Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

“If you are going to tell a lie, make it a really big lie,” must be the Tory mantra. But as the exposure of Tory Government PR spin over Brexit and Covid 19 morphs into ludicrously optimistic fantasy and tragically irresponsible dishonesty how will the British public react to the betrayal? It is time for protest and accountability. The Canary Article entitled, “The Johnson government’s vaccine triumphalism masks the true coronavirus death rate in the UK,” oscillated between obscene and downright childish, ignoring the most horrific statistics on the death toll so far. The Canary report, “This week, the Boris Johnson government’s PR machine went into hyperdrive to announce the UK regulatory approval of a vaccine to combat coronavirus (Covid-19). Meanwhile, government figures revealed there have been more than 60,000 coronavirus deaths in the UK. The only problem there is that the statistical agencies, including the Office for National Statistics, have produced a completely different set of figures – shockingly different.”

The Canary reveal the shocking true death figures, “The ‘official’ government figure for coronavirus deaths across the UK, as reported on 3 December, was 60,113. But professor Gabriel Scally, president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the Independent Sage group of scientists, explained: If you want to know the actual number of deaths, well then you have to go to death certification, which is really the best data. Indeed, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS), and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) provide a figure in excess of 76,000.” While the Government have been using a convenient trick of reducing the death toll by limiting those counted to people who have died within 28 days of a Covid diagnosis, they expose the discrepancy by saying of the higher number, “that figure includes deaths where coronavirus is given on the death certificate.”

Reporting on the vaccine announcement, the Canary say that, “Only the day before on 2 December, the Johnson government announced with great excitement that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had approved the use of a vaccine, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, to combat coronavirus. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) released a statement on this: The vaccine appears to be safe and well-tolerated, and there were no clinically concerning safety observations. The data indicates high efficacy in all age groups (16 years and over), including encouraging results in older adults. The committee advises that this vaccine be used in the first phase of the programme, according to the priority order set out below.” There was a prioritization list of who would be first to receive the vaccine although that has changed slightly as the Government grapple with the demanding cold chain logistics, but it was very welcome news.

The Canary were quick to ridicule the triumphalism that demonstrates the sheer desperation of this Tory Government and the need to detract from more relevant bad news. “Following the government’s announcement, The Canary reported that a number of high profile Tories had made comments about the vaccine – comments that can only be described as triumphal, if not jingoistic. For example, UK business secretary Alok Sharma commented: ‘In years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease’.” That was particularly over the top Tory ‘willy wagging’. They say that, “The Guardian reported how health secretary Matt Hancock even claimed it was Brexit that led to the breakthrough: In a series of media appearances on Wednesday morning, the UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, erroneously claimed that emergency authorisation had been possible ‘because of Brexit’, contrasting the UK approach with the ‘pace of the Europeans, who are moving a little bit more slowly’.”

The Canary point out that, “MHRA head Dr June Raine went on to explain that EU law allows for regulators in member states – including the UK, currently in transition – to apply their own approval mechanisms.” They reserve particular derision for one particular awkward Tory, “there was this gem from UK education minister Gavin Williamson.” In an interview he claimed that “the UK was the first country in the world to clinically approve a coronavirus vaccine because the country has ‘much better’ scientists than France, Belgium or the US. Williamson said he was not surprised the UK was the first to roll out the immunisation because ‘we’re a much better country than every single one of them’. Asked whether Brexit was to credit for the world-first, Williamson told LBC radio station on Thursday: ‘Well I just reckon we’ve got the very best people in this country and we’ve obviously got the best medical regulators’.” He honestly sounded like a petulant school boy, what an embarrassment.

The Canary pointed out the facts, saying, “neither Hancock, Sharma or Williamson remembered to mention that the vaccine is produced by the US company Pfizer in collaboration with German company BioNTech. Or that the latter organisation’s coronavirus vaccine programme is funded by the EU via the European Investment Bank. As to whether Brexit had a role in the vaccine’s approval, Channel 4’s FactCheck quoted the government on this matter: if a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, […] becomes available before the end of the transition period, EU legislation which we have implemented via Regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations allows the MHRA to temporarily authorise the supply of a medicine or vaccine, based on public health need.” No one is mentioning that the Russians are already engaged in a mass vaccination program of their citizens using the SputnikV vaccine: so no UK world-first.

