A north-south divide in England will emerge in this latest phase of the pandemic, unless we start to work together
- Steve Rotheram is mayor of the Liverpool city region
So much of the advice we have grown used to over the past few months can be traced back to one man: James Niven. A Scot who was Manchester’s medical officer during the Spanish flu pandemic over a century ago, Niven advocated closing down much of society to combat the spread of the virus – against the advice of the government’s health adviser at the time.
Niven’s efforts saved countless lives and could have saved many more had the government of the day paid more attention. There is a lesson there for us today about how central government ignores regional voices at its peril.