Pity ministers trying to second guess a far more nimble virus adversary. We know that modelling is fallible from what happened last year. Lacking reliable prognosticators there’s a temptation to over engineering our defences. Unfortunately closing things down involves a heavy price in terms of the economy, liberty and livelihood. Even the most economically illiterate and those who are comfortable with government diktat can surely see the cost of that in things like children’s education, mental health and healthcare foregone. Hence the delicate balance and why I’m - generally - supportive of those tasked with making the tough choices.
As I write it seems to me that the omicron variant will spread fast with it’s speed reduced a bit by cancelling some foreign travel allowing time to get booster shots in arms. I can’t see from the crude figures published for Southern Africa that it’s any more lethal, however, and the hunch (we can’t say more than that right now) appears to be that jabs and the new drugs coming on line to treat people will be effective, but we don’t know how effective. Still, we should know well before Christmas as lab results come through and are reconciled with real world data.
I’ve been doing quite a lot in the House on covid since it’s today’s big issue. However, I hope I haven’t been too much of a one trick pony. On Tuesday I sponsored an adjournment debate to encourage ministers to include offenders’ families under the definition of victim of crime. The sins of the fathers shouldn’t be visited on the sons, daughters, spouses, second cousins twice removed or anyone else other than the perpetrator. Yet I have heard of families that have been destroyed by the attitude taken towards families, particularly when the crime in question is of a stigmatising nature.
Put yourself in the position of an innocent whose partner unknown to you has been involved in something unpleasant. At three in the morning comes the knock on the door. As your partner is dragged off and detectives sack your home and personal possessions looking for evidence your world falls apart. The least you should be able to expect is courtesy, respect and sympathy from the statutory authorities and a recognition that you are a victim, not the cause, of crime. I regret that when families left bereft and in dire straits by crime they had no hand in look around for a bit of help, support and common kindness there just isn’t any. All they see is the stony face of the criminal justice system. We can do better than that.