To be clear, the vast majority of people have stuck to the lockdown rules and will continue to do so.
Everyone wants to defeat the virus and get back to some form of normality as quickly as possible, but it has been obvious for some time that this was not going to happen anytime soon. We were warned of a second wave in March and cases started to rise sharply again in September, yet the messaging from ministers has been all over the place.
Three weeks ago Boris Johnson told us the tiers system was the way forward, with a national lockdown – which was suggested by Labour – slammed by the PM as unnecessary.
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As one Conservative MP said in this very newspaper at the time, such an extreme move would be “devastating for jobs and the economy, and devastating for people socially”. Well here we are, about to enter that period of devastation after the powers that be decided the tiers system was doomed to failure.
Coupled with the way ministers lazily played into Labour’s hands during the free school meals fiasco, anyone would think they were deliberately trying to make Keir Starmer look good.
The reasoning behind this latest about-face is that scientists have warned the PM that virus deaths could be twice as high over the winter as they were in the pandemic’s first wave.
It will be interesting to see what happens once the latest lockdown has ended, but my very non-scientific guess is that infection rates will start to rise all over again.
As ministers move from one blunder to the next, it is increasingly apparent that the plan – if you can call it that – is to buy time until a vaccine is found.