Tag Archives: Matt Hancock

Will Nicola Sturgeon enjoy renewed popularity over WhatsApp descriptions of Tories?

Take pride in it: is Nicola Sturgeon brandishing the finger with which she texted the claim that Liz Truss was as “useful as a marzipan dildo” on WhatsApp? Sadly not.

This Writer never had much time for Nicola Sturgeon – until now. What a shame she’s being praised for something that isn’t true but is from a parody account.

The SNP politician was ordered to disclose the contents of WhatsApp messages she sent during the Covid-19 crisis. What she said about Boris Johnson was bad enough – but a parody ‘X’ account took the story, ran with it, and brought joy to the nation:

Why would anybody want her to apologise for saying these things? This Writer reckons that if Sturgeon really had said them, she should have had a medal!

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I’m stealing the description of Suella Braverman, by the way. It’s only her first initial and the name of the foreign politician whose politics seem to most closely resemble her own.

Sadly, @PoliticoForYou is a parody account and the story isn’t true – apart from what Sturgeon said about Boris Johnson.

So it’s still bad news for him, after he tried to tell the Covid Inquiry in December that he got on well with Sturgeon and they had a good relationship. This may have been true in their interactions, but clearly her own opinion of him wasn’t as he described.

More details of the real WhatsApp messages are available (in watered-down form) here on the BBC News website.


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Covid Inquiry: Matt Hancock wanted to personally decide who lived and died if NHS overwhelmed

Sneezy: Matt Hancock wanted the power of life and death over the proles if Covid-19 overwhelmed the NHS. You can bet he and his Tory mates would have been all right, then!

He really is as mad as a bag of cats (allegedly), isn’t he?

I wonder if he would have created another (illegal?) VIP lane for people to beg (or bid) for their lives?

Read:

A Whitehall battleplan on 12 February 2020, codenamed Operation Nimbus, set out a scenario in which the virus had claimed 840,000 lives in the UK by the middle of April.

Officials and ministers discussed the so-called process of “population triage”, involving decisions over how NHS treatment should be rationed when there are too many patients for hospitals to cope.

The then head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, revealed in his witness statement to Lady Hallett’s inquiry that Mr Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, wanted to take the decision rather than clinical staff on the frontline.

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Lord Stevens told the inquiry it was “highly undesirable” that this decision should be left to ministers.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt told the inquiry during an earlier session that he refused to “play God” in this scenario, halting a similar exercise in 2016 codenamed Cygnus because it was “quite traumatic”.

Interesting: Cygnus was the operation that revealed the UK would not have enough protective equipment to cope with a pandemic if one broke out, if This Writer recalls correctly – and Hunt, together with the rest of the Tory government of the day, did nothing about it.

If they had acted, events might have unfolded in a very different way when Covid-19 arrived.

Source: Covid Inquiry: Matt Hancock wanted to personally decide who lived and died if NHS overwhelmed


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Did Matt Hancock axe Fat Boris’s national anti-obesity fight after just one month?

Matt Hancock: the eyes are open but the brain is dead.

Apparently so.

Boris Johnson launched a new strategy to tackle obesity in the UK – claiming it was crucial in the fight against Covid-19 – only for Matt Hancock to close the organisation running it.

It was unlikely ever to come to anything, because the scheme was being run by Tories and they are ideologically opposed to changing the systemic poverty that forces people to buy unhealthy (but cheap) food.

But nobody expected Health Secretary Hancock to axe the organisation that was running it – Public Health England – while Johnson was on his holibobs in Scotland.

He has made no directions on how the initiative will proceed.

Hancock’s failure to realise that PHE has work other than the fight against Covid-19 signifies disastrous incompetence in a minister of the Crown.

And failure to acknowledge this and deliver an appropriate punishment – in this case, the removal of Hancock from ministerial duties – would signify disastrous incompetence in a Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is back from his holibobs now.

What’s he going to do?

Source: UK anti-obesity fight ‘at risk’ after Matt Hancock closes health agency | Obesity | The Guardian

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Covid-19: Tories admit their own incompetence as ‘test and trace’ app is unlawful

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader so it should be no surprise that his employees on the ‘track and trace’ programme have been publicising patients’ confidential information. It is a criminal offence and he should be punished by a judge. What do you think will happen?

Isn’t this criminal stupidity?

The Tories have been telling us their ‘test and trace’ app for finding people who’ve had Covid-19, in order to isolate those they’ve contacted, is vital to prevent the spread of the disease – and therefore stop unnecessary deaths.

But now we learn that it breaches privacy laws, with Sky News reporting that the programme’s staff have been sharing private information about patients on the social media.

What a Hobson’s Choice we’ve had – refuse to use the app and Tory twits like Matt Hancock accuse us of betraying the campaign against the virus; but if we do use it, our intimate personal information goes public!

It turns out that critics of the scheme, the Open Rights Group, were right and the government did not conduct a data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) which is required to ensure that breaches of patients’ information don’t take place.

