Scottish Daily Mail
Why is Boris treating us like CHILDREN?
Well, that’s scuppered my plans for Christmas. I knew there would be a limit to the number of people I could invite, so I came up with the ripping wheeze of inviting the virus instead of the relatives.
All of it. No problem with the seating plan. Some scientists have calculated that the amount of Covid-19 virus in the world is so small you could fit it all into a large spoon.
But now I can’t do it because the Prime Minister told the nation this week that the virus ‘doesn’t know it’s Christmas’. Who’d have thought it?
I know I’m being silly but there’s a serious question here. Isn’t it time Boris Johnson stopped treating us like children?
It’s not hard to see why he does it. His harsher critics would say it’s pretty much all he’s good at — hence the scorn he’s been attracting with his latest restrictions.
It’s certainly true that he made the most of it in his previous incarnation as a journalist. He has also studied Winston Churchill, of whom U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said: ‘ He mobilised the english language and sent it into battle.’
In the darkest days of the war, Churchill told the British people that all he could offer them was ‘ blood, toil, tears and sweat’. No boosterism there. Just the harsh, brutal truth.
The charge against Johnson is that he’s all boosterism and no battle. He makes a lot of empty promises and treats us like idiots. Or like children who have to be jollied along.
What he should be doing is treating us like responsible adults and simply giving it to us straight.
When the graph showed infections rising steeply in the spring, he vowed to ‘flatten the sombrero’. After that, he would ‘ send the coronavirus packing’.
In May, he promised a ‘ world-beating’ track-and-trace system would be up and running by June.
Ever wondered what became of that? Or his assurance that a second lockdown was a ‘nuclear deterrent’ that would never be needed? Now he’s telling us we must avoid ‘taking our foot off the beast’.
Boosterism would be just fine if all it resulted in were a knowing smile and a ‘ there goes good old Boris again’. But chickens have a habit of coming home to roost.
From day one of the pandemic the Government has failed to treat us as responsible adults. Instead we have been infantilised.
In the words of the eminent academic Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University, the Government has been developing a track record of using ‘spurious’ data to frighten us into acquiescing to the restrictive policies it was imposing rather than genuinely informing us.
You might say that doesn’t matter so long as the end result is that we do what we are told. But it does. Fear is what parents sometimes use when they’re trying to get children to do something they don’t want to do.
It’s justifiable on the basis that children have not yet learned what the prudent action might be in the face of danger — and no one is denying that Covid- 19 is dangerous. So if it takes a few dodgy statistics to scare us into doing the right thing, why not?
Quite simply because if we are treated by those in power like children, we behave like children. We become dependent. We stop seeing ourselves as responsible adults who make our own decisions and must live with the consequences. We stop questioning.
I’ve had to duck through a hole in a fence around my local astro-turf on these dark mornings because the gates have been locked ‘for your own safety’. really?
Who exactly am I harming by running around an empty astrot ur fin the dark? And why shouldn’t some youngsters play football there later in the day?
The harm lies in meekly accepting whatever we are told by those in power, even when we are being fed nonsense.
REMEMBER when our leaders were quoting the ‘ e x per t s ’ who warned of the possibility that 500,000 might die from Covid-19? You probably do.
remember the apology offered by Johnson and his ministers for having misled us and scared us half to death? You probably don’t. For the very good reason that it never happened.
Perhaps we should cut them more slack. After all, we don’t know everything we need to about the virus. True, but we do know a lot.
In the words of Sir David there is ‘good data available’. And yet, as he says, at some point the need to ‘instill a certain emotional reaction in people’ seems to take over at ‘ really quite a high l evel of decision-making’.
He was choosing his words carefully.
Another word f or ‘ certain emotional reaction’ is fear. The greatest fear is always fear of the unknown. So let’s have less of the Boris boosterism and let our leaders treat us like adults.