Don’t write it down unless you want it haunting you forever

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s an old piece of advice that’s often offered – particularly to journalists but also to politicians – to the effect that, if you don’t want something thrown back and used against you, don’t ever write it down.

Conversely, a written record of a conversation – as in, those email exchanges that sometimes end up in capital letters to emphasis your shouting anger – is the best defence if the tone and content of that exchange is subsequently disputed.

Which is where diaries can come into the scheme of things.

The Brits are now spending longer debating what they did right and wrong over Covid for longer than they actually did anything about Covid in the first place, and recently they heard evidence from the UK government’s chief scientific adviser during the pandemic, Patrick Vallance.

Except, by the time he came before his learned colleagues for questioning, most of what he’d felt was already well known. Because he’d kept a diary.

The one question that had to be asked of him was how the busiest man in all of Great Britian found the time every night to record his inner-most thoughts on the pandemic when everyone else was just trying to get a few hours’ sleep.

He has described it as simply a ‘brain dump’ – a place to ease his frustrations at the end of another long and frustrating day…a way to keep him calm by letting off steam in his own time and, back then anyway, not for public consumption.

Except then in was and he’d pulled no punches – throwing just about everyone else involved in the whole affair under the bus.

Boris Johnson wanted to let the virus spread, while his most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, suggested Rishi Sunak – then Chancellor for the Exchequer, now Prime Minister – thought it was ‘OK’ to just let people die.

Sunak also spent much of this week taking it in the neck over his ‘eat out to help out’ initiative – restaurant vouchers to encourage people to return to dining out, thus triggering an upsurge in cases that everybody but Rishi seemed to predict as inevitable.



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