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The #Omicron variant doesn’t mean other #Covid19 strains have gone away. Read and weep

Covid-19: some readers have complained about This Site’s use of a graphic. It’s the one I used at the start and I’m going to carry on using it!

Isn’t it handy that the Tories can distract us all with fears about a new variant of Covid-19?

Isn’t it weird that reporting of Covid-19 generally seems to have fallen off?

But isn’t it also handy that we have people who can provide us with the juice that they’re trying to hide?

So come on, Boris Johnson! On your feet, Sajid Javid!

We want to know why the UK has had two and a half times as many Covid-19 infections as the most heavily-infected European country since your “Freedom Day” farce.

And we’re particularly keen to hear your explanation of why we have had to suffer around double the number of deaths seen in our most terminal neighbours.

(That’s according to Tory government figures which are wrong, mind. The Tories want you to think 145,140 people have died. More accurate ONS data suggests nearly 170,000 people have died. This Writer tends to think even this is a conservative estimate.)

Scientific information suggests the symptoms of Omicron are mild – headaches and tiredness. If that’s true, then I’m not fantastically worried!

Like most of the population, I don’t really want to know about a disease that will make me feel a bit drowsy and headachey. I want to know about the disease that’s likely to kill me.

What really gets my goat is having the facts withheld from me.

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#Covid19: #Omicron – and another #Tory bid to ruin our #Christmas

Risk: this is a German advert showing how masks reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 and its variants. People in the UK should take heed because the advice from our own government isn’t worth the time taken to listen to it.

There comes a time when even the most tolerant observer must give in and admit that the government is deliberately sabotaging its own fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Doesn’t there?

Surely, if you didn’t reach it in July when Boris Johnson condemned millions more people to catch the virus and at least 16,000 to die of it with his misnamed “Freedom Day”…

… you must have reached it now, with Sajid Javid’s contradictory and nonsensical plan to battle the so-called Omicron Variant that has apparently arrived here from South Africa.

We know from experience that certain steps need to be taken to stop the spread of a new variant – especially one that is considered highly-infectious:

Travel from its countries of origin must be stopped (or at least severely restricted), and all visitors from those countries tested – before they have contact with anybody other than those who were on the plane (or whatever transport) with them. There’s none of that in Javid’s plan.

Working people should be told to work from home, rather than being forced to come to offices where the disease could be spread. Javid absolutely will not permit this, for reasons unknown. It won’t even harm the economy so what is his argument against it?

Everybody should go back to wearing masks in public places immediately. Javid said mask-wearing should resume on buses and in shops, but not elsewhere – and from Tuesday (November 30).

And of course schools should be masked up and ventilated, and all efforts made to ensure that children don’t catch and spread the virus in any form. We’re seeing no changes in schools at all.

Possibly the worst act of sabotage is the one the Tories pull all the time – creating a false division between “us” and “them”.

In this case, it seems our capitalist vaccine manufacturers decided that, having provided protection to the UK (and others, I’m sure), Johnny Foreigner could pay double and more.

Oh, and – as previously noted – a large number of vaccines were lost because they hit their “use by” date before they could be used.

As a result, developing countries have been much slower to vaccinate:

This doesn’t mean they have been more successful at stopping the spread of the virus – as some have insisted.

According to the BBC, high numbers of cases increase the risk of mutations, thereby increasing the risk of a mutation that leads to a new variant – because it has changed in a way that helps it survive.

So while the Omicron variant is likely to have come from a single “Patient Zero” who was unable to defeat the virus, it is likely to have been made possible by the virus infecting a large number of people; this particular person was just the one whose illness created a new threat.

So it is also important to take action now that will ensure that everybody is vaccinated against the virus and able to fight it. Sajid Javid has said and done nothing about this.

Meanwhile, the parade of Covid-19 nonsense continues to march across our TV and computer screens.

