Supporters of strangling the country always demand ‘What would you have done?’ if I dare to criticise the Government’s wild, unprecedented policy for dealing with Covid.
They assume, as backers of crazy policies always do, that there is no alternative to mass house arrest, enormous police powers, Maoist travel bans and the crippling of large parts of the economy.
Well, there is an alternative. Sitting in the Government archives is a 70-page document called UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011. Don’t be put off by that ‘influenza’. The plan could easily be adapted to deal with a coronavirus or any similar threat.
Agreed by all four governments of the UK, it was revised after the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. It is typical of careful, commonsense UK state planning before the hysteria outbreak of March 23, 2020.
But it was ditched in a moment of madness. As the noted Government adviser Neil Ferguson explained, the spectacle of a health crisis in Italy persuaded British authorities to follow the Chinese model instead.
He described how Sage, the Government’s scientific advisory group, had watched as China’s despots embarked on an unheard-of form of disease control by shutting down an entire province.
‘They claimed to have flattened the curve. I was sceptical at first. I thought it was a massive cover-up by the Chinese. But as the data accrued, it became clear it was an effective policy.’