No strategy – no way forward

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No strategy – no way forward

When it comes to the pandemic there’s a bit of a hiatus in Britain at the moment. As there is still (as there has never been) no coherent strategy all that the Government is doing is crossing their fingers in the hope that the pandemic will just go away. That was the Buffoon’s approach in March 2020 and it hasn’t really changed. If there has been a change in perception it was that the pandemic was an ideal opportunity for the State to give billions of pounds of the public’s money to private companies – preferably those with a link to the ruling Conservative Party.

When the first indications that a vaccine would be quickly available this was touted as being the way out of the problem. However, even though the vaccination programme in the UK has been one of the most successful in the world that certainty seems to be gradually drifting away. Now things are happening which weren’t planned for – such as variants which are always expected in such circumstances but lacking any strategy the Government hasn’t really allowed for them.

We are still in the realm of knee-jerk reactions;

  • what to do with school children when one child in a ‘bubble’ tests positive;
  • which countries people can go to or what they must do when they come back from ‘foreign climes’;
  • whether mass events should or shouldn’t take place;
  • whether such mass events cause outbreaks – or they don’t;
  • what will happen later in the year and will the covid outbreak be superseded by the regular winter influenza season, sometime serious, sometimes not;
  • there’s still a great deal of confusion for higher education students in how the first term of the new academic year (which starts in September) will look like;
  • whether unemployment will increase drastically after support packages end or whether there will be a labour shortage;
  • whether England’s progress through the Euro Football tournament will be ‘what the country needs’ after a ‘unprecedented year’ or will lead to further ‘disappointment’.

The Government certainly, and probably the majority of the population are just crossing various parts of their bodies in the hope that things will get better. But history has shown that hope alone for a better future rarely leads to good results – very often the reverse.

What the country (and the world – there being challenges in many of those countries that were considered to have been on top of the issue in the past year or so) needs is a proper strategy which addresses the underlying causes and systemic failures to deal with such ‘natural’ disasters as a pandemic.

What we have been shown in countless examples since the end of 2019 is that the present ruling system is incapable of formulating such a strategy – at least as far as it goes in benefiting the vast majority of the population.

Vaccination programme in Britain ….

Did a delayed second dose give the delta variant an evolutionary helping hand?

The only vaccine being distributed ‘at cost’ and the only one that has ‘serious’ side-effects. Coincidence? Just means more money being shovelled, worldwide, into the bank accounts of ‘big pharma’. The Oxford vaccine: the trials and tribulations of a world-saving jab.

Why most people who now die with covid in England have had a vaccination.

….. and around the world

Sinopharm covid vaccine: the world needs to keep using it, even if it’s less effective.

To end covid-19 we need vaccine justice for developing countries not outdated charity.

The G7’s vaccine pledge: donating 1 billion doses to end the pandemic is far too little.

What are the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines? And how effective are they?

G7 donations unlikely to bring pandemic to an end by 2022.

South Africa’s latest covid-19 lock down puts spotlight back on vaccination failures.

Data not fear

No major outbreaks found at government mass pilot events.

What the pandemic has exposed

How covid-19 exposed the systemic ageism at the heart of Britain.

What about ‘herd immunity’?

A phrase that went out of fashion for most of the last year, now coming (quietly) back into the conversation.

Covid-19 may never go away, but practical herd immunity is within reach.

But ….

Global herd immunity remains out of reach because of inequitable vaccine distribution – 99% of people in poor countries are unvaccinated.

‘Long covid’

More than 2 million adults in England have had ‘long covid’ for over 12 weeks.

‘Collateral damage’

At least 130,000 households in England made homeless in pandemic.

Compare with that article with another published in the same newspaper on the same day. Clamour for wealth tax grows after revelations about super-rich’s affairs.

Number of children on free school meals in England soars to 1.7million.

Working from home: How classism covertly dominated the conversation.

What has been the experience of those young people who started university in September 2020? Not very good, it seems. Some idea of the result of the last year can be listened to in this section from BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme of 24th June, Students value for money.

