A new kind of political lying

We all know that politicians lie.

The Cummins saga however is showing a new kind of political lying. In this kind of lying the speaker knows that what he is saying is patently not true. The words are devoid of truth as they leave his mouth – and everyone can see that, including the speaker. He just has to say something.  Anything.  To tell obvious lies and not to care that everyone can see they are lies at the moment you speak them takes a certain kind of morally empty and dishonourable person. This is the kind of behavior that is being normalised in Britain’s political class. Continue reading “A new kind of political lying”

Cummins to speak to the nation

It is beyond parody. The press is reporting that at 5pm today Cummins will give a public statement and take questions.

Who does he think he is? The Tsar. Maybe he does. We’ve just witnessed the strange spectacle of a round of Ministers of State going on TV to make a mockery of their own government’s guidance and laws in order to defend an unelected adviser.

Let’s preempt this. The apparent defence for the journey to Durham – against the guidance that people should go home if they have symptoms (his wife did, he may have done) – and against the law that people should not travel outside their own home – is something to do with childcare needs. Continue reading “Cummins to speak to the nation”

The significance of the Dominic Cummins saga and the Prime Minister’s endorsement

Dominic Cummins drove with his wife who was already symptomatic with Covid-19 from their London home to his parents’ home in Durham, a distance of 270 miles. While there the family went for a walk in a wood 30 miles from his parents’ home.

This much is admitted. Not much else is and he and the government are not answering questions such as whether the party (carrying the virus) stopped anywhere on the way or, indeed, how they travelled . Continue reading “The significance of the Dominic Cummins saga and the Prime Minister’s endorsement”

Allowing thousands of people to needlessly die and then lying about it – another day in covid UK.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock:

We will keep working to strengthen the protective ring we have cast around all our care homes. [1]

The truth – a cardiologist at a top London hospital (in an anonymous tip off to a journalist, as recounted by the journalist):

Basically, every mistake that could have been made, was made. He likened the care home policy to the Siege of Caffa in 1346, that grim chapter of the Black Death when a Mongol army catapulted plague-ridden bodies over the walls.

“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable. [2]

These people are not just willing to let tens of thousands of elderly people die completely needlessly but they are prepared to brazenly try and spin their way out of it.

It is beginning to look quite simple. They went for “herd immunity” (thinking that Britain would not have to close its economy and would steal a march on its European competitors) based on a “specious” understanding of science. But in doing so they simply forgot about care homes.

(For background; this is a link to an article in the Daily Telegraph from 15 April – about 10 weeks into the crisis – which makes it clear that while they were now (from 16 April [3]) testing patients prior to discharge from hospital it was still policy to discharge patients infected with Covid-19 into care homes – as indeed it still is. The testing for staff the government was promising on 15 April has only very recently become a reality and even then one which is, apparently beset with delays and problems with lost tests).

This is the government’s attempt to try to spin their way out of the fact that their policies have led to thousands of needless deaths in care homes. Particularly odious is Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty trying to pretend that the slow strengthening of the protocols – from moving untested and infected patients into care homes to the current policy of testing all patients prior to discharge – is something to do with “And as the clinical understanding of coronavirus has strengthened, so too, we’ve updated and strengthened our guidance.” This is complete tosh. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is consciously lying. That Sars-Cov-2 was a severe coronavirus leading to serious respiratory illness with a very high mortality rate in elderly people was well-established by (and this is being incredibly fair) early March. (You only had to look at Italy). And that was all you needed to know to understand that under no circumstances should you have been deliberately mixing Covid-19 infected patients with the one group most likely to die from Covid-19.

The current policy is to test but still to discharge positive patients into care homes. [4] Smaller, less-well resourced, care homes do not have the resources and facilities to manage a regime of total isolation and indeed the full barrier nursing that would be required to have a reasonable chance of avoiding cross-infection. All they’ve done is shift the crisis from hospitals to care homes. This may be the real meaning of the slogan “Protect the NHS”.