Andrew Marr, who should have known better, actually asked Health Secretary Sajid Javid whether Omicron was more transmissible than the others because “it transmits through the air” – just like every single form of Covid-19But most of the public will have heard this without engaging their brain to spot the error.

Of course the NHS is being ramped up with 50,000 new nurses – right? Wrong. Instead, Javid has announced “NHS Reserves” – a scheme to drag retired NHS staff back out to cover the gaps in care created by 11 years of Tory resource starvation and nearly two years of a deadly pandemic.

I think this plan is known as “Everybody get out and push”.

The NHS is, in fact, less well-equipped to fight Covid-19 than it was in March last year because Javid and his forerunner Matt Hancock have quietly closed 5,000 NHS beds in that time, with no explanation given.

Oh, and if you thought the Covid-19 gravy train had stopped rolling…

Put it all together and it seems unreasonable to ascribe this level of wrong-headedness to simple incompetence.

It’s a deliberate attempt to sabotage the fight against Covid-19, isn’t it? And just in time for Christmas.

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If a new Covid-19 variant started in Africa it’s because countries like the UK withheld vaccines

Back in the UK? A new Covid-19 variant could be spreading here because western governments refused to provide vaccines to Africa in good time.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has reacted in typical slow fashion to the threat of a new Covid-19 variant from South Africa.

He said the variant “may pose substantial risk to public health” as it has “an unusually high number of mutations” and added that “we must move quickly, and at the earliest possible moment” to prevent its spread in the UK.

Too late, I think.

And if it is, our Tory government is probably doubly to blame.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t vaccine distribution to many African countries delayed because the manufacturers wanted more cash, and then because they couldn’t be used, having reached their expiry date?

It’s no good saying Africa had managed to restrict the virus more successfully than the so-called developed nations if this has only given it a chance to become more deadly!

And it lends credence to conspiracy theorists who want us to believe organisations like our Tory government are using the virus and its variants to control us – pitching us from one threat to another while they follow their own selfish agendas in the background where they can’t be seen.

Think of the £300 billion spent on Covid-19-related commercial contracts, most of which were not honoured.

Boris Johnson and his Health Secretaries Matt Hancock and now Sajid Javid had the opportunity to show the world how to defeat a deadly pandemic and they didn’t. Instead they sank into a mire of duplicity and “let the bodies pile up in their thousands”.

It seems this latest scare is simply the next chapter in their catalogue of corruption.

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Experts agree that the government is misleading you over the Delta variant

How nice to see that economic expert* Simon Wren-Lewis agrees with This Site’s appraisal of the effect on the UK of Sajid Javid’s Covid-19 policy.

In brief:

  • Greater strain on hospitals.
  • More people suffering Long Covid.
  • Disruption of education (mitigated by the summer holidays).

He makes an excellent point that the government has thrown away the advantages of vaccination because Boris Johnson wanted to sign a trade deal with India…

… which hasn’t happened yet.

We have a race between vaccination and the Delta variant, and the government by delaying putting India on the red list gave Delta a big head start.

This provides ideal conditions for a new variant to emerge that could seriously diminish the effectiveness of a double dose of vaccine.

So Johnson has put us in danger of being sent back to Square One, while demanding that lifting the restrictions that have saved so many of our lives will be irreversible and we’ll just have to “live with Covid” from then on.

I wonder if tribal Tory voters are still happy with their choice at the 2019 general election.

Do they even know their prime minister deliberately endangered them for the sake of a few quid?

*He’s still an expert!

Source: mainly macro: The COVID wave the government doesn’t want to talk about

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Are people turning on Boris Johnson because they’re tired of lies like this?

Boris Johnson: He’s all ‘blood and thunder’ in Parliament but analyse what he says and it turns out to be ‘bull**** and bluster’ instead [not This Writer’s words].

Even the BBC is criticising Boris Johnson. Well, at least it’s sitting on the right side of the fence.

The Corporation fact-checked Johnson’s comments about the delta variant of Covid-19, made during Prime Minister’s Questions on June 16.

