Health secretary Matt Hancock appeared on ITV‘s Good Morning Britain on 23 March. During the interview, he faced the dressing down of his life over his ‘insulting’ comments on the government’s strategy for handling the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
Earlier in March, government officials repeatedly spoke about “herd immunity” in relation to the disease. This notion means allowing the disease to spread to some degree so the population – or ‘herd’ – builds up an immunity to it. It’s been a talking point for officials at press conferences and in TV interviews. Even Boris Johnson himself floated the ‘theory’ of building herd immunity to tackle coronavirus on TV, concluding that “we need to strike a balance”:
Most recently, Number 10’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings stands accused of callous comments on potential coronavirus deaths due to the herd immunity policy. According to the Sunday Times, Cummings described the government’s strategy at a meeting in February. People present at that meeting characterised his description as:
herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.
But speaking on Good Morning Britain, Hancock tried to rewrite history:
#piersmorgan & Matt Hancock go head to head over Dominic Cummings very controversial remarks.. as reported in the Sunday Times. 1/2
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) March 23, 2020
Hancock said, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that:
Herd immunity has never been the strategy
Presenter Piers Morgan raised the allegations against Cummings. Morgan also broadcast comments made by the government’s top scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, during a BBC interview where he spoke about building herd immunity in the UK.
The presenter told Hancock “don’t insult my intelligence” by suggesting the new, changed strategy of the government is how it’s always been.
As people noted, the interview was a car crash for Hancock:
Fair play to Piers Morgan in demonstrating to those journalists attending Johnson's briefings how to tackle people who are deliberately gaslighting the nation relatively unchallenged. Matt Hancock unquestionably experienced an absolute car crash. pic.twitter.com/qLorCxACfS
— Brexitshambles (@brexit_sham) March 23, 2020
I'm retweeting Piers Morgan positively. Who knew it would come to this? https://t.co/0IO6wIzLGx
— harpohap #FBPE #TittleTattle🔶#BollockstoBrexit (@harpohap) March 23, 2020
Two plus two equals five
It should, however, surprise no one that Hancock is trying to convince people that herd immunity has “never” been part of the government’s strategy. Britain’s establishment is no stranger to rewriting reality to suit its own ends. But herd immunity most certainly was a part of the government’s plans. And Morgan just gave Hancock the dressing down of his life for trying to convince people it wasn’t.
Featured image via screengrab
We’re a thorn in the side of the establishment, but we can’t do it without your help
Your fight is our fight. But as many of you will know, speaking truth to power has never been easy, especially for a small, independent media outlet such as the Canary. We have weathered many attempts to silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media. Now more than ever, we need your support.
We don’t have fancy offices, and our entire staff works remotely. Almost all of our income is spent on paying the people who make the Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our team and enables us to continue to do what we do: disrupt power, and amplify people.
But we can’t do this without you. So please, if you appreciate our work, can you help us continue the fight?