Bassetlaw MP says trust the real experts - not those on social media

As the lockdown continues, life for all of us has changed significantly.

By Brendan Clarke-Smith
Friday, 17th April 2020, 7:00 am
Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bassetlaw MP. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV
Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bassetlaw MP. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV

We live in hope that the rates of coronavirus will soon reach a peak, plateau and then start to drop.

As I’ve stated before, I’m a politician, not a scientist or a medical expert.

I trust the advice that the experts are giving us and I follow this the same as everybody else.

The Internet has made life very simple in many ways, but also has its downsides.

The amount of fake news that has proliferated on social media is something that we need to be looking at.

At a time when people are quite rightly worried for their health and the health of their friends and family, the last thing they want is to be scared by things that simply aren’t true.

You will notice that those on social media, who were self-proclaimed legal and constitutional experts during Brexit, have now also turned into self-proclaimed scientific advisors and experts on PPE distribution.

No doubt you’ll have also seen the bizarre conspiracy theories about 5G.

The way we fight this is by questioning what we read and making sure we use reliable sources.

I was very unhappy when an article appeared in a national newspaper last week, which used a misleading headline to give the false impression that MPs were being given a £10,000 bonus for working from home, which again is simply not true.

Many people just read the headlines and not the full story, so to that extent the damage has already been done.

Despite this, I still believe that the media plays a vital role in getting information out to the public and are crucial in helping us beat coronavirus.

The availability of quality news is also important and it’s therefore important for us to support this and especially our local print media.

Having a local newspaper is something that not all people have access to, so please make sure you support ours.

Finally, some very good news.

Many people have written to me to express their disappointment that they were not eligible for the Government’s furlough scheme because they started new jobs after February 28.

Whilst this date was originally set for a good reason due to fraud risks, we have listened to what you have been telling us and I am now delighted to say that the Chancellor has extended the eligibility date to March 19 – the day before the furlough scheme was announced.

Now we just need some good news about the virus.

Brendan Clarke-Smith is MP for Bassetlaw.