Tag Archives: crisis

In the biggest crisis of our time, why has the government’s emergency committee not met since MAY?

Rampant: Covid-19 is multiplying rapidly across the UK, infecting thousand more people every day – and Boris Johnson hasn’t convened his emergency committee to deal with it since May 10.

Is this the reason all the Johnson government’s attempts to handle Covid-19 have fallen apart?

The committee convened by the prime minister to tackle emergencies facing the UK – known as COBRA after its location (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) – has not met since May 10.

That shocking fact was revealed, not by Boris Johnson, but by London Mayor Sadiq Khan during a phone-in on James O’Brien’s LBC radio talk show.

He said it seemed the Tories in the government don’t like to be challenged:

“The government doesn’t like having their policies and their ideas challenged, as often happened at Cobra,” he said.

The caller – Alex – had suggested that the army could help with Covid testing and treatment. Mr Khan said: “You’re right to remind us that the army in the past has come through and saved the bacon of successive governments.

“You remember the Olympics of 2012? Security was a shambles. The army stepped in and sorted out security in the Olympics.

“You remember early on during this pandemic, real problems with the personal protective equipment… The army stepped in and gave us a huge help.

“And you remember the Nightingale hospitals; the army played a huge role in co-ordination.

“I will pass this on – not through Cobra because there is no Cobra.”

There is no Cobra.

Listeners reacted with horror:

… and with humour:

Khan also mentioned test and trace boss Dido Harding being surprised that an increase in tests was being demanded this month (September): “I’m surprised at her surprise, because it was perfectly predictable – not only because the WHO said six months ago it was important, but back in March… the government stopped community testing… because they hadn’t got enough tests, and that led to the increase in community transmission.

“My worry is that they’ve not learned the lessons of the first six months of this virus.”

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Is this Boris Johnson’s latest plan to kill the NHS – make doctors so sick of it that they quit?

At breaking point: doctors are planning to quit the NHS en masse – just as we need them the most – because of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their daft Tory mismanagement.

A survey of NHS doctors has shown two-thirds want to quit within three years due to Covid-19 burnout and low pay. Is this what Boris Johnson wants?

He would be able to speed privatisation, claiming that the NHS has failed due to lack of staff – while (obviously) neglecting to admit that this is due to his own underfunding of the service.

However: it seems this is the worst possible time for it to happen as Johnson’s daft-headed response to the Covid crisis appears to have triggered a massive increase in infections.

The UK has recorded a massive rise in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus, amid concerns the government has lost control of the epidemic just as people are returning to work and universities prepare to reopen.

On Sunday almost 3,000 people in the UK tested positive for Covid-19, a 50% increase in a single day and the highest daily total since May.

That’s a massive increase – and it’s only likely to get worse.

In fact, with Johnson still in charge – and Matt Hancock still Health Secretary – it seems certain the UK is heading for a disaster of titanic proportions.

Source: More than 1,000 UK doctors want to quit NHS over handling of pandemic | Society | The Guardian

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Johnson in leadership crisis over ‘back to work’ demand*

UPDATE – 4.30pm, August 29: Furious Tory backbenchers are demanding an explanation from Boris Johnson after an opinion poll showed he has squandered his thumping great lead over the Labour Party.

Charles Walker, vice-chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said his colleagues were concerned that a series of u-turns over Covid-19 had undermined the party’s credibility to govern. This Site has already reported that this has been attributed to a desire not to be outflanked by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

The fiasco over ‘A’ level exams and GCSEs, together with policy reversals – most recently on the wearing of face masks in schools – have created unrest that Walker said he will have to report to Johnson when MPs return to Parliament on Tuesday (those who do – many are likely to stay away due to social distancing).

Of course the poll lead the Tories enjoyed at the end of March, when with the help of misleading news media they were widely held to be handling Covid-19 well – and Labour was awaiting the announcement of its new leader, should not have been taken as an indication of the kind of lead the Tories could hope to maintain.

But new Labour leader Keir Starmer has failed to make a good impression on the general public with a series of questionable decisions, so the outlier Opinium poll showing his party neck-and-neck with the Tories is a major wake-up call for Johnson and his cronies.

The drama is related to the revelation that Boris Johnson could be facing a challenge to his continuation as prime minister – over his demand that we should all stop working from home and risk Covid-19 infection by going back to work.

It’s an odd demand to make as we come to a time of year when coronavirus infections normally increase – and indeed we are seeing a rise in the Covid-19 infection rate.

