Dave W wrote:John, if this had been done a month ago even more businesses would have folded than are already likely to.
Also, in practice, what do you reckon "...those in authority [being able] to control them" would actually look like?
I expect that none of us would like the answer to that, and obviously the answer would apply to us all not just to "them".
There is no simple solution to this unprecedented problem. People are clearly doing their best in a complex balancing act. Needlessly pointing fingers is at best unhelpful.
I agree, and think the UK government's approach has been pragmatic and overall pretty good.
You can only implement what is likely to work. The countries that had rapid, strict lockdowns after relatively few cases/deaths are ones with cultures of obedience where the population are used to being told what to do and 'government crackdowns' are not exactly unusual.
The British people have something of a tradition of treating instructions from government as advice rather than requirement. We've seen this as the instructions were flouted and continue to be flouted even after firm instructions have replaced polite requests. It would not be feasible or in any way practical for the government to attempt a strict enforcement of the lockdown with the Police and military patrolling the streets. Outside of cities it would be completely impossible.
The present stepwise, incremental approach is correct. A hard lockdown from the start would have been widely ignored, unenforceable and largely pointless. The media and political opposition portray it as 'backtracking' or bowing to pressure when the PM announces something new, but it is nothing of the sort - it is planned and gradual implementation of a plan which consists of a series of increasingly serious measures.
It was particularly distasteful to see a Labour shadow-something (I forget who, they are all utterly forgettable) speaking last night and suggesting that the latest measures were in some way a result of pressure applied by the Labour Party. "We welcome these latest steps from the Government which the Labour Party has been calling for for the last week and would have implemented much sooer, etc". Yeah, right. Easy to just say that whatever's being done at the moment is wrong and you'd have done more, isn't it? Easy to spout theory because no-one's asking you and you're not under pressure to make the decisions. If you were in that room having to take the decisions I'm sure you'd see that it isn't quite as straightforward as you make out.
Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.