Boris Johnson promises a public inquiry into the pandemic, but our scientific community could provide more honest answers
Boris Johnson’s promise of a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic is welcome, but tardy and vague. It is scarcely surprising that the government has been dragging its feet, for no independent, objective and credible inquiry could be anything but devastating about the political handling of the crisis. The long and lethal litany of blunders and cover-ups presented in Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott’s book Failures of State beggars belief, even while it is so recent in memory.
Official inquiries are rarely characterised by frankness or timeliness. Like the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, they tend to become drawn-out exercises in political point-scoring, at best detonating a weak charge long after the event. If the Covid inquiry does ever happen (Johnson hardly has a good track record of keeping promises), it is likely to be trammeled by evasion, foot-dragging and blame-shifting on a scale that will make Chilcot look terse and incisive in comparison.
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