TMust be here many times when Matt Hancock He wonders what he did in a previous life to deserve his current life. Come to think of it, there are many times most of us have to wonder what we did in a previous life in order to deserve it Matt Hancock. The health minister’s life has now become one of constant misery as he is asked to explain things related to the Coronavirus that are nothing more than hope and guesswork on his part. Only on Monday, on a day off as he had imagined, was he forced to announce Boris Johnson in the House of Commons for 45 minutes when the Downing Street Call Center went silent.
On Tuesday, Hancock returned to question “Lessons Learned” for two hours. Sadly, this was not an extended therapy session for the deeper existential questions of Matt’s psyche. So we never found out if he learned his lesson in arrogance, and we will never allow his ambition to exceed his capabilities. Just when the country needed a truly capable health minister, did we have someone who could see his enthusiasm and click him to become the manager of a luxury car showroom.
Not that he died not an attempt. Nobody can deny that he’s well-intentioned – even when he’s clearly so far from his depths – that’s what makes him such a compassionate character. But even Hancock began to quarrel over the edges. Back in the day, he could count on to be tigers, full of optimism and limitless energy, but now he’s starting to look defensive and courteous; Torn between unwillingness to believe he has failed and longing for the day the prime minister shifts him sideways to a less stressful job.
So the early exchanges between Jeremy Hunt, Chair of the Select Committee, and the role of Matt were decidedly. After shorter than admitting that hope was in the distant horizon in the form of three potential vaccines, Hunt asked Hancock if he had always followed science. “I’d rather say we’ve always been guided by science,” Matt said.
But you used to say that you were following the science, Hunt observed.
“I was only speaking slang on those occasions,” said Hancock.
Now we were sliding down the hole of a semantic rabbit. One in which it was not clear whether the government was following the flag when it got things right and guided by science when it failed. Or vice versa. Not even Matt’s role could think of his way out of that, because his answer to whether we had closed so late in March was that we had already closed earlier in the curve compared to some European countries.
Which did not really answer questions about why some Asian countries are managing the epidemic without lockdown using a system of work for testing, tracking and community tracking and why we have not treated the increasing numbers of body bags in Italy as a kind of warning to act urgently. You feel it is still quite a mystery to Hancock why the UK has the highest mortality rate in Europe.
The health minister also struggled to explain why Sage described the test-and-trace system, which had already cost £ 12 billion, to have only a marginal impact. The best he came up with was that Sage should have talked about a certain rogue tracker and that it would be wrong for anyone to necessarily believe the stats his department puts out.
“One of the lessons we learned is that you have to get very sick and hit it early,” said Dor Matt by force. At this point, most people’s jaws had fallen off, because it was very clear that this was something he and the government had failed to do. Instead of accepting Sage’s advice for a two-week circuit breaker in September, he continued with a three-tiered regional approach that has proven ineffective.
Soon Hancock was tying himself in a knot: at first he argued that a two-week circuit breaker would not be enough, then furiously insisted that the shutdown after four weeks would definitely work – even if it wasn’t and was also introduced late. Until now, it was not clear again whether Matt was following science or guiding it. Or whether he is pursuing disability or being guided by it.
Like loyal conservatives, neither Hunt nor the chairman of the Joint Commission, Greg Clark, was too eager to explore whether one of the lessons learned was that handing over expensive contracts to friends of friends could be a waste of government money during the pandemic. This topic has therefore been largely avoided. Although Hancock reasonably said he did not regret spending £ 44k on pizza for employees who work around the clock. It is unfortunate that he has not taken the same humanitarian stance on free school meals during the holidays.
Governor Luke Evans was eager to end the session on high. Sure there were some good things we learned from all this unfortunate mess? Dor Matt said: We kept schools open the second time. Good, everyone nodded. any thing else? “Yes,” Hancock shouted. It is time for the British to break the habit of getting involved and learn to take more time. So once the coronavirus pandemic was under control, he wanted to keep all testing centers open so that anyone with a hint of a cold could breathe, diagnose a cold and get sick. I’m not sure this is the lesson the NHS hopes to learn from the pandemic.