Tag Archives: failure

Johnson’s overcooked ‘oven-ready deal’ has blown up in his face. Why is he happy about it?

From Twitter: the caption was “Get in, losers. We’re driving it off a No Deal cliff.”

It seems Boris Johnson is getting exactly the kind of Brexit his backers wanted: ‘no deal’, meaning disaster for the UK economy.

He is putting on his sad face at the moment but that’s not fooling me, and it shouldn’t fool you.

His claim that Brussels has “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal is as empty as his soul:

Sky News has this to say:

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.

Isn’t this the same prime minister who said there was an ‘oven ready’ trade deal, only last year?

And didn’t he – also – say that failure to secure a deal would be a failure of statecraft?

So isn’t he admitting that he is a failed prime minister? And shouldn’t we be demanding his resignation and replacement at the earliest possible opportunity?

Johnson is, of course, doing his best to blameshift responsibility for his failure onto the EU:

Mr Johnson said in a dramatic intervention that “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.

He told businesses and hauliers to “get ready” for there to be no free trade deal.

But this is clearly nonsense, in the light of what he – and other Brexiters – have been saying since before the EU referendum in 2016.

They have spent years trying to convince us that the EU nations would be desperate to forge a deal with the UK that would put us at an advantage.

Instead, it seems we’re going to have to pay high tariffs to sell into a market that was free before Johnson and his cronies convinced 17 million of us to vote the entire nation out.

And remember, Johnson won last year’s general election on this – claiming that he would “Get Brexit Done” and it would create a golden future for the UK.

Well. At best he was mistaken. At worst he was lying.

This Writer remembers the claims that he was in cahoots with a cartel of wealthy hedge fund bosses who had bet heavily on the UK leaving without a trade deal, and on this causing the end of a large number of major UK businesses.

Doesn’t this seem more likely now – especially as Johnson has intervened personally to stop any further negotiations, a month and a half before the transition period ends?

It all seems highly suspicious to me.

And I’m not the only one, it seems:

(Incredible that Boris Johnson’s selfishness has actually put me on the same side as Dan Hodges…)

It seems likely the decision to end negotiations and prepare for ‘no deal’ could also mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it:

Johnson tried to regain some of the credibility he has lost by suggesting that the UK was headed for an “Australia-style deal”…

He said the UK’s relationship with the EU could be more like the one Brussels has with Australia, which will mean tariffs being introduced on goods between the UK and the 27 other EU countries.

… but it seems he’s either badly mistaken (yet again) or trying to pull over our eyes (yet again):

Perhaps this is the most accurate comment of the day:

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’ | Politics News | Sky News

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Community Covid-19 testing ended on March 12 – and other government failures

This is just to remind you that the Tories actually stopped testing for Covid-19 in mid-March.

If they had kept it up, the UK might have been in a better position to handle the pandemic.

As it is, they’re still struggling to hit a target of 100,000 tests a day after being kicked in the backside to get testing again. As for the target for the end of May – 200,000 per day – no chance!

That’s just one catastrophic blunder that the Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee has raised with Boris Johnson.

Here’s the lot:

The Government’s coronavirus testing capacity has been “inadequate” throughout the pandemic, the committee said.

The World Health Organisation was warning about the need to test as early as February, but widespread testing in the UK ended on March 12 due to lack of capacity.

Care home residents and workers weren’t routinely tested until April 15 – by which time the virus was rampant.

Public Health England (PHE) has still not provided the evidence it used for that decision.

The approach to dealing with asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 was “unclear”… despite evidence suggesting a “high proportion” of people with Covid-19 – as high as 80%, said one witness – have no symptoms at all. It would mean needing to test regularly in hospitals and care homes even where workers do not feel ill.

There is no transparency over what the advice of SAGE is – whether in the form of its actual advice to Ministers, minutes of its meetings, or even a summary, suitable for publication, of its advice.

Without visibility of the scientific advice it will be difficult to corroborate the Government’s assertion that it always follows the scientific advice.

Source: Coronavirus: 5 failings unveiled in powerful letter to Boris Johnson – Mirror Online

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If you want to survive coronavirus it’s time to use your intelligence (and stop reading the Sunday Times)

Boris Johnson: people are calling for him to resign after the Sunday Times published an article. Why didn’t they make the same demand in their millions after This Writer published a piece with identical information, nearly three weeks ago?

This will be a short rant. Please indulge me.

It seems the Sunday Times is receiving a great deal of attention over a piece describing the failures of Boris Johnson and his government to address the threat of the coronavirus properly in the period between the end of January and the middle of March. People are treating it as brand-new information and behaving as though it is shocking knowledge that the public needs to know.

