IT is not easy to manage a pandemic and we can all understand that some decisions have to be made rapidly when circumstances change. Yet there comes a point where last minute reversals of policy become so regular that they go beyond what any reasonable person can be expected to understand and tip over into incompetence.

In the run up to Christmas many of us will have seen pictures of crowds of shoppers in London. It should therefore not have come as a complete surprise to anyone in government when there was a sudden spike in infections in London shortly afterwards.

We were, however, assured by our Prime Minister that Christmas preparations could go ahead. Only to be told something completely different a couple of days later. Disrupting the plans of millions at very short notice.

Then we were told that schools were safe places and so children would definitely be going back in the New Year. Many did. For one day. Just long enough for the children to meet and mingle and take back home any infections they encountered. Before parents were asked to organise work schedules, child care, and home education sessions and teachers were expected to cobble together online lessons overnight.

This comes after a long series of reversals. We were told for months that there was no point in wearing masks. Then told that we must wear them. Next we were told that test, trace and isolate would be so world-beatingly efficient that it would get the infection under control. Before billions were spent on a system that has never been as efficient as those in many other countries with lower death rates. During the lull in the summer when we should have been preparing for the winter we were encouraged to eat out to help out and told that summer foreign holidays were no problem. Literally millions of people have flown into the UK since the first lockdown and yet there is still no system of compulsory quarantine. Arrivals are waved through airports with just a leaflet.

It remains of course vital that none of us are tempted to allow this constant catalogue of confusion to lower our guard. Not least because as I write Craven has higher infection rates than Bradford, has the highest level of infection since the pandemic began and has experienced more than doubling of the rate of infection in one week.

We are, however, entitled to ask whether things could have been handled better and to ask why Britain has the ninth highest infection rate on the entire planet. Are we entirely suffering from bad luck or has there been a high degree of bad judgement?

Cllr Andy Brown

Green Party