Can it really be true as the international media is speculating? That the Conservative Party government in the United Kingdom has adopted a policy that will risk the lives of thousands or tens of thousands of its citizens by letting Covid-19, the coronavirus, flame through the population in the hope that 60% to 80% of the community will acquire some form of partial or full immunity against the epidemic, albeit for variable periods of time? While the medical science behind the proposition of “herd immunity” may be sound enough, though caveats apply, good governance is about more than the implementation of values’ free science. Logic dictates that governments should avoid spending a fortune on fighting or ameliorating certain illnesses with very low rates of recovery and very high rates of mortality, and should focus instead on research, developing preventative solutions for the conditions in the first place. But that is not how we do things in our democracies because a democracy is much more than just a computer program, a series of algorithms and probability charts. We do not live in the emotionally stunted worlds of Dominic Cummings and Stephen Miller or the other representatives of the self-selected alt-human tendency.
The suggested policy of the UK authorities feels morally repugnant because it is morally repugnant. It is eugenicist in nature, reflecting the social Darwinism of the broad alt-right movement that has snaked into power in London in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum and the political turmoil that it has engendered. Given the close communications links between Britain and the European Union, and this country in particular given the British presence in the north-east, it is worth asking how this reckless behaviour will effect us. And worrying about the many lives across Europe that may be put in danger if the UK continues down this highly questionable path. None of us live in isolation from each other, whether as individuals or nation-states. As is now starkly illustrated. We rely on each other to help each other. To apply common mores and modes of behaviour, to agree upon common concerns and responses. We cannot have a Pyongyang-on-the-Thames pursuing aims and objectives that run contrary to the international norm or what the international community expects of its members.