- This topic has 516 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 hours, 4 minutes ago by Kim Sanders-Fisher.
May 12, 2020 at 08:48 #53264SA
With powerful Brexit fuelled nationalism I am not sure that direct action will achieve much. Boris’ ratings are probably sky high because Jo Public thinks he will get Brexit done and can’t see that the emperor has no clothes. After all he has battled the virus personally.
As to the Labour party, I rejoined after having left with the Iraq war and have considered leaving. But that would weaken the left of party, there is still hope that Starmer, who was after all in the Corbyn cabinet as a key figure, may not purge the new members and that the new members may still keep the party from straying back to Blairism. I thought of resigning but am holding off for the time being.May 13, 2020 at 07:56 #53315Kim Sanders-Fisher
SA – I am grateful for your appreciation of what I am attempting to do with my prolific writing here. For some people it seems my efforts and my motivation may require a bit more explanation.
Clark – You say that, “This forum is far too long and verbose; I will never have time to read it all.” While I can totally accept your criticism of my shortcomings both as an investigator and as a writer, acknowledging that many of these comments are indeed lengthy, please be assured that no one will force you to read through each and every post in its entirety. On occasion you may just find the odd useful nugget of information, a few interesting Links or some shocking new piece of evidence revealed, but all of that requires a lot of dedication in order to accomplish a high standard on such a regular basis. I do the very best I can.
You go on to state your personal needs, that I am certain are shared with a great many other readers, “What I need is evidence – in a structured list of topics, each linking to a section that supports it, so that the evidence can be examined topic-by-topic.” I’m sorry if you don’t think that might be expecting a tad too much from private individual contributors? What we all desperate need ASAP is to entice a strong team of professional investigative journalists to consider working full time on investigating the Covid 2019 Rigged Election. This is our only hope of fully exposing the truth to such a degree that this nationwide act of fraud is widely and unequivocally accepted as fact with such certainty that it totally delegitimizes the Tory Government forcing them out of office.
Until we can attract that vital level of professional engagement I am trying my level best to fudge the gap and keep the reality of this gross injustice a live topic rather than a well buried, easily forgotten rumour. Several factors could potentially play a very significant role in helping to achieve our goal aside from attracting professional investigative intervention:
1. A dramatic increase in Social Media, Alternative Media and even Conventional Media publicity.
2. Growing widespread public concern over the Tory Government’s gross mishandling of the Covid 19 epidemic with the UK death toll spiralling out of control.
3. The emergence of a credible Whistleblower or several Whistleblowers coming forward to reveal critical pieces of evidence implicating the Tory Government in wide-scale electoral fraud and corruption.
I have already admitted in past comments that I am not well connected on Social Media; despite trying to interest people with a far better chance of being heard, this remains a weakness. However, I am trying to contact people all the time and sometimes it only takes a tiny spark to ignite a media firestorm; the more that appears in writing the more chance of fanning that flame of resistance. If the gross injustice of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election is an issue of serious concern to you, it is important to realize that nothing can be accomplished by complacently waiting to be spoon-fed information. If you expect results you must be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get involved. If you have a well established Social Media presence exploit that asset, if you have any valuable contacts please get in touch with them and I hope that if you uncover any pertinent information you will share it with us here.
Serious concerns over the Tory Governments abysmal, self-serving manipulation of the Covid 19 crisis are increasing with each day that their chaotic eugenics “Herd Immunity” plan claims more lives. Under more vigilant media scrutiny they would probably have been forced out of office by now, but it is only a matter of time. The shambolic shift in policy in an effort to force the working poor to risk their lives travelling on crammed public transport to get back to their jobs will cause another preventable spike in cases and increased mortality. The BBC and compliant media will not succeed in glossing over the stark facts much longer; in the end it will be one or two heart rending news stories that bring the UK public to the tipping point of what they will no longer tolerate.
The new Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has failed to impress with his insipid enabling of this out-of-control Tory Government. You were right to be suspicious of the UK Labour Party leadership election result; I too share your concern as it makes no sense. No one has even attempted to explain how Starmer, a seriously committed remainer, managed to secure the leadership after so many Labour voters supposedly “lent” their votes to the Tories over the stance on Brexit that he aggressively championed. These former Labour voters had a perfect chance to make a statement with their choice for a new Labour Leader, but they chose the man advocating for a second referendum? For me this unfathomable anomaly is further proof that the so called “borrowed votes” that Boris Johnson claims were responsible for his fake “landslide victory” were stolen in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.
The ruthless smear campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn with lies about anti-Semitism is starting to come unravelled with the release of an investigation that was leaked to the media; Craig has also passed it on to the EHRC! Starmer’s attempts to cover it up have not helped him gain credibility or support as he is steadily being exposed for dubious donor support, dragging the party to the right and failing to call out the Tory Government for their catastrophic errors and dangerous policy strategies. Both Starmer and the Tories might have hoped that Jeremy Corbyn would quietly remove himself from any offending acts of rebellion, but they were very wrong. Corbyn is a relentless campaigner and he hasn’t stopped speaking up for the poor and disadvantaged in Parliament as highlighted in this recent Article in the Canary: “Everything that’s wrong with centrist politics today, in one anti-Corbyn rant.”
In the Article focusing on Corbyn’s most recent response in Parliament it revealed that, “On 11 May, Jeremy Corbyn challenged Boris Johnson’s controversial coronavirus (Covid-19) speech the day before. In particular, he focused on how the government’s easing of restrictions would disproportionately affect working-class people the most, stressing that it would “make the inequalities in this country even worse”. He also signed a statement calling Johnson’s speech a ‘thinly veiled declaration of class war’.”
It was heart warming to read the compliment from SA that recognized what I am attempting to accomplish by the rather lengthy documentation of Prime Ministers Questions and interviews with the guests on Andrew Marr’s program on Sunday. I pick through these broadcasts and the daily propaganda “Press Briefings” to find and highlight revelations that trip up the Tory Ministers and the sycophantic expert advisors. When I catch them lying, glossing over the facts or grossly misleading the public, expect to see it in print here; it might be longwinded, but it is documented. Few people will take the time to wade through Erskine May to see a written record of what was said in Parliament and BBC broadcasts conveniently disappear when they are embarrassing to the Government. I will continue to point out the glaring hypocrisy and flaws here in case the news is “reinvented” to cover up the truth.
I believe that I have already shared my perspective on Whistleblowers here in past comments, but it is worth repeating. I was fired as a Whistleblower for attempting to raise issues of concern over patient safety in the US Hospital where I worked; here in the UK I suffered a similar experience that sabotaged my NHS retraining. In both situations they were extremely serious issues that I tried to resolve internally through discrete reporting to a line manager, which resulted in targeted persecution and removal. Innovative, analytical and creative people can unwittingly fall into the trap of uncovering a critical safety problem that controlling, profit driven, managers do not want to address; they are not “troublemakers,” but are often driven by a strong social conscience.
Being targeted as a Whistleblower can have a devastating impact on your life. The first component of discrediting the issue, that a line manager is concerned you will expose, is to isolate and thoroughly discredit you personally through false accusations of poor conduct. The term “disruptive” has become a euphemism for anyone prepared to speak truth to power. Former colleagues are too intimidated to come to your defence and you become totally ostracized in an effort to convince you that no one will ever believe what you have to say. One of the main objectives of my writing here is to convince any potential Whistleblowers, who might have critical evidence to impart, that there are people who will take that information seriously and support their exposure of controversial facts no matter how “disruptive” that exposure might be!
You say that I’ll, “get nowhere with Avaaz; they only promote certain campaigns.” While it is certainly true about their promotion strategy, I do not seek to blame Avaaz for the poor response to my Petition. Avaaz was chosen as a hosting site partially due to the appeal beyond the UK and my desire to make people in other parts of the EU aware of the protest. Most of the Petition hosting websites leave it to the petition writer to gain support and signatures on their own and Avaaz is certainly no exception. Sadly, I must take full responsibility for not doing a good enough job of promoting the Petition to Investigate the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; if I had a strong Social Media following I know it would have fared a lot better.
With regard to what might be accomplished via the Petition, the main benefit is to increase the profile of this very important Petition cause so that a significant number of people know that the Covert 2019 Rigged Election is in serious question and the legitimacy of the current Tory Government is in considerable doubt. To be certain, Boris Johnson could not be shamed out of office, as he has no shame, and his rabid Tory Ministers would not relinquish power without a fight, but massive public pressure has accomplished this goal in the past and we cannot afford to give up hope. SA I really doubt that the pro Brexit vote has gained any ground; if anything it has weakened as older supporters are being killed in the Tories “Holocaust in Care” and concern over crashing out without a deal has increased due to the Covid 19 crisis. Right up to December of this year we will remain in the EU transition period and could appeal to the European Court to correct this injustice that may also negate the legitimacy of the EU Referendum.
Yes, absolutely you are dead right, “UK democracy is now so hopelessly corrupted,” but we cannot fix the system without removing the prime perpetrators of that corruption. British politics is about to get warped out of all recognizable semblance of democracy as we move towards full dictatorship. There will be no new opportunity to vote for a change of Government in five years time unless we transform the electoral system to insure the safety of our votes. We need to “Rescue our Watchdog” and all the other neutered Watchdogs that have been corrupted by money, power and greed, but that cannot happen under this Tory Government. It is futile to even attempt to correct the multitude of grotesque injustices that have been inflicted on us through austerity and jingoistic foreign policies, without committing to fight tooth and nail to remove the usurpers from their highly damaging control over our governance.May 13, 2020 at 10:32 #53318SA
I agree with all you say above but would just like to add a slightly different perspective of why all your splendid efforts are not producing more effects even on this somewhat varied but generally progressive website. The reason goes to heart of what the system does. Conformity is very important to get by. You describe your own personal experiences and it is the story that is a recurrent one. The system pays lip service to whistleblowers but only when the boat is not rocked. Corporations have departments for ethical practice, but only to enhance their image, drug companies sponsor medical research but only publish and promote that which brings in the money. Famous whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowdon are criminalised, whilst Journalists who expose wrongdoings are either criminalised, like Assange, or de-platformed, like Seymour Hersh. The system does not like whistleblowers.
But also the system has led to a general reduction of scrutiny on power. I put it to you as a thought experiment that the elections were really not rigged at all and the voting results were genuine. How? A lot of preparation into this has been in the making from 2015. Many attempts were made to replace Corbyn using all sorts of methods, from him being a friend of terrorists, to being a communist, to being a Russian implant, to being lax on the security of the UK. This was openly talked about including supposedly pep talks from security services, open criticism from military leaders and so on. None of this stuck and the results of the 2017 elections confirm this. They however finally managed to get through with the AS row, because of a very concerted effort to tap on a subject which has been elevated beyond discussion. The well documented racism of the Tories, despite the increasing Islamophobia and xenophobia engendered by Brexit were all glossed over and racism itself developed a hieratical system, which itself has serious racist implications, but it seems nobody noticed. It is possible that the landslide victory was not due to a faked result but due to the very meticulous propaganda which was put in place. It is not surprising if you look at this massive propaganda, plus the fact that his enemies were also within his party and even his cabinet that he lost.
If you look at the approval ratings of Boris Johnson you may get some insight into this. I know the limitations of these polls but nevertheless, despite this shambolic performance, his ratings are going up! it is only recently in April that there was a spike who thought he was doing very badly, but even this is coming down. Now how bad could he get before this changes?
Clark could come in here handy because of what he has written a lot about, and that is conspiracy theories. I guess what he is saying is that without facts it is easy to drift from a suspicion of a conspiracy, to a conspiracy theory. This slide comes when you get in a frame of mind that something has happened but cannot prove it. It seems to me that the fine line happens when instead of facts and findings dictate the conclusions or even suspicions, that the conclusions and suspicions start to guide the findings that are difficult to prove.
Please do not misunderstand what I say, I think what you are doing in terms of documenting all the current happenings is extremely valuable and is a repository for the future but the fight must be wider than focussing on rigged elections. After all the marked shift to the right is a very universal phenomenon, not confined to this country. It is a function of the predominance of neoliberalism and globalisation of capital.May 14, 2020 at 09:53 #53411Kim Sanders-Fisher
SA – The single most important tenant of this accusation about the Covert 2019 Rigged Election remains extremely relevant even if there was no manipulation of the postal vote last December: UK Elections are a wide open invitation to industrial scale fraud. This has been observed and documented by well respected British Judges and politicians going back even further that the ten years the Tories have been in office. A potent combination of the unscrupulous outsourcing of UK wide Electoral Services, without the most rudimentary oversight, the disempowering of our Electoral Watchdog, the wholesale takeover of the BBC and mainstream media, plus the toxic manipulation of PsyOps online propaganda, have resulted in the evisceration of our democracy. My Petition focuses on the urgent need to fully expose and remove these serious ongoing threats whether they were weaponized by the Tories in 2019 or not.
On the premise of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” the refusal to address the serious flaws that have on multiple occasions been clearly identified has now totally obliterated the integrity our Electoral System: we either deal with it right away or we abandon the pretence that there will ever be an opportunity for meaningful public voting again in this country. All of the classic markers of dictatorship are falling into place within a matter of just a few short months; if anything this has been accelerated due to the distraction of Covid 19. The BBC has gone from annoying right wing bias to the official state mouthpiece of the Tory Government with all opposition voices heavily criticized or censored out. Page 48 of the Tory manifesto openly pledged to gut our Judiciary, removing the independent decision making check on Governmental power; this is another key marker of an emerging dictatorship.
The comprehensive surveillance of our citizenry has been enabled by public fear over the Coronavirus and the introduction of a new App ostensibly designed to help with tracking and tracing of infected individuals in the hope of controlling the virus. However, there are legitimate concerns that this App will be used by the Government to control our freedom of association and will target dissidents as the rebellion among the UK population grows stronger with the enforcement of more punitive Tory policies. The Canary Article exposes impending dangers to our civil liberties with, “Claims that GCHQ-advised coronavirus track and trace app has security and privacy flaws”
In this highly critical article the Canary worryingly report that, “The NHS has opted for a version of the coronavirus (Covid-19) track and trace app that reportedly has in-built security flaws that could seriously impinge upon personal privacy. It’s also understood that the spy agency GCHQ has a hand in its development.” They elaborate on the inherent dangers in adopting such a Centralised model that led most EU countries opting for an effective track and trace system that does not infringe on civil liberties or gift an untrustworthy Government free access to a permanent surveillance capability. According to the Canary, “the BBC has reported that the NHS has rejected the Apple-Google coronavirus track and trace app and instead opted for a different, ‘centralised’ model.”
Although the Government is likely to tout the advantages of this model since their App would work even if the device was not active and on-screen with a model where the matching process is via a computer server, but the BBC report that Apple and Google argue such a model will enable hackers to “use the computer server logs to track specific individuals and identify their social interactions.” A number of articles I have linked to in the Daily GasLamp have exposed the full extent of how such information can be maliciously engineered to target the fears and insecurities of disenchanted voters to manipulate election results with the principal malign individual who took advantage of this PsyOps technology now occupying a commanding role as Boris Johnson’s most senior advisor.
In the Daily GasLamp Post entitled, “Big Data and Covid-19,” they highlight two major issues with the newly developed Track and Trace App: “Cronyism” and “the End of Democracy.” The GasLamp went on to elaborate on the specific dangers:
“The privacy concerns have been highlighted by 177 cyber experts. They have written an open letter to the government to stop the app being used as a mass-surveillance tool. Why?
• The UK government stated that it would not use Apple and Google’s built-in privacy protection systems to anonymise data collected from apps on iPhone and Android smartphones.
• This allows the government to create a database that could then be used to de-anonymize users, and just like Cambridge Analystica and other AI/Big Data companies have proven, be used for other purposes.”
In another recent Canary Article entitled, “US surveillance company’s involvement with NHS is ‘crossing a red line’, warns civil liberties group,” there are ominous warnings for the public, a dubious US company comes under fire with growing concerns over the misuse of personal data. The Canary report that, “Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group (ORG) civil liberties organisation has warned The Canary that surveillance and analytics firm Palantir is “not a company you want handling sensitive personal data”. He says that Palantir is already “crossing a red line” by analysing NHS data as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.” If this Tory Government really want to dispel the rumours of stealing votes to accomplish a fraudulent Election victory they should avoid adopting all of the classic tools of a corrupt authoritarian surveillance state.
When you analyse the subject of Conspiracy Theories as Clark has tried to in his Discussion Forum, the overriding principal should always be that the Conspiracy Theory itself does not serve to negate necessary action or detract from the genuine need for robust scrutiny. One Conspiracy Theory about Covid 19 is a typical example of this serious mistake. Would a lab origin for the virus make any material difference to the urgent need to prevent the rampant pandemic spread of the disease? I would say not. However, this theory has been weaponized by Donald Trump to demonize China in a faltering effort to detract from his own failures and massive blunders in US Covid 19 policy that continue to cost countless lives. I refuse to give such a worthless theory oxygen, as it serves no purpose what-so-ever in limiting loss of life to the disease. However, if my assertion with regard to what I call “the Covert 2019 Rigged Election” is proven wrong there will still be a significant positive impact from fully investigating the fraud allegations.
The reality is that we could remain complacent and sink even further into the abyss under the delusion that the specific guaranteed proof of systematic corruption has yet to be validated and doesn’t warrant our attention. The salient point is that the conduct of the Tory Government from their blatant conflict of interest involvement with every aspect of our supposedly free and fair Elections, their crony awarding of contracts to bypass the bidding process, their manipulation of our state broadcaster the BBC and other media outlets in addition to their determination to ignore the repeated calls for electoral reform were bound to strongly implicate guilt. Dubious practices and total lack of transparency imply guilt as surely as running from the scene of a crime! Why would they so determinedly wedge open the door to wide-scale corruption and manipulation of the vote without considering just how much their actions would invite suspicion, unless they were intent on utilizing that weakness to steal power?
Alternatively we can take the opportunity presented by the significant preponderance of a multitude of highly suspicious anomalies in the result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election to make a very reasonable demand for a comprehensive nationwide Investigation. This would either confirm the worrying implications that the unfathomable result was not a miraculous Tory “landslide victory,” but the product of industrial scale fraud… or not. If we continue to allow this Tory Government to dictate our future unchallenged, whether they have earned that right or not, we will guarantee the complete dismantling of our democracy, with a steeply rising death toll under their failed policies of austerity and “Herd Immunity” offering the prospect of decades of dictatorship once the regime becomes fully established. Think about it: Hitler was once voted into power!
Even if the Tory Government were totally exonerated of any wrongdoing, the investigation would fully document the unacceptable lack of safe voting standards within our Electoral System here in the UK. The public would not want the system to be corrupted even further as it would render all future voting meaningless to establish and entrench Governments that have zero public mandate for authority following sham Elections. There would be immediate demands for proper oversight, reduced outsourcing, stronger security for Postal Votes and a legitimate way to challenge dubious results in future, all of which are among established demands of long-postponed radical reform. My Petition is solidly focused on achieving this desperately required reform as we really must “Rescue our Watchdog!” I hope you will agree that this is a worthy end goal and now understand why it is important to encourage people to Sign my Petition by sharing the link.May 14, 2020 at 10:14 #53412Clark
Kim, you write beautifully and very clearly, but I don’t have time to read at present.
If it’s any consolation I have the same problem with most journalism; there are many articles which contain facts and reasonable suspicions but embedded among human interest and ideological argument. Our world has become more complex and interconnected, and just abstracting the salient points takes up much of each reader’s time.
Recently, I have spent much of my time battling on the recent threads trying to counter the denial of covid-19 itself, trying to demonstrate that assessing science is actually the quite simple consideration of evidence rather than guesswork about individual scientists’ professional reputations, characters and sources of funding. I might not convince many commenters but there are far more readers than commenters, and I have found it very encouraging that new usernames have emerged and contributed to arguments about evidence; it shifts the balance. Over the years I have seen many threads become monopolised by conspiracy theorists, who make no attempt at coherency between their various arguments but are unanimous in their contempt for anyone who “supports the official story”. I’ll come back to all this; everything is interconnected, and I think that an important effect of conspiracy theory upon the side-lining Jeremy Corbyn has been overlooked. Debate degenerates into untestable arguments about imputed motive eg. “he’s anti-Semitic!” rather than objective discussion of evidence and policy.
I will try to find time to read this whole forum thoroughly, collate the content into a form convenient for those like myself, and then post it. Meanwhile, if you can please help find lawyers who would mount a legal challenge against this government (I also am looking for such); current government policy is clearly criminally negligent. I think a legal challenge will be the quickest way of forcing rapid change; the government would be forced to change course as soon as they realised they were under legal challenge, because continuing their negligence would then progress to wilful malice against the population. By neglecting to supply masks the government is increasing exposure of the population to an infection of unknown severity. Surely that must be illegal. A court case would also expose reams of internal government communications; that is what has worked eg. in challenges against pharmaceutical companies.
Sorry, I have no more time right now but I will be back. Please keep up the good work Kim, and hello SA, good to see you here.May 14, 2020 at 10:20 #53413Clark
This search might be helpful.
Lawyers for Extinction Rebellion – Let’s see if we can rebel against our own extinction by the government.May 15, 2020 at 09:31 #53456Kim Sanders-Fisher
Clark – I note that you comment in a lot of areas and undoubtedly share Craig’s and indeed my own passion for fighting injustice and dealing equitably with the serious issues that our people and our planet face. This can easily lead to becoming overwhelmed by all the really awful things that tend to dominate our news cycle to the point where one feels helpless and depressed. Beware, the onslaught on our mental health is just as dangerous as the risk to our physical wellbeing. I thought we had reached a turning point in December and things were about to change for the better under a progressive Government. The sickening result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election plunged me into severe depression; it was such a massive shock because it made no sense after Boris Johnson’s truly disastrous election campaign. I am trying to dig myself out of that dark place in the only way I know how; my writing and my protest over the injustice of the Stolen Election in the hope that we can reverse the damage.
It could all have been so very different under a decent Government ditching all the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric and getting Brexit reconsidered in a way that would be acceptable to everyone without punishing the most impoverished regions of this country. The long-suffering working poor would have got a pay rise and public sector workers including our NHS staff would have felt genuinely valued for their contribution to society. Struggling social programs and public services would have seen real investment instead of shallow, soon to be broken, promises and we would have started into a major shift towards a green economy. But that dream was shattered by Johnson’s triumphant crowing about his “landslide victory” and we now face another decade or more of deprivation.
Having lived all over the world, and travelled a lot when I was younger, I am just as passionate about UK foreign policy; ending the arms sales and support for oppressive despots slaughtering civilians in Yemen, Gaza and elsewhere. This hateful strategy would have ended with a man of peace taking office; our unnecessary military interventions and coercive regime change through harsh sanctions would have ended with an abrupt shift away from jingoistic sabre rattling and British exceptionalism to restoring peaceful global diplomacy. I imagined Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe coming home for Christmas and supportive moves towards Venezuela, Cuba and the Palestinians as we broke rank with Trump and adopted a tougher stance towards Israeli atrocities.
Some issues that Corbyn discreetly avoids talking about would start to emerge after he came into office, like ditching Trident as well as Craig’s crusade for the release and fair treatment of Julian Assange. I have no doubt that the Covid 19 Pandemic would have been handled differently, because Corbyn would have prioritized the most vulnerable in our population first; the Care Homes would not have been abandoned. “Herd Immunity” would not have been harnessed like the Nantucket Sleigh Ride to savagely cull large numbers of “economically inactive” pensioners. If we had taken defensive measures early on to stop the virus entering the UK we would not be in the mess we are in now as we could have kept pace with testing, tracking and tracing while building stockpiles of PPE early. Instead of being the horror story of Europe we could be emerging into the summer sun like New Zealand.
But I am sure you know all this, so why am I bringing it up? Because, without removing this Government, the most we can do now is after-the-fact damage control while the Tory wrecking ball is still swinging towards us at full force. The stealth version of Herd Immunity will continue to be relentlessly perused until the “Holocaust of Care” has fully achieved the Tory “Final Solution” for Social Care. Any required spending will be channelled towards Tory donors as they maximize profiteering from the crisis before dumping the working poor with the bill exacted in more austerity, swinging cuts, benefit and wage freezes. Just when we all think the misery cannot possibly get any worse we will be dragged out of the EU without a deal to suffer another huge hit targeting the poor.
All of the issues that normal compassionate people like Craig, you and I care about will continue to be impacted by the most hard Right wing Tory Government of the past century and no amount of public protest will stop them. The reason I will not allow myself to get distracted by the Covid 19 crisis or deviate from a laser like focus on correcting the injustice of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election is that the only way to reverse all of the catastrophic damage wrought by a decade of Tory misery is by removing Boris Johnson and his wretched Government from office. We simply cannot afford to just back down or stop banging on about this incredibly important issue because Boris Johnson is an aggressive cancer that must be completely excised from the body politic or his repugnant team and their rabid policies will metastasize to destroy every last precious aspect of our once free society.
Yes, I agree that at some point we will need a full legal team to go after Johnson and the leading people in his regime, but first we must gather evidence and, since we cannot rely on the police to go after such politically powerful offenders, this will require really dedicated professional investigative journalists. What has been uncovered and documented so far, here and elsewhere, amounts to a few promising leads, but the details need to be fleshed out before we will be able to present a legal team with a strong case for prosecution. Right now Johnson can still hide behind the “unprecedented crisis” excuse; mistakes made… no clear cut culpability defence. I’m certain that his Election fraud would be easier to unpick, there is no crisis defence to justify what occurred. The Tories are relying on the fact that they have removed all power from the Electoral Commission and the police don’t have specific grounds to charge them with. But, a professional Investigative Journalist could dig up enough evidence for us to consider bringing a case.
In the next few weeks it will become obvious to the EU that the reckless decision making that is costing so many lives in the UK is part of a concerted agenda of deliberate genocide directed towards the elderly, the disabled and the poor; more on this to follow soon. The Tories have ignored the WHO recommendations to the detriment of the population as a whole and they have already been heavily criticized for violating the human rights of our disabled population. There are ways in which the EU can put pressure on member states who dismantle the freedoms and protections of the democracy on which the EU was founded. Britain would represent a far too powerful domino to fall under the boot of authoritarian dictatorship; the EU have already been too complacent about serious violations in Hungary and Poland that curtail the power of the Judiciary and the freedom of the press. If the Tories are able to follow through with their manifesto agenda the UK will represent the most egregious attack on democracy in the history of the EU.
Added to this injustice will be the horror of the massive death toll exacted on the UK population through a deliberately engineered dangerous policy that was bound to cost lives; I don’t think the EU can just ignore such a profound genocidal governance crisis. It is important to note that the Tories are eradicating their most reliable voting demographic with their “Holocaust of Care.” In future the Electoral System will be securely controlled to deliver a fake Tory victory, without the help of pensioners. The Tories don’t need to throw a bone to the working poor by delivering on their false promises of “levelling up” before they “allow” another sham Election in five or ten years time. Another crippling pay freeze is on the way that is the Tory plan to repay NHS staff who risked their lives caring for the sick. Already more NHS and Care staff have “died in action” than British troupes killed in the Iraq war! Doctors and Nurses did not sign up for dangerous combat; fake adulation with community clapping will not hide the betrayal of more pay cuts.
As the deadline for requesting an extension to the Brexit transition period draws near it will soon dawn on the EU negotiators that the UK never had any intention of agreeing a Brexit deal to minimize the harm to both UK and EU citizens, but their opportunity to intervene is urgently needed. I believe that if we can prepare a strong legal case before the fateful crash-out date, the EU Court would be very receptive to our plight. The alternative risks having a former trading partner turn into a rapacious tax haven whose starving populous could become a wave of refugees desperate to escape their hollowed out failing authoritarian state. The Petition launched isn’t accruing many signatures, but with the right Social Media attention it could take off again at some point; it contains the right focus demanding a full investigation that would expose, identify and demand correction of our Electoral System.
My writing is cathartic, but it also has a distinct purpose. I feel a dire need to keep this frail and flimsy protest banner frantically waving, despite the political storm raging around us threatening to tear our pathetic emblem of fading democracy to shreds. You really can actively champion and practically support more than a dozen progressive causes just by fighting to remove this toxic Tory Government from power. While other causes are eminently worthy they represent an increasingly impossible challenge while we still remain under toxic authoritarian rule. If we can seriously delegitimize the validity of that fraudulently usurped governance, we can work towards their removal. While I respect your views and your input there is so much more you might consider doing. If you have contacts, post on Social Media, get in touch, and enlist their help; can you locate a professional investigative journalist? Email a journalist or call a friend; making a difference is part of the healing process we all crave: you too can be a part of it.May 16, 2020 at 10:16 #53607Kim Sanders-Fisher
I am getting well behind with my reporting as this was meant to go up days ago covering interesting interviews on last Sunday’s Marr show. Andrew Marr and his guests tried to make sense of the Boris Johnson’s new messaging as the Government no longer wants all of the plebs to “Stay at Home.” The change to “Stay Alert” is a bit vague to say the least. Normally a person is considered to be alert and oriented once they are awake, but this suggests a far wider connotation regarding the need to “stay alert to potential danger.” Stay Alert is all about compelling people to take responsibility for their own safety even if they are expected to return to an unsafe working environment. This is totally unacceptable and all of the major Trade Unions have said they will not advise any of their people to go back to work unless reasonable safety standards are met. The Government hasn’t exactly formed a great track record with regard to keeping our NHS staff and Carers safe while heavily reliant on them to keep on working.
The Tories have ditched the sheer hypocrisy of telling the public to “Protect the NHS” during a period where the Government has repeatedly abandoned their responsibility to provide a reliable, ongoing supply of adequate PPE, to reduce the risk to staff, and to organize timely testing of all Healthcare providers in Hospitals, Care Homes and GP Practices. The new buzz words are “Control the Virus;” once again this implies that this duty is entirely under our control and conveniently removed from the Government’s remit. What is even more worrying is that it would seem to indicate that the Tory agenda is not the total eradication of this disease, but a plan to maintain the disease at a manageable level of infection and mortality for the foreseeable future.
This “turning on of the tap” is the next phase of the eugenics “Herd Immunity” plan that the Tories never really abandoned because a “Slaughter the Sheeple” to cull the “Economically Inactive Scavengers” will save the Government a lot of money moving forward. “Save Lives” remains unchanged, but we should ask, whose lives are the Tories intent on saving? The poor and disadvantaged are becoming infected and dying at twice the rate of the privileged while the BME community has been hit particularly hard. Several days ago there were reports that over 40 of London’s bus and MTA workers had died of Covid 19; there are legitimate fears over going back to work that might derail the Tory plan. Sadly, the only lives that really matter to them are the wealthy Tory elite; just the fittest and strongest of the expendable slave labour force, those forced to work lengthy hours for pittance wages, will be spared.
With two right wing pro Tory guests to review the papers, Jo Cobern from the BBC and Frazer Nelson Editor of the Spectator, there was no pretence at any political balance as the BBC continues its lurch to the far right. Most of the above realities were readily glossed over without too much scrutiny during the Paper Review, but there were juicy rumours that Mat Hancock was about to become the fall guy after seven days of not meeting his own 100,000 test target while 50,000 tests were shipped off to the US for processing! Other matters raised were the Unions recommending no return to work until there were safety guarantees and that the schools potentially going back may also present a problem. The impending imposition of a fourteen day quarantine on those entering the UK was also discussed, but all of these measures remain a matter of speculation awaiting Johnson’s dictates later on.
Marr interviewed Professor Peter Horby, chair of NERVTAG to ascertain what we might expect from Medical science to help combat Covid 19. A Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health he is on an expert committee of the Department of Health (DH), and the Group Leader Epidemic diseases Research Group Oxford (ERGO). Marr said, “He is also running the world’s largest clinical trial of potential treatments for Covid 19” and when they spoke he asked “whether we will get an effective treatment for Covid and when?”
