Tag Archives: test

Corruption: Tories employ firm involved in ‘Test and Trace’ fiasco – to rig public inquiry into it?

Tory corruption never ends; now they are trying to rig the findings of the forthcoming public inquiry into the mishandling of Test and Trace.

Government outsourcing firm Deloitte has been hired by the Conservative government to prepare a “strategy” for “evidence generation requirements” of the public inquiry into the fiasco.

But Deloitte was involved in Test and Trace. The firm was awarded huge government contracts worth almost £300 million. Consultants were paid £6,000 per day – apparently to do very little – and the company charged the government £1 million per day in fees.

It therefore has a considerable interest in ensuring that the Test and Trace system brought in by the Tory government receives a clean bill of health – even though it was an unmitigated disaster.

Fortunately, Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner is doing her job (unlike her boss Keir Starmer) and has written to Steve Barclay, Tory Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (who, one presumes, commissioned Deloitte to carry out the inquiry work), demanding answers.

As she points out in her letter, “The mismanagement, waste and failure of Test and Trace is well-documented. Up to £37 billion of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on a system that did not control infections and did not prevent future lockdowns.

“[Deloitte] was at the heart of Test and Trace’s operations, and therefore the failure of Test and Trace. It is clearly a conflict of interest for Deloitte to be awarded this contract.”

Here’s her tweet, publishing the letter to the world:

No matter what Barclay may say about Test and Trace (he’ll probably try to defend it), the central point of the letter is absolutely correct: as a contractor involved in Test and Trace, Deloitte should not have been even considered for a role in the inquiry.

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Tory corruption: North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson REPEATEDLY boosted companies that employed him

Master and servant: Owen Paterson with his boss, Peter Fitzgerald of Randox. Funny that… wasn’t Paterson supposed to be working for the people of North Shropshire?

North Shropshire’s Tory MP Owen Paterson has turned out to be as corrupt as they come – using his position as a public representative to boost the private interests of two companies. And it seems thousands of people may have died as a result.

Paterson is set to be punished for corruptly using his Parliamentary position to win contracts for two companies that employ him.

Yes, it is corruption. Yes, it is against Parliamentary rules. He should be booted out of the Palace of Westminster and told never to come back. In a proper, working democracy he would be arrested and sent to prison.

Would you like to know what will actually happen?

He’ll be suspended from Parliament for 30 working days.

That’s right – he gets a month’s extra holiday.

Here’s the report on Sky News:

And here’s the BBC:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone opened an investigation into the MP following accusations he had lobbied on behalf of two companies who employed him.

Her report said he was a paid consultant to Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods and had made approaches to the Food Standards Agency and Department for International Development ministers about the companies.

The commissioner also found Mr Paterson had breached the MPs’ code of conduct by using his parliamentary office on 25 occasions for business meetings with clients between October 2016 and February 2020 and in sending two letters relating to business interests on House of Commons headed notepaper.

The report noted that there was no immediate financial benefit secured by the two companies-

Oh, really?

That would be Randox Health. Perhaps the Commissioner didn’t notice this significant fact because her report only goes as far as February 2020.

Randox was awarded its £133 million contract in March 2020 – and, yes, it was a closed process – unadvertised and with no other companies being asked to bid.

A month later, Paterson was a party to a call between Randox and James Bethell, then the Tory minister responsible for Covid-19 testing supplies.

Randox was hired to supply 2.7 million testing kits – but 750,000 of them were withdrawn after spot checks in July found that some of the kits, supplied by a Chinese manufacturer but sent out by Randox, were not sterile and could therefore be contaminated.

The failure delayed plans to provide regular testing for English care home residents and staff. We later discovered that Tory government failures to protect care homes resulted in around 30,000 unnecessary deaths.

But that was no concern for Randox – its contract was extended for a further six months in October last year. Again, the process was closed – unadvertised, with no other companies permitted to bid.

Much of this information may be confirmed by reading this Guardian article.

In fact, it should have been to safeguard the health of the people of the UK – especially, in this case, care home residents and staff. Instead, thousands died – possibly because he vouched for a company that provided substandard testing kits.

And his punishment is a 30-day holiday.

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Cognitive dissonance: Javid’s indifference heralds new UK Covid catastrophe

The caseload and the culprit: every other nation now has far fewer Covid-19 cases because they don’t have a selfish and incompetent government led by selfish incompetent Boris Johnson.

