Brutal virus update stuns Project hosts
The Project's UK correspondent Lucy McDonald gave a brutally honest account of what life is like for those living in coronavirus-plagued Britain, blasting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his "stupidity".
The Project panel crossed to London-based McDonald for an update on a country that's seeing a massive rise in coronavirus cases, with close to 4000 cases a day currently being recorded in the UK. With the country facing the prospect of another strict lockdown, McDonald vented her own "anger" at how the virus had been handled.
"Schools are still open, offices are still open, but pubs, bars and nightclubs have to close from 10pm to 5am. Now, I didn't even know that nightclubs were allowed to be open during this time," she began.
Panellist Steve Price said he'd noted the collective mood change in Melbourne as the city went through various stages of lockdown, and asked how those in the UK were coping.
"I love the fact that you know what a 4, 3, 2 lockdown are like. We have got no such clear messaging here. From the beginning of this virus here in the UK, there has been such a lack of leadership and certainty from government. It feels like six months in, we haven't got anywhere and haven't done anything right," she said.
"I think people are angry and very confused. The rules are so ambiguous that people interpret them how they will. For example - you can't meet more than six people. So seven kids can't go feed the ducks, but there's an exemption where if you want to go hunting and shoot the ducks, 17 of you can go. What kind of message is that?"
McDonald said anger in the country "has to be directed at the people at the top".
"The Cabinet that we have at the moment … I wouldn't trust them to do an online shopping order for me. I live in West London - sometimes, if you go on the testing system to see where you can get the nearest COVID test, it's 400 miles (640km) away in Scotland."
She then blasted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a "lack of leadership (and) lack of detail".
"You keep thinking, these acts of stupidity - is this some masterplan? Is this some strategy? And then you realise, the emperor really does not have clothes on. My anger - and its reflected in even diehard conservative voters - is directed in squarely on the government," she said.
As Carrie Bickmore pointed out, it seemed strange the "emperor" didn't seem to grasp the seriousness of the pandemic, given Johnson himself had been hospitalised with coronavirus back in March.
"I still think he looks very unwell. He looks like a man unravelling. So yes, you'd think he'd have compassion, you'd think he'd have empathy … maybe he does have those things. But does he have the leadership qualities, the intellectual capacity, to make us have a good plan against COVID? No," McDonald said.
After McDonald had left the conversation, Price - who noted "how strong" her words had been - asked his colleagues how they'd feel if Melbourne went back into a harsh lockdown again at some stage.
Bickmore said she'd love to see a "tweak" to lockdown rules to allow children back to school.
"I think that's been one of the hardest things this year. If you're between year three and year 10, you haven't gone back since first term, really. That's a lot. I've got a son in year 7 - that's a long time to not have social connection and not be set up for your high school life. Same with the preppies, they've struggled. If there was to be a tweak, that'd be a great place to start," she said.
Originally published as Brutal virus update stuns Project hosts