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Good, Bad or Bonkers?

The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association.

Is the government doing a good job in its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus? Or is it doing a bad job? Of one thing there is no doubt: the government is in an almost impossible predicament. If it prescribes lockdown, it will be damned by half the community. If it refuses to introduce lockdown, it will be damned by the other half. So in fact the government can’t win. And personally, I have some sympathy for ministers. “Good” we can praise and “bad” we can excoriate. The one thing that is intolerable is incoherence.

Unfortunately, this government is wildly incoherent.

It has commanded a new lockdown to start on Thursday – because, it says, this is the only way to prevent an unacceptable rise in the number of Covid deaths. Why wait until Thursday then, if the matter is so serious? If the virus is deadly come Thursday, it is deadly today. So we are to give it another three days to work its deadliness before we do anything to try to stop it. That’s an example of its intolerable incoherence. Moreover, to announce a further three days before the renewed restrictions is to fly in the face of all our experience of the last eight months, which shows that immediately prior to a tightening of the rules, people will go on a spree. They will have that last party in the pub. They will go out panic-buying. There will be no tins of tomatoes and another blitz on the bog-rolls.

It gets worse. The government has announced that the new lockdown will come to and end on 2nd December. This announcement is worse than incoherent: it is insane – and for this reason… A week ago they were saying there is no need for a further lockdown. Seven days later, they say a lockdown is imperative to prevent all those deaths. So, they are asking us to believe that they will lift the lockdown in four weeks’ time. But if they were unable to see one week ahead, how can they pretend to know what the conditions will be four weeks ahead?

That’s what I mean by incoherence, and it is an intolerably illogical labyrinth.

It gets even worse. During the last few months of less severe restrictions, we have been in the habit now and again of going to our next-door neighbours for early evening drinks; and they, likewise, have been coming to us. From Thursday, that will have to stop. Perhaps that’s wise and all to the good. At least it’s not incoherent. But what is incoherent – and worse than incoherent, stark staring bonkers – is to ban our popping in next door where there will be four of us, while at the same time allowing the return of school classes and the hordes of students who attend the nearby “university.”

When two or three are gathered together discreetly, that is to be forbidden because it is deemed to be dangerous. But let hundreds gather together in schools and colleges, and that is fine. And, unless we actually imprison the children and teenagers, they will go home each evening or each week and thus spread whatever they have picked up. So the new prescription amounts to: “Neighbours, stay apart. Youngsters, gather in hordes, then go home and infect your more susceptible parents and grandparents!”

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the lunatic asylum…


All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.

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