Government and Institutions

Hancock texts reveal mundanity of pandemic policy failures

Commenting on The Telegraph’s lockdown files, Dr Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the IEA said:

“At the start of the pandemic, plenty of commentators came up with their own theories about the causes of Britain’s high infection and excess death rates, variously blaming it on Brexit, austerity, globalisation, capitalism, or whatever the respective commentator happened to enjoy obsessing about. 

“What these leaks suggest, however, is that the truth is a lot more mundane. There is no grand, unifying narrative here. This has a lot more to do with individual decision makers who either acted slowly, or made poor choices at crucial moments. While the likes of Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore were quick to ramp up testing or impose travel restrictions, the UK fell behind. 

“For the sake of accountability, all of this is important to know. But we should not expect any obvious policy implications to follow from this. There is often a temptation for generals to re-fight the last war, but this ought to be resisted. While there may well be lessons to learn, they will be specific to the – hopefully unrepeatable – situation that prevailed at the time.”


Notes to Editors

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