Tom Collins: Covid inquiry offers more evidence that the UK is broken and beyond repair

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins is an Irish News columnist and former editor of the newspaper.

Evidence to the Covid inquiry confirms that Boris Johnson was the person least fit to lead the UK through the pandemic
Evidence to the Covid inquiry confirms that Boris Johnson was the person least fit to lead the UK through the pandemic Evidence to the Covid inquiry confirms that Boris Johnson was the person least fit to lead the UK through the pandemic

YOU did not need to be a medical expert to know the basics for dealing with coronavirus.

Even I, having given up the study of biology in third year, could have told you that you cannot kill a virus by blowing a hairdryer up your nose.

Neither did I need a rudimentary understanding of disease control to know that releasing patients with Covid into care homes would mean sure and certain death for thousands.

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Nor did I need to be a genius to know that the person least fit to lead the UK through the pandemic was Boris Johnson – the worst sort of waster because he squandered all the gifts privilege bestowed on him.

Yet his peers made him prime minister, and a compliant media averted its eyes, letting him destroy the fundamental basis of democratic government – that it exists to put the interests of the electorate above its own.

A fish rots from its head, and Johnson presided over a regime of mendacity unparalleled in modern history. We all knew that Number 10 Downing Street during his period in office was a cess pit – but still the evidence coming from the Covid inquiry is shocking.

The contempt shown for ordinary men and women who needed protection from Covid is truly sickening. Even the law of the jungle has more compassion for people than Johnson’s administration had. His suggestion that Covid was nature’s way of getting rid of old people was inhuman, immoral and beneath contempt.

And the revelation that Matt Hancock, the very definition of a low-grade politician, wanted the power to decide who lived and who died, is quite simply frightening. History has shown us that politicians who believe they can play god are to be feared.

The culpability is not Johnson’s alone.

Read more:Callous culture of Johnson government laid bare

Everyone who served in his government, including the current prime minister; everyone who promoted him and kept him in power; everyone who exploited their relationship with his government to enrich themselves, is responsible for what must be the single biggest assault on ordinary men, women and children in peacetime.

The judgment of the Covid inquiry is not enough. There is a prima facie case for a criminal investigation into the main actors of this tragic farce. What went wrong goes beyond Partygate and fixed penalty notices – corporate manslaughter, abuse of office and corruption have all been added to the charge sheet.

Read more:Covid inquiry: Johnson's No 10 was ‘unbelievably bullish' UK would sail through

Will the police step in? Don’t waste your money betting on it.

Actions speak louder than words and the establishment is moving to put an invisibility cloak around Johnson and his cronies.

Look at how the Daily Mail is playing down the inquiry’s evidence; look at the massive sums being paid to Johnson for his ramblings in the same paper; look at how he has been head-hunted by GB News as a presenter.

Beyond a rogue prime minister and a grossly incompetent government, the inquiry demonstrates something even more sinister. It shows that the systems supporting United Kingdom PLC are not fit for purpose.

The threats of a global pandemic were known well ahead of the appearance of the coronavirus, yet no preparation had been made. Indeed, the Conservatives – obsessed with a policy of austerity – had cut funding where it mattered most.

As the British Medical Association noted, recommendations from scenario planning were ignored, while cuts over a decade of consecutive administrations meant the health service did not have the “resources, workforce, capacity, structures” to respond effectively to the pandemic.

Governments can be replaced, but the UK needs more than a new government.

It’s broken and I doubt it can be fixed. There is a canker hollowing it out. Greed sees the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. Conspiracists have corrupted many in the electorate. It is fashionable to demonise those in need, people fleeing persecution, and the sick.

That there are those here who wish still to be part of that charade of a country beggars belief.