Tag Archives: blunder

BBC geography fail puts Bristol and Birmingham in Wales. And if you think THAT’s bad…

What were they thinking: how embarrassing for Mishal Husein.

This is the funniest howler I’ve seen today.

A BBC news bulletin providing details of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England suffered what I can only describe as a massive geographical cock-up.

I don’t really need to describe the nature of the error because it’s right there on the image at the top of this article.

Further illumination is provided by the following tweets:

(These two actually go together very well.)

Of course, in recent years the BBC has become desperate to entertain all points of view – in politics, at least.

So the corporation has insisted on broadcasting statements that were not true, saying the intention was to provide a “balanced” story.

This leads me to ask:

Does the map in the image represent someone’s genuine belief about the locations of these places – and BBC News broadcast it in the name of balance?

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Another rotten week under the Tories. Let’s make fun of them

Tory UK, 2020: life is hard, and likely to get worse as the Tory jackboot grinds Covid-19 into our faces while claiming to be doing the exact opposite.

These creeps demand our absolute obedience or they will bring in the armed forces to crush us.

So let’s have a laugh at their expense, eh?

On Monday, @RussinCheshire tweeted his #TheWeekInTory, which is always a good read:

On Monday, Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser, appeared on TV to explain why Covid-19 is running rampant through the UK despite everything we’ve been told to do to stop it. No member of the Johnson government was there…

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson announced his new Covid-19 related restrictions, which won’t actually halt the spread of the virus but at least make it seem he’s doing something, if you’re a brain-dead Tory sycophant.

Many of us aren’t. The image at the top is on response. Here are a few more:

Alternatively…

Wednesday was the day of Kexit – when it was announced that the UK would have an internal border after all – between the rest of us and Kent:

 

The UK’s new border: and the Tories can’t say it’s being imposed on us by anybody but them.

The end of the week got a bit serious, with the launch of the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app that doesn’t like NHS Covid-19 tests and won’t do any contact tracing.

Then again, after telling us he hadn’t been to Italy – and telling the nation we all have to batten down the hatches and put up with another six months (at least) of Covid misery – now with added job losses and poverty – we find that Boris Johnson’s significant other, Carrie Symonds, was photographed on holibobs in Italy after all. All right for some, eh?

Makes you wonder about BoJob’s Russian connections who live there, doesn’t it?

If you have any more fun stuff from the week, feel free to send it via the comments.

We need all the smiles we can get.

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Nazanin to go back before Iranian court to face new charges – linked to Johnson’s blunder

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman has become a pawn in an international power struggle.


Just when it seemed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Iranian prison ordeal was coming to an end, she’s being dragged back into court.

And that country’s officials have taken great pleasure in letting us know that her plight is due to blundering Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime muppet.

Johnson was the idiot who blurted out in Parliament – in 2017, when he was Foreign Secretary – that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “training journalists”.

She had been doing nothing of the kind.

A project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she had been doing nothing more sinister than visiting her family for the Persian New Year celebration when she was arrested in 2016.

But the Iranian authorities seized on Johnson’s idiotic remark and threatened to use it to add five more years to her five-year prison sentence.

Now – three years after Johnson misspoke, it seems they have decided to follow through on the threat:

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife will appear in court on Sunday accused of “spreading propaganda against the regime” in Iran.

Apparently that’s how they describe the teaching of journalism – which she wasn’t doing in any event.

Of course we all know that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment has more to do with the £400 million that the UK government owes to Iran.

It could not be paid before because of international sanctions – but when Boris Johnson’s career was in danger, it seems such concerns evaporated.

How contrary, then, for us to find that the money has not been paid, apparently because Johnson doesn’t want to upset Donald Trump.

Johnson, it seems, wanted to wait until after the US presidential election on November 3 because he wanted to know whether Trump would still be US president before taking action.

So the Iranian decision to go back to court now has put him in a particularly sticky situation.

Will he pay up and get Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe back?

Or will he delay, to stay on the right side of Donald Trump?

I think we all know the answer to that. Johnson is the runt of international politics.

