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Where is the opposition and media?

(65 Posts)
lockedown Wed 15-Apr-20 21:47:21

I live in London, moved here two years back from outside UK. I really want to understand why is there no criticism of the government here? Why aren't hard questions being asked from the government? I don't understand why the opposition is not speaking out.
I think the entire coronavirus situation has not been handled well by the government at all. First with the herd immunity stance which they went back on but not soon enough, then the schools being shut down so late, low testing, lax lockdown. NHS is trying to do it's best but it not being equipped properly. With the lack of protective gear people in nhs are dying. Lockdown isn't being imposed strictly. In a densely populated city like London, people are out everywhere!
But where is the opposition? Why isn't the media asking tough questions? Why hasn't the government apologised for the mistakes that it has made. I don't understand the system. Can someone please explain? The press conferences are just mostly one way - ask the tough questions someone! Is it how it is culturally? I will really like to know. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
rosiethehen Wed 15-Apr-20 22:20:19

We don't have an effective opposition Party who can hold them to account.

FliesandPies Wed 15-Apr-20 22:25:20

Where did you live before? Was it very different with the media and opposition in that country?

nellythenarwhal Wed 15-Apr-20 22:26:06

Piers Morgan is the most high profile person asking questions although many would suggest that his interview style is shouting at government ministers.

Grasspigeons Wed 15-Apr-20 22:30:50

Yes opposition has been very poor. Ine of thecworst oppositions i can recall. The press is also not doing much holding to account. I dint understand why.

Lycidas Wed 15-Apr-20 22:46:14

Well there’s a balance to be struck between opposing and being seen to opportunistic party-political points. There must be an element of collaboration at this stage.

NathanNathan Wed 15-Apr-20 22:48:11

Keir Starmer was voted the new opposition leader less than two weeks ago.

He's been all over the press last few days asking the government to be more transparent with people and challenging the issues with testing, PPE and exit plan.

There's more to be done, but I don't think it's fair to say the opposition have done nothing.

NathanNathan Wed 15-Apr-20 22:48:40

As PP said he's also been clear that now is the time to work together.

HeddaGarbled Wed 15-Apr-20 22:54:01

I really want to understand why is there no criticism of the government here?

Err, have you read a single newspaper in the last few days?

LastTrainEast Wed 15-Apr-20 22:54:29

Perhaps they recognise that they wouldn't be doing any better. If Labour were in they'd be listening to the same medical experts. They wouldn't be supplying the NHS any better as wishing can't make protective gear appear.

Much of any criticism would be based on the wisdom of hindsight. So many people think we should have 'done something' before we even knew there was a problem.

We didn't abandon herd immunity at all and in fact we're praying that works as we have nothing else yet to safeguard the extremely vulnerable people.

The timing of the lockdown had to be just right. I have no idea if it was the right moment, but you can't know that until much later. (More hindsight)

Remember the point of the lockdown was not to stop everyone catching it. That was never an option. And of course a lockdown can only be maintained for a short time and can't be much stricter than it is now. Some people wanted a total lockdown, but they hadn't thought it through.

I do think it would be nice to do something about the idiots who can't follow simple common sense rules, but short of shooting some to discourage the rest I don't know how we can enforce it.

We need some to be exposed each week. They will catch it and either die or get over it and hopefully be immune.

SquishySquirmy Wed 15-Apr-20 23:01:10

From early March the tone of the media has been very gentle towards the government.
I remember reading a transcript of an interview shortly after the "herd immunity, take it on the Chin" strategy was announced and I found it shocking. Not just because I was thinking about what that meant (you don't need complex models to calculate that even a small percentage of 66million is a bloody huge amount of people) but because of the tone of the questioning which I think is even more apparent in transcript form than listening live.
It was not just that the interviewer was not asking awkward questions. It was that they were asking helpful questions that generously allowed them to get their point across even more easily... it felt like interviewer and interviewee were entirely aligned in their aim, which was "soothe the populace".
I think it was the Today program!

I think that maybe the attitude is that this is a war, and you don't criticise the generals in a war. That would explain a lot. I am not normally one to rip into the BBC the way some do (they get accused of being partisan by both right and left) but in this crisis they certainly seem to have adopted a mouthpiece of the government role. Which again makes sense as a national broadcaster in a "war". Priorities change.
But I wish they would hold them to account more. The virus is not a foreign power. It doesn't care what our propoganda says. It is not a war, and even if it was sometimes generals can make disastrous mistakes (charge of the light brigade?)

SquishySquirmy Wed 15-Apr-20 23:07:04

Silly question: if a D notice is issued, would we know about it?
Or is it like a super injunction where not only can you not talk about The Thing, but you can't even talk about the existence of the injunction?

