It’s understandable that, in a crisis, politicians reach for wartime metaphors – but they don’t always fit. There was the 'war on terror'. Now we have politicians talking about the need to vanquish Covid-19. This is about more than language. There’s a big difference between a Covid-19 eradication strategy and one that seeks to find a way to live with this virus, in the way we learned to live with Swine Flu (or, as it’s now called, flu.)
The Prime Minister is leading by example. Addressing a committee of conservative MPs on Thursday, he said: 'We have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means we have set out.' Later he said: 'We must, must defeat this disease.'
And last week, the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, told the PM that, among other things, he should 'Get on with defeating this virus.