Instinct as a getout

The moment was when Boris Johnson said in his prepared statement that Cummings had “acted responsibly, legally and with integrity. … I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent … “
Cos the public health instruction was that you must stay at home. Boris Johnson had a letter sent to every household saying so. Instinct as an exemption negates any public policy.

I think you have to be ready to forgive people for getting things wrong; for making a decision that was against the policy; you might have to fine them for it; or censure them; but forgive them nevertheless.
But here, the Prime Minister has accepted a breach of the policy without chastisement, apparently in full knowledge of all the facts, facts which has not been shared with the public.

This may trigger more occasions of members of the public challenging officers seeking to enforce the policy.
But more, it triggers disappointment, or stronger, in those who complied, and sometimes with some sacrifice. And that is what we see in the newspaper front pages, in social media, and no doubt in chatting with friends and neighbours.
And will make the repeat of a call to action should a second wave come, all the harder.


A word of warning about predicting that these events heralds a second wave of disease. Given the status of the disease in the UK, that may not be the case. (And I understood second waves to be associated with new mutations of a virus.)

Chris Grey@chrisgreybrexit·
“Populism is based on the trick of a self-evident elite purporting to speak for ‘the people’ *against* ‘the elite’. So it’s always vulnerable to its leaders being exposed as not of the people and, even, contemptuous of them.”

Dr Mike Galsworthy@mikegalsworthy
“Ironic to watch a Brexiter government desperately put saving an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat before supporting the will of the people.”

Astonishing tweet; apparently from a member of staff.

Stephen Reicher@ReicherStephen
Level 1:As one of those involved in SPI-B, the Government advisory group on behavioural science, I can say that in a few short minutes tonight, Boris Johnson has trashed all the advice we have given on how to build trust and secure adherence to the measures necessary to control COVID-19.

Be open and honest, we said. Trashed.
Respect the public, we said. Trashed
Ensure equity, so everyone is treated the same, we said. Trashed.
Be consistent we said. Trashed.
Make clear ‘we are all in it together’. Trashed.

It is very hard to provide scientific advice to a government which doesn’t want to listen to science.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s