When powerful people squabble, it is always the innocents who suffer.

Source: New Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe charges linked to Boris Johnson’s infamous gaffe – Mirror Online

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Tory stupidity over Covid-19 is monumental – and increasing all the time. Would you like some examples?

Facepalm: Boris Johnson realising the enormity of the many mistakes his government has made?

I’ve been compiling a little file. It’s marked “Tory Covid-19 stupidity”. When I say it’s little, I mean it is huge – and getting bigger all the time.

Would you like to read some of the examples I’ve found over the last week or so?

Let’s have a look:

Possibly the stupidest idea the Tories had was to remove England’s chief nurse, Ruth May, from Downing Street press conferences after she refused to support government advisor Dominic Cummings. The incident happened on June 1, two days after England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam sparked headlines by saying that lockdown rules “apply to all” when asked about Mr Cummings.

Van Tam has not appeared at press conferences since May 30, and on June 1 Ms May was removed from the line-up and Health Secretary Matt Hancock had to present the slides on the progress of Covid-19 himself, to the best of his limited ability.

It has since been revealed that everybody appearing on the briefings is now required to support the government’s position: “First it was Dominic Cummings, then easing lockdown and now the R-rate and the two-metre rule.”

“Asked to comment, No 10 said it strongly denied the claims that Ms May had been dropped over her views on Mr Cummings and added that health and scientific advisers would continue to take questions in the briefings.” That was on June 13.

The decision to remove Ms May raised questions that the Tory government is not “following the science”, as ministers have been claiming for months, unless “the science” agrees with their own narrative.

As Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Munira Wilson wrote to Hancock on Sunday, “By silencing [the experts], the government is not only denying the public the opportunity to hear from them, but also threatening the confidence the public has in the government’s approach to lifting lockdown, and more broadly in how and when government is using and sharing expert advice.”

To increase the embarrassment, Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted that the government could overrule experts like Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty on relaxing social distancing rules – disproving its own claim to be “following the science”.

But Downing Street strongly denied claims that Ms May had been dropped over her views on Cummings, and added that health and scientific advisers would continue to take questions in the briefings.

The trouble is, by that time the damage had been done and the credibility of Boris Johnson’s government had been dealt another crippling blow – by its own hand.

Next:

“The Government quietly relaxed strict controls to stop the spread of coronavirus in hospitals at the height of the crisis,” according to the Daily Telegraph.

“Hospitals were instructed to avoid using temporary staff to lower risk of spreading the virus.” The article goes on to state that this decree was soon reversed – indicating that it was a mistake that produced bad results.

The Torygraph seems highly critical of the Johnson government’s attitude altogether, in fact. This op-ed piece takes no prisoners: “Having been widely, and rightly, condemned for a slow and inadequate response to the pandemic, ministers are doubly shy of lifting the restrictions for fear of acting prematurely, getting it wrong again, and incubating a second wave.

“They have some reason to worry. The rate of new infections still seems relatively high compared to much of the rest of Europe, while the shambles of the UK’s “test, trace and isolate” initiative gives little confidence that social distancing measures can be safely abandoned without more deaths.

“We seem to have ended up with the worst of all worlds – the highest per capita death rate of any major economy, the most extreme form of continuing lockdown, and according to the latest OECD assessment, the biggest economic hit.”

Next:

It seems that, in addition to all the organisations tasked with handling a pandemic that were scrapped by previous Tory prime ministers, Boris Johnson closed the last one himself six months before Covid-19 arrived.

The Mail reports this one: “Boris Johnson scrapped a team of Cabinet ministers tasked with protecting the UK from a pandemic six months before coronavirus arrived, a Mail investigation has found.

“The group, officially known as the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingency Committee (THRCC), was supposed to ensure the UK was ready to cope with a pandemic.

“It was mothballed by former prime minister Theresa May on the advice of Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill so ministers and officials could focus on Brexit [and] abolished by Mr Johnson days after he entered No10 last July as part of a vow to streamline Whitehall.”