Criticised for failing to close the UK’s borders to travellers from India after delta was discovered, Johnson said: “We put India on the red list on April 23 and the Delta variant was not so identified until April 28.”

But the BBC fact-checkers pointed out:

It had been identified through genetic sequencing as being in the UK in the week beginning 8 March.

And it had been designated as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 4 April.

While health bodies are constantly monitoring large numbers of emerging mutations, they are given these designations only if they seem to be making the virus spread faster, making people sicker or escaping the defences put up by vaccines or prior infection.

At a meeting on 21 January, the government’s scientific advisers, Sage, said: “No intervention, other than a complete, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can get close to fully preventing the importation of cases or new variants.”

And in its weekly update on 30 March, the WHO pointed out India had the third highest number of new cases in the world, with a 55% increase on the previous week.

So we see that Johnson allowed the delta variant into the UK from India for a month and a half before actually doing anything about it at all.

It is lies like this that undermine trust in the Conservative government – rightly. And this is likely to be what is motivating Tories (and former Tories) to speak up against him.

Source: Delta variant: Fact-checking claims about Covid and borders – BBC News

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Tories are preparing to delay lockdown end date after Covid infections skyrocketed

Jabber Johnson: Boris Johnson has invested everything in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccinations – but a quarter of new infections are in people who have had both injections.

The weekend turned out to be a disaster for the Tories, after all their crowing about getting Covid infections and deaths down.

On Bank Holiday Monday the government recorded no Covid-19 deaths for the first time in more than a year – but the euphoria over that was short-lived.

It was a statistical blip caused by the fact that the people who record deaths had been on holiday.

Since then, with the arrival of the Indian delta variant in the UK due to Boris Johnson’s ridiculous insistence on keeping our borders open to anybody with the virus, infection rates have skyrocketed – on Saturday, 70 per cent more people were recorded to have contracted it than the previous Saturday.

The disease is being transmitted most commonly through secondary schools after Johnson said pupils there should take off their masks.

And now we discover that one in 25 people who have been infected with the new strain are supposed to be fully inoculated against it, having had both the required vaccination injections:

What a homicidal idiot Johnson is!

So now the Tories are having to backtrack on their plan to finish lifting lockdown restrictions on June 21:

Matt Hancock says 21 June is a “not before” date for ending England’s remaining restrictions.

They are going to extend the agony for all of us – and, incidentally, harm the economy that has been their “sacred cow” throughout the crisis, because they keep making the same damned stupid mistakes.

And they’re stupid enough to think that we haven’t noticed.

Are they right, though?

I fear they may be.

After all, they’re only in power because people were stupid enough to believe the Tories’ claims that Jeremy Corbyn would be worse. And now we know he couldn’t possibly have been.

Source: Covid-19: Government ‘open’ to delaying 21 June England lockdown end date – BBC News

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Johnson is steering us towards another – more dangerous – Covid wave. And he is deliberately distracting us from it

The only sensible course of action: but it seems thousands more UK citizens may have to catch Covid-19 – and may potentially die – before the tribal Tory electorate accept this truth.

It seems we have a prime minister who is not only ignoring all the evidence that another wave of Covid-19 is coming – he is steering us into it while trying to distract us from it.

How is he being allowed to do this irresponsible – homicidal – possibly genocidal thing without a whisper against it from the mass media that govern the opinions of most of us?

Well, that’s easy. He had a “secret” wedding last weekend and got them all to make a big fuss about that instead.

In fairness, Keir Starmer tried to tell us all that the delta variant of Covid-19 could cause a new wave of infections and deaths, worse than in the winter. Did you even know that?

The latest Mainly Macro blog from Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has set out some of the most damning details in what I think is an effective way. Consider [boldings mine]:

“We are at the beginning of a new COVID wave. Yet rather than stop further relaxation of the lockdown (not doing stage 3), this government carried on regardless. It reduced lock down restrictions because the PM and the rest of the cabinet were prepared to see another wave of cases, hospitalisations and a fair number of deaths in the UK.

