Tag Archives: TV

£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 Now it is being withdrawn from service.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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Have the Tories been SHAMED into bringing their £2.6 million ‘briefing room’ out of mothballs?

£2.6m on a TV studio and it will look much like this: the flags will be there but probably not the fireplace, and Johnson is likely to be speaking from a podium. One thing that is likely to remain absent is a comb.

Funny how the Johnson government has announced it is planning to run daily press conferences from its £2.6m media briefing TV studio, shortly after the social media reported that the space was going unused and the money had been wasted, isn’t it?

This Site’s own story appeared on February 22 and you can read it here.

I said at the time that the spending on a Boris Johnson vanity project showcased his fascination with the United States presidency. Perhaps he wants to seem presidential?

If so, it won’t work because he simply doesn’t have the personality to pull it off. All that will happen is we will be able to identify his lies more quickly, without a layer of client-journalist interpretation to get in our way.

This in turn causes me to speculate on the selection of press representatives who will be allowed access to the briefings.

It seems unlikely that anybody without a Conservative Party membership card in their pocket is likely to get past the Downing Street gates.

With the briefings being televised, that may not matter. But how long will that last?

I can see live briefings turning into “selected highlights” as the novelty diminishes and ratings decline.

And who will select them?

Source: Downing Street: Millions spent on new media briefing room – BBC News

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£2.7m TV studio shows Johnson hasn’t only been wasting cash on Covid-19

Press briefing: Johnson spent millions of pounds of your money on a TV studio he hasn’t used once, despite an apparently endless succession of press briefings and ministerial broadcasts.

Sometimes the news is focused so heavily on the Coronavirus that it’s easy to forget that Boris Johnson’s government is incompetent in every other way, too.

Case in point: he spent £2.7 million on a television studio that has never been used.

Worse, there are doubts that it ever will be, as attitudes have changed since your money was used to pay for it.

I’d say the money could have been spent on personal protective equipment but I am reminded that Johnson’s government has spent £15 billion on PPE – and then lost the lot.

This is incompetence on a historic scale.

The TV studio was part of Johnson’s infatuation with the presidential system in the United States:

The room is believed to have been modelled on the press room in the West Wing at the White House in Washington.

It was intended to be used for on-camera briefings from press secretaries and ministers.

The plans for the briefings had to be delayed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions preventing journalists from gathering.

But with the plans on hold, it isn’t clear when they may be back on the table.

They may never be revived. This studio – worth a fortune – may remain unused for years to come, until somebody remembers it and finds a better use for the space.

In the meantime it stands as a metaphor for the contents of our prime minister’s skull:

Dark and empty.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘spent £2,700,000 on a TV studio which hasn’t been used’ | Metro News

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Johnson’s Covid policies are killing his core voters but the mass media are hiding it

Get the message? You won’t see Boris Johnson actually sitting over a dying pensioner making rude gestures at them (and the rest of us), but he might as well. Until pensioners realise that his policies on Covid-19 add up to the same, he can carry on – aided by the papers and TV channels that keep the over-60s tranquillised – easy prey for the cull.

Simon Wren-Lewis makes an excellent point here:

The people most at risk from this pandemic are those who predominantly voted this government in.

The article points out that people aged over 60 are most at risk from Covid-19. There are 16 million of them and 60 per cent – 9.6 million – voted for Boris Johnson and his Conservatives.

Meanwhile, Johnson has made mistake – if you can call them that – after mistake and more than 70,000 people have died, according to official figures. Unofficial figures put the number much higher.

How can a government that lived through March 2020 not just repeat the same mistakes again, but make worse mistakes?

When a Prime Minister, supported by his ministers, ignores medical advice again and again, the responsibility rests entirely with him.

Now comes the really nasty bit: the mass media – your friendly daily paper; your cuddly favourite TV channel – has been misleading those at-risk over-60s by hiding the truth from them.

The newspapers they read are doing their best to hide the truth from them, the broadcast media with a few honorable exceptions chooses not to enlighten them, and recently it appears the government has resorted to trying to hide what is happening in hospitals.

So those over 60 will continue to vote for a government that through its failures is literally killing them.

How perverse.

READ: mainly macro: Why the UK’s COVID crisis should be personal for so many Tory voters

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All Boris Johnson had to do to distract us from his latest Covid disaster was have a close-up

#HeadAndShoulders: Boris Johnson’s terrible turnout is a disgrace to the nation.