Horby replied that, “Treatments in many ways are easier as we are looking at drugs that are already used.” He explained how, “these repurposed drugs are already on the shelf in the pharmacy, if we can test those and show that they work we can give them immediately to everyone.” He went on to say that, “with vaccines you are giving them to a much wider population and you are giving them to people who are not yet sick, so the risk-benefit balance is very different… you need to be a lot more careful with new vaccines. He felt there was a reasonable chance we could find drugs that work, ‘perhaps even this year’.”
Marr asked about the drug Remdesivir that had been approved for emergency use in the United States. This broad-spectrum antiviral drug, that was originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Gilead as a treatment for Ebola, could potentially be used in the treatment of Covid 19. Horby said that there had been a small Chinese trial had not shown significant results, but announced on the same day, a US trial “had shown that the drug was capable of reducing the duration of Hospital stays by five days.” Horby said “they hadn’t yet seen any benefit on mortality” further results are yet to be seen. Personally, I remain sceptical of “Big Pharma” in the US with their huge profit driven agenda. Marr commented about the drugs “being made widely available if they work, but Remdesivir is not widely available,” noting that Horby was unable to get sufficient supplies of Remdesivir for his own trial.
Horby said that, “there are two sorts of drugs the repurposed drugs and then there’s the experimental drugs. Remdesivir is not yet properly licensed for anything so it is not yet available on the shelves.” Marr said “can you just explain to us how your trial works?” “The recovery trial is a national effort,” Horby sounded hopeful in his reply, “here in the UK we’re in an excellent position, probably better than anywhere else, because we’ve got the NHS and we’ve also got a national research infrastructure, so we managed to open the trial across the whole of the UK, it’s open in all the devolved Nations… in 117 Hospitals… it means we can get very big numbers so we’ve now enrolled 9500 patients… we believe is the biggest trial anywhere in the world, it puts us in a very good position to get some very clear answers about whether these drugs are beneficial.”
Marr bought up Hydroxychloroquine that had unfortunately gained a really dangerous rap due to the incredibly reckless intervention of Donald Trump. Horby decried the President’s dangerous intervention, insisting there was no reliable evidence. Criticizing the “anecdotes we hear from small studies aren’t good enough,” he said “this has well known side effects… you have cases of people poisoning themselves with this drug.” However, he failed to inform us that this very affordable drug is still included in the trials as a potential treatment for Covid. Hydroxychloroquine is not an experimental new drug and it doesn’t have significant side effects when properly administered; it has a reasonable safety profile and is currently widely used overseas for the treatment of Malaria.
Horby said that people seeking treatment should sign up for the trials. Marr switched back to Remdesivir and valid concerns, “the company would ramp the price up, it becomes hard to get and incredibly pricey.” That is their business model! He wanted to know if the pharmaceutical companies were going to make it unaffordable. Horby shared the concern saying, “it is incredibly important that there’s a global solidarity around these issues, there should be no opportunity for these companies making vast profits from these drugs; everyone across the world no matter what their income including the poorest countries should have access to drugs like this. If they work they need to be licensed out for generic produced so that they can be made available to everyone at cost price.” I was left wondering what kind of happy pills he had consumed before the interview!
Marr asked, “from what you have seen so far is it more likely to be a combo of two or even three drugs that are being used widely?” Horby elaborated, “Covid has two aspects to it, you have got the virus and the viral replication… the antiviral drugs kill the virus and stop it replicating, but there is also a lot of inflammation, so we have other drugs to target the inflammation.” He said you will need both and the best approach was with a combination, “one or more antivirals plus something that dampens down the immune response to the virus.” Marr turned to focus or Professor Horby’s role as the chairman of NERVTAG, quoting one paper that warned of 100,000 deaths if we got the release from lockdown wrong. Horby said we could very easily be back in a situation of crisis.
Marr asked about the “R” number that we have all been hearing so much about. Horby admitted it was an estimate based on all sorts of data sources that are imperfect. From what I have learned so far about the missing data from lack of testing I would say that “imperfect” was a major understatement! Horby deftly papered over the cracks saying, “we need to improve the information streams that will allow us to have a more precise idea of what’s happening and then we can calibrate the public Health response so that we keep it under control:” more doublespeak! I couldn’t help noting the emphasis on controlling the virus rather than irradiating Covid 19. Questioned on regional differences, Horby said that “the “R” number is a composite… lots of small epidemics and we are so interconnected that it may not make sense to different restrictions in different parts of the country.”
Marr said, “your committee advised the Government to stockpile gowns and they didn’t” Horby stumbled after he had to admit to problems with PPE, but he tried to cover for Government’s mistakes saying “a lot of their early planning was based on Pandemic influenza” saying it had been “more extensive than any of us were expecting.” On the one hand stating there was now “no excuse,” but then following with the standard excuse of global shortages. I couldn’t help thinking that if it were bullets there would be no supply issues…
Marr said that, “Richard Horton who’s the Editor of the Lancet, had a bit of a go at committees like NERVETAG he said that most of the participants in SAGE… are actually Government scientists that are on the payroll of the Government, we did not have truly independent scientific advice; this is a system that is corrupted we do not have people who are truly able to give truth to power.” Horby was asked if he could give truth to power. More prevarication followed, but I noted that Dominic Cummings’s presence at meetings and the potential for his unscientific input was not mentioned by Marr – last week’s news…
Horby asserted that Marr was mistaken as he tried to justify the people participating in these influential committees in a profuse defence, concluding that they were, “completely independent and not influenced by politicians.” Marr said NERVTAG had been criticized too, he was asked why initially they had assessed the disease as only a “moderate risk?” Horby claimed that this was misunderstood, “the risk assessment was, what was the actual risk right then to the people in the UK at the time” according to him “it was not used as a trigger for any action.” Immediate risk, not impending risk: did that justify negligent inaction? Why wouldn’t they want to fully anticipate and plan for the worst and be fully prepared; this made no sense, a very questionable response at best. Horby must have been extremely relieved that the interview was over as, in my opinion, he did not equipped himself well.
Marr interviewed Jonathan Ashworth, the Labour Shadow Health Secretary asking his opinion of the new messaging. Ashworth was not impressed with the vague instruction to “Stay Alert.” He questioned the clarity of the message, saying “this virus really does exploit ambivalence and thrive on ambiguity.” Marr pressed him for a definition, but Ashworth just emphasized how deadly the virus was and our disgraceful UK standing with the highest death toll in Europe. He was particularly concerned for those from poorer backgrounds and those in the BME community who were extremely vulnerable; he said many who survive will have long-term health problems. This uncovered a serious concern as we are all acutely aware of how the total lack of empathy from the Tory Government has impacted our disabled population in the past: the future is bleak for those crippled by Covid.
“We always knew that getting out of lockdown was going to be a difficult and complicated process” Marr said, “Labour has been calling again, and again, and again for a path out of the lockdown” he wanted to know if they felt any responsibility for the confused messaging at the moment? Typical ploy to target Labour, who aren’t in Government, for blunders that the Tories are never held responsible for. Ashworth didn’t take the bait, saying “we have seen different briefings for different newspapers… at the same time I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask the Government what the strategy is.” He kept the focus on the Government’s responsibility saying, “we know we need more testing… we abandoned our contact tracing…”
Marr interrupted saying, “I’m sorry to jump in” and claiming there was a contradiction between asking for clarity now and wanting to know what will happen in the weeks ahead; he was determined to call out Labour for scrutinizing and demanding clear instructions from the Government. Ashworth remained unruffled saying, “we must treat the public like they’re grownups” Labour wanted a general strategy offering more clarity, not a fixed date like what was briefed to the papers. It must be noted that the vague Sunday briefing was expected to take effect the very next day! Labour were asking for “a route map… the lockdown is a blunt tool it is not a strategy in itself.” Ashworth was concerned for those whose cancer treatment was on hold and he said, “taking children out of school for so long has huge implications for our young people as well.” Ashworth didn’t think his questions were unreasonable.
Marr said “can I ask your view on ending the lockdown differently in different parts of the country…” He reeled off numbers London has 86 deaths per 100,000 and he offered other areas in comparison like Norwich with only 5 per 100,000, but all were treated the same. Ashworth went to the heart of the matter saying he thought there was “a case for targeted testing and tracing regimes.” He was not in favour of the Tory, “just pick a big number approach.” He wanted to target deprived areas, BME communities, but also certain cohorts of within the workforce, all healthcare workers and care homes. However he considered releasing restriction by area was a mistake as wealthy people could afford to relocate so it was not a good policy.
Marr asked about a Labour policy that people in rent arrears should be given two years to pay it back, but many in the Labour Party considered this far too cautions and think that, “arrears accrued during Covid 19 should be written off completely.” Ashworth said “as we come out of this crisis society cannot be the same again it shows that we need more public investment, investment in our public services, we need strong infrastructure in this country.” He said “we need to build our economy so it’s not based on low pay and zero hours contracts.” He wanted a debate on, “how we rebuild the country after we come through this, but in the meantime we need the support to get through this.” Ashworth noted that, “a lot of people will be worse off because of this crisis.” I wouldn’t count on the most severely deprived getting a bail out from the Tories any time soon!
Statistician Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge was described by Marr as, “an advisor to the SAGE committee on Covid 19, much quoted by ministers about the difficulties making international death comparisons.” Strange how that unusual name had been mentioned so often over the past week, I was really curious to see how fiercely he would defend his much quoted article. Marr started by asking him, “how many people are infected in the UK?” This was a prompt for the professor tp reel of a string of mind boggling numbers and he obliged. Spiegelhalter started that with, “some very rough back of the envelope sums” we’ve had maybe 35,000 deaths from Covid 19…” In reality it is becoming widely accepted as being far higher than that.
He elaborated further saying, “the infection fatality rate, the proportion of people that get infected who go on to die, is on average less than 1%, multiply that up, you get 3½ million infected with the virus but it could be much higher than that…The infection fatality rate could be half that… 7 million in this country at least infected.” He said it was, “extraordinary that we don’t know the basic facts yet. We have heard from Sir Ian Diamond, the Head of the Office for National Statistics that they had finally got asked to do a proper survey; April 17th they finally got asked and they will start getting the results this week, of how many people have got it and how many people have had it.” Spiegelhalter said it was “the one bit of criticism he was prepared to make about the Government is the fact that the testing the development of the testing has been so delayed.” Just ONE!
Marr asked about the number of excess deaths per week or month at the moment, he wanted to know what he could tell us about that. Spiegelhalter said, “That is the most useful figure to look at. If we look over the last four weeks of the data from the Office of National Statistics, which is the most reliable source of information it goes up to just April 24th so it is still 2 week old data, we can see that instead of over those four weeks the 42,000 deaths we would normally expect at this time of year instead we had 79,000! That’s nearly double, that’s 37,000 extra deaths, but only 2700 of those had Covid 19 on the death certificate. That leaves about 10,000… which are kind of unexplained. What has caused these extra deaths?”
Spiegelhalter tried to account for the unexplained deaths, “…the spike in non Covid excess deaths… some of them will be under-diagnosis, but Ian Diamond was attributing them to indirect deaths or collateral damage, the damage caused by the disruption to the Health Service.” He said this, “was clear looking at the data from Care Homes and people’s homes. There’s been a massive shift from deaths in Hospitals into deaths in Care Homes and homes, not necessarily a bad thing for people to die in more familiar circumstances, but a lot of death happening out of Hospitals that we wouldn’t have expected at this time of year. More than half the deaths in Care Homes, running at three times the normal rate are not being labelled as Covid. This is unbelievably important due to people not going to Hospital and not calling the ambulance when they are ill.” He said, “it didn’t even take into account the damage in the longer term due to lack of chemotherapy, elective surgery and so on, that is also a massive issue.”
Marr highlighted how Spiegelhalter had had a slight run in with the Prime Minister when he criticized him for, “quoting you in terms of the uselessness of international comparisons.” Spiegelhalter did appear somewhat annoyed at the way his recent article in the Guardian had been misconstrued and he had criticized the PM over statements on international comparisons. He said that he was motivated to write the article because he was, “sick of the media based who’s top or doing the worst.” He added that, ”because of the enormously different ways that different countries were reporting their data it was a completely fatuous exercise to do a sort of Eurovision between who’s the worst in Europe, but I should have made myself clearer.”
Spiegelhalter went on to explain that what he was talking about was, “look at the bad countries in Europe, UK, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy; I was not saying that we can’t make any comparisons at all because clearly it’s important to note that we as a member of that group is way above in terms of their mortality above Germany, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Norway who have low fatality rates. If only to say what’s happened in this country is not inevitable, it doesn’t mean it had to happen.” He admitted he had not been very clear and that, “then I found my paper was being quoted by ministers to support the claim that we cannot make any of international comparison.”
Spiegelhalter said he, “thought it would go away, but finally Boris Johnson used it in a response in parliamentary questions I felt forced and my colleagues encouraged me to actually go public and say please don’t do this, it’s not what I meant, don’t use this to make the claim that we can’t make any comparisons. I tweeted that out at it’s my one and possibly my only viral tweet with over 10.000 re-tweets.” Marr responded, “you said it wasn’t inevitable that we had that number of deaths and that finally leads to are we talking about policy or are we talking about clustering of people in London and other issues?”
Spiegelhalter replied that there were, “so many reasons why countries can differ let alone the policy… the age distribution,” he said he, “hadn’t realized that in Ireland 6% of the population is over 75 and in England it is literally double that 12% of the population are over 75. This is a disease of the over 75s almost completely. There are many comparisons, we are a densely populated country they are still making… these fine comparisons are extremely difficult indeed. However, when you see massive differences between countries, then they it is really worth trying to investigate why.” Marr picked up on his point that it was a disease of the over 75s and wanted to ask, “how scared should most of us be of dying of Covid 19?”
Spiegelhalter said it was, “an interesting question because as lockdown was released we are going to be turning from a societal threat into risk management. I think it’s very important that we are aware of what the risks are… people’s anxiety should be roughly proportional to the actual risks that they face.” Spiegelhalter offers more numbers, “the ONS reported nearly 30,000 Covid deaths up to April 24th. People are worried about children, let’s look at the young group… among the young, children under 15, only 2 have died out of 10 million. This is the tiniest risk, people talk about protecting our children this is bit of a delusion, but we have to think of the potential for spreading the virus.”
“If you look at personal risk for young people it’s staggeringly low. If you look at under 25s, there’s 17 million of them in the country and we have had 26 deaths among the under 25, they may have had other complications, but that is one or two per million that’s about the same as the risk from accidents or sudden deaths over a couple of days. Let’s compare it with the over 90s, more than 1% of the over 90 have so far died from Covid just in four weeks, that’s 10,000 times the risk of the younger people. It is very difficult to communicate that staggering gradient in risk… the risk doubles every 6 or 7 years.”
Marr pitched in, “so we’re talking about the over 70s and over 75s? He asks how well are these press briefings communicating the situation?” Spiegelhalter was scathing in his reply, admitting that he had watched the previous day’s broadcast and quite frankly he said he had, “found it completely embarrassing. We get told lots of big numbers, the precise numbers of test done, 96,978, well that’s not how many tests were done it includes ones that were posted out. We are told 31,587 people have died; no they haven’t its far more than that. This is not trustworthy communication of statistics and it’s such a missed opportunity.”
Spiegelhalter concluded the interview by saying that, “the public out there are broadly very supportive of the measures and they are hungry for details for facts, genuine information and yet they get fed this what I call ‘number theatre’ which seems to be coordinated by a number ten communications team rather than genuinely trying to inform people about what is going on. I just wish that the data had been brought together and presented by people who really knew its strengths and limitations and could treat the audience with some respect.”
The Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick was next up, asked by Marr what the Prime Minister meant by “Stay Alert?” Jenrick said that, “at ten o’clock tonight the Prime Minister will lay out a roadmap for the next phase of the virus, we’ve passed the peak and so we do think this is the right moment to update and broaden the message.” So Stay Alert will mean stay alert by staying home as much as possible, but stay alert when you do go out by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands, respecting others in the workplace and the other settings that you’ll go to. This will be a cautious message because the rate of infection is still high and the public are understandably anxious.” There was a hint of more people being expected to return to work, but Jenrick’s blind confidence in the shambolic new messaging and the full implications of the Governments instructions remained vague until much later in the day.
What most people were told at ten o’clock, literally just hours before they might be expected to head back at work, was that “Stay Alert” meant navigating the close proximity danger on crammed public transport to get to their totally unprepared workplaces where maintaining social distancing would be impossible. The total lack of warning or any consideration of preparedness for the ongoing health and safety risks obviously did not concern the Government at all. Just keep washing your hands – the Tory Government is washing their hands of all responsibility for the inevitable second wave spike in Covid 19 cases.May 16, 2020 at 16:38 #53638Clark
– “the infection fatality rate, the proportion of people that get infected who go on to die, is on average less than 1%, multiply that up, you get 3½ million infected with the virus but it could be much higher than that…The infection fatality rate could be half that…”
No. IFR studies internationally are converging on between 1% and 1.5%. It could go higher if covid-19 is allowed to run riot, which causes initial high viral load on each infectee, and hospital overload, but there are no good indications of it being lower.
Regarding comparisons of fatalities between countries, by far the most important consideration is how soon lockdown was imposed; see the chart I compiled here. Early lockdown means less deaths. Comparisons of demographics pale into insignificance by comparison.
– “we’ve passed the peak”
This is such a stupid, misleading phrase that has become popular recently. No. We avoided the peak with the lockdown, and if the restrictions are loosened we’ll just start ascending towards the peak again. Best estimate for numbers infected to date is still the ICL model, which is still under 6%. If we need 60% to have been infected to achieve herd immunity (which is very optimistic, and if that’s even how covid-19 works, it hasn’t existed long enough to find out) then there’s still the potential for this to get 60/6 = ten times worse.
I really don’t know which is worse, government policy or corporate media coverage. Both are entirely unfit for purpose. And remember that the politicians themselves gain many of their impressions from the corporate media. The best thing I have found to do with it is simply avoid it.
Regarding the lack of independence of SAGE:May 16, 2020 at 16:52 #53639Clark
Kim, you wrote:
– “My writing is cathartic, but it also has a distinct purpose. I feel a dire need to keep this frail and flimsy protest banner frantically waving, despite the political storm raging around us threatening to tear our pathetic emblem of fading democracy to shreds.”
A brief summary of my own efforts:
I got involved with this website over a decade ago, and I found it empowering. Craig’s activism, coupled with public support through this site, achieved a number of successes mostly in the fields of deportation, foreign policy, and forcing issues into the corporate media.
I joined up with the Labour Party to support Jeremy Corbyn; that brought me considerable hope, until the recent General Election and Labour leadership election. But throughout, trying to achieve anything within the Labour Party was like trying to wade through treacle.
I got involved with Extinction Rebellion in October 2018, and that has been incredibly rewarding. But then suddenly covid-19 arrived, making direct action and civil disobedience irresponsible.
It is all most frustrating, but what else can we expect as we hurtle towards the collapse of civilisation?
Love and rage, Kim.May 16, 2020 at 20:06 #53646SA
Thanks for the Independent SAGE link, it was such a good explanation, in very clear, non-political way of why the government’s action are wrong. For a start why would an independent scientific advice to the government be shrouded in secrecy? Why does the government want to introduce a biosecurity organisation when all the existing epidemiological and public health structures have been neglected? It sounds like a militaristic, political approach to public health issues.
It was a very clear message: for the public to believe in what the government calls the ‘science’ we need to be open about what this is unadulterated and unpoliticised. I hope they get somewhere, it was a breath of fresh air.May 16, 2020 at 20:07 #53647SA
Interestingly the correspondent from the Daily Mail was trying to imply that this group had a left leaning political agenda, and was effectively silenced by the answer and didn’t get his follow-up question.May 17, 2020 at 01:13 #53660Clark
– “why would an independent scientific advice to the government be shrouded in secrecy? Why does the government want to introduce a biosecurity organisation… It sounds like a militaristic, political approach to public health issues”
This is England, friend; militarism is everything. The head of the state church crowns the head of the armed forces. England has essentially the same structure as Saudi Arabia, which is why one of England’s princes visits the al-Sauds once a year to sell them modern weapons and do their sword dance. The metaphor couldn’t be clearer.
– “for the public to believe in what the government calls the ‘science’ we need to be open about what this is unadulterated and unpoliticised.
Precisely. ‘Occult’ simply means ‘hidden’, the polar opposite of science, in which we disclose everything, methods and results, so that others can replicate our work, or fail to. That’s how science empowers. But empowerment of the public is the opposite of what the capitalist-political system needs, therefore science is occluded, piece by piece.
Love and Rage, SA.May 18, 2020 at 01:37 #53746Kim Sanders-Fisher
There is now a time lag between the vital weekly governmental scrutiny opportunity that is presented at Prime Minister’s Questions and my comments posted reporting on the highlights of PMQs. This allows time for me to research and evaluate any other relevant supporting or notably conflicting data that is best analysed at the same time during a week when critical details can often get lost in the overkill of Covid 19 news. This was particularly important this week with a number of fixed dates when public policy changes were made documented by the BBC in a later Newsnight broadcast that I have now decided I will post tomorrow. The BBC must have researched and fact-checked before the broadcast so I will include verbatim quotes for comparison and contrast with earlier verbatim statements made at PMQs. I consider this significant evidence of a pattern of deliberate exposure to risk and culpable negligence that I refer to as a “Holocaust in Care.”
At the last PMQs the main focus was on the situation in Care Homes where the Tory Government has had a policy of facilitating the mass culling of our elderly population in this shocking Holocaust in Care, a move that appears to be the Tory “Final Solution” to eliminate the “burden” of Social Care in providing for “economically inactive” pensioners. It is ironic that included among the Tories current target cohort are the hallowed veterans who fought to protect us from the scourge of a genocidal authoritarian dictatorship! Kier Starmer preceded his questions by remarking that, “The Prime Minister said we need to rapidly reverse the awful situation in our care homes – but earlier this year and until the 12th of March the Government’s own official advice was and I’m quoting from it ‘it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected’.”
Starmer continued with his first question, “Yesterdays ONS figures showed that at least 40% of all deaths from Covid 19 were in Care Homes. Does the Prime Minister accept that the Government was too slow to protect people in Care Homes?” The PM emphatically denied the accusation in a breathless tirade, “No Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t true that the advice said that and actually we bought to lockdown in Care Homes ahead of the general lockdown and what we’ve seen is a concerted action plan to tackle what is unquestionably the appalling epidemic in Care Holmes and a huge exercise in testing is going on a further 600 million pounds I can announce today for infection control in Care Homes and yes it is absolutely true that the number of casualties has been too high, but I can tell the house that as I told the Right Honourable Gentleman last week and indeed this week the number of outbreaks is down and the number of fatalities in Care Homes is well down. Ther e is much more to do, but we are making progress Mr Speaker.”
Starmer’s rebuttal was swift, “I’m surprised the Prime Minister queried the advice of his own Government up to the 12th of March. I do of course welcome any fall in the recorded numbers and he’s right to reference that, but the Prime Minister must still recognize that the numbers are very high.” These policy decisions are well documented and could provide damning evidence against the Government in a court case. Starmer identified a particular article validating the impact, “The daily Telegraph carried the following quote from a Cardiologist, ‘We discharged no suspected or unknown cases into Care Homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that patients were infected, no testing available and no PPE to prevent transmission, we actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.’ Does the PM accept that the Cardiologist is right about this?”
The PM was clearly taken aback by this revelation and responded with insincere accolades, unable to call out the raw truth of the Doctor’s statement without insulting heroic NHS staff he stalled for time saying, “Well Mr. Speaker, I have the utmost respect for all our Medical profession who are doing an extraordinary job in very difficult circumstances.” Boris Johnson then reverted to a diversionary slalom away from the question to brag his way out of providing an answer saying, “but what I can tell the house is that actually the number of discharges from Hospitals into Care Homes went down in March and April and we had a system of testing people going into Care Homes and that testing is now being ramped up across all the 1500 Care Homes in this country.” I doubt these claims would survive a robust fact-check.
Starmer kept up his uncomfortable questioning of the PM asking, “Mr. Speaker, I want to probe the figures the Prime Minister’s given us a little bit further the Office of National Statistics records the average number of deaths in Care Homes in each month. For the last five years the average for April has been just over 8000. This year the number of deaths in Care Homes for April was a staggering 26,000, that’s three times the average,18,000 additional deaths this April. Using the Government figures only 8000 are recorded as Covid deaths; that leaves 10,000 additional and unexplained Care Home deaths this April. Now I know the Government must have looked into this, so can the Prime Minister give us the Governments views on these unexplained deaths?”
The PM scrambled to find an appropriate reply, “Well Mr. Speaker Coronavirus is an appalling disease which afflicts some groups far more than others, I think that the whole country understands that in particular the elderly, and he’s right to draw attention as I’ve said to the tragedy that’s been taking place in Care Homes.” He continued his redundant statement of the obvious saying, “The Office of National Statistics is responsible for producing the data that they have, the Gov has also produced data which not only shows that there has been, as I say a terrible epidemic in Care Homes.” The question remained unanswered as Boris Johnson started into another slalom run of diversionary banter.
The PM reverted to bragging about painfully slow, gradual improvements by continuing his reply saying, “but since the Covid, the Care Homes Action Plan began we are seeing an appreciable and substantial reduction, not just in the number of outbreaks but also in the number of deaths and I want to stress to the House and also to the country that solving the problem in Care Homes is going to be absolutely critical to getting the “R” down not just in Care Homes but across the country is going to be absolutely critical to our ability to move forward as a nation with the steps program that I announced on Sunday. We must exit and we will.” Johnson managed a clear run taking the subject so far in the opposite direction that most will have forgotten the question.
Starmer wasn’t perturbed, determined to drive home his point he elaborated on the unanswered question of unexplained deaths asking, “The Prime Minister says that solving the problem in Care Homes is crucial but that can only happen if the numbers are understood and therefore I was disappointed that the Prime Minister doesn’t have an answer to the pretty obvious question as to what are those 10,000 unexplained deaths.” This was a point that the opposition will hope is picked up by the press, hence the emphasis of Starmer’s rebuttal.
Keir Starmer continued with another question, “Mr. Speaker yesterday the overall figures given by the Government at the Press Conference were those who died of Covid 19 was 32,692 each one a tragedy. For many weeks the Government has compared the UK number against other countries. Last week I showed the PM his own slides showing that the UK now has the highest death total in Europe and the second highest in the world. A version of this slide has been shown at the number 10 Press Conference every day since the 30th of March, that’s seven weeks. Yesterday the Government stopped publishing the international comparisons and the slide’s gone. Why?” A recent Skwawkbox Article elaborated on the issue of the disappearing data slide.
This expectation of transparency really got Boris Johnson rattled and his hesitation showed, “Er, Mr Speaker Er, as, as he knows very well the UK has been going through an unprecedented once in a century epidemic and he seeks to make comparisons with other countries which I’m advised… I’m advised are premature because the correct, the correct and final way of making these comparisons will be when we have all the excess death totals for all the relevant countries. We do not yet have that data… now Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to try to pretend to the House that the figures when they are finally confirmed are anything other than stark and deeply, deeply horrifying this has been an appalling epidemic…”
Johnson needed another triumphant slalom run of diversionary bragging so he continued with, “what I can tell the House is that we are getting those numbers down, the numbers of deaths are coming down, the numbers of Hospital admissions are coming down thanks to the hard work of the British people in reducing the ‘R’.” Certain no one would want to challenge public effort Johnson continued, “Mr. Speaker, in reducing those numbers of fatalities we are now in a position to make some small modest steps to begin to come out of the very restrictive measures that we’ve had. I think people do understand what we’re trying to do as a country and as for the international comparisons that he seeks to draw now, I think he will have to… he will have to contain his impatience.” There were a few pathetic Hear, Hears of support from the Covid depleted Tory benches.
Starmer continued to profess bewilderment saying, “Well I’m baffled, it’s not me seeking to draw the comparisons these are the Government slides that have been used for seven weeks to reassure the public and the problem with the Prime Minister’s answer is that it’s pretty obvious that for seven weeks when we weren’t the highest number in Europe they were using them for comparison purposes and as soon as we hit that unenviable place they’ve been dropped and last week he quoted in defence of Professor Spiegelhalter. What Professor Spiegelhalter said at the weekend was this that we need to think about it we should use other countries to try and learn why our numbers are so high and so dropping the comparison, means dropping the learning and that’s the real risk.”
Starmer continued, “I want to ask the Prime Minister now about the changes that are coming into effect today. The real concern for many people is childcare.” He went on to quote the mother of a young child apologizing for its length by saying that it reflected queries that all members of the House would have been getting. It was over what they should do about childcare, essentially what exceptions would employers be expected to make for their workers to provide for childcare needs, as both she and her husband were expected back at work while nurseries remained closed. Starmer asked, “What advice would the Prime Minister give her?”
Boris Johnson felt the need to start with a defensive rebuttal, “Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker just on his earlier point about not learning from other countries, nothing could be further from the truth, we are watching intently what is happening in other countries and it is very notable that in some other countries were relaxations have been introduced there is signs of the “R” going up again and that’s a very clear warning to us not to proceed to fast or too recklessly and I hope that people, I hope the country does understand that.” In reality, this Tory Government has made a conscious choice to totally ignore the strong evidence of all of the International experts informing the WHO on best practice with regard to global Pandemic advice and head off in the wrong direction advocating “Herd Immunity.” They are still heading in the wrong direction because Tories never learn lessons.
The PM returned to the more recent question saying, “on the specific point that he rightly raises about people who have anxieties about going back to work when they don’t have adequate childcare, and I think I was very clear with both with him and with the House earlier in the week, that in so far as that people may not be able to go back to work because they don’t have the childcare that they need, then their employers must be understanding and it is clearly as I said an impediment it’s a barrier to your ability to go back to work if you don’t have childcare. I’d be very happy to look at the specific case that he raises if there’s anything more that we can do to shed light on the matter.” If there is no Government mandated protection in place to cover this situation workers know they will be exploited.
Starmer says he is grateful to the Prime Minister for indicating that he’ll look into that particular case, reminding him that it’s one of very many. He moves to another important point saying, “The Prime Minister is asking the country to support decisions that will affect millions of lives, these are not easy decisions, I recognize that they’re very difficult balanced decisions that the Prime Minister and his Government has to make. After the confusion of the last few days gaining public confidence in them is crucial, crucial the Prime Minister said that his decisions were and I quote ‘driven by the science, the data and public health.’ So to give the public confidence in the decisions, can the Prime Minister commit to publishing the scientific advice that his decisions were based on?”
This was a tall order from the most opaque Tory Government in living memory and the PM was determined to avoid any scrutiny evasively saying that, “Now Mr. Speaker, all SAGE advice is published in due course as the Right Honourable Gentleman knows.” With that classic prelude to obfuscation he continued, “and let me be absolutely clear with the House that SAGE has been involved in every stage, and our scientists and our medical officers have been involved in every stage, of preparing this strategy and I want to remind the House that what we are doing is entirely conditional and provisional,” deftly evading the question altogether. It was time for another thrilling slalom run of insincere complements and bragging as Boris Johnson prattled on, “The UK has made a huge amount of progress and the people of this country have worked incredibly hard to get the “R” down; we cannot now go back to square one we can’t risk a second outbreak and we will do everything to avoid that.”
So this was Boris Johnson’s valid excuse for keeping the entire country in the dark, guessing over exactly what scientific advice might be driving the reckless Tory Government’s shambolic policy making that was so radically at odds with the WHO and most other countries? The Prime Minister concluded with his baseless assumptions regarding public understanding and support, “I think that actually when they look at what we’re advocating as the way forward, the Steps Process that we’ve set out, I think people can see exactly what we’re trying to do as a country and they can see that everybody is still required to obey the social distancing laws, the social distancing rules. And after a time the common sense of the British people got us through that first phase of the disease I’m absolutely confident they will get us through the next as well.”