This Writer took a Covid-19 test today. The result was negative, you’ll be pleased to hear.

No, nobody passed on the virus at the successful Festival of Resistance at which I spoke over the weekend.

While I had been there, Mrs Mike had attended a gathering to celebrate her best friend’s granddaughter’s 16th birthday. The day after, the girl’s stepfather tested positive.

Mrs Mike had not been near him but she took a test on Monday, along with her friend. Both came out negative – and this was good, because we were due to attend the funeral of Mrs Mike’s beloved grandfather on Wednesday (yesterday) and she would have been devastated to miss it.

So we attended the event, along with many others (he had been 99 years old and a pillar of the Royal British Legion), and it was only when we were driving back from the crematorium that Mrs Mike received a message from her best friend, that she had taken a second test and it had come out positive.

Imagine the effect on Mrs Mike, who had just attended such a large event, full of senior citizens who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 – and alongside her daughter, who is pregnant. We all wore masks at the ceremonies, but not at the social event between the service and the cremation; and not in the car with my stepdaughter and her fiance, or in their house afterwards.

It is therefore a great relief that neither of us have the virus and could not have passed it on.

Shall we discuss the press conference by that utter maniac Sajid Javid now, in this context?

The day after the official figure – of deaths within 28 days of a positive test – hit 223, its highest level since March, and 43,738 daily cases – which is around the current level of nearly 50k per day – he said infections could more than double to 100,000 per day during the winter.

That isn’t news; we’ve been hearing it since late summer. The tragedy is that Javid isn’t interested in doing anything about it.

He won’t re-impose restrictions or lockdowns. He says the precautions people take are for them to judge – but my own experience over the last few days shows that people simply are not good judges in that respect.

If Javid expects infections to more-than-double, then it is reasonable to believe he has come to the same conclusion.

Why doesn’t he re-introduce social distancing rules, or even lockdowns, then? He doesn’t care.

His attitude is that his donors have waiting long enough and now they want to start making money again. If people die… too bad.

Of course, some people have done very well out of our suffering, let’s not forget:

It’s a shocking dereliction of duty by a UK Health Secretary. No doubt he will surround himself with excuses, and with friends in the Tories’ client media to mouth them, but that won’t change the evidence.

I note what he said about people attending parties – but it simply isn’t realistic. People aren’t going to wear masks at such events because they are there specifically to get closer to their friends and loved ones and masks get in the way. It is his job to ensure that people don’t need to – and he simply isn’t doing it.

Instead, he lied that we are closer to normal than we were a few months ago…

He said he has secured hundreds of thousands of doses of new antivirals – great! But the UK has a population of 68 million. Who will get those drugs first?

Four million people have had booster injections of Covid-19 vaccines, he said. Why so few?

UK Health Security Agency chief executive Jenny Harries said the number of deaths was moving in the “wrong direction” – which is a curious choice of words. The fact that, after more than a year and a half, there are any deaths at all shows that the UK government’s Covid-19 policy as a whole has been moving in the wrong direction since the start.

And she has contributed to this, of course:

Javid said it was still his belief that people in the UK should “learn to live with the virus”. Like MPs will have to, after their disgraceful display of masklessness at Prime Minister’s Questions?

(Obviously I was at the funeral and didn’t see PMQs. If you did, could you see Javid in the Chamber with his mask on?)

How strange that nobody in the mass media has bothered to mention this point. Have they been told not to?

He said pressure on the NHS was not “unsustainable” – but this is nonsense; he had to call in the Armed Forces to help cope:

His words were also directly contradicted by the National Medical Director of England, Stephen Powis:

And he said contingency measures are in place if the situation becomes “more challenging” – but are not needed yet.

If not now – when? The UK has the highest infection rate, the highest death rate, and the worst government response of any nation in the world! Deaths are at 1,000 per week and have been for months – that’s equivalent to 50,000 per year. The current infection rate means 2.6 million people are likely to contract the virus per year, increasing to a possible 5.2 million – and Javid is happy with that.

That is not the attitude of a Health Secretary but of a homicidal maniac.

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Government will relieve HGV driver shortage by removing ‘reversing’ element. Idiotic

Tempting fate: this is what happened when an HGV driver tried reversing in a Welsh country road. Expect many more such incidents after the Tory changes to HGV driver tests take effect.