The situation in schools is becoming chaotic – and unsustainable if the idea is to keep education as normal. Yet another mismanaged process with the Government making changes – or maybe not – or maybe not until later in the year. No strategy means even more uncertainty. And who was it came up with the idea of ‘bubbles’? As if a pandemic can be managed in such a childish manner. Williamson wants to scrap bubbles to keep pupils in school.

Poverty in Britain

Statistics reveal a 153% increase in UK households hit by benefit cap.

A report produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Freeing low-income single parents from in-work poverty’s grip, concentrates upon the situation in Scotland – but a similar situation (as always) would also exist in the other parts of the so-called ‘United Kingdom’.

‘Jaw-dropping’ fall in life expectancy in poor areas of England.

Covid death rate 25% higher in Greater Manchester.

Who has/is gained/gaining from the pandemic

Although sold as a worker friendly measure the real winners of the so-called ‘furlough scheme’ was, is and will continue to be the major companies that operate throughout Britain. Here’s an example of just one of them – so sure of themselves that these millionaires don’t even attempt to hide their greed. JD Sports faces investor backlash over boss’s bonus.

Counterfeiting – the underworld threat to beating covid-19.

Power, wealth, and justice in the Time of covid-19.

Contracts given out because of the need for speed – or was that just a cover for corruption and cronyism? BBC Radio 4’s File on Four looked at this on 22nd June 2021, in a programme entitled Contracts of interest.

Covid loan fraud and error will cost UK taxpayers tens of billions.

Concerns over VIP lane for covid testing contracts after ‘fast track’ email revealed.

What’s happening in the shadows

The government is relentlessly privatising the NHS.

Decisions are supposedly being based on ‘data not dates’ – but the data is being kept secret. Experts press ministers to publish mass event pilot findings for England.

‘Lessons’ from the pandemic

What we can learn about risk from the covid experience.

‘Natural’ disasters are due to societal failures – so, here’s a six-point pandemic recovery plan.

Learning from covid: how to improve future supplies of medical equipment and vaccines.

Fire, tsunami, pandemic: how to ensure societies learn lessons from disaster – this page offers a link to a podcast.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Britain – a nation in waiting

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Britain – a nation in waiting

There’s a bit of a hiatus in Britain at the moment.

Politicians are no longer on the attack or or the defence over the handling of the pandemic – although Hancock is defending himself this week against the accusations made against him by the vengeful Cummings.

The country is waiting. Waiting;

  • to see if restrictions will be eased on June 21st – which is looking less and less likely as we approach decision day of the 14th June;
  • to find out how badly the pandemic has been managed by the Buffoon – but that won’t happen until this time next year (at the earliest);
  • to see if corruption at the highest levels (with the awarding of contracts to cronies) will be punished – a very unlikely scenario;
  • to see how long Matt Hancock (the Health Minister) will continue to lie through his back teeth over the handling of the pandemic in Britain in the March and April of last year;
  • to see if there will be a ‘third wave’ – predicted by risk averse ‘experts’ who continue to pander to the failed tactics of lock down without taking into account the increasingly serious consequences and ‘collateral damage’ of doing so;
  • to find out if they have a job as uncertainty for the future means that millions just don’t know what will happen, especially after September when the company friendly ‘furlough’ scheme comes to an end;
  • to see if it is worth going to university or college in the new academic year with uncertainty following the grading system that will be used for a second year in a row and the impossibility of the ‘university experience’;
  • to see if another, more virulent variant might develop in the vast majority of the world which has been basically forgotten by the richer countries in their selfish rush to vaccinate their own populations with no consideration for those outside their national borders – a situation which could blow a huge hole into the ‘success’ of the vaccination programme (despite all the promised ‘generous’ donations of vaccines – which are made just for the good publicity (such ‘promises’ have been regularly forgotten in the past) and to be meaningful such donations would have to be in billions not millions).

Vaccination programme in Britain ……

Second dose of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine: FAQs about blood clots, safety, risks and symptoms.