After thanking our NHS Nurses on International Nurses Day Ian Blackford asked, “Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister, in response to my questioning, noted the ability of the Governments of all four Nations to come together and to deliver a very clear message for our people. Events on Sunday could not have been more disastrous from this Government, the Prime Minister has made confusion costly, the devolved administrations shut out, widespread confusion amongst the public and a total disregard from this Government for workers safety. Very sadly we have seen the images of London buses being packed this morning. Mr. Speaker will the Prime Minister accept that the clear message in Scotland is Stay Home to Protect the NHS to Save Lives.”
The PM responded, “Mr. Speaker indeed the message throughout the country is of course that you should stay at home if you can, unless you, unless the specific circumstances that we’ve outlined apply, but I must say I don’t accept the characterization of the cooperation that we’ve had across all four nations that the leader of the SNP makes. In my experience there’s been intense, it’s been going on for days and days, and weeks and weeks, and actually I think if you look at the totality of the measures that we’re taking as a country there is much more that unites us than divides us and we will go forward together.” Johnson said, evoking the sad memory of a courageous Labour MP cut down in her prime due to bigoted far Right hate messages and incitement provoked by Brexit extremists. In view of Boris’s notorious intolerance and total lack of collaboration, it was not an appropriate remark.
Ian Blackford offered a reality check saying, “Mr. Speaker the reality is that the Prime Minister has failed to deliver a clear message and he doesn’t address the point about London buses being packed this morning. The Prime Minister is threatening progress made against the spread of this virus by the general public, who have following the advice to stay at home. The Prime Minister is putting worker’s safety at risk by calling on those who can’t work at home to go to their jobs without any guidance on health and safety.” These chaotic scenes were captured and well documented on Social Media and it made an absolute mockery of the Government’s social distancing strategy. Few if any of the commuters were wearing masks because the Government has insisted that wearing masks is pointless; terrified that the general public will commandeer any of the dwindling PPE supplies. Expect another spike in infections!
Blackford moved on to his second permitted question saying, “only last Monday the Health Secretary launched a test – trace App trial, on Sunday the Prime Minister appeared to leap frog any success with that by announcing easing of restriction! Before any lockdown easing and to avoid undermining the progress made so far the Prime Minister must make sure that there are sufficient levels of testing available and the ability to test, trace, isolate is fully in operation. Why is the Prime Minister throwing weeks of against this virus into jeopardy undermining the work of our outstanding NHS?”
Boris Johnson, caught out by the absurdity of jumping the gun on lockdown, appeared hesitant to reply before returning to London buses, “Er well Mr. Speaker forgive me, he raises the point about London buses… which is quite right and I don’t want to see crowding on mass tran…” Don’t say “mass transit,” there are no masses allowed! Correcting his error, the PM continued, “on public transport, in our capitol or anywhere else, and we’re working very actively with TFL to insure that what we do is, we have more capacity, we discourage people from going to work during the peak and that the operators and in particular TFL lay on, particularly more tubes, more tube trains, when those are necessary throughout the day… and a huge amount of work is being done, we also want to see proper marshalling at stations to prevent crowding of trains.” It was probably considered best not to mention expecting all those poor bastards socially cleansed out of London to walk or cycle for countless hours just to get to and from work.
It was time for another self-congratulatory slalom to avoid criticism over the testing void. The PM longed for support as he began his reply, “I must say that on his point about test, track and trace, the test, track and trace is going to be a huge operation for this entire country…” He needed to drag Blackford into his shambolic plan saying, “and I think actually he should pay tribute the work of those hundreds of thousands of people who are now responsible for massively escalating our test, track and tracing operation.” It was another nauseating round of “don’t you dare insult the people.” Johnson went on to claim, “We now test more than virtually any other country in Europe…” The key word here was “virtually” as this probably referred to “virtual testing” a bit like “your test is in the mail…” I doubt that boast was a true fact, more likely another impressive piece of Boris Shit?
Johnson was swiftly twisting and turning as his bragging rapidly advanced, “and it’s got, the rate of acceleration, the rate of increase, has been very, very sharp indeed and we will go up to 200,000 by the end of the month, but he’s absolutely right that this should be entirely, the success of this program is absolutely vital if we’re to be able to move on to the third step, the second and third steps of our roadmap.” The PM would rather we didn’t notice the reduction in his commitment for the increased level of testing by the end of this month to 200,000; what happened to 250,000? It was time to pull the recalcitrant SNP Ministers into the Tories bogus roadmap against their will. Boris Johnson’s fake majority in Parliament will give the Tories the ability to shut down all of the devolved Governments following crash-out Brexit in a few months time; they will not hesitate to bring the devolved nations to heel.
Among other issues raised, Conservative Julian smith asked if there would be a more permanent solution for rough sleepers, 90% of whom had been taken off the street in response to the crisis. The PM indulged in self-congratulatory glory that ignored the harsh reality of the escalation of homelessness under a decade of Tory austerity. Liberal Democrat Ed Davey made a pitch for extending the help offered to the Self Employed to which the PM responded by accusing him of attempting to take credit from the Tories over measure they had introduces; I did not het the quip, but a number of MPs were obviously amused by it. Tory MP Dr Jamie Wallis took the opportunity to criticise Labour for their slower release of lockdown in Wales; an attack that the PM eagerly lapped up.
Labour MP John Spellar asked about the returning of nationals from overseas and the dismissive abandonment of those claiming leave to remain in the UK who were experiencing a similar persecution to the Windrush victims. The PM claimed to be “doing best we can.” The SNPs, David Linden was concerned for the welfare of asylum seekers after lockdown created more hardship and insecurity for this group. The PM claimed that no one is being ill treated, but I am not convinced of that with Pretty Patel in charge of their fate. There were the usual number of Tory, “does the Prime Minister agree with me,” self-congratulatory “stroking” non questions that do not warrant documentation.
Hard core Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone started insulting the Electoral Commission for it’s case against the Leave organizations that appears to have now been dropped; he appealed for the PM to leave “Leave” alone and abolish the Electoral Commission. It does not surprise me that the case fell apart since the Electoral Commission is completely toothless: A Watchdog that cannot watch is just a dog! The fabricated majority won via the Covert 2019 Rigged Election now means that the Tories have the absolute control that they need to finally euthanize the dog. In the US Donald Trump is removing regulatory bodies to eliminate his accountability to the American people; expect Boris Johnson to do the same. We need to Rescue our Watchdog before it is too late.
Stewart Hosie from the SNP but in a desperate plea to extend Brexit transition period since it would be negligent to proceed. No, No, No, the PM embraces negligence; his boot will stomp down hard on our neck! Neil Gray also of the SNP protested about businesses who were not living up to their furlough obligations to support workers and asks the PM to set up a furlough appeal process. The PM says he will take up case. Kate Griffiths expressed concerns over vulnerable older NHS staff who should be removed from frontline duties. The PM appears to agree and included BME staff in the cohort of concern. Our solitary Green MP, Caroline Lucas asked the PM to make sure that as we emerge from the current emergency we will not deepen the climate crisis; specifically requesting no Government handouts to polluters. The PM went into meaningless waffle overdrive.
A final intervention from Tory William Wragg was yet another excuse for self-congratulatory stroking as he began by enlisted the PMs agreement in shallow praise of NHS staff, then appealing for Healthcare to return to normal. Boris Johnson started bragging about how they had protected the NHS, without bothering to mention how that had been achieved at the expense of abandoning the elderly to die in Care Homes. As tedious as it is to fully document the endless deliberately devious prevarications of Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions, I feel it is important in this instance in order to place the PMs statements in the same post as contrasting revelations that could solidify the complicity of this Tory Government in a Court Case. These exact words, as identified within quotation marks, are fully verified as accurate through the official Governmental transcript of Erskine May.
There was a real eye opening segment of on Newsnight later the same day that ties in with Wednesday’s PMQs, but this post is already way too long so I will post it tomorrow. I think the evidence is mounting and this Tory Government is continuing to paint themselves into a corner. The daily Press Briefings are becoming more repetitive with their nauseating propaganda every day. Thanks for posting that Link to alternative SAGE; I need to look over their information to get a glimpse of reality. Keep digging to uncover more material and damning evidence to help secure the removal of this dangerous Government from office; don’t give up the fight.May 19, 2020 at 00:41 #53832Kim Sanders-Fisher
This week’s Prime Ministers Questions was particularly important with regard to trying to hold the Government accountable for the massive death toll in our Care Homes that there was fair warning about, but was instead exacerbated by insane policy decisions that gave the strong impression of a deliberate cull of our vulnerable elderly population. With a number of fixed dates when public policy changes were made fully documented by the BBC in a late Wednesday Newsnight broadcast that I will elaborate on here the earlier exchanges at PMQs are open to closer scrutiny. The BBC Newsnight team must have researched and fact-checked before the broadcast so I will document segments for comparison and contrast with earlier verbatim statements made at PMQs. I consider this significant evidence of a pattern of deliberate exposure to risk and culpable negligence that I refer to as a “Holocaust in Care!”
Emily Matlis began Newsnight on Wednesday the 13th of May by saying that, “The guiding principal was so clear, the more we stay home, the more the NHS is able to cope, the more lives we save, and stay home we did. The NHS did cope, but the death toll from this Pandemic has been horrendous. The NHS was perhaps underwhelmed, spare capacity in the newly built hospitals, free wards and empty Emergency Departments. It’s now clearer how many of the deaths were happening outside; 40% of all recorded Covid 19 deaths have so far happened in Care Homes. So why were those dying in Care Holmes not treated in Hospital and why were Covid patients released from hospital to live in Care Homes with Britain’s most vulnerable?”
These questions were at the core of a heated political row earlier that day that exploded at PMQs and continued on well into the afternoon. According to the BBC’s Nick Watt, following PMQs a volley of letters went back and forth between Sir Keir Starmer and the Prime Minister. Few are aware that the MPs are strictly prohibited by the rules of Parliament from claiming that another MP has outright lied to the House which, considering the appallingly high proclivity for lying among current politicians, has become far too quaintly genteel to support genuine transparency! The spat centred on the official advice given with regard to Care Holmes. Johnson claimed the statement was taken out of context, but the PM was dancing on the head of a pin, since the actual wording was fully verified and as such extremely damning with regard to the Tory Government’s lax Covid 19 containment policy.
Dementia specialist Dr. Jamie Wilson, appearing on Newsnight, said he believes major mistakes were made, cautioning that, “The Care Home population is extremely frail and vulnerable and most are over 80 with many co-morbid conditions. It was in that population it was very clear from the early Chinese data and the data from Lombardy that this population had a mortality rate of at least 20%. So when you add up all those factors it seems really quite incredible that patients were being discharged back to Care Homes and indeed that Care Homes were being mandated to take them back, even when there was a high risk they were Covid positive.”
Newsnight then highlighted how Jenny Harries, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, had stated in a daily Press Briefing that, “although those being moved are tested now in Hospitals, even prior to that testing there was a policy whereby an individual who was moving into a Care Home would be retained in safe isolation within the Care Home because it was recognized that this was a risk group … they are all having a test now but they would have been treated in much the same way before this.” The most serious problem with Harries’s frank admission of culpability is the delusional confidence that private Care Homes would be fully staffed and sufficiently equipped with appropriate PPE to provide safe isolation let alone complex medical care. Covid patients who deteriorate end up on a ventilator before they eventually die, but where was the access to ventilation equipment in Care Homes and the ICU trained staff to direct and monitor their use?
Care Home staff are taught stringent management of infection control as a critical component of their standard practice due to the vulnerability of the people that they care for. However, the simple aprons and gloves suitable for regular use were not sufficiently protective when staff were expected to deal with such a virulent virus while face masks and visors are not standard. All Care Homes purchase their own kit, but increasingly they were unable to access supplies as the PPE was requisitioned towards the NHS. At the same time Primary Care services were closed to them; GP s and District Nurses weren’t coming into the Care Homes so there was no clinical support. Although Nursing Homes will have a qualified Nurse on staff, Residential Care Homes do not. Tests remain inaccessible; we discovered that the Government cannot even guarantee that all Care Homes are going to be offered testing until the 6th of June!
Architect of the disastrous reforms to the NHS, Andrew Lansley, came under critical fire from Newsnight’s Emily Matlis, she asked, “what was the point of underwhelming the NHS when so many were dying outside it” Lansley attempted some rather typical Tory spin centred on the word “context” claiming that “the intention was to look after Care Home Residents.” Matlis was not satisfied stating that, “the Government had advice from Patrick Valance, the Chief Medical Officer, right at beginning, in January, warning that a looming crisis in Care Homes was on the way, they knew that was happening, they could see that was happening, yet they decided that they’d move patients without testing them into Care Homes with vulnerable people. What kind of craziness was that?” Lansley said it should never have been allowed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions…
There were no numbers published for weeks, then the words of Boris Johnson claiming “an apparent success at not overwhelming the NHS” when clearly the deaths had been going on outside, was a point that has angered us all, but Lansley tried to defend the Tory Government’s incompetence by claiming that these problems were not exclusive to the UK! Matlis attacked Lansley’s reforms reminding him that, “400 Health Professionals wrote to the Lords in 2011 they begged the Lords to reject your reforms they actually told you it would disrupt, fragment and weaken Public Health capabilities and would undermine the NHS’s ability to respond to a communicable disease outbreak emergency.” In defence of his reforms Lansley said “you know that’s not true, it didn’t fragment the Public Health Service, if anything it ought to have strengthened it.” Well, “Ought to” didn’t happen and our NHS is still on the ropes.
The horrific extent of the Care Home tragedy was elaborated on in the Canary Article, “Worrying data’ reveals more than 12,500 people in care homes have now died with Covid-19.” In the article which includes graphs of the data they quote Sarah Deeny, Assistant Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, who said: “Today’s data – which accounts for care home residents that have died in hospital – shows that previous figures have significantly underestimated the extent of Covid-19-related deaths among residents, which total 12,526 – 51% higher than previously published.” The article also verifies the delays in testing noting, “Despite recent announcements, there is still complete confusion about testing, with care homes telling MPs they have been unable to access tests. The Government’s own Covid-19 recovery strategy can’t guarantee that every care home for the over-65s will even be offered tests until June 6.”
In a detailed breakdown of the relevant policy decision dates, that for purposes of clarity I will quote word for word here, Newsnight revealed: “Up until two months ago Care Homes were advised that they did not need to take any extra special precautions against Coronavirus. Advice issued on the 25th of February said there was no need to do anything differently at Care Homes on the grounds that there was no evidence of transmission of the virus in the UK. On the 13th of March that advice was dropped and on the 19th of March the Government instructed NHS Hospitals to create space for Covid patients by clearing 15,000 beds, many of which were occupied by Care Home patients. On the 2nd of April Public Health England said that patients returning to Care Homes did not have to test negative for Coronavirus. It said negative tests are not required prior to transfer and admission into the Care Home. Just over two weeks later the Government said that patients entering Care Homes would be tested for the virus.”
The above instructions might even have be considered understandable if the NHS had been totally overwhelmed as was the case with the Italian Healthcare system at the peak of their Covid 19 crisis. But, on the 4th of May the Guardian announced that the new Nightingale Hospital would be closing the following week on the 15th of May. The impressively well equipped Nightingale Hospitals remained barely used at all so the one at London ExCel relocated their last 12 patients to shift to standby mode cautiously awaiting a second surge in Covid cases. A serious amount of public money was invested on the rapid creation of these facilities, no doubt channelled into the greedy pockets of Tory donors who earned lucrative contacts to supply the high-end equipment. Meanwhile vital PPE was not seen as such a big money spinner; dime store kit that could be ordered from China and to hell with the delay!
In her Guardian Opinion piece, Polly Toynbee asks, “How can Britain trust this floundering crew of fibbers to tackle coronavirus?” She highlighted reasons for the rapid erosion of public trust over ridiculous comments made my Tory ministers like the Health Secretary saying, “Take Matt Hancock’s dumbfounding claim on Friday: ‘Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes … we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need.’ What sentient voter doesn’t know that to be a flat-out lie? No testing and no PPE, as care homes – some close to bankruptcy – were pressured to take untested, possibly infected, hospital patients, without enough doctors, staff, training or isolation space. Taking the public for fools destroys trust.”
The Tories have come up with this new cosy sounding piece of propaganda to try to convince the public that they are trying really hard to protect our Care Home residents, but don’t be fooled by the chime of their latest clanger. In reality the Government’s much touted “Protective Ring around Care Homes” is far more like a bell pealing as a very loud voice yells “bring out your dead!” It’s really sick and it’s no joke. Just keep “Washing your Hands;” Boris Johnson and his Tory cabal have already Washed their Hands of all responsibility for the safety of the British people. The Canary report that even the mainstream media are now acknowledging that the death toll has surpassed 50,000.
In a Skwawkbox exclusive: “As govt claims peak passed and eases lockdown, it is TRIPLING temporary mortuary capacity – in preparation for huge new ‘spike’ in deaths” they report that, “Creation of temporary mortuary space for 30,000 bodies was reported during supposed ‘peak’ of pandemic. Now, as government relaxes lock-down, sends workers back to work and children back to school, it is more than tripling that capacity and warning funeral directors to prepare for massive new ‘spike’.” What genocidal scourge is this Tory Government planning to inflict on the people of this country? We must demand a full investigation so that the second we have enough evidence to prove their corruption and criminal negligence we can take swift action to get them removed from office to end this “Holocaust in Care” or any further “Slaughter of the Sheeple.”May 19, 2020 at 12:08 #53849Clark
Thanks for the Skwawkbox link. I’ve alerted my MP and I’m trying to find some helpful lawyers.May 19, 2020 at 12:10 #53850Clark
Dear Kemi Badenoch,
further to my letter of last night, I see that the government is making preparations, but of entirely the wrong sort:
If government policy is to permit avoidable deaths, would that not be illegal?
23dda9589498f148a205/fb655d99f2efcda13796 (Signed with an electronic signature in accordance with section 7(3) of the Electronic Communications Act 2000.)May 20, 2020 at 10:37 #53914Kim Sanders-Fisher
Clark – Thank you for picking up on that truly disquieting revelation about increasing morgue capacity while announcing the easing of the lockdown as we have supposedly passed the peak. I doubt a shameless and intimidated Tory MP will call out Boris Johnson on this issue, but it is important for the potential of future accountability for us all to create such credible paper-trails. Another point that has not gained much critical attention in the media is the huge amount of money that was focused on the rapid creation of the Nightingale Hospitals, stocked with costly high-end equipment, that have remained virtually unused. While vulnerable patients were forced to return to Care Homes to die, community testing was abandoned and PPE remained in distressingly short supply, all the funding and the resources were being channelled in the wrong direction, but you can bet certain people were turning a profit!
When looking for corruption start by following the money. The Tories have treated this Pandemic as a money making bonanza for their wealthy Corporate donors; fast tracked procurement with no bidding process and no questions asked because it was a dire emergency. But the Tories would never let a good crisis go to waste and we need to start exposing the people who are making large sums of money on lucrative Government contracts while urgently required basics are being ignored. More and more will emerge over time, but this Article from the Institute for Governance targeted a few of the right questions: “Five questions the government should answer on coronavirus contracts.” It is vital we discover who is abusing the procurement process; so what made the list?
1. What has the private sector agreed to run and deliver for the government?
2. How much are companies being paid?
3. How did the government decide to outsource these services?
4. Why did the government choose these suppliers?
5. What are the Key Performance Indicators for these contracts?
In the news yesterday, the UK Cross-Party Science and Technology Committee has said that, “testing capacity was not increased early or boldly enough when the outbreak began… a lack of capacity had driven the decision in mid March to scale back contact tracing and largely restrict tests to Hospital patients.”
The BBC Assistant Political Editor Norman Smith commenting on the subject said: “Well the criticism focuses on one of the key decisions taken during this outbreak which was the decision very early on to cease community testing and as it were to retreat into Hospitals and to focus all testing in Hospitals and the commission want an explanation of who took that decision and why it was taken? Because the consequences, as we know, are that Care Homes were deprived of adequate testing with devastating consequences for them. It made it much harder for the scientists to model what was going on in the community and how the infection was spreading and it also pushed back the roll-out of test, track and trace which is now seen as our way out of the lockdown.”
Smith continued, “The committee pretty much point the finger of blame at Public Health England who they say were too secretive, too restrictive….. tried to get testing within their labs rather than encouraging others, Universities, other health laboratories, to get involved and roll out mass testing. Public Health England have hit back saying not us, not our job to provide the logistics for mass testing, we simply test for new Pandemics in our Laboratories, the people who should have been rolling out mass testing was the Department of Health, in other words Mat Hancock. And I think we are now seeing the shape of the blame game, which I think is going to unfold now between some at Westminster, who clearly believe public officials, and Public Health England, who dropped the ball, and others who take the view that it was the Government.”
The Government is tentatively admitting that Care Homes account for a quarter of the Covid 19 deaths when in reality there are strong suspicions it has been almost double that amount. Now the BBC are focusing on telling us, or highlighting Mat Hancock telling us, that the number of deaths in Care Homes is on the decline; so just forget the damage already done and the people who have paid the price. The clearing out of our Hospitals moving the elderly back into Care Homes, to make room for Covid patients, while at the same time building additional spare capacity that was barely used, was inexcusable. In April there were around 40 people in the London Nightingale that was hastily converted to accommodate 4000. The horrific combination of elderly patients sacrificed when they were denied access to the massive unused NHS capacity can only be viewed as deliberate negligence.
We cannot ignore these huge injustices and allow this Tory Government to keep on their genocidal track. If we do not demand full accountability with an Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and we let the forgotten report on foreign interference in our elections remain under wraps too, we are reinforcing the message that there is never any need for transparency or scrutiny and the Tories can continue to deny the need for any investigation and it will never happen. Examining the international comparisons in data that are so embarrassing for the Government right now will be totally banished from the news cycle in an effort to cover for the Tories gross ineptitude and negligence. We cannot let up on the pressure as we have far too much to lose; think of that increased morgue capacity. “We’re all in this together,” sure, the Tories have reserved space for our dead bodied after the “Slaughter of the Sheeple;” we must stop the genocide!May 21, 2020 at 10:54 #53979Kim Sanders-Fisher
If Boris Johnson continues driving the bus how many will die before the wheels fall off? In a Skwawkbox Article entitled “Johnson knew his ‘take it on the chin’ herd immunity would kill millions from the outset” they expose the fact that, “Johnson’s access to Cygnus results – hushed up by Tory government – and other intelligence means he cannot plead ignorance.” They emphasize that, “ In reality, the Tories have not changed their plan – only the language they use to describe it. Their ‘flatten the curve’ plan still assumes 80% or more of the population will catch the virus – it just spreads the ‘peak’ out over a longer period, which will save some lives by reducing the load on hard-pressed NHS hospitals. But even with the best care and no overload, the rate at which the virus kills victims could mean as many as two million deaths – just in a number of smaller peaks instead of one big one.”
Despite the vehement denials by various Government Ministers who claim that a there was no policy to transfer potentially Infected patients back into Care Homes Skwawkbox have exposed the truth, revealing, “Doctors and care professionals have accused the government of ‘seeding’ the virus among the most vulnerable by doing exactly that – after the SKWAWKBOX broke the news exclusively more than seven weeks ago and the NHS confirmed not only that it was happening, but that it was driven by central government policy. But it is still government policy to send confirmed-positive coronavirus sufferers back to care homes. The government’s ‘COVID-19 Action Plan for Social Care‘ on its official gov.uk website (archived this evening here) confirms it.” This is an extremely damning piece of Government documented evidence that the Tory hierarchy could not deny in a court of law.
In another revealing Skwawkbox Article the reveal how the Tory Governments eugenics program for “Herd Imunity” has merely been rebranded; in reality this genocidal strategy has just been tweaked and carefully adjusted to obscure the truth from the British public. They highlight that, “Even the new language used still makes clear that the plan is to allow the virus to infect people – to ‘suppress and release’ it. To “turn it on and off like a tap”. In an alarming revelation, “The Tories claim they can do this with enough control to prevent NHS intensive care units being overwhelmed. But even if they were right, the death rate of the virus even under ideal treatment circumstances would mean a strategy of deliberately allowing huge numbers of people to die each time they ‘turn on the tap’.”
Alarming and disgraceful video footage of an interview with one of the “scientific experts” the Tories are relying on for their data is the feature of yet another Skwawkbox Article entitled: “This is one of the government’s SAGE experts on herd immunity. Watch and be afraid” The video goes well beyond the derogatory description of how this Professor managed to equip himself in front of a camera; it was both cringe worthy and nauseating to watch: it was identified as a, “‘Car crash’ as SAGE professor struggles to give a coherent answer, let alone a meaningful one, to questions about coronavirus strategy.” What must credible scientists overseas think of the UK’s “Scientific experts” advising our Government to ignore the respected consensus opinion and the WHO directives to place their population in severe jeopardy as the death toll soars to the second highest in the world.
So what will be the Tory Government strategy for driving round two of the “Slaughter of the Sheeple” among the UK population? The confusing messaging and total lack of preparedness as people were given less than 12 hours notice that they were expected to go back to work. The ram packed scenes of confused workers crowding onto public transport will be excused as a misguided lack of clarity not quite as blatantly obvious as the Liverpool Football match debacle and the Cheltenham Festival managed to drive event infection rates. The Tories are perfecting the art of inflicting damage by stealth; school children will become the next target. There are credible early warning signs that school children will be used as vectors for a new wave of Covid 19 infection that will devastate the working poor and especially BME communities as Skwawkbox warn in this Article that highlights a German video.
While the battle rages in the UK pitting the opinion of the Government’s discredited experts and advisors against our pragmatic, hard working teachers the evidence evolving with regard to schools reopening in France is being ignored by UK media. Once again Skwawkbox is on the case filling the void in an Article entitled: “More than 50 French schools now closed just a week after re-opening as new outbreaks spiral – yet UK media continue to ignore.” The article points out the massive difference in transparency between the approach of the French and British Government with the Tories trying to suggest we should follow the lead of Denmark that has a much lower, far better monitored and controlled infection rate.
While the devolved Governments are refusing to open the schools, Labour calls to wait until track and trace is properly established and we are no longer guessing over the ‘R’ rate are being ignored by the Tories are forge ahead with phase two of the “Slaughter of the Sheeple.” WE should be deeply concerned over what the Skwawkbox exposed saying that, “The French media have reported in full on the changed situation, but once again the UK media are failing to challenge the government and instead are in many cases actively colluding in a propaganda push to send our children into the front line of the virus threat.” The Canary are spot on with this depiction identifying, “What schools need vs what they’ll probably get!” https://www.thecanary.co/cartoons/2020/05/20/what-schools-need-vs-what-theyll-probably-get/
They Skwawkbox accurately conclude that, “The perception of much of the rest of the world is that this country is a coronavirus disaster zone blighted by a dishonest and incompetent government. But then, those country’s are not taking their ‘news’ from the UK’s supposedly ‘mainstream’ press and broadcasters.” The public need to pay a lot more attention to alternative news outlets like the Skwawkbox and the Canary as they are the only journalists prepared to be honest with the British public and expose the awful truth that the most vulnerable in our society have been targeted by the Tories at best as expendable collateral damage and at worst as part of a concerted program of negligent and intentional genocide.
The Canary featured Justice secretary Robert Buckland who “has labelled it ‘unproductive’ to blame scientists for decisions taken by the government during the coronavirus crisis.” They went on to explain that, “His comments came after Cabinet colleague Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, tried to deflect criticism about key decisions, such as ending community testing, on to the scientists advising ministers on the UK response. Coffey, speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, said: “If the science was wrong, advice at the time was wrong, I’m not surprised if people then think we made a wrong decision.” We have to stop talking about what is happening as if Tory policy has just involved a few unfortunate “mistakes” for which they cannot be held accountable.
The evidence already demonstrates that all of the pertinent information was already in the correct hands of decision makers until they decided to scrub the appalling results and deliberately “Wash their Hands” of the sickening death toll. The Tories know their next move and opposition MP have a powerful duty to speak up loudly and rebel not help facilitate the impending genocide. Trying to be supportive of the Government in a national crisis is no longer a valid tactic when their known agenda is to precipitate literally thousands of unnecessary deaths in a targeted cull. A full investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election could potentially remove the legitimacy of this Tory Government, restore justice and stop the looming genocide in its tracks. Only hope is to remove this corrupt Tory Government from office ASAP.May 21, 2020 at 12:33 #53983Clark
Thanks Kim; highly informative and excellent links.May 21, 2020 at 12:53 #53986Clark
Kim – “Their ‘flatten the curve’ plan still assumes 80% or more of the population will catch the virus – it just spreads the ‘peak’ out over a longer period, […] in a number of smaller peaks instead of one big one.””
The policy is madness even by the Conservative party’s own values; this will damage the economy far worse than proper containment because it will protract the problem.
The five-week plan suggested here would impact the economy in almost exactly the same way as the UK “lockdown” did – except it would have been two weeks shorter. The only way to arrest each climb will be to reimpose the stay-at-home order, so the economy will suffer repeated six to seven week periods of restriction rather than one shorter one.May 22, 2020 at 13:13 #54064Kim Sanders-Fisher
This past Sunday Andrew Marr said, “Ministers had their ‘Traffic Light System,’ their ‘Five Tests,’ their daily monitoring of the ‘R’ number, but, all across England at any rate, the simple message has now been heard and, for the moment, a great Lockdown is beginning to end.” Like a deer caught in the headlights this Tory Government keep robotically repeating their insane messaging in the vain hope that a fantasy pledge repeated often enough will convince the public of its vanishing reality. The critical ‘R’ number is based on vague, well massaged, estimates rather than the solid data that could have been available if we had not abandoned community testing in mid March. Like everything within the Tory agenda, policy is based on a maliciously manipulated set of lies!
Marr elaborated on the obvious caveats preventing the economy roaring back into action, those unable to return to work due to access to childcare, the schools with teachers refusing to return unless proper testing and safety measures are in place and he didn’t even touch on the chaos of public transport. He said “we are still playing cat and mouse with this virus and to be absolutely clear, we are the mice!” Who among Marr’s guests would help to move the conversation forward with valuable enlightenment and who would continue papering over the cracks? It is only worth focusing attention on the former because we are already totally deluged with Government dictates, their reckless public messaging, blatant propaganda and incessant ongoing deception.
Labour’s new Deputy Leader was a former Care worker; Angela Rayner was Shadow Education Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn so Marr asked: “Do you think the schools should reopen on the first of June?” Rayner replied, “Well I think it’s really important that we recognize that schools are open actually and have been open throughout this whole crisis, for vulnerable children and children of frontline workers, so I think it’s important that schools feel safe, in bringing, in introducing more pupils back into the classroom as quickly as possible. And I think what Gavin needs to do, the Education Secretary, is publish the science to why they are making the decision they are making now and insure that there is testing and tracing which he promised yesterday that on the first of June that would be available, but at the moment we have not seen any evidence that they can provide that, they haven’t got the staff in place that they said they needed to have the tracing. So testing and tracing and isolation is really important to tracking the virus.”
Marr probed further: “and as you say, safety is everything, but have you seen any evidence at all that schools going back would be less safe for teachers and children? Because you know you look around the world and there seems to be no outbreaks of Covid based on schools anywhere.” Rayner confidently replied, “well we know from the science and the experts that children can catch the virus and we believe that they could transmit the virus, we’re not entirely certain. So we have to make sure that obviously the Social Distancing measures where possible are in place.”
