LETTER: People losing faith in the government
A reader is startled by the number of people who are losing trust in the government.
I am startled by the sheer number of petitions these days. Increasing numbers of citizens seem to have lost trust in our government and are taking things into their own hands, especially now during the coronavirus crisis. The latest, change.org/PPEnow, is asking the Government to provide the NHS and other frontline staff with PPE as recommended by the WHO. How could we even get to a stage where millions of people are concerned that their Government is not protecting our lives and well-being adequately?
Some countries have been doing better than others during this crisis. Ideally, a prudent government takes mindful, swift action right at the beginning of the outbreak and works with a well-functioning health care system that has contingency capacity. Unfortunately, we are not doing so well. Why? The commitment and expertise of NHS and care staff are unrivalled in the world. The whole nation stands united behind our heroes at the frontline of fighting covid-19. We all go out for a round of applause on Thursday nights and many of us are now supporting the NHS financially. Nothing wrong there!!
So what is going wrong? Firstly, we were slow to introduce the lock down. Secondly, our health service has been overstretched for many years. Anything else? In these difficult times many of us have turned to our neighbours for help and to be helped. Do we ever go out shopping these days without buying things for our auntie, vulnerable friend or housebound neighbour? I find it startling that the Government, in these difficult times, declined the EU's offer to join a scheme to bulk buy PPE. Look at a map and you will see that European countries are in fact our neighbours. Should the Government not have acted in all our interest, joined the scheme and provided sufficient PPE so that lives could be saved? Our European neighbours are now in a better position to protect their frontline staff than we are.
Unfortunately, many of us never hear about such failings. Those who do lose trust and sign petitions. Why isn't there a more thorough scrutiny of what happens in Whitehall? 25 per cent of NHS services are provided by private companies now but when I join the cheering crowd on a Thursday night I cannot help but feel that people think the NHS is theirs. After all, it has been built up using taxpayers' money for generations. Has there ever been a public debate about the clandestine privatisation of the NHS? Where has the press been, what has the BBC done to educate and inform the public? What have we done as citizens when we heard time and time again how overstretched our doctors and nurses have been?
To stand united in the face of Covid-19 and to pull together as a nation is a wonderful thing. But let us not forget that we never want to be in a position again when thousands of loved ones lose their lives unnecessarily. I hope we can all learn. You might just want to start signing petitions. Life is precious.
Anja Ellersiek, Wolverhampton