A Tale of Two Countries – Britain and India

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

A Tale of Two Countries – Britain and India

From the proverbial ‘man in the street’ at the bottom to the Buffoon at the top (to what depths has Britain plummeted when those last words can be written as a statement of fact?) there’s a general perception in Britain that we are the end of covid-19 – at least for the time being. However, the flaw in that reasoning is that we are in the middle of a pandemic and not an epidemic. Sorting matters out at home can never be guaranteed to be permanent – as we are seeing with the rising numbers of infections, hospitalisations (or not, if the health system in so many countries is so dire there is, effectively, no functioning health system – as in India) and deaths in various countries.

However, there can be no doubt that (so far) the vaccination programme in Britain has been a success. Although the Buffoon implies it’s due to his government’s activity the real truth is that the success has been achieved solely because none of the Eton boys and girls were involved in the logistical arrangements. The Government might have spent the money – but then its not coming from their pockets in the long term and who and how the ultimate bill gets paid is something we still don’t know about.

What that means in Britain is that instead of the news being dominated by the pandemic we are back to the same old scandals that preceded the outbreak at the end of 2019. Incompetence has been with us throughout the last 18 months (all the late decisions, U-turns, etc., etc.) but to that we now have sleaze and corruption (which, in reality, has always been with us) and now an even greater display of the way those the British people have foolishly chosen to rule themselves think they are entitled to do whatsoever they wish.

Yes, there are many more important issues to contend with than who originally paid for the refurbishment of the Buffoon’s flat but the ‘scandal’ just goes to show that even in ‘normal’ times there’s always money available to splash out on luxuries for the rich – when the rest of us were being told we had to tighten out belts.

Perhaps what the period of the pandemic has done is shine a spotlight on these matters when in the past they would have just been ignored as being insignificant. This has definitely been the case when it comes to the obscene levels of poverty that have become more well known in the last year or so. Whether the people of Britain draw a connection to these two extremes of lifestyles (so many families having to resort to food banks and free school meals and those in ‘power’ agonising on how to spend tens of thousands of pounds from the public purse to decorate a few rooms in a central London town house) and do something about it is questionable. I would like to think so but I’m not holding my breath.

The fact that the Buffoon can get away with saying ‘let the bodies pile high’ and the issue dropping out of the headlines within a matter of a couple of days doesn’t bode well.

But this corruption and incompetence is not just a UK phenomenon. The worsening (and still far from ending) situation in India is yet another example of how the world’s leaders can effectively cause a crisis which leads to even more people dying on the streets than is the norm in the country.

The Indian Hindu Fascist, Modi, should be held personally responsible for the deaths that are raging throughout the country at this time. Agreed he didn’t inherit a truly viable system necessary for a population of 1.4 billion people but what he has done has made a bad system even worse by the policies he has pursed in the last 20 years or so – first at a local level and latterly at the national.

When it comes to the pandemic India is dominating the news now (and, indeed, this post) – people literally dying in the streets or in hospital corridors, often due to lack of simple basics. This is obviously good news for the other government leaders throughout the world who have handled matters as badly. However, the cause for such dramatic and disturbing images is the same throughout the capitalist world. Neo-liberal economic policies, privatisation and mismanagement/corruption have brought so many countries virtually to their knees.

But these fascist leaders are like Teflon – nothing sticks.

The Buffoon in the UK should really be hammered due to his crass mismanagement of the pandemic of the last 15 months – but in the first electoral ‘test’ of his leadership tomorrow (6th May) – since the beginning of the pandemic – in local elections he will probably at least survive if not thrive.

In India Modi’s failure to gain control of West Bengal is being declared as a ‘defeat’ in the western press. Considering that the election there took place as the figures of deaths was rocketing in the country you would have thought the Indian people would have realised that all his claims are mere illusions. However, in the ‘defeat’ in West Bengal Modi’s party gained 40% of the popular vote and increased the number of seats they have in the Parliament by 77 – from just three in 2016.

Not what I would call a ‘defeat’ – and certainly not being punished for gross incompetence. It is to be assumed that some of those who voted for Modi’s Fascist Party are now dead or dying – I wonder if they realised/will realise their error of judgement before they close their eyes forever.

Vaccination programme in Britain …

Only 32 people hospitalised with covid after having vaccination.