Rayner went on to emphasise the dire consequences, “We know that teachers have died as a result of catching Covid, so it’s important that when we introduce more children into the classroom that we’re able to test, track and trace wherever the virus is and take action to isolate it and that’s important for wider as well as we ease the lockdown. Cos I believe we were too slow it to take lockdown decisions and we’ve been too quick, without the provisions in place, to ease the lockdown and it’s really important to track that for the ‘R’ rate.” <
Marr tried to negate her point saying, “but this is all about how we measure risk individually and collectively and Ann Longfield, who is the Children’s Commissioner for England has pointed out that of the 62 in the NHS, attached to NHS Hospitals were where able to stay open 60 had absolutely no Covid problems at all. In other words, and the ones where there were Covid problems were related to people coming into the nurseries not the kids, so it seems that it’s pretty safe for children to be mingling in nurseries or schools.”
Rayner stuck doggedly to the science and the need to establish solid testing data saying, “well I think if we’ve got these tests and the tracking and tracing in place for schools that would reassure parents and Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has said that on the first of June that will happen. I want to see Gavin working with the parents to reassure them publish the science behind why they are saying the 1st of June, we do want pupils, as many pupils as possible to go back to classrooms as quickly as possible, but we’ve got to reassure the teaching professionals, who do want to see their pupils back in school as quickly as possible, that it’s safe to do so and that we have the provisions in place to make that happen and that means testing has to be there. We’ve seen in Care Homes what happens when you don’t have that testing and now we’ve seen the difficulties at Care Homes.”
Ignoring the dire Care Home analogy, Marr was determined to discredit Rayner’s logical provisos, citing a few centrists, “the other side of the equation in schools a whole series of former Labour Education Secretaries, David Blunkett, Charles Clark, Anan Johnson have all said it’s really, really damaging what’s going on in terms of social divisions, kids left behind, inequalities starting right at the early stages, these are all being worsened quite fast by the fact that the schools are not back already and it’s really, really urgent to get the schools back and the Unions should be backing that.” It was another plea to do the Government’s bidding, no questions asked.
Rayner fended off the attack by saying, “well it’s important to recognize that teachers have been working throughout this process to get home learning the education, the DFE department has been trying to insure that home working is available. I think that it’s patchy they need to increase that because we know this virus isn’t going away, we need a vaccine so in the meantime we need the testing regime, we need the support there for the hybrid model of some pupils being back at school when it’s safe to do so and others that are going to have to continue to work from home and that the DFE and the Government have to support the teachers and the professionals in doing the right thing and supporting their pupils.”
Rainer Continued, “And I want to place on record my thanks because we’ve seen the tremendous amount of work that teachers and teaching professionals have been doing to help our children over this period and I think the DFE and the officials there have been working incredibly hard in extraordinary times. Now is the time for them to come together to reassure parents and make sure that plan us in place.”
Marr’s next line of attack was to demand, “so what’s the Labour Party’s attitude towards Liverpool and Hartlepool which are saying we will not reopen schools on June 1st do you back them?” Rayner defended their decision saying: “well if you look at what Andy Burnham has said in the Guardian last night the communication from Government in terms of the safety measures for areas like greater Manchester like Liverpool, like the northeast, has been patchy so the information hasn’t been there. We believe the “R” rate is higher in those areas in those regions and therefore we want the Government to publish the science behind it and to provide the support.”
Rayner continued, “So for example in greater Manchester we’ve seen we had 12 hours notice for people to go back to work and yet our transport system was not put in place geared up to help people to do that safely and guidance for workers wasn’t there. So we’ve got to make sure that the PM and the Government are working with our regions to insure that they know that it’s safe and they’ve got the resources to support for people going back to work and back to school.”
Marr was searching for a standout headline insisting, “So for the time being, you support those Councils saying we will not reopen schools on the 1st of June?” Rayner resisted handing him a tabloid punch-line by sticking to logical caveats, “I urge the Government to publish the science and to insure that the testing and tracing is in place to safeguard. Councils want to make sure that their citizens are safe I support entirely in trying to do that. I urge the Government to not make the mistakes it made in the past and to publish the science and to give them the resources they need to make sure we help people as much as possible to do the right thing to keep themselves safe.” It was all far too reasonable to get trashed in the media so Marr moved on.
Shifted to a new topic Marr reminded the viewers that: “I mentioned at the beginning you worked in a care home yourself before you became an MP, became a politician, how badly so you think we have let down Care Homes?” Rayner was justifiably scathing saying, “Terribly badly, I mean If you look at what the 26,000 deaths that were in April from the ONS figures 18,000 of them are additional deaths from last year’s figures. Therefore we’ve seen that the only ones that are related to Covid are 8000, that leaves 10000 unaccounted for deaths within the Care Sector. There should be, there should be some investigation into that and Keir Starmer has requested that as every single death is tragic. We’ve had medical experts Andrew, who have said we seeded the virus into our Care Homes and the guidance wasn’t there for Care workers. I think they’ve been tragically let down.”
In a devious pro-Tory tactic Marr agreed: “They have been tragically let down. Let me put it to you by Labour Governments as well as Conservative, this is a long term problem, the ignoring of the Care Home sector, the underfunding of the Care Home sector and in Wales for instance, where Labour is in charge, we’ve seen exactly the same problems about lack of testing in Care Homes. So this is something that both of the main parties at least have to share responsibility for?” Nice try Marr, spread the blame around like marmite on toast…
I was really relieved that Rayner did not fall into the classic far-right media trap of accepting any share of the blame on behalf of the opposition for shambolic Government policies that have caused so much chaos, damage and unnecessary death. Rayner kept her cool to respond by citing the blatantly obvious, “well the national framework from the Government and the guidance that was set out was totally inadequate.” This focused the responsibility for the “Holocaust in Care” solidly with the Tories who are trying to cull the “economically inactive” pensioners by seeding Care Homes with Covid 19. Rayner made exactly that point saying, “We allowed people to be discharged and the Government were pushing them to get people out of Hospitals as quickly as possible without the testing, so as the Medical experts said we seeded the virus in Care Homes.” The Government was responsible for that. Period!
Rayner continued, “Care Home workers are not given the support that they needed to help and they’ve been doing a tremendous job many of my ex colleagues are not even paid the real living wage, half of them are not paid the real living wage, so, and there not even able to get statuary sick pay in many cases to do the right thing when they need to self isolate. So the Government has really let these Care workers down and really let people down. They really do need to step up, even the guidance now is saying that they won’t have that testing regime in by the 6th of June. So they’ve really got to step up now. We’ve seen the devastation and the effects of what’s happened because the Government failed to do that. They’ve got to go with the experts and you’ve got to provide the support; our Care workers cannot continue to be undervalued as they have been in the past.”
Marr tried for another line of attack targeting an outspoken Labour MP who dared to blast the PM with both barrels. The enabling Tory press and the BBC consider this not playing ball so Marr balked at the criticism of Boris Johnson saying, “Your former shadow cabinet colleague Dawn Butler said recently, ‘I think the Prime Minister’s actions are pretty disgraceful he is literally sending people out to catch the virus,’ do you agree with that or do you think Labours been a little bit too aggressive in its response to Government with this?” If anything a growing number of people in this country would like to have heard several opposition PM accuse this Government of criminal negligence and genocidal policy decision making, which is what they are still trying to actively pursue!
Rayner’s response was justifiably self assured as she insisted: “well no because Keir Starmer has been quite clear from the start that we wanted to be a constructive opposition and honestly Andrew, I really want them to succeed. I was working with the DFE as the Shadow Education Secretary and I was working with Gavin to try and make sure that provisions were in place and I think that’s the absolute right thing to do, but we are supposed to call out when things are not done correctly.” Marr tried to interrupt, reluctant to let his slap-down fizzle out so easily; he butted in, still aggressively on the attack with, “sure, but it’s not exactly cooperative, it’s not exactly constructive in the middle of a crisis to use that kind of language is it?” It is certainly extremely well justified if you intend to prevent a mass “Slaughter of the Sheeple!”
Rayner defended the Labour stance saying: “well what Keir said and he said at PMQs, he made it absolutely clear, 26,000 deaths 18,000 additional deaths this year from the ONS figures 10,000 unaccounted for in Care Homes. That’s something that he’s right to highlight and ask people what’s happened there because those relatives deserve to know the answers to why their loved ones died and to insure that as we lift the restrictions that the expert advice is followed and it’s published so that people can have confidence in that.” Marr had run out of road so he thanked Rayner and let her go with that important message solidly drummed home without ridicule or rebuttal. We have too few opportunities to hear the opposition criticism of the Government while the BBC host the Tory Party Political PR stunts on a daily basis under the euphemistic excuse of airing an important press briefing.
Despite the deeply disappointing change of leadership, there is still fire in the belly of the Labour Party. It would be hard for centrist factions that are gathering strength and enabling current Tory tactics to change the Labour agenda set at Labour Party Conference shortly before the disastrous Covert 2019 Rigged Election. A few months from now and the rot will set in moving the Labour Party back towards the establishment accepted right. An investigation of the Election results would not only remove the legitimacy of the Tory Government it would restore the credibility of the wrongly ousted former Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The best hope we have for this country is to take this action as swiftly as possible to restore justice, sanity, safety to prevent any further “Slaughter of the Sheeple!”May 23, 2020 at 08:39 #54096SA
“We have too few opportunities to hear the opposition criticism of the Government while the BBC host the Tory Party Political PR stunts on a daily basis under the euphemistic excuse of airing an important press briefing.”
Indeed. Here we call it the BPC. The press briefing itself is a propaganda whitewash exercise. Although I do not normally watch TV, I have seen Piers Morgan on GMB lambasting the government and as a result, no minister will give an interview with him. The MO of this government is to pretend that everything is fine and that any criticism is unpatriotic at a time of crisis, even when the crisis is made worse by government action or inaction.
The line that previous administrations, including labour ones have had their share of contributing to the neglect in social care is a very well tried one in to try to deflect from ten years of Tory austerity, siphoning money from the public purse into the pockets of billionaires and corporations. What is also becoming more apparent is how many activities that should be co-ordinated centrally have been privatised so that the government is not blamed. Local government has become impotent in many cases and their independence non-existent.
So today’s headlines are all about Cummings breaking the rules about travel, having left London to go to Durham so that his parents could look after his child. The government will attempt to stonewall on this one. Remember the two officials who lost their position before for breaking the rules, were not at the heart of the Tory part so were expendable. But it would be a great joy to see Cummings go, no puns intended.May 23, 2020 at 11:41 #54106michael norton
The reason they will be reluctant for Cummings to be sacked, is obvious, many government ministers, will likely have broken the coronavirus Lock-Down code,
their doings will be recorded by somebody.
If Boris specifically sacks Cummings for breaking this code, when it becomes known that Rabb broke the code, then Rabb will have to go.
It would probably wipe out half the cabinet, including Boris.May 24, 2020 at 05:12 #54126Kim Sanders-Fisher
SA – Dominic Cummings is Boris Johnson’s puppeteer, he will refuse to let the PM fire him as he should; the BBC and the press will support this total injustice as they always do. There was another really noteworthy guest who featured by the Andrew Marr show last Sunday that I wanted highlight. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist is also a Paediatrician; she was invited to talk on the subject of children and Covid 19 and if we are going to have to live with Covid 19 for the rest of our lives? Marr reported that, “This week the WHO said we might have to live with this virus for five years or more.” He began by asking her if we were facing long term social changes as a result of that?
Dr. Swaminathan, “I think that’s what were all grappling with as people as well as, as Governments how do you get back to some degree of normalcy, without allowing this virus to get the upper hand, so it’s really maintaining that balance and you have to look at the number of interventions to be put in place as people as people start going back to work, going back to school. You know families want to meet again, we want to go shopping, we want to have social events, but at the same time we know now what is needed to keep this virus from spreading, you know the basics principals of maintaining physical distancing, of personal hygiene, respiration etiquette wearing masks when we’re out in crowded places or staying home when sick and so on. So that has to become the new normal, but I do believe that society has to, has to restart, we can’t wait.”
Marr remarked: “Now you’re the Chief Scientist, but I know in your own special area you’re a Paediatrician as well; can I ask you what the latest evidence is about children infecting each other?” Dr. Swaminathan responded, “Children don’t seem to be getting severely ill from this infection. We do know that children are capable of getting the infection so our own studies have shown that when children live in a house where an adult has the infection that they also have a risk of getting it just like the other adults, but there’s less data on how effectively they are able to spread it, to others.” This was sounding positive for the Tory agenda.
Marr must have felt encouraged as moving on she raised a point of specific relevance to children returning to school saying that, “What we have seen in countries where schools have remained open, is that there have not been big outbreaks in schools and where there have been, it’s been associated with events where a lot of people gather not in regular classrooms and it’s often been associated with an adult, whose had the infection and whose spread it. So it does seem from what we know now that children are less capable of spreading it, even if they get the infection and are certainly at very low risk of getting ill from the disease.”
Dr. Swaminathan cautioned about a small cohort of seriously concerning Paediatric cases saying, “Now very recently there’s been some reports of children getting admitted with a strange syndrome, an inflammatory syndrome something that looks like sepsis, something that looks like a disease called Kawasaki disease which causes inflammation in the blood vessels. Now it’s not very clear what the links are between Covid 19 and this syndrome. There are some children who have tested positive for the virus and some who haven’t and so the WHO has discussed with a group of international Paediatricians about how to approach this. And the need really to collect more data on this syndrome and what happens.”
The Doctor went on to outline the WHO course of action regarding monitoring and treating these cases. She said, “so we’ve put out a note, that just went up two days ago, which describes the case definitions of this syndrome and it’s requesting Doctors to actually provide information in a standardized format so that we can quickly learn as much as possible about this syndrome. But again to reemphasize that the risks for children are extremely low with this infection and there have not been many cases described of this, of children transmitting it to others, particularly in the school settings.”
Marr then homed in on the issue of the day, that scheduled return to the classroom for children in the UK; could he coax her into a headline grabbing endorsement of the need for an immediate return to school? He asked: “given all of that and the fact that some countries have reopened their schools already, is there any evidence from countries who have reopened schools or have nurseries open and so forth which should leave Governments still wondering about whether to open schools to have any second thoughts or misgivings about opening schools?” Marr obviously wanted the eminent Doctor to give the Government the green light on their June 1st school opening date, but her answer was a lot more pragmatic and nuanced.
Dr. Swaminathan, “I think that overall the data has been fairly reassuring, of course it’s only a few countries that have done that, but I think again the guidance set out by WHO clearly lays out the criteria that you would use, when you consider whether to reopen a school or not and very often it’s based at the local level at the community or at the city level and it’s based on of course epidemiology of the disease itself whether it’s still on the rise or whether it’s under control and going down and whether the measures that are needed to be put in place have there’s been enough time to do that in terms of rearranging classrooms making sure that there are hand washing facilities that teachers are trained.” The problem is that this Tory Government points to the successful return of children to school in countries where the infection rate is a lot lower than the UK, plus they have established test, track and trace to reduce risk.
Her well considered answer was far more in line with Labour Party, Teachers Unions and local community demands for adequate preparedness. Then Dr. Swaminathan brought up the key element that was conspicuously missing from all of the Government’s plans: greater transparency with more expansive engagement both with teachers, parents and local authorities. She continued by adding, “…it’s really important that all the stakeholders in this, the teachers the children themselves and the parents or care givers have had a chance to have a dialog and ask questions and be informed of what is being done to minimize the risk, and what they need to do and similar to what we were saying earlier that children who are infected do not go to school.”
This interview was not going in the direction Marr would have wanted, but he continued: “Because I’ve talked to some people in schools who say that in practical terms it’s almost impossible to explain to particularly young children about social distancing it just doesn’t happen in schools.” Dr. Swaminathan agreed that, “It’ true, but in classrooms can rearrange you know the tables and chairs so their children have at least a one metre distance between them and children learn, so hand washing of course and teachers would have to encourage and be a role model for children and so many of these basic things can be done.”
Then once again reinforcing the Labour and Union demand for getting test, track and trace properly established before school children are expected to return to class, the Doctor continued, “but then there also has to be a way of er, of doing some kind of checks in schools, of making sure that the infection isn’t spreading so that again is something that local Governments have to consider as schools reopen, what is the data that one is going to monitor and look at on a real-time basis so that you know you’re keeping track of what’s going on and you pick up anything really before it becomes unmanageable.” If Marr was hoping to pry a rash statement out of the good doctor to support the Governments fixed reopening of schools ready or not, he failed miserably!
That headline moment had evaporated so Marr moved on asking: “Dr. Swami Swaminathan, we’re hearing a lot at the moment about new antibody tests, is there any conclusive evidence that any of them actually work properly?” Marr should have know that it was too soon to tell with regard to this, but Dr. Swaminathan had to inform him, “We are still waiting for the longer-term data from people who have recovered from this illness, we know that a large majority of them develop antibodies, but how well it protects, and for how long it protects, from second infection is something that we’re not sure about at this point of time, but because of all the research that’s going on including the research to develop vaccines, I think we will learn more and more in the coming weeks and months about the antibody responses.”
If Marr wanted a line that supported the Government’s warped “Herd Immunity” eugenics program he was seriously out of luck; the reality, as the Doctor confirmed, is that we have no idea whether the antibodies produced by those who get infected will continue to be protected from a second exposure to the virus. She emphasized the data value of the antibody test saying, “At the moment its main use is really to check at the population level to see how many people have been exposed to the virus. So studies that have been done in many of the affected countries have shown that 5-10% of the population have been exposed to the virus. Now in countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, New York State and so on which again tells us that the vast majority of people are still susceptible to this virus and therefore we continue to need to be careful.”
Marr lurched in the direction of the stereotypical “fat shaming” prejudice of the Tory blame game as he asked, “Finally can I ask you about something there has been a lot of talk of in this country which is the link between obesity and a serious effect from Covid 19. What do you know about that at the WHO?” Dr. Swaminathan strategically avoided the potential toxicity of his targeting by saying, “again we are still finding out more about these risk factors and we have seen that obesity and with associated non-communicable chronic diseases. Obesity is very often associated with hypertension and diabetes in the same individual and those again are sometimes associated with poverty, with lower access to healthcare, with living in overcrowded conditions.” She wanted to direct the focus not just onto various known co-morbidities, but to the poverty that increased the incidence of such health conditions.
Dr. Swaminathan was so professional as she continued stressing the impact of poverty, “So many of these social and economic determinants of health go hand in hand and all of them increase the risk for severe illness and mortality for the data from many countries now shows that minority populations and those who have an access of these risk factors are actually doing much worse in terms of Hospitalization and death. So it’s a combination factors, obesity has been associated with worse outcomes in other respiratory illnesses including in acute respiratory distress syndrome due to other causes and that’s possibly because the lungs have to work harder in an obese individual especially when there’s a problem of an infection in the lungs, but we are still learning more about the pathophysiology of how obesity and other underlying risk factors actually have an impact on this illness.”
This WHO Doctor wasn’t going to facilitate Marr helping the Tories blame any Covid victims for getting sick; he asked one last question, “so people who have recovered, particularly younger people who have had Covid 19 and recovered, there seems to be some evidence of worrying longer-term effect beginning to emerge, particularly scaring on the lungs; have you done any research into that can you tell us anything about that?” Another “too soon to tell” redundant question; Dr. Swaminathan said, “Again this is an emerging area of research and we have to wait for some more time. I think what it really highlights is the need for scientists and researchers to work with Clinicians to who are seeing these patients in the Hospital and set up systematic long-term research studies to look at the clinical cause and also do properly conducted randomized clinical trials of interventions that are postulated to work that have some rational that they will work, but they need to be tested and properly conducted large randomized trials.”
The WHO implored us all to Test, Test, Test, but it has taken this wretched Tory Government several months of interminable delays to get testing underway, an unforgivable gross mismanagement of the crisis that cost many lives. During an emergency or a disaster the principal role of the WHO is not a very glamorous one; I witnessed this first hand after the Boxing Day tsunami. Other intrepid Medical volunteers arrived in the Aceh disaster zone to head out and treat victims, set up clinics, vaccination people or do emergency surgery as I did. I noticed that WHO functionaries had the crushingly boring task of collecting data and crunching the numbers; it was not a role for the disaster relief adrenaline junkie! We all reported back to WHO because an outbreak of any kind can quickly kill more people in an IDP camp than the disaster that forced them to take refuge in tents. British exceptionalism, complacency and zero data guesstimates represent the very antithesis of how the WHO facilitates the control of a global pandemic.
Social Distancing and Self Isolation may seem like newly devised restrictions, but the only thing new was this Tory Government’s ignorant resistance and late implementation of necessary public health measures. I remember “clearing quarantine” as a strictly controlled formality that prevented us from racing ashore for a cold pint after a long passage. “The word “Quarantine” comes from the Italian “quaranta,” meaning 40 – literally 40 days. It was adopted as an obligatory means of separating persons, animals, and goods that may have been exposed to a contagious disease. Since the fourteenth century, quarantine has been the cornerstone of a coordinated disease-control strategy, including isolation, sanitary cordons, bills of health issued to ships, fumigation, disinfection, and regulation of groups of persons who were believed to be responsible for spreading the infection.” (NCBI Website.)
The Government’s “still in testing” App for track and trace in new, but not really novel; most of the EU are relying on a more widely accepted and well tested App that accomplishes the same goal with better data security. There is nothing at all new about the track, trace and isolate strategy either as that has been a long established protocol for dealing with everything from contamination of water and food poisoning to controlling the spread of STDs and preventing an infectious disease outbreak like Covid 19. This comprehensive response is organized locally for a rapid targeted response and highly effective control in an emergency. In mid March this moronic Tory Government decided to stop community testing and abandon the established track, trace and isolate for the Dominic Cummings eugenics model of “Herd Immunity” and “take it on the chin” …forget the data, just wing it!
The abysmal Tory plan is to replace intensive localized contact tracing, that has worked effectively for decades, with a centralized system handled by one of their favourite private corporate entities with a long history of screwing things up. No wonder the WHO are shocked by our pathetic response to Covid 19 as we remain a global laughing stock. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist, was both highly professional and very diplomatic in her efforts to avoid the trap of endorsing any aspect of reckless Tory policy. Tories never admit wrongdoing or failures and they never learn from their mistakes. Despite his blatantly flaunting the lockdown rules, Boris Johnson will refuse to fire Dominic Cummings because the Dom devised the plan for the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. The UK will suffer the ongoing corruption, failures and fatalities of this Government until the truth is exposed in an investigation that robs them of their legitimacy; only then can they be forcibly removed from office.May 25, 2020 at 04:41 #54152Kim Sanders-Fisher
While other matters are now dominating the news cycle, like the serious transgressions of much despised Dominic Cummings, and the delightful prospect of forcing him out of number ten, there were some significant victories won by the opposition earlier in the week at PMQs. Boris Johnson, began Prime Minister Questions this past Wednesday by announcing an updated figure for the horrific death toll among our precious frontline staff, “One hundred and eighty-one NHS and 131 social care workers’ deaths have sadly been reported involving Covid-19. I know that the thoughts of the whole House are with their families and friends.” At least we were spared the pathetically insincere repetition of “our hearts go out…”
The Labour MP Claudia Webbe was the first to question Johnson with her valid concern that: “The Government keeps saying that this virus does not discriminate, but that is not true. Office for National Statistics figures show that black people, African and African Caribbean people are four times more likely to die from covid-19. The figure is also disproportionately high for Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Indian communities. What is the Prime Minister going to do now about this,- and will he act now to ensure that African, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Leicester East and across the country are supported in the next phase of this virus?”
Boris Johnson replied with an affirmative, “Yes. As the hon. Lady may know, we are looking at all the co-morbidities associated with the Coronavirus and all the reasons why people might be disproportionately affected. A rapid review is now being conducted by Professor Fenton, who will report at the end of the month about particularly vulnerable groups. We will take steps to ensure that they are protected where that is appropriate.” Although Webbe was referencing a sector of the population, that the PM must have been relieve were not specifically targeted by his incompetence, the way in which he answered bordered on a demonstration of ignorance as he made is sound as if he considered ethnicity a form of co-morbidity!
Keir Starmer started into his allotted questions of the PM by reminding him of a ludicrously inaccurate statement made by Matt Hancock with the direct quote of what the Health Secretary said: “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our Care Homes.” Starmer reiterated the public shock by saying, “that caused quite a reaction. Yesterday, it was flatly contradicted by the chief executive of Care England. He was giving evidence to the Select Committee on Health and Social Care, and he said that we should have been focusing on Care Homes from the start and that despite what is being said, there were cases of people who either did not have a Covid status or were symptomatic who were discharged into our Care Homes. The Government advice from the 2nd to 15th of April was: ‘Negative tests are not required prior to transfers/admissions into’ Care Homes. What is protective about that?”
The PM started in on the defensive, “As the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows full well…” he then appeared to moderate his tone continuing, “of course he is right to draw attention to what has happened in our care homes, and we mourn the loss of every victim. No one was discharged into a Care Home this year without the express authorisation of a Clinician, and they have the interests of those patients at heart.” Typical Johnson find someone else to blame as identified in this Skwawkbox Article entitled: “After NHS saves his life, Johnson blames clinicians for spread of C19 to elderly – when government policy drove return of infected patients to Care Homes.”
Relieved that he might have offloaded responsibility for his gross incompetence, Johnson continued to insult, “As I said to him last week, he does not seem to have remembered, actually, the number of patients discharged from hospitals into Care Homes was 40% down in March on January. The guidance was changed to reflect the change in the epidemic, and that guidance was made available to Care Homes and, of course, since the Care Homes action plan began, we have seen a sharp reduction in the number of deaths in Care Homes. Indeed, since I last stood before the House, the number of deaths in Care Homes has come down by 31%.” In a familiar Tory disgraceful attempt to turn the sincere opposition questioner into an unsupportive public villain he quipped: “I think he should pay tribute to all those who have helped to fight that epidemic across the NHS and across our local services.”
Starmer did not rise to the bait replying that, “I think the Prime Minister rather missed the point.” He maintained laser like focus on his critical point repeating, “The question was whether people were tested going back into Care Homes. The Chief Executive of Care England says that because they were not, people who had no Covid-19 status or who were symptomatic were discharged into Care Homes. That is a very serious issue that requires an answer.” The reality of the point Starmer had been trying to make is borne out in the recent Skwawkbox Article entitled; “Video: govt claims it would never knowingly send infected patients to Care Homes. But it’s official POLICY on gov.uk website,” where it reveals documented directives from the Government.
Starmer continued, “Yesterday, the Chief Executive of Care England, in his evidence, was also asked when routine testing would start in Care Homes. This is the answer he gave yesterday: ‘I think the short answer is that we’ve had the announcement, but what we haven’t had is delivery, and we are not really clear when that will arrive.’ This is the Chief Executive of Care England in his evidence. Even the Government’s Command Paper, published last week and introduced by the Prime Minister to this House, says within it. The Health Secretary says, ‘He’s wrong.’ I am quoting the Government’s paper. It says that ‘every Care Home for the over 65s will have been offered testing for residents and staff,’ by the 6th of June. That is from the Prime Minister’s Command Paper. That is over two weeks away. What is causing the continued delay in routine testing in our Care Homes?”
The PM was again on the defensive, “I am afraid the right hon. and learned Gentleman is simply in ignorance of the facts. The reality is that already 125,000 Care Home staff have been tested, 118,000… Perhaps he did know that. One hundred and eighteen thousand Care Home workers have been tested, and we are absolutely confident that we will be able to increase our testing, not just in Care Homes but across the whole of the community. Thanks to the hard work of my right hon. friend the Health Secretary and his teams, we will get up to 200,000 tests in this country by the end of this month. The right hon. and learned Gentleman may know this, perhaps it is one of those international comparisons he hesitates to make, but actually this country is now testing more than virtually any other country in Europe.” The operative word here is “Virtually;” the UK is a global leader in “Virtual” testing!
Keir Starmer was not at all impressed with Boris’s empty bragging saying, “Again, the question was when would routine testing start, and the Chief Executive of Care England, who knows what he is talking about, gave evidence yesterday that it has not. If the Prime Minister is disputing the evidence to the Select Committee, that is his own business.” At this point Matt Hancock was rudely creating a distraction, but the Speaker swiftly intervened booming, “Order! Secretary of State for Health, please. I do not mind you advising the Prime Minister, but you do not need to advise the Opposition during this.” There was a reaction so he sharpened the slap down threatening, “Sorry, do you want to leave the Chamber? We are at maximum numbers. If you want to give way to somebody else, I am more than happy.” Humiliated, Hancock whimpered into silence; sadly it was not directly caught on camera, but the Skwawkbox picked up on the incident describing Hancock as “spanked” by the Speaker for childish behaviour.
Keir Starmer returned to business saying, “To assure the Prime Minister, I am not expressing my own view; I am putting to him the evidence of experts to Committees yesterday.” Satisfied he had made his point he moved on with, “Testing was referred to by the Prime Minister. That on its own is obviously not enough. What is needed is testing, tracing and isolation. At yesterday’s press conference, the Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser said that we could draw particular lessons from Germany and South Korea, which have both had intensive testing and tracing. The number of covid-19 deaths in Germany stands at around 8,000. In South Korea, it is under 300. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, despite 2 million tests having been carried out, there has been no effective tracing in place since the 12th of March, when tracing was abandoned. That is nearly 10 weeks in a critical period without effective tracing. That is a huge hole in our defences, isn’t it, Prime Minister?”
Once again Starmer was making those embarrassing international comparisons he had no right to make. The Government had done absolutely everything they could to blur and obscure the statistics, even removing the most telling of the daily update slides, but this infernal man kept banging on about the death toll. With the indignation of a petulant child Johnson attempted to defend his appalling track record replying with, “I must say that I find it peculiar, because I have given the right hon. and learned Gentleman repeated briefings on this matter. He is perfectly aware of the situation in the UK as regards testing and tracing in early March. It has been explained many times to him and to the House. I think his feigned ignorance does not come very well.” It was time to divert attention with one of his relentless outpourings of ‘fact-free’ bragging.
Johnson answered an alternative unasked question with, “However, I can tell him that today I am confident that we will have a test and trace operation that will enable us, if all the other conditions are satisfied—it is entirely provisional—to make progress. I can also tell him that we have already recruited 24,000 trackers, and by 1 June we will have 25,000. They will be capable of tracking the contacts of 10,000 new cases a day. To understand the importance of that statistic, I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that today the new cases stand at 2,400. We are making vast progress in testing and tracing and I have great confidence that by the 1st of June, we will have a system that will help us greatly to defeat this disease and move the country forward. I therefore hope that he will abandon his slightly negative tone and support it.” How dare he fault abysmal Tory progress!
Starmer would have none of it building up to a crescendo of justified public outrage he hammered home the shocking impact of Government incompetence and indecision: “Thirty-four thousand deaths is negative. Of course I am going to ask about that, and quite right too. The Prime Minister says ‘feigned ignorance,’ but he knows that for ten weeks there has been no tracing, unlike in Germany and South Korea. Tracing is critical, there is no getting away from that. The Prime Minister knows it is vital, he made a great deal of it in his speech to the nation Sunday week ago.” The recent Canary Article entitled: “Track and trace strategy coming late in the day, NHS leaders warn,” highlights the ongoing problems,
Starmer went on to quote the PM, “He said, ‘we cannot move forward unless we satisfy the tests that he has set,’ one of which is a ‘world-beating’ test and trace system, World-beating! Leaving aside the rhetoric, ‘effective’ will do. There now appears to be some doubt about when the system will be ready. This is the last Prime Minister’s questions for two weeks. Can the Prime Minister indicate that an effective test, trace and isolate system will be in place by the 1st of June, Monday week?” The PMs seemingly respectful mode of address generally belays contempt as it did in his reply, “The right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be in the unhappy position of having rehearsed his third or fourth question but not listened to my previous answer, brilliant forensic mind though he has. He has heard that we have growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating, and yes, it will be in place by the 1st of June.” Said the World-beating – Breast Beating PM!
