Daily View 2×2: 27 April 2020

I hope that you’ve all had a nice weekend, although I guess that, for some of you, each day is beginning to feel the same as the last. At Liberal Democrat Voice, our aim is to entertain, inform and engage, and so I’d better get on, hadn’t I?

2 big stories

Whilst the talk is of what happens next in the UK’s battle against Covid-19, elsewhere, the first steps towards normalisation have started;

In all four places officials caution that life is not going back to normal yet. For one thing, there can be no letting down their guard. The authorities have warned that a second wave of the virus may hit in winter. To ward that off, South Korea intends to keep up extensive testing and vigorous contact-tracing using security-camera footage, credit-card statements and mobile-phone location data. The movements of confirmed cases are made public, worrying privacy activists and adulterers alike. Australia, too, promises “aggressive suppression” using contact-tracing and one of the highest rates of testing in the world. New Zealand is going one step further. It has set itself the goal of eliminating the virus entirely from its shores.

Can we learn anything from these countries and their approaches? Or have the decisions made earlier in the piece left us with a rather longer road to tread?

The Government has been very good at talking big numbers – 100,000 tests per day, 750,000 volunteers. All very impressive, as numbers go, but the outcomes have been pretty awful so far, with the testing target very unlikely to be met, and the experience of the volunteers being one of hanging around waiting for the phone to ring.

Rebecca Fairclough, from Manchester, applied to become a “check in and chat” volunteer – giving phone support to people who feel isolated.

But although she has spent many hours on standby, she is yet to be called upon.

“I’ve been on the app and marked myself as on duty, mainly in the evenings and weekends. So there’s a total of 75 hours I’ve been online ready to volunteer and either make or take calls and I’ve heard nothing,” she says.

In my capacity as Chair of a small village’s Parish Council, we put an A4 leaflet through each door, containing a list of contact names with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, offering support to anyone who needed it. We’ve had very few calls, and we’re known to the people asking. Subsequently, various groups have emerged, effectively competing with each other, with some co-ordination, but not enough to prevent confusion. Big numbers, but duplication of effort and a resultant lack of effectiveness. A metaphor for the Government?

2 social media posts

Matthew Green is wondering whether or not the European Union has the future it thought it had;

The crisis so far has not been good for the egos of the Europocrats. The response has been led almost totally by the governments of its member states. It turns out that the EU really is just a free trade area after all. When something more important than trade comes along it has nothing important to do. And when its leaders at last got together to sort out a financial response, the outcome was pathetic, and spoiled by the sort of bickering shows that there is little solidarity amongst the member states.

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Local government Twitter feeds. Dull, right? Not necessarily…

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This entry was posted in Daily View.
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3 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 27th Apr '20 - 10:06am

    “Entertain, inform and engage”? In that order? And have you asked yourselves what is missing? Just wondering.

  • Tony Greaves 28th Apr '20 - 4:50pm

    Fair enough. But what is it that is missing? (Actually there is some of it in more recent posts…)

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