Why calculating the risk of the AstraZeneca vaccine is so difficult.

Why some people don’t experience vaccine side-effects, and why it’s not a problem.

… and the rest of the world

Those who we foolishly allow to rule over us never cease to amaze. Instead of addressing the real problem they resort to expensive and complicated legal cases to resolve their own inefficiency. Just like spoilt children they threaten to take their ball away if they don’t get their own way. European Union Commission asks states to back legal action against AstraZeneca.

And they call this ‘leadership’ and wonder why people are confused? EU urges member states to re-embrace AstraZeneca vaccine.

Just what we need in the middle of a pandemic – drawn out court cases and shovelling public money into the pockets of lawyers – AstraZeneca sued by European Union over delivery of covid vaccines.

Vulnerability to the disease

Severe covid in young people can mostly be explained by obesity.

Corruption and covid

It seems the bigger the rewards the better the chances of being awarded lucrative contracts.

Lancashire firm wades into Dyson ventilators row. NorVap says it has been unable to sell devices it created in response to Hancock’s ‘ventilator challenge’.

‘Possible corruption’ in 20% of covid contracts awarded. Study of nearly 1,000 pandemic deals finds ‘systemic bias’ in favour of firms with political connections.

Not surprisingly corruption raises its ugly head in the United States as well – this time with the involvement of the ‘liberal’ and ‘caring’ billionaire, Bill Gates.

‘Utterly disgusting’: ‘Big Pharma’ lobby blitz against vaccine patent waivers denounced.

The pandemic in India

Why variants are most likely to blame for India’s covid surge.

‘We are witnessing a crime against humanity’: Arundhati Roy on India’s Covid catastrophe.

India covid crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy.

‘We are not special’: how triumphalism led India to covid-19 disaster.

Radio 4’s The Briefing Room looked at the chaotic situation in India (and Modi’s responsibility for it) in a programme entitled ‘India’s Covid Catastrophe’ on 29th April.

Covid in India: the deep-rooted issues behind the current crisis.

How the Modi government prioritised politics over public health.

Covid-19 in India: an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

India covid crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy.

How India descended into covid-19 chaos.

Coronavirus Emergency Powers Act

‘No meaningful parliamentary debate or scrutiny’ of covid laws, says former government legal chief.

‘Immunity Passports’

People in England could get covid passports for foreign travel by 17 May.

National Health Service (NHS) app to be used as coronavirus passport for international travel, Grant Shapps confirms.

Poverty in Britain

Kent council fined after mother and son left to live in tent in pandemic.

Tens of thousands in UK avoided universal credit during covid over stigma.

Whilst not in any way denigrating the intentions of this article I think it is optimistic, to say the least, to get any government (especially that of the present Buffoon) in capitalist Britain to truly alleviate the problems of poorly paid work and the consequent poverty. At best they will apply a sticking plaster when major surgery is required. The Employment Bill is a chance to improve jobs for low-paid workers.

It’s good that some schools are doing so but is it really their job to become advisors to what people are entitled? Could schools hold the key to helping families claim benefits?

The Resolution Foundation has produced a report looking at how the British Social security system has responded to the covid pandemic entitled In need of support – Lessons from the covid-19 crisis for our social security system. On 29th April there was a webinar on this report which filled in some of the gaps and explained some of the consequences. That can be watched here.

As has been stated here (as well as in innumerable discussions about the effect of the pandemic) covid hasn’t caused the extensive poverty that exists in Britain, it has exposed the hidden truths and in many cases the results of the lock downs and other restrictions have exacerbated the level of poverty. On 26th April there was a slot on the Radio 4 programme You and Yours which looked at the problems many families are experiencing with the provision of school uniforms.

The National Housing Federation published a report in April 2021 entitled Universal Credit in a time of crisis (full report) related to how the pandemic had affected tenants of housing associations and their ability to pay rent. For just a summary click here.

‘Collateral damage’

Sharp rise in mental illness among those whose income fell away during the covid pandemic.

What has been the impact of the covid pandemic on older workers in Britain? On 26th April the Resolution Foundation hosted a discussion on this matter.

Collateral ‘benefit’ from covid?

