Daily Archives: June 2, 2020

Coronavirus: Johnson takes ‘direct control’ – because the mess isn’t big enough yet?

Boris Johnson: if he really is taking more control – away from chief medical officers – it’s only so he can make this gesture to everybody who has fought off Covid-19 so far.

Take a look at the tweet directly below – and the response by Another Angry Voice:

Good question. According to the Telegraph article…

A shake-up in Downing Street will see the Government’s entire approach to the pandemic run by two centrally-run committees, covering strategy and operational delivery.

Tory MPs said the changes could weaken the influence of chief adviser Dominic Cummings – who was heavily criticised for a 260-mile trip during lockdown – and allow Mr Johnson to tighten his grip on the fight against the pandemic.

… it appears to have been Dominic Cummings.

But isn’t that just scapegoating – blaming the aide who is out of favour with the public? Not only that – we don’t know that the claim has any accuracy at all but, now it has been made, for all we know Cummings can carry on as normal while we assume he’s been consigned to less commanding roles.

It would be hard to blame anybody, even Johnson, for wanting a bit of distance from recent disasters, though.

Consider Test and Trace – the scheme that was criticised as a risk to people’s privacy before it was rolled out:

Channel 4 wasn’t the only recipient of the leaked information; the Daily Mirror had it too:

So much for data security under the Conservatives!

Then there’s this:

So more than 25,000 Covid-19 patients were released from hospitals to care homes that did not have the facilities to isolate them.

It’s a miracle only 20,000 of them died!

Or is that yet another statistical… mistake… of the kind for which the Johnson government has become justly infamous?

Meanwhile, the total number of excess Covid-19 deaths was revealed to have given the UK the worst death rate in the world, proportionate to the size of its population, from May 22. It was suspected but now it was proved:

Against this backdrop, it was revealed that Johnson wanted to lower the Covid-19 alert level – but all four UK chief medical officers vetoed his demand:

Perhaps he is taking more “direct control”, as the Telegraph claims, in order to override this influence. If so, then what follows is ill-advised.

If Starmer was saying Johnson taking a firmer grip should reduce the risk of a second wave of Covid infections, the evidence suggests he is bitterly mistaken.

Johnson taking over is far more likely to speed up that second wave’s arrival – and boost it to overwhelming size.

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Bad Times-ing: new radio channel announces Windrush Home Secretary will host show – in the middle of George Floyd racism riots

Amber Rudd: what a symbol of white privilege.

How tactless. How Murdoch.

Times Radio is a Rupert Murdoch venture – it’s run by his firm News UK – and will start broadcasting on June 29. So the organisation put out a press release today (June 2) announcing its initial line-up.

Fair enough? Not really.

You see, among the presenters is Amber Rudd, the former Tory Home Secretary who had to quit her job over her appallingly bad handling of the racist Windrush scandal.

She was the one who misled Parliament over a memo showing that the Home Office had a target number of people to deport from the UK, if you remember.

Now, after a week of violence in the United States over the killing by police of unarmed George Floyd, on the same day the Conservative governent here in the UK refused to release a report on the way black and minority ethnic people have been disproportionately harmed in the Covid-19 crisis… Times Radio announces this danger to black people will be hosting a happy-go-lucky radio talk show.

The message is clear: This privileged white woman persecuted vulnerable black people so we’re rewarding her.

The channel’s press release refers to “former Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd with her journalist daughter Flora Gill, talking about their different takes on the world, picking up on their popular social media interactions”.

And it quotes Rudd as saying: “It will be a great platform for me to put Flora in her place.” Will she be deporting her daughter, then?

If this Murdoch channel wanted to throw away listeners, it could not have done a better job than by starting with this. The reaction on social media has been poisonous:

https://twitter.com/JosieLong/status/1267774510339629058

Source: News UK announces Times Radio launch date: new national DAB station begins broadcasting on Monday 29th June | News UK

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Statistics supremo slams misleading Tory Covid-19 test figures

Next time you watch a news report showing Tory statistics on the number of Covid-19 tests published out per day, bear in mind that the numbers are deliberately wrong – and that comes from the highest authority in the United Kingdom.

The Tories are hiding the facts about Covid-19 testing by blurring their definition of  test, in order to maximise the number of tests they can report. This comes from Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority.

This Writer has corresponded with the UKSA on several previous occasions and you can take it from me: if the UKSA is saying something, you can be sure it is right.

He’s saying the way the Tories present their results is deliberately obstructing the purpose for which they are supposed to be carried out.

“Statistics on testing perhaps serve two main purposes,” he writes.

“The first is to help us understand the epidemic, alongside the ONS survey, showing us how many people are infected, or not, and their relevant characteristics.

“The second purpose is to help manage the test programme, to ensure there are enough tests, that they are carried out or sent where they are needed and that they are being used as effectively as possible. The data should tell the public how effectively the testing programme is being managed.”

He continues: “The way the data are analysed and presented currently gives them limited value for the first purpose. The aim seems to be to show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding.

“It is also hard to believe the statistics work to support the testing programme itself.”