…… and the rest of the world

Sharing intellectual property for covid-19 vaccines would help more than donations.

Pfizer jab approved for children, but first other people need to be vaccinated.

COVAX is failing to halt the covid-19 pandemic: here’s why, and how to fix it.

‘Collateral damage’

A report on the effects of the loss of education opportunties for children in 60 countries was compiled by Human Rights Watch, entitled ‘Years Don’t Wait for Them’ Increased Inequality in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. An interactive version or the full report.

How are eviction rules for renters and landlords changing? Evictions from rented accommodation is a time bomb which has the potential of effecting many thousands of people. For those facing eviction needing information and support should contact Acorn in England and Living Rent in Scotland.

What happened to English NHS hospital activity during the covid-19 pandemic?

Covid school recovery: is England’s £1.4 billion catch-up plan a good idea?

School catch-up tsar quits after wanting billions more in funding for pandemic recovery package.

How the pandemic changed abortion access in Europe.

NHS and social care worker burnout reaches emergency level.

Less ‘collateral damage’ more the pandemic being used to mask changes in care to those who need it in their own homes, both in the quality of care and how much being asked for the service. Radio 4’s File on 4 on 8th June looked into what has been happening in recent months in ‘The cost of care’.

Charities warn of a ‘wave of homelessness in coming months’ after eviction ban ends – 400,000 renting households have either been served an eviction notice or have been told they will be evicted. Anyone needed assistance or information should contact Acorn, in Britain, or Living Rent, in Scotland.

The ‘graduate parent’ advantage in teacher assessed grades.

From the great plague to the 1918 flu, history shows that disease outbreaks make inequality worse.

Putting things into perspective

Millions of the poorest people in the world are facing serious pandemics on a daily basis. If covid had stayed where it should have done, i.e., in those parts of the world far from the industrialised ‘west’ then nothing would have been noticed in the last 18 months or so. The speed a number of covid vaccinations were developed showed that advances can be made to deal with serious diseases – as long as there’s a will and the money to pay for it. There have been successes in the fight against dengue fever – but how long has it taken and how many people have suffered in the interim?

‘Miraculous’ mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%.

‘Managing’ the pandemic

Hancock faces calls to explain covid test failings at care homes.

Why countries best placed to handle the pandemic appear to have fared the worst.

Why politicians should be wary of publicly pursuing the Wuhan lab-leak investigation.

Matt Hancock ‘was warned of Covid care home risk in March 2020’.

Who’s benefiting from the pandemic

There are always ‘winners’ in any war – not the final victors here but those spivs, con-men and opportunists who are always waiting in the wings to take advantage of anything that might earn them a quick and easy buck. Corruption is so institutionalised in Britain that this now takes place at the highest levels of government. That’s because they believe they are untouchable and, unfortunately, as the British people don’t seemed to be interested in holding them to account, it ends up they are. But there’s little likelihood of any repercussions over the latest ‘scandal’.

Covid contract for company run by friends of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove unlawful, judge says.

Emergency Powers

As has been stated here on a number of occasions once the capitalist state is able to grab more powers for itself (and less freedoms for us) then they are very reluctant to let that advantage go. Scotland is already talking about it – it will be only a matter of time before the Buffoon introduces something similar in England. It will always be sugar-coated by the devil would be in the detail.

Emergency coronavirus legislation set for six-month extension – in Scotland

Confusion

Passengers refused boarding amid testing confusion. Fo me the most salient point here is that everyone who wants proof of being covid free has to take a PRIVATE test. So, not surprisingly, the Government of the Buffoon directing more and more of people’s cash to private companies.

Airline and holiday firms hit out at UK’s ‘utterly confusing’ travel advice.

Thieves fall out

Cummings lambasts Johnson in damning account of covid crisis.

After the pandemic

Capitalism and the caring economy – this addresses the situation in the US but has a lot to say about the situation in Britain.

The next pandemic is already happening – targeted disease surveillance can help prevent it.

Covid-19 has shown that following the same road will lead the world over a precipice – or looking at the world through rose tinted glasses.

Covid-19 recovery: some economies will take longer to rebound – this is bad for everyone.

Poverty in Britain

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, No longer managing – The rise of working class poverty and fixing Britain’s broken social settlement, argues that the ‘poverty trap’ into which many in Britain are caught is as a result of a systemic failing of British society which goes back decades.

Going with the grain, published by the Fabian Society, looks at increased public support for maintaining the increases in support for those living at the lowest financial level in Britain. I don’t believe we should be looking at support for the poor but the end of poverty full stop. However, the report is presented here as providing more information about the background to poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.

How the pandemic increased food poverty in the UK.

Poverty in the rest of the world

The situation of the poor throughout the world has only gotten worse in the last 18 months or so as a consequence of the pandemic. Covid-19 pandemic fuelling child labour introduces a report, I must work to eat, produced by Human Rights Watch in May 2021. It look at the worsening situation in Ghana, Nepal and Uganda.

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It’s not the virus that’s the problem – it’s the parasites who run society

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

It’s not the virus that’s the problem – it’s the parasites who run society

The Government making decisions without telling anyone. Then changing their mind. Information and data being withheld when it comes to infections in schools or covid related deaths in hospital. Accusations being made about the vacillation in the adoption of the approach to deal with the pandemic as it was taking hold in February/March of last year. Continual revelations about the corruption and sleaze at the top of government – which gets mentioned and then, seemingly (and conveniently) forgotten. Billionaires – throughout the world – sprouting up like poison mushrooms and there seems to be no reaction from those who have nothing.

Food poverty; fuel poverty; water poverty; renters carrying the brunt of the problems in the housing sector; unequal opportunities at school; chaos in the higher education sector; fewer opportunities for young people – with or without qualifications; even greater expansion of the informal employment sector; the list goes on and on.

In Britain the only positive event in the whole of the last 15 months has been the success in the vaccination programme. However, this is just putting more and more billions of pounds into the pockets of the shareholders of the major pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, which promised to keep prices at cost until he pandemic is over, being singled out as being the only vaccine which ‘might’ cause side effects – in numbers that are statistically impossible to measure – which means more for the companies charging the earth for vaccines whose research was funded by public money. Is it just a coincidence that the cheapest supplier is singled out?)

The parasitical Buffoon claims the credit for this programme which is only successful due to the fact that no one from his incompetent Government was involved in the practicalities of its implementation. And that one lie, that one purloining of the only success of the last 15 months, is enough to maintain his ‘popularity’.

From soon after the outbreak of covid-19 last year many have spoken about society not being the same as it was pre-2020. They are probably correct. The rich will be even richer; the poor will be even poorer; insecurity will go through the roof and quality of life will plummet for many.

And the next pandemic is just waiting around the corner to encounter the same lack of strategy and preparedness and we’ll have to go through the same cycle again.

Vaccination programme in Britain ….

UK still looking at covid booster shot options – even though it might be, again, the richer countries grabbing everything for themselves, and it has the added benefit of ‘playing to the gallery’ of the ignorant and selfish amongst the British population.

UK vaccine booster: what will be given and when.

. and in the rest of the world

Covid vaccines: why waiving patents won’t fix global shortage – but it’s not that simple and this article argues what other matters need to be put in place to assist in the greater distribution of the vaccine.

Considering that Pfizer ‘gave’ the vaccines to Israel with the pretence that it was an extensive trial it’s no surprise at these results – two Pfizer covid vaccine doses give over 95% protection, shows Israel study

Vaccinating children before poor morally wrong.

Covid-19 could be the end of ‘global health’ as we know it.

The pandemic in the world

Covid crisis in India: why its public health strategy failed

Picture of two pandemics: covid cases fall in rich west as poorer nations suffer. Does this come as a surprise? The poorest in society will always get the dirty end of the stick – whether in individual countries or the world.

Covid in India: a tragedy with its roots in Narendra Modi’s leadership style.

