Tag Archives: incompetence

Parents are having to re-use ventilator parts for their sick children because of Tory Covid-19 failures

No ventilator for you: the government is continuing to ensure that only able-bodied people with coronavirus can have access to a ventilator. The rest can die as a result of the Tories’ refusal to make proper preparations at the appropriate time.

Children are suffering again because the Conservative government is incompetent.

Back at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis we learned that, despite having been warned that a flu or flu-like pandemic was on its way and they should stock up on ventilator equipment, successive Tory governments under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson ignored the advice.

They didn’t buy ventilators, causing a crippling shortage of equipment when the inevitable happened and the virus hit us.

Then, when the EU generously offered Boris Johnson a chance to join a bulk-buying scheme that would have brought much-needed ventilators into the UK, he refused. His reason? “We are not in the EU.”

Pathetic.

Here’s the result:

(The Dyson ventilators never happened; the Tory government told the company its services were not required.)

Johnson was then able to treat the lack of ventilators as a golden opportunity to rid the UK of some of the “useless eaters” (as I’m sure the Tories call them, picking up on Nazi terminology). So people with disabilities were told they would be denied ventilators if they caught Covid-19, the excuse being that their disabilities mean their chances of survival are less.

Senior citizens faced the same discrimination.

Now the Tory decision is making children suffer as well.

Child malnutrition has already at least doubled since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK. Now this:

Parents of children reliant upon ventilators are being asked to reuse vital parts after the demand caused by COVID-19 created a shortage.

Maisie Lossau, 15, has needed the equipment day and night following surgery to remove a brainstem tumour four years ago.

But when her mother, Dawn, put in an order for supplies she was told there were none to send.

“We have a very small piece of equipment which is called an HME, which is a humidification valve, changed every day.

“When we went into lockdown we were told there was a shortage of those and we would have to change them on a less regular basis… once a week maybe or twice a week if we could.

If that gets too wet, too damp, and we don’t change it, it becomes a breeding ground for germs.”

The danger then is infection.

There are more than 3,000 seriously ill children like Maisie across the country and the charity WellChild says supplies must be ring-fenced for them.

The government has dissembled; it won’t address the subject directly.

So a statement merely says: “We have put in place a range of measures to address these challenges, including making it easier for clinicians to report shortages and identifying opportunities to open up new supply options and using additional brands.”

The Tories said nothing about actually supplying the equipment. We must conclude that they have no intention to do so.

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Coronavirus: half a year before normality resumes – because of Tory stupidity

Johnson: This stupid ass caught coronavirus because he failed to follow his own social distancing advice (once he got round to giving it). Now he’s got the nerve to tell us he may tighten restrictions – but he’ll never admit that he has been at fault.

They’ll never admit it but if it does take half a year or more before people in the UK are allowed to resume their normal lives, it’s because of the stupidity of our Conservative government.

And if the lockdown lasts as long – or almost – that will be because of Tory stupidity too.

Boris Johnson’s letter saying the situation will worsen before it gets better is nothing more than we should all expect.

England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, said the number of deaths is likely to worsen over the next one or two weeks – because it will take that long before the effects of social distancing begin to be felt.

And Johnson has warned that stricter measures could be put in place if necessary. This makes perfect sense, if deaths continue to rise.

But the reason deaths may continue rising is the government’s failure to impress upon the population the fact that the measures already in place are important.

In his letter, Johnson says, “From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time.” This is contemptible nonsense.

Before coronavirus arrived in the UK, the Tories had ensured that none of the plans necessary to protect the public against a contagion of this kind were up to date.

And they had dismantled the specialist team in the Department of Health, that would have dealt with the pandemic, nine years ago.

Medical journal The Lancet warned the government to get its act together on January 24.

But Johnson dithered for a further seven weeks, issuing contradictory statements and advice that left members of the public confused.

Is it any wonder, then, that when he ordered us all to stay home and observe social distancing rules, many people have ignored him completely – including himself?

The prime minister himself caught the disease because he failed to follow his own advice.