I think that D notices are voluntary though. So I would expect most major broadcasters to abide by them, but not all of the media. I am quite looking forward to the next issue if Private Eye as it is so refreshingly cynical and I do hope it continues to cover topics others shy away from...

CendrillonSings Wed 15-Apr-20 23:14:18

You haven’t noticed the tsunami of endless whining from all sides? Lucky you.

FliesandPies Wed 15-Apr-20 23:18:29

If Labour were in they'd be listening to the same medical experts. They wouldn't be supplying the NHS any better as wishing can't make protective gear appear.

Exactly the stupid attitude that has allowed the gov such an easy ride over their bungling. Johnson stated early on that the country was completely prepared, as usual it was a lie.

JaniceBattersby Wed 15-Apr-20 23:23:16

Where did you find out about all of the issues you mention? Was it in the media, perhaps?

middleager Wed 15-Apr-20 23:24:27

The challenges are poor.
Professor John Ashton on Question Time and Piers Morgan stand out as two who won't be fobbed off.
Andy Burnham on Question Time suggested Hancock might want to team up with the private heatlhcare sector to procure their beds and ventilators - Hancock looked like a deer in the headlights at this suggestion and a week later announced a partnership with the private sector.

Peston is a joke. His questions go on and on...

ToffeeYoghurt Wed 15-Apr-20 23:24:47

I agree with you OP. We don't have a strong opposition at the moment but the media has a lot of power. It's frustrating they're not using it as much as they could (and should). You didn't say where you're originally from but definitely other countries are handling this far better than the UK. I've just been posting about Denmark on another thread. Their total number of deaths is lower than our daily figures. Under 7000 cases in total, 309 deaths. They went into lockdown at a much earlier stage than us.

SquishySquirmy Wed 15-Apr-20 23:31:24

Speaking of easy interviews... I remember another BBC interview with Vallance around the 12th or 13th March (can probably be searched for but I can't find it right now) where it was explained how gatherings involving many tens of thousands of people in a small place (from all over the UK and beyond,many travelling in puic transport to get there) was "no risk". The justification of this was that people go to pubs.
No questioning if the logic of this viewpoint.
And barely a week after that the media was publicly shaming families having a picnic as though they were worse than mass murderers.

The science did not change within that timeframe.

LilyPond2 Wed 15-Apr-20 23:32:41

Channel 4 and the Guardian have been doing their best. BBC giving the government a ridiculously easy ride. No surprises there.
The whole herd immunity thing is a nonsense because the virus is too new for anyone to know whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 will even have long-term immunity.

SquishySquirmy Wed 15-Apr-20 23:33:17

Public transport that should say!

EmMac7 Wed 15-Apr-20 23:41:55


So true! And let’s not forget Sadiq Khan’s “you face no extra risk catching COVID-19 on the Tube.”

WTF? China found the most effective social distancing measure was to stop public transport (and this study was available when Khan made that statement). This thing thrives in confined, overcrowded spaces.

lockedown Thu 16-Apr-20 10:05:40

@janiceBattersby, I didn't find out about the issues I mentioned by the UK media. It was by following worldwide media and using common sense.

OP’s posts: |
lockedown Thu 16-Apr-20 10:08:25

@fliesandPies, I didn't mention the country where I lived earlier because I didn't want to derail the discussion to how that country was doing in this crisis. Since that's not the point of my post.
I do think questioning the government and holding them accountable is even more important now than ever.

OP’s posts: |
lockedown Thu 16-Apr-20 10:12:50

@squishysquirmy @emMac7, I know! Such statements by the government is what has made a lot of people take the situation so lightly. I also can't forget Boris Johnson saying that he visited a hospital and shook everyone's hand because that was the right thing to do angry. And that it is alright because later he washed his hands!
There is no sense of urgency because of how the government has portrayed the situation. Yes, we are supposed to use our common sense. But a lot of people are influenced by people in power.

OP’s posts: |
FliesandPies Thu 16-Apr-20 10:30:36

* I didn't mention the country where I lived earlier because I didn't want to derail the discussion to how that country was doing in this crisis*

I don't see how it would derail anything to compare? I would find it interesting personally. I listen and read across a range of UK media - news sites, social media including MN, radio and TV. I hear a lot of criticism and well-informed discussion about the failings of the handling of this crisis.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the majority of people have been stunned into obedience by the tragic deaths and public shaming/heavy-handed policing. Also bugs on sites such as MN who undermine discussion with talk about 'whining'.

The opposition are still finding their feet after a terrible election defeat and over-long leadership contest but I hold out hope for Starmer. It is very difficult to make any headway when every issue you try to raise is framed as 'playing politics during a crisis'.

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