Three sets of UK scandals causing gross injustice: covid-19, climate change and child pedestrian safeguarding

This web document is about three sets of scandals causing gross injustice (putting it mildly):
  • covid-19: the mismanagement in the UK
  • climate change: the lack of UK action
  • UK child pedestrians: the failure to safeguard

There are strong parallels between these sets of scandals, and the underlying root cause seems to be a system problem in our society - especially in the deceit of politicians - rather than failures in individual areas.

The conclusion is that if we want to tackle these scandals successfully, we need to fix the system problems, and campaigners against injustice need to work together to do this.

We have a "mendocracy", but we need democracy.

What should be happening?

Many people in the UK like to think they live in a democracy. If pressed about the important features of a democracy, it might be something like:
  • the Government serves the people
  • the Government tells the truth
  • people have a proper say in decision making
  • human rights are respected, people are treated fairly and vulnerable people are cared for
and if something goes wrong, many would expect that pressure from individuals, from campaigning groups and from media publicity would cause the government to apologise and correct the problem.

Tragically, this is not at all what has happened or is currently happening in the three areas discussed below. The main features are set out as bullet points, which are often representative, rather than comprehensive.

Covid-19 scandals in the UK

The injustices caused include
  • most of the 100,000+ covid-19 deaths so far were avoidable
  • the same goes for
    • other short- and long-term direct health problems in those who survive
    • the collateral health harms e.g. delayed cancer treatments and mental health problems
    • job losses
    • the economic damge
The evidence is that this is due to:
  • Government errors
    • Abandoning containment
    • Replacement of local testing by a privatised/outsourced private system
    • Restrictions too little and too late
    • Premature relaxation of restrictions
  • Government deceit:
    • "a large outbreak was inevitable"
    • "the Government response has been as good as it could be"
    • "testing delays are not increasing cases"
    • "elimination from the UK is impossible"
  • other Government abuse of power e.g. the illegal awarding of contracts without a proper process
  • fragmented scientific advice, partly due to Government interference
  • poor media scrutiny
  • the repeating of misinformation by the general population

Climate change scandals in the UK

The injustices contributed to include:
  • Hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of avoidable deaths worldwide
  • Mass migration of hundreds of millions due to their land becoming uninhabitable
  • Economic and social collapse of regions or countries
  • Ecological disaster
The UK is contributing to this via
  • Government errors: continued promotion of fossil fuel use:
    • Road building
    • Reduction of fuel duty
    • Airport expansion
  • Government deceit"
    • "The UK's reduction in CO2 emissions has been good"
    • "CO2 reductions of 3% per year comply with the Paris Agreement" (12-20% per year is needed)
    • "Electric vehicles (and other substitutions by electricity) are zero emission"
    • "Planting of trees will make a major contribution"
  • fragmented scientific advice, partly due to Government interference
  • poor media scrutiny
  • the general population
    • repeating Government misinformation
    • making little effort to reduce personal carbon footprints

Failure to safeguard child pedestrians in the UK

The injustices caused include
  • Children cannot roam freely on foot (or by bicycle) because of motor vehicle danger, and have to be confined to homes, or schools
  • Lack of exercise leading to obesity and life-long health problems
  • Direct deaths and serious injuries
  • Unecessary motor vehicle journeys adding to deaths and ill-health from poor air quality
The causes are
  • Government errors
    • Minimal infrastructure funding, a tiny fraction of what is spent on motor vehicles
    • Removal of funding for roads policing enforcement
    • Wrong default urban speed limit of 30mph - it should be 20mph
  • Government deceit: false claims:
    • "Progress in reducing child deaths and injuries has been good" - the truth is that reductions have come at the expense of child mobility
    • "Child pedestrian deaths and injuries are either the child's fault or the driver's fault" - the truth is that most can be avoided by proper road design
    • "Pavement parking is generally legal" - the truth is that it is illegal to drive on to a footway, whether or not with the intention of parking
  • poor media scrutiny
  • the general population
    • repeating Government misinformation
    • generally disregarding road safety laws when driving, e.g. regarding speed limits, giving way to pedestrians, parking

Conclusions: system failure needing system change: democracy, not mendocracy

There are common themes in these sets of scandals:
  • poor decision making by politicians, especially taking too little action, too late
  • systematic deceit by politicians, especially overclaiming of success
  • other abuses of power
  • fragmented scientific advice
  • poor media scrutiny
  • the general population repeating Government misinformation

To tackle these injustices, decent people need to do what is in their power:
  • contribute to a scientific consensus
  • call out Government deceit
  • educate the general population so they do not repeat Government deceit
  • ensure that they themselves do not repeat Government deceit in areas where they are not expert
  • contribute to a culture change where dishonesty by politicians is not considered acceptable - where we have the system of government that people would choose if given the choice (democracy) instead of one based on deceit (mendocracy).

Further reading

This is a summary document, which is not intended to be either comprehensive or fully referenced.
Justifications including references can be found at

First published: 2 Sep 2020
Last updated: 14 Mar 2021