“When cases in another country start growing rapidly, you quarantine in hotels people coming from that country. If they have existing variants of concern, you do the same. You do not wait because the PM has a state visit planned hoping things will get better.

“Once a variant of concern enters the country, you direct all resources to isolating that variant and preventing spread. You do not persist with a failed test and trace system because it is politically embarrassing to overhaul it. You make payments to those asked to isolate automatically.

“The new variant is spreading rapidly in schools in areas where it is concentrated, so what did the government do? It told people in secondary schools they didn’t need to continue wearing masks.

“We know the Indian variant spreads a lot more rapidly than anything we already have, and it has become the dominant form of COVID in the UK in mid-May. It is now the dominant form in most regions. We also have evidence that one dose of vaccine offers less protection against this variant than against other forms of COVID, but two doses does offer a similar amount of protection. Around half of the UK adult population has had two doses of vaccine, meaning the other half have one or none at all. That, according to SAGE projections available before the government went to stage 3, could cause a wave of hospitalisation similar to what happened in the New Year.

“The number of deaths should be less than past waves, but we are still talking about many people dying who didn’t need to die. But hospitals are only just beginning to reduce the backlog from other diseases like cancer created by previous COVID waves, and another wave of hospitalisations will reverse that process, leading to yet more deaths from non-COVID causes.

“The Prime Minister cannot know that things will not be so bad in this new wave. He is following dates rather than the data, and yet again not following scientific advice, because he is more interested in giving people the freedom to spread the virus to others. 

“A new wave is also highly likely to stop the UK economic recovery in its tracks.

“A wave in cases with most people vaccinated is about the most irresponsible thing you could possibly do. It invites new variants to be created that are far better at bypassing the vaccines we have. The more cases you allow when most of the population is vaccinated the greater the chance that a variant will emerge that vaccines are far less effective against.

Much of the gains of the vaccination programme could be lost, and we will have to start all over again.

“Cummings’ message was that this Prime Minister is exactly the wrong person to be leading us in this pandemic, and most of the media chose to ignore his warnings.

“Will the broadcast media start holding this government and its Prime Minister responsible for past and possible future deaths? Will voters finally realise that they are being lied to by this government all the time, and their lives and livelihoods are at risk as long as Johnson continues as Prime Minister?”

Sadly, I think we all know the answer to both of those questions.

Source: mainly macro: Worried about another COVID wave? Here are some pictures of Johnson getting married again

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Delta variant shows Tory Covid crisis will end as it began – in incompetence and corruption

Still going strong: the delta variant of Covid-19 is now dominant in the UK after more than a year of Tory refusal to close the nation’s borders – and is almost three times as likely to put you in a hospital as the original strain of the virus.

When you learn that the dominant form of Covid-19 in the UK now is the ‘delta’ variant that was discovered in India only recently, what does that tell you?

It tells This Writer that Boris Johnson’s insistence on keeping the UK’s borders open was an act of homicidal stupidity.

And it shows that the silly ‘traffic light’ system to indicate which countries are safe to visit does not work at all.

That’s because this new variant of Covid-19 has not only beaten all the supposed safeguards that Johnson’s government has imposed; it is now infecting more people than any other strain of the disease.

And it is more likely to cause serious illness than any other variant, too:

The facts show that 75 per cent of new cases are of the delta variant – and that it is being transmitted most commonly through schools.

This should end the debate over whether it was a bad idea to reopen schools while the pandemic was at its height; of course it was.

And it still is. Parents are now 1.6 times more likely to end up hospitalised if their children bring the delta variant home with them than they were with the original version of the virus last year.

It also shows that press releases from Public Health England should not be treated as factual. Consider:

Possibly the worst part of all this is that many Tory MPs seem determined to finish the “unlock” (as Grant Shapps referred to it in the Guardian article) on June 21, no matter how many people suffer as a result:

You see, your health doesn’t matter to these people. It never did.

