Tag Archives: Harding

Covid-19: their policies don’t work and neither do the chums the Tories have given all our money

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

If you tuned in to the BBC’s Any Questions at around 1.15pm today, you may have enjoyed the same experience I did: a guest, exasperated at the Johnson government’s abject failure to devise any effective policies to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

All that Boris Johnson and his Minister of Death, Matt Hancock, have achieved is the creation of a huge reservoir of distrust across the nation as regulation after nonsensical regulation fails to stem the tide.

His problem is that he is desperate to keep money flowing to his chums, the rich businesspeople who donate cash to the Conservative Party on a regular basis. For that, he needs to ensure that people go to work in spite of the fact that they are more likely to catch the virus in the workplace or on the way to work. Sending our children and young people to school and university has also hugely worsened the spread.

And he has made it worse by abusing the emergency system of awarding contracts without going through the normal procedure of inviting tenders from multiple companies and awarding the contract to the one best-suited to honour it, according to established criteria.

Instead of giving contracts to those best-suited, Johnson has handed them to Tories – some of them running start-ups or firms that were non-functional – and has received very little in return.

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis explained the issue on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday (October 8):

Yet more and more Tory cronies are on the gravy train – doing less and less for your cash. Look at the state of this:

Meanwhile the test and trace system run, contrary to logic, by Tory peer, former jockey and business failure Dido Harding, continues to fail the nation:

She won’t “consider her position”, of course. She’ll carry on draining the Treasury of cash because that’s Tory greed for you.

And they don’t mind the fact that people are dying. They don’t mind that at all.

Enough is enough.

Isn’t it?

This crisis has been here long enough that there’s no reason for the emergency contract system to remain in place for it; even though the Tories might not be able to predict what new equipment and personnel will be needed in the future, our experienced civil servants and NHS experts should.

Let’s see the Tories reopen the contract system to multiple tenders, with assignments of Covid-related contracts going to the firms best-suited for the work.

Or – indeed – to the public organisations and authorities best-placed to handle it.

Don’t you agree that giving control of the response to Coronavirus back to people who actually know what they’re doing might turn the tide?

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Weekend Covid-19 infections leap to biggest ever figure after Dido Harding’s cowboys miss 16,000

The number of – recorded – Covid-19 infections in the UK leapt up massively over the weekend after it was admitted that Dido Harding and her mob at Serco Test And Trace failed to report nearly 16,000 between September 25 and October 2.

The 15,841 cases were then added to Saturday’s (October 3) and Sunday’s (October 4) figures to give (fabricated) totals for those days of 12,872 cases and 22,961 respectively.

And we were upset when the totals leapt to 6,000!

Cynically, the government left it to Public Health England – the nationalised NHS organisation – to report the failings, presumably in the hope that it would take all the blame before it fades out of existence to be replaced by a privatised “National Institute of Health Protection” run by… Dido Harding.

The writing is on the wall, and it says, “Abandon hope, all ye who trust in these.”

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth tried to pin the fiasco on Death Secretary Matt Hancock, who does indeed have overall responsibility: “This is shambolic and people across the country will be understandably alarmed.

“Matt Hancock should come to the House of Commons on Monday to explain what on earth has happened, what impact it has had on our ability to contain this virus and what he plans to do to fix test and trace.”

But members of the public on Twitter weren’t going to let the person most directly responsible off the hook.

Here’s how this latest Tory disaster was reported there:

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey was wheeled onto BBC Breakfast to defend the government and made a complete hash of it:

And Sky News revealed that bosses at Public Health England are not willing to accept the blame for Baroness Harding’s blunders:

They needn’t worry; we all know the score:

Yes, Tory incompetence costs lives.

But people weren’t willing to let Labour off the hook either.

After some Labour MPs finally dragged themselves into the real world by referring to the track and trace system as being run by Serco (after weeks of going along with the Tory lie that it was an NHS project), the public had this to say:

They’re not wrong.

We need better than this – from both sides of the House of Commons – or the Covid-19 disaster will be an apocalypse for the UK.

And I think that is a forlorn hope: they’re already doing the pathetic best they can.

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Did Boris Johnson delay social gathering clampdown so that St Leger horse races can take place?

