Tag Archives: Media

£2.6 million was spent on Downing Street TV studio for nothing as media briefings scrapped

The briefest of briefing rooms: your local parish council could have done a better job, and cheaper, but Boris Johnson gave the contract to a company based in a hostile state. Now it is being withdrawn from service. How many times was it used?

Boris Johnson has scrapped plans for White House-style press briefings from a new £2.6 million TV studio in Downing Street – meaning he spent all that public money for nothing.

Apparently the room will be used for internal government briefings by Johnson and his ministers instead. They could do that in any ordinary Whitehall office.

Most of us have been doing much the same from our own homes, using Zoom, Skype, or even Facebook Messenger.

The decision confirms what This Writer believed – that this was nothing but another hugely expensive vanity project for Johnson.

His overspending on fripperies like this, described by some as “spaffing cash up the wall”, has brought a new meaning to the phrase “quantitative easing” (which is what the Bank of England has been having to do in order to allow the nation to cover the cost).

Johnson was shamed into admitting the existence of the studio in February, after it was reported on the social media that, after the huge expense, the space was going unused.

Last month he announced that he would be using the studio after all – and we all warned that he doesn’t have the personality to pull it off.

And then we discovered that the studio had been fitted out by a tech firm based in Russia. Who knows what surveillance equipment was installed there?

(I suppose we’ll find out soon enough, if Johnson really intends to have private briefings there instead of public, press affairs; any really embarrassing secrets will soon get out if the place is full of bugs.)

The whole sorry saga has been a national embarrassment.

Our man-child of a prime minister wanted to play with a new toy that he thought would make him look good – and has wound up looking like a spoilt brat squatting in his own mess.

Source: Downing Street scraps plans for White House-style press briefings – BBC News

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Chauvin guilty of George Floyd murder – and what it means for people in the UK

Derek Chauvin: this image was taken from video footage of him choking George Floyd to death by kneeling on his throat for nine minutes.

A policeman from the United States has been found guilty of all charges related to the murder of African-American George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced and could spend decades in jail.

The death of Mr Floyd sparked an international wave of protest that resulted in multiple mass “Black Lives Matter” protests here in the United Kingdom and the toppling of statues celebrating slavers – like that of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But here’s the reason the verdict matters directly to people here in the UK:

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

If members of the public hadn’t taken video of Chauvin choking Mr Floyd to death, it is almost certain that Chauvin would have been able to avoid any charges at all; it would have been the word of a few black people against that of a police officer.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, a police union – the Metropolitan Police Federation – has been campaigning to prevent what it calls “trial by social media”.

These people mean the practice of posting video evidence of police misdeeds on Facebook and (particularly) Twitter.

I wrote about this less than a week ago. At that time, I quoted this tweet –

– and added:

“Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

“1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

“2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

“If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

“So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

“But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.”

Well, I reckon they’re going to have all the fun taken out of it now.

Because, after the Chauvin verdict, nobody will have the nerve to suggest banning footage of police brutality from the social media.

Source: George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder – BBC News

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Met police want to stop social media sharing of rogue police cracking heads

Police violence: it seems our law guardians are upset at being filmed attacking members of the public, with the images subsequently going on social media. Simple solution: don’t commit violent attacks on members of the public.

Apparently breaking the heads of members of the public isn’t such fun when you can be identified and shamed on the social media.

Of course that’s not what the Metropolitan Police Federation is saying. Its spokespeople call it “trial by social media” and say it should be banned.

They would, wouldn’t they?

They’re justifying their demand by pointing to verdicts of investigations into police conduct that have resulted in no action being taken.

But doesn’t that just raise questions about the way the police are policed?

Doesn’t it give us cause to question what police need to do before they are penalised for the outrageous behaviour they have been caught doing on camera?

This Writer has seen a woman being punched in the face by a policeman, her head snapping back almost into the camera taking the footage.

We all saw the police men practically stripping a female protester at a demonstration in Manchester. Why were they doing that and when will they be punished for it?

We’ve all seen footage of police harassing people from ethnic minorities, for no readily-apparent reason.

The MetFed wants those videos to be banned – and I don’t think it’s because there is no case to be answered.

