Hancock LIED when he said there was never a national PPE shortage. Here’s the evidence. Now demand his resignation

Yet again: the PPE used in UK hospitals at the start of the Covid crisis is pictured bottom right. The infographic was made when the UK had hardly any personal protective equipment – but now Matt Hancock is trying to save his job by claiming there was never any shortage.

The Death Health Secretary is trying to rewrite history:

Did you hear him?

One minute and 40 seconds in: “But there wasn’t a national shortage [of personal protective equipment – PPE] at any point.”

That is simply untrue.

Here he is in April last year, saying he’d love to wave a magic wand to resolve PPE shortages:

The Tory government of the day was told in 2016/17, after Operation Cygnus, that the UK’s health service would be unable to cope with a pandemic virus infection without plentiful supplies of protective equipment for health workers… and decided that such an investment was too expensive.

This led to a situation in March 2020 when an NHS procurement chief, Alan Hoskins tweeted: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain. Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

The tweet was subsequently deleted, possibly under duress as even then the Tory government was trying to hide the facts. As This Writer put it on April 3 last year: “it seems doctors have been warned not to make any comments about shortages on social media, as well as avoiding talking to journalists, and NHS England has taken over media operations for many hospitals and health trusts in order to ensure that they all stay “on message”.”

On April 17 I brought public attention to the plight of nurses who had been forced to wear bin bags instead of proper protection. According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

I wrote: “One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.”

How right I was.

On April 19 I quoted a Sunday Times piece on the Johnson government’s PPE failures that showed he had sent 278,800 items of protective kit to China in February – immediately before the UK had needed it:

Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.

Don’t worry – it seems we may be getting some of it back. It’s just that the government isn’t sure, having lost £15 billion worth of PPE, some of which it has bought (back?) from other countries including China:

The government is not sure where billions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) is located, the head of the National Audit Office has disclosed.

Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general, said outside consultants had been brought into Whitehall to find all equipment, which is stored at different sites around the country, or is in transit from abroad.

Under questioning from the public accounts committee, Davies said: “We have been working closely with the DoH. It has commissioned consultants to advise it on first of all understanding where all the PPE that has been bought actually is. It sounds like a strange question but it is a really big issue because it is not all standing neatly in an NHS store somewhere.

“We have amounts in containers, in storage around the country, there’s some on the docks and there is some en route somewhere from China.”

On April 18 last year, I quoted a Mirror report that

NHS doctors and nurses will be asked to treat patients infected with coronavirus without full-length gowns – or re-use the ones they have, it has emerged tonight.

The Government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some frontline staff warning that they have had to work in situations where they feel unsafe.

Public Health England guidelines currently state that full-length waterproof surgical gowns should by worn by medical workers to stop Covid-19 spreading into someone’s mouth or nose.

However, there has now been a U-turn advising staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns run out or not wear one at all

And Matt Hancock has the cheek to tell us now that there was never a shortage.

Here’s a tweet about PPE availability in one hospital on April 19:

The following day we learned a much-touted delivery of PPE from Turkey would last just three days. It had been previously reported that Boris Johnson had refused to join an EU scheme to provide PPE where it was needed (see the Peter Stefanovic tweet towards the top of this article).

On April 24 we found

The UK’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a pandemic…  has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto, which was sold two weeks ago for $133m (£107m) by its owner, a large US healthcare group.

Two days later the Turkish shipment of PPE arrived – and proved to be just one-twelfth of the expected amount.

Later in the Covid crisis we learned that the Tories were using the emergency procurement system which bypasses the competitive tendering process and allows the government to purchase items and services direct from chosen firms, was being abused.

Tories were giving cash to their cronies in return for equipment that simply wasn’t fit to be used.

The classic example is that of Board of Trade president (and cheese queen) Liz Truss, who spent £150 million of your money on 50 million face masks for the NHS that couldn’t be used.

She had been approached for the contract by one of her long-standing friends and advisors, Andrew Mills. Oh, and apparently it was sourced through a tax haven so this guy can keep all the money.

Mills was subsequently removed from his advisory position. But Truss didn’t go anywhere.

Tory ministers “learned the lessons” from this mistake by handing a further £180 million to their cronies for PPE.

Did we get it? Doubtful.

All the way down the line the Tories have failed us.

They gave away our PPE when we needed it.

They failed to join an international scheme to provide it where it was needed.

They failed to source it themselves.