The Canary say FactCheck added: “even if we were still a member of the EU, the UK regulator would have been able to take this decision on its own because EU law already allows it. Incidentally, that legislation took effect in the UK in 2012, long before Brexit was on the cards. It further added: even if Brexit hadn’t happened, we’d still have been entitled, under EU law, to opt out of the joint system and ‘go it alone’ with the Covid vaccine. Assuming all goes well with the newly approved vaccine, that’s something to celebrate. But any attempt by politicians, or their supporters, to generate political capital from the pandemic should be condemned. For the Johnson government’s record on coronavirus deaths – even using the government’s questionable figure – when compared to other European countries, is nothing short of appalling. As to those government ministers who are triumphal about the vaccine, they should at least admit to the real number of coronavirus-related deaths. But that might be too much an expectation.”

The Byline Times Article entitled, “Government Orders Local Areas Not to DeployNegative Brexit Ads,” peels back the lid on yet another layer of Tory Government deception. “Boris Johnson’s Government isn’t prepared to risk the reputation of Brexit, no matter what the cost,” reports Sam Bright, “The Government has instructed local areas not to use adverts that might reflect badly on Brexit,” Byline Times can reveal. “This week, the Government issued a ‘written communications toolkit’ to local administrations, with guidance about what they should say to individuals and businesses about the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. The document contains a range of generic advice that local areas should communicate to residents, such as the need to check the validity of their passports, and for exporters to apply for relevant licenses.”

Bright points out that, “Notably, however, the Government instructs areas not to use messages or adverts that suggest a negative outcome at the end of the transition period. ‘Focus on positive outcomes and motivate readers to act by clearly communicating what will happen if they take action,’ the document reads. An example is included, relating to exporters. It is recommended that local authorities say: To continue to trade with the EU after 31 December 2020, you will need to follow new rules for exporting, including changes to processes and licensing. As opposed to: You will not be able to continue trading with the EU after 31 December 2020, if you don’t follow new rules for exporting, including changes to processes and licensing.” Bright describes this as placing, “The Project Above the People,” with, “This emphasis on positive Brexit messaging seems to be a political rather than a practical decision – placing the reputation of the project above the interests of individuals and businesses.”

Bright elaborates on the logic of a sharp warning message, saying that, “negative messages carry more urgency and gravity. If a business owner is told they will lose trade and money if they don’t register for an export license, they will pay attention. Take anti-smoking adverts, for example. They feature visceral, negative slogans predicting cancer and infertility, if the individual doesn’t stop immediately. They do not say, ‘You will be able to carry on living if you quit smoking,’ because that doesn’t provide sufficient motivation. I smoke yet I am still alive; so why should I stop? I don’t have an export license yet I can currently trade with Europe; so why should I register for one? In order to change their actions, people need to tangibly comprehend the negative consequences of not. This optimism stricture could therefore explain why many businesses are still not prepared for the end of the transition period.”

Bright reports that, “The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, for example, understands that the Government has failed to reach a third of businesses that believed in October that the transition period would be extended. These firms could be set for a rude awakening on 1 January, the committee concludes, due to the Government’s failure to communicate. Indeed, research published by the Institute of Directors in October found that 45% of all firms were not prepared for Brexit, with 24% saying that they were unsure if they would be by the end of the year. This confusion has of course been compounded by a general lack of direction and clarity in Brexit negotiations. The Government infamously spent £100 million last year telling firms to prepare for a potential ‘no deal’ departure, while publicly saying an ‘oven ready’ deal would comfortably put the Brexit issue to bed.” They lied!

Bright says that, “There have also been calls for the end of the transition period to be delayed, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps believing this policy would be adopted by any sensible government, 43% of small firms said in October they thought an extension would be agreed.” The operative words here being, ‘responsible Government’ however, it is plainly obvious to the less trusting among us that this corrupt Tory Cabal will not act responsibly. Bright reminds us that, “The Vote Leave establishment has for years propounded a Brexit fantasy featuring vast benefits and few drawbacks. It seems the Government isn’t prepared to revise this mythology, even if it means businesses aren’t prepared for our oncoming rupture from the continent.”