Shades of David Cameron’s “war on red tape”!

Only a few years before, medical experts had believed a strain of SARS to be the next pandemic – but it had fizzled out. It might have been possible to justify scrapping pandemic response precautions on grounds that modern medical methods made them unnecessary in the light of this – but that wasn’t the reason and this represents a major blunder.

Next:

Oh, dear, Johnson and his cronies just can’t seem to stop being racist!

“The British Medical Association has demanded an explanation from the government following reports that pages containing recommendations to protect black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities were removed from last week’s Covid-19 disparity report,” reported The Guardian.

“Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE, the BMA council chair, noted his concern over reports that 69 pages covering seven recommendations were removed from last week’s Public Health England’s report.

“The review was widely criticised for failing to investigate possible reasons for the disparities or make recommendations on how to address them.”

Perhaps government flunkies found it hard to include the words “persistent government racism” in their report?

The recommendations appear to have been published now. In a letter to the Equalities Minister, Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie wrote: “The clear message from stakeholders was the requirement for tangible actions, provided at scale and pace, with a commitment to address the underlying factors of inequality.”

And the seven recommendations were (translated from PHE technobabble):

1. Collect and record ethnicity data during NHS treatment, and ensure that it is available to help health teams reduce the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities.

2. Research the social, cultural, structural, economic, religious, and commercial factors that affect the appearance of Covid-19 in BAME communities, and develop easy-to-implement programmes to reduce risk and improve health.

3. Improve access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and Integrated Care Systems commissioned services by BAME communities. This to be achieved via regular equity audits; use of Health Impact Assessments; integration of equality into quality systems; good representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff at all levels; sustained workforce development and employment practices; ad trust-building dialogue with service users.

4. Develop risk assessment tools to reduce the risk of exposure to and infection with Covid-19, especially for key workers working with a large cross section of the general public or in contact with those infected with Covid-19.

5. Fund, develop and implement Covid-19 education and prevention campaigns, in partnership with BAME and faith communities; rebuild trust with and uptake of routine clinical services; reinforce messages on early identification, testing and diagnosis; and prepare communities to take full advantage of contact tracing, antibody testing and vaccine availability.

6. Accelerate efforts to target health promotion and disease prevention programmes for non-communicable diseases promoting healthy weight, physical activity, smoking cessation, mental well-being and effective management of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

7. Ensure that Covid-19 recovery plans actively reduce inequalities caused by the wider factors that affect health, to create long term, sustainable change. Fully funded, sustained and meaningful approaches to tackling ethnic inequalities must be prioritised.

There they are. Now we must all monitor what happens – or else the government is likely to simply shelve the letter and do nothing (as we have seen so many times before).

Given the enormity of these blunders, is it any surprise that the government is facing litigation over its failures so far?

Matt Hancock is likely to be dragged into court over the government’s insistence on slapping vulnerable patients with “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders.

This has been going on at least since lockdown was ordered and This Site has reported on it often. The government and various health organisations have announced that the demand for these orders to be imposed on patients en masse, rather than discussed with them individually as required by law, has been withdrawn – but we have found that this is not the case.

Kate Masters, writing in The Independent, stated: “There appears to have been a national directive for doctors to put emergency plans in place for people at risk of becoming very unwell if they catch Covid-19, even without them being able to engage in the process. Just a few simple pieces of information would help patients and medics. These include the facts about DNACPR, including that they can be made without your involvement if you don’t want to discuss the matter, and that full information must be provided as to why this decision has been made on your behalf.

“Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has refused my request to provide this information on the NHS website… Instead, he has said the information currently available is sufficient. In fact, the information … is confusing about DNACPR and gives a misleading impression. It says “you can change your mind and your DNACPR status at any time”. This is just not right. Except in the special circumstances where a patient makes an advance decision to refuse treatment, DNACPR status is not something a patient always chooses, but is often a decision made by the treating team after consultation with the patient and, where appropriate, relevant family members.

“The legal requirement to consult gives the patient or family the opportunity to seek a second opinion if they are concerned about the decision or think it is premature or inappropriate.

