Foxy, aka , the former Royal Marine Commando, is not running the Covid Inquiry. Well, not officially. While its findings may not be published until possibly 2027, over on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Foxy and his band of bros have been dishing it out to the smirking Matt Hancock. Foxy referred to him on day one as “Hancock with a silent Han”.
The former health secretary proved himself physically strong even when put in “stress” positions, but the soldiers had his number – they resented his contempt for ordinary people and they interrogated him about his rule-breaking. Hancock never knows when to shut up so Foxy had to interrupt him: “When we dish out a set of orders , we f—ing live our life by that as well, with integrity.” All else is weak leadership, he said.
By the end of this ordeal, it was obvious that Hancock thought he might win the Channel 4 reality show but instead the steadfast Gareth Gates did. The soldiers explained that their decision was based on thinking about who you would want next to you, to have your back, in a life-or-death situation.
That, indeed, is the right question. All of us have watched gobsmacked those who were actually in charge of us in a life-or-death situation, still watching their own backs, still unable to admit wrongdoing, all possessed of a monstrous arrogance.
I cannot imagine how those who lost loved ones during the pandemic can stomach some of what we are hearing. Much of this was known and now it is confirmed in the details – details which meant many people died unnecessarily and alone. Details that meant a second wave of the disease could have been way less lethal than it was.
We locked down too late even though we could all see what was happening in Italy and Johnson trollied about not taking the disease seriously and thinking old people were dispensable anyway. He was unable to understand what the scientists were telling him and could not make decisions.
Dominic Cummings, who claims to have installed Johnson to effect Brexit, paints himself as chiefly in his job to critique the system. He was not only the system but its enabler. The culture, one in which women and children do not exist, was apparent from the beginning. No one thought about what would happen when schools closed and who would be educating the kids. No one thought about women locked in abusive situations or front-line workers, mostly females in care homes with no PPE or PPE made for male bodies.
It is no surprise that public school misogyny not only went unchallenged but was the order of the day. Women were clearly absent in policy-making. Helen MacNamara’s evidence was more damning of the system than 1,000 weird graphs that Cummings may have shown us. Childcare, abuse, childbirth, all of this was somehow overlooked by these guys scheming against each other, unable to listen to advice or without seemingly any idea of how most people live.
Of course, at the beginning of the pandemic we did not know much but by the summer of 2020 we did. Most of us had not been infected although 50,000 people had already died. We knew the virus was airborne and ventilation was key but we were told mainly about hand-washing. Rishi Sunak – labelled “Dr Death” by Prof John Edmunds, the epidemiologist who was part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – decided to launch his Eat Out to Help Out Scheme seen now to have helped spread the virus.
Clearly, the rules were being broken on a daily basis. We were being governed by those who thought themselves above the law. At the apex of all this was Johnson, who veered from callousness to stupidity. To see him pop up in Israel and lecture the world about “moral fog” is mind-boggling. Were he to appear on Mastermind, Moral Fog would surely be his specialist subject.
Yet all these people are without contrition. Passing the buck on their lying and their obvious failures. Yes, we all understand it was an incredibly hard time and a test of leadership and yet what got us through the pandemic was the goodwill of those deemed insignificant.
We are still suffering from this epidemic of shamelessness. Lady Mone has only just admitted her and her husband’s involvement in a company that was given £200 million of PPE contracts.
If the point of this huge inquiry is to learn from our mistakes, then this invisible virus at the top of government that seems to make everyone avoid accountability has to be dealt with. We need a vaccine that can make these people take responsibility for what they have done. Can we manufacture one and make it compulsory?
On Celebrity SAS, the soldiers had to grudgingly admit that Hancock had got through the gruelling tasks but said in real life, his attitude would have meant he would be quickly punched in the face, that he was a liability, not a brother in arms.
The same is true for the rest of his sorry government. In real life, people died. No moral fog can blind us to the truth of this offensively inept leadership at the worst possible time.
Shame on them.