The news websites are full of reports of street parties being broken up by police, who are empowered to issue fines starting at £60 but rising to £960 for repeat offenders.

This Writer has been told of barbecues in Shrewsbury, and even health professionals have been caught flouting the rules.

This brings us to another point: remember Jenny Harries, who said the number of deaths is likely to worsen? She must take part of the blame for that.

The Lancet (again) has called on her to apologise for claiming that the NHS had “a perfectly adequate supply of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment, worn by medical staff while treating coronavirus patients to prevent them from contracting it or passing on to others]”.

It didn’t – and I note that two doctors are reported to have died in this report alone.

The government failed to join a European Union scheme to provide much-needed ventilators – by misdirecting the email, it seems – and there are concerns over the choices of supplier made by Johnson and his cronies.

Put it all together and you can see that more people will die because of the Tories; there is a lack of equipment to fight the virus because of the Tories; and if it takes longer for life to return to normal – they’ll be responsible for that too.

Source: Coronavirus: Strict measures could last ‘significant period’ – BBC News

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If ‘dangerously incompetent’ Amber Rudd didn’t see leaked report on police cuts and violent crime, her plan to tackle it won’t work

“Dangerously incompetent”: Amber Rudd.

The Tories are trying to cover their embarrassment over this latest blunder, but it is already too late.

Amber Rudd is on record as saying police cuts have not contributed to the rise in serious violent crime on the UK’s streets – in direct contradiction of a Home Office Report that has been leaked to the press:

Government cuts to the police “may have encouraged” violent offenders and have “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime, leaked Home Office documents have revealed.

The documents cast doubt on claims by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, on Sunday that cuts to the police were not to blame for rising violence.

The Home Office said it would not comment on leaked documents.

Rudd will on Monday launch a strategy aimed at tackling serious violent crime, which officials and ministers have been working on for months.

Any such strategy will be flawed if it does not take into account the harm caused by the Tory policy of cutting police numbers. And how can it, if the Home Secretary is determined that she hasn’t seen the report?

One person who has seen the report is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who commented on the situation in his speech launching the party’s London local elections campaign:

We always said cuts have consequences and now the Home Office’s own officials agree with us.

Todays leaked documents make a nonsense of the Tories’ repeated claims that their cuts to police numbers have had no effect.

You cannot protect local communities when you cut funding to local councils to such an extent they are unable to provide the essential youth service support that stops many young people being drawn into violent crime.

The Tory record on policing and crime is one of reckless failure. Plain and simple – you can’t have security on the cheap and cuts have consequences. Too many communities are living with those consequences.

But Ms Rudd has moved on. It seems she is now blaming local Police and Crime Commissioners:

In fact, it seems senior police officers and the London Police Commissioner had warned Ms Rudd about the logical result of her cuts:

What are we to conclude?

That Amber Rudd is, as she has been described, dangerously incompetent. Her claim that she has not seen a report that contradicts her position on police cuts is, as LabourList claims, “either incompetence or dishonest” – and neither is acceptable in a Minister of the Crown.

That Jeremy Corbyn has a much firmer grip on the situation than Ms Rudd.

That voters in London can indicate their dissatisfaction with the situation by voting Labour – and giving Ms Rudd and her Tory blunderers the kicking they deserve for placing the citizens of our capital city in danger.


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Jackass UK negotiators have just realised they can’t achieve Brexit in the transition period they’ve been offered

“Presidents Club? Never been there,” says David Davis, although his hand gestures tell a different story [Image: PA].

It is stupidity like this that undermines faith – not just in Brexit, which is a lost cause anyway, but in the Tory government and its advisors.

The whole kit and caboodle, as the saying goes.

The UK’s Brexit negotiators are considering asking the EU for a longer transition period than the one they have been offered, amid concerns it will not be long enough to prepare the country for exit.

The possibility of a longer transition comes amid increasing discontent from the Tory right about the period as an EU “vassal state”, and with negotiations on the issue set to start in earnest in the coming weeks.

