Planet Normal: the cognitive dissonance when it comes to lockdown
Three years after Boris Johnson told us “you must stay at home”, are we yet seeing what the collateral damage caused by lockdowns?
On this week's Planet Normal podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player above, Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan are joined by a selection of guests to discuss how historians will reflect on decisions made in Spring 2020, and what the ripples effects are now.
Laura Dodsworth, author of 'A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic', says that she feels we're a really long way off acknowledging the damage caused.
"I think what you see happening at the moment is cognitive dissonance. We're at a stage right now where people will do almost anything to deny the evidence of what they see. They want to deny the evidence of the harms. People are so committed to a narrative, it can be quite hard to let go of."
Professor Pat Price, Chair of the charity Radiotherapy UK, reflects on those early days back in March 2020. "Within the first couple of days, the phone started ringing."
"Cancer patients were literally being phoned to have their cancer operations stopped and cancelled and it was an absolute mess. And they were asking us for help, but people just kept phoning and phoning, and you suddenly realised that there was no plan for cancer."
"I tell you honestly, some nights I would cry in bed thinking, I just cannot believe people are being left like this. So then we thought, right, we've got to do something about it, so we started this Catch Up With Cancer campaign. First letter written to Matt Hancock, the 1st of April 2020 and then what's happened since? We have been going at it now it's three years and the cancer backlog situation is actually worse."
Former politician and diplomat Lord Frost thinks that "one of the really damaging effects of the pandemic has normalised the idea that some things can't or should not be said."
"So I think the damage goes beyond the pure economic. There's lots of informal attitudinal, societal stuff that we will have to come to terms with over the next few years."
Allison and Liam are also joined by Sir Graham Brady, Luke Johnson, Lord Sumption and anonymous NHS source 'George'.
Hear all of Allison and Liam's Lockdown Heroes on Planet Normal, a weekly Telegraph podcast featuring news and views from beyond the bubble, using the audio player above or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your preferred podcast app.