I think it is because the MetFed doesn’t want to be embarrassed by the behaviour of its own people.

And what about this:

Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.

Source: Met Fed calls on chiefs to end trial by media after IOPC verdict | UK Police News – Police Oracle

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A nation reacts to the death of the Duke – with dazzling hypocrisy

Prince Philip: whatever we may have thought of him, the hypocrisy with which his death is being handled is due to the government and the media.

Is anyone else absolutely sickened by the hypocrisy of the UK Establishment following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, or am I the only one?

I have already mentioned on Twitter the fact that Prince Philip, as (originally) a refugee who came to the UK from (originally) Greece, enjoyed an entirely different reception from other people who have came here from a foreign country under similar circumstances but with less impressive pedigrees.

I found it crushingly depressing that the nation was expected to stop everything to mourn the death of a man from such a background who had enjoyed extreme privilege, while at the same time the government was reopening a concentration camp for people whose stories aren’t significantly different from his.

Not only that, but I know I’m not the only one to notice that people have congregated in their thousands in central London to pay their respects – many of them disregarding social distancing rules completely…

… and the police have ignored it altogether.

Doubtless some of you will suggest that I shouldn’t be complaining; it’s better than having thousands of people clubbed over the head like seals, right?

But there’s a political message here: people mourning the passing of one of their “betters” is fine; protesting against the removal of their own rights will be met with blunt force.

Finally, isn’t it strange that all the TV channels and other mainstream media shut down all their programming in favour of solemn coverage of the passing of a man who had been the butt of ridicule for many years due to offensive comments he made, apparently without thinking.

These included telling European students in China, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll go slit-eyed.”

He allegedly insulted deaf children at a pop concert in Wales by saying, “No wonder you are deaf listening to this row.”

And when he and the Queen met Stephen Menary, an army cadet blinded by a Real IRA bomb, and the Queen enquired how much sight Mr Menary retained, he said: “Not a lot, judging by the tie he’s wearing.”

These and other incidents have been met with denials – either claims that they didn’t happen, that his intentions were misinterpreted, or that there was no harm done.

But it is hypocritical for the same media that published such reports – and criticism – to lead the solemnities at the time of his death.

It is hypocritical for the police to treat mourners who ignore social distancing rules differently from protesters.

And it is highly hypocritical for the Establishment to demand that we pay him the kind of respects we’ve seen, when people whose only difference from him is an accident of birth are being treated with no respect at all.

Source: Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announces – BBC News

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Why are we paying hundreds of pounds to help Matt Hancock improve his social media profile?

Taking our cash: Matt Hancock claimed public money to boost his own social media profile.

Death ‘Health’ Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed nearly £1,000 of public money for software from a firm that claims to help boost social media profiles.

It seems he wanted to use the software from Sprout Social to improve his image on the internet (fat chance).

I don’t know about you, but I object to public money being used to “big up” these Tory maniacs. Hancock helped cause more than 150,000 unnecessary deaths (so far) in the Covid pandemic.

A spokesperson for Matt Hancock said: “Mr Hancock needs to communicate with his constituents as effectively as possible, including on social media. All expenditure is within the rules and transparently declared.”

Oh, really?

Then why have we not been told which social media accounts have actually benefited (if that’s the word) from this software?

Until we know that, we can only believe that Hancock is using the nation’s cash for his own personal profit. And, last time I checked, that definitely wasn’t “within the rules”.

Source: Matt Hancock claims hundreds on expenses for social media management platform | indy100

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The Bristol riot – and how the media gaslight people into believing that protesters are perpetrators

It’s hard to tell which was the worst disgrace – the way the Bristol protest against an unjust piece of legislation was perverted into a riot or the way the media manipulated the story to blame the protesters.

I touched on this in my article about those events, much of which was based on what I saw on the social media. But it seems I was at least mostly right.

This means it is possible to reverse-engineer the ‘toolkit’ used by the mass media to convince us that these events were the opposite of what we have seen.

I’m grateful that I don’t even have to do much work on it – somebody has already done it.

(By the way, the author of the article is an anarchist. This means he’s someone who believes we should all take control of our own political lives and not hand that control over to members of political parties who are likely to be corrupt – and not someone who wants to reduce the nation to lawlessness, as certain media elements would like you to think. See how this works?)

