I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist when it’s come to the Coronavirus crisis. That I admit. I thought it serious long before the government did. I thought that it would be enormous before they did. I thought the chance of a V shaped recovery remote, to the point of being impossible, from the outset. I always thought that there was far too much optimism about the scale of the costs of reopening an economy forcibly shut down. I still do. And my unemployment expectations remain higher than those most have.
In addition, I’ve always thought a second wave of coronavirus likely, most especially when the UK government (as opposed to that of Scotland, for example) did not have an elimination stretch for the disease.
But it seems I am being outdone in my pessimism. Politico reports this morning that:
Panic stations: Boris Johnson fears the U.K. too will be gripped by a second wave next month, the Daily Mail’s Political Editor Jason Groves reports. He has spoken to a “senior government source” who says the PM has been spooked by the combination of serious spikes on mainland Europe and a slow-but-steady rise of cases here in the U.K. “The PM is extremely concerned by what he’s seeing abroad and fears we could be seeing the same thing here in a fortnight,” the source tells Groves. “People have got to realize we are still in the middle of a pandemic. He wants to go further on opening things up and getting people back to work, but he knows it’ll be his head on the block if things go wrong.” Yikes.
Boris Johnson is ahead if the curve, for once. It’s all about him, of course. But he’s still, for once, appreciating that the issues we still face are enormous. Bigger, in fact, than those we have already faced.
I remain bemused by the idea that many seem to have that the worst of this coronavirus crisis is over. We are still in a pandemic.
I keep hearing conversations laden with paradoxes; that furloughed people expect there to be unemployment but not for them.
And my conversations with business owners suggest that all my concerns about solvency remain as valid as ever.
To be blunt, the Prime Minister is right to be spooked. But, action beyond a quarantine on those returning from Spain is what is really required. And on the issue of real action, backed up by a real plan, the government remains silent, except when it promises to exacerbating the crisis by continuing with Brexit, the very obvious catastrophic consequences of which become more apparent by the day.
Spooked is not enough when you’re Prime Minister. Ideas and actions are meant to follow, and they are not. And that’s the biggest cause for pessimism that there is.