A Brussels source told The Independent that British officials had asked about the feasibility of extending the period in a recent meeting, while UK diplomats admitted that it might need to stretch beyond the start of 2021 and would not rule out pushing for a later date in upcoming talks.

Source: UK negotiators consider asking Brussels for a longer Brexit transition period


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Lie after lie over sanctions and FoI: Duncan Smith’s head should roll

The inhumanity of Iain Duncan Smith: He is pictured laughing at the plight of a rape victim who, under his 'reforms', has to pay bedroom tax for the panic room she needs in order to be safe from her abusive, rapist ex-partner.

The inhumanity of Iain Duncan Smith: He is pictured laughing at the plight of a rape victim who, under his ‘reforms’, has to pay bedroom tax for the panic room she needs in order to be safe from her abusive, rapist ex-partner.

Iain Duncan Smith must resign after he disgraced himself yet again, with a leaflet containing fabricated comments from non-existent DWP benefit claimants, according to a leading Opposition MP.

Debbie Abrahams, who has been a leading light in the fight to force the Conservative Government to reveal the true number of people who have died following Duncan Smith’s “welfare reforms”, said the Work and Pensions secretary’s behaviour was a “disgrace” and his position was untenable.

But don’t take This Writer’s word for it – here’s Ms Abrahams herself (all boldings mine):

“As a member of the work and pensions select committee, I have called for Iain Duncan Smith to resign following revelations that his department created a leaflet about sanctions containing made-up quotes attributed to non-existent benefit claimants.

“I instigated an inquiry into the use of sanctions by the work and pensions committee, which reported in March this year, and I believe after being caught out so publicly it must be impossible for Iain Duncan Smith to continue as work and pensions secretary and he should do the honourable thing and resign.

“This is yet another example of not only his incompetence, but what can only be described as very shady and unscrupulous behaviour not befitting a Member of Parliament let alone a Secretary of State leading a Government Department.

“Once again, Duncan Smith is caught trying to paint a particular picture of social security claimants. He is a disgrace and should do the honourable thing and resign. When his own department have to resort to this sort of tactic, in a desperate attempt to make it appear as though the system is working, no-one can be left believing that his draconian social security sanctions regime is fit for purpose.

“Only Mr Duncan Smith seems to believe that unfair and inappropriate use of sanctions on vulnerable social security claimants is acceptable. And now he’s shown that he thinks it’s acceptable for his department to produce literature that is fabricated in a desperate attempt to make people believe his sanctions regime is working fairly.

“It beggars belief that David Cameron can, in the light of this embarrassing debacle, continue to back Mr Duncan Smith as a credible work and pensions secretary when he has presided over such a catalogue of errors.

“In the last few weeks alone, the independent Social Security Advisory Committee has produced a report which says that the Government’s sanctions regime should be given ‘an urgent and robust review’.

“And following the Government’s appeal against the Information Commissioner’s ruling compelling the Government to publish figures on the number of people on Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance who have died between November 2011 and May 2014, including those found fit for work, a Tribunal has now been set for November 10 to hear why Iain Duncan Smith has refused to publish these data.

“I will never forget the fact that not only did Iain Duncan Smith defy the Information Commissioner’s ruling to provide these data on deaths of people on social security, but that he stated to me, personally, in Parliament, it did not exist. But then, just two days later, the Prime Minister said to me, again in Parliament, the data would be published, only for the DWP’s appeal documents to defy him as well, stating publication was not in the public interest!

“The select committee inquiry which I instigated reported in March and the mountain of evidence that was put before the select committee by religious organisations, academics and charities, not to mention those actually affected by inappropriate sanctions themselves, pointed overwhelmingly to a system that is inhumane and deliberately created to skew unemployment figures.

“The sad truth is that Iain Duncan Smith is doing everything he can to cover up the mess he has created.

“This is a mess that is ruining innocent people’s lives and, as the evidence suggests, even killing some.

“The only credible reason he’s going to such lengths to hang on to his job is because he knows he has so much to hide.”