Some are also complaining that, in a time when newspapers are struggling, certain people have published snippets of the article when its online version is behind a paywall. “It’s not helping,” they say.

No.

It’s not helping that the public ignored this information – that is freely available all over the internet, and that I collected and put into a single article myself, three weeks ago – until the Murdoch rag came along and made a fuss about it, too late to do any good.

Look on Twitter and there are at least three trending hashtags related to the article – #ResignBoris, #SundayTimes and #Cobra (because Johnson missed five meetings in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A; but he’s allowed to).

Why wasn’t there such a fuss when I published my piece?

The answer’s obvious: Because I’m a small online publisher and the Sunday Times has a history.

Trouble is, the history of the Sunday Times became extremely dodgy after Rupert Murdoch took it over. This is the hack-rag that published a smear piece calling me an anti-Semite – and plenty of people (wrongly) paid attention to that, too!

The moral of this story isn’t that we should be shocked about Boris Johnson and demand his resignation. We should – but the majority of the public could have known that since March 30 if they’d read my article.

The moral of the story is: Support your online sources – like Vox Political. If the Sunday Times is in trouble, there’s a reason for it.

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Coronavirus: The Tories’ catalogue of failures means people who should have lived WILL die

Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer has now self-isolated with symptoms of the coronavirus himself. Doesn’t that suggest there’s something wrong with his ideas?

Those of you who have been following This Site over the past few days will have read article after article exposing the failures of the Conservative government – firstly to anticipate, then to combat the coronavirus crisis.

So it should come as no surprise that these failures have ensured that NHS workers and people who contract Covid-19 will die, who should be saved.

And the pedigree of the man making that claim should not be doubted: Richard Horton is the editor of what is possibly the most highly-regarded medical journal of them all: The Lancet.

He said measures implemented “far too late” had left the NHS “wholly unprepared for the surge of severely and critically ill patients”.

As a result, it had been plunged into “chaos and panic”, with patients and NHS staff condemned to “die unnecessarily”.

He pointed to an article in The Lancet, already referenced by This Site, stated on January 24 that the coronavirus was on the verge of becoming a global pandemic and urged the government to ensure that the NHS was prepared.

But Boris Johnson and his government didn’t bother. Successive Conservative governments over the previous 10 years had systematically dismantled the UK’s capability of tackling a pandemic like Covid-19.

The strategy to deal with it was last updated in 2011 and is hopelessly out-of-date.

The dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team, tasked with tackling this type of crisis, vanished around 2011.

The crucial document for getting the right messages to the public – the Communications Strategy – was written in 2012 and is wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people now get their information.

Worst of all, the government guide to dealing with the fatalities of a pandemic – the deaths – was written in 2008 and had never been updated.

Perhaps we should not be surprised, then, that the Conservative government’s response to coronavirus – throughout February – was wrong.

The Lancet article warned that “preparedness plans should be readied for deployment at short notice, including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources”. But this warning was ignored.

Mr Horton lays the blame for this on Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS in England Simon Stevens and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.

Vallance’s was the mind behind the ridiculous “herd immunity” scheme to allow us all to become infected and if millions of vulnerable people died, that was a reasonable price to pay if the rest developed a resistance to the virus.

It didn’t last long but valuable days were wasted and, of course, while the overarching strategy was “do nothing”, nothing was being done to make the UK ready to fight the disease.

And when the government finally adopted an acceptable approach, the NHS was caught unprepared.

It didn’t have pharmaceutical supply chains ready – note the call for volunteers to ship medicines where they’re needed.

It didn’t have the necessary human resources.

And it didn’t have personal protective equipment, despite protestations to the contrary. As part of his article, Mr Horton called on England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, to apologise to health workers for saying the UK has “a perfectly adequate supply of PPE” and supply pressures had been “completely resolved” on March 20.

She was wrong, and it means doctors are risking their own health, if not their lives, every day by having to assess patients with respiratory symptoms, without the equipment necessary to protect themselves.

Worse still, the government didn’t follow basic World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. According to Mr Horton: “They didn’t isolate and quarantine. They didn’t contact trace. These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all the way down the line, Boris Johnson and his government have had to be dragged into doing the right thing – always late and never willingly.

Already more than 1,000 people have been acknowledged to have died.

And it seems clear that more will follow – who would have lived if Mr Johnson and his ministers, their advisors and the leaders of the NHS had simply done their jobs properly.