But a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said there was “no evidence of data being used unlawfully” – and then clammed up when asked if a Sunday Times report that this is exactly what has happened was accurate.

The Open Rights Group reckons it has already seen evidence of confidential track and trace information being shared on social media – and This Writer is certainly more inclined to believe that organisation than a government that has built up a record of relentless incompetence.

Can anybody tell me a single thing the Tories have got right since December 13, 2019?

Of course, breach of Data Protection laws is a criminal offence and the person directly responsible for this one will be the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, one Matt Hancock.

How lucky he must feel, knowing that as a Tory minister he is above the law and the police wouldn’t touch him even if he committee murder on television.

Source: Coronavirus: Government admits its Test and Trace programme is unlawful | Science & Tech News | Sky News

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Court threat for Matt Hancock over whether ‘test and trace’ system keeps your personal information safe

Matt Hancock: like his boss Boris Johnson, he’s big on gestures but short on substance – and it seems he rushed his Covid-19 ‘test and trace’ system into operation without ensuring that it is entirely legal.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock could be dragged into court after the Tory government failed to show that its Covid-19 ‘test and trace’ system protects people’s personal information.

More than 150,000 people have had their personal information handled by the scheme since it was rushed into service on May 28, but the government has failed to conduct a risk assessment showing how these details will be protected from falling into the wrong hands.

This is required in accordance with a law that the Conservative government passed.

Now Matt Hancock has until July 8 to provide that information – or he will be brought to court:

Lawyers working on behalf of privacy and free speech organisation Open Rights Group (ORG) have issued health secretary Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) with a pre-action legal letter that says they have breached requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR by failing to properly conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for the whole Test and Trace system.

Test and Trace has been criticised for failing to reach a quarter of people who tested positive for Covid-19, a lack of staff training as thousands of people were initially employed, and the collapse of the NHS-developed contact tracing app. Similarly to Test and Trace, no DPIA was available before the app’s trial on the Isle of Wight started.

Source: Matt Hancock faces day in court over NHS Test and Trace privacy failings | WIRED UK

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‘Our plan is working’ says Hancock as thousands of NHS doctors plan to quit

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service.

Almost one in seven NHS doctors are planning to quit the service or retire when the current wave of Covid-19 is seen to have subsided, leaving a huge gap in care when the second wave rises.

Many more are planning to cut back the hours they work – and almost one-third are saying the four months of constant struggle to contain the virus has left them with mental health problems.

Meanwhile, the result of Brexit is that the UK will not be able to import medical help from abroad.

“Our plan is working,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

That can only be true if the plan is to ensure that many more English people die – probably over the coming winter. Will he try to hide the facts by claiming it’s the flu?

The NHS faces a possible exodus of doctors before the second wave of coronavirus arrives, a leader of the British Medical Association has warned – with Brexit making it harder to replace them.

A new survey of doctors found almost one in seven is planning to quit the NHS or retire when the current crisis subsides, with many more saying they aim to cut back on hours, and almost a third complaining of mental health problems related to four months of relentless struggle against Covid-19.

Speaking to The Independent, the BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said that a second coronavirus wave in the winter months could overwhelm the NHS with a “double whammy” of potential staff shortages combined with regular winter pressures and the massive backlog of work postponed during the pandemic.

Source: Coronavirus: NHS facing shortage of doctors before second wave arrives as thousands set to quit, warns medics union | The Independent

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Why are the Tories refusing to tell us how many people they are testing for Covid-19?

Matt Hancock: incomprehensible and incompetent.

You know it has to be a big fail when the Tories have spent more than a month adding to it, every day.

This story goes back to April 5, when Boris Johnson promised that 100,000 people would be tested for Covid-19 every day by the end of the month.

On April 30, the Tories duly lied to the nation – and their claim was instantly debunked by, among others, This Site. The claim was that nearly 130,000 tests were carried out; in fact the total was only slightly more than 70,000, if I recall correctly.

The rest were tests that had been sent out – but the government had no idea whether they had actually been used.

And of course there is a huge difference between the number of tests that were carried – and/or sent – out, and the number of people who have been tested.

The Tories continued failing to meet their target for a further fortnight, then gave up completely and simply resorted to saying the figures were “unavailable” – every day for a month.

Then today – June 30 – Matt Hancock appeared on the BBC’s Breakfast News, where he gave the following incomprehensible explanation for failing to provide the facts:

Gobbledygook!

And he was called out on it by Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, a show that has been boycotted by Tory politicians for many weeks now, because they are afraid they will be asked awkward questions.

That’s an attitude that opens them up to awkward criticisms instead, viz.:

At the end of the day, we’re no wiser about the number of tests being carried out or what the results may mean.

We can be sure of one thing, though:

The UK’s Conservative government is utterly incompetent.

