Tens years for lying where you come from – how long for culpable homicide?
The Buffoon seems to be slithering out underneath the mountain of criticism that has beset his government ever since they started to ‘deal’ with this pandemic in March of last year.
Even though his credibility started to fall, and kept on falling, last year recent opinion polls – amazingly – seem to indicate that the Tory government, however in incompetent, is still ahead when people are asked about their view of the government. (The British people never cease to amaze.)
Even his attempts to garner sympathy by contracting the disease last year didn’t stop the decline in his popularity, but now the government seems to be on a bit of a high.
Infection and death rates are falling, although nobody can say exactly the reasons why. The vaccination programme is going well – that’s probably because it’s being organised not by the Government but by the NHS.
Not surprisingly the Government, the Buffon, is attempting to take credit for all these improvements whilst, with its propaganda trying to place any resurgence on the activities of the people.
Let’s forget for the moment fact that one of the vaccines might not be as effective as it was first hoped. That’s an issue which will play out in the future, perhaps.
The Buffoon has spoken about an investigation into the running of the campaign against the virus at some time in the future but he is also aware that the best means of defence is attack.
And the way to cover his incompetence is to attack the NHS.
In the middle of a pandemic he has announced that there will be a review of the NHS which would, perhaps, lead to changes to some of the measures that were introduced by a previous Tory Prime Minister, Cameron, a few years ago.
However, this is just a smokescreen to hide an attack upon the fundamentals of the NHS itself and the organisation which may have had its problems (but more due to lack of funding and denigration over the years) and that is Public Health England (PHE).
This would seem to be the organisation that will bear the brunt of these Tory ‘reforms’.
Being the ‘populist’ that he is and knowing there’s a certain groundswell against privatisation in the NHS, he will shroud fundamental changes to the local nature of much of the work of PHE by suggesting he is rolling back on decades long Tory attempts at the destruction of the whole concept of the welfare state as is exemplified in the NHS.
If the Buffoon was ideologically against privatisation then we wouldn’t have seen (and are still seeing) billions of pounds a public money being given to incompetent, inexperienced cronies of the Tory party in the awarding of contracts for the supply of goods and services needed in the fight against the virus.
The balance sheet at the end of this pandemic will show, no doubt, that Capitalism will be the winner of this war, the losers being the NHS and the people of Britain.
Could matters be organised better?
In Britain, which has lacked any semblance of a strategy from the start the answer to that question is obviously yes. The danger in the UK, and, it must be admitted, in most other countries, is that panic, knee jerk reactions have taken over and there’s been less emphasis placed upon a cool and calm analysis of the effectiveness of all the measures tried in the past, being tried now and will be tried in the future. But if we want to truly get to grips with this pandemic and be prepared for the next then such an approach is crucial.
Vaccine roll outs, school testing and contact tracing could all be improved – here’s how.
It might, generally be going well, but a few blips.
Angry calls and threats over Chesterfield Football Club vaccines.
Teachers sent covid injection booking link for National Health Service staff.
Study reveals extent of covid vaccine side-effects.
Why we should not rush to judgement on Oxford jab. Perhaps the question to be asked is why this study was rushed out when it is recognised that the numbers surveyed and the age of those who took part in the study are the younger members of the population which doesn’t really help in the particularities of this virus. Shouldn’t reports be used to encourage rather than the opposite? Researchers should remember that the hyped up fear levels of the last year have created a nation of rabbits, more likely to scurry into their burrows than go out to be vaccinated.
Tens of thousands of UK nurses yet to receive first dose. Why? Where is the logic in this? Isn’t it a bit like the ludicrous situation that existed during the First World War when Russian soldiers were sent over the top of the trenches with no weapons but told to pick the first gun from the dead they could find?
Initial study brings hope vaccine will reduce covid transmission. Perhaps it’s worth remembering that Israel has a strange business relationship with Pfizer/BioNTech so studies that put their vaccine in a better light should be treted with a certain amount of circumspection.
Poverty in Britain
Calls to keep the ‘extra’ £20 per week in Universal Credit – why it should be extended. The full report; Dignity or Destitution – The case for keeping the Universal Credit lifeline.
Benefit claimants face mounting debt burden.