Source: Coronavirus: UK response means NHS staff and patients will ‘die unnecessarily’, Lancet editor says | The Independent

Tory response to NHS waiting time failure: HIDE THE EVIDENCE

This was a corridor in an English hospital’s Accident & Emergency department in early 2017 – and now the situation is worse.

Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted not only that he can’t fix the NHS waiting time crisis – he won’t even bother to try.

Instead, it seems he’ll get rid of the four-hour target for patients to be seen. In other words, he’ll hide the evidence.

Of course he’ll say it’s only a coincidence that the proportion of patients attending A&E who were seen within the four-hour limit has been falling steadily since the Tories took over government in 2010.

Before then, under Labour, it was well within the target of 95 per cent.

And I’m sure he’ll say it’s also just a coincidence that attendances at A&E last month had increased by 400,000 since 2010.

It’s nothing to do with the return of so-called “Victorian diseases” brought by the Tory “starve the poor” policies of 2010 onwards – obviously. And it’s nothing to do with the increased health problems faced by benefit claimants who the Tories (wrongly) said could live on less.

And if you believe that, you’re stupid and gullible enough to deserve the pathetic service you’re getting.

You probably even believe Hancock when he says the NHS is getting its biggest cash injection ever, when in real terms the £33.9 billion promised is nowhere near the biggest, once inflation has been taken into account.

One person who isn’t going to be gulled is Professor Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who said last year: “In our expert opinion scrapping the four-hour target will have a near-catastrophic impact on patient safety.”

As a reader of Vox Political, I’m willing to bet that you are neither gullible nor stupid.

So, who do you believe?

Matt Hancock has signalled that four-hour waiting targets for A&E are likely to be scrapped for the NHS in England after the worst figures on record this winter.

The health secretary said it would be better if targets were “clinically appropriate” and the “right targets”, as he defended the NHS’s failure to meet the standard that 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The target was put under review by Theresa May’s government and the NHS unveiled plans last March to pilot changes that would prioritise patients with serious conditions while patients with minor problems could wait longer than four hours.

A decision about the flagship four-hour target is due to be taken by NHS England in the coming months.

Source: Matt Hancock signals A&E waiting targets likely to be scrapped | Society | The Guardian

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New evidence fuels demand for inquest uncovering DWP role in the death of Jodey Whiting

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Remember Jodey Whiting?

She’s the woman who took her own life after the Department for Work and Pensions ignored its own policies for safeguarding benefit claimants no fewer than five times while dealing with her case.

The DWP scorned calls for an independent inquiry into deaths related to its decisions, prompted by Ms Whiting’s death – even after tens of thousands of people signed a petition demanding it.

Now her mother, Joy Dove, has launched a demand for a new inquest, saying the interests of justice demand it after new evidence emerged.

This includes the result of an investigation into the handling of Ms Whiting’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent consultant psychiatrist who concluded that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on her mental state.

In her letter to the Attorney General, Ms Dove argued that the manner in which her daughter was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and, that had this not occurred, her daughter’s death might have been prevented.

Ms Whiting, of Stockton, died on 21 February 2017, aged 42. She was a vulnerable woman with multiple physical and mental health illnesses which left her house-bound, requiring 23 tablets per day and entirely reliant on welfare benefits.

In late 2016 the DWP began to reassess her entitlement to Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

She requested a home visit as she rarely left the house due to her health and she made clear that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

Despite this, the DWP decided that she should attend a work capability assessment. She failed to attend so the DWP stopped her fortnightly ESA payments.

With help from her family, Ms Whiting wrote to the DWP explaining the severity of her health conditions and asking for a reconsideration, but this did not happen until after her death.

She also received letters informing her that her housing benefit and council tax benefit would be stopped because they were linked to her ESA.

Just three days after her last ESA payment, Ms Whiting took her own life.

An inquest was held, lasting less than an hour, in which the coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP in the death. Ms Whiting’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly-funded legal representation.

After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Ms Whiting. Some of the failings had not been known to her family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of her benefits.

This could be a hugely important case.

Who knows how many other people are now dead who might have lived if the DWP had handled their cases with an ounce of sensitivity?

We may soon find out – but only if the Attorney General grants permission for a new inquest to take place.

Source: Family Of Jodey Whiting Seek Fresh Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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Kuenssberg the troll: She started a Twitter dogpile on the father of a sick child

Laura Kuenssberg: Rather than report on deficiencies at an NHS hospital caused by Tory underfunding, she triggered a Twitter dogpile on a member of the public who challenge Boris Johnson about it.

