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15th Apr 2020

John in Lockdown (7)

Instalment 7

by Burns Team Writer

Coronavirus Lockdown April 15th 2020

Coronavirus update – Boris Johnson seems to have got over his health scare but not so many of the thousands who are suffering or have died and are continuing to die.

Questions are now being posed as to government failure to react to warnings and to make timely decisions.  All of this on top of ten years of squeezing the life out of the NHS and Social Services.  This was done all in the name of correcting the economy but really the implementation of a disastrous and flawed political philosophy of low spend, low tax minimal government.

It appears that there are almost half a million care home residents and it seems the government has just realised that hundreds are dying in care homes.  Daily figures for the number of deaths from coronavirus do not include care homes, nor those dying in the community.  Care workers, belatedly now being recognised as key workers, have been treated shamefully in recent years with poor pay and abysmal working conditions and are now being left behind in the scramble for protective clothing.

Visitors to this parish may recall that two weeks or so ago I expressed the view that Michael Gove, Cabinet secretary was someone who was completely untrustworthy.  Dear friends, I got that slightly wrong.  This weekend we hear that his daughter has been tested for coronavirus while tens of thousands of health and social workers still wait for tests.  So my mistake; in one respect you can rely on Michael always to do the wrong thing.

Throughout this crisis one person has been notable for her absence.  I’m thinking of the Home Secretary. Former incumbents have been heavy hitters like Winston Churchill, Robert Peel, Roy Jenkins and Kenneth Clarke.  Now we have Priti Patel, who made headlines recently for being sacked from her role as Foreign Secretary under Teresa May for engaging in secret talks with the Israeli government. Now she’s back as Home Secretary, a role which according to Wikipedia is,

a high profile position, one of the four Great Offices of State, and is considered one of the most prestigious and important roles in the British Cabinet.” 

Despite this high profile role, Ms Patel, wisely some would say, has been keeping her head down.  This weekend she emerged and offered her “apology” for the shortage of PPE –personal protective equipment. She said “We are sorry if people feel there have been failings in the supply of PPE”.  Her “apology” has been widely derided for being a classic “non-apology”.  In other words, there’s no shortage, it’ just that some people may think there is a shortage.

Back in the seventies I was a huge fan of Al Stewart, I played his music non-stop.  Now I’ve dipped in again and found two cracking songs I’d missed.  Try out “Somewhere in England” which is blaring out from my sound system to the neighbourhood as I write and “Royal Courtship”.   They’re on an album called A Beach Full of Shells.