Britain and the Media During COVID-19
In the current pandemic and fear-consumed world, are we missing the bigger picture? Of negligence, of greed, and of incompetence, that is staring us in the face?
(U.K Prime Minister Boris Johnson - From an article published on March 27th 2020, the day the Prime Minister tested positive for Coronavirus - https://www.voice-online.co.uk/news/coronavirus/2020/03/27/boris-johnson-has-tested-positive-for-coronavirus/) Highlighted by the pandemics' ability to shine a light on the major injustices in our society, from cases of Coronavirus disproportionately infecting and killing members of the BAME community(evidence supported by an NHS study into the effect of COVID-19 on BAME communities in the U.K: https://post.parliament.uk/impact-of-covid-19-on-different-ethnic-minority-groups/), to multi-billionaires making more in a week than is even comprehendible(Heres looking at Elon Musk in particular, who fought with Jeff Bezos throughout the pandemic to claim the title of worlds richest man whilst both simultaneously kept their employees on poverty wages). Are we becoming blind to the clear injustices that have occurred throughout this pandemic? And is the media failing to inform us of the sheer scale of incompetence in the people who lead us?
For months we knew COVID-19 was coming. For months we could gauge the impact this pandemic could have on not just the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, but on everyone, yet our politicians treated us like cattle, they bickered and fought politics while the general public sat chained into the seats of the world's sketchiest rollercoaster. We ended up at first with the not-so-secret idea of herd immunity. Herd immunity was mentioned as early as March 2020, just as the figures were starting to rise alarmingly in the U.K.
In an article by ITV journalist Robert Peston, he discusses the potential of "Herd Immunity" and states that this was "the strategy of the British government", throughout the article Peston refuses to condemn the possibilities for mass infections and deaths that could occur from following through with it. (article available at - https://www.itv.com/news/2020-03-12/british-government-wants-uk-to-acquire-coronavirus-herd-immunity-writes-robert-peston) As we can see from the Peston article, and the many more like it that have been published, our representatives in the media failed to confront this plan(a plan that has arguably still been in motion over the past year), and so the herd immunity experiment continued, turning human beings into guinea pigs and leaving the public stranded and hopeless while the tsunami that was COVID-19 came hurtling toward us, of which we all ended up drowning in its effects. Inquiries must be made in the post-pandemic world to examine why measures based on science weren't taken sooner to prevent the out-of-control scenario we witnessed over the past year when we had so many months of forewarning.
We failed with those multiple months warning to implement the kind of strategies that South Korea or Italy had done in the early months of the pandemic, and because of that we became faced with a pandemic that was prolonged by government incompetence and negligence, and that is only comparable now, in terms of area of effect and sheer disruption to life, to World War Two.
Our egocentric and nationalist view of our own land and people resulted in the belief that we would not feel the effects of a virus that does not discriminate(at least not by itself) or anything else due to some invisible Dunkirk spirit that we ludicrously conjured out of nowhere. Our dangerous belief in a protective identity and in some completely misguided sense of unity in a country that has never been more divided caused us to dumb down the possibilities for uncontrollable chaos, and to exaggerate Britain's importance in the world, both of which prove jeopardising in the face of a pandemic of this scale.
Our egocentric and selfish tendencies as a country have also consistently led us to fall victim to a failing mainstream media who refuse to hold incompetence in those who lead us to account, and we have thus fallen victim to the decisions those incompetent people are making on our behalf. In the post-pandemic world we must make a plea for stronger confrontational journalism, to truly dig into the injustices in our society, where austerity continues to kill off the poorest and those in need of state help, and where racism and fascist ideologies continue to rise in a country where only seventy years ago, we fought to eradicate those same ideologies.