They gave money to their friends and cronies who had no experience in providing PPE, and received trash in return.

As a result, health service professionals caught Covid-19. Many of them died.

And Matt Hancock, who is on video record from last year, saying he wished he could wave a magic wand and eliminate the PPE shortage, is now telling us he shouldn’t have to resign for breaking the law by hiding contract details – because he made sure there was never a PPE shortage.

He is a LIAR.

He should resign NOW.

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Game on! Court grants Mike permission to appeal in Riley libel case

I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

The Court of Appeal has granted me permission to appeal against an order striking out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me.

Firstly I must thank all of the readers and contributors who supported my crowdfunding campaign. You made this happen and without your generosity I would have had no way to defend myself against an aggressive attack.

Secondly: the court is allowing me to appeal on only one element of my defence – that publication of my article was on a matter of public interest. This is the end of the line for my defences of truth and honest opinion.

I can now reveal that I never held out much hope for my ‘truth’ defence. The High Court has made it clear that it would not entertain such a defence unless I was able to produce a tweet from Rachel Riley in which she declared herself to be a bully and demanded that all her followers should pile abuse and harassment on a teenage girl.

That simply isn’t a realistic expectation. It doesn’t mean the girl did not receive abuse, and discussion of the manner in which it came to her is certainly a matter of public interest.

I am sorry to see that the court doesn’t think I can defend the publication of my honest opinions. The Defamation Act allows me to rely on any fact that existed at the time my statement was published, and I had plenty of material available to me that would have allowed me to support my beliefs. Sadly, the court won’t hear it – at least in this context.

It is wholly possible to win the case on a ‘public interest’ defence. I have established a host of reasons why it was in the public interest for me to publish my article – and I am sure you can think of a few yourself, just off the top of your head.

I will not be making those arguments in the Court of Appeal. I will simply be putting forward reasons why I should be allowed to do so.

And I don’t need to do anything at all until Riley lodges what’s called a “respondent’s notice” and her skeleton argument against me.

All underlying proceedings are suspended while the appeal process takes place and while the court order does not mention it, the High Court costs order must also be suspended as it will be subject to alteration if I win the appeal.

And I can win the appeal.

And I can then go on to win the case.

Sadly, it will cost more money to get that far but – joyfully, if I win – Riley will have to pay it all back.

Therefore I repeat my request for funds. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the 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 CrowdJustice site.

I don’t know how long we have to wait for the court to hear my appeal. This means I don’t know how soon I will need to provide payment for it.

But I will keep you informed, as ever, of all new developments.

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Windfall tax on pandemic profits should wipe out Covid-19 related debt says McDonnell

John McDonnell: he would have revolutionised the UK’s economy. Instead, the Tories have saddled one-tenth of the population with debt so great that they cannot pay their regular bills.

A former Shadow Chancellor has proposed a radical set of plans to clear the debt created by the Tory government’s cack-handed handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

John McDonnell pointed out that the richest firms in the UK have profited hand-over-fist during the crisis, and should pay a windfall tax to help pay for the measures to end it – which would ultimately help them, of course.

His proposals were not an attack on businesses, though – they were a criticism of a speech by current Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose best idea was to get members of the public to give all the money they have managed to save during the crisis to a new investment bank – meaning the nation’s poorest would foot the bill (again). What a socialist Starmer is!

In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than six million people have fallen behind on their bills because of Covid-related hardship, and the number in severe, problem debt has doubled to 1.2 million.

They don’t have any spare cash for castle-in-the-air investment banks!

McDonnell said a comprehensive package of debt cancellation was needed to get the UK back on its feet, including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt – all to be supported by a windfall tax on businesses that have raked in billions of pounds over the last year.

He called for the creation of a ‘Debt Charter’ to tackle the causes and consequences of debt in UK society.

Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said.

He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to “rebalance power between lenders and the indebted”.

And he said bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

This is the kind of thinking we need at this time.

We could have had it, too – if only millions of people had not been hoodwinked by anti-Labour propaganda at the 2019 general election, including a Tory campaign that was found to be more than 80 per cent lies.

So if you find yourself struggling with debt for years to come, while the Tories, their client media and their business-oriented doners tell you you’ve never had it so good, just remember that you could have had it better.

And remind everybody you know not to be fooled again.

