All Tiers Are Equal, But Some Tiers Are More Equal Than Others
Do you know which one you're in? Have you checked? Are you happy with the one you're in? I'm talking of Covid tiers of course, which for certain parts, including London, come into effect from midnight tonight.
Prior to this new system, designed to make things simpler (yes, really) we all defaulted into tier one, or medium. Rule of six, social distancing, lights out at 10pm, you know the drill.
But then someone (at Sage?) came up with the idea of local attempts to engage with the virus, as it appeared to be rising at differing rates in different parts of the country. With me so far? For the sake of any confusion they are:
Well, that all appeared perfectly laudable, in theory at least. It's just that local mayor's in some of the affected areas, have had the nerve to ask for some evidence that the tier system is the right approach.
Anyone spot a minor flaw? Well, Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham certainly did because he's resisting his city going into tier three along with Liverpool and now Lancashire. Meanwhile, London mayor, Sadiq Khan has welcomed tier two for London with open arms. So what on earth is going on?
Burnham's case has largely centred on refusing to allow Manchester to become what he sees as a canary in a coal mine for the government. And while that argument raged, it's now emerged that gyms in tier three Lancashire are allowed to remain open but not those in tier three Liverpool. Which means in effect that we're negotiating with a virus. No wonder we're all not only simply confused but angry.
And whilst all this horse trading goes on, we await a national circuit break, as if the virus is acting like a wildfire.
It all seems that Boris Johnson’s government appears to believe that the best way to get to a second national lockdown is to go town by town until they all join up, and hey presto! We have a new national lockdown. When he won his 80 seat majority, he never would have thought that every decision and action taken would be one of compromise shoved into climb down. If they were at all loveable, your heart would bleed for them. But.....
There is a better way. Because all of the above, when you strip away the party politics and fluff and bluster, represents reactive restrictions rather than proactive preventative measures. The time has surely come when we need to shield our most vulnerable citizens whilst in parallel allowing the remainder of us to go about our lives and our business.
Because one thing is now crystallising in many of our minds; the impact of lockdown and social distancing is far greater than the impact of the virus itself. The blunt measures currently favoured are, at best, simply deferring rather than resolving.
Add to that, the fact that there appears to be no long term plan and no exit plan other than hoping for a vaccine. And as anyone will tell you, hope is not a plan. Which all means that the time has come to start working smarter, else we are all in for a very long and cold winter.
Andrew Busby is a co-founder of SafePrem Solutions and a former Forbes contributor