Money matters to them.

You are stock. You are a commodity that they use in order to make money for them. The granting of billions of pounds of public money to Tory donors via PPE contracts that went unfulfilled – causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths – is an example of that thinking.

And if some of the stock dies out due to disease, it will replenish itself in a few years’ time, so they’re not bothered about that at all, either.

Don’t you wish you lived in New Zealand?

That country had a sensible, socialist prime minister who locked down properly, as soon as she heard a whisper about how bad Covid-19 might be – including closing all that country’s borders.

It was then able to carry on as normal, with the minimal number of cases that did present themselves receiving proper treatment, correctly isolated from the rest of the population. I believe there was a functioning test and trace system there, too.

So New Zealand has been able to function more or less as normal while other countries scrabbled to develop a vaccine – and now the vaccine is available, it is running an efficient injection programme.

The people of New Zealand chose their leaders wisely.

The UK’s diehard Tories (coupled with Labour traitors who hated Jeremy Corbyn) forced Boris Johnson on us.

They gave us the incompetence and corruption of Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings, Gavin Williamson, Rishi Sunak and all the other ministers who have ignored their duty to the public in order to line their pockets and those of their friends.

They’re giving us the delta variant.

They’re giving us the potential of a premature end to all lockdown restrictions that would trigger yet another wave of Covid-19 infections in the summer or the autumn.

Ultimately, they have given many of us death.

 

Source: UK tightens borders and travel rules as variants spark new alarm | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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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.

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 knew about new Covid-19 strain in SEPTEMBER. Why did he delay action until now?

Incompetent, ill-equipped, indecisive: Boris Johnson simply isn’t intelligent enough to run a country in the middle of a pandemic contagion. He will dither, delay, bungle and blunder – and WE will be left to count the cost and pay the price.

Johnson dithered and now we must all take the damage.

It’s an all-too-familiar story since he became the UK’s prime minister last year.

It has become clear that the new strain of Covid-19, that Johnson is using as his excuse to ruin everybody’s Christmas with tighter movement and social gathering restrictions than he had promised, was identified in late September. Here‘s iNews:

The first case occurred in the South East in September and it has now spread to Scotland and Wales, with some cases also detected overseas

But the UK’s failed prime minister didn’t say a word about it when he announced his four-week lockdown covering most of November and the early days of December. We weren’t made aware of it and no special measures seem to have been imposed where it had been identified.

Indeed, it was during this time that he actually announced his plan to lift restrictions on social gatherings for a five-day period during Christmas:

He knew there was a new variant of the virus, faster-spreading if not more deadly, that had arisen in the southeast of England but he still announced this as a Christmas bonus for us all, almost a month before it was due to happen.

A lot can happen in a month, as we all know from our experiences in February and March. What a shame we didn’t all bear in mind the most serious lesson we learned then – that Boris Johnson is useless at making the right decision in even the least important matters, and a disaster when the safety of the entire country is at risk.

Some of us saw it coming:

But when Labour leader Keir Starmer challenged Johnson during the last Prime Minister’s Questions of the year, in Parliament on December 16, Johnson actually had the nerve to accuse the Opposition leader of wanting to “cancel Christmas”.

Isn’t it ironic that just three days later, as far as many are concerned, Johnson himself was the one cancelling everyone’s Christmas plans?

Meanwhile the November lockdown in England… failed. By December 18 – last Friday – news outlets were reporting a worse situation in terms of infections and deaths than the previous high point:

And despite the arrival of a hastily-approved vaccine, the outlook suggested restrictions would roll on well into 2021:

Only on Friday evening was the alarm raised – less than a week before Johnson had announced that a lifting of restrictions would take effect.

Needless to say, some were sceptical about the reasons for raising concern at this time:

But hospitals continued to report increasing cases – with those in southeast England, where the new strain was first detected, cancelling non-urgent treatments to divert services back to the virus.