“I am prepared to go as far as I need to ensure people are given access to this information about their rights. That’s why I’m now planning to take Hancock to court over the matter. I am raising funds to pursue the case using crowdfunding, and encourage you to add your support.”

Meanwhile, families whose loved ones have died of Covid-19 are demanding an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the crisis, with 500 relatives of people who have died during the pandemic launching the Covid-19 Bereaved Families’ campaign.

And healthcare staff are also demanding a public inquiry – into the deaths of hundreds of their colleagues and failings of PPE (personal protective equipment).

The Doctors’ Association (DAUK), supported by the Good Law Project and charity Hourglass, is calling for a judicial review into the decision by the government not to hold a public inquiry into the planning, procurement, and provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff.

Nursing Notes tells us: “With healthcare being left “wearing visors made by teenagers on 3D printers” and “care workers being told to share the same mask”, the group has raised concerns that the inadequacy of PPE may have contributed wholly or in part to the tragic deaths of health and social care workers.

“At least 245 health and social care workers are known to have died from COVID-19 – with some figures suggesting … dramatically more.

“Despite a petition receiving over 120,000 signatures supporting a public inquiry, there has been no formal response from the government.”

Let us hope that all these groups and individuals get to have their day in court – before Johnson succeeds in his plan to stifle judges’ ability to force his government to abide by the law.

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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Would the Tories rather look stupid than quote facts showing they’re wrong?

This is her “I’ve been caught out again” face [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images.]

Newsnight presenter Evan Davis put up an interesting tweet yesterday.

In it, he said his researcher was leaving for a proper job – and the first thing This Writer thought was, “Perhaps they’ve gone to be a researcher for Theresa May.”

That’s not because of the lamentable political collusion between the nation’s broadcaster and the Conservative Party (for a change).

It’s because I was thinking the Tories badly need to do their homework – on any current political issue.

Look at their recent history of goofs, gaffes and howlers.

Both Theresa May and Sajid Javid have claimed Tory policies have reduced homelessness – in fact, the Tories have made the problem worse.

The Tories claimed £45 million of new investment would improve child literacy – forgetting that they were responsible for worsening it, having cut funding by £2.7 billion.

Mrs May has refused to accept that the NHS is facing a crisis this winter, saying it was better prepared than ever. In fact, funding cuts have left patients waiting hours for ambulances – some dying during the wait, ambulances queuing at hospitals because A&E departments are overloaded – with nurses treating some people inside the vehicles, patients asked to lie on hospital floors (or sit in chairs, as one Tory minister suggested in moment of sociopathic arrogance) as hospitals suffer total bed occupancy.

In response to the issue of bed occupancy, Mrs May claimed the delayed discharges (that contribute hugely to the problem) were falling. In fact, they are on the rise.

Toby Young was appointed to the university regulator the Office for Students – sparking outrage over tens of thousands of misogynistic tweets and other outrageous behaviour.

Mrs May appointed to her Cabinet, or retained in it, MPs who are hugely inappropriate for their jobs, including Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, David Lidington, James Cleverly, Ben Bradley, David Gauke, Alun Cairns, Maria Caulfield, Brandon Lewis and – worst of all – Esther McVey, who deserved an article all to herself on This Site because the list of her abominations is so long.

Mrs May broke the Ministerial Code, using government property for party political promotional purposes.

She even gave Jeremy Corbyn an easy win in Prime Minister’s Questions, when she passed comment on Angela Rayner’s absence, only to be told the shadow Education Secretary was away receiving medical treatment – a huge own-goal when healthcare is the subject of heated debate.

All of these blunders could have been avoided, if the Tories had bothered to do their homework (although it is possible she may have had a hard time with the Cabinet appointments, as it may be hard to find any Conservative MP who does not have at least one black mark against their name).

But then another thought occurred to me:

Perhaps it is easier for the Tories to say the wrong thing and be ridiculed after the event, than to have the facts at their fingertips and have to admit they are wrong in their facts or (worse) their policies.


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