At the start of last year we could scarcely have believed what would lie ahead of us. Restrictions not previously seen since wartime. Whole sections of the economy having to shut down. The NHS overwhelmed by desperately ill people and many deaths from a virus with a virulence not seen since 1919.

There are those who of course who choose to believe that the virus doesn’t exist or if it does, that it’s not dangerous. On the wilder fringes of the internet you’ll come across all manner of evidence-free “theories” about the virus that ignore one simple, incontrovertible fact; epidemics have been with us throughout history.

There’s nothing unusual in a virus spreading across the world. The Black Death and the Great Plague are two standout examples of that happening. What makes Covid-19 different is that it’s so much easier for people and the virus to spread more quickly around the world. This is not a plot; it’s part of human history.

There are also those who believe vaccines are inherently harmful or a trick by the pharmaceutical industry. Yet the first vaccine was developed by Dr. Edward Jenner in 1798.

We then saw vaccines’ success against rabies, typhoid, diphtheria and the two great diseases of the 20th century, tuberculosis and polio. I don’t believe Dr Jenner was conspiring with drug companies when he discovered a vaccine against smallpox.

Then there are discussions about how to deal with the virus. There have been those who have advocated herd immunity. Let’s just look at what that would have meant. The virus would have been let rip through the population. Many, many more people would have become ill further swamping the NHS and its staff and many more would have died.

Just look at Brazil if you want to see an example of how this works in practice. The cost of herd immunity is more death. Only the strong survive and the weak perish. Darwinism in practice with the population as guinea pigs.

Now, hopefully, we’re facing the endgame as far as Covid is concerned but I for one am concerned about the gung-ho approach of Boris Johnson. On at least three occasions he’s declared a “Freedom Day” in England. The latest is the 19th of July.

It’s almost as if, as a man who sees himself as Churchill, he wants his own VE Day over the virus and is impatient for it to happen even if the timing isn’t right. He should remember his history; the voters threw Churchill out of office at the first opportunity that they had.


Cases are on the rise in England. Wembley last Sunday looked like a mass Covid spreading event. People got into the stadium without tickets. Pause for a moment to think about what that looked like to the rest of the world.

There are lots of things that will weigh on the mind of Welsh ministers when they take decisions on Covid. One of them is what’s happening in England. We cannot pretend that we have a border that people cannot cross, and decisions taken in England are bound to have a knock-on effect in Wales.

That doesn’t mean you simply follow England, especially when you think they’re wrong. I’ve heard some say that it’s nonsensical to have different rules in Wales and my answer is simply this; it’s nonsensical to follow England if you think England’s approach is itself nonsensical.

Over the next few days we will see three things happen. The travel industry will take the view that international travel rules should be the same across, at least, England, Scotland and Wales. Perhaps they have a point.

It’s all academic though when other countries won’t let UK residents in, and where travellers themselves are afraid to travel for fear of the country they’re holidaying in moving onto the red list while they’re there.

Secondly, journalists will travel to border towns looking for differences between the two countries as if this was something novel. Let’s remember that for at least eighty years on Sundays pubs could open on one side of the border but not the other. Different rules are nothing new on either side.

Finally, we will see speculative stories made out of calls by individuals demanding the Welsh Government to follow a particular course of action. These will be created even though that individual has no support from anybody else. It’s an easy way to make a story but it’s usually completely unreflective of opinion as a whole

Decision makers have to shut themselves away from that. They have to look at the weight of the evidence not the view of one person. They have to have an eye on what will work in the long-term, not what’s popular for the next week or so.

People will form a judgement on how the pandemic has been handled when it’s all over and the inevitable inquiries have finished. That’s when politicians will be measured and I don’t believe that Welsh Government will be found wanting.

They have proven that they can take the long-term, sensible view, in complete contrast to the UK Government. Judging by events in May, the voters seem to agree.

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