Even so, Johnson was still signalling that any further lockdown would happen after Christmas, so the festive season could still be enjoyed.

It seems to This Writer that the new Covid strain was making itself felt. Johnson knew what was going on – he had been briefed. But just as he delayed his decision on any action after the arrival of the virus in the UK, from November 2019 until March this year, he dithered.

Meanwhile, the forecasts worsened…

… and scientists worked hard to establish proof of a causal link between the new Covid strain and the huge surge in cases. Did they believe this was necessary to prod bovine Boris Johnson in the right direction?

Hospital admissions continued to rise – most prominently in London and the southeast:

Then we started hearing that new restrictions could be on the way – before Christmas, implying that Johnson was going to renege on his promise to lift curbs on social gatherings.

It was a bit late for that! Bear in mind the quotation at the top of this article: the new strain has already spread to Scotland, Wales and abroad.

Worse, it created the potential for a panic-fuelled exodus from the Capital and the Home Counties – potential that was realised in very short order.

Early in the afternoon – just 12 hours after news outlets started reporting that he might be restricting travel over Christmas – Johnson announced that he would address the nation in a TV broadcast.

I think Clare Hepworth may have been hoping for too much there!

Before the telecast, it seems Johnson leaked details of his announcement to a journalist. But there was a problem…

The leaked details were tweeted by Sunday Times deputy political editor Caroline Wheeler. But look at the state of this:

Pogrund is the hack who published lies that This Writer was a Holocaust denier (the paper had to print a fulsome correction later), so if I had seen his comment on this, I would have treated it with extreme caution – which is exactly the opposite of what Johnson no doubt intended.

He eventually slouched onto our screens and made his announcement:

Notice that he said his decision was based on “early” evidence about the new Covid variant, of which he had been aware since September – nearly four months!

The response – as one might expect – was strong (even before Johnson himself turned up to tell us why we should be angry at all, it seems):

On Sunday morning, Matt Hancock turned up to tell Sophy Ridge a pack of lies:

Of course they knew! They were told in September, remember.

You may also remember This Writer mentioning, above, the potential for a panic-fuelled exodus from London after the papers reported that Johnson might impose a travel ban. Prediction fulfilled:

The response from the government was contradictory – to everybody who remembers its response to Dominic Cummings’s mad dash to Barnard Castle, back in the summer:

Oh, and the government’s response? Pointless:

Sunday was the day the UK’s cumulative Covid-19 death toll equalled the entire number of UK civilian casualties during World War II (1939-1945). Another achievement for Johnson and his Minister for Death, Matt Hancock:

Labour has tried to take advantage of the situation – but with limited success, considering the party’s own dire record on the coronavirus:

 

Of course, the announcement doesn’t just affect families; there is a knock-on effect on the economy:

And the casualties keep mounting up: as the UK faced the inevitability of a Christmas in lockdown, and millions tried to quit the capital for the country, taking their germs with them, the country faced the uncomfortable fact that the situation was worse than ever before.

And beyond our borders, other countries realised they had to take action:

This situation is changing constantly but as I write this, more than 30 countries have banned travel from the UK.

What conclusion can we draw from this?

Firstly: that Boris Johnson cannot cope with his responsibilities as prime minister. Faced with a hard decision, he will deny reality until it smacks him across the face – every time.

Secondly: that the UK has now become so tribal that people will join Johnson in denying reality, simply because they would rather support the Tories than admit they have failed.

Thirdly: that Boris Johnson will use any excuse to deflect responsibility for his mistakes away from him.

Fourthly: that, despite the efforts of his apologists, Johnson has lost the nation’s trust.

If you need some reasons for this phenomenon, here are 10:

Finally: that we’ve had enough of him, his dithering, his lies and his government.

The next few days are going to be difficult for all of us, because of Johnson and the stupid decisions made by him deliberately.

But that’s going to be nothing compared to the trouble we can give him over the next few weeks, months and – if necessary – years until we can finally kick him out for good. Remember that.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook