The future of the country in the feet of a football team

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The future of the country in the feet of a football team

If there was one word that could be used to describe the manner in which the present covid pandemic has been managed in the UK then that word would be ‘surreal’. (I have been more closely following the situation in Britain but from what I know about other parts of the world the epithet would not be misplaced elsewhere.)

Perhaps, at the very beginning, there was an excuse for this impression. But only a small ‘perhaps’. Previous governments, of whatever political colour, had given the impression they were planning for any such eventuality (be it medical, natural or even military) but when it came it seemed – in Britain, at least – that they had been planning for the wrong type of pandemic. The cunning covid virus had snuck under the radar and it should have been a variety of flu.

That was a weak argument as there must be certain constants that exist in a pandemic; testing; isolation plans; a properly functioning, resourced and financed health service; support for those who are infected but can’t work; a well thought out strategy; an idea of worst case scenarios; a long term perspective as a modern city based society has little to fall back on compared to when pandemics (much more virulent and destructive in terms of human life) struck in past centuries – failure to do so could quite well lead to a situation where the cure can become more destructive and longer lasting than the disease itself.

But none of that was there, nothing concrete and thought through existed from the start and the situation is not that much better now.

Following the ‘data and not dates’ has meant that prior to long publicised ‘crunch’ times speculation is rife, with the Government no doubt promoting leaks to see how they are picked up by the media and the population in general. Lacking any strategy, lacking any real ideas, lacking any courage they seek to place (in whatever manner) the responsibility upon the the people themselves.

Whilst claiming ‘leadership’ the Buffoon and his acolytes have bounced around like a ball in a squash court with no one knowing where the ball will land. U-turns have been made on virtually all important decisions (when they are proven to be totally out of tune with reality or because they realise the plans just aren’t workable) and getting close to any sort of strategy is just a pipe-dream.

The period where speculation is rife before the making of a decision on the way forward gets extended from one week to two, the resultant ‘debate’ almost certainly causing more confusion the longer it goes on. But one thing is certain, whatever the consequences of changes in the present circumstances (which must happen, at some time in the future, a modern society can’t go on as it has in the UK for the last 18 months or so), if it all goes tits up it won’t be the Buffoon or the politicians that are at fault.

The Tories have tried (probably not very successfully) to claim credit for the success in the vaccination programme in the country. They were hypocritical in their ‘celebration’ of the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of the National Health Service which took place on 5th July. A party that had fought against its establishment in the first place, has been trying to undermine it ever since and which is, at present, pushing through changes that will further weaken its ability to provide what it promised to do in the immediate post-war years looks even more shallow when they are forced to attend such celebrations.

Now the Buffoon has become the country’s most avid football supporter and the Euro Cup Final that’s taking place as I type is supposed to have everyone in the country supporting ‘our’ team, an attempt at narrow minded nationalism which will help us to cope as we come out of the ‘unprecedented’ situation of the last year and a half.

If the feel good factor kicks in if England win what happens if they lose?

Vaccination programme in Britain ….

Covid vaccines: combining AstraZeneca and Pfizer may boost immunity.

Heart inflammation link to Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

….. and the rest of the world

Delta variant exposes the flaws of stop-start vaccination programmes.

Proposals to extend covid jabs to children in west would delay worldwide roll out and allow deadly variants to develop elsewhere.

South Africa’s vaccine quagmire, and what needs to be done now.

The ever changing virus

What’s the ‘Delta plus’ variant? And can it escape vaccines?

Age, sex, vaccine dose, chronic illness – insight into risk factors for severe covid is growing.

We should treat covid like norovirus – not the flu.

Moving forward …..

Chris Whitty: keeping covid restrictions will only delay wave.

Why it’s time to think differently about covid.

Living with covid: is now the right time for England to lift all restrictions?

….. or pumping up the fear

UK scientists caution that lifting of Covid rules is like building ‘variant factories’.

Covid-19: ‘For us it’s not freedom day, is it?’

Global experts urge Boris Johnson to delay ‘dangerous’ covid reopening.

England’s ‘freedom day’ to be day of fear for elderly people.

‘Collateral damage’

How missing out on nursery due to covid has affected children’s development.

A hidden covid crisis? Assessing the pandemic’s impact on young workers and their mental health. This page has a link to a recording of a webinar that looked at this issue in May.

Remote workers suffered most mental distress during pandemic.

Some things we are learning

How scientists can help tell if someone caught the virus at a nightclub.

Why we should stop testing in schools.

Poverty in Britain

How inequality explains the high impact of covid-19 in the UK.

£20 cut to benefits to impact families’ ability to put food on the table.

Universal credit £20 top up to be phased out.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies published a report entitled Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2021. On 8th July there was also a webinar where this report was introduced.

The covid death toll in poorer areas highlights long term inequalities in Britain, the conclusion of a report by the Health Foundation entitled Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery.

Chaos that follows the ‘no strategy’ strategy

Parents angry at shifting government covid messages.

Covid-19: New rules for schools in England to be set out.

Hypocrisy in Britain

For an example of the shallowness of British society, and the ease with which a sizeable section of the population can be lulled into inactivity, just look at the ‘honours’ system that operates due to the existence of an hereditary monarchy. At a time when wide ranging changes are being proposed for the National Health Service which could drastically alter (for the worse) general working conditions; when staff shortages are getting worse – not solely down to the pandemic as it arrived at a time of a staffing crisis that had been developing for years; when a derisory pay offer is being offered by the Buffoon’s government which will very likely lead to strike action and/or an even greater departure of trained staff; and still a lack of a strategy to deal with covid – which we are constantly being told will be with us for ever – what is the government’s response? The Queen gives ‘courageous’ and ‘dedicated’ NHS the George Cross as William and Kate mark its 73rd birthday

Corruption in Britain

Greensill given access to covid loans without detailed checks.


UK pupils use orange juice to fake ‘positive’ Covid test results.

Test-and-trace rules ‘wreaking havoc’ for pubs and restaurants.

After the pandemic – or at least after Britain returns to ‘normal’

Why early-years education must be prioritised in pandemic recovery plans.

The Centre for Ageing Better has produced a report on access to the internet for older people, Covid-19 and the digital divide, with suggestions how things could change in the future.

Sunak must spend extra £10 billion a year on public services because of Covid – Office for Budget Responsibility.

Lessons from the pandemic

Human behaviour: what scientists have learned about it from the pandemic.

And how did it all start?

Covid origins: Scientists weigh up evidence over virus’s origins.

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View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

No strategy – no way forward

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

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?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

Britain – a nation in waiting

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told

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


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.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

View of the world

Ukraine – what you’re not told