Dido Harding: Corrupt?

Is it really a coincidence that Boris Johnson’s new clampdown on social gatherings involving more than six people is to be imposed on Monday, allowing the St Leger horse racing festival to take place first?

Is it a coincidence that the St Leger is organised by the Jockey Club, which counts among its directors Dido Harding – who also happens to be in charge of the Serco (not NHS) Test and Trace fiasco?

Would it be more accurate to say that Ms Harding’s priority is the racing track, rather than Track and Trace?

People on Twitter certainly have their opinions about this:

While we’re discussing Test/Track/Trace, let’s remind ourselves that UK citizens have been forced to traipse around the country trying to get tests, as the Serco-run system for which Ms Harding is responsible has been unable to provide enough – even though (I hear on PMQs) 75,000 test kits are wasted every day.

Why isn’t Ms Harding doing the rounds of the studios explaining why we should not attribute the delay of the social gathering lockdown to her own corruption?

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After private firm linked to Gove & Cummings helped cause ‘A’ level disaster, will new health ‘Institute’ go the same way?

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Dido Harding: Isn’t it funny how McKinsey was hired to work on an organisation fronted by a former McKinsey consultant? Did I type “funny”? I meant “sickening”.

Were you aware that the disastrous strategy to deprive lower-class students of their higher ‘A’ level grades was devised by a firm of consultants, apparently hired because of links to Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings?

I mention this because the same criteria seem to have been used to get advice about the “vision, purpose and narrative” of Matt Hancock’s new public health “institute”.

Public First, a policy and research firm owned by James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, who both formerly worked for Gove, was involved on the project with Ofqual since June after being granted a contract that was not put out to competitive tender.

Details of the contract have not been made public and Ofqual declined to say how much public money had been spent hiring the firm of Tory cronies.

The collaboration led to the result we all know:

The algorithm used by Ofqual downgraded 40% of the A-level grades assessed by teachers under the process set after the exams were cancelled, leading to a storm of protest from students, parents, school leaders and teachers, that culminated in a complete government U-turn on Monday and the system being scrapped.

Most of us would expect the Tories to be coming out with the usual “lessons will be learned” speech right now – but they can’t, because they haven’t.

The Johnson government has already hired McKinsey – under the same “exceptional circumstances” rules used to award the Ofqual contract to Public First – to play the same role.

And guess what? According to the Financial Times, the new National Institute for Health Protection’s boss – Dido Harding – is a former McKinsey consultant.

What a cosy, cronyist world they all inhabit.

There is one difference between the NIHP situation and Ofqual. We know how much of our money McKinsey has been paid: £563,400. At a time when the national debt has just topped £2 trillion, the Johnson government has shovelled another half a million of borrowed cash into private, profit-grubbing hands.

That’s a lot of money for something that I’m happy to bet will be a worse travesty than the ‘A’ level debacle.

Source: Firm linked to Gove and Cummings hired to work with Ofqual on A-levels | Education | The Guardian

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For once, Johnson was right – it takes ‘world-beating’ incompetence to screw up the health service mid-pandemic crisis

Matt Hancock: one look in those eyes and you know nobody’s home.

Matt Hancock has secured his position in the top rank of Tory chumps alongside Boris ‘holibobs’ Johnson, Chris ‘failing’ Grayling and Gavin ‘algorithm’ Williamson – by announcing a huge reorganisation of the health service in the middle of a health crisis.

He’s handing control of the UK’s response to pandemic threats over to a new ‘agency’ that will partner the government with private firms, even though every single partnership with private businesses over the handling of Covid-19 has resulted in failure and chaos.

Hancock seems to think he can hide the facts by denying them, hence his comment that partnering up with corporate giants is “the best way through”.

He actually said: “We couldn’t have expanded testing in the way that we did.” That system failed.

He actually said: “We couldn’t have expanded contact tracing in the way that we did.” That system failed.

But he was right in this: “The truth is we couldn’t have done this without the private sector.”

He is right – in that the private sector should take equal responsibility with the government that employed it for causing the preventable deaths of nearly 70,000 UK citizens.

