YESTERDAY'S report by Parliamentarians into the Government’s handling of the Covid crisis suggests tens of thousands of people died as a result of the decisions taken. Whether they were the elderly in carehomes who were treated as “an afterthought”, those with learning difficulties or disabilities who were given “do not resuscitate” notices or the black and Asian doctors and nurses not provided with personal protective equipment, each of these needless deaths represents a grief and loss to their families and loved ones betrayed by a Government’s first duty to keep its citizens safe.

In normal times, any report which found the Government to have been devastatingly negligent in “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced” would naturally mean resignations and statements of culpability by those who failed and betrayed the weakest in our society. Those who were first to seek the spotlight in praise of Captain Tom and the other heroes of his generation would at the very least own up to their failures in betraying the members of that generation who were left to die needlessly, alone and separated from those whom they loved.

But these are not normal times.

Instead of the mea culpa which we might once have reasonably expected, it has been replaced by a bravado which insists we acknowledge the good rather than focus on the unacceptable.

Take for instance the Prime Minister’s recent comments on levelling up and the North. When challenged by an interviewer as to how the Government was addressing the North-South divide, which has traditionally been characterised by better health provision, life outcomes and investment in the South of the country, the Prime Minister replied by saying: “Never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes, look at wage growth.”

Anyone who has had to deal with cancer, either themselves or in the life of a loved one, will know that there is little more important that outcomes or life expectancy. At such times wage growth is rarely a consideration that tops the list. After all, if you are faced with death, the rate of any annual increase in your pay packet begins to pail into insignificance.

The Prime Minister’s comments reveal not only the Teflon Boris effect which can survive any kind of slip of the tongue or gaffe and which has long been factored in to the public’s view on him.

They also show the enormous chasm which has developed between those who govern and those who are governed.

It is a space which can be repaired by responsibility and acknowledgement for all that has gone wrong.

Or it is a place that will widen and become toxic with distrust if those who govern do not accept and recognise the consequences of their failures.

The Reverend Arun Arora is the vicar of St Nicholas' Church, Durham