Everyone will know that I sound off from a basis of ignorance, and am doing it again, this time about Swine Flu. Before I explain why I am dazed, amazed and think the government crazed, I want to set down a few basic thoughts. Ever since the Falklands War, when it was bruited abroad that Maggie had taken that momentous step, to distract from the financial situation of the country, when America rashly went into Iraq, taking us with it, because America’s financial situation was tricky, and as I’ve never understood why we are in Afghanistan, I’m always a little suspicious when governments seem to act almost in a panic, and illogically.
Because Sophie and I are not only very old but infirm, and in consequence do not meet that many people, we have found our immune system to be very delicate, and if we come into contact with people who are suffering from colds and flu, the chances are we will too. We have seven great-grandchildren, most of whom attended preschool crèches, and they too had their immune systems heavily tested. I’m not suggesting this is unusual, it is a recognized fact, and for this reason I was aghast to find that people flying in from Mexico to Heathrow, appear to have no individual check on where they have been spending the previous week or so. To allow a child who had flown in from Mexico, without any isolation precautions, however simple, and instead was permitted to attend school, and thus disrupt the schooling of a large number of children, was something that was totally illogical and predictable. The government is going to deluge us with copious leaflets, and has upped the number of treatments of this virus from 30 million to 50 million, in-store. What the shelf-life of these pills is, I don’t know, but it is probable that people would require the treatment over a fortnight or three weeks, if it is antibiotic. But at this moment, while I am pleased to say that we have very few cases, I find it beyond belief, that the whole information system is clogged with repeated reports of very few cases, when at the same time the government is allowing people to arrive unchecked in detail, presupposing that they feel that the flight information is an adequate check in itself.
Because the opposition didn’t pick up on the fact that the returning people from Mexico were passing through a public causeway and on to trains, in contact with others, struck me as surprising, when one compares it with the hype that the disease itself is being given. Do they know something I don’t? Is it not as bad as they make out? I’m just at a loss. After all, it was apparent that the travellers were prepared to be questioned, possibly have further examinations, because of the seriousness of the conditions in Mexico. To have carried out some basic checks, possibly even limitation of movement for a given time, on the travellers, will be less disruptive, on a percentage basis, than letting them drift in to circulation, as would seem to be the case. I would have expected that if the government was making that sort of gesture, it would have been emblazoned across the headlines, and there would have been discussion as to whether it would be reasonable and effective or not.