Acute health crises in India – how the country wasn’t ever going to be able to deal with a pandemic such as that of the covid-19.

Amidst pandemic and economic sufferings, 2020’s global military spending reached highest level in decades.

Covid-19: which countries will be the next to see a big spike in cases?

Covid is surging in the world’s most vaccinated country. Why?

‘Not a lot of trust’: Taiwan wrestles with home working in wake of Covid surge.

Covid: poorest countries should have stopped short of full workplace closures.

Still not learning the lessons

If a new variant was expected, if there was a population amongst which this variant could spread why wasn’t there preparation to deal with any possible ‘spike’? Andy Burnham calls for Greater Manchester over-16s to have vaccine.

No 10 (Downing Street) ‘tried to block’ data on spread of new covid variant in English schools.

‘Unnecessary secrecy’: 42 NHS trusts criticised over covid deaths data.

The Lion will lie down with the Lamb

From chemical and biological weapons establishment to saviour from the next pandemic. Vaccine testing at Porton Down to be expanded under plans to ‘future-proof’ UK against covid. The Government hopes £30 million investment will lead to jabs capable of neutralising new and emerging variants.

Herd Immunity?

Can the UK get there?

Dominic Cummings doubles down on claim government planned ‘herd immunity’ response to covid.

‘Collateral damage’

How covid-19 is likely to slow down a decade of youth development in Africa.

UK government ‘failed to consider gender’ in its response to covid pandemic,

The National Health Service covid legacy – long waits and lives at risk.

‘A slap in the face’: Hundreds of front line Covid doctors told they won’t have jobs from August.

Nurse retention and long-run NHS workforce challenges.

How lock down has affected children’s speech – and what parents can do to help.

Covid-19: how rising inequalities unfolded and why we cannot afford to ignore it.

Top pupils rejected by universities in A-levels fiasco fallout.

Preparedness for any potential pandemic

Covid laid bare existing weaknesses in UK government.

Lessons, so far, from the pandemic

Covid during pregnancy poses a low risk to newborns.

Care homes

More care home residents died of covid in second wave than first in England and Wales.

Poverty in Britain

Renters are at increased risk of losing their homes as a result of covid-related rent arrears and debt, unless they are thrown a lifeline with further targeted support. A briefing, A just recovery for renters, produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (based on recent YouGov polling from February 2021) shows renters facing lower incomes and struggling to keep afloat.

Dramatic rise in child poverty in North East England in the last five years shows the scale of the ‘levelling up’ challenge. This was before the pandemic and the last 15 or so months has only made the situation worse.

Millions cannot afford water bills.

Who’s making money out of the pandemic?

Pfizer forecasts $26 billion from annual sales of covid-19 vaccine.

Ministers urged to reveal details of £2 billion Covid deals with private health firms.

This is from the United States – however, there’s no reason to believe the situation isn’t very similar in the UK. How Corporations pumped up CEO pay while their low-wage workers suffered in the pandemic.

Perfectly reasonable for me to forward on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) offer – Hancock.

How Corporate Welfare props up the billionaire class.

‘Saying that central bank asset purchases have increased wealth inequality is another way of saying that the state has intervened directly in order to increase the wealth of those at the very top. In this context, the idea that billionaire wealth simply represents a reward for effort and innovation—the size of which is determined by ‘the market’—is clearly absurd. These billionaires didn’t earn the massive increases in their wealth seen over the last year – they were effectively handed this wealth by the state.’

And a much more United States centred approach to the same issue,

How America went from ‘mom-and-pop’ capitalism to techno-feudalism.

Vaccine ‘passports’

Covid vaccine passports will fail unless government wins public trust.

Vaccine passports: why they are good for society.

NHS vaccine passports are here – but will they be used beyond international travel?

Like the poor, covid will always be with us

Covid is unlikely to be eliminated – here’s how we’ll treat it in the future.

After the pandemic

UK needs £102 billion boost to National Health Service and social care, says major report.

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next covid-19.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?