Doubly so, considering the fact that a majority of both employees and employers seem to be opposed to it.

iNews has reported that a month after Johnson ditched his advice that people should work from home in favour of them returning to the workplace, his demand has fallen on deaf ears. Town centres remain empty.

Ministers are trying to explain away the sluggish response by pointing to the fact that August is the height of the holiday season (even though, with Covid restrictions, there’s practically nowhere to go).

But there appears to be a growing wave of opinion that Johnson has failed to inspire the nation and should be replaced.

(To be continued…)

* This story is ongoing and will be updated as new developments come to This Site.

Source: Ministers may be wasting their breath with calls for people to go back to work

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Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

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Haters gotta hate – and they’re hating Miriam Margolyes for her honesty about Boris Johnson

Miriam Margolyes: her point about Boris Johnson was perfectly reasonable.

What a lot of hate toward a national treasure.

Miriam Margolyes – whose performances in Blackadder alone mark her out as a national treasure – appeared on Channel 4’s The Last Leg (May 8), where she admitted that when it was revealed that Boris Johnson had caught the coronavirus, she had a moment of weakness when she wanted him to die.

The point she was making was that it is wrong to feel like that about anybody – even somebody who, like Johnson, has made the coronavirus crisis into a human disaster that has killed thousands more people than it ever should have.

It’s perfectly reasonable to say that.

Laura, below, got it right – and she provides the clip for the benefit of those of us who missed the show:

But haters have to hate – unreasonably, it seems, as Johnson’s fellow Tory MP Nadine Dorries demonstrated with a spectacular misfire that drew the following withering response.

Some of the haters have selectively quoted Ms Margolyes, taking her out of context. It hasn’t helped their cause:

Last word (of those that I grabbed from the “top tweets” on Twitter) goes to this guy, who has exactly the right idea:

The slapdown won’t stop the haters from hating – and that’s just as well.

It means we know who they are, and what to think of them.

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Tories refuse to help Universal Credit claimants left dangling due to coronavirus

Thousands upon thousands of formerly-working people are learning the realities of the UK benefit system, after being told by the Tories to wait months before their first benefit payment.

If they hoped the Tories would speed up the four-week assessment period for Universal Credit – because of the coronavirus crisis and the cash crisis it has created for millions – they thought wrong.

And they need to remember that they won’t get paid until a week after the assessment period ends; it’s a five-week total wait.

The Tories could make the wait shorter – but they won’t.

The usual excuse is that UC is supposed to mimic the salary system in which people get paid once a month (except of course we know that many people are paid weekly, or fortnightly).

The current excuse, sported by UC director general Neil Couling is “If you play about with the architecture of Universal Credit you won’t be able to pay the vast millions we have to pay every month.”

Nonsense.

It’s an automatic system. If you qualify, you qualify – and it can pay you straight away.

It doesn’t, because the Tory system is to make you wait; to push you far enough to take out an advance loan that will take months to pay off; to push you into permanent debt.

It seems the coronavirus is a perfect opportunity to get 1.4 million people (at current count) servicing a needless debt for months to come.

Hopes new Universal Credit payments could be made faster have been dashed after the Government said the four-week assessment period was ‘integral’ to the benefits system.

Many campaign groups had been hoping for an accelerated process to help alleviate the pressure families found themselves under after the coronavirus outbreak forced businesses to close and people to stay at home as part of the lockdown.

Speaking at a press briefing, Universal Credit director general Neil Couling said: ‘If you play about with the architecture of Universal Credit you won’t be able to pay the vast millions we have to pay every month.’

Source: ‘No chance’ wait for Universal Credit payments can be shortened | Metro News

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Priti vacant: Patel does a runner from her responsibilities in coronavirus crisis

Doing a runner: Priti Patel is dodging her job again.

The Home Secretary is nowhere to be found, in the middle of a contagion crisis that requires a strong response from the minister for law and order.

The last anyone has heard of Priti Patel is that she has refused to appear before the Commons Home Affairs committee to brief MPs on her ministry’s response to the coronavirus outbreak – no less than four times.

According to the BBC, it seems she has an “acrimonious” relationship with the committee’s chairperson, Labour’s Yvette Cooper.

This should be no surprise. After her Permanent Secretary – the top civil servant in the Home Office – quit saying he would be taking legal action against her for constructive dismissal, it seems hard to believe she can have a harmonious relationship with anyone. Well, anyone normal.

The previous time we heard of her, she had tried to claim credit for giving police “extra powers” for the duration of the lockdown – only to be corrected immediately; the powers existed under a 1980s health-related Act of Parliament and were triggered by Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.

