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 need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?