Once again England has been placed in lockdown. From November 5th till December 2nd, 2020 we have been told to stay home and to only leave for specific reasons such as food shopping and outdoor exercise. Unlike the first lockdown these restrictions only apply to England. Wales is coming out of a two-week lockdown; Scotland has a five-tier system and Northern Ireland has its own restrictions in place.
Politically this lockdown is harder for the government for many reasons. The first lockdown had universal support as the government was doing what it said it would do, which is follow the scientific advice to form policy. This time round they are unable to say this with any credibility. This is because it emerged last month that the governments scientific advisory group SAGE advised them in September that a short two-week lockdown was needed slow down the second wave of infections. Instead the government went ahead with a three- tier system which SAGE said would not work. The three- tier system was designed to deal with rises in Covid-19 infections at a local level. This approach did have some logic to it. I live in the South West of England, which has some of the lowest infection rates in the country, where as the North West has some of the highest, so why should a large increase in the North West force businesses in the South West to close? One of the problems with the three- tier system is three- tier system is that it leads to confusion for many people. Also, Covid- 19 does not care where abouts in the country a person lives or your social class. If it can infect a person, it will.
It is not my place or intention to criticise the Prime Minister on what he should or should not have done. He will have SAGE advising him on the scientific evidence, the Department of Health advising him on how to deal with the medical impact of the virus, business advisors, the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer advising him on how to deal the economic impact of the virus. If the economy crashes there will be no money left to fund the NHS, education systems and everything else we all depend on to live our lives. The Prime Minister has endured a lot of criticism on how he has dealt with Covid-19. Currently he has no good choices, only bad choices to make and he has to do his best to pick the least damaging decision.
I repeat it is not my place or intention to criticise the Prime Minister on what he should or should not have done. I am not here to defend the government or to say what I would have done differently. Until the issues with Track and Trace are fixed and a safe vaccine is found we are likely to be living under some form of restrictions for the foreseeable future. I will continue to do the best I can to follow the guidance and stay safe.