Source: Impose windfall tax on pandemic profits to wipe debt slate clean, says McDonnell | The Independent

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Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown ignores the science YET AGAIN and the death toll could be huge

Mess: Johnson’s plan to ease lockdown is as muddled as his hair. Even with 80 per cent vaccine efficacy, half the population will still be vulnerable to infection.

Scientists have warned that Boris Johnson’s plan to end lockdown restrictions will cause a huge increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations – even in the most optimistic scenarios.

So much for “following the science”, eh?

It seems that

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) [said] tens of thousands more people can be expected to die from Covid because vaccines will not provide complete protection against the disease, and not everyone will have the jabs.

All scenarios led to a resurgence of cases because so many vulnerable people remained unprotected, even with high vaccine coverage.

Johnson’s plan is a bespoke model that does not correspond with any of the SAGE scenarios – but its closest equivalent, scenario three, predicts a resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK around September.

At yesterday’s press briefing on the government’s plans, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who is said to have shares in a pharmaceutical company that was working on a vaccine, warned that even with 80 per cent efficacy, half the population would still be at risk from the disease.

He said a cautious step-by-step process, with pauses of four or five weeks between each to monitor the impact, was the right way to go.

It seems strange, then, that the Johnson plan will reopen all English schools on March 8.

Scientific modellers predict that this will drive the infection rate up by between 10 and 50 per cent – negating the reductions of the current lockdown and vaccinations.

They said a limited reopening, possibly starting with primary schools, was a far better option and would allow scientists to assess the impact on infections within the community.

Johnson has ignored this good advice and intends to steamroll his easements through – as he did last year.

We all know how that turned out. Why are you letting him do it to you again?

Source: Demand from Tory MPs to scrap Covid rules ‘could bring huge death toll’ | Politics | The Guardian

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£2.7m TV studio shows Johnson hasn’t only been wasting cash on Covid-19

Press briefing: Johnson spent millions of pounds of your money on a TV studio he hasn’t used once, despite an apparently endless succession of press briefings and ministerial broadcasts.

Sometimes the news is focused so heavily on the Coronavirus that it’s easy to forget that Boris Johnson’s government is incompetent in every other way, too.

Case in point: he spent £2.7 million on a television studio that has never been used.

Worse, there are doubts that it ever will be, as attitudes have changed since your money was used to pay for it.

I’d say the money could have been spent on personal protective equipment but I am reminded that Johnson’s government has spent £15 billion on PPE – and then lost the lot.

This is incompetence on a historic scale.

The TV studio was part of Johnson’s infatuation with the presidential system in the United States:

The room is believed to have been modelled on the press room in the West Wing at the White House in Washington.

It was intended to be used for on-camera briefings from press secretaries and ministers.

The plans for the briefings had to be delayed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions preventing journalists from gathering.

But with the plans on hold, it isn’t clear when they may be back on the table.

They may never be revived. This studio – worth a fortune – may remain unused for years to come, until somebody remembers it and finds a better use for the space.

In the meantime it stands as a metaphor for the contents of our prime minister’s skull:

Dark and empty.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘spent £2,700,000 on a TV studio which hasn’t been used’ | Metro News

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Starmer’s attitude to schools reminds us his only purpose is to block opposition to the Tories

Suck up: Johnson can keep smiling because he’s got little blue boy Keir Starmer backing him from the Labour Parliamentary benches.

Many may consider that Keir Starmer is a traitor to the people of the UK after his latest display of support for the government he is supposed to oppose.

Starmer has stated – publicly, for all to hear – that he supports Boris Johnson’s decision to reopen all English schools and damn the science.

That means he has set himself against the education-based organisations that have called for a phased reopening of schools – and only if it is supported by scientific evidence.

He thinks he knows better than the experts.

He said he did not support mooted industrial action over safety concerns, after nine teaching unions warned it would be “reckless” to open schools at all once on 8 March.

Sir Keir expressed concerns that children were falling behind, having previously urged the government to open schools as quickly as possible.

Asked whether teachers could be drafted in during the summer to help children catch up, he said: “That may be possible.

“Again, schools staff have been working around the clock. Remember, this time last year they were preparing to work through the Easter break and they’ll probably end up doing that again.

“So they do need a break. There needs to be a long-term plan to catch-up because the attainment gap has got bigger over this pandemic – it was bad enough before it.

“We need a long-term plan for catch-up, but we do need to give credit to teachers and school staff. We need to think of how we do catch-up and close the attainment gap.”

