Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
James O'Brien's reaction to UK having the worst Covid-19 death toll in Europe
5 May 2020, 13:03 | Updated: 5 May 2020, 15:16
News that the UK has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe led to James O'Brien wondering what it says about the government response.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown that the UK has overtaken Italy as the country with the most deaths in Europe. James O'Brien was evidently distraught by the news and led to him questioning our response to the pandemic.
James began by questioning the UK's relatively slow response to the outbreak "despite having those alarm bells back in January" and with mainland Europe being significantly hit in February. He was critical of how he saw the media tiptoeing around the UK's coronavirus response.
"At what point do the increasingly desperate and pathetic attempts to portray the government's performance as anything other than catastrophic stop?"
He addressed the reluctance of authorities or the media to scrutinise the response and asked "when is the time? When will the government give me permission to scrutinise the government?"
James suggested that any criticism of the response thus far has been dismissed as anti-Conservative rhetoric but insisted that this isn't the case. "They'll be going through your bins trying to find old Jeremy Corbyn badges or evidence that you once voted for Labour," he said.
He was highly critical of the way the government have been addressing the problem so far and hinted that they have been avoiding all criticism by deflecting. "They're playing with the country as if it was a train set," James claimed.
"The problem is that some of us have been screaming for years what these people are like and others were screaming back that they weren't," James said. He suggested that he wasn't entirely surprised by how coronavirus has been politicised and has been coming down the line for some time.
Summing up the UK's response and reluctance to criticise it, James wondered "why the largest death toll in Europe isn't evidence of the worst response."