Because believe me, that is the sum total of all that has been achieved by the Conservative government in its Covid-19 strategy that involved partnership with the private sector.

Expert advice is that closing Public Health England and replacing it with a privatised lash-up is a “major misstep”.

Nigel Edwards, the chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, [said]: “The government risks making a major misstep by dismantling its own public health agency at such a crucial time, creating a huge distraction for staff who should be dedicating themselves to the next stage of the pandemic.

“There is no clear argument as to why this rebranding and reshuffling will solve some of the problems highlighted by the secretary of state today.”

It is certain to cause huge distraction – at a time when that’s the last thing the health service needs:

Independent SAGE, the independent group of scientists providing advice about the Covid-19 pandemic, offered its own opinion here:

This is particularly telling [bolding mine]:

“Independent SAGE does not agree with the course that the government appears to be taking and is concerned that it will further destroy the confidence of public health staff. The changes are of such magnitude and importance that they should be the subject of close parliamentary scrutiny. However, if the government makes a decision to proceed down this path Independent SAGE advises as follows:

Any new organisation needs to be operating under trained, qualified and experienced public-health leadership.

So why the hell has he put his good friend, former jockey Dido Harding, in the job?

Why did she get the job? I think Carole Cadwallader has an inkling:

If that looks like corruption to you, you’re unlikely to be alone!

What a good thing the government has measures in place to prevent corruption from happening.

Take a look! Oh dear…

Last word in this article can go to Melanie Melvin, who puts this whole affair in perspective. We could have had a proper response to Covid-19 if we’d had a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn – but too many right-wing cuckoos had worked themselves into the party and did too much damage to his reputation for that to happen.

That is why Matt Hancock is health secretary now. It’s why he has been able to dismantle even more of the public health service and replace it with private asset-strippers – under a blatant lie that the best-working part of the UK’s Covid-19 tragedy was these profiteers and their blithering incompetence.

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Public Health England to be axed as Matt Hancock desperately blame-shifts

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader so it should be no surprise that the private organisation he wants to create, replacing Public Health England, is likely to do nothing to prevent the resurgence of the disease across the UK.

Failed Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to scrap Public Health England (PHE) this week, we’re told, in an attempt to blame somebody else for his failure to control Covid-19 in the UK.

The trouble is, he’s planning to replace it with something worse.

Public Health England, as an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, exists to protect the general health and well-being of English people – in any circumstance. But Hancock wants to replace it with an organisation dedicated only to handling pandemic threats.

And he plans to do this by merging the pandemic response work of PHE with Serco Test and Trace – the privatised ‘test and trace’ system that has already proved itself to be a humiliating failure for the government, and for its plans to privatise NHS services.

What a fiasco.

It means that Hancock is planning to replace a system that he has decided has failed with something that we all know is a failure, for the sake of the Tories’ Holy Grail of NHS privatisation.

And the devil take public health and safety.

Let us also remember that, as a wholly-owned executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, PHE’s failure are entirely the responsibility of one man: Matt Hancock. It seems he is hoping that he can hide his incompetence by dissolving the organisation that contains the evidence.

It doesn’t work that way. The evidence is already public knowledge. Take a look at this article if you need to be convinced.

And we all know where the blame lies:

It’s true. The BMJ article (link above) states that public health funding has fallen by 25 per cent per person in the last five years alone.

Worse still, the rumour mill has it that the new, privatised organisation that will be tasked with protecting us from pandemic infections (but only if it can make a profit from doing it, of course) will be headed by another failure: Dido Harding:

This may be another example of Tories giving jobs to their friends, rather than to anybody who actually knows what they are doing:

It’s interesting also to take note of the fellow-travellers who have sprung up to support Hancock’s plan. These are Tory propagandists who should never be trusted on any subject at all.

Here’s an obvious example: Julia Hartley-Doodah.

Rest assured that nothing good will come of this. Hancock will not succeed in shifting the blame away from himself; his decision can only result in more infections and deaths as Serco continues to take our money while failing to do anything to prevent Covid-19 infections from spreading.

We know this is the wrong decision and it will only worsen a Tory-engineered national disaster.

But there is nothing we can do to prevent it. We lost that opportunity on December 13, 2019.

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