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Leicester’s local lockdown was triggered by Tory rush to reopen schools

Closed: Leicester has gone back into hard lockdown after the Tory decision to reopen schools gave it the highest Covid-19 spike in the UK.

What a silly gang of Tories!

Matt Hancock has had to humiliate himself – and his government – by admitting that the spike in Covid-19 cases that triggered a decision to put Leicester back in lockdown was a result of the Tory decision to reopen schools.

In their haste to get adults back to work by removing their need to stay at home and care for their children, the Tories have worsened the situation.

We should keep a close eye on Leicester’s death statistics, as any that happen as a result of this spike will be the responsibility of Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson and Matt Hancock and they should be punished for them.

Here’s a BBC report:

Stricter lockdown measures have been announced in Leicester because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the city.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said non-essential shops will shut on Tuesday, and schools will close for most pupils on Thursday.

The loosening of restrictions for pubs and restaurants will also not be taking place in the city on Saturday.

Mr Hancock said Leicester accounted for “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”.

He said the decision to close non-essential retail was based on clinical advice, and added that “children had been particularly impacted” by the local outbreak.

Five Leicester schools have closed since the beginning of June because of the number of coronavirus cases.

Let’s add some flesh to those bare bones:

The comment about the Labour Right refers to the fact that Keir Starmer has withdrawn any opposition to the reopening of schools in England after sacking former shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey. Boris Johnson’s joyful response was to threaten to fine anybody who withholds their children from school when term starts in September.

Of course the restoration of the lockdown has given humorists an opportunity to take some more shots at Dominic Cummings – and quite right too – so we’re seeing lots of this sort of thing, especially after Boris Johnson threatened to take action against people trying to leave Leicester by road:

https://twitter.com/cmpd_date/status/1277865604217810945

Can anyone deny the validity of this assertion?

It all boils down to this:

Source: Leicester lockdown tightened as coronavirus cases rise – BBC News

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Fear over Asda bacon after Covid-19 outbreak confirmed in Yorkshire meat factory

Matt Hancock: for once he might actually be providing us with facts.

Bacon rashers and joints sold to Asda may have been contaminated with Covid-19 after an outbreak was discovered at a Yorkshire meat factory.

Mobile testing tents have been set up outside Kober Ltd near Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, which supplies Asda.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the information at the daily Covid-19 briefing on Thursday (June 18).

He has spouted a lot of nonsense over the past few weeks, but it seems likely we can take this information as accurate, because it indicates an increased threat of Covid-19 – and he is usually desperate to reassure us that the threat is reducing.

Hopefully this has been caught before anything reached the food chain – but let’s all wait and see, shall we?

Source: Coronavirus outbreak confirmed in Yorkshire meat factory that supplies Asda – Mirror Online

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Humiliation for Hancock as Apple denies talking with Tories over contact tracing app

Matt Hancock: he has a lot of bare-faced cheek.

How did Matt Hancock think he would get away with this one?

It seems he has tried to hide the failure of the Tory government’s attempt to create a Covid-19 contact tracing app for mobile phones by saying the government was merging its app with one already created by Apple and Google.

Apple has said it is unaware of any such agreement and the government has not held any discussions with the firm.

In other words: Hancock was lying.

That’s the only logical conclusion. Right?

Apple says it did not know the UK was working on a “hybrid” version of the NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app using tech it developed with Google.

The firm took the unusual step of saying it was also unaware of an issue regarding distance-measuring, which was flagged by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Thursday’s daily briefing.

“We’ve agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together,” Mr Hancock said.

However, Apple said: “We don’t know what they mean by this hybrid model. They haven’t spoken to us about it.”

Apple said it was “difficult to understand” the claims.

Downing Street said the government had “worked closely with Apple and Google”.

In tests carried out in the UK, there were occasions when software tools developed by Apple and Google could not differentiate between a phone in a user’s pocket 1m (3.3ft) away and a phone in a user’s hand 3m (9.8ft) away.

During the briefing, Mr Hancock said: “Measuring distance is clearly mission critical to any contact-tracing app.”

However, speaking to the Times, Apple said: “It is difficult to understand what these claims are as they haven’t spoken to us.”

It gets worse. The government doubled down on its claim, with disastrous consequences:

On Friday, the Department of Health said the NHS’s digital innovation unit had indeed discussed its ambitions with Apple.

A Downing Street spokesman said the government continued to work closely with both Apple and Google on the app, and had done so since development began.

“We’ve agreed with them to take forward our work on estimating distance through the app that we’ve developed and work to incorporate that into their app,” he said.

Apple and Google have not created an app.

It’s not irredeemable for the Tories.

Apple is a commercial firm and will undoubtedly be happy to enter a commercial agreement with the UK government to create the track-and-trace system the Tories want.

The big question is whether this new system will have the facility to download people’s private information and make it available to other commercial operators, in the way the Tories’ – failed – app did.

Source: Apple ‘not told’ about UK’s latest app plans – BBC News

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