Although Starmer had not requested another barrage of boastful fabrications and false promises Johnson blathered on, “To repeat the figures, since the right hon. and learned Gentleman has invited me to do so, there will be 25,000 trackers, who will be able to cope with 10,000 new cases a day. That is very important because currently new cases are running at about 2,500 a day. They will be able to trace the contacts of those new cases and stop the disease spreading. I hope very much, notwithstanding the occasional difficulty of these exchanges, and I totally appreciate the role that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has to fulfil, that he will support us as we go forward, that he will be positive about the test, track and trace operation and that we can work together to use it to take our country forward. That is what the people of this country want to see.” Again he invoked the populous as if they supported him one hundred percent.
Starmer responded, “I am very happy to work with the Prime Minister on that. He knows that from our previous exchanges.” But there was just time for his powerful parting salvo as he scathingly remarked on how, “Every Thursday, we go out and clap for our carers. Many of them are risking their lives for the sake of all of us. Does the Prime Minister think it is right that Care workers coming from abroad and working on our frontline should have to pay a surcharge of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds to use the NHS themselves?” This question was bound to strike a chord and elicit a number of bold tabloid headlines; would Boris Johnson really dare to refuse this request. How could the PM demonstrate such flagrant hypocrisy towards those who had saved his life? How dare he piss on that public display of support clapping for carers while he punished them for serving our country in our hour of greatest need. Do not expect this selfish, narcissistic PM to suddenly grow a conscience!
Without the slightest consideration towards the dedicated overseas staff who had just taken such diligent care of him in Hospital just a few short weeks ago, Boris Johnson said, “I have thought a great deal about this, and I accept and understand the difficulties faced by our amazing NHS staff. Like the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I have been a personal beneficiary of carers who have come from abroad and frankly saved my life. I know exactly the importance of what he asks. On the other hand, we must look at the realities. This is a great national service, it is a national institution, that needs funding,” he said, evoking xenophobic sentiments as he spoke of our NHS and focused in the money clawed back from poorly paid workers adding, “…those contributions help us to raise about £900 million. It is very difficult in the current circumstances to find alternative sources, so with great respect for the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s point, I think it is the right way forward.”
Keir Starmer was not relinquishing the moral high ground, the PM should really have hung his head in shame as the Leader of the Opposition said, “I am disappointed, because the Prime Minister knows how raw this is. The fee in question, the Immigration Health Surcharge, is currently £400 a year. From October, that goes up to £624 a year. For a Care worker on the national living wage, that will require working for 70 hours to pay off the fee. The Doctors Association and a number of medical groups wrote to the Home Secretary this week, and they set it out this way: ‘At a time when we are mourning colleagues, your steadfast refusal to reconsider the deeply unfair immigration health surcharge is a gross insult to all of us who are serving this country at its time of greatest need.’ We agree, and Labour will table amendments to the Immigration Bill to exempt NHS and Care workers from this charge. Can I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his view as we go through this crisis?”
The belligerent and totally insensitive Boris Johnson curtly replied, “I have given my answer, but what I will say is that I think that it is important that we support our NHS and that we invest massively in our NHS.” He then started into another sickening stream of lies and false promises that he beloved offered a warped form of redemption from Tory greed and exploitation, “This Government, this one nation Conservative Government, are determined to invest more in our NHS than at any time in modern memory. We have already begun that, and we will want to see our fantastic frontline workers paid properly. That is, I think, the best way forward. I want to see our NHS staff paid properly, our NHS supported and…” This after rumours emerged reported in a recent Skwawkbox Article that the Government were seriously considering using another public sector pay freeze to cover the economic impact of the Covid 19 crisis.
In the spirit of ‘if you are going to tell a lie, tell a really big lie,’ Boris had not finished boasting about his highly improbable plans for the future of the NHS that most people now feel will be fully privatised and sold off to giant US Healthcare Corporations Just like the big lie on that Brexit bus he dredged up his favourite party political spin hoaxes that no one in the entire country believes except fantasy Brexiteers. It was truly nauseating to hear him brag, “I want to continue our programme not just of building forty more hospitals, but recruiting 50,000 more Nurses and investing hugely in our NHS, and I believe that will be warmly welcomed across the whole of our establishment of our fantastic NHS.” He had sorely misjudged the British public as they were not about to let him piss on our NHS heroes.
There was the typical Tory self-congratulatory “stroking” non-question to briefly help the PM rally before Ian Blackford of the SNP started into his usual tough questioning. He began by offering sympathy for disaster victims saying, “Our thoughts this morning are with the communities in India and Bangladesh dealing with the landfall of super cyclone Amphan. I am sure the Government will be monitoring the situation and will seek to give all necessary support.” I doubt this Tory Government gave it a moment’s thought, but it was worth making progressive MPs aware that there were other serious crisis situations threatening lives overseas. Blackford was about to double down on the Tory Government’s grotesque hypocrisy over their attitude towards foreign Care givers…
Blackford reminded the PM again that, “Every week, members of this Government applaud our truly heroic NHS and care staff, who have been on the frontline of this pandemic, regardless of whether they were born here or elsewhere. Indeed, the Prime Minister has thanked the nurses who cared for him, who were from New Zealand and from Portugal. The UK has the highest number of deaths in Europe, and without their sacrifice, we would be facing something much worse. I know the Leader of the Opposition has already asked the Prime Minister about overseas Care workers, but on Monday the Prime Minister ordered his MPs to vote for an immigration Bill that defines many in the NHS and Care sector as low-skilled workers. Given their sacrifice, is the Prime Minister not embarrassed that this is how his Government choose to treat NHS and Care workers?”
Johnson was not looking good as he tried to spin the toxic Tory agenda in a positive light, “This is a Government who value immensely the work of everybody in our national health service and our Care workers across the whole community. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that the reason for having an Immigration Bill of the kind that we are is not to keep out people who can help in our NHS; on the contrary, we want an immigration system that works for the people of this country and works for our NHS.” The PM was desperate for support as he appealed to the xenophobic minority, “I think what the people of this country want to see is an immigration system where we control it, we understand it and we are able to direct it according to the needs of our NHS and the needs of our economy, and that is what we are putting in place.”
With an angry stab at his opponents Johnson said, “I know it is rejected by the right hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras and indeed by the right hon. Gentleman himself, but it is the right way forward.” But Blackford hit back with, “The harsh reality is that the Prime Minister does not even pay NHS and Care staff the real living wage and wants to block many of them from working here at all. We need an immigration system that is fit for purpose. The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister seem hell-bent on implementing a purely ideological immigration policy with no basis in fairness or economics. The Government have talked about giving back to our NHS and Care staff. It is time for him to deliver. People migrating to these nations and choosing to work in our NHS and Care sector must have the Government’s cruel NHS surcharge removed immediately. Will he make that pledge today, or will he clap on Thursday, hoping that no one really notices that he is giving with one hand and raking it in with the other?”
Johnson seized on the so called “living wage” a well perpetrated Tory hoax that fails to hide the stark reality faced by the exploited working poor in the UK. He boasted of this fake achievement saying, “First, the right hon. Gentleman mentions the living wage. This is the party and Government who instituted the living wage and have just increased it by a massive amount. Secondly, this is the party that is putting £34 billion into the NHS, the biggest investment in modern times, and believe me we will continue with that investment.” Empty Tory spin about investment in the NHS after running it into the ground for over a decade fails to impress and it is certainly not credibly newsworthy; Johnson was bound to get slaughtered in the press. He finished with a bizarre dig at Scottish nationalism saying, “He talks about discriminatory policies at the border. The logic of his policy is to have a border at Berwick.”
Among other questions to the PM Colum Eastwood of the SDLP raised an issue related to our impeding Brexit crash out of the EU. He said, “In Ireland, both jurisdictions are working hard to organise contact tracing on a north-south basis, but the Prime Minister’s obsession with avoiding a Brexit transition extension means we risk crashing out without a data-sharing framework, which will critically undermine our ability to protect people from covid-19. When will he put the lives of people in our community above petty, narrow Brexiteer politics?” His appeal for sanity was bound to fall on deaf ears. In the PM’s disingenuous rebuttal Johnson said, “I must respectfully disagree with the hon. Gentleman. We are working very closely not just with our colleagues in the Government in Northern Ireland but with our colleagues in Dublin. I had a very good conversation with Leo Varadkar the other day and we saw eye to eye on the way forward. There is a huge amount shared between the UK and Ireland, and it will continue to be so.”
In the midst of the Tory Government’s shambolic and dangerous mishandling if the Covid 19 crisis we are being encouraged to forget about the next unnecessary catastrophe this reckless team on corrupt thugs has planned for us: crash-out Brexit. Just as the EU are pulling together to establish an effective economic recovery the UK will be careening towards another cliff edge disaster designed to devastate and enslave our population in decades of neo-liberal authoritarian dictatorship. We are fighting back and despite the fake Tory majority in Parliament we have forced Boris Johnson unto a couple of screeching U turns following this hammering at PMQs. This hoax of a Government is becoming less credible by the day; we must be really bold and demand a full investigation into the Covert 2019 Rugged Election to destroy their legitimacy and remove they from power before the cause any more serious harm and unnecessary death to our citizens and those who share our shores.May 26, 2020 at 03:32 #54217Kim Sanders-Fisher
As much as many of us in the UK detest Boris Johnson’s far too powerful, unelected side-kick, Dominic Cummings, for now he is “the news.” Although bombarding us with endless footage of the Dom loading up his car might be incredibly nauseating to watch, we should not race to move on to more important events because the prospect of his removal will diminish just as soon as we let this go. His conduct represented such an egregious breach of the lockdown restrictions that his departure should have been immediate and totally uncontested, but the Prime Minister is trying desperately to hang on to his most crucial top adviser.
Under normal circumstances Special Advisors do not give press conferences, but that is just one aspect of Dominic Cummings’s exceptionalism that appears to have led him to believe he could just run rough-shod over the lockdown regulations and get away with such unacceptable conduct and survive entirely unscathed. He faced the press in the garden of ten Downing Street where he read a prepared statement and answered questions put by the press. His statement was as full of holes as Swiss cheese; any decent self-respecting individual would have been too embarrassed to read it out. He denied some allegations, but admitted to a number of the sightings that have been reported by the press, trying to weave them into the storyline in a way that made genuine outrages seem forgivably reasonable. This Skwawkbox Article outlines how “Cummings’s press statement has made his behaviour worse, not better…” So let’s go over the gaping holes in his Swiss cheese account of his Durham getaway experience.
He started out telling us that his wife got sick and he ran home to take care of her on the same day Boris Johnson tested positive. He claimed he was worried he too would become ill with Covid 19 and be rendered incapable of providing proper care to their four year old son. Since he had obviously been living in close proximity to his wife and also working with Boris up until that point there was a high likelihood he was infected and would also get sick, but he also decided to head back over to Downing Street to spread the contagion among co-workers at number ten! He then admits he did not bother requesting childcare help from anyone closer to home in London before leaving for Durham. Since they were not infected with Covid 19, why couldn’t his sister or her “low risk category” 20 year old eldest daughter, have driven down from Durham to collect the child and take him up north for safe care?
This is the point where Dominic Cummings’s decision making falls into the category of recklessly irrational especially considering that men have tended to be more seriously affected by Covid 19 than women. Who in their right mind would seriously consider embarking on a 260 mile late night road trip north if they honestly felt that they were on the brink of becoming seriously ill? How would Dominic’s four year old son have fared if he had got really sick or passed out on the journey and his wife had taken a turn for the worst too while they were driving along a deserted motorway in the middle of the night during the long drive north? Why would anyone take such an extremely serious potential risk to the safety of their family or other motorists on the road that night and pass it off as a necessary decision made due to exceptional circumstances?
Cummings goes into intricate detail to avoid the pitfalls of valid criticism; overcomplicating the story is a classic sign of devious falsification. Miraculously he had a full tank of fuel, so he did not need to fill up along the way, but he must have visited a garage to fill up before leaving London at a point where he should already have been self-isolating and not risking infecting others. He insists he was not taking their child to be cared for by Grandparents as that is clearly against the rules due to the advanced age of his 70 year old parents and their subsequent risk status. He says they did not stay in the same house as his parents and it was his sister and her two daughters who had offered to take over care of his son if he and his wife became incapacitated.
In line with his excessively grandiose idea of himself as indispensible to the PM, Cummings made a huge deal of his immensely important work that he was eager to get back to in London. But was it really so essential for him to actually be physically present in London when so many people in the same situation were working remotely from home in line with Government recommendations to work from home. The Cummings family had access to an idyllic separate cottage where they were able to self isolate within the stipulations of the regulations and where Dominic Cummings could have remained in touch via his laptop. Sightings in the woods on or close to his parent’s property were fairly easy to explain away due to the extensive boundaries of this private property. Who among those reporting sightings would be fully aware of the crucial boundary that would have defined leaving home?
Despite claiming there were woods on his parents estate a visit to another wooded area was excused as a loo break for their son. How galling that must sound to a family who cannot enjoy the luxury of spacious grounds or even a tiny garden as they confine themselves in a single room of temporary accommodation. Dominic Cummings must have realized that the family jaunt to Barnard Castle on Easter Sunday was fully verified or he would not have made such a bizarre effort to weave the visit so plausibly into his excuse plot. This family outing is now proving a bit of an embarrassment as it was taken during a time when many resented the confines of the prolonged lockdown as the weather got better. This was the most egregious element of Dominic Cummings distain for the regulations that he helped set for ordinary citizens to abide by; people feel his relative freedom was just not fair.
He was the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser with a very important and prestigious role at number ten, so he obviously felt that he and his family were exempt from adhering to any of the restrictions forced on the general population. The 60 mile roundtrip to Barnard Castle was presented as a trial run road trip to see if he was fit enough to drive the 260 miles back home to London. This is so ridiculous as he could just as easily have packed up the car and started driving down towards London assessing how he felt 30 miles into the trip. If he was considered fit enough to return to work, why was he concerned about vision problems on the drive south; and why would he risk driving at all if something as critical as his vision might have been compromised? This was another unforgivably reckless, unnecessary journey risking the safety of his family and other drivers on the road.
Not only could both Dominic Cummings and his journalist wife have chosen to continue working remotely up in Durham, but if he felt such a burning compulsion to return to London, once Doctors had pronounced him fit enough to return to work, he could have taken the train leaving his wife and son to spend more time up in Durham at a property which according to the Skwawkbox is also a second home for them. There was no legitimate reason that would excuse Dominic Cummings being enabled to twist the lockdown rules into a pretzel to accommodate his overgrown sense of elitist privilege. The most serious concern moving forward is that his outrageous warping of the restriction rules opens up a whole vista of potential possibilities for those intent on resisting necessary isolation restrictions; this puts us all at risk.
This scandal has reached a point where the lockdown rules are now rendered totally worthless unless Cunnings is fired for his transgressions. I sincerely doubt that his press briefing won any sympathy from the enraged public at large or cynical journalists in attendance, so why is Boris Johnson so unreservedly supportive in defending a Spad who is causing so much damage to his reputation and political credibility? “Johnson’s own ‘behavioural SAGE’ group slams his car-crash Cummings defence: ‘He has trashed all the advice… on how to build trust’ in anti-Covid measures!” The Skwawkbox headline in a highly critical Article saying, “Boris Johnson brutally put down earlier this evening by a short-lived but massively shared tweet published on the official UK civil service Twitter account. The tweet, which called Johnson and his ministers ‘arrogant and offensive’ ‘truth twisters’, was shared 33,000 times in the ten minutes before it was deleted – and was so widely shared that even the BBC could not ignore it.”
In a rare unscheduled appearance the Press Briefing our part-time Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, could not have sounded more unconvincing and insincere as he went into bat for his controversial Chief Adviser, Dominic Cummings. As highlighted in response to that Press Briefing the Skwawkbox document:
• Cummings did not and could not know that he and his wife were ‘about to be incapacitated’ when the virus leaves the vast majority of those it infects with mild to zero symptoms
• Cummings did not have ‘no alternative’ – he reportedly has a sister who lives in London and an assistant who lives just a few streets away from his home
• Not by even the most blind Tory fan could claim travelling 260 miles was done ‘with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus’ – even if they were foolish enough to buy Johnson’s spiel about acting ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’
From this carnival of deception, the most important thing to analyse first is the motivations driving Boris Johnson’s obsession with retaining Dominic Cummings in post despite his flagrant, deliberate and serious flouting of the Covid 19 lockdown restriction that he himself put in place, with the significant danger now that these vital regulations will be ignored by the public from here on in. There are several potential possibilities for the PM’s decision making on this issue:
1. Boris Johnson is overwhelmed by a dedicated sense of loyalty towards the man who more than anyone else helped him get elected in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. This is highly doubtful as Boris Johnson has proven himself more than capable of throwing former trusted colleagues under the bus in his drive to meet his own selfish, power-hungry, narcissistic needs.
2. Boris Johnson is unconcerned about undermining the “Stay at Home” message. Although the vast majority of the public have followed the instruction carefully, making huge personal sacrifices, these efforts don’t support the blatant breaches Boris was expecting to facilitate the Dom’s “Herd Immunity” eugenics program in wiping out a much larger number of the “economically inactive” pensioners he had hoped to selectively cull. The sheer hypocrisy and arrogance of the Cummings response will encourage greater non-compliance so that Johnson has a target for blame when the second wave brings a renewed spike in the death toll.
While Boris Johnson might well have wanted to exploit this scandal to incite greater non-compliance as he forces people back into unsafe work environments, he would have much preferred a more expendable fall guy he could fire without impacting the full potential of his ongoing dictatorship strategy. The public are now baying for blood and demanding that he fires Cummings.
3. Johnson is heavily reliant on Dominic Cummings both with regard to tough decision making, essentially doing his job for him, and as his repugnant human-shield ready to accept being despised by the public so that Boris can continue to shine as a true charismatic hero of the people. This explanation certainly has an element of credibility to it, but it falls apart at the point where the storm over protecting Dominic Cummings from accountability becomes a millstone dragging the PM into the quagmire.
4. A point raised by Michael Norton in an earlier comment offers a potential explanation: there have been multiple breaches among the exceptionalist ranks of elite Tory MPs and key critical decision makers, so succumbing to pressure over removing Dominic Cummings could set a precedent capable of bringing down an uncomfortable number of Tory MPs. I doubt that Cummings is the solitary stand out in ignoring regulations that all of the Tories will believe are well beneath them. Those Tories who have bent the rules probably believed they would never get caught out and it would be easy to cover their tracks and lie their way out of trouble, but I am sure they are a known risk within the party and far less important to Boris Johnson than Cummings.
5. I would suggest an even more incendiary reason for Boris Johnson’s devious and divisive cloak of protection shielding his top advisor from accountability: blackmail! Dominic Cummings knows far too much with regard to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and he fully expects to continue benefiting from the silent coup he undoubtedly helped to engineer. If Cummings is removed from his post his unique access to an unelected position of power evaporates, so there is no longer any incentive to protect the prime beneficiary of that fraud our part-time Prime Minister, Boris Johnson!
I think Boris Johnson’s persistent irrational urge to protect Dominic Cummings has far less to do with loyalty and far more to do with fear of the catastrophic exposure of his illegal, Covert 2019 Rigged Election fake “Landslide Victory!” Cummings knows Johnson well enough to realize that he cannot be trusted further than you can throw him and that’s a pretty hefty heave! Dominic will have fully gamed out the potential scenario of a critical Boris betrayal ahead of time so that he has a secure way out that minimizes his own culpability and any potential for criminal charges. If, due to intense public and opposition party pressure, Dominic Cummings can be successfully ousted from his influential position in Government then he has a relatively strong potential to become the ultimate Electoral fraud Whistleblower.
I know that previous comments on this thread have assumed that there could not have been a massive Tory program of nationwide Electoral fraud because of the huge risk of exposure from a Whistleblower. I doubt that all Tory MPs know the full details of how the December Election was rigged as this really would make the plan vulnerable to detection. A large percentage of Tory MPs may well attribute the electoral success to Dominic Cummings’s PsyOps propaganda program and the full compliance of the UK media and the BBC in demonizing Jeremy Corbyn. However, those same MPs may well resent how powerful and influential Cummings has become in the new Tory Government and without the slightest hint of gratitude or loyalty they could now feel that Cummings is expendable without realizing the danger he presents.
The other night I watched a film about Lance Armstrong and his meteoric rise to the unstoppable winning position in the Tour de France year after year before he was exposed for doping. I must admit I had no idea how deeply involved his entire team had been in the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs until I watched the film. In the end he was exposed and brought down by a key trusted former team mate after he refused to bring that cyclist back into his newly regrouped team when Lance decided to make a comeback. Sure the charges that Whistleblower faced were nowhere near as severe as the potential trouble Dominic Cummings could be in coming forward to expose electoral fraud, but I am confident that Dominic will have insured that he was meticulously prepared for this eventuality.
There is no reason to sympathise with Dominic Cummings as a parent faced with “no alternative” when he chose to risk the lives of his family by embarking on a 260 mile journey while expecting to become incapacitated. This was not a justifiable “exceptional circumstance,” as he could potentially have lost control of his car and caused a serious accident that endangered other motorists as well as his family. We must continue to loudly and forcefully protest our outrage at the retention of Dominic Cummings in post. If the pressure becomes great enough for him to be fired by Boris Johnson, his personal loyalty to the PM might evaporate really rapidly. In such a circumstance, at a point where everything he had worked towards was no longer in the frame, who knows what he might decide to do in retaliation for being ditched and humiliated by the Tories.
I am thoroughly convinced that Dominic Cummings has all of the critical information about how the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was accomplished. My Petition for an investigation would be purely confirmatory, as I have absolutely no doubt that Cummings would have kept copies of all the most incriminating evidence as his insurance policy. So what might happen if Boris Johnson is pressured into firing Cummings? His revelations could blow the case wide open, totally obliterating the legitimacy of this Tory Government, thereby removing Boris Johnson from power in a brutal payback. The more tenaciously Johnson irrationally fights to keep Dominic Cummings in place, despite growing vocal public outcry, the more likely that he is being blackmailed. We must keep pushing as Cummings could be that one key comprehensive witness whose Whistleblower evidence takes this Tory Government down and out.May 27, 2020 at 03:54 #54265Kim Sanders-Fisher
The Daily GasLamp put together “Some light reading for the Bank Holiday Weekend.” It included a collection of Links to a number of their most important revelations from past GasLamp posts that are taking on special meaning now that Dominic Cummings is at last coming under serious criticism. They started out by stating what had motivated them to create the site: “This site was set up in the wake of the strange Tory victory in the 2019 General Election. Strange because it was won by the Tories by the precise margin predicted by Dominic Cummings – 80 seats – and confounding all other polls.” Then there is a Link to their post entitled: “Election Fraud GE2010” which outlines the core of the allegations regarding what I now refer to as the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.
What we are seriously considering right now is the potential removal of Dominic Cummings from his privileged position dictating Government policy to our part-time puppet Prime Minister and how that might shift the whole dynamic of UK politics in a better direction. The danger for Boris Johnson and the Tory Party is that Dominic Cummings was the prime architect who directed and managed core elements of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election through strategies he had developed during the Brexit Campaign. The danger now is that, of all the people who might know exactly how the extraordinary and still unfathomable Tory “Landslide Victory” was accomplished, Dominic Cummings had the greatest access and holds the most knowledge. If he is fired in disgrace he is very unlikely to go quietly and right now he is probably threatening Johnson with full exposure if the PM dares to oust him.
Dominic Cummings stealth stranglehold on power is best understood from reading what is revealed in the GasLamp’s Election Fraud post where they describe VICS. “Before the EU Referendum, Dominic Cummings had created a system for Vote Leave called the Voter Intentions Collection System (VICS). This is well documented in Dominic Cummings own blog. It provides a statistical probability of each and every vote and voter, fed by data sources conventional and unconventional. For Vote Leave this Big Data system was fed from information from Facebook: information on 2 billion (yes, 2 billion) people collected by Cambridge Analytica. There is an ongoing case about the fraudulent collection of this data and still further speculation whether this data was available to Dominic Cummings in 2019.”
The post goes on to describe the role of “Sock Puppets” in reinforcing the propaganda and fear mongering fed to the public via Social Media in the Tories military grade PsyOps Campaign of disinformation. The post then continues by revealing, “However to really gauge voter intention, VICS needs more than just targeting information it needs, feedback and engagement. Social media, particularly Facebook, is the tool of choice. Sock Puppet accounts and bots were enabled to do a number of things:
a) Identify a person who was likely to vote for a particular party – if confirmed views, would they be voting?
b) Identify people who could possibly be influenced “floating voters”, and if influenced would they vote?
c) Identify people who were unlikely to vote at all
In particular, besides identifying voter’s political view, the sock puppets and bots could re-enforce tribal behaviour and commitment to vote by either “liking” posts, engaging in chit-chat and obtaining such confirmation.”
The suspicion regarding this manipulation of the psyche of the British public ranged beyond Tory Party operatives to the potential involvement of “either UK Intelligence Services or Foreign Intelligence Services.” The piece recognized that the “USA and Israel both have massive capability for such “Psychological Operations” and were more likely culprits than Russia. This does not mean that the buried report on Russian involvement in our UK elections should not be made public and fully scrutinized as the sea of dubious funding that continues to flow from powerful Russian Oligarchs into the Tory Party should not be allowed to warp our politics, but that is another story that should not be forgotten.
The bottom line is that the Tory Party had access to that vast wealth of data and feedback that would have facilitated targeted manipulation and suppression of the postal votes at a time when the use of postal voting had been promoted and encouraged by the Government and was therefore at a far higher level than in previous elections. This is where the Tories inside connection to IDOX the company handling all of those postal vote and overseas voting packs could have enabled various forms of manipulation of the vote. According to the GasLamp, “For GE2019 early information indicates that both Safe Tory Seats and Marginals won by the Conservative, had high Postal Ballot percentages, double the usual figures. The VICS data would have indentified those people unlikely to vote. These would be the perfect people to impersonate for postal vote ballot stuffing.”
The GasLamp go on to expose what they believe is the master plan and who was in control of directing that plan during the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. “The different methods to achieve the goal, a conservative landslide, would have been diverse in order to stop any one particular method being fully understood and the fraud exposed. All that really was required was “Situational Awareness” – a military term that is now widely used within business – to provide a complete overall picture of progress towards the goal. In the conservative case, this was provided by Dominic Cummings’ Voter Intention Database. Is that system illegal? No… Well, actually it depends…” Please visit the GasLamp Blog to gain a far more in depth knowledge of what went down, who was primarily responsible and the legalities or illegalities of what exactly they got away with.
The military grade PsyOps turned on the British voting public to influence their vote without any knowledge that they were being targeted was vile and insidious, but we are lacking the tough restrictions and laws to fully define and prohibit this practice. While Cummings operation would have harvested the data and provided explicit instructions on how to make best use of that information Dominic might have managed to distance himself from the highly illegal implementation of the postal vote manipulation sufficiently enough to avoid any criminal charges. So while he identified where to plunder votes and exactly how many votes would be needed in each area he could potentially disavow responsibility for completing the necessary illegal manoeuvres. If he did not trust Boris Johnson and feared a future betrayed he would have made sure he had a secure back-up plan to protect his own interests.
Opposition Party MPs might or most likely are not aware of the underlying reason for this crisis in the Tory Party, but we do need them to reflect out outrage of Cummings display of contempt. We also need to question the initial disgraceful enabling ambivalence demonstrated by Labour Leader Keir Starmer, who is universally credited with the forensic skills of a top legal investigator, but seems oblivious to the injustice of this obvious breach of the emergency restrictions by Dominic Cummings. This has sparked the attention of the Canary who wrote the recent Article: “Left-wing MPs put Starmer’s weak response to the Cummings scandal to shame.” It reveals that, “The official opposition stance, though, has seemingly been to demand an ‘explanation’ rather than a resignation or dismissal. And key members of Starmer’s shadow cabinet have duly avoided openly calling for Cummings to go.” Also reported by the Canary, “even some Conservative backbenchers think it’s time for him to go; as do some 41% of Tory voters.”
In another Canary Article they report, “Boris Johnson has been hit with a ministerial resignation and faced mounting backbench anger over the actions of his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings. Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, said on Tuesday that he was quitting after hearing Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown.” Today there have been multiple interviews with Tory MPs determined to normalize Dominic Cummings arrogant abuse of power as if he was just a devoted father we should all empathise with, but their protestations will just drum home the message of “one rule for us” elitism. “…Ross, the MP for Moray, said: ‘I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government… I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right’.”
Robert Court was under fire from Simon McCoy for his unswerving support for Dominic Cummings. “The message as I remember it was ‘stay at home’ …rules that meant stay at home, meant stay at home!” The Tory MP defended his support, saying, “I accept and understand the strength of feeling that people have, I don’t dispute that for a moment and I think that everybody’s case should be looked at with compassion.” This has been the central plank of the Cummings defence spin, the tacit accusation that anyone who does not support Cummings’s rule breaking lacks compassion. Court was insisting that the PMs Chief Adviser’s truly warped misinterpretation of that “stay at home” message justified lengthy driving trips at a time when he admitted that he was expecting to become incapacitated heading north and was concerned about the quality of his eyesight before driving back to London!
McCoy appeared completely gob-smacked as he countered, “Ah yare, I’m sorry I was supposed to end the interview there, but you can’t possibly say that there isn’t sympathy around, for, a controversial figure, I mean I think even you would accept that.” He was not going to let Court get away with labelling those who were justifiable outraged as heartless. McCoy continued his protestation, “a person who in most circumstances should be behind the headlines; should certainly not be discussed in these terms, and yet here you are an elected MP defending someone who… I don’t know what’s going on… The public are going to be watching MPs and saying… what has he got over you all?” Court feigned confusion saying, “I’m not sure what the question is” before trying to portray himself as a neutral evaluator of facts. He then weighed in from what he said was a “legalistic point of view” brandishing his credentials as a Barrister. McCoy was not impressed asking, “I wonder what your point of view would be if you were a Doctor?”
McCoy hit the nail on the head when, in reference to Dominic Cummings, he asked, “what has he got over you all?” Will any more BBC presenters finally catch on that the Prime Minister and other Tory MPs unconditional and unwavering support for Dominic Cummings despite his obvious and very serious breach of the lockdown rules should arouse intense suspicion. Considering the massive negative impact this scandal is having on the credibility of the Tory Leadership, the party and all their Covid 19 lockdown messaging, it smacks of insanity not to drop Cummings like a hot potato! So just what is stopping them? The critical evidence he could reveal about the Covert 2019 Rigged Election – that is the power Cummings has over them and it is enough to bring down the Tory Government! We must keep demanding loud and clear that Dominic Cummings must get the sack. He could become the Whistleblower who provides all the evidence to validate a full investigation into the corrupt result and force the Tories out of office.May 28, 2020 at 02:40 #54312Kim Sanders-Fisher
Just in case you personally feel that the row over the need to remove Dominic Cummings from his post is just a party political spat that has got way out of hand, sucking up too much opposition oxygen in a time of crisis and we should let it go; please think again. This is a perfect opportunity to extricate the single most toxic influence in Government who as an unelected Chief Advisor has been permitted to exercise extraordinary powers never before designated to a Government Spad, from any political party in the entire history of our democracy. This extremely dangerous man is single-mindedly dedicated to obliterating democracy in the UK, a process that started with his military grade PsyOps manipulation of Brexit and progressed through the meticulously crafted Covert 2019 Rigged Election, to seize control of Government.
Cummings met his projected target of delivering exactly 80 seats to create the miraculous fake “Tory landslide victory” that ensconced his servile puppet in a cosmetic role as part-time Prime Minister, but just as he does not want Johnson to interfere with his clandestine plans for governance he will not tolerate being leveraged out of his role as chief puppet master. The Cover 2019 Rigged Election was I believe almost entirely his brainchild and his victory and there is no way he will relinquish the stranglehold he now enjoys over Boris Johnson and the Tory Party. Johnson was his perfect choice, the consummate narcissist with an insatiable ego and a ruthless appetite for power. He could maintain control over the PM and the Tory Government through his unique insider knowledge of the industrial scale fraud that brought these usurpers to power or he could take bitter revenge if they oust him.
