MP COLUMN: The Covid crisis has been the equivalent of an external shock such as war

Most of us stoically accept the delay in easing the lockdown.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 7:00 am
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.

We can talk about how this wasn’t helped by a needless delay in the government red-lighting travel to and from India when the Delta variant was identified. That must be a key area of investigation in any inquiry.

As should the government’s wider record on care homes and protective equipment – all too slow, too indecisive, over-promising, and under-delivering.

We can also make the powerful and immediate case for continuing the financial supports people and businesses need in the extra weeks of the restrictions.

But let’s hope that the extra time is used to boost the numbers of people with both jabs that can offer greater protection when we do reach 19 July and gingerly begin to emerge from our Covid shells.

As we leave the Covid crisis behind us, with the caveat that Covid, like flu, will from now always be with us, we will be free to learn bigger lessons and apply them to our society.

The Covid crisis has been the equivalent of an external shock such as war. When we took up arms in 1939 few could have imagined that all the economic orthodoxies of the day would be swept aside in 1945.

The people politely declined to return to the bad old days of mass unemployment and unaffordable medicine. The NHS was the result of this post-war sea-change in our politics.

We are approaching a post-pandemic emergency period when we can dump the failed nostrums of the past few decades that exacerbated Covid. I’m thinking of the notions that the market is always superior to the state in protecting us, that the value of wages for Labour plays second fiddle, and that corporate taxes should be ever lower.

Covid has changed how we work and live. My party has launched a major policy-building project, Stronger Together, to champion new technologies, build world-class public services, and tackle the climate crisis.

After so much misery for nearly two years, it’s high time for a new direction that ensures that any upsurge in economic activity and rebuilding benefits us all.