As always choose the cock-up theory not the conspiracy theory.
It is always possible that it is both. That alongside the mind-boggling, widespread and repetitive incompetence, there is a nasty little undercover scheme to take another tack.
Early on in the crisis the government talked about trying the technique of non-containment called herd immunity, whereby you let the disease run unchecked through the population so lots die but you get survival of the now-immune fittest. (If I haven’t explained that correctly I am sure Warwick will elucidate).
This went down very badly with the public when the penny dropped that this unpleasant-sounding concept was probably going to result in the sacrifice of many of the nation’s grandparents. So unpopular was the idea that the government immediately insisted that they had never even considered it.
There is now a body of opinion that holds to the conspiracy theory. Quite a lot of people believe that instances of apparently inexplicable bungling - like the letting in of all those unchecked airport arrivals ; the decision, to be reversed much later, to stop testing before it had even got going and, more recently, the reopening of schools without the promised safeguards in place – point to an attempt effectively to operate herd immunity by the back door.
I also know people who claim that the focus on the virus catastrophe is a useful diversionary tactic for slipping in a hard Brexit. Planned or not, that could indeed come to pass. We shan’t know for sure until the inevitable public enquiry which, although many are demanding it now, is probably a long way off.
I have spent a large part of lockdown studying the subject of Covid 19 in Britain, with as open a mind as possible. I reckon I know as much about it as any educated and interested person, if not more, but I honestly don’t think anyone can say for certain “cock-up” or ‘conspiracy”.
What I do know if that if Coronavirus is an act of God, then human actions and/or inaction have compounded its effects most terribly on the poor bloody British public.