Breathtaking incompetence

This government, so opposed to the free movement of people, seems to have done almost nothing to prevent the free movement of coronavirus.

Let me say at once, in Bo-Jo’s favour, that the flyer he took on procuring undeveloped, untested and untried vaccines, turned out to be a masterstroke. Sadly this is about the only high point in what continues to be a catalogue of vacillation, overlaid by sheer ineptitude and incompetence.

We know that tens of thousands of people would be alive today had this government made different decisions in the past, although that’s probably true of most governments globally.

We are however an island. We imported coronavirus. It doesn’t fly here on its own and now, dating from April, perhaps the most scandalous failure of this useless government is today, coming home to roost.

Can the Prime Minister be forgiven for his gross errors and omissions in earlier days?

In an appearance before MPs on 26 May, Dominic Cummings said: "Fundamentally there was no proper border policy because the Prime Minister never wanted a proper border policy. Repeatedly in meeting after meeting, I and others said: ”All we have to do is download the Singapore or Taiwan documents, translate them into English and introduce them here.”

At that time this was all new to us. It was, yes, it was unprecedented. But by April 2021 even these people should have surely learned some lessons, and if Johnson refused to listen to Sage, he could have quite easily switched on the 10 o’clock news.

The Indian variant was described on news programme after news programme as a coronavirus tsunami. In early April, crematoria in India had run out of space and families covered up their dead and left them on riverbanks. As the disease enveloped cities, hospitals ran out of oxygen and patients were dying in car parks. All this was starkly relayed on daily BBC news bulletins.

Whilst evidence from Pakistan and Bangladesh was patchy April 8, they were placed on a red list. We had already identified cases of the Indian variant in England a week prior to this, but what did Johnson and his hapless ministers do about returnees from India? Nothing.

It wasn’t until April 23 that Indian emigres and returnees were made to hotel quarantine. In that, almost three-week period, arrivals from hotspots New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, walked straight through airports in their thousands (official figures put it at more than 7000 each week) straight back to families, jobs and schools, free and clear. After the, much trailed, possible, inclusion of India, between April 19 and 23, searches for flights to Britain from India rose by a huge 250 per cent.

As for the mind-bogglingly expensive and equally useless ‘Test & Trace System’, as usual they also did nothing, but in their defence they were not asked to do anything.

As a direct result of this breathtaking incompetence, two things should now happen, if for no other reason, by way of apology to those whose lives and businesses continue to be ruined.

Proper financial support should be put in place to compensate travel and hospitality for four weeks of utterly avoidable postponement. Further, the Government must now introduce a locally led test & trace system abandoning SERCO, Dido Harding and her Talk Talk hangers on. With cases at record lows in March, contacts could have easily been identified and isolated quickly. Combined with proper financial support for those isolating, we would have controlled these cases very much more effectively. We must do this now because Covid is not going away anytime soon. We have already spent £22 billion of taxpayers' money and rising on this hopeless failure and this is double the amount spent so far on vaccination.

Prof Gabriel Scally, a member of the independent Sage Group said recently “We’ve been let down by the large number of cases of this dangerous Indian variant that the UK has wantonly imported”

Let down?

I’ll say we have been.

John Stooke

Haydon End

Havisham Drive

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Reinstate historic Tabernacle Stones

Every time I pass the vacant space, opposite what was the Riflemans, in Regent Street, I am convinced that this would be the ideal place for the reinstatement of the Tabernacle Stones, which I believe are owned by the Council.

With architectural imagination the stones could be used as the facade for a new building, which should be angled to face the war memorial.

Then the stones would be back in the area where they belong.

Gerry Taylor

Newcastle Street


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