Cummings believes he can blackmail Boris knowing that he holds the key to exposing the corrupt mechanism of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election in its entirety; leverage Cummings out and he could bring down the Government in a “my way or the highway” act of supreme revenge. While you might suggest that the exposure of this massive violation of UK Electoral law would hit Cummings harder than anyone else leading to the risk of significant jail time, think again. First of all the UK Electoral Commission has been rendered totally powerless with regard to issuing penalties of any kind and secondly we cannot assume that Dominic Cummings would not have made sure that he could distance himself from the most blatant criminality. No one in their right mind would actually trust Boris Johnson with regard to loyalty or keeping to his word; he would throw his own grandmother under the bus and I am sure Cummings realized that and factored it into his back-up plan.
The second major consideration then becomes why would Cummings consider such a radical backup plan that involves exposing the whole truth about how the Tories managed to steal the Covert 2019 Rigged Election with the inevitable consequence of bringing down the Government? Cummings probably believes that this threat will be enough to force Boris Johnson to defend his position and keep him in post. He may have seriously underestimated the public outcry over his rule breaking and the increasingly difficult dilemma faced by any MP trying to justify his retention. The media backlash has reflected the genuine mood of the public fpr a change and at last asked tough questions of those who attempt to defend him, with each interview looking even more farcical that the one before. His press briefing did not help him at all and the underlying question of Cummings unnatural hold over the PM is starting to be raised and examined.
However, if they succeed in ousting Cummings, his entire warped eugenics dream is no longer within his power to promote and control and he knows it. All of his warped plans for radical changes to Government that he could have coerced his pathetic ego-driven puppet PM into making would be seriously jeopardised or completely jettisoned with his departure, so his sole reason for supporting the Tory Party with his scheme for the Covert 2019 Rigged Election would evaporate. He did not offer his extraordinary fix out of love for Boris Johnson, Gove or anyone else; he will hate them and seek revenge if he is tossed out. It is really important to understand that Cummings constructed the corrupt plan to install the Tories in order to pursue his own agenda and that agenda is dark to the point of sickening with much of his motivations fully exposed on his blog. Akin to the boastfulness of a serial killer, Dominic Cummings’s intense pride over what he has accomplished manipulating his way into power is something i believe he is itching to share.
Cummings is derided in a Byline Times Article highlighting the threat he poses to this country that digs a little deeper than his determination to dodge Parliamentary scrutiny and accountability or his more recent display of utter contempt for rules, regulations and UK law. He is aptly described as “a man who wants to rule – but to do so in the shadows.” They state that. “according to a Financial Times report last year, Cummings does address the issues of Government through WhatsApp. It was reported that he even lists ‘Get Brexit done, then ARPA’ as priorities on his account’s status.” Apparently both Cummings, the PM, Ministers and senior staff have switched to an “even more secure encrypted messaging app – Signal”
The article states that, “Cummings has almost certainly breached the Freedom of Information Act.” It quotes directly from the ICO website: “You may be breaching the Freedom of Information Act if you… fail to respond adequately to a request for information [and] deliberately destroy, hide or alter requested information to prevent it being released”. The article states that, “Clearly, denying that he uses encrypted software to a Cabinet Office civil servant tasked with establishing if he did or not, and shifting to even more encrypted software, fit these criteria.” Secret messaging when dealing with Government business and policy making, with the zero publically accessible paper trail, offers huge potential for dodgy deals, conflicts of interest and widespread corruption for which the Government can never be held to account or prosecuted in future.
Why should we want Dominic Cummings to go? Byline have a more expanded take on the transgressions of Dominic Cummings reminding us of the dangers his modus operandi pose to our democracy. “…we are left with a situation where the Prime Minister’s right-hand man – one who clearly considers himself to be above the law – is deliberately operating in the shadows. A man who is rarely held to account and appears to lie so as to prevent this from happening. A man who flouts the Government’s own regulations and is held in contempt of Parliament. And a man who has the Prime Minister’s ear.” Going beyond the current scandal they say that his, “…hoped-for resignation shouldn’t just be about him driving 270 miles across the country with symptoms of a deadly virus during a pandemic. It should also be about his total disregard for transparency and truth – because this is a disease that could be far more costly to the health of this nation.”
In the first of a pair of early January Byline Times Articles, Otto English attempts to discover what motivates Dominic Cummings and what his end goal might be writing, “In any analysis of theatre and cinema texts, there is always much discussion of something called the ‘super-objective’ – what a character wants more than anything else; their end goal if you like.” He poses the question, “But what of Dominic Cummings, the Tory party wunderkind and power behind Johnson’s throne? What motivates him and what does he actually want?” The author offers a potted history of the influences that shaped Cummings early career and documents his rise to prominence.
A notable mentor at University may have significantly impacted his thinking when, “At Oxford, Cummings studied under the historian Norman Stone and his meeting with this notoriously rude, thin-skinned, ill-tempered, supercilious, right-wing Svengali seems to have been a turning point in his life. But he did have an effect on Cummings. Stone was an arch manipulator who specialised in malice, abuse and dismissiveness of those with whom he disagreed. He was a man lost in his own self-absorbed myth, who had an over-arching belief in his intellectual prowess over those of others. In some ways, that template seems to have set the course for Dominic Cummings’ future life.” After Oxford, “In 1994, Cummings graduated with a first-class degree and arrived in Moscow shortly afterwards with the ambition to set up an airline and a bond desk from a table in Liam Halligan’s flat.” In the three years he was there he learned Russian, but his business aspirations went nowhere so he has dealt with failure in the past.
After returning to the UK a couple of years are unaccounted for in his CV, before he got his first shot at campaigning to keep the UK from joining the Euro Zone. He acquired one of his strongest talents creating a simple, memorable slogan – “Europe Yes. Euro No.” He had found his niche in campaigning, working on other projects with equal success. The author notes that, “Cummings was swiftly proving himself to be an effective campaigner when it came to getting people to vote ‘No’ to things that might improve their lives.” This is the horrific manipulative talent that has astounded everyone; PsyOps put it into overdrive. But the author points out, “Here is the paradox that lies at the heart of this self-styled anti-establishment figure: for all his talk of taking a sledgehammer to government and institutions, Cummings has proved time and again in his career to be an arch Conservative who opposes change.”
Following another successful 2004 referendum campaign he appears to have gone into a period of virtual hibernation, but did this and possibly those missing years between in 1979 and 1999 in fact a mark period of serious depression? Certainly there are periods in his working life where his behaviour could legitimately be described as manic; so is he just a deeply thoughtful, whacko maverick or is he a classic manic-depressive character? The writer found his conduct rather strange noting that, “Cummings then did something deeply weird. With his father’s help, he constructed a concrete bunker at the family farm and retreated there for two years to read science and history books in an attempt to better understand the world. The result of this Buddha-like contemplation, as he sought to find his super-objective, would come to reshape the fate of Britain and put his mark on posterity.”
In the second part of Otto English’s Byline Times analysis of Dominic Cummings he continues his exploration of what drives the Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor. He describes his work with Education Secretary Michael Gove, “The Coalition Government came to power in 2010 and soon Gove’s department went to work, ripping up the national curriculum… Shortly after that, a mysterious but officially endorsed Twitter account called @toryeducation began to churn out pro-Gove tweets and troll any opponents who dared to criticise the direction the Education Secretary was taking. The account was characterised by an aggressive and belligerent approach, coupled with a child-like petulance.” I would add that this was a dark art Cummings was to continue to cultivate!
The author revealed that, “An investigation into the account by The Observer accused two of Gove’s advisors of being the culprits. One of those was Henry de Zoete, the other Dominic Cummings. The Department for Education swiftly – if belatedly – distanced itself from the Twitter account and, shortly after that, it was closed down. But the affair was a telling insight into the dysfunctional signature style of the Department for Education during the Gove years.” Was this penchant for maliciousness learned from Stone? In describing the damage done the author says, “Gove, with Cummings at his side, took a hand-grenade to education policy. To push through his changes, he and his advisors had from the start set about playing an extended game of ‘good cop, bad cop’ of which the Twitter account was but a part. The Education Secretary himself would appear reasonable and charming, while his special advisors went on the attack – aggressively championing his policies while dismissing out of hand those of everyone else.”
Describing the fall-out from Gove drastic policy changes the author states a shocking fact, “Whatever the pros, cons or otherwise of his educational agenda, there was one clear impact: faced with a vastly increased workload and a constant fiddling at the controls, a record 50,000 teachers quit in a single year.” In what appears to be a quixotic change of allegiance the author notes that, “under increasing pressure, Cummings joined the teachers in throwing in the towel in 2013 – but not before he penned a 237-page thesis entitled Some Thoughts on Education and Political Priorities.” Will current public opinion and mounting pressure within the Tory ranks force him to fall on his sword? I doubt it, but he may be forced to switch priorities if he is eventually fired and he certainly has a strong propensity for malicious and vengeful behaviour when things do not go his way.
The author then warned of the disturbing content in Dominic Cummings’s thesis on education stating, “More worryingly, buried within the thesis, he controversially claimed that 70% of a child’s academic performance is genetically derived, arguing that ‘there is strong resistance across the political spectrum to accepting scientific evidence on genetics. Most of those that now dominate discussions on issues such as social mobility entirely ignore genetics and therefore their arguments are at best misleading and often worthless’. This bizarre and disquieting assertion caused outrage. Gove was called upon by Kevin Brennan, the Shadow Schools Minister, to condemn what his advisor had written. But with Cummings leaving his department, the news cycle moved on and the story was quickly forgotten.” This should not be ignored as Cummings, who is now in a powerful position in Government directing our part-time Prime Minister, was expounding the debunked, thoroughly repugnant pseudo-science of eugenics.
His dubious writings and warped philosophical outlook did not hold him back in his next venture, if anything they were assets. The Byline author writes that, “Cummings made the Vote Leave campaign all about saving money for the NHS, immigration and ‘taking back control’. The message was kept simple and effective and while the official Remain campaign, Stronger In, tied itself in knots, Cummings and his team indulged in all means necessary to get the message across.” In criticism the author points out that, “For a self-professed fan of Thucydides, the father of evidence-based thinking and impartiality, to have such a reckless disregard for truth leaves one wondering what Cummings was reading in his bunker during those lost years in Durham.” Cummings has gone from strength to strength, “Since then, and since the Tories swept back to power in December, Cummings has been at the heart of the Johnson administration.” I fear it is a lot worse than that, as I see it, following the successful Covert 2019 Rigged Election he has been in an exceptionally powerful position manipulating and controlling the whole Tory show! The author acknowledges that, “Cummings now has the chance to fulfil all those fantasies he has long harboured about getting rid of the Civil Service and…” And a whole lot more besides with a few dangerous excursions into the realm of eugenics if he is not stopped in his tracks. But will his latest arrogant abuse of power bring him crashing down?
In summing up Otto English asserts that, “Cummings is a public schoolboy who doesn’t want public schoolboys on his team; an anti-establishment figure who has spent his life working for the establishment; an unelected bureaucrat who rants and raves against unelected bureaucrats; a fan of evidence-based thinking who runs campaigns that throw evidence out of the window; an idealist committed to stripping back and cutting down on excess even as Downing Street takes on 108 full-time employees and 44 taxpayer-funded special advisors – far more than during Theresa May’s administration.” While we are only familiar with a few of his spectacular victories and his meteoric rise to an unaccountable position of political influence, Cummings has sometimes got things catastrophically wrong and experienced crushing failures in his life; is he heading for another serious failure?
The author admits he is still trying to figure out what Dominic Cummings “super-objective’ is, but I am more interested in how his track record and weird objectives so far will be accommodated if he is thrown out on his ear? From the torturously complex posts on his blog I remain convinced that above all he will want to tell his story even if those revelations cause the public to despise him all the more. His utter distain for our compliance and gullibility make him the ultimate con artist whose gratification is incomplete until he shares the details of his triumph over us all. If removal from his current privileged position renders him unable to direct Government in the direction of his choosing he has no special sentimentality over preserving the power of those he leveraged into power in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. He could be the crucial link in our investigation into the result if he turned Whistleblower.May 29, 2020 at 03:43 #54368Kim Sanders-Fisher
A story has been rapidly gaining traction in the media that the Tories had forced the BBC to gag Emily Maitlis for making a factual statement about Dominic Cummings’s very serious breach of the UK Lockdown restrictions that he helped to create. In the Skwawkbox Article entitled: “Newsnight removes Maitlis from Newsnight for ‘bias’ taking down Cummings and Johnson’s excuses – but stands by Kuenssberg’s ‘defence’ of Durham trip.” They highlight how “the BBC bows to Tory pressure and removes presenter who pointed out issues with Cummings’s and Johnson’s claims about former’s coronavirus road-trips” and report that her departure from Newsnight is described as a one-off removal, at least for now.
According to early reporting, “Emily Maitlis has been removed as the presenter of the BBC’s Newsnight programme, after the BBC upheld a complaint by supporters of Dominic Cummings that her factual take-down of Cummings’s behaviour and of Boris Johnson’s decision to defend him was biased.” It would be rare for Skwawkbox to print an article like this without hard facts from the BBC which makes more recent sound like the screech of the BBC are back-peddling fast! People must get in touch with the BBC on mass to complain about their extreme ongoing bias and the stifling of factual news reporting and it looks like a volume of people did just that. Any reprimand or punitive action would have represented a gross misjudgement taking the UK several strides further towards the untrammelled deluge of baseless propaganda that is the hallmark of an authoritarian far-right dictatorship.
It is only when we witness such aggressive pushback that the public realize the excessive pressure all BBC presenters must have been placed under, forcing them to tow the Tory Party line in obvious violation of Purdah neutrality rules during the run-up to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and beyond. It is all too easy to just assume that these presenters are all rabidly right wing with their constant Tory leaning slant on the news, but perhaps their own personal views are muted .by the overall BBC bias. They might have to put up with “minders” screaming into their ear piece any time they dare to stray off the BBC endorsed message in defiance of the agenda to leverage this deeply corrupt Government into power and keep them there no matter what.
Maitlis might have been instinctively responding to her own personal outrage over a gross injustice suffered by a member of her own family or just the sheer gall, contempt and hypocrisy of Cummings actions, but whatever motivated her to shoot from the hip that night we are all duty bound to show our overwhelming support for that outburst. During a crisis like this it is no time to argue with your boss, or risk termination by taking a stand, but I think this will really backfire on the BBC if they target Maitlis. Boris Johnson’s fake loyalty to his Spad is steadily dragging him under while Cummings arrogantly refuses to go quietly and we should demonstrate our support for greater scrutiny from BBC presenters not less. The Skwawkbox warn of the dangers of, “broadcasters increasingly bowing to the government to shut down factual criticism is a worrying phenomenon.”
Maitlis coming under attack from her BBC handlers was not a rare occasion where the Skwawkbox had managed to botch their reporting, because there were plenty of other places where the very same story appeared. On Twitter the Canary commented sarcastically: “The BBC apologized for accurately covering the Dominic Cummings scandal on Newsnight the other day. But the broadcaster played a key role in smearing Jeremy Corbyn for over four years – with near total impunity. It’s clear whose interests the #BBC serves.” While one respondent wrote: “Whereas #Newsnight can take a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, superimpose it onto a picture of the Kremlin, give it a red tint, reduce the contrast to make his hat look like an ushanka, enlarge it and use it as the backdrop for an entire segment, and no apology is deemed necessary.”
The New European weighed in with their support for Maitlis reporting that, “A petition has been launched opposing the BBC’s decision to reprimand Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for her monologue about Dominic Cummings’ rule-breaking. Despite praise for the comments, the BBC issued a reprimand to staff as they ‘did not meet our standards of due impartiality’. It was shortly after reported Maitlis will not present the next programme, with UK editor Katie Razzall instead hosting.” But the public outrage was mounting with a strong backlash against the BBC reprimand putting pressure on them to rethink their actions.
The paper said,“A spokesperson for the BBC denied that the presenter had been ‘removed’, and added that they have ‘not prevented Emily from presenting’ Wednesday’s programme. But there was an outpouring of support against the earlier statement, including an online petition with almost 5,000 signatures in the first hour. The change.org petition text – aimed at BBC bosses – reads: ‘Less than 24 hours after Emily Maitlis spoke for people in the UK and spoke truth to power she has been removed from Newsnight. ‘How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition?’”
Digital Spy reported that, “The show’s UK editor Katie Razzall took the reins instead of Maitlis on Wednesday, prompting many to speculate that the BBC had opted to change presenters following its review of Tuesday’s instalment. However, Maitlis has since clarified that it was her decision to pull out of the show, and she had simply ‘asked for the night off’. Following the broadcast, she tweeted: ‘So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague @katierazz for stepping in this evening. She did so because I asked for the night off -knowing tonight’s prog would be in the most excellent hands. Maitlis returned to social media today (May 28) to thank her followers for their concern, posting: ‘Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it. A big thank you from us all at #newsnight’.” I hope this sends a very powerful signal to BBC presenters that if they speak out with the courage and integrity to hold this shameful Tory Government to account, we have got their back!
Listen to this utter drivel spouted on YouTube for a jolt of truly obscure imbalance… “Journalist Sarah Vine has said Newsnight host Emily Maitlis should not face consequences after the BBC said the programme’s coverage of the Dominic Cummings fallout did not meet impartiality standards. Speaking with talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton, Ms Vine said the BBC had ‘done the right thing’ in its criticism, adding ‘I do think it was a bit biased and a little bit strong what she said’. Ms Maitlis had opened Tuesday night’s programme by stating that the Prime Minister’s chief adviser ‘broke the rules’, despite the government’s insistence that he had not. But Ms Vine, who is the wife of Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, said the incident had illustrated the ‘level of hysteria/ that Mr Cummings’ alleged lockdown breach had caused. She told Dan: ‘I don’t think that Emily should have any repercussions from this, I’m generally not a person to call for people to be fired when they make a mistake or get things slightly wrong’.”
The Guardian reported that, “Clips of the sequence went viral on social media, attracting millions of views – many more than tune in to Newsnight on a typical evening. However, it caused fury among both Conservative politicians who have largely parked their longstanding criticism of the BBC during the pandemic, and also some journalists in and outside the public broadcaster who felt it went against the corporation’s approach to journalism. BBC news bosses agreed with the criticism of its own show, swiftly issuing a statement distancing themselves from the monologue. BBC sources said Newsnight’s editor, Esme Wren, worked on Tuesday night’s episode.”
MPs are still furious with the Government for not firing Dominic Cummings and the Guardian quoted a reaction to the BBC response, “Keith Brown, SNP deputy leader, said: ‘This statement is a gutless capitulation by BBC bosses. Newsnight should be commended – not slapped down – for their serious investigative work on Cummings, that’s not something you could say about the BBC News at 10. Pandering to 10 Downing Street by curbing journalists from being able to hold the UK government to account is of serious concern.’ An SNP spokesperson added: ‘It’s ironic that the only apology over the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches scandal comes from the BBC’.” It should be abundantly clear to Boris Johnson by now that the British people are not ready to “move on!!”
The 60 mile drive to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday the Cummings claims was a test of his eyesight that risked the safety of his family and other drivers is such a grotesque manipulation of the truth that it’s simply indefensible and no one is buying it. In his post “Why Barnard Castle” Craig Murray points out the GlaxoSmithKline have a facility right there at Barnard Castle and that a vaccine production deal with them was announced only two days later; was this just a coincidence or an ideal chance to do a quick deal? This scenario is a lot more believable than the random 60 mile roundtrip drive and if this was all down to a positive negotiation regarding vaccine production after Cummings was cleared to go back to work why wouldn’t the trip have been fully justified? The trouble is that so much is kept secret to hide dirty backroom deals that facilitate Tory donors milking the system for vast sums of money during the crisis that the Tories need to keep such deals under wraps.
The reality is that the overwhelming public support for Maitlis on this occasion may have thrown her a lifeline when she sailed too close to the wind. However, the general public need to keep speaking up and complaining to the BBC when they fail to project our priorities and target o presenter who does the important job of scrutinizing our Government over their constant failures, wrong priorities, poor decisions and shambolic policies. We can demonstrate to presenters that they have the public onside when they go on the attack when interviewing right-wing Tory politicians; our continued vocal support will help give them the courage to do so.. Boris Johnson is looking more pathetic by the minute trying to defend the indefensible and even BBC reporters are beginning to ask the question put by Simon McCoy the other day, “What has he got over you?” I continue to believe that Dominic Cummings is threatening to spill the bean on the Covert 2019 Rigged Election if he is fired, so please let’s keep the pressure up.May 30, 2020 at 04:28 #54418Kim Sanders-Fisher
Michael Walker Novara Media has posted a presentation on YouTube examining a Daily Mail survey: “Brits Say Dominic Cummings Is LYING.” The initial comments focus on Cummings direct statement on why he broke lockdown rules, this “was received with most Brits not believing a word he said, according to a recent poll published in the Daily Mail.” The Daily Mail had conducted a poll on reaction to the Cummings press conference and Walker outlined the questions asked and the percentages from respondents; it did not look good for Cummings.
The pollsters asked: “Do you believe Dominic Cummings had to drive to Durham to get childcare help?” Result – True 25% , but only 40% of Tory Voters, False: 61% with just 47% of Tories. Walker said they had tried to portray this “as just bitter Remainers, bitter Corbynites criticizing Dominic Cummings – everyone in the country, all demographics, all political persuasions, they think he’s lying; they don’t think he had to go to Durham to get childcare help.” Another question: “Feared protesters would attack his London home? …a key justification for why he had to go.” Response – True 23% with 36% of Tory Voters, False: 59% and 49% among Tories. It gets worse: “Drove to Barnard Castle to check eyesight before driving back to London?” Result – True 8% and only 15% of Tories, False: 78% and 66% of Tories. “Left the car and sat on a bench at Barnet Castle because he felt sick?” Result – True 16% , 28% of Tories,, False: 66%, 54% of Tories.
Walker relayed that: “There was a general question: Is he telling the truth or not? …Yes 17%, No 66%.” It seems most people who watched Dominic Cummings read out his statement to journalists in a live TV presentation in the garden at number ten worked out that he was telling Porkies! Walker exclaimed, “How did he call it this wrong?” Dalia Gebrial focused on, “The polling which is just kind of showing that I think people are becoming really aware of two things; first of all that Gaslighting is at the absolute heart of this Government’s strategy when dealing with Coronavirus, they keep making explicit errors and then going back and saying we never did that what you saw you didn’t ever see it, what you experienced was something that you never experienced.” She gave the Care Home deaths as an example.
Gebrial then went on to a point about how “the Government were so shockingly out of touch,” an impression reinforced by watching the questioning of the Liaison Committee. She talked about how an MP had to explain to Boris Johnson how people who had ‘Leave to Remain’ could not access Government funds because of the no recourse to public funds law. She was concerned that Johnson didn’t understand that that exists, it was part of the hostile environment ramped up by Theresa May. The Tories vote through so many policies that seem ill thought through without looking at the ramifications under ordinary circumstances, but the situation becomes a lot worse when there is a crisis like the one caused by this virus. It certainly seems that many of the extreme challenges the Tories are facing right now have been greatly exacerbated by austerity cuts and other reckless policies. The most arresting thing that she said was about viewing this through a “Failed State Lens.” ….Are we there yet?
It was the revelations of Owen Jones that provided an interesting insight into the psyche of Dominic Cummings which give us a strong hint as to how he might react if Johnson ever mustered the gonads to fire him. I am not entirely convinced that Dominic Cummings does not suffer from a mental health issue – namely bipolar disorder. Why do I think this is the case? His behaviour during highs when he was a key player in the tragic planning of successful campaigns is in stark contrast to his reclusive retreat into the bunker on his father’s farm and the two years missing from the work history laid out on his CV. Do we just recognize Cummings on the zenith of his high points, when things are going exceptionally well as he earned the fearful respect of his subordinates and was being hailed as a sinister genius? Do we not also need to acknowledge that there were business ventures that tanked during his time in Moscow and strange, unexplained multi-year removals from all normal social contact?
Jones said, “In terms of Dominic Cummings in the rose garden they obviously have a strategy lets try and at least attempt to dissect the internal workings of their minds. What he was trying to do in that particular dramatic moment was bog us down in the granular details and because obviously objectively he broke the rules everything else is noise. I think a lot of this is hubris” he mentioned the TV drama and “his attempt to win a referendum in which the odds were overwhelmingly that remain would win almost every single newspaper commentator in the country thought remain were going to win whichever side they backed this was someone who was seen as a the architect of a Conservative majority… if we are going to be perfectly honest very few people thought would be an 80 seat majority” Owen Jones’s commented that “I think he’s just drunk on his own hubris.” He then talked of a striking quote in the Financial Times where a friend of Dominic Cummings was quoted as saying, ‘He doesn’t care what happens to the Tories, he’s not a Conservative… he has no political attachment… the quote said… he didn’t care if they sank below the Greeks’…”
Jones continued, “I think a lot of it is his own affronted ego it’s the fact that Boris Johnson himself is so reliant because he is so week, reliant on this one adviser that he has allowed Dominic Cummings to essentially to id imakine Dominic Cummings called any rational Prime Minister would say don’t do that, it will obviously make things worse, but Dominic Cummings himself, his hurt ego meant that he almost… his sense of hubris, the sense that he is the architect of this against all odds victory, the evidence that point to that right away just pure ego mania on his part, is I think we’re going to mention it the fact that in that press conference, he declared that he had predicted a pandemic, that a Pandemic could happen… he did that last year What we’ve discovered since is that he edited his blogs on the first day he came back from Durham, to insert that in those Blogs.”
This was certainly a strange insight into a very strange mind. Jones explained, “The reason he did that, he made this clear in the press conference is he was so angry at being, by the Sunday Times incidentally, for being accused of being the key promoter of ‘Herd Immunity’ including a strategy of protect the economy let all the people die which is how the Sunday Times sources summed it up. But he felt he had to actually amend his blogs in a completely dishonest way to make it look like not only did he not push herd immunity, he was the only guy who knew this was going to happen, he was one of the only people in the country who thought this was going to happen. Now that was a lie, that was completely dishonest and is an example of why we can’t trust anything that he says. But it is testament to his own burnt ego, so I think there’s three things a bruised ego of someone who genuinely thinks he’s an evil mastermind after he relishes being seen as an evil mastermind and someone who thinks well I can, I’m essentially a magician.”
Walker has more poll numbers, “Also contained in that Daily Mail poll was the figure that 65% of the public believe that the conduct of Dom Cum would make people less likely to follow the lockdown rules and we’ve already got some anecdotal evidence to prove that so let’s get up a tweet from a London Anaesthetist someone working in the NHS a Doctor” Walker reads his tweet, “I’ve now had 3 people tell me in the last 24 hours that they have broken lockdown citing Dominic Cummings as justification. His resignation is genuinely required as an urgent and powerful public health intervention; people are flouting the rules because he did without consequence,” Walker adds, “that’s from the Medical profession.” What I am curious to know is, does this fit into the Government’s herd immunity strategy whereby people defying the lockdown provides a useful scapegoat for the Tories to blame for a new spike in cases that they know is an obvious consequence of their mistakes.
Walker contininues, “We can also get someone who is from law enforcement, …so this London police officer also phoned LBC to tell his experience when he approaches members of the public who are breaking lockdown since this whole Dominic Cummings row, let’s have a listen to that now” The Officer says. “Well a good half a dozen people I spoke to today when I have said to them why do you say lockdown is over and they say oh well Government can do what they want ans as a police officer I don’t know what to respond back to them…. We don’t speak for the Government e just enforce the rules and I don’t know what the answer I’m meant to give back is.” LBC responds, “You are saying you have come across people who have used what has happened over the last weekend as an excuse not to follow the lockdown rules?” the oducer cincludes, “There are three people who have said that to me today. … if Dominic Cummings can do what he wants then we should be able to too…” This major attitude shift should come as no surprise.
There are serious ramifications for the Tories fi they hang onto Dominic Cummings as people will no longer feel obligated to abide by the lockdown rules. How much does this play into the Tory agenda of turning the epidemic on and off like a tap until we meet that magic objective of herd immunity that the Tories have never really abandoned? It does make it harder to blame the public for the second surge based on their rule breaking if their own Chief Adviser was the one instigating that rule breaking trend. It seems that Cummings had his statement meticulously carefully drafted by a lawyer as it does not match his regular writing style. Available as a video produced by the Financial Times this offers an interesting perspective, “Dominic Cummings’s statement: a guided tour.” The FT’s David Allen Green argues, “how to read the real meaning behind a ‘lawyered’ statement, and how careful phrasing can be used to cover up.”
As we assess the realistic potential for Cummings to present evidence as a Whistleblower to expose the details of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election we cannot discount the personality and psychological characteristics that drive Dominic Cummings. While he is capable of revelling in his role functioning in the shadows rather than basking in the limelight, his status as a genius Machiavellian manipulator in ultimate supreme control of the UK Tory Government feeds into his massive ego. To fire him is to rob him of that power and prestige and there must be something significant to take its place. I do not think he will settle for the standard deal offered to most errant functionaries, leave now, but come back later would be too great of a compromise as he realixes this is a key time to make radical changes that he will be hoping to direct.
Being forced out, a Tory betrayal would release Cummings from the contract of secrecy that stifles so many warped individuals of his ilk. Blowing the whistle would not entail the tortured confessions of a broken man, but rather the arrogant ramblings of a master manipulator who desperately wants to boastfully elaborate on his ingenious escapades and be publicly admired as a man of superior intellect. Even if he risked jail this adulation of his prowess would be no meagre consolation prize; it offers a greater adrenaline rush than his shadow leadership role under Johnson. This situation presents such an unusual; perspective that it may well catch the Tory Party seriously off guard. Tories fully understand financial motivations, power and greatly increased self-esteem to be had with an elevation to the titled elite; these are all known quantities, but Dominic Cummings seeks a very different style of public gratification.
Just like the warped serial killer who is itching to tell how he was able to commit his ghastly crimes; Cummings is ready to fess up for fame and notoriety alone. Right now perhaps not all Tories fully understand that risk. Disbelieving Tories will be lulled into a false sense of security believing Cummings will not take the huge risk of betraying them, but this presents a serious weakness that Cummings will readily exploit. As a potential Whistleblower he could provide the vital evidence necessary to support a full investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, but this Tory Government would be stripped of all legitimacy and forced from office without delay. We must seize this unique opportunity as it may represent the last chance to rescue our democracy. Only massive public pressure will keep this in the media and force the Government to risk their grip on power. DO NOT MOVE ON…May 31, 2020 at 03:48 #54462Kim Sanders-Fisher
As Craig points out in his most recent post, “Let’s Move On From Boris,” he says that, “The problem with this slogan is it does not have a good history.” Murray reminds us that, “When a politician is desperate enough to use the “move on” slogan, you know they have done something very wrong indeed and are in big trouble.” It was a thought-provoking warning of all the times we have been conned into accepting this excuse not to uncover the truth, correct injustice or try to learn from our mistakes. Craig poses a really amusing example “I think I’ll rob a bank to get some campaign funds… Hey, let’s move on… What is important is that we all come together now and get behind the really great things I’m going to do with the money!” In a New Statesman Article Martin Fletcher is emphatic in his condemnation and his message to the PM, writing, “If Dominic Cummings is not sacked, Boris Johnson’s government will lose all remaining credibility. A weary public will not forgive the egregious hypocrisy of the Prime Minister’s chief strategist.”
But less than one week has passed before Johnson has launched an audacious crusade to declare the matter closed, in the expectation that the British public will just, you guessed it, “move on!” This tactic has worked so well for him in the past, following many of the PM’s cowardly attempts to dodge scrutiny and silence detractors, but this transgression has touched a raw nerve with everyone who has made such huge personal sacrifices to abide by the restrictions of lockdown. Even the normally compliant right-wing media have refused to let the matter drop. In the midst of a national crisis and, I hasten to add, a time of rapidly declining readership, the tabloid press have realized that they might need to champion the cause of outraged and aggrieved citizens who have been deluging their MP’s mail boxes with complaints over the retention of Dominic Cummings.