Of course the obvious problem gets an airing: “The headline total of tests adds together the tests carried out with tests posted out… There are no data on how many of the tests posted out are in fact then successfully completed.”

And this has also been brought to public attention: “The notes to the daily slides rightly say that some people may be tested more than once and it has been widely reported that swabs carried out simultaneously on a single patient are counted as multiple tests. But it is not clear from the published data how often that is the case.”

Moving on to the way the tests are presented to the public, Sir David reveals that “this presentation gives an artificially-low impression of the proportion of tests returning a positive diagnosis” – because the number of tests carried out has been artificially inflated, you see.

“More generally the testing figures are presented in a way that is difficult to understand. Many of the key numbers make little sense without recourse to the technical notes which are themselves sometimes hard to follow… Supporting spreadsheets… make it difficult to extract even basic trends.”

Perhaps crucially, Sir David moves on to criticise information that is omitted from test reports: “How many people in what circumstances are infected? Where do they live?

“Test results should include for example key types of employment (e.g. medical staff, care staff), age, sex and location (by geography and place, such as care homes).”

The implication is clear: figures derived from the testing programme are no good at all.

And Sir David lays down a serious warning about the new “Test and Trace” scheme: “Statistics will need to be capable of being related to the wider testing data and readily understood by the public, through for example population-adjusted maps of hotspots.

“The testing statistics still fall well short of… expectations. It is not surprising that, given their inadequacy, data on testing are so widely criticised and often mistrusted.

Here’s Sir David’s letter:

The letter has prompted a strong response – including from some former Conservatives:

Will the Tories pay attention?

I think they probably will.

This is criticism from an incorruptible authority on statistics and, should an inquiry take place into government handling of Covid-19 (and I think one will), the Tories will need the UK Statistics Authority on their side.

If they don’t get that support, then they’ll be in serious trouble.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Review of harmful impact of Covid-19 crisis on BAME people delayed twice – because it shows RACISM?

Racism is hard-wired into Conservatives. This poster was from 1964 and attitudes haven’t changed since then.

When the Tories delay a review of the impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities because of “worries” around “current global events”, you know the result can’t be good.

Considering “current global events” include escalating riots in the United States over the way the authorities treat black people, you can expect it to be scandalous.

Demonstrations against the attitudes that caused George Floyd’s death have taken place in the UK and it seems logical that the Tory government – already well-known for its racist policies and racist prime minister – would not want to enflame feelings to boiling-point.

But it makes perfect sense for the review to show that BAME people have been disproportionately harmed by Covid-19 – because the Conservative government has prioritised help away from them.

We already know that Tory Covid-19 policies have been disablist and ageist – look at the massacre in our care homes. Harm to BAME people completes their hat-trick.

Look at the language in the Sky News report:

They now say it has been delayed further because it is in “close proximity to the current situation in America” and it would be a “bad combination” if it was released amid global outrage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

One Whitehall source told Sky News: “The government won’t be able to put this out without concrete and solid next steps.”

To make matters worse, the Department of Health has tried to deny that the killing of George Floyd had anything to do with the delay.

This comes from the organisation that claimed the UK had enough personal protective equipment and ventilators for everyone, and that 100,000 tests were carried out on a day when only 70,000 took place.

We’re left with the obvious question:

Is it better to withhold the review and let us all think government policy has been racist – or to release it and have our suspicions confirmed?

Source: Coronavirus: Review into impact of COVID-19 on BAME community delayed again | UK News | Sky News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Here’s how Rachel Riley’s lawyers are wasting your money

Money: Rachel Riley has loads, so her lawyers are trying to waste mine with pointless legal applications in the hope that I won’t be able to fund my defence against her libel claim at a trial.

I was really pleased with our fundraising efforts at the end of May – only to be brought crashing down by my latest legal bill.

Between the start of the month and the end, the CrowdJustice site took almost £7,000 – going from a total of around £63,000 to £70,000.

That’s down to the fabulous response from people like you.

Then I received the bill for “advising you in connection with Riley’s proposed strike out application and corresponding with you in connection with the same, liaising with and instructing Counsel in relation to the approach to the strike out application and the amended defence and corresponding with Patron Law for Riley.”

£6,500. Almost the entire amount.

You will know that the “proposed strike out application” is nonsense – it’s just an attempt to waste my cash and my team’s time. There’s no prospect of Ms Riley’s lawyers actually removing any of my case and I don’t think they expect to achieve that.

Nor will they narrow down any of the arguments or evidence at a future trial.

They just know that making vexatious applications like this will waste the money that you have so kindly donated to defend me against their claims.

It confirms what I have said all along: this case is not about justice – it is about money. Rachel Riley seems to think the fact that she has more money than I do means that she can buy justice.

It is a blistering insult to the British legal system.

But it achieves one goal: it forces me to go back to you, cap in hand, and beg for more. After you’ve all given so much already.

Let’s never forget what’s being done here, who’s doing it, or why.

And let’s spread the word about the help I need. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

If you are as angry, reading these words, as I am at having to write them, remember who’s responsible.

The only way to stop them doing this is to defeat their case.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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