In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Sorry, But We’re Not Sorry; The Untouchable Johnson Regime,” Jonathan Lis highlights the ‘sorry’ road to dishonesty, deception and impunity. He argues that, “the British public would have more respect for the Government if it owned up to its many mistakes – a taking back of control the administration cannot bear.” Reporting on recent scandals, Lis said, “Several extraordinary things happened in Westminster at the end of last week. A senior minister was found to have bullied her staff. That same minister was found to have broken the Ministerial Code, but kept her job. The Prime Minister showed such indifference to standards in public life that his independent advisor on the Ministerial Code resigned. Perhaps most extraordinary of all, the minister who had breached the code apologised.”

Lis points out that, “But Priti Patel’s ‘unreserved’ apology was anything but. The Home Secretary declared that she was ‘sorry that my behaviour has upset people’ – not that she was sorry for her behaviour. She even remarked that she was ‘sorry if I have upset people in any way’, echoing her notorious comment from April that she was ‘sorry if people feel there have been failings’ on personal protective equipment. These are, of course, all versions of the non-apology apology: it is not your fault for upsetting people, but other people’s fault for being upset; it is not your fault for failing at your job, but other people’s for noticing. These days, even in the rare circumstances when a minister apologises for something, it comes with qualifications and without consequences. This is not a flaw in the system, it is the system itself.”

Lis asks, “Why, for this Government, is sorry always the hardest word? He goes on to describe this Tory Government’s growing, Culture of Impunity.” He says, “Two weeks ago, the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Jonathan Evans, delivered a speech examining the evolution of standards since the days of 1990s sleaze. He observed that a strand of political thinking declares that governments are accountable only to the electorate, once every five years, and to nobody and nothing else in between. He noted the consequences: ‘Quite simply, the perception is taking root that too many in public life, including some in our political leadership, are choosing to disregard the norms of ethics and propriety that have explicitly governed public life for the last 25 years, and that, when contraventions of ethical standards occur, nothing happens’.”

Lis claims that, “This goes beyond a lack of transparency and accountability. Nobody in power now seems to take responsibility, resigns when they get caught out, or indeed suffers negative implications from any actions at all. The Government will not apologise for mishandling the Coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the highest death toll in Europe. It will not apologise for wasting billions of pounds of public money on failed outsourcing and on expedited contracts to its friends and donors. It will not apologise for jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland, breaking international law or smashing the economy after the Brexit transition.
The past four years have transformed Britain’s body politic. Like America over the same period, it has replaced a culture of accountability with one of impunity. Worse even: one of deliberate recklessness.”

Lis notes that, “The defining moment of this phenomenon – and certainly the most memorable – came in May, when the Prime Minister refused to apologise for the behaviour of his then chief advisor Dominic Cummings. Everyone could see that Cummings had flagrantly broken the Coronavirus lockdown rules but, instead of owning up to that, Johnson dug in. Cummings, he insisted, had in fact been doing the right thing all along by going up to Durham and taking his eye test drive to Barnard Castle. Johnson showered him with praise for protecting his family. It was this, rather than the trip itself, which damaged the Prime Minister most. The refusal to apologise became an act of gaslighting. It wasn’t enough not to say sorry for an obvious mistake. The mistake had to be recast as an obvious virtue.”

Lis describes the “Lies, Weakness, Contempt,” as demonstrating, “The culture of impunity manifests in multiple ways. The first is dishonesty: refusing to explain the reality of policies to the public, pretending that everything will be alright, and fully denying egregious mistakes. This was the Government’s raison d’etre for the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic – from lying that the Coronavirus wasn’t a serious threat, to ‘throwing a protective ring around care homes’. But this tactic was lifted directly from the origin story of national myth-making: Brexit. Boris Johnson and his Vote Leave colleagues built Brexit around the idea that the UK could have it all: more sovereignty and more prosperity, all of the benefits of EU membership and none of the obligations. First, nothing bad could be conceded. Later, they declared that everything bad had already been made plain.”

