Our country back-peddles again – This week’s blog
The UK covid-19 battle is characterised by NHS and public sector Lions led by Ministerial Donkeys.
Government Ministers have so far protected themselves from deserved criticism with the comfort blanket of supporters who jump on critics for being “unpatriotic” at a time when “we should all stick-together”. This has permitted Ministers to maintain consistency in their incompetent mishandling of the crisis. The UK now has one of the worst Covid records in the world.
When other countries calmly established test and trace systems to effectively protect their populations our Ministers treated the pandemic as a PR opportunity to set up prime time party political broadcasts from Downing Street to announce just-over-the-horizon “world-beating” solutions and breath-taking promises of a “Moonshot” to defeat the pandemic.
Because Ministers have considered themselves immune from criticism we’ve endured the toe-curling performances from the evidently floundering Health Secretary Mr Hancock. He assured Parliament months ago that the buck stops with him and the PM and that he was “working night and day” and “straining every sinew”.
My advice to anyone who wants to gain the system when seeking a test is to tell the companies employed by the Government that you’re planning to go grouse shooting!
Archbishop Justin Welby is again correct to urge Government Ministers to challenge its addiction to centralisation. The Conservatives’ preference to privatise and to appoint Tory loyalists to run key services hasn’t helped either.
But, when Ministerial competence is measured by school exam supremo Gavin Williamson and no-ferry ferryman Chris Grayling, by comparison Hancock’s job looks secure.
The Dominic Cummings’ Government is correct to say that the introduction of The Internal Market Bill this week is not unique and has precedent.
For example there’s The Enabling Act forced through by Hitler in 1933 (it ultimately paved the way for totalitarian rule in Germany and all that the world witnessed thereafter) and Putin has also successfully overridden inconvenient laws and checks and balances in Russia.
All the Hitlers, Putins and Cummings of this world need to ensure success is to have a loyal band of MPs who’re always prepared to gleefully vote their projects through without asking inconvenient or searching questions. Sadly a large band of these were voted in to our Parliament just months ago. And the new lot evidently need even less shepherding than the last.
In his recent column here Mr Thomas confidently declared that “schools in Cornwall carry a very low risk if any at all” from coronavirus. He based this on his statement that “during the last week of August two in every 100,000 people across the Duchy tested positive for coronavirus”.
It’s a pity he didn’t seek a tutorial on the comprehension of risk before opining on such a subject. The statistic is not the rate of infection. The two who would have tested positive were amongst the few who actually managed to navigate the Government’s testing system. Many others will have followed Government guidance and quarantined without a test. Scores will be asymptomatic. And contrary to the syntax of his statement of course 100,000 people would not have been tested in Cornwall in the last week of August.
Of course our schools deserve support to continue their important work. But now is not the time to drop our guard, as is implied by Mr Thomas’s confused commentary.
Conservative MPs have been anxious to be photographed with Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate campaigners when it suits their desire to greenwash their image. But they were obviously hoping their letter sent this week to “condemn” XR in the ultra-loyal Tory newspaper The Daily Telegraph wouldn’t be noticed by XR campaigners.