Who knew?

The UK’s prime minister managed to distract everyone from his new nonsense policy that won’t keep us safe from Covid-19, simply by looking what he is – a mess.

And now everybody’s talking about the fact that our prime minister can’t wash and dress himself properly:

This will set an unhygienic trend for the future.

I foresee times when Johnson will appear before the public with bad news – and also with no tie, or with his short untucked, or with his trousers at half-mast because he now knows that we’ll be so busy gossiping about the mess he‘s in…

… that we won’t realise he’s telling us the country is collapsing around us.

(Douglas Adams predicted this in The Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, with reference to bad language: “In today’s modern Galaxy there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable….So, for instance, when in a recent national speech the Financial Minister of the Royal World Estate of Quarlvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for a while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy was now in what he called “one whole joojooflop situation,” everyone was so pleased that he felt able to come out and say it that they quite failed to note that their entire five-thousand-year old civilization had just collapsed overnight.”

(What a shame he never lived to see his comedy become a reality.)

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Tory MPs are breaking Covid rules so quickly, Johnson is taking to TV to announce more

Tory ministers like Matt Hancock are breaking even the current complicated Covid-19 restrictions so fast that Boris Johnson is to announce a new, more complicated system in the hope of stopping them.

That’s how it seems to This Writer, anyway.

But then, I’ve lost interest in the restrictions. Instead of being a way of keeping safe, Johnson has turned them into an attempt to distract us from his failure to address the proliferation of the pandemic with threats of huge fines if we don’t do as we’re told!

That’s why he hasn’t been able to provide any evidence to support his edict that pubs must close at 10pm. There isn’t any. It’s just a way to divert attention.

If Matt Hancock knew that, it would certainly explain why he was (allegedly) in a Parliamentary bar until long after the curfew was imposed one night last week.

Alternatively, I think it’s possible that Johnson is trying to address the shortage of new TV material with an idea for a new game show format.

I’ll explain below but first, let’s consider what he’s expected to announce in his own TV appearance later today (Monday, October 12):

England’s three-tier system… will be called Local Covid Alert Levels with England placed into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels.

There is no detail yet on which area of England will be placed in which tier.

Millions of people could be banned from travelling outside their areas or mixing indoors with other households.

According to The Guardian,

Areas with relatively low infection levels will be placed in what is being described as tier 1. Only national restrictions such as the rule of six, the 10pm curfew on restaurants and pubs and existing rules on masks and social distancing will apply.

The next tier is likely to include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households in bars or restaurants.

In areas under the toughest tier 3 restrictions – including Merseyside, Manchester and Newcastle – bars and pubs are expected to be forced to close.

None of the above will make a scrap of difference to infection and death rates, of course, because they do not propose lockdowns in education or in the workplace – the main drivers of the current wave of the disease.

But what about that new TV format I mentioned?

It’s simple: after Johnson announces the new “Local Covid Alert Levels”, I expect an enterprising producer to devise a new game show in which members of the public are contacted at random and asked to provide accurate details of the Covid-related restrictions currently in place where they live.

If they get it right, they get a prize; get it wrong and they get a stern talking-to!

Do you think it’ll catch on?

Source: Boris Johnson to give live TV address to unveil new coronavirus lockdown system – Mirror Online

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After his Mosley comments, who wants to watch Danny Dyer’s History Channel?

Danny Dyer: he’s holding a photo of “that melt” Oswald Mosley and his bunch of “fascist slags” the Black Shirts. Can someone in television please commission him to do a whole series like this?

A new career could be opening up for celebrated EastEnders actor Danny Dyer.

He’s just appeared on TV, talking about the Battle of Cable Street, and it was gold:

This is not the first time Dyer has spoken up about social issues. Consider this…

… and especially this:

This Writer thinks Dyer would be an excellent choice to front a new TV series on the social history of the UK, showing how the lives of the working classes have differed from those of the privileged throughout the centuries.

We’re sick of hearing about royals and their squabbles with their relatives in foreign lands. Let’s have the story of what was happening right here – from someone who’s got the good sense to tell it straight!

And Dyer’s own royal heritage – he has links to William the Conqueror and Edward III, according to another TV doco, Who Do You Think You Are? – would provide added credibility.

What about it, BBC? Or would you be afraid to do it if Boris Johnson has his way and puts his puppet Charles Moore in charge?