The UK’s stupid Tory government has promised to increase the number of HGV driving tests available in order to relieve the current driver shortage – by eliminating a vital element in which drivers must show they can reverse the vehicle.

This Writer knows how valuable the ability to reverse properly is, because I have reported on what happens when it goes wrong.

Very early in my career I reported on an inquest into the death of a man after an HGV reversed into him. I won’t go into the details because they are distressing.

So I am looking forward to the Conservative government guidance that shows how HGV drivers will be able to avoid reversing in the future.

Also eliminated are the “uncoupling and recoupling” element for vehicles with trailers.

The government says these parts of the test take a long time so it’s better not to bother. They’ll do it later… maybe.

Why not do it straight away, at the test that shows drivers are qualified to do it? I don’t believe what these ministers and civil servants are saying.

In addition, car drivers who want to tow a trailer or caravan won’t need to take a test, freeing up a further 30,000 more HGV tests.

The new legislation to make these changes legal is being pushed through by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT says the move won’t affect the standard of driving required in order to drive an HGV, while car owners are being encouraged to undertake extra training in order to tow trailers and caravans.

Huh?

If car drivers will need extra training to tow trailers and caravans, then they won’t be qualified to do it… and that implies that the parts removed from HGV tests are also vital. Doesn’t it?

That’s what I’m seeing on the social media:

I suggest a new general election slogan for, well, any party, really:

Keep death off the roads! DON’T VOTE CONSERVATIVE!

Source: Government promises 50,000 HGV tests a year and relaxes car towing rules – Car Dealer Magazine

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Tory protection racket: party chairman’s firm sold Covid-19 tests at a premium when NHS had none

Boris Johnson and Ben Elliot: The latter became Tory chairman when the former became prime minister and then, during the Covid crisis, was miraculously able to provide tests to its rich clients – for a price – when the NHS just couldn’t get hold of them for free.

This is further evidence suggesting that Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is a racket being run to enrich the prime minister and his cronies.

Take Ben Elliot, Tory party chairman since Johnson became prime minister in July 2019.

He founded a concierge company called Quintessentially and remains a director and shareholder.

How much richer did that company become by being able to provide Covid-19 tests to its clients – at £300 a pop – when the government run by his mate Boris was – apparently – struggling to supply any tests at all to the population at large?

Do you believe it’s just a coincidence that this money-making opportunity happened to Johnson’s crony?

Here’s The Times, of all sources:

The Conservative chairman’s company arranged for its clients to buy coronavirus tests for hundreds of pounds while the government was struggling to ramp up testing capacity, The Times has learnt.

Quintessentially, a luxury concierge company, arranged for its wealthy clients to purchase PCR and antibody tests in April last year, during the pandemic’s deadly first wave.

Quintessentially’s co-founder, Ben Elliot, has been co-chairman of the Conservative Party since July 2019, when Boris Johnson became prime minister. He remains a director and shareholder.

The company, founded in 2000, boasts of its ability to “take care of every aspect of our members’ lives, ensuring they’re engaged and experiencing the absolute best the world has to offer”.

Do you think it’s even remotely possible that the – Boris Johnson – government will allow any kind of independent inquiry to take place?

Source: Ben Elliot’s company Quintessentially sold Covid tests to clients when NHS was struggling to increase capacity | News | The Times

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Hancock denies claim about Covid-testing care home residents. What DID he mean, then?

Matt Hancock: hopefully the next time any news media show a picture of him in a car, it will be after he has been removed from his job as Health Secretary for lying to Parliament and the public, and for deliberately allowing more than 40,000 care home residents to die by failing to provide them with “the resources they need”.

Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock is dissembling maniacally in a desperate attempt to deny causing thousands of care home deaths.

He’s telling us that he never claimed, during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, that care home residents were being tested for the disease before being discharged from hospital back to those homes.

Perhaps he didn’t say so in as many words.

So the question arises: what did he mean when he told us on May 15 last year, “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes. We set out our first advice in February… we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need”?

Clearly, one of the resources necessary to ensure that care homes are protected from Covid-19 is the testing of people going into those homes, to ensure they don’t have it.

Boris Johnson was caught lying about care homes on May 13 last year, when he claimed that the government imposed a lockdown there before the national lockdown started at the end of March 2020.

