Thursday, 30 April 2020

Looking after their own?

One of the things that puzzled me from the outset about the now-abandoned ‘herd immunity’ approach of the English government (it was not a decision to which the devolved administrations contributed) was that it was a strategy which would disproportionately kill their own party’s supporters. And it wasn’t just about those it would kill either; those most affected by severe cases or by bereavement were also likely to be disproportionately Tories. Given the alleged cleverness of the political advisers in Downing Street, it surprised me that a party which had just won an election which it would not have won had the electorate been younger could blithely contemplate allowing hundreds of thousands to die, with the casualties disproportionately impacting those who had so recently voted for them. They had enough information to see this likely impact quite early but chose not to act on it for some weeks. One explanation would be that they decided not to take such a narrowly partisan approach; that would, however, be completely out of character with the way in which so many of their policies were honed to appeal to the interests and prejudices of precisely that demographic.
Whether yesterday’s e-mail from the English Health Minister to members of the English Conservative Party inviting them to apply for coronavirus tests reflects a realisation of the damage they were doing to their own supporters is a moot point. No doubt some will interpret it as ‘looking after their own’ whether that’s the intention or not. More likely, it could just be a desperate last-minute attempt to reach the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of today by targeting a group of people likely to see themselves as having a vested interest in the government not being seen to fail against an arbitrary target which they set themselves. Those of a more charitable disposition may simply see it as a common sense approach – after all, if one wanted to rapidly identify a large group of people in England over the age of 65, the membership of the English Conservative Party would be a fairly logical place to start.

1 comment:

dafis said...

You credit them with too much intelligence. They are more concerned with protecting the interests of the seriously wealthy hence the protection measures launched by the Chancellor. Even the serial tax dodgers will be relatively well shielded wherever possible.