As if we needed reminding of how much Cummings has managed to warp our political agenda in just a few short months Fletcher elaborates, “As one of Johnson’s first prime ministerial appointments last summer, Cummings purged moderate Tory MPs, championed a no-deal Brexit to pressure Brussels, persuaded Johnson to prorogue parliament, sidelined Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and crafted both the ‘people vs parliament’ narrative and the assault on Labour’s northern seats that delivered Johnson’s spectacular general election victory last December.” On the last point re the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result Cummings evil manipulation subjected the public to military grade PsyOps and he also deployed his Voter Intentions Collection System, ViCS, to harvest data from the population to create the Situational Awareness that was required to achieve industrial scale fraud via the postal votes. Visit the Daily GasLamp post entitled, “Index to the The Daily GasLamp” for a clear explanation of these issues.
Much of what Dominic Cummings did with regard to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election remains within a high-tech gray area that still remains difficult to prosecute, but exposing the stolen ballots could bring down the Government. The attempt to understand the extent of these unhealthy forays into manipulative brainwashing of our population were thwarted when Cummings point blank refused to testify to the Government Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport; sadly for our democracy there was no way to compel him to attend. However, when Dominic Cummings decides to dispence discipline he is absolutely ruthless in his US style grotesquely humiliating firing tactics. There was no defence, no recourse to justice and no mercy when he accused Sajid Javid’s Special Adviser, Sonia Khan’s, of leaking information, stripped her of two mobile phones and had her marched out in disgrace surrounded by armed police officers! The Guardian reported that painfully humiliated Khan may have a case for unfair dismissal.
This classic “walk of shame” removal is an aggressive bullying tactic intended to terrify colleagues into compliant, obedient silence. It can be used effectively to falsely criminalize Whistleblowers, deliberately removing them from all contact with former co-workers and casting a dark shadow over their future employment. There is zero dignity in this brutal exit, as I know from suffering this fate myself while working at Johns Hopkins in the US. Believe me all these “business friendly” strong-arm measures will be imported faster than chlorinated chicken after December’s crash-out Brexit strips away all of our EU employment rights to fast-track worker exploitation. Boris Johnson, Gove and others are trying their best to portray Dominic Cummings as a conscientious, loving father acting in the best interests of his young son, but this man has proven himself absolutely devoid of compassion or even the slightest scintilla of sympathy for the plight of those who do not share his “above the law” privileged status.
Fletcher expounded further on the control Boris Johnson’s Chief Adviser had exerted since his appointment saying: “…Cummings has bent cabinet ministers to his will, co-opted their advisers, driven strategy, and declared war on the BBC, civil service and judiciary. He has been the driving force behind an essentially idle prime minister, his eyes and ears, his enforcer, his problem solver, his helmsman.” However, we didn’t vet his appointment, we certainly didn’t vote for him and this latest escapade has clearly demonstrated that he is completely unaccountable and considers himself above the law. Fletcher describes Cummings thus, “He is the animating spirit of Johnson’s government. Without him, the Prime Minister would be like a dummy without its ventriloquist, a puppet without its puppeteer.“ As if this trail of devastation and inappropriate influence were not enough expecting the public to condone his flouting the very restrictions he has forced us all to live by is the last straw: we need him out!
Fletcher wrote that, “Cummings’s only conceivable defence is that the rules he helped draft were unclear – except they were not. Certainly his wife had contracted Covid-19, and there was a fair chance he would, too (especially if he sat in a car with her for five hours), but by no stretch of the imagination did his family’s predicament in March constitute an “extreme threat to life”. Social Distancing requires people to isolate from other family member even when sharing minimal living space, not cram into a car on mass! Fletcher reminds us of how much our expectation of integrity has been eroded by this Government when he writes that, “Under no other prime minister in living memory would Cummings be allowed to stay in his post, but this scandal has ripped the mask off this government’s face. It has exposed its true nature – its shamelessness, its arrogance, its deceitfulness, its contempt for ‘the people’ that it claims to champion, the utter cravenness of its ministers.”
Vociferous condemnation of Boris Johnson’s for his spineless, weak-minded support for a dangerously out-of-control subordinate has come from all sides of the political divide as a growing number of even the most loyal Tory MPs spoke out. In response to a deluge of angry letters and emails from constituents they are now clamouring for Cummings to go. The Guardia reported that, “Tory anger at Dominic Cummings grows as 61 MPs defy Boris Johnson – MPs break ranks to criticise PM’s chief of staff, with 44 calling for him to quit or be sacked. At an appearance before the liaison committee of senior MPs, Johnson declined to answer most questions about Cummings, saying repeatedly it was time to “move on”. But his pleas fell flat as Javid, who stood down as chancellor after clashing with Cummings, joined the list of those criticising the No 10 aide.”
According to an Article in the Express focusing on the UK’s readiness to ease lockdown restrictions, “Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Munira Wilson has criticised the easing of lockdown.” She said: ” The decision by key members of Sage to go public with their concerns shows that ministers are no longer following the science. The test, trace, isolate system that we need to keep people safe is not yet fully functional. The NHSX app is delayed for an unknown period. For seven days straight the Government has been unable to provide even basic data about the number of people tested. On top of these failings, public health messaging has been badly undermined as people see it’s one rule for the Tory elite and another for everyone else. Given this chaos, measures to lift lockdown appear premature.”
In the Guardian Editorial, “The Guardian view on easing the lockdown: putting politics before people,” they say, “Boris Johnson wants to lift the Covid-19 restrictions because of ideology and self-interest. The people deserve a more careful, evidence-based approach.” They say that, “This week’s virus tracing measures in England are the latest example of this shambolic approach. Mr Johnson said on 20 May that a “world beating” system to test and trace for coronavirus would be in place by 1 June. Easing the lockdown is umbilically linked to the need for such a system. Without it the dangers of a second wave of cases are very real. This is chaos waiting to happen.” I would call it more “chest beating” than “world beating,” but they add the underlying justification for such haste, “Mr Johnson’s eagerness is driven not just by his generally slapdash approach but also by his desperation to drown out the Cummings scandal. It seems all too likely that he will fail on both fronts, combining a mismanaged easing, which risks causing a spike in Covid-19 cases, with a stupid and damaging attempt to keep Mr Cummings in post.”
A Guardian Article written at the time of Sonia Khan’s traumatic firing said that, “In a meeting on Friday night with Boris Johnson’s team of special advisers – known as spads – Cummings is said to have remarked: ‘If you don’t like how I run things, there’s the door’.” It also noted that, “Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, said: ‘Government advisers must not abuse their power by drawing the police into heavy-handed political stunts. This needs to be reviewed by the cabinet secretary and the Metropolitan police straight away.’ There was outrage surrounding Cummings’ move to fire Khan last Thursday, with No 10 described as operating amid a “climate of fear”. The prime minister also faces being summoned to the Commons on Monday to answer an urgent question on the handling of the case.” It is high time we gave Boris Johnson’s vicious, vindictive and manipulative Chief Adviser a taste of his own vile medicine by showing Dominic Cummings the door!
In reality, we want this entire evil Tory Government not just removed from power, but facing robust scrutiny for appalling decisions that they knew would cost lives, including those who died due to the unnecessary hardship of a decade of austerity, targeting of the disabled and the stripping of health and safety “red tape” that endangered us all: accountability is long overdue. The grotesque and unconscionable deception of claiming “borrowed votes” as the Tories plundered unsuspecting members of the working poor, in the forgotten North, of their election ballots to turn Labour’s proud “Red Wall” of support into this current grisly Tory “Red Ditch of Death:” a direct result of exploiting Covid 19 to “Slaughter the Sheeple!” As Craig writes in his post, “I presume you see the pattern here. If a politician tells you to “move on” from a subject, it is a gigantic red flag that you should do precisely the opposite.”
Imagine if Dominic Cummings was escorted out of number ten by two armed police officers, just as he has treated other potentially falsely accused “traitors” in the past. Pull on this one lose thread and the whole toxic pattern of Tory abuse, corruption, exploitation lies and deception could come unravelled. As I put to you only yesterday, with an angry and vengeful Dominic Cummings nursing a bruised ego, “as a potential Whistleblower he could provide the vital evidence necessary to support a full investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, but this Tory Government would be stripped of all legitimacy and forced from office without delay. We must seize this unique opportunity as it may represent the last chance to rescue our democracy. Only massive public pressure will keep this in the media and force the Government to risk their grip on power. DO NOT MOVE ON…”June 1, 2020 at 04:22 #54490Kim Sanders-Fisher
Sunday’s headline: “YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!” Andrew Marr reveals that the Mail on Sunday are, “unpicking aspects of the evidence from the northeast” regarding Cummings episode up there, with claims that, “Witness who alerted police broke lockdown rules HIMSELF, and another admits he INVENTED the story.” To placate their irate readers they also report that Boris Johnson has “slapped down” Dominic Cummings, no doubt bowing to intense public pressure. So the Prime Minister has now wagged his finger at Dominic Cummings and sternly warned him that if he causes yet another massive, publically embarrassing, screw-up, like deliberately misinterpreting vital Covid 19 public safety regulations to confuse and show utter contempt for the public, he really will have to go. Wow! The message is that Cummings gets one more chance to commit a horrendous blunder with catastrophic consequences before he might be forced out of number ten.
It fell to the Telegraph’s Associate Editor Camilla Tominey and BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym to dissect what was portrayed in the Sunday papers. There was an understandable shocking focus on events in the US, with riots following the killing of an unarmed black man by police officers in Minneapolis. This detracted attention away from the situation here in the UK with the growing backlash against the Government’s stubborn refusal to sack Dominic Cummings, but despite Boris Johnson’s appeals to “move on” we were not ready to let the matter drop.
Johnson was obviously hoping that this limp admonishment would suffice, but to his seething annoyance the Cummings scandal still made the Observer’s front page headline with, “Top Scientists: Cummings has broken trust in Covid policy.” Marr states, “They are not moving on from the Dominic Cummings story, they’re saying that 29 Health Administrators and Academics have written to the Government saying that episode has really damaged the Government’s credibility” describing this as “one take on the Cummings story.” The Sunday Times reports on an interview with the EU’s Chief Negotiator with the headline, “Keep promises or face no deal. Barnier tell PM. Brittan risks double economic whammy says EU. Emblazoned across the top of a deeply insulting picture of Boris Johnson with puppet strings attached they ask, “IS THE DOM AND BORIS SHOW OVER?” That brutal barb would have made the deafening blast in Boris’s head drown out his breakfast cereal’s “snap, crackle and pop!”
The Express in jubilant form say, “Millions more get taste of freedom,” but the Sunday People criticize, “Test and trace is national disgrace.” Also in the Telegraph Hugh Pym discusses, “Chief Scientist Sir Patrick Valance is defending the balance the Government has to strike between science and other political aspects. Valance sets out what he thinks scientists can and can’t do. There is a very vigorous debate on SAGE between different shades of opinion it’s not groupthink he says ultimately they can advise ministers but the Government has to make its own decisions.”
Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland was able to report the relative success of the province compared with the UK. Reticent to provide any direct condemnation of the Tory Government, she downplayed the Irish success pointing to the significant difference in population density. They had put tracking and tracing in place two weeks ago using the old tried and tested method of reliance on human resources. When Marr tried attacking her on the provision of controversial abortion services, Foster did not rise to the bait simply saying that all standard Healthcare services were delayed or disrupted by the Covid 19 crisis. Foster is not a likable political character, but she emerged from this interview unscathed; it was really hard to take her down when she was on a roll.
Marr tried valiantly to get Labour’s Shadow Chancellor; Anneliese Dodds to compliantly park herself on the fence, in favour or not in favour if the unlocking, but she was having none of it. Dodds remained doggedly focused on the criteria set by the Government, initially supported by Labour, but still not met before proceeding to the next phase of releasing from lockdown. It did not take too much judicious reading between the lines to figure out where Labour stood on the issue of lockdown and easing restrictions; put the safety measures, tracking and tracing in place first. She stressed that it was the solemn responsibility of the opposition to warn the current Government of potential failures in their policy decisions to help avoid disastrous consequences; they had done their part, but this Tory Government was not listening. I have no doubt that Labour MPs are fully aware of the dangerous underlying objectives of this Government
Government Scientific Adviser Professor Peter Openshaw of Imperial College was either hopelessly ignorant or deeply confused about his body language, but perhaps he was attempting to adopt a few positive NLP techniques to get the audience onside. Either way he failed miserably, keeping his hand close to his throat throughout the entire interview, left us wondering what was meant by the all his hand flailing and gesticulations. Sadly this massive distraction was the most memorable component of his interview. He did reassure us with the evidence so far showing that most transmissions are within closed domestic environments with some transmission on transport so we were safe to spend more time outside. It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about the infection on our packages; he said it was possible to detect the virus, but whether there is infectious virus is less certain.
You could clearly discern the angry trumpeting of an entire herd of elephants within the BBC studio as Andrew Marr went on air, but he almost entirely avoided mentioning the ongoing saga of Cummings unresolved transgressions. Marr seemed blissfully oblivious to the presence of pachyderms; perhaps they were being forced to observe an extreme level of social distancing. A begrudging much belated grumble was finally directed towards Dominic Raab during the last interview. Raab fended off the inquiry with standard Tory obfuscation amid a torrent of grossly inept excuses and all too familiar inaccurate statistical spin.
Raab’s performance was the usual Government mouthing off of set pieces of Tory pitches. We certainly didn’t learn anything new. It is not like the Tories need to try any more to convince us that we really did vote them into office; they think that battle is over now. They are steadily securing control of the BBC and despite the latest negative swipes they still think they can control our media. But what would happen if the truth about the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was exposed as a fraud? That is what the Tories risk if they dare to oust Cummings: he will take his revenge and he is a unique position to do so. A full exposure of the evidence would then necessitate and support a full investigation and prompt removal of this toxic Tory Government from office. We must keep pushing for Dominic Cummings to be fired as this could potentially bring down this Government.June 2, 2020 at 03:13 #54523Kim Sanders-Fisher
Boris Johnson is counting on a positive response to his lifting of the UK lockdown restrictions to detract from the ongoing saga of his unwillingness to fire Dominic Cummings for abusing those same vital rules. A Petition for Cummings removal has surpassed one million; it’s still gathering steam, proving that, no, we are not ready to “Move On!” Today our genocidal Prime Minister will make a desperate push to get the second wave of the Covid 19 “Slaughter of the Sheeple” underway before the public become fully aware that the statistics are moving in the wrong direction as revealed in the Skwawkbox Article, “The most damning pandemic summary you’ll read today.” They reveal that, “European death figures shame England’s shambolic and ideologically-driven government.” They add that, “…death numbers, hospitalisation numbers and ICU admissions have all risen in the last few days, at a point that suggests they stem from Johnson’s insane decision to force millions back to work with no warning earlier this month.”
The recent spike in cases was revealed in their May 28th Article posted two weeks after their May 11th Article reporting on crammed tube trains as a result of the ill-advised and frenetic return to work. They documented that, “Tragically, that prediction is now starting to come true. First a hospital in the south-west had to close its doors even to emergencies, after a sharp increase in cases of the virus. Then Bristol reported a surge – and now London has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus hospital admissions.” They add that, “That steepling climb began at the beginning of this week – exactly coinciding with the typical incubation period of coronavirus infections transmitted the morning after Johnson’s recklessness – with a gentler rise last week reflecting the shorter incubation period seen in some cases. The new rate is the highest in around six weeks…”
The alarm bell warning predicting the spike included video footage of crammed tube trains the morning after Boris Johnson’s “back to work” announcement In an Article Tory supporters tried hard to discredit. The Skwawkbox reported that, “Tory sockpuppet accounts and supporters claim undated footage of crowded tube platforms was filmed before lock-down to try to exonerate Johnson – but BBC News and ITV broadcasts this morning confirm CCTV footage was taken yesterday.” The warning called Johnson’s decision, “insane enough” compounded by the disinformation that led millions to believe they were expected at work the next day! There was “no time to prepare and Government guidance on supposedly-safe travel not even published… Johnson’s idea that people walking or cycling to work will solve crowding was a sick farce, as many people are too far from their workplace.”
“Even the government’s own scientific advisers are now warning that it is far too soon to ease the lock-down, yet Johnson continues his mad haste and his disregard for its consequences – except for secretly tripling temporary capacity for storing the bodies of his victims.” This last point refers to a truly shocking revelation made in a Skwawkbox Article posted on May 14th that exposed the horrific reality of what this genocidal Tory Government have planned for the UK. “Creation of temporary mortuary space for 30,000 bodies was reported during supposed ‘peak’ of pandemic. Now, as government relaxes lock-down, sends workers back to work and children back to school, it is more than tripling that capacity and warning funeral directors to prepare for massive new ‘spike’” Skwawkbox claim that, “…the Tories are planning for the actions they are taking – and those they are failing to take – to fuel a huge new spike in cases and deaths.”
“First they came for…” But now they are targeting kids, if not endangering them directly, they realize that the Children returning to school can be utilized as vectors to spread the virus to more vulnerable seniors with whom they live. Due to the chronic shortage of affordable housing and pitifully low wages, working insecure zero hours contract jobs, more and more young families are being forced to move back in with their elderly parents. These are a prime target for the Tory “cull,” their eugenics driven “Slaughter of the Sheeple.” A recent Skwawkbox Article has documented that, “Extracts from reports by the government’s own scientific advisors show beyond doubt that the Tories are well aware that sending children back to school is dangerous – and likely to cause another ‘spike’ in coronavirus infections and deaths, potentially even larger than the first.”
They point to, “A Swiss report by epidemiologists and medical professionals Shedding of infectious SARS-CoV-2 in symptomatic neonates, children and adolescents confirms in its conclusions the role of children in the spread of the virus – to each other and to adults: SARS-CoV-2 infects children across all age groups… it would be naïve not to consider them as transmitters.” Revering to Johnsons dangerously cavalier attitude they say, “He is doing this in spite of a complete absence of meaningful preparations to protect children – and he is not just doing so against the advice of unions and medical professionals, but orchestrating attacks on them for not bowing to his wishes. Ignorance would be no excuse – but he cannot claim it anyway.”
Another Skwawkbox Article elaborated on a more recent row over deviation from “the science” the Tories have continuously claimed is at the very core of driving their policy decisions; more academics break ranks to oppose the Tories reckless behaviour. The are saying that, “Members of SAGE, the government’s scientific advisory group, are breaking ranks to expose the threat to the people of the UK posed by Boris Johnson’s politically-driven haste to lift the country’s lock-down.”
“Last weekend, key members of SPI-B – the group of behavioural science experts who advise SAGE and the government on how to maximise public cooperation with anti-coronavirus measures – spoke out and accused Johnson of ‘trashing’ all their work and scientific advice, going so far as to accuse him and his entire government of not ‘want[ing] to listen to science and saying that the public needs to ignore Johnson for their own safety.” As one of their number, a very vocal Stephen Reicher, tweeted on the 24th of May, “Be open and honest, we said. Trashed. Respect the public, we said. Trashed. Ensure equity, so everyone is treated the same, we said. Trashed. Be consistent we said. Trashed. Make clear ‘we are all in it together’. Trashed.”
In a Sunday BBC news segment, Political Correspondent Chris Mason was featured questioning the Deputy Medical Adviser about easing the lockdown: “What do you say to those scientists and others who say that you are easing the lockdown in England too quickly?” Professor Van-Tam didn’t mince his words when he replied: “I believe I recall I was at the podium when the disease activity was very high in the UK and I said it’s a very dangerous moment. I believe this is also a very dangerous moment.” Mason commented later that: “Professor Van-Tam knows how to turn a phrase and how to make a point.”
Chris Mason also pointed out that, “He was also asked directly about Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s most senior advisor who among other things drove 50 miles to test his eyesight during the lockdown!” Van-Tam was direct and very explicit in his reply saying, “The rules are clear and they have always been clear. In my opinion they are for the benefit of all and in my opinion they apply to all.” “Ouch!” Mason exclaimed, he then commented that, “The Prime Minister’s team had nothing to say when I asked for their response to this. Instead their focus is on how more people in England can slowly edge out of the lockdown.” Do not answer the question; instead offer a completely unrelated piece of positive Tory spin, which was not solicited by the questioner. This ploy helps to shift the focus of questioning into another direction.
This is an extremely well worn Tory Government technique, trotted out whenever the PM or one of his Ministers is put on the spot by a reporter; it is also frequently deployed in response to opposition scrutiny in Parliament. This devious distraction is often preceded by the words: “But what I can tell you is…” This meaningless diversion to announce yet more of the Government’s inaccurate propaganda sound bites, as they drum home their “black is the new white” message, continues to frustrate us all. What we really need on such occasions, is for those asking the questions to release their inquisitorial Rottweiler, sink their teeth into delicate areas of vulnerable Tory flesh and not let go until they have seriously torn apart the Government’s opaque facade!
Can you imagine how confusing it would be if you were to ask a colleague, “Is it true you have just purchased a new gas guzzling SUV?” But the obscure reply offered was, “what I can tell you is, that my son has passed his driving test and he’s been accepted to Oxford.” The person deliberately attempting to evade the truth and any subsequent criticism over their poor judgement will hope that you ignore the environmental impact of their SUV to focus on congratulating them on their son’s success. Robust scrutiny of our Government is vitally important during this time of crisis. Therefore we must learn to recognize this classic blatant propaganda red flag warning of the phrase, “But what I can tell you…” It’s a nauseating preface to a fanciful stream of self-congratulatory verbal diarrhoea that requires urgent treatment by doubling down with a logical rebuttal and the validity of an accurate reality check.
In a recent Article in the Canary they exposed yet another angle on pushing the Tory Propaganda, “Here are the media outlets getting paid to push Tory coronavirus propaganda.” They add that, “If you thought the BBC‘s track record on pushing out Tory government propaganda during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was bad, think again. Now it seems some corporate outlets, like the Guardian, have gone one step further. Because they’ve been publishing articles paid for by the government.” The Express is also mentioned in this article although their subtle and misleading disclaimer is slightly different from the one used by the Guardian. The British public is being bombarded with an obscene level of blatant Government Pandemic propaganda that is keeping ordinary citizens ignorant and vulnerable to the genocidal Tory agenda just as more critical or balanced BBC programming has disappeared from the TV line-up.
On the 29th of May the Guardian reported that, “The furore over Dominic Cummings’ breach of lockdown rules has prompted tens of thousands of people to flood their MPs’ inboxes in what some described as the biggest outpouring since Brexit, a Guardian analysis has found. As Boris Johnson tried to draw a line under the crisis involving his chief adviser, constituents across the country sent missives to their MPs, with many sharing stories of their own lockdown hardships. Guardian analysis covering 117 MPs found they have received a total of 31,738 emails since a joint Guardian and Daily Mirror investigation a week ago divulged that Cummings had travelled to County Durham and taken a trip to a beauty spot with his family after suffering coronavirus symptoms.” No we are not ready to “Move On;” it is time for Dominic Cummings and your entire shit-show Tory Government to Move On!
The Tories will take a massive risk if they dare to oust Cummings, but the public must demand no less. He is a vindictive man with a huge ego who will not accept temporary demotion; his absolute control of the PM feeds that warped ego so he will undoubtedly seek revenge that provides the gratification of revealing his dark skills. Cummings is in a unique position to cause catastrophic harm to the Tories with his full exposure of the evidence revealing exactly how the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was orchestrated; they would be driven from office even before an investigation fully confirmed all the details of this industrial scale fraud. We must continue to pressure the Government for prompt and permanent removal of Dominic Cummings. With public anger growing over their abysmal handling of the Covid 19 crisis, the blatant hypocrisy of Cummings flouting the regulations with impunity might just be the final tipping point with the potential to bring down this Government.June 3, 2020 at 03:56 #54600Kim Sanders-Fisher
The highly credible team of investigative Journalists at Byline Times have been hot on Dominic Cummings’s trail since long before many of us fully realized how powerful insidious his malevolent manipulation and control of UK politics was to become. In a recent Byline Times Article Peter Jukes attempts to answer that question posed by Simon McCoy, “What has he got over you all?” Jukes lays out five potential reasons why Boris Johnson could be pressured into retaining his out-of-control Chief Advisor, threatened with exposure of shady deals and serious past wrongdoing. This murky list of deviant conduct is in addition to the five possible reasons that I posed in an earlier post. Jukes does not include what, in my estimation, is the most incendiary threat of all: blowing the whistle on the industrial scale fraud that leveraged Johnson into office after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.
The Prime Minister’s vulnerability to blackmail could involve all or at least a combination of several of the issues raised by Jukes; so what does make the cut among Jukes’s “five quick examples, mainly from Byline Times’ extensive coverage of Cummings, of why Boris Johnson might be loathe to let his lieutenant go.” First up is the Vote Leave Campaign’s significant breaches of Electoral Commission regulations on spending; one of the very few powers the toothless watchdog has left and why we need to “Rescue our Watchdog” because “A Watchdog that cannot watch is just a dog!” For Boris Johnson and Michael Gove “Leave” means Leave well alone and let’s Move On; their wretched campaign manage to con vast swaths of the British public to vote against their own best interests and no one should look into how they managed it.
In the Byline Times Article: “Boris Johnson and Michael Gove Must Have Known About Illegality: Why the Two Vote Leave Leaders are a Threat to Democracy,” Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni spilled the beans on what went down. According to Sanni, who was one of BeLeave’s founders, “this unlawful spending was signed off at the highest levels.” Byline report that, “Cummings was held in contempt of Parliament for failing to answer questions about the Vote Leave campaign before a Commons select committee.” They ask? “Does Cummings have evidence that Johnson signed off on the illegal activity? Or even encouraged the overspend?” This could damage the bluster of Boris’s Brexit triumph without invalidating the vote or dislodging the PM; so does it outweigh the reputational damage Johnson and the Tories are suffering right now? A full confession could incriminate Dominic Cummings himself so he would need to tread carefully.
The next point raised by Jukes also relates to Brexit and the festering sore of data harvesting via Cambridge Analytica. Jukes joins the dots between the various companies involved in the illegal harvesting and the transfer of data that was then used to brainwash the public through targeted, grossly misleading, PsyOps Online propaganda bankrolled by that overspend. In the Byline Article: “Did the Leave Campaigns Share Our Data? Key Questions Over Brexit Referendum Remain Unanswered,” Ian Lucas MP who was on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee examined these data transfer innsue. He wrote, “The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave and BeLeave coordinated their campaigns and fined Vote Leave for breaking electoral law. Was there similar coordination on data sharing?”
Just as in was implausible for Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to claim that despite their high profile leadership of the campaign they were blissfully unaware of massive financial transfers to another Leave organization it was equally unlikely they were ignorant of the data musical chairs. Byline reports that, “AIQ used Project Ripon as its database – a psychometric targeting tool drawn from up to 75 million hacked Facebook accounts. When challenged by the Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr as to how Vote Leave found the small Canadian firm in 2017, Cummings replied ‘on the internet’. But AIQ had no internet presence in early 2016.” This was flatly refuted by others who testified to DCMS. Byline asks, “Does Cummings have dirt on Johnson’s knowledge of this illicitly gained database? Is there more to come out about this great hack?”
The Daily GasLamp has provided a vast trove of information with regard to Cambridge Analytica, PsyOps, the harvesting and manipulation of Data as well as Dominic Cummings’s dubious involvement in these dark arts. They state that their site was set up “in the wake of the strange Tory victory in the 2019 General Election. Strange because it was won by the Tories by the precise margin predicted by Dominic Cummings – 80 seats – and confounding all other polls.” They link to their post entitled “Election Fraud 2019” which covers what I now refer to as the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.
They point to Links for other GasLamp Articles, “What magic was Dominic Cummings using? IT magic! Used in conjunction with standard methods of commercial marketing and Pyschological Operations;” with a Link to their post on “Propaganda and Gaslighting GE2019.” The novel use of technology to influence elections was invented by Cambridge Analytic and has been proven worldwide…”
• Read How Cambridge Analytica was set up, at this Link: “What is all the fuss about Cambridge Analytica; Part 1.”
• And the Impact it made and how it was “uncovered,” at this Link: “What is all the fuss about Cambridge Analytica; Part 2.”
• How did they do it, “What is all the fuss about Cambridge Analytica; Part 3.”
• Technology background can also found here in a post on, “Search engine manipulation effect” at this Link.
• And here in a post entitled “Control the message,” at this Link.
“The impact on Democracy of the use of Big Data” is outlined in the post, “Democracy and big data,” at this Link. While “the combination of demographic data, pychographic data and social media – is described in the Daily Gaslamp’s first Animated Movie” at this Link. I realize that all of these GasLamp Links and write ups on the posts linked to here have been analysed in my previous outpourings on this thread, but I wanted to collect them together here as background support information on Dominic Cummings.
Still deeply involved with Cambridge Analytica and Brexit the next possibility raised by Byline Times is the influence of the toxic American Steve Bannon who they describe as, “Breitbart supremo, Trump campaign manager and Cambridge Analytica founder Steve Bannon was an advisor to Boris Johnson for some years.” Bannon has been trying to stir up far-right hate groups all over Europe and is proactively angling for the demise of the EU. Byline document known meetings between Bannon and Johnson as they “were reported to have become close from late 2016, and Bannon himself claimed to have advised the Foreign Secretary about how to topple May.”
Jukes then directs us to another Byline Times Article entitled, “Russian Interference Part II; Brexit and the Great Cambridge Analytica Hack.” In this lengthy piece Jukes attempts to track down all of the numerous connections between the principal disruptive individuals driving manevolent foreign interference in Referendums, including Brexit, presidential and UK elections. Of Cambridge Analytica he says it, “was co-founded in the autumn of 2013 by future Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon and Alexander Nix of SCL – a British company specialising in military-grade psy-ops, cyber warfare and civil society programmes.” He quotes Christopher Wylie saying, “Bannon was enamoured by the cultural caché of Britain’s ancient university town – one which also conveniently had a psychology department using online data analytics for psychometric profiling of millions of people.”
In Part II Jukes reveals,“…SCL’s head of research worked with a Cambridge University professor called Aleksander Kogan to harvest the profiles of millions of Facebook users to analyse their psychological predilections and weaknesses and see how online campaigns could change their behaviour. Kogan’s special psychometric app allowed Cambridge Analytica to download all the interests, connections, photos, likes, movements and the direct messages of all who used it, and could also access most of this information from all of their friends.” Jukes asks? “Does Cummings know something about plots and schemes during May’s premiership which could ruin Johnson’s credibility and reputation, especially among Conservative supporters and MPs?” However, this harvesting and manipulation of data cannot possibly be construed as legal, but although the full extent of exactly what was applied and where is still slow to fully emerge, Dominic Cummings holds the key to how it was used and who authorized its use.
In a brief return to my own personal suppositions, I would think that once Dominic Cummings had secured access to that massive cache of stolen data, that swung the Brexit Referendum vote, he would have hung onto it for future use. Facebook was heavily fined in the US for stealing that data, thus establishing a clear precedent that the data was in effect “stolen goods,” Therefore, if that very same access to personal data was used in the Brexit Vote or the Covert 2019 Rigged Election surely it would represent illegal use of stolen goods? This was precisely the information that was required for Dominic Cummings VICS Program to create the Situation Awareness necessary to target the postal votes required to take exactly 80 seats. Could this information essentially criminalize the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and the major beneficiary of its fraudulent result who must have fully authorized the deception?