New malaria vaccine proves highly effective – and covid shows how quickly it could be deployed

Lessons from the pandemic – worldwide

What steps must be taken to secure oxygen – for covid-19 patients and into the future. Just to take a few words from this article to indicate the underlying problem that people throughout the world face – multinational corporations and government corruption;

… a low priority has been given to develop and scale up oxygen relative to new drugs, for which a patent can be taken out and big pharmaceutical companies can make a large profit.

2020 was horrendous for health workers – early 2021 was even worse, as told by two doctors in Liverpool.

Or not. Outrage as No 10 rules out urgent inquiry into covid mistakes.

‘Now is the time’: top experts join call for Buffoon to launch covid inquiry.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Football kicks covid into touch – if only for 48 hours

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

Football kicks covid into touch – if only for 48 hours

A sign that the covid pandemic is becoming a thing of the past in Britain is the way that it was kicked off the headlines by an even more important aspect of modern day society – football.

As with the gladiatorial exhibitions in the circuses of the Roman Empire a couple of thousand years ago all oppressors have been looking for something to distract the mass of people from the ineptitude, corruption and incompetence of the ruling class. Twenty first century capitalism has found that in football – the only difference is that now they make supporters (whether at the grounds or at home on their TV screens) pay for their distraction – ‘bread and circuses’ but without the bread.

In an effort to direct attention away from the growing number of corruption stories that surround the awarding of contracts during the first few months of the pandemic the Buffoon rushed into battle – prepared to do everything within his ability to defend the ‘beautiful game’ (although he is known to have an antipathy – to say the least – about the sport and has no problem with the idea of the owners doing whatever they can to fill their bursting coffers) as he could take on the mantel of a ‘Superman’ flying in to the rescue.

Unfortunately for the Buffoon the money-grubbing pricks who own all these European football clubs ‘caved in’ when they saw the general opposition from all sides. (This will only be a temporary respite on their behalf. They know what they want and there’s too much at stake for the idea to be dropped completely. It will resurface in the not too distant future but with a slightly different aspect.)

When the news finally broke about the plan for a new European ‘Super League’ the Buffoon must have thought that all his Christmasses had come at once. He could stand in the new (hugely expensive) press suit and announce day after day what he was doing to save the game that belonged to the common man and woman. How deflated he must have been on Tuesday evening?

But he might not really have to worry.

The people of Britain seem to have forgotten all the mistakes that he and his Government have made in the last 14 or so months when it comes to the pandemic. The delays, the inaction, the unpreparedness, the confusion, the U-turns, the lies, the conflicts with science, the exposure of the vast extent of poverty in all parts of the country, the introduction of restrictive legislation, the tens of thousands of deaths, the huge debt just being added to as if money was going out of fashion, the total lack of any strategy even now. Added to that we now have a daily leaking of stories of ‘sleaze’, cronyism and corruption. But none of that has exercised as large a portion of the British population in the same way as what was being publicised as an attack upon British heritage.

Things are gong well for the Buffoon at the moment. The vaccination programme continues to clock up the numbers and any ‘relaxation’ of the last few weeks doesn’t seem to have had a major impact on hospitalisations and deaths. Added to that the death of an almost centenarian has given a boost to the monarchists and forelock tugging sycophants, the bedrock of reaction amongst the British working class.

The pandemic has exposed many of the worst aspects of British society after decades of being brushed under the carpet. The Buffoon will be hoping that many more such distractions such as the European ‘Super League’ arise in the future as the country begins to realise what a shitstorm it has gone through.

Vaccination programme in Britain …

What need of ‘anti-vaxxers’ when scientists shoot themselves in the foot. Vaccine confidence fears as under-30s in UK offered AstraZeneca alternative.

Most Britons still trust AstraZeneca vaccine – poll shows. But the fall out is this extremely badly managed situation will, no doubt, have consequences that will continue for years. Thereby putting more money into the coffers of the other international pharmaceutical companies.

AstraZeneca vaccine: what now for roll out in the UK and Europe?

… and in the rest of the world

This is an obvious consequence of the ‘debate’ that has been talking place over the last few weeks. How does Britain expect people in other countries to use the Oxford researched vaccine if people in Britain aren’t being given it? This just builds on the mistrust that people in poorer countries have with the history of colonialism and imperialism. ‘If it’s not good for them then why is it good for us?’ AstraZeneca jab ‘course correction’ could dent confidence outside UK.

Just so the Brits (and especially the Buffoon) can feel ‘superior’ – Australia’s bungled covid vaccine roll out suffers another setback.

