Iain Macwhirter, for reasons not apparent to me, has launched into this difficult topic with a stupid headline. No one is suggesting that the Johnson regime is actively trying to kill old people but many are saying that his preferred ‘herd immunity’ strategy will have that very effect of culling the old, the ill and the poor.
His piece is all about supposed political manoeuvering by the First Minister to attempt to stay onside. Does anyone actually believe that she does not really care and is just another self-centred cynical, callous, political creature indistinguishable from Johnson?
Astonishingly, he portrays her reacting to events as they unfold at speed, to cancel events and to conserve police and ambulance resources for worse to come, as letting the wisdom of crowds take over. Does anyone else read that his way?
Later he defends the Prime Minister’s insensitive language of ‘taking it on the chin’ and it’s underlying ideology as ‘trying to explain disease modelling to a lay audience.’ Does anyone believe that? Wasn’t he really trying to prepare us to be ready for multiple deaths and to excuse himself from any responsibility for trying to reduce them? Surely Macwhirter agrees that language matters?
To somehow justify himself and his argument, Macwhirter quotes unattributed sources ‘screaming’ things like:
‘How can you sit there and let people die!’
Who actually said that? One social media warrior?
Macwhirter explains herd immunity but only, contrary I’m sure to his own editorial guidelines, from the point of view of the UK Government’s chosen expert:
‘Herd immunity is the doctrine that the epidemic is allowed to spread through the community so that the population acquires antibodies. Eventually, enough people develop immunity through exposure that the disease cannot spread – much as children do when they are exposed to diseases in school. However, this well-respected epidemiological approach implies that some people just might die in the short term in order to save a lot more people dying down the road. It means allowing the virus to run through the community, rather than locking down and minimising the immediate risk of infection.’
This ‘well-respected’ epidemiological approach implies that ‘some people just might die in the short term.’
What a sentence. The World Health Organisation has unambiguously condemned the UK strategy. Macwhirter is biased, inaccurate and apparently uncaring.