The Government’s decision to step in and pump huge amounts of money into the economy – effectively paying the wages of hundreds of thousands of people, was both bold and significant.
Because the UK has such a large, mature and established economy, one of the biggest in the world, things usually happen relatively slowly in a calm, considered manner. However, the Government’s move illustrates the fact that when we are confronted by a problem, we can take action quickly. When the pressure is on, people will move mountains. This is, I would suggest, to our credit as a nation.
Another example is the development that has taken place at the ExCel in East London. This large exhibition centre has been converted into NHS Nightingale, a 4,000-bed hospital, which would not have been conceivable a couple of months ago.
Such developments also demonstrate the value of leadership in times of crisis. As I write this, the Prime Minister is in intensive care and thus, by definition, the leader in name only. This is a juncture at which you need the Prime Minister fully functioning, and I hope he makes a swift recovery.
In contrast, we’ve seen the Scottish Chief Medical Officer removed from her position because she did not follow her own advice about self-isolation. Similarly, New Zealand’s Health Minister was demoted after he took his family on a trip to the beach on the first weekend of the lockdown there.
Every one of us needs to play their part in the current situation – but, now more than ever, leaders need to lead by example.