Researchers are hatching a low-cost coronavirus vaccine.

Petty nationalism gets in the way of any vaccine – mine’s better than yours. It’s not what this article says that’s interesting – but the tone. Here adding anti-Chinese sentiments to the nationalistic tub thumping. Chinese official says local vaccines ‘don’t have high protection rates’.

South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed.

The global approach to vaccine equity is failing.

Safety concerns and reactions in the west dent confidence worldwide.

Sputnik V: How Russia’s Covid vaccine is dividing Europe.

Most people support sharing vaccines with other countries.

Russian covid vaccine: why more and more countries are turning to Sputnik V.

The ‘Blood Clot Saga’

I’m starting to lose it when it comes to the matter of the AstraZeneca vaccine. European politicians and bureaucrats bad mouth the vaccine then fight to keep any supplies in Europe. And then, no doubt, will wonder why some of their population will refuse to take it. Almost all Dutch-made AstraZeneca doses will stay in EU, says Brussels.

The snowball starts rolling. European Union agency examines reports of blood clots with Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine.

Blood clot reports could have ‘implications’ for use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in UK. Waiting for a report to come out now which will indicate that such ‘rare’ blood clots are more common than we were first given to believe.

Is it the adenovirus vaccine technology, used by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, causing blood clots? There’s no evidence yet.

Brain clots ‘more likely’ with covid infection than vaccine.

The virus in the summer

Will summer slow the spread of covid-19?

The pandemic in the rest of the world

Covid pandemic still growing exponentially, World Health Organization says ‘confusion and complacency’ prolonging global situation.

How Taiwan beat covid-19.

Test, Track and Trace

NHS to digitise coronavirus testing with new Scandit deal.

Pubs are reopening but research shows contact tracing still isn’t working – here’s how to fix it.

Apple and Google block NHS Covid app update over privacy breaches.

Covid test firm cuts price amid criticism over cost.

Rapid covid testing in England may be scaled back over false positives.

Mass testing shouldn’t be part of the UK’s plan to return to normality.

Pesky variants

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns.

More of those who make money out of a pandemic

Research shows travellers have to pay twice as much for PCR tests in the UK as they do in much of Europe.

It’s not just racism that’s been institutionalised in Britain – so has corruption. Matt Hancock and sister own shares in NHS contract firm.

Covid contracts: PPE fixer who was Tory donor named in admin error.

Poverty in Britain

On 21st April 2021 the Resolution Foundation released a report, After shocks – financial resilience before and during the covid-19 crisis, which looked at the comparative situation of low-income households in the UK, France and Germany. Although those people are suffering in all three countries this paragraph is here as, it won’t surprise many people, that in general the poor are even more worse off in Britain than the other two comparable countries in Europe.

On 21st April there was a one hour webinar discussing the outcomes of this report. That is available here.

Following ‘date not dates’?

Virus hotspots could lead to third Covid wave in UK.

‘Collateral damage’

Return to crowded Accident and Emergency Departments and long ambulance delays will put patients at risk, warn experts. ‘There seems to be a normalising of what is abnormal,’ says vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

Heathrow says airport queues are becoming ‘untenable’.

Ministers accused of ‘disrespectful’ attitude towards students after confirmation most will not return to English universities until 17 May. Claim tattoo parlours have been given more certainty than students.

4.7 million waiting for operations in England.

Workers in insecure jobs twice as likely to die of covid.

Press freedom: how governments are using COVID as an excuse to crack down on the public’s right to know.

Care Homes

Care homes: why investment firms can be bad owners.

Behaving ‘responsibly’ in 2021 Britain

England lock down eases: Buffoon warns people to ‘behave responsibly’.

Greensill: Lessons to be learnt over lobbying – Cameron

Isn’t there a contradiction here? Am I seeing something that’s not there or is it people refusing to accept that in present day British society there is definitely one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us. The worst thing about his is that the British population seems (at least the majority of them) to think that this is the norm.

‘Immunity passports’

Covid-status certificates could lead to deliberate infections, scientists warn.

Vaccine passports could create ‘two-tier society’.

Covid-status certificate scheme could be unlawful discrimination.

Resistance to the virus

Men create more antibodies after asymptomatic infections and keep them for longer.

The eventual recovery?

Post-covid recovery plans must centre around care work – here’s why.