So she’s flunking another top job. Some may find this unsurprising after her misbehaviour as International Development Secretary, when she tried to run her own foreign policy, holding meetings with Israeli leaders while supposedly on holiday – and was told to resign the instant she arrived home.

And isn’t it ironic that one of the authors of the infamous Britannia Unchained, a book in which she stated that workers in the UK were among the “worst idlers in the world”, can’t seem to do a decent day’s work herself.

Still, she’s living up to this song…

Source: Coronavirus: Patel turns down committee appearance four times – BBC News

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Private employment agencies are making a killing by paying nurses a pittance

What do you think of this little racket?

Remember when the Conservative government introduced privatisation into NHS procurement? It means the health service in England can hire nurses from private agencies.

There is a shortage of nurses, meaning that agencies like Thornbury Nursing can pretty much ask whatever price they fancy, and NHS England will have to pay.

The agency then pays its nurses less than half of what it charged the NHS – making the work unattractive to all but those who are most desperate for cash, and perpetuating the staffing crisis.

Here’s the punchline: Thornbury Nursing is run by a private equity fund owned by a major donor to the Conservative Party.

I’m not saying this person pulled strings to ensure that a situation developed from which they could profit.

I don’t have any information either way.

But if that isn’t what’s happening, why doesn’t this company either lower its charge, or increase the amount it pays its nurses?

Source: Private agencies paying workers less than half what they charge NHS to hire – Mirror Online

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Trump’s ‘prophets of doom’ speech suggests the UK should NOT enter trade deal with him

Doom: While Donald Trump tells Davos nothing is wrong, the habitat of Australian species – like kangaroos – has been destroyed in fire. Do the flames have to be spreading up Pennsylvania Avenue before he’ll admit the facts?

If the UK enters a trade deal with Donald Trump, won’t it be joining an ‘axis of doom’ with one of the world’s principle climate crisis deniers?

That’s the message from his speech at Davos, where the US president made clear that he was not planning to change his country’s high-carbon economy.

The man who has absolute power to dominate, transform and control the lives of most people in the world decried climate protesters for demanding “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

That’s a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

Oh, he said he’d sign up to an initiative to plant, restore and conserve a trillion trees – but hasn’t he noticed how all the trees seem to be catching fire, in the Amazon and Australia?

Climate crisis icon Greta Thunberg has – and she was at Davos where Mr Trump’s speech failed to impress her.

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she said.

“You say: ‘We won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.’ And then, silence.”

And she asked: “What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing… climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?”

The trouble is, she has been saying this for more than a year and those in power haven’t lifted a finger; in other words, she’s right about them.

And history may view such people with extreme prejudice – as UK TV presenter Chris Packham made clear in a speech to TV executives at the annual Bafta television lecture.

He wasn’t afraid to name names, either. He said future generations may come to regard Mr Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Scott Morrison in a similar way as current generations see Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, because by then they could have caused the deaths of millions of people.

But while the leaders pay nothing more than lip-service to action on climate change, UK prime minister Boris Johnson is inching closer to a trade deal with Mr Trump – one that, we’re told, will bind him into policies that deny the danger.

Already he has failed to seize opportunities to make a real difference.

Will he bottle it again – and sell us all down the river just so he can have a few American dollars?

Source: Davos: Trump decries climate ‘prophets of doom’ with Thunberg in audience – BBC News

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This leading Tory just made a mockery of his party’s claims about the climate crisis

Climate denier: Matt Hancock.

So much for green Conservatism.

Matt Hancock has said he’s happy for the entire planet to burn, as long as businesspeople get to their meetings a bit quicker.

Oh, and he’s the Health Secretary, by the way.

Do you think that might be the reason the Tories have helped save the airline Flybe, when they couldn’t give a damn about retail firms like Mothercare (for example)?

This Conservative government is a sick joke – and the laugh is on everybody who voted for it.

The Tory Health Secretary has declared Brits should carry on taking short-haul internal flights despite the climate crisis.

Matt Hancock said people shouldn’t cut down on domestic air travel – because it’s quicker than taking the train.

It comes despite Chancellor Sajid Javid saying Tory plans for government were “the most green manifesto any party has ever published”.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Either Matt Hancock thinks airplanes run on fairy dust, or he does know they’re a major source of planet-heating emissions but simply doesn’t care.

“Whichever it is, his comments fly in the face of the Conservative manifesto commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

Source: Top Tory says we should all carry on taking short flights despite climate crisis – Mirror Online

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