Fall in covid cases slower in UK’s poor regions.
The plight of families on Universal Credit – a report by the Resolution Foundation entitled The debts that divide us.
Universal Credit worth less than in 2013, says Citizens Advice Scotland – and it won’t be any different in the rest of the UK.
One law for the rich – another for the rest of us
If you thought 2021 was the year for restraint on boardroom pay, think again.
World’s top 15 hedge fund managers made $23.2 billion (£16.9 billion) in total last year.
Free school meals
The matter of the pathetically inadequate school meal replacement parcels was highlighted here in the post of 15th January. Now, more than three weeks after the issue first came to light (not by Government oversight but by angry parents posting pictures on social media) the parent company involved, Compass, apologises for school meal parcels that ‘fell short’. However, what’s interesting about this article from the supposedly impartial BBC is that the most recent apology seems more aimed at disappointed shareholders than the people for whom they are contracted to supply decent and adequate food.
Treatment of the National Health Service ‘heroes’
A story of how the Government (through NHS managers) downplayed their inability to provide necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the early days of the pandemic in April of last year and how healthcare workers came to feel ‘expendable’.
Hospitals defy authorities to protect staff as 35,000 patients are infected with covid on wards.
Future of the NHS
When this is eventually unpacked it will probably result in the conclusion that the private sector doesn’t want to take on some tasks in the NHS because there won’t be a high enough profit margin. The Tories have never cared for the NHS and any ‘retreat’ in creeping privatisation, that’s been going on for decades, will not be prompted by any attack of social conscience. Only just ‘leaked’ documents so far, but they are indicating that the Buffoon plans to reverse Cameron NHS reforms.
But it won’t be for the benefit of the NHS – more greater central control of what the Government doesn’t like – localism.
A fortune is being spent on test-track-trace but it could be a waste of money if people don’t self isolate. And low incomes and general poverty is having an effect on the self isolation rates. Radio 4’s You and Yours on 4th February had a look at the reasons why.
The sneaky virus
How covid-19 is different. If control measures are stopping flu in its tracks, why aren’t they stopping coronavirus?
Could the virus be around for ever? Coronavirus might become endemic – here’s how.
Coronavirus vaccine strategy needs rethink after resistant variants emerge.
It’s even changing the symptoms. Radio Four’s Inside Science on 9th February looked at this issue – and its implications in other ameliorative tactics in the ‘battle’ against the virus.
Concerning coronavirus mutation now found in UK variant – here’s what you need to know.
Test, track and trace
Considering this has been considered the most important single aspect in the defeat of the virus (after possible mass vaccination) it still doesn’t seem to have been taken on board in the UK. Billions of pounds have been spent but there still doesn’t appear to be any strategy – and why are some businesses allowed to decide whether or not they have a testing regime in place?
Covid testing expanded to more workplaces in England.
NHS app has told 1.7 million to self-isolate. It’s difficult to know if that’s a good thing or not. The information was kept from the public (by the private company given a huge amount of public money and taking months to get the system anywhere near efficient) and had to be prised out of them. What then happened? Did they isolate? If not, why not? So many questions. So few answers.
Manchester covid surge tests as mutation of Kent variant confirmed. An explantion of what ‘surge tests’ means and what it implies. Also, surely this is the sort of testing that needs to become the norm – based on a local, community structure.
A sign of the growing privatisation of the testing system is the establishment of a ‘covid testing centre’ at Birmingham airport. These tests will be at premium prices and it’s another way of private companies trying to cash in on the pandemic and also on the desire of those with the money to be able to travel again – especially in the late summer and autumn. No doubt other airports will follow. No prices are shown in the early part of the booking system (and it seems you need to start entering a lot of personal information before you know the damage) which indicates eye-watering charges – as is the norm at any airport. No doubt they will all be operating a cartel to keep prices high.
Loathed as I am to give publicity to some money grubbing capitalist business attempting to make an easy profit out of the pandemic I think it’s useful to show how one (I’m sure of what will eventually be vary many) company is starting to get in on ‘I want to travel again soon’ desire.
Testing or quarantine?
