bed, Boris Johnson, chaos, Conservative, coronavirus, COVID-19, Dominic Cummings, elderly, eugenics, food bank, herd immunity, hysteria, Matt Hancock, Mike Sivier, National Health Service, NHS, old, political, quarantine, Robert Peston, Tories, Tory, ventilator, Vox, Vox Political
Only one element unifies the constant babble about coronavirus from the UK’s Tory government at the moment: it is contradictory, confusing and seems designed to increase hysteria, rather than reduce it.
For a start: what’s with the policy of drip-feeding information via individuals or single media sites, rather than broadcasting updates to everyone in regular press conferences and on the government website?
Today we see Matt Hancock – behind a paywall – on the Torygraph website, contradicting the government’s announcement last week that the Tories would be seeking to establish ‘herd immunity’ by allowing us all to be infected, thereby condemning the oldest and weakest of us to death.
You are a public servant – what are you doing publishing vital information in a commercial journal? We pay you to inform us – not to let the Telegraph sell us information. Has this never occurred to you? And Where TF is Boris? Chevening? Well away from danger?
— Mike Harding #lightacandlefotheEU (@HardingMike) March 15, 2020
Here is that article in full. The Telegraph‘s owners should be run out of the country for putting profit before lives:
That previous announcement was made by scientific advisor Patrick Vallance. His latest advice is in The Sun. I haven’t seen it because I won’t willingly visit that paper’s website and the physical copies are only good to be snapped up by people who need toilet paper as a result of the government-induced panic-buying we’ve all seen.
Robert Peston has been parrotting information he’s been given. Did he even know it was accurate before he repeated it? My understanding is no.
Why did you let the govt leak this just to you? Why didn't you share it immediately with the rest of the media so that it could be universal free info? Why are you more important than this bit of news?
— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) March 14, 2020
Is it, as Carole Cadwalladr suggests, an attempt to avoid these leaks being attributed to individual ministers who can then be questioned over the validity of their decisions?
Worse still is the claim that people attacking this strategy are “politicising” the corona crisis.
We had this after This Site pointed out the political implications of the Grenfell Tower inferno, back in 2017. I was vindicated, of course – Grenfell has been a scandal that has rumbled on to this very day.
The simple fact is that coronavirus is already political. As Grace Blakely points out here, people have already died as a result of political decisions and the only question is whether those decisions can reduce the toll.
At the moment, it seems that Boris Johnson and his government, by flip-flopping through the crisis, adopting one strategy for a couple of days and then denying it in favour of another, are doing everything they can to create chaos, boost hysteria and ramp up the human cost.
The government’s strategy appears to be ‘more deaths now for less deaths later’.
At the best of times that’s difficult to communicate and get public buy-in for. I suspect doing it through briefings to favoured journalists will lead to utter chaos.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) March 15, 2020
Consider South Korea, the country generally accepted to have got the best grip on the spread of coronavirus. Here’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha explaining to Andrew Marr that testing people for the virus is vital… followed by a tweet showing that the UK government has abandoned that vital testing:
— Carole Hawkins (@hawkins_carole) March 15, 2020
Is this a death sentence for old and vulnerable people?
Oh – and apparently the old and vulnerable could be arrested if they don’t quarantine themselves:
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) March 15, 2020
So it seems we’re being faced with a situation in which the people most vulnerable to the virus are being told to hide themselves away from society for weeks at a time.
What happens then? Will we see government vans roaming our streets and suburbs, calling for you to “Bring out your dead”?
There will be a knock-on effect again food banks, most of which have already been harmed by the panic-buying spree:
Is anybody in Government thinking about those reliant on foodbanks in the context of the Coronavirus? https://t.co/2QvURodiKq
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) March 15, 2020
So the “Bring out your dead” vans will remain gainfully employed, picking up the bodies of the underpaid workers whose wages the Tories have been sitting on for so many years.
Evidence is piling up to show that the National Health Service – weakened to a constant crisis point by 10 years of Tory underfunding – is simply unable to cope with the extra workload of thousands (if not millions) of COVID-19 patients. This is the opinion of the British Medical Association, as you can see here.
Already Hancock has admitted that the service doesn’t have enough ventilators:
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) March 15, 2020
So he’s trying to buy some more, or get manufacturers to make them:
But it’s an ill wind that blows no good to anybody: the Tories’ friends in private medicine are set to rake in £2.4 million every day, loaning out 8,000 beds to the NHS.
That’s more than 3,000 fewer beds than the Tories closed between 2010 and 2017 (I have yet to find figures leading up to the present day)!
The government’s first duty is to make sure everyone is heathy, fed and can pay their bills.
It’s not to hand-out millions to big business exploiting this emergency.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) March 15, 2020
Meanwhile, the crisis is revealing hard truths about ourselves:
You do wonder, when all this is over, whether all the people panic buying toilet roll might have developed a bit more empathy for the people fleeing war in Syria and trying to stop their kids drowning in the Mediterranean.
But I doubt it.
— Matthew Thompson (@mattuthompson) March 15, 2020
How does it feel to be quarantined?
— Palestinian Voices (@FalastinVoices) March 14, 2020
There is only one conclusion to draw from the above: Don’t trust the Tory government. You’ll be putting your life in the hands of people who simply couldn’t care less.
I think it was Tim Fenton, on his Zelo Street blog, who said Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and their cronies simply aren’t equipped to provide information; they offer information warfare – strong on falsehood and misinformation. And they can’t seem to stop.
Call me a raging conspiracy theorist if you like, but the thought has crossed my mind that everything we’re experiencing right now could be a sign of Johnson putting those eugenics ideas into practise – you know, the ideas about cleaning the gene pool of weaknesses and impurities for which Andrew Sabisky had to resign his job as a government advisor. We have enough evidence to conclude that Johnson supports those views, as does Cummings.
So we can’t trust the government.
How about relying on something we’ve had a lot longer.
Where’s our common sense? People have had to cope with disease epidemics – of this very kind – for centuries. Why not go back to tried-and-trusted remedies, at least while the politicians and the medics try to sort themselves out?
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