Standards of journalism at the BBC slipped to a new low yesterday when political editor Laura Kuenssberg outed a man who challenged Boris Johnson over falling NHS standards as a “Labour activist” – triggering a Twitter dogpile on this man.

Apparently it did not matter to Ms Kuenssberg that Omar Salem was the father of a sick seven-day-old girl and had been terribly worried about his daughter’s well-being. She considered it far more important that the world should know he has campaigned for the Labour Party in the past.

Mark’s question is valid. What was Ms Kuenssberg trying to say, exactly? And if it was as he suggested, then should she not be hauled up before the BBC board and sacked on the spot?

It is not the place of any journalist – even the BBC’s political editor – to heap more stress upon the father of a sick child who is only seven days old.

Or, put more succinctly: who the hell does Kuenssberg think she is?

It seems she has not noticed that a campaign was launched earlier this week, calling for people to report the activities of those who troll innocent members of the public in exactly the way she has done.

And consider this: Even a doctor at the hospital has written about the shortfall in care there:

I was one of the doctors who met Boris Johnson today. This was a highly staged press event in a newly refurbished hospital ward at Whipps Cross hospital where the prime minister met a few select members of staff and patients. This event completely brushed over the harsh realities of this chronically underfunded, understaffed and poorly resourced hospital.

I’m so glad that Omar Salem said the things he did. He was just telling the truth about what it is like to be on the receiving end of poor staffing levels and under-resourcing.

Whipps Cross is particularly understaffed and under-resourced so people don’t get the care that they need as promptly as they need.

And this visit was not reflective of the realities of working at this hospital. Johnson was taken to the nicest ward in the hospital; there were flowers on display and classical music was playing in the background. I wish the prime minister could have seen some of the other wards, which are nothing like what he saw today. He should come on a night shift and see how everything doesn’t function at two in the morning.

There are not enough staff on any level – nursing, physiotherapy, doctors. It is just chronically understaffed. The building is falling to pieces. It is either too cold or too hot. I could go on and on.

I love medicine, but you just can’t do your job properly. You don’t have time to talk to patients or families. Everybody is really demoralised. There’s no point in complaining because you know nothing will be done.

Isn’t this exactly what Omar Salem was saying?

But Ms Kuenssberg turned it around and made it all about him being a “Labour activist”. And what does that mean, exactly?

I think she – and the BBC – has a huge amount of explaining to do.

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Was murder of refugee a consequence of institutional disablism? It seems par for the course

The way Kamil Ahmad was treated by the authorities seems to be business as usual, as far as This Writer can tell.

As recently as July, we were told that victims of harassment and stalking were being routinely put at risk because of the failings of police and prosecutors.

Stalking behaviour has been identified in 94 per cent of murders – and harassment of the kind experienced by Kamil Ahmad may be considered extremely similar.

But the police are still refusing to give it enough attention.

Some might say this is because of Tory cuts that have crippled police forces but this behaviour in investigators seems to pre-date Theresa May’s vandalism.

And what about the decision by social services to evict this man – a decision that was only shown to have been reversed after his death?

For This Writer, that is uncomfortably close to the situation we see regularly with disabled benefit claimants, in which the Department for Work and Pensions refuses a claim – only to reverse its decision after the subject has died.

It is a convenience for the Department – no benefit will be paid because the claimant has passed on, but saying it has been granted avoids uncomfortable questions.

That’s why Bristol social services has used this dodge, in the opinion of This Writer.

I’m not saying either the police or social services deliberately neglected Kamil Ahmad’s case in order to cause his death – there’s no evidence here to support that and I don’t think the allegations of disablism and racism will get very far – but it does seem clear that his case did not receive the attention it deserved because of institutional routines.

Will the police start paying more attention to people reporting threatening behaviour? It seems unlikely.

Will social services (or the DWP, for that matter) improve the treatment of claimants? This also seems unlikely.

What is to be done, then?

Public bodies in Bristol are facing allegations of institutional disablism and racism, after the second case in four years in which a man has been convicted of the brutal murder of a disabled refugee.

Friends say that Kamil Ahmad had repeatedly told police officers that he was being threatened and racially abused by Jeffrey Barry, who lived in the same supported accommodation for people with mental health conditions in the Knowle area of Bristol.

Ahmad (pictured) was stabbed to death in the early hours of 7 July last year, just hours after Barry had been released from a hospital where he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Barry, 56, was convicted of murder this week, following a trial at Bristol Crown Court. He had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He will be sentenced on 10 November.

But Disability News Service (DNS) has been told that the Kurdish asylum-seeker made repeated calls to police officers in the months and years leading up to his death, telling them that Barry was threatening him and that he did not feel safe.

