In defence of Isabel Oakeshott
Other journalists don’t like being confronted by their failure to hold the government to account
What shocks me most about Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages is the flippancy surrounding decisions to scare, manipulate and control the British public. We were told, repeatedly, that government ministers were ‘following the science’. But thanks to Isabel Oakeshott we now know that schools were closed, children masked, families and friends separated, visitors kept out of care homes and quarantine periods prolonged, less because of ‘science’ and more, it seems, for political convenience.
So where is the outrage? People lost lives and livelihoods. Children missed out on education and exercise. Physical and mental health suffered. Lengthy NHS waiting lists and economic problems will be with us for many years to come. Yet, incredibly, the response to this scandal of unimaginable, incalculable scale, from most news outlets, is oddly subdued. Non-existent, even.
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Far from leading every major television and radio news bulletin, the Daily Telegraph‘s lockdown files revelations are pushed down to item three or four. They’re an aside to the main events of the day. Deserving only of a brief mention, each new revelation is caveated with the same defensive statement from Hancock himself.
Hi Joanna, thanks for this piece. It has been really interesting how the Guardian in particular is approaching this. Under the headline “What have we really learned...?” Top of their list is how bad Boris was and how Sunak’s eat out policy was more self promotion. Virtually nothing about the unnecessary and avoidable school closure catastrophe; only that Gavin Williams was rude about unions.
Great to see your on top of the reaction and I look forward to reading more.