Saturday, May 15

Why should our policy guide our opinion about Covid? | Coronavirus

LThis past weekend, the vaguely left-wing tweets on my social media echo chamber became clues of disapproval due to Saturday’s front page headline. Daily mail. I realize that this is not an unusual occurrence and that it is often justified. Who can forget “Enemies of the People,” the headline he printed in 2016 when three judges said that parliament should be consulted before activating Article 50? Accompanied by photos of the high judiciary it wished to demonize, this seemed an almost conscious echo of the newspaper’s old fondness for Nazism.

In this case, the offensive splash was about the coronavirus. “What is the truth about Covid deaths? he asked in a source that strongly implied that the question was rhetorical. What followed was a report saying that some people had their causes of death registered as Covid even though they recently tested negative. This is in addition to the considerable number of people who have died from other causes, but who had coronavirus in their body when they did.

The echo chamber did not like this because the Mail is right-wing and therefore supposed to be on the wrong side of history when it comes to Covid. It is immediately concluded that this story is a dangerous crypto-Covid denial and will lead to thousands of deaths. Current political orthodoxy dictates that if you lean to the left, what matters is safety, distancing, wearing masks, praising the NHS, and not opening pubs too early, and that’s all everyone should say about Covid. So by saying something different, the already suspect Mail is revealed as a group of at best Covidiots and at worst Covillanos who would advocate breaking into residences and licking all patients’ faces if there was a way to monetize it.

What is ignored in this politically polarized medium is that, in reporting this story, the Mail is doing something good. He’s scanning the system. If people’s deaths are misreported and if there is evidence, albeit anecdotal, of a penchant in some healthcare contexts to attribute death to Covid due to insufficient evidence, it’s the press’ job to expose that. It seems highly unlikely that this is happening enough to significantly alter the overall picture of coronavirus lethality, but it is still wrong. Criticizing the newspaper for saying this, simply because it deviates from the Covid-approved security liturgy, is fatuous nonsense.

Now we are all used to the seemingly uniform correlation between people’s overall political outlook and their views on the shutdown. The left is apparently 100% pro-lockdown, while the right is tainted by lockdown skepticism. But, if you think about it, this is a strange situation. Why should our knee-jerk response to this virus have something to do with our politics? And, if so, why is the correlation like this?

The fear and threat to life caused by the virus affect those on the right and left equally. If anything, given that the elderly are more likely to die from Covid and to vote for Tory, one would imagine that the viral safety push would lean more to the right than to the left. Similarly, the negative effects of the lockdown measures are felt across the political spectrum, but younger and less affluent people, who are statistically more likely to be Labor voters, suffer the most. So again, if anything, you could expect skepticism of the blockade to come more from the left.

Perhaps the language is partly to blame. The rhetoric of security is hard to counter and, in Britain’s weakly capitalist way, all attempts to do so have involved citing economics. That, in turn, has led to accusations from the left that any murmur against the severity of the blockade is putting money ahead of people’s lives. This is enormously simplistic, since it is not economic activity that the blockade mainly prevents, but only activity in general: freedom, life. Striking a balance between living life and saving life is a constant human dilemma and leads to fights over everything from wearing seat belts to climbing mountains. But all that complex discussion has been silenced as a horrible attempt to lead the vulnerable to their graves in the name of GDP.

The upshot is that, in this untouched age, a commitment to a tough shutdown has been added to the long list of things you need to think about with all your heart to prevent left-wing parts of the internet from denouncing you as a contributor to the cause of crime. progress. This puts Keir Starmer in an awkward position, which Boris Johnson has clearly noticed. As the government’s approach to the lockdown has become increasingly virally cautious and less and less concerned about the economy, Starmer’s political leeway has disappeared. In response to the new measures, you can only give a grudging assent and say something plaintive about the permit. Any attempt he could make to represent the views of Labor voters more desperate for the shutdown to end than for it to end too soon would be considered a heretical departure from tribal orthodoxy.

This supposedly futile alignment between the left and “security” and the right and “the economy” reduces the debate on handling the pandemic to one on ideology rather than competition. That suits the prime minister very well because his government is full of incompetent people. He didn’t realize, in 2019, that his selection of pro-Brexit cretins would have to rule the country during a rapidly changing emergency. But while Covid remains a left-versus-right issue where Johnson may push Starmer to demand more and more security without joy, and then say “OK, thank you” when he receives it, the issue of competition hardly comes up.

As a result, Johnson finds himself in a surprisingly confused position: His government has imposed brutal restrictions on civil liberties, has presided over the highest death rate in the world, and has completely shut down normal life, so that the economy has collapsed. , no one gets an education. , nobody makes money and nobody allows to have fun. The prime minister has apparently conjured the worst of all worlds. And yet, despite all that, he practically does not oppose all but a few grumpy conservatives, enjoys massive public support thanks to the launch of the vaccine, and seven clear points in the polls.

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