A new and entirely predictable narrative is now emerging from the government. It started in the Sunday Times where Boris Johnson is reported as being surprised by the number of people not going to work.
This was followed by Sir Graham Brady stating in parliament that employees had been “too willing” to stay at home (Anger at UK lockdown easing plans ‘that could put workers at risk’, 4 May). Now we have reports of Rishi Sunak believing that the country has become addicted to furlough and he is looking for an exit strategy.
What exactly does the government not understand from its own advice to “stay home”? We already have the highest death toll in Europe, now we are told the policies implemented to avoid more deaths need to be lifted because we the public are abusing them.
With the economy in lockdown, and millions not working and worried about the future, the last thing we need is the traditional Tory accusations that their own failures are actually the fault of a workshy public.
Newcastle upon Tyne
• It looks as though Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee, has let slip the narrative that this government is going to push to divert attention from its costly mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.
Presumably he read the podium exhortation to “stay home, protect the NHS, save lives”. Presumably he heard his colleagues repeat this countless times, yet in the House of Commons on Monday he said that “in some instances it may be that the public have been a little bit too willing to stay at home”.
The public stayed home, as directed, as a public service. Those deemed essential risked their lives when they left their homes to try to keep the rest of us safe. Many minimum-waged essential workers have borne the brunt of austerity since the government bailed out the bankers.
Now it looks as though the new narrative is going to be that these shirkers who were “too willing to stay at home” have bankrupted the economy, so it is perfectly reasonable that they pay for it with another 10 years of disparate austerity. Please don’t fall for it.
This content was originally published here.