“Save lives, protect the NHS and shelter the economy.”
If you were paying close attention at the end of September when the prime minister made his latest announcements about the limits on our lives, you’d have spotted the change in the slogan, as we reported here.
It was obvious then that the government was trying to grapple, not just with the threat to health, but with the very real prospect of spreading economic misery caused by the initial lockdown earlier this year.
At that point on the 22 September, we had already revealed a few days earlier that the government’s scientific committee, Sage, had put forward the idea of a short, sharp lockdown, the so-called “circuit break”.
Reading the Sage minutes in black and white, the distance between their proposals and the prime minister’s eventual decision seems to portray a dramatic sudden split.
It is no surprise, however, that the situation is more complicated than that.
First off, despite the political rhetoric at the start of the pandemic, there has never been such a thing as “the” science.
It’s the political environment, and the difference of opinion inside government, that has developed too.
Boris Johnson’s decisions were ultimately shaped more strongly by reluctance, not just from the chancellor, but a strong push back from the Tory backbenches, and a fear of public fatigue too.
Read more from Laura here.
Covid updates: UK unemployment rate rises higher than expected – bbc.com