Dominic Cummings reportedly led the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic with a strategy that protected the economy and put the elderly at risk.
According to Sunday Times reports the unelected advisor pushed a discredited “herd immunity” response, saying the prerogative was to “protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.”
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, announced in mid-March that the UK would be taking a different route to other countries in imposing gradual restrictions to allow “enough of us who are going to get mild illness to become immune”.
The strategy was reversed after a study from Imperial College London showed how badly hospitals would be overwhelmed, with the Prime Minister ordering all pubs, restaurants, gyms, and cinemas to close on Friday.
But the delay could have been costly.
“Thousands will die because of his apathy and arrogance”
David Lammy tweeted today that “this must be the last slogan Dominic Cummings gets to use to govern Britain”, adding that “thousands will die because of his apathy and arrogance”.
MP Stewart McDonald called for Cummings to go, while James O’Brien said it confirmed our worst fears about how the government is being run.
And there it is. Worst fears apparently confirmed. Every single time you told yourself it couldn’t all be down to the pound shop Machiavelli, that nobody could allow these life & death decisions to be taken on the fly, a little voice piped up to remind you who was Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/yTx48S5lvZ— James O’Brien (@mrjamesob) March 22, 2020
Downing Street has pushed back hard on the comments, calling it a “highly defamatory fabrication which “includes a series of apparent quotes from meetings which are invented”.
But many have suspected that it could have been the government’s strategy all along.
In a TLE exclusive, postdoctoral researcher T.J. Coles argued that neoliberal thinking has infected the Tory government’s COVID-19 response and has put the nation at risk.
He said the government’s laissez-faire attitude is a reflection of the broader market-oriented philosophy which says that economic nature must take its course.
Read the piece in full here.