to learn from experience, wherever it is gained, and to put that learning to good use for the benefit of our country. And I can assure you that this is what we’re trying to do.”

One of the reasons why people mistrust politicians is because of their inability to admit mistakes. In this case either the government doesn’t believe it’s screwed up, in which case it’s delusional, or because despite a comfortable majority and four more years in office, it’s so insecure that it automatically resorts to knee-jerk evasion born of a deep-seated fear of failure.

Neither possibility is a promising recipe for success, I suggest.

From → Politics, UK

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: