On why Number 10’s science must be thoroughly scrutinised, questioned, checked, and tested before it becomes official, and why without an open and transparent debate, the government is demanding blind faith from an entire nation.

First published in March 2020.

Boris Johnson enjoying a badass majority in Parliament means that whatever strategy he and his Chief Adviser Dominic Cummings decide to follow for the nation’s coronavirus plan (and whatever scientific advice they receive – from Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance – and choose to listen), nobody dares questioning or contradicting Number 10 any longer – with the odd, yet noticeable exceptions of former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Conservative MP Rory Stewart.

Coronavirus: Jeremy Hunt accuses Boris Johnson of moving too slowly over 'emergency'. / The Mirror

In using herd immunity to fight coronavirus unlike any other countries, the government has basically decided to make the entire UK population take part in a large-scale chickenpox party experiment, allowing the virus to pass through the entire population so that they acquire herd immunity.

It is a controversial strategy that could put the NHS under immense strain.

Jeremy Rossman, a virologist at the University of Kent, wrote in PMP Magazine that “herd immunity is typically only viewed as a preventive strategy in vaccination programmes. If we don’t have a vaccine – as we don’t for COVID-19 – achieving herd immunity would require a significant proportion of the population to be infected and recover from COVID-19.”

“For herd immunity, about 70% of the UK population would need to be immune to COVID-19. Achieving herd immunity would require well over 47 million people to be infected in the UK.

One must fully appreciate the beauty of people docilely trusting the same-said politicians who once said that Britain had had enough of experts and now claim that scientific advice is gold.

Why is no one actually questioning the science behind Number 10’s controversial coronavirus plan, then?

Britain has had enough of experts, says Gove. / Financial Times

This is, in fact, a direct legacy of Brexit.

◦ MPs are afraid to lose the whip or extra funding for their constituencies.
◦ Journalists are scared to be banned from Number 10 briefings, to miss out on exclusives, to lose future interviews with ministers or the Prime Minister (which have become scarce since Boris Johnson is in Downing Street).
◦ Civil servants are already being bullied.
◦ Scientists are afraid of a government backlash that would lead to them losing future grants if their science does not achieve the appropriate results (Number 10 did it in the past with businesses).

Everyone is muzzled: the Prime Minister is almighty.

This is why the current system doesn’t work. One man, or one woman, cannot be the only one person to make decisions of life or death (in the case of a pandemic like coronavirus in particular) on an entire nation without any scrutiny.

Brexit has already showed the limits of an Executive that cannot plan nor conduct negotiations. Now coronavirus shows the limits of trusting a government made up of egocentric and money-driven politicians who have repeatedly told voters for over three years that experts were wrong, wrong, and wrong, and now tell them that the one science they have chosen is everything, and that that science is gold.

That science, its data, its models, its rationale – as with every science – must be thoroughly scrutinised, questioned, checked, and tested. There has to be an open and transparent debate about it. If it is not, it risks behaving as if it were the only truth on earth, and demanding blind faith from an entire nation, urging its completely confidence in the government and the Prime Minister without any reason to doubt them.

Time is coming for a real Parliamentary System in Britain whereby the Parliament we elect finally takes decisions, and Number 10 executes those decisions, not the other way around.🔷

J.N. PAQUET is the Editor of PMP Magazine, and the author of the incoming book, “Brexit is a religion”.


Check their Voting Record:

🗳️ Boris Johnson

🗳️ Jeremy Hunt

🗳️ Rory Stewart

[This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com on 13 March 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

Creative Commons License
(Cover: Flickr/Number 10/Andrew Parsons. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a joint press conference with Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government Chief Medical Officer for England (CMO) Chris Whitty, and the Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance Chief Scientific Adviser, on the coronavirus at No10 Downing Street. | 9 Mar 2020. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)