The Covid conspiracy of silence nobody is talking about - Brian Monteith

Politicians’ pandemic decisions changed – sometimes ruined – our lives, so why aren’t they part of the debate?

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. A surfeit of human incompetence leaves me believing cock-up theories far better explain the calamities that confront us. Even when conspiracies do exist they too are subject to cock-ups, such as the Prime Minister conspiring to catch his opponents on the hop by calling an earlier than expected election, only to be drenched in the rain as he announced it.

I say all of this for I believe there is today a conspiracy of sorts taking place before us in plain sight. We are halfway through a general election and yet the political parties have not sought to discuss their or their opponent’s record, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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It is a conspiracy of silence, an omertà between combatants that has not even required them to speak to each other to agree the code. Why should such a potential mass-scale existential event – the likes of which Hollywood horror movies are made about – not be a core issue?

Nicola Sturgeon at the podium in 2020 for a Covid briefing. Picture: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesNicola Sturgeon at the podium in 2020 for a Covid briefing. Picture: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon at the podium in 2020 for a Covid briefing. Picture: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Could it be that it suits them all, government and opposition alike, to not talk about their almost universally poor conduct during that time?

The government’s reaction to the pandemic resulted in us being under 24-7 supervision, often house bound, it caused early deaths, wrecked businesses, denied education, delayed healthcare, cost jobs, savings and ruined lives.

The Covid-19 pandemic was not that long ago. The last UK lockdown ended only three years ago in July 2021 – Scotland’s lasted longer. Yet while we hear our politicians talk about today’s consequences of the decisions taken then, such as the cost-of-living crisis, the enormous NHS waiting lists, the cancer treatment backlog, the education gaps, the rising mental health symptoms, they do not want to talk about the root cause of the challenges we face now.

Why is no-one asking questions about why our politicians closed the schools when other countries managed to keep them open – and still managed comparatively better outcomes?

Why is there not a demand to know why Nightingale hospitals were built at great expense only never to be used for their purpose of mass triage and treatment centres?

Where is the outrage at the way care home residents were treated or how “Do Not Resuscitate” protocols were put in place across many healthcare settings?

How could our governments adopt a conscious programme of Project Fear to scare us into obedience – to snitch on our neighbours for walking their dogs, to wear masks despite there being no evidence of benefits, to adopt entirely arbitrary social distancing so we could not see our dying loved ones or easily attend their funerals?

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Well, I have not forgotten those times and I’m absolutely certain our politicians have not either.

The reality is that as the various public inquiries have held their evidence sessions, so we have become aware of how badly our politicians behaved, either in conducting their decision making, or in callously turning dreadful situations to their own advantage. They know we see this too.

Is it not strange Rishi Sunak only mentions his generous furlough scheme, but not his agreement to the massive pumping of money into the economy through quantitative easing that contributed to our inflation and subsequent higher taxes? Is it not stranger Keir Starmer does not seek to press Sunak on these weaknesses, or does he fear being shown to have wanted to do more that would have made the after-effects even worse?

Sunak dare not talk about Boris Johnson receiving a police fine for accepting a birthday cake he did not ask for, nor eat – because he too was fined for being in the room at the same time. But why does Starmer not raise the episode? Is it because of dubiety around his beer and pizza in Labour campaign offices?

Is it not odd the SNP campaign does not make more of Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s chief mammy at the time? Or does the SNP leadership now recognise her deletion of texts, her bouncing of the UK into mask wearing, her doing things differently in Scotland just for the sake of it, and her grandstanding at daily information sessions in advance of the Holyrood elections might bring back the sort of memories that will cost votes?

The international and domestic evidence has been gathering for months now. The lockdowns made no significant difference to the spread of Covid-19, but have cost our economies, our personal finances – even if it’s just the taxes we now face – our health and our kids’ education irreparable damage. Those like Sunak who introduced them and those like Starmer who clamoured for them to be sooner, harder and longer dare not talk about it.

Likewise those Labour politicians in Wales and SNP politicians in Scotland who made their lockdowns even more extensive dare not talk about it. Ironically it was Boris Johnson who fought to end the last lockdown early and Starmer who said we dare not.

Today our politicians want to talk about their offers of shiny things and free stuff – but cannot face the reckoning for the way they behaved.

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Far too many who are out on the streets asking us to trust them have only recently been exposed for destroying the evidence of their conversations at the time – even when told by their officials they should keep all records.

Strange how these political heavyweights who claim to have sound political judgement could not work out that when a public inquiry is announced the record of their texts and e-mails should help prove their selflessness and competence – or were their texts incriminating?

That’s why they have conspired by happenstance to not talk about the pandemic. And they wonder why there’s so much contempt and revulsion for today’s politics and politicians.



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