Capitalism’s covid recovery will deepen social inequality.

Pandemic recovery will take more than soaring growth – to fuel a more equitable economy, countries need to measure the well-being of people, too.

Learning to live with covid – the tough choices ahead.

The Covid public inquiry

Five questions that need answering in a Covid public inquiry.

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The first anniversary – how many more before the end?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?

The first anniversary – how many more before the end?

It wasn’t the intention to post on the exact first anniversary of the imposition of the first lock down in the UK but as I am it would be impossible to not comment on such an ‘important’ milestone. As with many anniversaries in Britain (and the country seems to be obsessed with finding an opportunity to ‘commemorate’ an event – whatever it might have been) the real issue is often brushed over, minimised or just ignored.

A case in point was the centenary of the start of the 1914-1919 World War. There was little (official) debate of why millions of working men and women were sent to aid in the slaughter of other working men and women for ‘God, King and Country’. There was even less debate about the morality of workers still being sent to kill other workers in various countries. Turn them into martyrs and you can hide the underlying causes in a cloak of sentimentality. ‘A war to end all wars’. Did anyone ever really believe that slogan? Not as long as the oppressive and exploitative system of capitalism is dominant throughout the world.

On March 23rd 2021 there was a lot made about remembering the (to date) 148,125 people who had died in the UK as a result of the pandemic (numbers which will continue to rise and which still miss out on an unknown number of ‘collateral casualties’). However, little was made about why the situation was allowed to get to such a state that the costs – in both human and economic terms – have been so great.

Many in the last year might have put down the chaotic management of the present pandemic by the Buffoon and his rich, entitled and incestuous bunch of cretins to crass ineptitude, ignorance and incompetence. Everything was too little, too late; too much, too soon; following the science, not following the science; concerned more about private business profit rather than public safety and well being; and strategy? What strategy? (There isn’t even one now – everything hanging on the success of the vaccination programme.)

Indeed the aim of this blog (under the banner ‘Journal of the Plague Years 2020-2?’) in the last year has been to present the story as it unfolded so that people could use some of the many articles referenced here to remind themselves of what a total disaster this ‘war’ against the virus has been. But all the negatives above are only part of the story.

Instead of putting all efforts of Government into finding the quickest, most efficient and (yes) cheapest manner of ‘defeating’ (or, at least, effectively managing) the virus outbreak substantial parts of government have been working on the main agenda of the Tories – all the things they wanted to do but which were never mentioned prior to the last General Election at the end of 2019.

Even though the pandemic is still raging throughout the world, although less so in the UK (at least at the moment) and the rebuilding of even a capitalist society in the next few years will be a difficult task, the Buffoon has chosen the days before the first anniversary of lock down to push forward the Tory, neo-fascist, militarist policies that are aimed at maintaining themselves in power and to prevent the development of any movements that might seek to change the moribund and already redundant capitalist system.

Internationally they are stirring up feelings against foreign ‘enemies’ who ‘threaten the British way of life’. Both Russia and China are in the strange position of being the main enemy to so called ‘liberal values’ of capitalist ‘democracies’ when they were countries which openly challenged those capitalist values (when they were dedicated to the construction of socialism) and now as countries who are challenging capitalism by the very fact that capitalism has been restored in both those countries.

For the best part of the last 30 years (the period after the end of the ‘Cold War’) the argument to maintain vast expenditure on ‘defence’ was predicated on the threat from ‘international terrorism’ and ‘rogue states’. Now that that sham argument isn’t working they have returned to the tried and tested rhetoric of the ‘Cold War’ era.

Part of the ‘defence’ review is the proposal to increase the number of nuclear missiles held by the UK armed forces. The issue of the morality of such weapons is too big to go into here but just to state that increasing their number by 40% won’t make life more secure for anyone in the UK (or the rest of the world) and the morality of their possession (in whatever numbers) and use remains obnoxious.

On the domestic front the Buffoon and the odious Patel are pushing for changes in the law to prevent any effective protest against government action or inaction. Those laws introduced in the late 1980s (under the equally odious Thatcher) aren’t enough for these ‘defenders of liberty and western values’. Making a noise will be a criminal offence and there are probably many other restrictive stipulations which are yet to be made public.