A petition on the Government website, calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Iain Duncan Smith and his removal from office, may be signed here.

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Gove is desperate to avoid fallout over free schools

Underqualified: This Labour Party campaign meme highlights the drawbacks of Michael Gove's foolish and expensive 'free school' experiment.

Underqualified: This Labour Party campaign meme highlights the drawbacks of Michael Gove’s foolish and expensive ‘free school’ experiment.

The country has been concentrating on government sleaze for the past week or so – and this is a mistake. We should also monitor government incompetence and thankfully Michael Gove is around to provide plenty of it.

He wants organisations that are part of his struggling ‘free schools’ pet project to receive special fast-track attention – to avoid the political embarrassment that would be caused by their failure.

Last year the project was rocked by the failure of the Al-Madinah Free School in Derby, and the resignations of unqualified head teachers at Pimlico Free School in London and Discovery School in Crawley. Vox Political discussed all three at the time.

The Discovery School was one of four that were declared inadequate by Ofsted and closed down at the end of March.

Last week, The Observer revealed that Gove wants to hush up any further damaging revelations by ensuring that problems are tackled before Ofsted can publicise them.

The article stated: “It suggests that party political considerations are now driving education policy a year ahead of the general election.”

Quite. It is also a sharp reminder of how far the Coalition government has deviated from its original claim, to be uniting “in the public interest”.

The plan adds extra pressure to the Education department, where morale has already plummetted due to Gove’s determination to employ his own advisors, to overrule the expert advice provided by civil servants in favour of ideologically-motivated dogma.

It also shows that Gove is giving preferential treatment to his pet project. State schools go into special measures after receiving a ruling from Ofsted that they are inadequate – and can remain there for more than a year.

More damaging still is the fact that many of the problems with free schools have nothing to do with education, but are organisational in origin. According to the article, these include: “Operating in temporary sites without a clear permanent home; new, inexperienced and often isolated trusts needing to upskill themselves to run a school for the first time; instability in principal appointments and senior leadership teams.”

So when you hear that your child’s school has been under-performing because it has been deprived of resources and support from the Department for Education, just remember that this has happened because we have an Education Secretary who is more concerned with hiding his own inadequacies – problems that could have been avoided if he had concentrated a little more on the details.

On the basis of this term work, Mr Gove, we’ll have to give you an ‘F’ – for ‘Fail’.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The DWP: Where incompetence is described as a ‘positive benefit outcome’

Good shot: Work and Pensions secretary Iain 'Returned to Unit' Smith takes delivery of the nation's verdict on his management of the benefits system. No wonder Britain is falling apart, if the entire Coalition government works on similar lines.

Good shot: Work and Pensions secretary Iain ‘Returned to Unit’ Smith takes delivery of the nation’s verdict on his management of the benefits system. No wonder Britain is falling apart, if the entire Coalition government works on similar lines.

The Department for Work and Pensions is now such a shambles it should be a national scandal.

Not only do its ministers try to deceive you about its purposes and successes (12,000 people did NOT sign off benefits because of the cap, for example, and they still won’t tell us how many people died in 2012 while going through the ESA assessment procedure), but ground-level workers are praised if inappropriate action on claims results in a sick or disabled person being refused benefit or their claim being shut down. This incompetence is described as a ‘positive benefit outcome’.

I write from experience – Mrs Mike appears to be one such ‘positive benefit outcome’, despite our best efforts to prevent this.

Let me tell you a tale. I shan’t go into all of Mrs M’s details as they’re not really necessary and some of them are disturbing; suffice it to say that she has multiple long-term conditions.

She was subjected to a Work Capability Assessment for ESA in July last year, and received notification dated July 17 that she had been put into the work-related activity group, commencing August 14. This meant she would have until August 13 this year to recover from conditions which have plagued her for more than a decade; a totally unrealistic target invented by people whose main aim is to sell bogus insurance policies (see previous articles on Unum).

Being in the WRAG means that you have to try to prepare for work, with guidance to help introduce you back into the job market. Mrs M waited very patiently to be contacted about this, and was eventually called in to the local Job Centre Plus in December last year – one-whole-third of the way through her claim period.