In fact, the Tories followed out-of-date advice from Public Health England, published on February 25 that year, until March 12 – by which time thousands of deaths were taking place in care homes across the UK.

That advice stated: “There is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home … will become infected.”

Therefore government policy was not to provide any protection in care homes at all.

Between March 2 and May 1, 2020, no fewer than 12,526 people died with Covid-19 in care homes.

Covid-19 testing did not begin in those homes until July last year, by which time more than 29,000 people had died there. At least a further 11,000 people died after testing began, bringing the total to more than 40,000.

Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that [bolding mine] “we brought in the policy of wanting to test everybody who went into a care home as soon as we had those tests available”.

That is not what he, nor his boss Boris Johnson, told the public at the time. Bizarrely, he still claimed

 that he had been honest and straightforward with people during the pandemic.

That is clearly a lie, right there.

We know that care homes were being treated as though there was no possibility at all that any of their residents could have Covid-19, right up to March 12, 2020 – 10 days after people there had started dying because of the virus.

We know that Hancock had claimed that he had thrown a “protective ring” around care homes by providing them with “the resources they need”.

What resources did Hancock mean in that statement?

It occurs to This Writer that any such resources must include the facilities to isolate residents from their fellow residents after returning from hospital, and the ability to test them for Covid-19 before allowing them to mix with anybody else at all.

If Hancock is now saying that government policy at this time was that it wanted to test people – but wasn’t actually to test them – then logic dictates that it did not provide care homes with the resources they need.

That would mean Hancock lied to Marr, because he lied to the nation in May last year.

Taking this further, logic suggests that his reason for lying was the fact that by the time he made his false claim, more than 12,526 people had died because the government had not provided care homes with “the resources they need”, after having claimed that it had.

I am reminded of the image Dominic Cummings supplied, of a whiteboard covered with ideas about how the government intended to cope with Covid-19, early in 2020. At the bottom is the question: “who do we not save?”

It seems likely that we now know the answer to that question.

And it seems Hancock is trying to slither out of responsibility for allowing those unnecessary deaths to happen.

This Writer hopes that when Hancock faces a joint meeting of the Commons Health and Science committees during the week, his fellow MPs point out these facts to him, along with one more fact: deliberately lying to Parliament is still a sacking offence for any member of the government.

He’s a slippery, treacherous creature but Hancock has set a trap for himself. Let’s hope his Parliamentary colleagues have the intelligence to spring it on him.

Source: Covid: Matt Hancock responds to Dominic Cummings’s care homes remark – BBC News

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Surge in Indian variant of Covid-19 shows what happens when you trust private firms with your health

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he took to referring to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people would blame the nationalised health service that had nothing to do with it. They didn’t.

Failures in a Covid-19 response system that some people didn’t realise was still working have made possible a surge in the Indian variant, according to a report seen by the BBC.

Despite £37 billion in public funding to the privately-run organisation behind the test and trace scheme, famously – and badly – run by ex-jockey Dido Harding whose husband happens to be the Tory anti-corruption tsar (ha ha!), or three weeks in April and May, eight local authorities in England did not have access to the full data on positive tests in their area.

That’s what you get when you trust private firms run by dimwits with your health.

And people have realised it:

They want action:

You can bet that Boris Johnson will delay as long as possible. He won’t want us to know any inconvenient facts.

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Serco profits have doubled – because the Tories PAID for its test-and-trace failure

The Tories have been pigging out on public money again: Serco is run by the brother of a former Tory MP who also happens to be the grandson of Winston Churchill.

Happy days are here again for government outsourcing firm Serco.

The company’s shareholders have enjoyed a £17 million dividend after the company doubled its profits in 2020.

What was the source of these profits? Government contracts to handle Covid-19, including huge amounts for ‘Test and Trace’.

And what did Serco provide in return for those contracts? Absolutely nothing, it seems. The National Audit Office said there was no evidence the £22bn programme had reduced rates of Covid-19 in England.

If that’s the case, then Serco failed to honour its contract, which was to deliver a system for tracking Covid-19 infections in order to isolate the people spreading the virus and stop it from progressing.

Why, then, did the government pay up?

Could it be because Serco is run by Rupert Soames, brother of former Tory MP Nicholas and grandson of legendary Tory PM Winston Churchill?