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#Whitty and #Vallance TV briefing shows incompetent Tories failed to contain #Covid19UK while causing maximum public inconvenience

[Image tweeted by The Brexit Comic.]

There’s no way around it: Boris Johnson and his gang of Tory nincompoops have really cocked up the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s the message This Writer took from the televised briefing by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance.

Here’s a summary of what they said, courtesy of that great critic of the Johnson government, Piers Morgan:

Those are the points I got from it too – and here’s my conclusion:

That’s right:

Here’s the rest of what I took from the briefing:

So what can we all expect in the future from Johnson?

More of the same.

He may impose more restrictions on our freedoms but he won’t tell us not to go to work again, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

His policies will be intended to keep hospital admissions within treatable levels – to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming the UK’s doctors and nurses – as it always has been. But they won’t be about reducing levels of infection to zero because he has never been interested in that. Making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

Johnson may even try to justify his refusal to impose measures that would eradicate the disease by saying the effect on the economy would cause even more harm to public health. As I tweeted, that’s a political decision – he could legislate to ensure that any such harm is prevented. But he won’t, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

And that means many more people are going to die – your relatives and friends, perhaps. Maybe even you. Because making money for Johnson’s friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

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#SackWhitty and #SackVallance, people are saying – before they’ve even made their broadcast

Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer is facing calls for his removal – before he has even had a chance to broadcast to the nation alongside Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance.

New hashtags on social media are calling for the UK’s chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to be sacked – before they’ve even had a chance to address the public on television.

The broadcast was scheduled for 11am today (September 21) but platforms like Twitter have already been filling up with attacks on Chris Whitty and – notably – Patrick Vallance.

The attacks don’t make much sense.

In fairness to the advisers, we don’t know what their advice to the government has been. Their meetings have taken place behind closed doors and when they have faced the public it has always been under the shroud of shared responsibility – a line has been taken by Johnson government ministers and the advisers are obliged to support it.

So comments like this…

… seem premature.

Worse still is the “blame game” that some people are playing:

“Bent science”? We don’t know that the gentlemen concerned have been bending science in any way at all.

We do know that the politicians have been as bent as the figure “8”, trying to delay lockdown to keep the economy going, trying to shorten lockdown to prevent the economy from being harmed more than it already has been… trying to continue making money for their party donors while people die (or suffer serious health consequences).

And it’s the politicians who have been misusing emergency procurement procedures to funnel vast amounts of public money into the hands of private firms – some running companies that have been dormant for years – that happen to be run by friends of theirs; the socialism of the very rich.

So This Site tends to come down on the side of those who have been standing up for the scientists:

So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt – for a little while, at least.

But let’s also remember…

… other scientific opinions are available.

#Whitty and #Vallance to appeal to the public over #Covid19 – because nobody trusts the Tories any more

Whitty takes over: the chief medical officer – with chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance – will be making a televised address to the nation because nobody trusts the Tories any more. From the state of this image, not even Whitty.

Trust in Conservative ministers has eroded so badly that they have been forced to hand over a televised update to the UK’s chief scientific and medical officers.

Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty – who was last seen shouting at performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson and his boss Dominic Cummings in a photograph published in The Spectator – will make an appeal to the public to stick to new rules on Monday (September 21).

Whitty and Vallance are likely to compare the UK with other European countries such as France and Spain, which have seen a sharp rise in cases translate – after a lag – into increasing hospitalisations and then deaths. The UK saw 3,899 new cases and 18 deaths on Sunday.

The scientists will set out the latest data on the spread of the disease, and urge people to exercise caution. Whitty is expected to warn: “We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.”

Their intervention comes after ministers were accused of eroding trust, from failings and broken pledges on testing and tracing to scandals such as Dominic Cummings’ lockdown journeys.

Covid-19 is now on the rise across the UK, among people in all age groups. Cases are doubling each week.

The Tory ministers – like Johnson and Matt Hancock (also seen recoiling from Whitty in that Spectator shot) – are said to be hoping the scientists’ broadcast will help bring home the message that tough new restrictions will be unavoidable if the situation fails to improve.

So it is the Tory mailed fist behind the velvet glove: comply with restrictions, including the “rule of six” limit on social gatherings, or see stricter measures imposed.

Source: UK at ‘critical point’ over Covid-19, top scientists to tell public | World news | The Guardian

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