According to Lis, “The Brexiters, both before and after they became the Government, never told the British people what their options were and so never provided a fair chance for the public to vote on them. It may well have been that the voters would have endorsed a project which was going to shatter prosperity in the name of independence, but we will never find out.” Lis says that, “The Government’s lies earned it an 80-seat electoral majority.” I would claim that it was electoral fraud that achieved that result in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and that we should fully Investigate that incomprehensible vote to expose the truth.

Lis states optimistically that, “Of course, lies do eventually get exposed, in the sense that people become aware of them. At that point, the question of dishonesty becomes one of deflecting blame. In the case of Brexit, that was the EU, ‘Remoaners’, the media, Civil Service, judiciary, and opposition MPs. For COVID-19, it is the public itself. Ministers have blamed ordinary people for everything: following contradictory advice, wavering on discipline, and not self-isolating when in many cases that proves financially ruinous. People have been condemned both for staying away from shops (stifling the economy) and for frequenting pubs and restaurants (spreading the virus). The fact that the Government literally bribed them to eat out is neither here nor there. The Government denies its own guilt in direct proportion to impugning others.”

Lis describes how, “The culture of impunity is a culture of machismo. Sorry is a sign of nuance and nuance is a sign of weakness. The Government’s over-riding obsession is with strength. It expects people to look up to their leaders and not to challenge them. Johnson has perfected this art. He treats challenges from Labour leader Keir Starmer as personal attacks, or worse, attacks on the nation itself. Sincere questions about the ‘test and trace’ service are branded defamations of the NHS. His ministers, meanwhile, have spent most of the pandemic boycotting the nation’s leading news programmes. Nobody need ever apologise for weaknesses if they don’t answer questions about them.”

Lis writes of, “The Bursting of the Dam,” saying, “The tragedy is that this is all a trap the Government chose to build itself. It is not only easier to say sorry than to deny a self-evident fact, more people would respect it for doing so. Most people are reasonable and understanding. Certainly, they would sharply criticize a government which confessed to so many massive errors. But they would recognise the fact that ministers were being honest and treating the public as grown-ups. In the absence of this, it is not just that the Government makes a lot of mistakes – it is that it cannot acknowledge any of them. This compounds the initial sin. People understand that in a pandemic unprecedented in living memory, ministers will occasionally make poor choices. But people also have a right to expect that ministers will recognise them – and they never do. This is not just a sin of pride, but a sin of repetition.”

Despite my US training for Surgery I was compelled to retrain in the UK. I felt that the British obsession with ‘reflective practice’ bordered on redundant, confidence destroying, self-flagellation. But, the fact that this concept of acknowledging and learning from mistakes is entirely unnecessary for those in high office is deeply shocking. Lis says, “If you cannot accept that you have done something wrong, you are doomed to re-enact it. So the Government has. If Johnson had apologised for going into lockdown so late, he might not have repeated that mistake in September, when his scientists advised him to adopt a circuit-breaker, advice he ignored. The Government’s real fear is opening the floodgates. It knows that the minute it says sorry for one thing, it will eventually have to take responsibility for everything. This is the doctrine of ‘taking back control’, and keeping it.”

Lis concludes, “This Government has constructed its entire identity on the basis of always being right. It assumes a kind of divine infallibility: it cannot do wrong by virtue of what it is. That is dangerous as well as stupid, because it compromises both democracy and its own interests. If your claim to power rests on never being wrong, any fault at all risks destroying your authority and thus your legitimacy, eventually collapsing the whole edifice. This process has already begun. It is like pulling the curtain back on the Wizard of Oz every day and just watching him re-draw it. Like Donald Trump, the Government will eventually learn that the people have a limited tolerance for a culture of impunity. In the end, the political is the personal. The Government has misunderstood one of the key lessons of growing up: that saying sorry is not a weakness but an incalculable strength. This is a story of overwhelming contempt, but underneath it, profound insecurity.” The legitimacy of this Tory cabal is tenuous: we must protest loudly to remove them! DO NOT MOVE ON!