So how do the media gaslight you into believing the police are the victims of a riot they have instigated? Let’s see…

First the press [respond] to the attack … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…) Whilst not technically a lie, the intention here is to avoid blaming the police, or to imply that the protesters were at fault. Of course had the protesters actually instigated the violence, the early reports would say exactly that, ‘crowds attack police’.

The article notes that reports use emotive language to describe members of the crowd, no matter what the event may be. So attendees at the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common were “protesters”:

People attending a vigil don’t sound very threatening or unlawful. Vigil invokes images of flowers, grief stricken speeches, candles, sadness. An accurate description of what had taken place on Clapham Common, but not the most useful if you want to paint the police positively. So many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’. Politicians, such as home secretary Priti Patel were quick to chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’ at an ‘unlawful gathering’, and the press dutifully repeated these claims, often uncritically.

You’ve seen it; you know it’s what they do.

Next are the comments:

First they will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say.

In the case of the Bristol protest, it was 20. I even commented on it in a tweet:

And how did they get their injuries?

Were they knocked out by an enraged protester with a bat… or did they feel faint from dehydration, trip over and crack a rib on a shield, catch their hand in a car door or break a finger bashing someone over the head?

Two more elements to take from the tweet: we were told that there had been arrests, and this immediately implies crime – or at the very least, the suspicion of crime.

And then there’s the fact that we never get statistics showing injuries among the crowd:

It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Another element is the othering of the crowd:

They’ll agree most of the thousands of people present were peaceful, support the cause, and shouldn’t have been attacked by the police. Then they will, in hushed tones, point out that there were a minority of THOSE PEOPLE present.

THOSE PEOPLE are, of course, the bogeypeople of the day: Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, ‘hardcore feminists’.

Labelling these people means they are othered – they aren’t us, they’re them – and this means they can be demonised:

They weren’t people like you and me, people rightly concerned about violence against women, and about police over reach. They were…

… well, they were whoever the media (and their political masters) want us to believe is “the enemy” of the day.

You will also see attempts to blame the victims of police violence:

They will talk about how the protesters stared shouting when police marched in.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

How there were swear words on placards.

“ACAB” – meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”. So, not even swear words on placards – just an acronym of which a swear word is a part. Politicians attacked protesters who used these at Westminster (protesting against what happened on Clapham Common) and Bristol.

“#KillTheBill” could be seen as brutally provocative – suggesting that we should murder police officers, perhaps?

How the event was an ‘unlawful gathering’.

Clapham Common and Bristol, again.

They will under no circumstances admit that the police may have escalated a calm situation or otherwise acted to make things worse.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

In the past police and press have even gone as far as suggesting police were right to assault a man in a wheelchair for rolling towards them ‘aggressively‘.

After that, the article states, we get the opinion pieces that throw away the ambiguous language and push the narrative on us wholeheartedly. I’m waiting for the headline Feminazis hijacked protest to castrate cops.

(That is one of the claims about Bristol, by the way:)

Dogs were repeatedly [deployed] throughout the night [despite] how dangerous that is for the protesters, for the dogs, and even for the police, at least one of whom very nearly got castrated by his charge.

Of course, it’s all very well for me (or a member of the Anarchist Federation) to say this happens. Can we see actual evidence of it?

Yes. Yes, we can:

The headline is Demonstrators against policing bill class with officers in Bristol. Almost exactly “clashes between protesters and police”, wouldn’t you say?

The BBC report on which I based my previous article is riddled with examples of the techniques listed above. Passive voice:

Protesters clashed with officers

Arrests and police injuries:

Eight people have already been arrested after 21 officers were injured.

(Clearly the report has been updated with an extra arrest.)

Othering:

Home Secretary Priti Patel accused some protesters of “thuggery”

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the protest had been “hijacked by extremists”

Victim-blaming:

demonstrators scaled the station, threw fireworks into the crowd and daubed graffiti on the walls.

At times there were as few as 50 police officers, facing 100 or more violent protesters.

Denial that the police escalated an otherwise calm situation:

Horses and dogs were used to great effect, but their numbers have been cut in the last decade.

Let’s just remind ourselves of what happened, from eyewitness accounts:

Police had a choice, line up defensively by their station perhaps, even pull back a little, or escalate and create a dangerous and increasingly violent situation. They chose the latter, and sent in the dogs, literally in the case of the canine units who would soon deploy, and metaphorically in the case of the human officers who baton charged the crowd, striking at the heads of those standing, kicking folks on the floor, and even hitting a young woman sat on the floor hands raised telling them this was a peaceful protest. [Afed article]

During the chaos someone let off a few fireworks in the crowd. Potentially dangerous, but less dangerous than those police dogs who did get taken away at this point, spooked by the loud noises (its unclear if this was deliberate). [Afed again]

They horse charged people who were sitting down peacefully and then there was a w***er with a baton randomly hitting people and things escalated from there. I was watching the live feed for most of the event. [Annabella, Vox Political commenter]

You see how it works?

Well, now you know how it works, and you’ll be able to identify it when they do it again.

Source: What actually Happened in Bristol – and How a Narrative is Built

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£2.6 million Downing Street briefing room was built by Russians. Not ‘very sensible’!

The new government media briefing room: your local parish council could have done a better job, and cheaper, but Boris Johnson gave the contract to a company based in a hostile state.

After This Site’s article yesterday showing that Boris Johnson is trying to hide the idiocy of his decisions by claiming they are “very sensible”, this:

His government paid £2.6 million to a Russian company for construction of the new media briefing room – in Downing Street, the heart of the UK government.

Despite being sued for unlawfully withholding details of contracts, the Tory government has refused to say whether the work was put out to competitive tender. It should have been, because the contract was not awarded as part of an emergency.

In fact, no details of the contract with Russian-owned Megahertz have been published.

Megahertz carried out the main work on the project, including installing computers, cameras, microphones and a control desk. Its owner Okno-TV has previously carried out similar technical work for Russian state-controlled broadcasters Russia Today, Channel One, and Public Television of Russia.

It has not been suggested that the company is influenced by the Russian government, but the question has to be asked:

Why did Boris Johnson hire a company from a country that has been designated a “hostile state” to build a communications hub for the UK government?

It’s a security nightmare.

And, after the Salisbury poisonings, a public relations disaster.

Worse still, the briefing room itself looks amateurish.

Advance photos of the space, released before it goes into daily use, show a layout that could have been put together at a village hall, with a central podium backed by two Union flags and a TV screen on one side facing rows of the kind of chairs you see stacked at the side of your local meeting-room.

It doesn’t look like a £2.6m facility. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t look like it cost £2,000.

Admittedly, the broadcasting equipment was probably expensive. But, coming from a Russian firm, who knows what might be included in it, alongside what Johnson asked for?

The work also comes after a Tory government had to end the involvement of Chinese firm Huawei in the rollout of 5G telecommunications in the UK.

So This Writer is in a rare position of agreement with Labour’s Chris Bryant, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary group on Russia, who said,

What shocks me most is that the Johnson government seems to have learnt nothing about the involvement in sensitive UK projects of companies with [links] to autocratic regimes, whether in Russia or in China.

Fundamental to the whole issue, of course, is the fact that Johnson spaffed this cash to Russia while do the dirty on nurses by giving them a pay cut.

It is clear that Johnson’s claim that he could not afford to pay any more to the people who saved so many from Covid-19 is bunkum; he’s got money to burn.

The problem is that his priorities are wrong.

Source: Exclusive: Russian-Owned Firm Played Key Role In Downing Street Media Refit | HuffPost UK

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Mainstream media finally notice nurse strike threat – after being prompted by This Site?


Isn’t it odd that the BBC only realised that nurses were threatening to go on strike over low pay after Vox Political ran a story on it?

I published my piece yesterday lunchtime (March 4) and the BBC came out with its story (link below) just before midnight.

I’m not going to make extravagant claims about being first with the news because I had found the story on the website Nursing Notes, where it had been published on March 3.

It had taken the BBC at least a day and a half to realise this was a major news story (it was the lead on the Corporation’s politics page when it was published).

Would the BBC ever have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t picked it up and published it on my little social media site?

