Governed by Misfits and Weirdos

If, like me, you were were curious what to expect from a government seeking to employ misfits and weirdos, the wait is over. It means nothing more than ignoring prevailing scientific opinion when formulating government policy.

The UK Government's disregard for the World Health Organisation guidelines when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has laid this bare beyond any reasonable doubt. These guidelines are the best of the current science; there is no way to spin this otherwise.

The only reason the Government's Herd Immunity strategy (and there is little doubt in my mind that until this weekend that was The Strategy, it is the one thing that explains everything this government has, or rather has not, done until now), has not made us the laughing stock of the world is because there is nothing funny in the potential outcomes.

(Though we have come close; a Harvard epidemiologist and his colleagues assumed at first that the reports coming from the UK were satire).

Sadly, we know that the WHO approach works, for the Asian countries that are rigorously sticking to it have managed to get or keep their epidemics under control. We also know the opposite is true, we only need to look at Italy for an example of what a slow initial response leads to.

The WHO strategy hinges on large scale testing and contact tracing to provide effective isolation prior to individuals becoming symptomatic. In the UK we seem to have failed to apply these guidelines in the critical early stages, and now have already given up on them again; the official UK guidelines seem to amount to little more than the 'wash your hands' and 'self-isolate'.

The early laxness I am inclined to put down the Johnson's natural contrarianism, the current mess to lack of NHS capacity -- successive Tory Governments have systematically run down the NHS with a view to cheap privatisation; we are about to reap the fruit of that.

So when I hear those speaking on behalf of the Government declaring the UK is following the best scientific advice, I can't avoid thinking this is nothing but desperate spin.

For in my mind the disregard of the WHO guidelines raises the questions of not only of our Government's competency (no surprises there), but ultimately whether Profs Vallance and Whitty are the right people to spearhead the UK's response; I really have no desire for myself and my elderly relatives to be guinea pigs in a high risk public health experiment, no matter how individually brilliant the dissenting scientists might be.

P.S. When the car makers are producing those ventilators, could the UK Government please take steps to ensure they don't include any defeat devices?