Johnson’s contempt for the economy in the north and lives in London
The Tories have announced the restrictive ‘tiers’ that each part of England will enter when the national lockdown ends next week – and they are already ignoring the numbers and science for their own political purposes. Manchester has been put into tier 3 and London into tier 2, despite all the data suggesting the opposite is appropriate.
Manchester’s estimated ‘R rate’ of coronavirus infection is 0.8-1 – even in the most pessimistic assessment the level of the virus is not growing. London’s is 1.2-4 – in other words, even in the most optimistic estimate, the pandemic is still growing unchecked in the capital. The level in London is also significantly higher than other places that have been put into tier 3.
Yet Manchester has been put into the most restrictive and economically-damaging lockdown – while the people of London are being put at high risk of infection and the resulting death toll.
It’s hard to view the Manchester decision as anything but influenced by Johnson’s desire for ‘payback’ for Greater Manchester mayor Burnham’s vocal resistance to the Tories’ chaotic implementation of the first version of the 3-tier system – including a call for schools to close as the main engine of the second wave – or to see putting London into lesser restrictions as anything but contempt for the lives of Londoners and others who work there.
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