Things we could never have predicted last year: that in 2020 basket case economies where diarrhoea is a way of life would provide a better example of governance than many Western nations.
Consider the latest news from Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to lift what is left of the country’s lockdown. The court has ordered shopping malls to reopen and questioned why a virus which ‘apparently is not a pandemic in Pakistan’ should be ‘swallowing so much money.’
According to Reuters:
“We find no reason why so much money is being spent on this Coronavirus (COVID-19), for that, Pakistan is not the country which is seriously affected by it,” the court order said.
Even before the Supreme Court ruling, Pakistan had already decided to relax its lockdown.
“We’re deciding that we are ending this lockdown now,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a national TV address. “We know that we’re doing it at a time when our [coronavirus] curve is going up … but it is not edging up as we were expecting.”
Note that key detail: ‘it is not edging up as we were expecting.’ Like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Pakistani’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was educated at Oxford University (Keble; PPE). Unlike Boris Johnson, however, Khan is clearly agile enough to be able to adjust government policy as the evidence changes.
Because Pakistan’s coronavirus experience has not been nearly as bad as doom-mongers predicted — 42,125 COVID-19 cases and 903 deaths in a country with a population of 212 million — Khan has taken a calculated risk. The lockdown, he has decided, is more dangerous than the coronavirus.
As he said earlier this month:
“Since we started this lockdown, we had this fear that these people who are daily wagers, who feed their kids on daily earnings, what will happen to them?” Khan asked, implying that Pakistan’s poor need the lockdown lifted to survive.
From Britain, on the other hand, there is no evidence of such agile thinking from Boris Johnson’s timid, incompetent government.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned that Britain is facing a ‘severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen.’
Again: no shit Sunak!
Given that this impending recession is largely the result not of coronavirus but rather of the extended lockdown (and absurdly overgenerous furlough payments), you’d think it might occur to Sunak and his fellow members of the quadrumvirate now governing Britain (Boris, Gove, Raab, Sunak) that there was an easy solution just staring them in the face.
End the lockdown now!
But apparently it has been lost on all four of those Oxbridge brains — with lockdown restrictions set to continue well into the summer and a bizarre decision to trash what’s left of Britain’s tourist, travel and hospitality industry by insisting that people arriving in Britain from abroad must undergo a two-week quarantine.
They say Islamabad is lovely at this time of year. It offers a lot more freedom than you’d get in London, at any rate.