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Editor’s Letter

This week in Tortoise: The Covid Inquiry

Monday 14 December 2020


I once heard Jeff Bezos say that complaining is not a strategy. Nor, it turns out, is hoping. The UK government seems to be suffering from chronic wishful thinking: scientists are warning of a third wave of coronavirus; the country is teetering on the brink of a no-deal Brexit. It can feel like the triumph of experience over hope.

Many people are tuning out of the news. We’re leaning in. This week’s File is the culmination of the Covid Inquiry – months of work gathering data and three full days of oral evidence, in an attempt to answer the question: “Did it have to be this bad?”

Today, the Slow Newscast with Basia Cummings explains what happened, who decided and when. Tomorrow, Giles Whittell writes the first, full account of 2020, citing the pivotal moments and the key decisions that were ducked and delayed. We will produce a timeline, a set of the unanswered questions, and the complete dossiers of data. Together, we hope we can chart the gap – a wide one – between the official reality in 2020 and what really happened.

Of course, there’s another way of seeing the year: it’s got the makings of the best news quiz ever. And, tonight, Tortoise invites you to join us for our 2020 news quiz. There’s no shortage of material.

Throughout the week, the Daily Sensemaker will be focused on Brexit – and it’ll be the subject of our weekly Open News meeting at Tuesday’s lunchtime ThinkIn. Hope to see you there.

Allbest.

James Harding,
Editor & co-founder