Andy Richardson: Beeb's shame as it fails to defend Emily
You can always rely on Auntie Beeb to take the rap when others are in the wrong.
The row over Dominic Cummings has lasted a week and as BoJo has used himself as Dr Specsavers’ human shield, Auntie Beeb has taken the rap.
Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis voiced the opinion of the majority when she described Dr Specsavers’ lockdown-flouting trip to Durham as wrong. Like a naughty schoolgirl who’d flipped the bird at her maths teacher, she was hauled over the coals and made an example of.
Pre-lockdown, BoJo and Dr Specsavers had the BBC in their sights amid rumblings of discontent. And while the Beeb has entertained and educated the nation during two months of brilliance, it’s been typically supine in failing to defend one of the nation’s finest journalists.
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Still, at least it’s not Twitter. Disinfectant Donald, aka President Trump, plans to take on Facebook and Twitter as he heads into another election. Having posted a Tweet that was factually incorrect, Twitter added a disclaimer. Disinfectant Donald acted like a lover spurned and said he might close down his favourite broadcast platform.
Our parks are full as people ignore lockdown. The mood of the people is easy to read – though not for BoJo and Dr Specsavers, who are focused on their own Job Retention Scheme. Lockdown had become tiresome before Dr Specsavers’ 60-mile, eye-test trip to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday.
Now a significant number of people don’t give a damn. Neighbours are sharing drinks in the street, people are picnicking in the sunshine, BBQs are filling our streets with the sticky, smoky aroma of sizzling meat. Lockdown is shot.
This matters as we belatedly return to track and trace, which relies entirely on public compliance. The public, however, isn’t minded to comply if Dr Specsavers won’t. The nation will pay for the mistakes of the elite in lives and we cannot be complacent against a second wave. Already, we jostle with Brazil and Sweden as the world’s worst Covid-19 case.
Still, Disinfectant Donald has opened another war with election candidate Joe Biden. Having presided over a greater number of American deaths than in 44 years of foreign wars, The Don is poking fun at his Democrat rival. Why? For wearing a mask that prevents the spread of Covid-19.