Arrangements were made for her to have a telephone interview with a representative from a company that provides help in getting people back to work, but there were more delays. When it finally happened, the lady on the line told me: “I’ve spoken to your partner and from what she tells me, we can’t do anything to help her. She’s not going to get better in the timeframe within which we work. I know people with fibromyalgia and that’s just not going to happen. I recommend that you appeal against the decision to put her in the work-related activity group… Ask for a review of the decision, with a view to going into the support group. Go back to her doctor and request reassessment.”

We sought advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau over the possibility of making an appeal, and it seemed that there were legitimate grounds for doing so – not just the word of the work programme provider (my understanding is that this is the occupation of the lady who phoned us) but also medical evidence that had come to light after the WCA. So, with CAB help, Mrs M put in her appeal in February. She has yet to receive a response from the Department for Work and Pensions.

In May, however, she did receive another claim form. I filled it out for her (writing for prolonged periods increases the pain) and we sent it off on May 17. There has been no acknowledgement of receipt and the DWP has never mentioned it since.

This is unsurprising as we have had no contact at all from the DWP, from the time we received that form until yesterday (August 19), when Mrs M telephoned the Job Centre to find out what’s going on. Inevitably, this led to the phone being handed to me. “Oh yes,” said the man on the end of the line. “This claim terminated on August 13.”

So it seems the DWP is now in the habit of closing claims without informing the claimants. (In fact this is the second time someone I know has experienced this impoliteness; it happened to someone else in March).

We are now unexpectedly having to deal with the loss from our household income of more than £110 per week – that’s nearly £6,000 per year. We had hoped to avoid the possibility of this happening by means of the appeal, but the gentleman at the Job Centre helped us out there as well: “Yes, an appeal has been logged.” I asked what we being done. “It doesn’t say.”

So nothing has been done, then.

This is a serious matter. Firstly, the decision after the WCA was incorrect – Mrs Mike should have been put in the support group but was put in the WRAG instead. This could be because assessors are on orders to put only around 12 or 13 per cent of claimants into the support group, whether their conditions demand it or not, on the orders of ministers at the DWP.

Then there’s the nonexistent handling of the appeal. The DWP seems to be pretending it hasn’t happened.

Then there’s the repeat ESA50 form in May. What happened to that?

And finally there’s the complete – and no doubt intentional – failure to notify Mrs M of the termination of her benefit, a termination that should not have taken place if the DWP had done its job properly.

Is this what happens when the government lays off more than 400,000 public sector workers – the system seizes up because nobody can do the job properly anymore?

Fortunately – and full credit to him for doing this – my Liberal Democrat MP tweeted me yesterday evening and offered to help, so I have provided him with the details and hopefully something will come from that. We have a little cash coming in and a few friends who can help, so we are not in dire financial straits yet.

What if we didn’t have these safety nets, though?

By now, all readers of this blog should be well aware of the widely-reported statistic claiming that, on average, 73 people die every week because of bad decisions by the DWP – they either become depressed and commit suicide or the strain of going through the process worsens their health problem, the problem the DWP considered too inconsequential to merit receipt of benefit, until it kills them.

That statistic comes from a DWP report released more than a year ago and is now out of date. I have been trying to secure the release of up-to-date numbers but ministers have done everything in their power to prevent this and the only reasonable conclusion is that the death toll is now far worse.

A Freedom of Information request earlier this year was refused on the grounds that it was ‘vexatious’ and a demand for an internal review has been met with stony silence for more than a month. Today I emailed ministers to ask when they were going to respond or if I should just proceed to the next stage, which is a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

So you see, the DWP is in a terrible, terrible mess of incompetence rewarded and extravagant claims that amount to poorly-executed attempts at distraction fraud.

What if this is a microcosm for the entire Coalition government? What will be the result?

A weakened Britain, that’s what.

This blog has said it before and will say it again: They would kill us and call it ‘help’.