In just under a week any visitor to Britain from around 30 countries will be foreced to quarantine in near-by hotels – at their own expense. This is probably more geared to reducing the number of visitors without the Government saying so as this will be a considerable expense for some – for the rich it won’t be a problem whatsoever. However, there are other ways to maintain movement and a quick and reliable testing system on arrival – as was used in a number of Asian countries way back towards the middle of last year, is a cheaper alternative. Scrap concept of ‘high-risk’ countries in favour of testing, says tourism chief.
For hotel quarantines to be lawful, the Government will need to answer some hard questions.
One of the aspects of the Buffoon’s Government, that has become clear over the last almost a year is that they are always ‘playing to the crowd’, ‘grandstanding’. For them it’s nothing to do with substance it’s all to do with presentation, effect. They are like children in a school performance – when they don’t know they are bad actors.
The latest example of this is the ‘quarantining’ of air passengers from certain parts of the world. Other countries did it from the beginning – Britain does it near the ‘end’. Then even when there’s plenty of time to have thought the consequences through and to have come to some agreement with the hotel chains they leave everything to the eleventh hour. So, on the 9th, when quarantine comes in on the 15 of February they have an agreement – but it’s only the equivalent of one 747 a day – for the whole country.
Now there’s more than likely a game being played here by the hotel groups – they know it’s very much a sellers market – even though people aren’t supposed to be travelling locally and most hotels will have been virtually empty for the last couple of months. So if there’s any delay it’s probably those companies wanting some guarantee for the commitments they are being asked to make. It’s all about money and has nothing to do with the elimination of the virus.
Although the bulk of the cost will be carried by anyone travelling there will be guarantees given by the Government in the event that the requirement falls drastically as fewer people actually travel – then we will get the airlines complaining. And there’s no guarantee that this will have any effect on the infection rates.
And just so they can show they are ‘different’ the Scottish nationalist are making anyone who arrives in a Scottish airport – from wherever they may have come from – go into compulsory, controlled quarantine.
But it looks like travellers will face £1,750 cost for England quarantine hotels – but which includes two expensive tests during their time in the hotel before than can leave – or face ten years in gaol if they lie.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
NHS gowns ‘suspended’ from use due to packaging concern. Yet again another blame game – before the Government accepts they got the order wrong. But this wouldn’t have happened if there had been forethought and planning before the pandemic broke.
BBC Radio Four’s File on Four reported on this scandal (on both the costs to the British public as well as the slave conditions in which the workers who produce the PPE are being forced to live and work) on 9th February.
What are we going to do with ‘face coverings’ – or the Saga of the Masks
The negatives that go with mask wearing (the accumulation of the virus on the mask itself if people are infected; the fact that people touch their faces many times a day; the fact that not all masks are clean; the fact that people touch public surfaces when they take masks off; the fact that there’s nowhere to wash hands when they do take masks off; the fact that they don’t store them properly when they do take them off; and the fact that masks don’t either prevent all risk of infection to the wearer or prevent the wearer from transmitting the virus to mention just a few) are being ignored in favour of what can be considered a clearly seen aspect of virus management that gives the impression the Government is doing something. This will almost certainly be one area that will remain with us after this present pandemic is reduced.
So here’s a pro-mask article. Is your mask effective against covid-19?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued ‘guidance’ on this issue, entitled – Mask use in the context of COVID-19 – on 1st December 2020 (so not really on the ball considering that was a year after the first deaths were identified in China). There are a number of issues it doesn’t address but is included here for the benefit of ‘impartiality’.
As in any ‘war’ there will always be those who make huge profits
A typical ‘out-of-Government’ approach by the Labour Party – but without adressing the fundamental issue of such contracts have been going on for decades and costing the country countless billions and getting a worse NHS in the process. Labour demands firms with Conservative links awarded covid contracts publish profits.
‘Immunity Passports’ – will they won’t they be introduced?
Britons vaccinated against covid could get QR codes to travel. The Government seems (and have been ever since the prospect of vaccinating a size able proportion of the population started to become a reality) to be shying away from this. It will happen – even if is introduced by private companies or other countries – so instead of saying it won’t happen because it is ‘discriminatory’ – this by a Government that thrives on discrimination – why doesn’t the Government work on the best and most workable system possible.
Covid not the only mass killer in the world
‘Invisible killer’: fossil fuels caused 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018.