With some business leaders beginning to push for a premature end to the Covid-19 lockdown across the country, and with a handful of conservative journalists and newspaper columnists amplifying that demand, there is growing pressure on the Government to clarify when the restrictions placed on the general public back in late March will come to an end. Hopefully Leo Varadkar’s caretaker administration will hold fast against the siren calls of the hard-right and stick to the advice given to it by the health experts, despite the grumbling coming from some backbench Fine Gael TDanna. And which is now being echoed by the equally irresponsible noises coming from a handful of Fianna Fáil representatives. The circumstances that brought about the lockdown in the first place still apply today, regardless of the cautious optimism being expressed by some officials, and any easing in the rules will undo much of the hard-won work of the last several weeks.
Fortunately we have yet to reach the levels of recklessness that have come to the fore among the political classes in some other jurisdictions, notably the United Kingdom and the United States. Far too many in the former country seem obsessed with the response to the coronavirus crisis by their ex-partners in the European Union, despite otherwise disdaining their actions. There is a vociferous bloc of minority opinion in Britain that is behaving as if there were some sort of race to cross the no-lockdown winning line in Europe. With the UK determined to beat its apparent competitors because… British. Hopefully a suitably chastened Boris Johnson might reject that impulse following his own experience of the severity of the virus.
Meanwhile the US is an even worse place, with mixed reactions to the pandemic across the nation, leaving it incredibly vulnerable to an uncontrollable spread of the contagion. There are all sorts of reasons for this, from the geographical spread of a continent-spanning superpower, to the systems of local, state and federal government which have occasionally been more of a liability than a plus during major emergencies. However a significant factor in all this is the nature of American politics and American political culture itself. The YouTube channel Renegade Cut touches on this in another excellent video essay.