And in a two fingers up to the people of Britain the Buffoon’s government introduces such new laws when there is already emergency legislation in place (the Coronavirus Act of 25th March 2020) which has – and will become in a matter of a couple of days – more draconian as it undergoes its second, six-monthly review. Under the emergency act of last year people were prevented from peacefully protesting as this would ‘endanger public health’. As stated in this blog way back in April of last year no government which is able to pass emergency legislation in ‘extreme circumstances’ is easily convinced to rescind such laws.

What the Tories have done is to overcome that obstacle by putting their restrictions into law under a ‘normal’ piece of legislation – which it is illegal to oppose during the time of the pandemic.

And there’s still no real strategy to combat the virus – just the crossing of fingers, the touching of wood, and the occasional prayer to a non-existent supreme entity.

Vaccination programme in the UK …

UK’s ‘colour-blind’ vaccine strategy puts ethnic minorities at risk.

Why the UK’s vaccine roll out should prioritise people according to deprivation as well as age.

People who are homeless to be prioritised for vaccine.

‘The NHS at its best’: making a Covid mass vaccination centre a reality.

Covid vaccines: is it wrong to jump the queue?

The UK variant is likely deadlier, more infectious and becoming dominant but the vaccines still work well against it.

AstraZeneca vaccine: ‘No indication’ of link to blood clots.

Covid-19 vaccines are probably less effective at preventing transmission than symptoms.

… and in the rest of the world

AstraZeneca vaccine: careless talk has dented confidence and uptake in Europe.

The Political Economy of covid-19 vaccines. Within a month of the regulatory approval being granted to the first three vaccines, advanced countries, accounting for only 14% of the world’s population, had placed orders for around 85% of the estimated entire production for 2021.

Why ‘Big Pharma’ shouldn’t control covid-19 vaccines.

Netherlands joins Ireland in vaccine suspension over blood clot concerns. This decision has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Dutch General Election is taking (this year over three days) this week. It’s not the cynicism of politicians worldwide that bothers me, its the way that most people don’t seem to see through the sham.

Europe’s caution over Oxford vaccine about more than the science.

How misapplication of the precautionary principle may undermine public trust in vaccines.

Rich states ‘block’ vaccine plans for developing nations.

Treatment of those infected with covid-19

Is coronavirus treatment fair? Not in an unequal society.

Pregnant women at increased risk of severe covid.

Summer will see cases of covid drop?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Pollen can raise your risk of getting covid-19, whether you have allergies or not.

Nightingale Hospitals

Nightingale Hospitals to be closed after cost of £500 million. The whole concept of ‘fever hospitals’ and overflow facilities must be looked into at the earliest opportunity in readiness for the next pandemic. And facilities used from companies who have been getting millions in other hand-outs from the government over the last year should be a nil cost to the British population. Resources not being used for anything productive, as we have seen in the lock downs of the last year, should be requisitioned by the state.

Emergency Powers – and the reluctance of the State to give them up

London’s Metropolitan Police criticised over Clapham vigil policing.

One of the ‘solutions’ to a problem (violence against women) that stems from the development of oppressive societies over millennia is the introduction of more surveillance of the population as a whole. Presenting the sham of doing something the Buffoon proposes having a greater undercover police presence in social venues and an increase in the number of Close-circuit Television (CCTV) cameras – in a country that already has more per head of population that any other country in the world. These measures haven’t stopped assaults in the past and won’t in the future. It just legitimises more intrusion into everyone’s lives without providing any benefits.

Test, track and trace

This was, is still now and will be in the future pivotal in dealing with a virus that is now generally considered ‘won’t be going away any time soon’. However, apart from making a small number of people very wealthy this system is still not up to the task and the cavalier manner in which it is being managed will mean that it will not be ready in the face of any resurgence in the future.

NHS Test and Trace ‘no clear impact’ despite £37 billion budget.

The Government’s flagship £22 billion Test and Trace scheme ‘wins the prize for the most wasteful and inept public spending programme of all time.’

Thousands of test and trace staff to be let go with just a week’s notice.

On a slightly different tack. Here’s what happens when we test lots of people as cases are falling.

A look at the situation one year on

Two countries that got it right, and three that got it wrong.

Brazil is in crisis with a second wave – but the UK’s not much better off.

Covid-19: where does the World Health Organization go from here?

MPs’ report scathing on UK’s handling and sharing of covid data.