Will Starmer be paying school staff for the extra hours they’ll be asked to work? Will he be compensating them for the holiday time they will lose?

Just because schools haven’t been open, that doesn’t mean staff have not been working, remember!

And his determination to ignore warnings by scientists puts him on the same level as Michael Gove, who famously extolled the virtues of ignorance in the run-up to Brexit (and now we can all see how that is turning out).

Starmer is not a Labour politician in any meaningful way.

He is an infiltrator in the Labour Party, along with all those who support him (including paid staff; some of us knew that from the backstabbing that happened during the so-called “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt when Jeremy Corbyn was leader).

His purpose seems clear: to prevent Her Majesty’s Opposition from being run by anybody who might ever oppose the Tories.

And he is succeeding.

Who could possibly support a Labour Party that does nothing but suck up to the worst prime minister, and the worst government, the UK has ever had.

Source: Keir Starmer opposes strike action by teachers and says they may have to work during holidays | The Independent

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Minister for VACCINES in cock-up over vaccination dates while trying to justify reopening schools

Nadhim Zahawi: waving the flag and fuddling the dates.

Should we give Nadhim Zahawi the benefit of the doubt for this faux-pas? No!

If it was an honest mistake, we should remind ourselves that Diane Abbott was given no quarter for making one, even after it was revealed that she had been trying to cope with an illness at the time.

You can still see right-wing commenters on the social media referring to it at periodic intervals, and congratulating themselves on their (small) wit for doing it.

Zahawi appears to have no such excuse for this:

He quite clearly does assert that the Conservative government has calculated that it should be safe to open schools on March 8 because that is three weeks after mid-April, when everybody aged over 50 is expected to have been vaccinated.

Firstly, it is entirely arbitrary to use the vaccination of the over-50s as a trigger for the reopening of schools. Why not over-40s? Over-30s? Or indeed, over-20s? All are just as likely to be affected.

Secondly – and I come to this last because it’s a biggie! – March 8 is not three weeks after mid-April. That would be May 8. March 8 is around five weeks before mid-April.

So by his own calculations, the minister for Covid-19 vaccination is telling is that his government is planning to reopen schools an entire two months prematurely.

I look forward to hearing his justification for the deaths that will be triggered by this wrong-headed decision to open all schools, too early, rather than experiment with a phased reopening, increasing as evidence recommends – as the other countries of the UK are doing.

Although, no doubt, it will be equally incomprehensible.

Boris Johnson may have an opportunity to correct this cock-up when he officially announces his “roadmap out of lockdown” later today (if that is still going ahead).

That’s if our complicit Tory media remember they have a responsibility to grill him about it.

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Johnson releases advance details of ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. He’ll kill thousands more

Boris Johnson: if he tries to tell you he’s following the science by reopening all English schools at once on March 8, this is the message you need to remember.

Boris Johnson has released details of his four-test “roadmap” out of lockdown – via the media, as has become his usual cowardly method.

It is now clear that Johnson will continue habitually to release details of any plans that may be controversial through his media cronies, to provide him with advance warning if any parts of them prove unpopular.

He is a coward – as bad in his way as Keir ‘focus group’ Starmer.

Here are some details:

The “rule of six” is expected to be reintroduced for outdoor gatherings from March 29. Outdoor sports facilities are expected to be allowed to open that day, and organised outdoor sport will be permitted to return.

In April, it is hoped that domestic self-catering holidays will be allowed and that gyms, hairdressers, and non-essential shops will be able to open.

Mr Johnson’s “roadmap” will include four tests which must all be met before the next step can go ahead. They are:

  • That the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • That evidence shows jabs are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • That infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which puts unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • That the Government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern

The plan will be rolled out across the country at the same time with no return to regional tiers.

But I want to focus on the very first element in Johnson’s ‘re-opening’ plan:

Initially it is understood England’s schools will all be re-opened on March 8.

It seems Johnson is not only ignoring the science in his determination to do this, but also defying nine education organisations: the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), GMB, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), NASUWT, National Education Union (NEU), National Governance Association (NGA), Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA), Unison, and Unite.

In a joint statement, they said:

The science around the role that schools play in the overall rate of transmission is uncertain. Scientists have expressed different views on this point. What we do know is that the full reopening of schools will bring nearly 10 million pupils and staff into circulation in England – close to one fifth of the population. This is not a small easing of lockdown restrictions. It is a massive step.

