THE North of England has been turned into a giant medical laboratory.
From coast to coast, millions of people are living – if you can call it that – under Government-imposed restrictions.
It’s a mammoth experiment and we must all play our part, while Boris Johnson offers patronising words about northern “fortitude and selflessness”.
As if we had a choice. Downing Street calls the shots, behind a show of consultation with local politicians.
Our ordeal might be worthwhile if we could be certain it will work. The medics are not convinced.
A survey by the British Medical Association shows more than a third of doctors feel the tiering system will have no impact or will be ineffective, while 46% think it will work only to a “slight” extent. Fewer than 1 in 25 believe it will have a significant impact.
These are damning figures, made worse by a fake pledge to fully fund the social and economic impact of holding a piecemeal lockdown.
Rotherham Council leader Chris Read, who was involved in the talks to put Sheffield region into Tier Three, says: “This wasn’t localism, and it certainly wasn’t levelling up. We were political cover. The package was already written on the back of a fag packet a long time before ministers started asking for Zoom meetings.”
This issue is even bigger than the scandal of schoolkids’ meals. The Tories are cutting us loose, using the North as a test-bed for their cack-handed, piecemeal pandemic policy, as they once used Scotland for the Poll Tax.
Covid-19 infection rates are rising fast in virtually all parts of the country, and the Government has missed the opportunity of school half-term to take the whole UK into a circuit-break like Wales and Northern Ireland.
Spain is in a six-month national emergency, France goes into total lockdown today, with similar measures in Germany and Italy.
Meanwhile, the Great Faffer in Number 10 fiddles while the virus spreads.
If we were in true lockdown, with proper furlough, rather than a hotch-potch of local restrictions that even the politicians don’t understand, I could have some confidence.
But this waiting game is getting everybody down.