It was only last month that I broke my silence on the way I thought the Government has handled this current public health crisis, and a month on, as expected, nothing's changed; in fact, things look to have got worse. But don't worry, of course, it's the people's fault and nothing to do with the way Johnson and co. have dealt with the worst public health crisis in a century.
What's got up my nose most of all is the way the Government feel the need to shift the blame instantaneously onto the people and treat us as if we're schoolchildren. To me at least, it's this horrible rhetoric that they're pushing, mounting an attack on all fronts thanks to threatening larger fines, blaming swathes of the younger generation, and pointing the finger at the people what feels like once every ten seconds. It's almost like they're continuously slapping us on the proverbial wrist like a disappointed parent would.
The worst thing about this though is that there are people out there who believe the Government's every word and take them hook, line and sinker. To them, we daren't say a word about the way this Conservative government have dealt with this pandemic, or rather not dealt with it if you will. A YouGov poll on the issue of blame actually found that those surveyed blame the people more than the government do. Of the nearly 2000 surveyed, 53% of people blame the public, or in reality they're blaming themselves, whilst 28% choose to point the finger at the Government. Interestingly, this percentage shifts when you compare the voting intention of Leave and Remain. For Leave voters, it's 71% the public and 14% the government, whilst Remainers were the most balanced with 42% of the public and 43% the government. It would appear that people have been taken in quite heavily on one side.
When someone presents me with a poll like that, I can't help but question their morals and motives. Of course, everyone has the right to an opinion and to say how they feel, but when there's pretty damn clear evidence that Johnson has failed this nation and run it into the ground, I just go mad. You hardly need to go looking to find that evidence - a £108 million contract for PPE given to a firm who has never made the equipment in their lives; £12 billion on a privatised 'world beating' Test and Trace system that only traces just over half of people. To be honest, as I've had to isolate for two weeks since three of my university flatmates tested positive, I feel like one of the chosen few and that I should be on Noel's Christmas Presents or something similar.
Moreover, with the Thatcher-like handling of the pandemic in the North, it doesn't exactly help matters. Despite Greater Manchester offering a budgeted and thought-out package for £65 million, the Government only offered £60 million, and weren't willing to budge on that extra little bit of money. What doesn't help matters is that local leaders estimated that the figure proposed by Greater Manchester was the "bare minimum" that they could get by on. When the pandemic eventually spreads down to the South, you can bet the Government will then get their finger (and wallets) out to chuck whatever money is necessary. The Tories around will argue that this lack of investment is being counteracted by the spiralling costs of HS2, representing one of the biggest public infrastructure projects for decades, and therefore value for money for anyone north of the Watford Gap.
If I was being cynical, I could go against my own argument and say that the poor handling of the pandemic is actually the people's fault for voting in this Conservative government in December 2019, or go even further and say it's the Conservative members' fault for voting in Boris Johnson as leader of the party back in July 2019. Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing and it's very easy for me to say it's the Tory voters' fault, but that wouldn't be fair on them really. How could they expect their chosen Prime Minister to handle a crisis so badly? Oh, well, let me think - the NHS has been chronically underfunded by the Conservatives for the last however many years and there has been calls that the service was at breaking point anyway; food bank usage is up, child poverty rates are up, homelessness is up.
Even after seven months of lockdowns and the Covid crisis becoming a part of everyone's lives, it still baffles me that the Government haven't taken an ounce of responsibility despite calls from all sides telling them it's their fault. They're just happy to sit there and make it up as they go along by the looks of things and some people will buy into the horse-shit they're being fed.