These factors necessitate a cautious approach with wider school and college opening phased over a period of time. This is the approach being taken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It allows public health experts to assess the impact of the first phase before moving to the next.

We are increasingly concerned that … to order a full return of all pupils on Monday 8 March in England … would seem a reckless course of action.

It could trigger another spike in Covid infections, prolong the disruption of education, and risk throwing away the hard-won progress made in suppressing the virus over the course of the latest lockdown.

We therefore urge the Prime Minister to commit to 8 March only if the scientific evidence is absolutely clear that this is safe, and at that point go no further than a phased return of children and young people with sufficient time to assess the impact before moving to the next phase.

We see in Johnson’s plans no indication that his decision to reopen all English schools on March 8 has any basis in science.

His demand that there will be no phased return but all school pupils will go back at once is a slap in the face for the professionals who wanted a phased return – and sheer ignorance when compared with the policies of other UK countries.

It seems clear that this weakest of UK prime ministers has caved in to pressure from his backbenchers and big business.

He may get away with it, if the vaccination programme has reached enough people by March 8 and proves as effective as some claims state after the first jab.

But I fear that he is provoking yet another spike in infections and will cause thousands more deaths.

And even if it does happen, he’ll get away with it.

He may be the weakest prime minister the UK has ever had, but he’s still above the law that oppresses you and me.

Source: Boris Johnson’s four-test ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown including ‘new rule of six’ – Mirror Online

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Hancock won’t resign over unlawful Covid contracts – and why should he when Starmer supports him?

With friends like these: Matt Hancock has refused to resign for breaking the law – and Tory-in-Labour-clothing Keir Starmer has supported him. So much for democracy. So much for justice.

Matt Hancock has refused to resign after the High Court said he had breached a legal obligation to publish details of Covid-19-related contracts with private firms. He said he had been doing what was needed in order to save lives.

That, of course, has yet to be seen – and we shouldn’t have to wait too long.

The court’s decision means details of Hancock’s hidden contracts must be publicised at last. We will be able to judge whether he spent billions of pounds of public money on measures that have actually saved lives…

… Or simply funnelled cash into the pockets of Tory cronies and chums who then failed to do anything useful with it at all.

Sadly, Hancock is under no political pressure whatsoever to resign after Keir Starmer, a so-called “Blue Labour” turncoat who pretends to lead Her Majesty’s Opposition but instead acts more like a cheerleader for the Conservative government, spoke in support of him instead:

What a betrayal – well, you can tell how This Writer feels about it from my own response:

All Labour – as a party – has done is urge Hancock to publish details of contracts that remain secret at the time of writing, which is no more than the High Court ordered.

And Labour said he should stop using emergency procurement powers in order to put a stop to cronyism. He should have stopped months ago; procurement of Covid-related equipment and services was an emergency matter in February 2020 but by now it should be subject to the proper tendering process – the emergency should be over.

Some Labour MPs have demonstrated that they have more backbone than the party’s fake of a leader, though:

It is hard to tell what is most disappointing about the way this story is developing.

If the UK’s government was functioning properly, then Hancock should have been out of a job within minutes of the High Court’s decision becoming public.

But government hasn’t functioned properly in this way since the 1980s, if I recall correctly.

The news media failed to grip the story properly; it is only because the social media publicised it that they felt pressured into mentioning it at all.

And the inaction of the Labour leader has been nothing short of contemptible.

Source: Matt Hancock refuses to resign over failure to publish details of Covid contracts – Mirror Online

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Is this a real bus stop poster? And will we see it nationally?

If it is, it’s exactly the kick up the backside that the people of the UK need.

Admittedly, it uses an expletive for which I would prefer to see a less offensive word substituted; many people are put off by such language.

But it does confront us with the big failure of Boris Johnson’s tenure at 10 Downing Street: his decision to make it easy for people in the UK to catch Covid-19 (and it was a conscious decision, let’s not forget) has cost at least 120,000 lives.

I don’t know the prognosis for Lorna – the woman in the image – but the mere fact that Covid-19 has been allowed to infect her has clearly caused her huge discomfort (as it does to anybody who has it).

And the long-term effects – known as “long Covid” can be life-altering.

Millions of people are likely to be affected by the disease in the long term, and the blame for this can be attributed entirely to Johnson and his government of imbeciles.

And they would not have been allowed to inflict it on us if they had not been voted back in as the government in December 2019.

So this poster makes a good point, wouldn’t you agree?

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