Could it be that Serco is yet another arm of the Tory ‘Chumocracy’?

If you’re in any doubt, remember this: Soames himself has pocketed a whopping £4.9 million for his contribution to the fiasco.

Source: Serco brazens out Covid calamity as the profits roll in | Serco | The Guardian

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Why are Tories hiding details of £37bn ‘Test and Trace’ boss’s meetings – on grounds of expense?

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

The hypocrisy is stunning. It seems clear that Dido Harding has done something embarrassing that Boris Johnson wants to hide.

That’s the only reasonable explanation for the Tory government’s decision not to honour a request for details of meetings she held with other people and organisations since taking on the job of running the ‘Test and Trace’ organisation that has cost £37bn so far.

The Tories are saying honouring the Freedom of Information request by the Good Law Project would cost more than the £600 permitted for such matters, but this is ridiculous; these details have been deliberately omitted from a schedule of all meetings held by Department of Health and Social Care officials, ministers and advisers on a quarterly basis.

We can only conclude that the government does not want us to know who Harding has been meeting, what they discussed, and how much money she spaffed away as a result.

£37 billion is an enormous amount of money. Some commentators have suggested that ‘Test and Trace’ is nothing more than a conduit through which the Tories are corruptly draining the public purse, pumping money into the hands of people who are already extremely rich, in order to make sure poor people who really need help are deprived of it.

This response from the government shows that it really has no answer to that.

One appropriate reaction might have been to refer the matter to the government’s anti-corruption champion – but that would be John Penrose MP, who happens to be her husband. People are having doubts that he’ll do his job properly, for some reason…

And they certainly aren’t accepting the Tory line on this:

Some have even gone for the nuclear option – denouncing Harding for a lack of credibility on a stellar scale:

The simple fact is that the government should have published details of Harding’s meetings and chose not to.

This has focused attention on them. People want to know who she met, what was said, whether any money changed hands (without going through the normal tendering process) and if so, how much.

The longer the Tories drag their heels, the worse it will be.

Perhaps Harding could save everybody the bother by going back through her diary and producing a list? That wouldn’t cost £600 or even 600 pennies.

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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Johnson and Hancock are jeopardising Covid recovery by prioritising useless ‘Test and Trace’ over hardworking NHS staff

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service. The Tory government could make it better by paying NHS staff what they’re worth – but Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have spaffed billions on Dido Harding’s useless and lazy ‘Test and Trace’ white elephant instead.

It has been calculated that a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff will cost around £82 million per year, or 0.22 per cent of the £37 billion that has been spaffed on Test and Trace as run by Dido Harding.

The full 12.5 per cent pay rise for NHS staff would cost £1.025 billion – only 2.75 per cent of the spending on Test and Trace.

And Test and Trace has been useless. Employees notoriously spent their days doing nothing at all – and being paid £1,000 per day to do it, while NHS staff slaved in conditions that made them highly vulnerable to Covid-19 because the Tories couldn’t be bothered to secure PPE for them.

Many NHS staff are working overtime or using credit to afford essential bills, visiting food banks so they can eat, and struggling with both mental and physical health problems.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s attitude seems to be, “So what? I’ve offered you one per cent, which is more than you thought you were going to get!”

He and other Tories have made false claims that nurses have actually received far more, already, than they’re saying.

But this is nonsense. The fact that they cannot afford to survive is clear evidence that they are not paid fairly.

Stunningly, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the one per cent pittance, saying it is

“what we think is affordable”

Could the UK have afforded the deaths of millions if those doctors, nurses and support staff had not been there to keep Covid victims alive? Of course not. Hancock was talking gibberish. He rarely does anything else.

This Site broke news of health professionals’ disgust at the lack of respect being shown to them on Thursday – before any of the mainstream news sites. At the time, strike action was being demanded by only one group – Nurses United UK.

Now strike calls are being taken up by the British Medical Association, Unite, the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwives and Unison.

And what if an NHS strike happens before Boris Johnson’s arbitrary deadline for reopening the UK economy – which is already looking shaky because health professionals are planning for another wave of Covid admissions in July?

All his plans will be dashed – because he decided to pay Dido Harding and her minions to sit on their fat backsides rather than supporting our hard-working NHS staff.

Source: NHS pay: More health unions join backlash against 1% pay rise – BBC News

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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