Notes

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-52725547/matt-hancock-on-testing-for-care-home-staff-and-residents
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/may/19/uk-coronavirus-live-latest-updates?page=with:block-5ec3d26c8f08a1782fa7d7c1#block-5ec3d26c8f08a1782fa7d7c1
  3. https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/C0324-New-requirement-to-test-patients-being-discharged-from-hospital-to-a-care-home.pdf
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-stepdown-of-infection-control-precautions-within-hospitals-and-discharging-covid-19-patients-from-hospital-to-home-settings/guidance-for-stepdown-of-infection-control-precautions-and-discharging-covid-19-patients https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-stepdown-of-infection-control-precautions-within-hospitals-and-discharging-covid-19-patients-from-hospital-to-home-settings/guidance-for-stepdown-of-infection-control-precautions-and-discharging-covid-19-patients#discharge-to-a-single-occupancy-room-in-care-facility-including-nursing-homes-and-residential-homes

 

Coronavirus and political spinning

This is Mr Michael Gove, UK Minister for the Cabinet Office, trying to spin that the government is doing some kind of marvellous job sourcing ventilators for the NHS:

Throughout our history British manufacturing has always stepped up in times of national need… Ventilators are one of the most complex medical devices and the speed and scale that design and production is ramping up is awe-inspiring.  We will do whatever it takes to ensure the NHS and social care sector has the support and equipment it needs to save lives. [1]

If only it were true. But the truth is, as the editor of The Lancet makes clear, that the British government squandered weeks in February – doing nothing to prepare for the epidemic – for reasons which as he says remain “opaque” but which may have something to do with the lunatic and unscientific plan for “herd immunity”.  While negotiations may have been going on beforehand behind the scenes the mass media only reported UK gov’s order of 10,000 ventilators (from unproven British supplier Dyson) on 26 March.  [2] The WHO announced a global health emergency on 31 January. [3] Continue reading “Coronavirus and political spinning”

Alex Salmond – and the rule of law (part 2)

This is really just an update to my previous post on this subject.

It seems that the nine women who made accusations against Alex Salmond which led to his criminal trial have now collectively issued a statement (signed “jointly”) which in the words of the Guardian, constitutes a “powerful rebuke to those that allege they conspired together”.

The Guardian acts as their PR machine – naturally. The Guardian has long since staked its financial future on various ideologies and certain target demographics for its advertising revenue. Women’s rights and “metoo” are a key part of this strategy. Continue reading “Alex Salmond – and the rule of law (part 2)”

A national scandal whose gravity cannot be underestimated – the Editor of the Lancet

This is an article in The Lancet by the editor of that journal; Richard Horton. Everyone should read it. It isn’t long.

He makes two substantive points:

  1. The UK did not follow (and still is not following) WHO guidance to deal with a virus epidemic. The advice is to relentlessly test, trace and quarantine. This is how you beat an epidemic. As Horton says:

They didn’t isolate and quarantine. They didn’t contact trace. These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.

2. The NHS leadership missed a vital chance to use February to prepare for  the epidemic. At this stage the WHO had already advised that a worldwide pandemic was on the cards. [1] Yet they did nothing to prepare and are only now starting to try to source the necessary equipment (e.g. ventilators) and personal protective equipment and testing devices. This wasted month will lead directly to many more deaths than would have occurred if they had prepared sooner. As  Horton says:

The NHS has been wholly unprepared for this pandemic. It’s impossible to understand why. Based on their modelling of the Wuhan outbreak of COVID-19, Joseph Wu and his colleagues wrote in The Lancet on Jan 31, 2020: “On the present trajectory, 2019-nCoV could be about to become a global epidemic…for health protection within China and internationally…preparedness plans should be readied for deployment at short notice, including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies, and the necessary human resources to deal with the consequences of a global outbreak of this magnitude.” This warning wasn’t made lightly. It should have been read by the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Executive Officer of the NHS in England, and the Chief Scientific Adviser. They had a duty to immediately put the NHS and British public on high alert. February should have been used to expand coronavirus testing capacity, ensure the distribution of WHO-approved PPE, and establish training programmes and guidelines to protect NHS staff. They didn’t take any of those actions.