I don’t know. The implications for news reporting in the UK if the answer is “no” are terrifying.

The message for you is simple: don’t rely on the BBC and the other mainstream media giants for your news because you won’t get it.

All you’ll get is what has been passed as fit for you to be spoonfed, plus whatever media bosses realise has gained traction elsewhere and can’t be ignored.

If you want to know what’s really going on, come to This Site – and the others like it.

Source: Nurses’ union anger over ‘pitiful’ 1% NHS pay rise – BBC News

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Schoolkids know the score: reopening all schools in England will infect the nation with Covid-19

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. Now he is planning to do it all again, with infection rates nearly seven times higher than when this image was made.

Boris Johnson loves announcing big plans without giving us the facts and figures behind them, and he has done it again with school reopening.

How humiliating for him that it has been up to school pupil Jamal Elaheebocus to explain that when schools were recklessly reopened in June last year, one in 1,100 people were infected with Covid-19. When they were recklessly reopened in September, this had fallen to one in 2,000.

In mid-February, the infection rate was one in 115 people. It is hoped this will have fallen to one in 300 but that is nearly seven times more than in September last year – and look how that turned out!

Jamal reminds us of a few more uncomfortable truths:

the prevalence of the virus in communities remains high. As Johnson himself admitted on January 4, schools are vectors of transmission.

To any of us working or studying in schools, the reasons why schools are hotspots for infection are obvious.

Fitting thirty students and a teacher in a classroom makes social distancing impossible, overcrowded buildings means that several year groups who are separate bubbles then mix together.

Students are then packed on buses and trains to get home, spreading infection not only among themselves but among the wider public as well.

The latest data from Imperial’s React programme showed that 5 to 12 year olds had the second highest infection rate of any age group. Given this, there is no doubt that schools will increase the infection rate again. The difference this time is that infection rates will be much higher.

While the vaccine may help limit the rise in infection to an extent, infection rates will undoubtedly increase. This is a reckless gamble just to get children into schools for three weeks before Easter holidays.

Yes.

So why is Johnson doing it?

This was inevitable, thanks to the pressure from the mainstream media and Keir Starmer.

How low Labour has sunk! Its leader is now counted among those responsible for inflicting an inevitable increase in Covid-19 infections on the UK – yet again. People will die because Starmer did this.

Yes, some of the arguments in favour of re-opening schools have influence – but only because prolonged closures have placed pupils at the mercy of the Tories’ neoliberal system – one that Starmer wholeheartedly supports.

The combined incompetence of the government and the cruelty of the neoliberal system has meant many kids have missed out on free school meals, families are struggling to cope in overcrowded homes and kids have not been able to access online learning because of lack of access to a laptop or good broadband.

Lockdown has been made so difficult for school pupils because of the government’s decision to continue to punish the poorest in society. It is a disgrace that the Tories and the right-wing media are attempting to manipulate the stress and hardship and use it to back up their reckless campaign to open up society and let the virus run rampage.

It is a disgrace.

And the Tories’ adherence to the neoliberal system that demands minimal investment for maximum return (to the very, very rich) means that the reopening will be done on the cheap.

Jamal proposes a series of measures to make schools safe – or at least safer. None of them have been supported – or even mentioned – by Boris Johnson because they cost money.

Teachers should be prioritised for the vaccine since they will be mixing with such a large number of people. This should have been done months ago and as more and more of the clinically vulnerable and elderly are vaccinated, there is no reason not to now prioritise teachers.

There should also be plans to repurpose public buildings as classrooms or put money into new buildings on school sites to facilitate social distancing in classrooms and allow for proper separation of year group bubbles.

Supply teachers and newly-qualified teachers who are not employed can be utilised to allow for smaller class sizes and more social distancing.

The vaccine is not the cure-all that Johnson and his cronies have claimed. It wont protect you as fully as you think, and it won’t protect as many people as you think.

And, of course, it has only been applied to a minority of the population – on a first-dose basis.

How sad that Johnson is so keen to prolong the UK’s Covid-19 agony, just to please his backbenchers, the baying hounds of the mass media… and Keir Starmer.

Source: A school student speaks: 8 March ‘big bang’ reopening just isn’t safe – Counterfire

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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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