Ministers frustrated with Buffoon’s ‘mistakes’ ahead of covid second wave.

The inside story of the government’s battle against the virus.

Where the Government has delivered – and where it has failed – during the Covid-19 crisis. A Resolution Foundation report entitled The 12-month Stretch. There was a zoom discussion around this report that took place on 18th March and a video of this event can be watched here.

Delaying England’s winter lock down ’caused up to 27,000 extra covid deaths‘.

Six lessons the UK should have learned, one year on from its first lock down. But has it? Will it ever?

And a ‘covid free’ future?

UK faces ‘covid decade’ due to damage done by pandemic.

Britain continues to see the world as its domain

NHS recruits thousands of overseas nurses to work on understaffed wards.

Care Homes

In Northern Ireland – families ‘denied care home visits’ despite new policy.

After covid: why we need a change in care home culture.

Blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders imposed on English care homes.

The winners in the pandemic

Covid test kit supplier joked to Hancock on WhatsApp he had ‘never heard of him’.

An investigation about the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the last year by the BBC Panorama programme, broadcast on 15th March, entitled Cashing in on covid.

UK furlough scheme pays out millions to foreign states and tax exiles.

Poverty in Britain

Food bank use surged during the pandemic – but they can rarely provide all the help people need.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced a couple of reports on poverty in Britain. The first, ‘Seeking an anchor in an unstable world – Experiences of low-income families overtime’, looks at the issue of poverty in general. The second, ‘Staying afloat in a crisis – Families on low incomes in the pandemic’, considers the added difficulties during the pandemic.

One in seven adults worried they will become homeless due to pandemic.

New Children’s Commissioner piles pressure on the Buffoon to extend free school meals and also urged him not to “drop” the £20 uplift in Universal Credit.

A new report reveals how the introduction of Universal Credit has contributed to homelessness in Scotland – and if in Scotland there’s no reason to believe it will be different in the rest of the UK.

Nine in 10 councils in England see rise in people using food banks.

‘Collateral damage’

Home-grown cannabis: how covid-19 has fuelled a boom around the world.

How covid-19 became a cover to reduce refugee rights.

Hospital waiting lists in England hit new high after January’s coronavirus peak.

Covid-19 wasn’t just a disaster for humanity – new research shows nature suffered greatly too.

How living life on a screen during covid-19 affects your eyes.

The logic of what is and what is not open defies many. Hospitality bosses threaten government with court.

Services at risk unless NHS England gets £8 billion extra funding within days.

Personal Protective Equipment use in England generated ‘colossal’ amount of carbon.

Who was to blame for the disastrous ‘management’ of the pandemic in the UK

This is a review of a book which I have not yet read but thought that the introduction of some of the ideas in it would be useful to have an idea about. Failures of State by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott review – how Britain became ‘Plague Island’.

Pressure mounts on the Buffoon to launch coronavirus inquiry.

Preparing to return to normal

The idea is now becoming acceptable that no society can really function with so called ‘social distancing’ and there are plans to experiment with various combinations in what used to be mass venues. For this Liverpool has been chosen to test covid crowd safety in ‘roadmap’ pilot.

Politicians in Liverpool seem to be happy about the city being at the forefront of this change in approach however, perhaps they should remember a few things about the recent past.

The Buffoon and his government attempted to seed the virus in the Merseyside area at the very beginning of the pandemic by sending Brits who had arrived from Wuhan way back in April to a quarantine site at Arrowe Park Hospital. All these people arrived in London but they had to be bused hundreds of miles away – as if there were no places closer to Heathrow.

When that didn’t achieve the desired objective it was Liverpool who were to ‘pilot’ mass testing – potentially bringing many infected people in contact with many others when there was a partial lock down and meetings discouraged. That didn’t cause any problems – although it’s not too sure if the city really learnt anything from that pilot as they were constantly changing the parameters.

And now we are to have hundreds – possibly thousands – of people concentrated in small, enclosed areas. Third time lucky for the southerners to get at the Scousers?

Also it is hoped that this ‘pilot’ doesn’t take place in a UK bubble. Other countries have been carying out such ‘pilots’ for more than a month now – the Netherlands being at least one of the countries who have been playing with various combinations and locations. Little seems to have been shared between countries over the last year – will this latest ‘pilot’ be any different?

More on covid pandemic 2020-2?