The British public are careful and calm – the problem is that the government isn’t | John Harris

A view of people as rule-breaking chancers is being used as a distraction from the Conservatives’ failures. They mustn’t get away with it

This is what a true crisis feels like. The UK has now recorded more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus and, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser, the daily toll will continue to be awful “for some weeks”. Our capital city is so overrun that Covid patients are being moved to intensive care units hundreds of miles away, and across England nearly 4.5 million people are now waiting for operations.

A test-and-trace system that was meant to be “world-beating” is almost irrelevant; we now learn that the £78m plan for daily mass testing in English schools has not been approved by the agency that oversees medicines and health products. Vaccinations will eventually ease the situation, but everywhere else you look, there are government blunders, delays and failures which – in a more predictable world – would already have had huge political consequences.

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