Friends of Kamil Ahmad have also told DNS that Bristol social services – which he had also told about his fears for his safety – was about to evict him and leave him homeless and destitute on the streets, and only announced that this decision had been reversed after he had been killed.

Source: Police and council face questions over second murder of disabled refugee


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Pickles report on Tory election failure pushes blame firmly onto Theresa May


The main point of the Pickles inquest into the Tories’ election failures is that the manifesto should not be left to the prime minister and a close circle of her advisors.

Doesn’t that suggest that he blames Theresa May for producing a manifesto that was utterly out of touch with the demands of the British people?

The Conservative manifesto for the 2017 election was so bad that at least one of its policies was withdrawn before the document was even published.

Other u-turns followed and the Tories are currently raiding Labour’s manifesto for policies they can tolerate supporting, in a bid to steal support from the far more popular party.

It seems to This Writer that the only reason Mrs May wasn’t criticised for failing to turn up to any televised debates is: David Cameron didn’t like them either.

The inquest into the result of the 8 June election, drawn up by former cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles, made 126 recommendations to make sure the party is better prepared for any future snap elections at a time of political volatility.

One key proposal was a new manifesto committee to make sure policies are properly thought through by senior cabinet ministers, after the document was kept to a tight circle of the prime minister’s advisers at the last election.

He suggested the process of drawing up a manifesto should start within 12 months of the last election, involving the prime minister, chancellor, home secretary, foreign secretary, party chairman, chief executive and chief whip.

The report also confirms … that the Conservatives will look to re-establish a “vibrant youth wing” and make sure there is under-30s representation on the party board and on candidate selection panels.

Source: Eric Pickles calls for Tories to be prepared for snap elections | Politics | The Guardian


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Hinchingbrooke failure means end of public tolerance for health privateers

150110hinchingbrooke

Campaigning group 38 Degrees’ response to the announcement that Circle Holdings is withdrawing from its contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The failure of Circle Holdings’ management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital has one serious consequence for all political parties – but particularly Labour – and it is this: The British public will no longer tolerate any suggestion that private firms should participate in the National Health Service.

The reason Labour is singled out for special attention in this regard is that Labour has made the repeal of the Conservative Party’s Health and Social Care Act a key campaigning pledge (yes, it was passed in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but Andrew Lansley – Conservative – was the MP who spent around seven years working on the legislation in secret while his party leader promised all and sundry, with his ‘sincere’ face on, that the NHS was safe in Tory hands).

Unfortunately for Ed Miliband’s party, such promises are being met with scepticism by the people who should be Labour’s core voters. Only a couple of days ago, Vox Political posted this image to its Facebook page:

150110labourfourmonths

Here are some of the responses:

“Labour are just another neoliberal party serving the financial elite,” wrote Max Anstey. “The economic ideology ‘neoliberalism’ involves the privatisation of things. As Labour are neoliberal, they will not renationalise the NHS. A claim to ‘restore’ the NHS is not good enough from a neoliberal party. We need our public services back in our hands.”

Here’s another, by Gareth Jones: “I would love to see an honest resurgence of socialist ideals in this country. I’d love Labour to be Labour again. However, I just don’t see Ed Miliband being the one to bring it about. Ed is no Tony Benn.”

And Janet Kaiser added: “Labour (if it can still be called that) are going to do bugger-all. You can hope as much as you want, but the fact is the party has been taken over by venture capitalists and shouting the contrary is not going to change anything.”

That is the attitude Labour has to overcome. What’s sad is that it is an attitude that, in many ways, Labour has created. Only today, this blog posted a link to an article by Labour MP Michael Meacher in which he criticised his own front bench’s failure to attack the Conservatives over the economy – and much of what he said there can be applied to the NHS as well.

“Why doesn’t Labour hit out against the Tories where it could so easily secure some significant breakthroughs?” he asked. Why indeed.

The voters didn’t want private companies interfering in the NHS when they went to the polls in 2010. Now that they’ve experienced what it means – and don’t forget the Tory NHS crisis that is most clearly being seen in Accident & Emergency departments is also a symptom of this – they are vehemently against it.

Hinchingbrooke is a perfect opportunity for Labour to lay its cards on the table and promise that all of the expensive, bureaucratic and utterly pointless measures imposed by the Tories, to ensure that private firms get preferential treatment in the awarding of NHS contracts, will be removed – and to vow that the NHS will be restored as a state service providing the best care along with the best value for money.

And Labour stays quiet.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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