We can tell when it’s politics being talked about for the solution to a current problem is always whatever it was that the person wanted to do anyway. If the economy’s growing then we must reduce inequality, if the economy is shrinking then we must reduce inequality and when the Sun rises in the east we must reduce inequality.
We can also tell when it’s religion being invoked for then we get people insisting upon entirely counterproductive solutions to current problems. What we might call the throw another few virgins into the volcano approach. If our problem, was, say and just imagine, too few young women putting out then the painful sacrifice of a few who didn’t might buck up the ideas of the others. Do note this is just a theoretical and entirely implausible exemplar of the logic, not an actual suggestion. But if our problem was too few virgins – the society is libidinous to an extreme – then that painful and early death of those already doing what we think we wish is going to be counterproductive.
Which brings us to this demand about the NHS and track and trace of coronavirus contacts:
We all know that an effective and integrated find, test, track and trace system is hugely important in tackling the coronavirus outbreak. It’s crucial if we’re going to come out of lockdown safely, prevent a second wave of suffering and see our loved ones again.
Yet Britain’s test and trace programme – lauded by the government as “world-beating” – is about as far from integrated or effective as you can get.
That’s because a key part of it operates not as part of the NHS, but in parallel to it – as a network of commercial, privatised testing labs, drive-through centres and call centres. The chaos this has brought has resulted in huge gaps in information available to local services, causing delays in accessing results and hampering efforts to control the outbreak.
Therefore we should put it all into the hands of those who have been sending infected people back into care homes so that they may solve it. That is her argument.
Which is odd really, because it was only two months ago that we were all lauding the German system of testing. Which, as even The Guardian pointed out to us, depends upon 400 different labs, a network of outsourcing. Some of which even, heavens to Betsy, goes to profit making and privately owned labs.
That is, we the religious conviction that everything must be inside the NHS, all for the NHS and nothing against the NHS. Leading to this sacrificing virgins to the volcano in order to reduce shagging solution. Insist upon the NHS doing the very thing it has just proven to be incapable of. Ideological purity might be maintained but the effective result is going to be counterproductive.
Allyson Pollock is clinical professor of public health at Newcastle University
Imagine, there are those who insist that 13 of the 106 British universities being at risk of bankruptcy is too many at such risk rather than too few.