In mid-January, Britain achieved the gruesome distinction of becoming the world leader in the Covid-19 death rate. No other nation is seeing a greater proportion of its people die of the disease, not even the Covidapalooza of the United States. It is now beyond any doubt that Boris Johnson’s Tory government has been following a stealth “herd immunity” strategy from the beginning: one which accepts (even welcomes) mass death on a horrific scale while doing the barest possible minimum of mitigation to keep health services from being completely overwhelmed.
Johnson signalled this at the very start of the pandemic, openly mulling the idea of “taking the blow,” letting the pandemic sweep through the country while keeping the economy open, unlike those loser nations such as New Zealand and China with their timorous lockdowns. Britain would then emerge “like Clark Kent turning into Superman” (he actually said this) to lead the world as a “champion of free trade.” But when his own scientific advisers pointed out this “strategy” would lead to at least 100,000 deaths or more, the public outcry forced Johnson into the stealth strategy he is still employing. The result has been an erratic minimalism, characterized by seemingly bizarre reversals and stupefying cock-ups, which have plunged the country into a spasmodic cycle of lockdowns, ever-deepening economic ruin and a death count of ... yes, 100,000, and rising.