These are unprecedented times.
No peacetime Government in the last hundred years has faced a greater set of challenges than those now facing the Government of Boris Johnson.
That being said, I do have some questions about the response to Coronavirus in this country.
I have never been a supporter of those who offer commentary and criticism from the sidelines – from the comfort of their armchairs – without ever having faced up to a real challenge in real life. So I’m not about to become one of them.
But I do have some questions. They look something like this:
Why do we in Britain have one of the highest excess death rates in the Western world?
Why do we have one of the bleakest economic outlooks in the Western world?
Why did we delay the first lockdown?
Why did we fail to protect care homes?
Why did we fail to get adequate PPE to frontline workers?
Why was there one rule for Dominic Cummings and one rule for everyone else?
Why has he still not been held to account?
Why has Government messaging throughout the pandemic remained so confused and confusing?
Why has the Government made so many important announcements via the media/social media, rather than in Parliament?
Why does the Government so frequently rely on ‘anonymous number 10 sources’ to communicate with the public?
Why do some journalists quote those anonymous sources without challenge or question?
Why do we still not have an adequate Test, Trace & Isolate system?
Why are we not doing more to apply learning from the experience of other countries?
Why, having insisted for so long that they were ‘following the science’, are the government now not following the science?
Why are we not taking more of the learning from the first wave of the virus and applying it to the second wave?
How much money has the Government spent on private sector consultancy since the pandemic began?
What has that expenditure delivered?
How many COVID-related contracts have been awarded to companies owned/controlled/operated by individuals with connections to the Government?
Why has the Government not drawn on the experience of former ministers within its own party?
Why has the Government not drawn on the experience of members of other parties?
Why has the Government been unwilling to accept that there have been shortcomings in their pandemic response?
I daresay there are other questions to be asked – but there are enough here to be going on with.
They are not questions borne of partisan interest. They are not designed to score political points (I belong to no party – never have, never will).
They are simply a matter of life and death