The next vulnerability highlighted by Jukes is “The Suppressed Russia Report.” Whatever the Tories were so eager to keep hidden until after the Cover 2019 Rigged Election, and then kicked into the long grass ever since, contains information that I too have no doubt that Dominic Cummings has the full details of. Johnson had a number of nefarious connections with wealthy Russian Oligarchs who generously contributed to his campaign coffers and supported the Tory Party bid for electoral success. Who wants to dredge up the national embarrassment of Johnson’s time as Foreign Secretary, but it is widely recognized that during that time he hobnobbed with Russian émigré and key Conservative donor, Alexander Temerko, to plot the downfall of Theresa May over a glass or two of wine. In the Byline Times Article; “Spooking the Spooks: Media Complicity and Security Concerns over Lebedev and Johnson” Otto English drills down these Russian connections, a long read, but well worth it.
We all know that Boris is ruthlessly conniving in his narcissistic, ego driven pursuit of power nothing new here. Jukes asks, “Does Cummings know something about Johnson’s Russian connections which could be especially embarrassing given the extraordinary suppression of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Russia Report?” If this is not new to me I doubt the public would be shocked enough to oust Johnson from office over it. But what of the next target Dominic Cummings’s obsession with Health Data and Herd immunity? Byline Times claim, “Cummings is an enthusiast for big tech, artificial intelligence, so-called ‘evolutionary economists’ and some of the more extreme genetic determinists associated with the ‘Bay Area Rationalists’ – a group of right-wing ‘techno libertarian’ thinkers associated with Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley.”
Jukes reminds us that, “While Johnson took extended leave earlier this year, Cummings was sitting in on key COBR and SAGE meetings, planning for the Coronavirus threat. According to the Sunday Times, he was the main proponent of ‘herd immunity’.” Sure he vehemently denies this now, but all of the evidence points to the fact that this strategy has not been abandoned, but rather rebranded by the Tories under a more covert plan to continue a massive cull of the population targeting the “economically inactive,” the elderly pensioners and disabled population. We need to be seriously concerned about the Government’s new track and trace App and what data we may be handing over to an untrustworthy Government.
This leads to the last of Byline Times’s assumptions regarding Dominic Cummings. As they describe it, “in his crusade to shake-up Whitehall and government, Cummings has managed to amass an investment fund of close to a billion pounds for his ARPA brainchild, based on the US DARPA model. His Vote Leave data scientists, Faculty AI, have accumulated seven Government contracts since Johnson came to power. Other tech companies are also moving in, including the controversial data and security firm Palantir, owned by Trump backer Peter Thiel. As a former recruitment advisor to the digital healthcare group Babylon, Cummings would have a great understanding of the lucrative new frontier around private medical data.” They ask, “Is this post-Brexit data gold rush just too good for any Conservative Prime Minister to miss? Or does Cummings have information that could damage Johnson around the dangerous policy of herd immunity that has left the UK with the highest number of excess deaths from the Coronavirus in the world?”
Do any of these vulnerabilities pose a significant risk that would prevent Johnson fro jettisoning Dominic Cummings? Potentially all of them could be contributing factors. Cummings will have carefully evaluated all of this and already worked out how to minimize any personal risk to himself in revealing the truth; I seriously doubt he will have trusted Johnson to remain loyal and retain him out of an obligation as a friend. Cummings unique position as a Whistleblower could cause catastrophic harm to the Tories with full exposure of the evidence revealing exactly how the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was orchestrated; they would be driven from office even before an investigation fully confirmed all the details of this industrial scale fraud. We must continue to pressure the Government for prompt and permanent removal of Dominic Cummings as tis might just be the final tipping point with the potential to bring down this Government.June 4, 2020 at 03:08 #54647Kim Sanders-Fisher
As Boris Johnson’s disgraced side-kick, personal minder Dominic Cummings, tenaciously clings to his unelected privileged position as Chief Advisor to the PM, you have to wonder what is the primary objective driving his extraordinary fight to stay in post against all odds? He’s completely delusional if he considers his fanciful lawyer constructed statement explaining his violation of lockdown was acceptable, but he obviously has no shame or contrition with regard to his actions. Although we are told he is not a Tory Party member he must realize that he is now dragging Johnson and the entire Conservative Government down like a ship holed below the water line!
Because of his arrogant flouting of the very rules he helped put in place, and his utter contempt for ordinary people in this country, he has destroyed public confidence in the now thoroughly discredited Government messaging. He seems oblivious to the alarming fact that his personal selfish disobedience, lack of contrition and denial of accountability could now cost literally thousands of lives because public compliance has evaporated virtually overnight. The contortions he has forced the PM and his Tory Ministers to battle through under unusually robust journalistic scrutiny driven by intense community response from those of all political persuasions.
In the Daily GasLamp post entitled, “One Rule for the Rich… is to get rich quick” they uncover potential financial motivations that could be compromised if Cummings were ousted. They report that, “Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior aide, is facing conflict of interest accusations over a publicly undisclosed consultancy job at a healthcare start-up endorsed by the government and in pole position to receive cash from a £250m NHS fund. Cummings advised Babylon Health, a controversial AI start-up, on its communications strategy and senior recruitment just months before its “GP at Hand” app was publicly backed by Matt Hancock, the health secretary…” They say, “Babylon confirmed Cummings was paid via his company, Dynamic Maps Ltd, which he set up in October 2017 as the sole director…”
According to GasLamp it seems that the Bureau of Investigation have, “Big Data and Privacy Concerns.” In the race to get systems set up rapidly they say, “Under a recent relaxation of data-sharing restrictions, private companies can now be granted access to NHS patient data for valid Covid-19 purposes. One company to note is Palantir. It has been accused of having its data-mining technology used for questionable purposes.” Why should the involvement of this particular US Company ring alarm bells? They add, “Palantir admitted that an employee had helped Cambridge Analytica build its data-harvesting app in 2013-14…” That is very worrying; in a previous post I mentioned, “the controversial data and security firm Palantir, owned by Trump backer Peter Thiel”
GasLamp state that, “Previously confidential NHS data could not be put under the control of anyone who was not a healthcare professional without a legal basis.” Major US Heathcare Corporations are hoping to move in on our NHS once crash-out Brexit leaves the UK vulnerable in a future trade deal. Access to NHS patient data will help them cherry-pick the most lucrative customers for maximizing profit under a system where pre-existing conditions are excluded from insurance coverage just as they are in the States. GasLamp quote, Natalie Banner, lead on the Understanding Patient Data programme at the medical research charity Wellcome who commented that, “…Crucially, technology companies that work with the NHS during this crisis will develop a better understanding of the UK’s health data infrastructure, which could give them an advantage in future discussions about providing services to the NHS.” That is our NHS not for sale, right?
GasLamp quote Rachel Coldicutt, former chief executive of the technology ethics think tank Doteveryone, who said that: “Public services, funded by public money, must be open to public scrutiny – especially in times of great upheaval when lots of decisions are being made very quickly.” They add, “According to Wired, some 40 tech companies were present at a meeting with No 10 advisor Dominic Cummings in Downing Street on 12 March. Among their ranks were said to be several who have got the Covid-related health contracts, as well as the AI start-up Babylon Health.” As already noted from the Byline Times piece “in his crusade to shake-up Whitehall and government, Cummings has managed to amass an investment fund of close to a billion pounds for his ARPA brainchild, based on the US DARPA model. His Vote Leave data scientists, Faculty AI, have accumulated seven Government contracts since Johnson came to power.”
Is Cummings driven by a passion over Brexit, his untrammelled position power, his ultimate control over the prime Minister, or just greed? Dominic Cummings appears to revel in being notoriously feared and despised by everyone from the general public to those he works alongside. Brexit could be derailed if electoral fraud invalidated the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and cast doubt over the Referendum too; is sweet revenge worth crashing the whole project by supplying evidence for an investigation? He would still have the ultimate satisfaction of demonstrating his evil genius, clever enough to outsmart everyone. If there are conflict of interest issues where Cummings stands to profit if the Government investment money flows in the direction of his pet projects, he will not want to compromise that by being removed from his position of control. We must continue to pressure the Government for prompt and permanent removal of Dominic Cummings as this might just bring down the Tory Government.June 5, 2020 at 02:14 #54702Kim Sanders-Fisher
Adding to the toxicity of Dominic Cummings, the manipulative parasite who seemingly cannot by removed from his unelected post controlling the Prime Minister, is his warped fascination with eugenics that invokes terrifying images of the master race goals of Nazi Germany. He showed an almost psychopathic utter lack of compassion when he was overheard supporting the proposal for the Tory Governments outlier position on “Herd Immunity.” A report in The Sunday Times claimed that Mr Cummings set out the government’s strategy in a private meeting in February, which those present characterised as “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.” Despite his vehement denials and retrospectively rewriting segments of his blog that remark stands out, personifying his callous indifference towards the British public as he refuses to step down.
This Double Down News video was released on the 11th of May right after Boris Johnson made his pitch to the nation. In a stream of accusations against Boris Johnson and his Government Professor John Ashton CBE did not hold back in his rant entitled, “The Beginning of the End of Boris Johnson?” Professor Ashton, a former regional director of public health for north-west England, says “I don’t think herd immunity has ever gone away in all of this. It has been lurking in the background as a fall-back position for a failure to get to grips with this, to do the testing and control.” It is as valid nearly a month on as it was when he first recorded it. His comparison of the shambolic performance of this Tory Government to a Monty Python skit is hysterical, but sadly apt.
Professor John Ashton claims that the Ferguson affair was essentially a classic “dead cat” distraction from the horrific news of our spiralling death toll at the time. But Johnson is just as ruthlessly prepared to throw any of the Scientific or Medical Advisors under the bus to detract from his own gross ineptitude and most of them have come to realize that he will scapegoat them to hide his own failings. So if Ferguson had to fall on his sword for setting a bad example by succumbing to his sexual urges, why is Boris Johnson prepared to take such a damaging hit for Dominic Cummings? Although Cummings’s transgression may appear fractionally more forgivable it has torn into the fabric of public support as so many UK citizens would have wanted to claim a similar exception to meet truly heartrending personal needs, but chose to act in the public good. His “one rule for the elite” arrogant exceptionalism really sealed his fate in the eyes of a seriously fuming public who are still signing the Petition clamouring for his removal.
However, the determination to retain Cummings at all costs has exposed the extent of his powerful control over Boris Johnson and the policy making of this Tory Government and it’s far removed from the healthy subordinate relationship that we expect of Chief Advisor to the PM. The rule of tyranny control over all of the Spads was horrifically demonstrated when, without even consulting her boss Sajid Javid, he fired Sonia Khan on the spot and ordered two armed police officers to march her out of number ten in disgrace. This out of control bully has no right to wield such power over dedicated staff and he has amply demonstrated that every aspect of his conduct is thoroughly unacceptable. Surely his latest rule breaking should represent the last strw not a stern warning and another chance to cause havoc and destroy public confidence in the Government, but no.
It was not that long ago that we learned the disturbing news that Mr Eugenics was attending the highly secretive SAGE Scientific Advisory Committee meetings to stick his unhelpful oar in and reinterpret was got relayed to the PM with a special dose of Dominic Cummings own warped slant on the proceedings. After reviewing all publicly available minutes of SAGE meetings over the last decade, the Guardian reported that Downing Street political advisers have never before attended SAGE meetings. They said that “One attendee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said they felt Cummings’ interventions had sometimes inappropriately influenced what is supposed to be an impartial scientific process.” An equally controversial SAGE attendee with Cummings around the same time was Ben Warner, who worked with Dominic on the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit.
In the Guardian piece one SAGE Adviser said, “I have been concerned sometimes that Sage has become too operational, so we’ve ended up looking as though we are making decisions,” they also reported that one of them said, while making clear that Cummings had been involved on those occasions. “It contravenes previous guidelines about how you make sure you get impartial scientific advice going through to politicians, who make the decisions.” Referring to both Cummings and Warner, the SAGE attendee added: “When a very senior civil servant or a very well-connected person interrupts, then I don’t think anyone in the room feels the power to stop it. When you get to discussing where advice might be going, there have been occasions where they have been involved, and a couple of times I’ve thought: that’s not what we are supposed to be doing.”
Although Boris Johnson has claimed that Cummings has attended in a non-participatory observer capacity that is helpful to the Government, his reporting on proceedings to the PM carry the distinctive slant of his own bizarre perspective rather than a neutral rendition of the advice on offer. “A second Sage attendee told the Guardian that Cummings had played an active role in meetings from February onwards.” According to the Guardian, “they were initially shocked to discover Cummings was taking part in a meeting of supposedly independent scientific experts. He was not just an observer, he’s listed as an active participant,” the source said. “He was engaging in conversation and not sitting silently.” The second attendee said, “Cumming’s involvement was worrying because of his reputation in Whitehall and the questions his participation raises about SAGE’s role as a neutral body of expert advisers.”
Reportedly Labour has urged the Government to ban political advisers from attending Sage. Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, said there were significant questions for the government to answer over the credibility of its decision-making and how non-scientists have influenced policy. He said Cummings was “a political adviser, not a medical or scientific expert. If the public are to have confidence in SAGE, the Government must make clear Dominic Cummings can no longer participate or attend.” Labour have also called for greater transparency, the publication of a complete list of SAGE participants and access to research papers and documents on which they base their evidence.
The strict confidentiality of SAGE member participation is supposedly to protect them from undue influence, which is a ludicrous assertion when an arch manipulator like Dominic Cummings is in attendance! Inclusion of Downing Street Special advisers on Sage continues to raise questions about the independence of their scientific advice. According to the Guardian, there has been growing pressure on Downing Street in recent days to disclose more details about the group, which provides scientific advice to the upper echelons of Government during emergencies. Both the membership of SAGE and its advice to ministers on the Covid-19 outbreak is being kept secret. While a couple of key Advisors have admitted their inclusion in SAGE, the opaque nature of their critical input does not help to restore public confidence at a time when it has been absolutely shattered by the double standard demonstrated in the stubborn retention of Dominic Cummings.
What has been revealed is that, “both Dominic Cummings and Ben Warner were among 23 attendees present at a crucial convening of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, SAGE, on 23 March, the day Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown in a televised address.” Multiple attendees of Sage told the Guardian that both Cummings and Warner had been taking part in meetings of the group as far back as February. Why should we be particularly worried about Warner’s participation? Ben Warner, a data scientist, worked closely with Cummings on the data modelling used in the Vote Leave campaign for the UK to leave the European Union. Warner was reportedly recruited to Downing Street last year by Cummings after running the Conservative Party’s General Election campaign model. Yep, that’s right the Covert 2019 Rigged election and how to achieve same!
To allow Dominic Cummings to remain in post would be to endorse and accept that this unelected “adviser” was now running the country exactly as he sees fit and running roughshod over the input of qualified Scientific and Medical experts as well as MPs and the Prime Minster. Even without his warped outlook on life and his dangerously inflated ego, this is entirely unacceptable in aby functioning democracy. To allow Cummings to continue, is to relinquish our grip on democracy knowing that once an authoritarian dictatorship becomes fully established in this country it will take decades to remove it. To oust him could potentially lead to him ratting on Boris Johnson for betraying him, turning Whistleblower to “sing like a bird” in an effort to validate his own pathetic worth. Cummings has all of the evidence we need to demand a full investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, stripping the current Tory Government of its legitimacy for their immediate removal from power.June 6, 2020 at 04:12 #54724Kim Sanders-Fisher
As if there were not enough really good reasons to jettison the so called “evil genius,” Dominic Cummings, from his unelected command position as master puppeteer controlling our part-time Prime Minister, his personal obsession with, commitment to and unsavoury connections that involve delving into our personal data, “data mining,” should seriously alarm us all. In this Canary Article they reveal how our Covid blind-spot will be manipulated to gain access to our credit details and so much more. Boris Johnson’s lazy narcissistic craving for the glory of sham rule allowed this malevolent arch proponent of surveillance capitalism to grab the ghoulies of Government in a vice grip that now threatens to eviscerate our democracy in a dystopian nightmare scenario. The loud and very angry rant to get Cummings removed cannot be drowned out by the naked emperors appeals for us to “Move On.”
According to the Canary, “The artificial intelligence (AI) firm employed by Dominic Cummings on the Vote Leave project is now working directly with the government on a highly sensitive data-matching project.” The Canary say that they have, “obtained a partly redacted version of the project’s contact and the details are scary. In short, according to the contract, the government will be able to match someone’s credit details with their social media accounts and their utilities payments. All, apparently, to assist in coronavirus (Covid-19) intelligence gathering.” This is our dangerous Covid blind-spot, in reality the Government is authorizing this company to spy on UK citizens obtaining personal information that doesn’t have the remotest connection to tracking and tracing infected individuals for Public Health reasons or securing their isolation to halt the spread of the disease.
This corrupt Tory Government that was leveraged into office through the military grade PsyOps propaganda and manipulation of illegally obtained data are rewarding a company that was proactively involved in that fraudulent campaign to engage in acquiring our private, highly sensitive, personal information under false pretexts! We already know that the Social Media data was used to target and spread fear among suggestive and vulnerable people to brainwash them into voting against their own best interests. Vote Leave’s ‘Voter Intention Collection System,’ VICS, functioned by accumulating a massive amount of data and Social Media preferences from a huge number of people to help them selectively target the fears, anxieties and prejudices of the most susceptible individuals who would then be bombarded with fake news. Military style Situation Awareness helped Cummings stay in control of the big picture so that fear and prejudice dominated over pragmatic thinking.
I used to navigate with a sextant on long ocean passages, trust me this illustrates a really important point about data. While other Captains were happy to fix their position with just a noon sun sight I preferred to take star sights. I would sometimes take sights from as many as ten stars all around the horizon, each one providing a separate line of position; when all those lines crossed on a point there was absolutely no question I knew my exact position. All of those disparate pieces of data, seemingly unrelated nuggets of personal information that the Government obtains via this “highly sensitive data-matching project,” will make us more vulnerable as unwitting victims of this unnecessary intrusion. It will provide a virtual window into your mind, leaving you super susceptible to Big Brother manipulations and the type of total mind control that Demonic Cummings craves; it is the VICS program on Steroids!.
The Canary offer details on which Department offered the contract, the projected budget a start date, but the duration is less clear with the potential for continuing beyond a few months to two years. Like many of the generous Government contracts being raced through the procurement process, the Covid 19 crisis has provided an excuse for awarding lavishly funded contracts without any opportunity for competitive bidding. This allows for typical Tory rewarding of cronies and selection of shady operators who have won the approval of Dominic Cummings.
The Canary quotes from the project details, “Provision of data scientist capability to develop and support data sources and analysis to support MHCLG response to Covid-19”. Documenting, “The stated aim is to organise data-matching technologies and provide specialist support. Specifically, the remit (redacted) is described as…” Here three objectives are taken directly from the document the Canary obtained:
1. Identification, exploration and setup of alternative data sources (e.g. social media, utility providers and telecom bills, credit rating agencies, etc.) as well as data provided by MHCLG for monitoring and forecasting.
2. Application of data science and machine learning across data provided by MHCLG and alternative data sources.
3. Development of interactive dashboards which summarise the above activities into an easily consumable interface to inform policy makers.
So if you are wondering what your chosen utility provider and whether you pay your credit card off in full each month has to do with the likelihood you might become infected with Covid 19 and pass the virus on to someone else the simple answer is big fat ZERO! Does the Government need to know if you are on Facebook or comment regularly on Twitter? Absolutely not, and this information Big Brother should be excluded from documenting even if they cannot by prevented from discovering your Online presence. There is an added piece of information that as an inventor I would refer to as “creeping featurism” where the Canary note that, “the contract adds that supplier staff will ‘work with the Buyer on any ongoing work’. There appears to be nothing in the contract that specifically refers to anonymisation of data. The contract also makes it clear that Faculty staff working on the project are subject to security vetting.” This last point is hardly reassuring given who will gain access to your personal data.
The Canary document the dubious progression of the company who secured the contract, “From Vote Leave to coronavirus datasets to data-matching.” The add further details about Faculty saying, “Faculty was formerly known as Advanced Skills Initiative (ASI). In its earlier form, it worked on the Vote Leave project, whose director was Dominic Cummings (now chief political adviser to prime minister Boris Johnson). A search of the Electoral Commission database reveals that five invoices for five sets of work for Vote Leave, including ‘advertising’, were provided by ASI to Vote Leave.”
The Canary add information that I wrote about the other day that, “According to the Guardian, Faculty is run: by Marc Warner, whose brother Ben Warner, a data scientist, was reportedly recruited to Downing Street last year by [Downing Street special advisor Dominic] Cummings after running the data modelling for the Conservative party’s general election campaign. Moreover, and significantly: Ben Warner is a former senior employee at Faculty and is also said to have worked on Vote Leave. Neither Ben Warner nor Downing Street special adviser and Vote Leave mastermind Cummings are medical scientists. Yet both attended meetings by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), set up to provide the government with advice on the coronavirus crisis.”
Apparently, Marc Warner admitted via an Article in the Sunday Times that he too attended Sage meetings. Carol Cadwalladr tweeted, “ This is unbelievable. Marc Warner – brother of No 10 advisor, Ben, & head of firm that worked with Vote Leave – outs himself as another attendee of SAGE.” This Scientific Advisory Group is damaging their own credibility by turning into an “anything but the science” political party support group. Mark Warner claims that, “Data can save us from Covid – The ethical use of data is a force for good and never more so than in this pandemic. Indeed this is, in many ways, the first data driven public health emergency.” Really? This would be a totally spurious claim for Tory Party since despite the WHO warning “Test, Test, Test,” the UK decided to bring community testing to a screeching halt and rely on guesstimates based on retrospective figures for Hospital admissions and deaths When the UK stopped testing we abandoned critical data to “wing it” with the “Herd Immunity” theory!
The Canary note that, “Marc and Ben Warner attended SAGE meetings, were directly involved in the campaign that helped Johnson come to power, and Ben is now working for Downing Street.” These key guys were the architects behind the Covert 2019 Rigged Election that installed the corrupt Government we are all suffering under right now; the world-beating laughing stock nation with the second highest Covid 19 mortality rate globally that Boris Johnson is so proud of. They say that, “Altogether, Faculty has been awarded seven other government contracts over the last year and a half. This includes, alongside controversial multi-billion-dollar firm Palantir, the coronavirus datasets projects.” The Canary warn that, “Serious questions should be asked about the suitability of companies that appeared to work on dubious advertising campaigns or were contracted to intelligence organisations, such as GCHQ, to now work on government data-matching projects.”
We should be deeply concerned that such highly suspect individuals and companies are in a position to manipulate this shambolic, weak and corrupt Government. The immense power that untrammelled access to all that valuable data could deliver for Dominic Cummings is in serious jeopardy if he is removed from his job in command and control of the PM. Boris Johnson has no more commitment to colleagues, friends, promises or loyalty than he has to the truth, I have no doubt Cumming would have known that and factored it into his plan; carefully covered his tracks and secured a way to exert extreme pressure on the PM to prevent being tossed aside when he was no longer needed. This is why we must keep demanding his removal since, in a final act of revenge for being ousted from his powerful position in control, Dominic Cummings could fully expose the industrial scale fraud of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and bring down this corrupt Government; it would be not a second too soon.June 6, 2020 at 06:37 #54726SA
This is our dangerous Covid blind-spot, in reality the Government is authorizing this company to spy on UK citizens obtaining personal information that doesn’t have the remotest connection to tracking and tracing infected individuals for Public Health reasons or securing their isolation to halt the spread of the disease.
The government was not interested in the most important piece of data gathering which is an early assessment of the number of people infected overall, thereby missing a very important piece of information. To learn about a new disease you need to diagnose all cases and outline the natural history of the disease. It is also important not only to test and identify infected individuals with any degree of severity of symptoms, and to track all contacts, but also to isolate them, that means a proper medical quarantine not just advise to stay at home and infect your family. A basic defect of the policy adopted, due to unwillingness for the state to provide adequate medical quarantine was that it is practically impossible for most people to effectively self isolate in a small flat with several individuals and children crowded together in lockdown. This, I am sure is one of the factors why ethnic minorities and the poor have been inordinately hit by this virus. It is of course easy to self isolate in the big houses of the rich, with several rooms and ensuite bathrooms, or even to have the luxury to travel 264 miles to self isolate in a cottage belonging to your father.
At no point including currently, have the basic public health measures for dealing with epidemics been applied.June 7, 2020 at 07:44 #54761Kim Sanders-Fisher
SA – You are absolutely right as this represents one of the major hypocrisies exhibited by the self-serving Tory Government during this crisis. They cannot on the one hand claim the pressing need for extensive data mining while on the other totally abandoning the collection and analysis of the single most crucial data set necessary to determine location and prevalence of the disease through comprehensive widespread community testing. The warped misdirection of funding away from the vitally necessary testing and provision of PPE, towards superfluous intrusive technology and costly high-end projects like funding Dyson to reinvent the ventilator is nothing short of obscene.
The ongoing Cummings scandal represents the third of the most striking hypocrisies of this shambolic Tory exploitation of the Covid 19 crisis; but despite the PM pleading for us to “Move On” it has become the poster child of his diabolical and dangerous ineptitude. The glaring hypocrisy of Boris Johnson’s personal weakness is laid bare as he continues to deviously duck and weave, reinventing the circumstantial conditions, as he desperately tries to justify his insane, totally arbitrary, support of his chief miscreant Dominic Cummings after the lockdown breach was exposed. Far from dismissing the episode and moving on, the fallout is getting worse. A Guardian Article reports the alarming development that a Cardiology Registrar at a major London teaching Hospital has decided to quit the NHS in protest over Dominic Cummings’ refusal to resign despite allegedly flouting lockdown rules.
The Guardian revealed that, “Dr Dominic Pimenta has decided to resign because he fears that the behaviour of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser could help trigger a second wave of coronavirus and is angered by the government’s handling of the pandemic.” In explaining his protest Pimenta said, “his decision was driven by the “laughable fairytale” explanation Cummings gave for his trip from London to Durham and nearby Barnard Castle, as well as by the adviser’s continued presence in Downing Street and cabinet ministers’ support of him.” Described as a, “high-profile critic of ministers’ attempts to get to grips with the Covid-19 crisis,” working in the Hospital’s ICU Pimenta, who hadn’t seen his parents since January, tweeted: “…Frankly, Cummings spits in the face of all our efforts, the whole #NHS. If he doesn’t resign, I will.” According to the Guardian, “Doctors’ leaders said Pimenta’s decision was “very sad” and “a tragedy” and warned that other medics who have been battling the virus in recent months may follow.”
Sky News reported that, “Protesters staged a “die-in” outside Dominic Cummings’ house over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Holding signs and wearing face masks, about 20 campaigners lay on the street outside the north London home of the prime minister’s controversial adviser on Thursday evening. One of the placards read: “Over 50,000 dead while you’re playing king of the castle.” Apparently near neighbours of Dominic Cummings obligingly joined the protest, they said “the response from the street was “largely positive”, with about 15 neighbours joining them…” In solidarity with the George Floyd protests in the US and recognition that the Covid 19 impact on BAME communities in the UK deserves urgent action one lead a chant of “Black Lives Matter.” Sky stated that, “The protesters called on the government to sack Mr Cummings and implement a strategy to tackle the pandemic based on World Health Organisation recommendations.”
A Canary Article has reported on new analysis that indicates, “BAME staff account for 60% of coronavirus health worker deaths and faced the greatest PPE shortages.” Citing PA News Agency they quantify the verified “deaths of 166 frontline UK healthcare workers with coronavirus (Covid-19) since the start of March this year with 100 of them from BAME backgrounds, 39 (23%) were white and 27 (16%) were of unknown ethnic origin. Care Home staff were not included due to unreliability of the available data.” They report that, “In England, BAME staff make up 20% of the NHS workforce. By comparison, 62% of the health workers who died in England were BAME.”
The Canary report, “The government has been investigating why BAME communities have been disproportionately affected, with social, cultural and economic factors all thought to be possible contributors. Joan Saddler, director of partnerships and equality at the NHS Confederation, said BAME staff appeared more likely to work in lower-level jobs on general wards, where there might be less PPE provision than in high intensive critical units. Almost half (49%) of BAME staff whose deaths were verified by PA worked as nurses or healthcare assistants, while 30% were doctors.”
In response to the question why the staff who were dying were not working in critical care environments, Sadler described the jobs on wards as entry-level Band 4 and 5 jobs, understaffing was an issue and it was hard work that a lot of people don’t want to do. According to the Canary, “A survey from the Royal College of Nursing found that BAME staff have experienced the greatest PPE shortages. Less than half (43%) of respondents from a BAME background said they had enough eye and face protection — a stark contrast to 66% of white staff who said they felt properly equipped. NHS staff survey data also consistently shows BAME staff report a higher level of discrimination and harassment. Staff have also reported they do not feel confident making demands for PPE and testing for coronavirus.” Staff are reluctant to speak out as they are so worried that we will lose our jobs.
In 2009 during a ten country tour of the continent, doing a “needs assessment of Anaesthesia Care in sub-Saharan Africa,” I saw firsthand the damage we are inflicting on fragile Healthcare systems with our morally bankrupt policy of scavenging Medical personnel from countries who cannot afford to train them. The strategy for post Brexit recruiting of Medical staff will put this critical brain drain into overdrive. Once we are out of the EU the European staff who currently enjoy a level playing field in terms of pay, benefits and workers rights will be gone. The Tories dropped the Nursing bursary and hit new Nursing students with huge tuition fees because they have no interest in investing in UK training; it is so much cheaper to scavenge from the developing world. All the Medical recruits will need visas to work on fixed term contracts for lower pay and zero benefits; that is who UK grads will need to compete with for jobs. This race to the bottom is the dystopian nightmare future we have to choke down under the Tories.
The greater the distance from home the more insecure migrant workers feel about their job and their temporary working status. The do not dare report safety issues and they are ripe for serious exploitation. Patient safety is put at risk when staff feel compromised as they remain compliant, hard working and obedient in fear of losing their jobs. That exact phenomenon is what is being exposed right now with their higher susceptibility to Covid 19 and poor prognosis fighting the disease. During my Africa tour I discussed a mutually beneficial alternative strategy with a Nurse Anaesthetist who was from Malawi, but had spent time working for the NHS in the UK before returning to join the team in Blantyre. The proposal involved training both UK and local staff in paired teams based at the Hospital in Blantyre where it was cheap to live and more affordable to train; it was the first of my Collaborative Circular Migration proposals that I might as well bin now with this toxic Tory Government in control.
I design concepts like this and I design pieces of kit, but none of that will ever see fruition now after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; this prospect has left me feeling extremely depressed. I have another concept I was working on to combat malnutrition in the elderly with a nationwide business incentive plan to handle the logistics of providing meals. That is another plan dead in the water because this Government is committed to accelerating a massive cull of our elderly population. I design products for the “Silver Sector” to help facilitate dignified independent living, but the Tories have planned a “Holocaust in Care” so they will not need such items. I don’t really care about business success I just want the achievement of having my designs out there, but there is no hope anymore. I wish I didn’t have creative ideas as they just torment me now; I might as well stuff my brain in a matchbox, I feel so decimated. I am lucky in that I do not have the huge worries that many young people will now be burdened with for decades; I feel guilty that I have had such an interesting life of adventure that would not possible anymore.
My one great hope is that we can dislodge these parasites who stole our future in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; they become less tenable by the day, but we are stuck with them for decades. There will never be an option to vote them out of office in a fair democratic process so we must fully investigate and expose their fraud. I can rarely tolerate watching the daily Tory propaganda presentations that masquerade for “press briefings,” but it was widely noted that the Scientific and Medical advisors had deserted their “human shield” duties; perhaps because they can no longer be counted on to stay on message blindly supporting the Tory Government’s chaotic plan. The minutia of the Government’s increasingly misleading messaging has got steadily worse and is severely compromised by the Cummings scandal and Boris Johnson’s catastrophic failure of leadership in fear of firing him. But there is still a slim chance that if he were ousted he might turn Whistleblower and bring down this retched Government.