Richard Horton sums up:

The gravity of that scandal has yet to be understood.

What I, the editor of this web site, find amazing, is that all of this is absolutely clear. Anyone with any basic modicum of intelligence can read reports by, for example, the WHO – who were already advising of a serious risk of a worldwide pandemic on 31 January.  If I, an “educated layman”, with no medical knowledge at all can have seen this coming why could not the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, England’s Chief  Medical Officer and the whole NHS England Board?

It isn’t the main point – but all these people no doubt enjoy lavish salaries – and they are paid to be able to handle health crises. Yet nothing. Complete inaction. It is not just the lack of preparedness for the unexpected which, itself, would be a major omission. It is the inexplicable lack of preparations even when the epidemic was 100% predictableWhy, for example, were they not trying to buy ventilators at the start of February when the virus started spreading outside China? It seems they didn’t even start taking these essential steps in mid to late February when it was clear that Italy was in crisis and it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the UK was hit by the virus.

Richard Horton says that the reasons for this are “opaque”. He must have an idea. Part of the answer may lie in the government’s ludicrous and unscientific plan for allowing everyone to become infected – a plan based on a misunderstanding of the concept of “herd immunity”, a plan which, by a simple mathematical calculation would have result in 400,000 deaths, a plan which was hastily abandoned as soon as the real deaths started coming in, a plan which the government is trying to deny every existed and which the media is helping them cover up.

One possible explanation is that someone in Downing Street actually thought about like this like a Nazi. They consciously decided that many elderly people should die in order to save the economy. They did this so they would look good – Britain would emerge with a strong economy while the UK’s European partners struggled. They tried to get away with carrying out this plan (for mass murder in effect) hoping that no one would notice. This sounds fantastic. However; it is supported by the evidence. Indeed it seems to be the best fit for the evidence.

Of course other factors will be in play. The strange lack of action from the NHS Board cannot be fully explained by the theory that the government’s initial strategy was based on leaning almost entirely on advice from behavioural scientists and government advisers who don’t understand the science of epidemics. Surely there should have been push-back from scientists and the board of the NHS England?  How can we explain the lethargy? The sheer apathy in the face of the avoidable imminent mass death of thousands of elderly and medically vulnerable people? Is the level of selfishness and lack of care in power structures in the UK really so high?

And why is the media letting this pass? True there were articles in e.g. The Guardian and The Independent giving voice to critics of the government’s lunatic and unscientific policy of “herd immunity”.  But at the editorial level there has been very little criticism.  The papers should have had headlines demanding the government act. Why did people have to take matters into their own hands? Even now there is only very muted criticism of the general lack of preparedness, for example, the lack of covid-19 tests for health workers – a truly disastrous state of affairs.

Richard Horton says: “The gravity of that scandal has yet to be understood.”. But the gravity of the scandal is evident to anyone capable of understanding basic science who has been watching the news recently.

My guess is that the gravity of the scandal will not be exposed. That somehow, for some reason, everyone (or the vast majority) of people who are in a position to publicly expose this scandal – senior figures in government, the media, the scientific academic environment, CEOs of engineering and health firms and senior figures in public health – will join forces in the cover-up. If nothing else (and whether the scandal is exposed or not) this seems to show that the country is governed by an elite who have zero active concern for the welfare of the citizens of the country.

(Now they are throwing money at people for job support payments – but whose money is this? This could be seen as a bribe to ensure that everyone in the country joins in the cover-up)

Update

This is another piece in the Guardian by actual scientists. They give some theoretical background to the UK’s disastrous SARS-Cov-2 response – based as it is on what they call “scientism” – poorly understood science by people who have no real expertise. I especially like the image of people standing in a valley seeing an avalanche come towards them. You don’t need to spend hours playing with models to know that now is the time to take action.

And this is another piece by a Professor of Health at Edinburgh University which lays out the whole failure of UK government in clear, dispassionate, scientific terms.

Notes

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51318246