Paton, C (2021) 'We did everything we could': An account of toxic leadership. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management. ISSN 0749-6753

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BACKGROUND: The UK government's reckless and incompetent response to Covid-19 has produced an outcome which is amongst the worst in the world, and arguably the worst in terms of deaths per 100,000 population of major countries (especially when one measures mortality from Covid in terms of cause of death on the death certificate, rather than the UK government's own measure-death of a tested individual within 28 days of testing). This article updates my initial analysis in this journal over a year ago, and traces the negligent and shambolic policy-making, and supine official scientific advice, which has led to such a dismal outcome. METHODS: It does so by examining the policies and approach of the UK government from the begining of the pandemic (in UK terms, January 2020) up to June 2021. All relevant declarations, speeches, decisions, public interviews and policies were noted on a daily basis, examined and critically assessed-along with daily data and information over the whole period on Covid's threat to, and spread across, the UK. CONCLUSIONS: On three successive occasions, Boris Johnson and his compliant Ministers acted too late and too weakly to prevent avoidable death and illness. At the time of writing the vaccination programme in the UK has been destabilised by the government-yet again-having failed to secure its borders, this time against the Delta variant (Indian mutation) of the virus. Overall, in terms of border control, quarantine, testing, tracing, isolation and timely and enforced lockdown, the government put short-term, superficial considerations above coherent strategy. It dressed up its incompetence as a superficial libertarianism and defence of the economy, but thereby managed to achieve the worst of all worlds in terms of three egregious failures-appalling health outcomes; (ironically) worse economic damage than countries which took draconian action; and (also ironically) continually recurring restrictions as a result of earlier failure to take strong action to suppress Covid and keep it at bay. Public reaction in England (unlike in Scotland and Wales) to the Johnson government's shenanigans has not been commensurate with that government's level of failure, which sadly reflects a debasement of the political culture in England.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialNoDerivs License, which per-mits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is noncommercial and no modifica-tions or adaptations are made.© 2021 The Authors. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Boris Johnson; compliant scientific chiefs; disastrous outcomes; incompetence and recklessness; UK Covid policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 12:53
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 13:23

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