But after a few breaks over the summer – and begging for “Eating out to help“To improve the economy – UK now facing scary second wave. This week, experts predict almost 50,000 new cases a day in October if the current infection rate does not slow down.
What does this mean for England? And what does it matter to Australia from the other side of the world?
This week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new boundaries. This includes the early closure of pubs and restaurants, working from home where possible and wearing masks in stores.
As Johnson warns, if people disobey, the second hand is on the cards.
Since Johnson himself almost die April’s COVID-19, amidst the UK’s first wave of disasters, international attention has been directed elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, we looked for files instead United States of America, which has the highest number of deaths and is in the middle of an election.
UK’s COVID-19 experience so far
With more than 41,000 deaths, Britain has the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe.
The British government’s policy choices can be partly explained by its hatred of the public service. This is part of what is called “Brexit Revolution, ”Designed to shake up the post-Brexit UK.
This has resulted in decisions suggesting the government should choose the evidence it likes, over what is best for solving the health crisis.
Recently announced Curfew at 10pm, is a great example here – it’s not clear that COVID only comes out late at night.
No one can doubt the difficult trade-offs required between health and the economy (though both much more connected of the suggested public debate). But the government appears to favor economic necessity and appears to be proud of the public health consequences.
Trust in government, essential during a public health crisis, has suffered thereby. It wasn’t helped when Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, broke the rules he helped set traveled across England during a lockdown.
Cummings survived this scandal, which happened to Johnson The majority are 80 seats, won during last year’s “Brexit” election.
Those who witnessed Johnson’s erratic Covid-19 response note: when governments control the vast majority, they can overcome a political crisis.
Conservatives and pandemics
Of course, the pandemic is a very difficult terrain for the conservative side of British politics. Like its US counterparts, who are giving many signals, government intervention is a curse.
For many Conservatives, personal freedom and individual freedom are expressed through a functioning market economy. The power of this feeling is seen in Johnson’s critique (and the new restriction) of influence in Britain right wing press this week.
But others certainly don’t think Johnson has gone far enough, with parts of England already in local lock. Scotland has also taken a a much clearer approach against pandemics, reflecting the policies adopted in Australia and New Zealand, further increasing support for independence.
What does this mean for Australia?
What happened in the UK during COVID was more than just headlines passing through Australia. The looming second wave won’t make it any easier Australians are trapped in England to go home.
Stranded Australians are also just the tip of the iceberg. The people-to-people relationship between Australia and the UK remains very significant. In 2018, 1.2 million people born in the UK live in Australia.
Britain has recently angered Europe further new laws which can waive part of its EU exit agreement.
But this has not affected Australia’s plans for a free trade deal with Britain, with talks there already underway.
Indeed, Australia and Britain now need each other more than they had for decades – despite their locations on opposite ends of the earth. Britain even has former prime minister Tony Abbott as a British trade envoy to help.
Harsh winter ahead
The current infection rate – combined with dubious decision making from the Johnson government – does not bode well for a possible second UK lockdown.
As Melburnian residents can attest, the second lockout doesn’t have the “we’re all in together” feeling like the first. For Britain, this means pseudo-Churchillian rhetoric and a cry from wartime spirit will address the policy gap even less.
Back in Australia, people wishing to go to the UK would have to wait a little longer before such a visit was possible. But given the growing importance of the two countries to each other, there is no doubt that the Australians and the British will meet again one fine day.
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