From our Swindon Correspondent:
From Simon Jenkins in The Guardian
No government in Europe has had an easy ride over the past nine months, but none has had a worse one than Britain’s. Indecision on lockdown was followed by chaotic PPE supplies, the “world-beating” test-and-trace shambles, school exam confusion and now the multi-form bureaucratic deterrent to potential vaccinators.
Coronavirus has revealed a country so ill-governed that current politicians cannot be blamed for all of it. The traditional model holds that ministers decide on the general direction of policy and officials interpret and implement it. This balance of roles has been eroded at least since the turn of the century, largely by a ministerial craving for headlines that led to a daily welter of central initiatives, interventions and vanity projects. Officials are expected not to challenge but to obey.
This isn’t the problem. There isn’t a particular problem with the modern British governments. Remember, politicians ran the Tanganyika groundnut scheme, British Leyland and the GPO that took weeks to get a phone installed, spent a billion on the Millenium Dome and funded Concorde and HS1. If you want to look across the channel, there’s giant bonfires of money like Futuroscope and Berlin Airport and if you look west there’s the F-35 and Amtrak.
The reason the USA doesn’t have a problem with vaccinations isn’t that they’re better governed. It’s that they don’t have a giant bloated bureaucracy like the NHS running health. So, they’re more about outsourcing the vaccination work out to pharmacies, who aren’t going to have a lot of pointless bureaucracy because it costs money (as a side note, the USA’s national folk heroes are servicemen and astronauts rather than nurses).
(Editor’s note – we can go further, and point out that what screw ups there are in the American system have been the result of centralisation, the FDA and CDC.)