In the absence (again) of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, yesterday’s Government press conference on the Coronavirus crisis was taken by health secretary Matt Hancock. He got through it OK, and was judged to have given a competent performance. But before long, this latest episode of Hancock’s Half Hearted began to unravel, over his claims regarding those commuting
into central London.
“When it comes to the Tube, the best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full, so that people travelling on the Tube are spaced out, and can be further apart, obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible. There is no good reason in the information that I’ve seen that the current levels of Tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more Tube trains running
” he claimed.
A Central Line train approaches White City
But, as free sheet Metro has reported
, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan pointed out that TfL “simply cannot safely run a full service because of the levels of staff sickness and self-isolation … we cannot run more services than we currently are
” with a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s office telling “Nearly a third of staff are already absent – there aren’t enough drivers and control staff to do it
”. So who was telling the right story?
The BBC’s London transport and environment correspondent Tom Edwards decided to cut out the middle man and ask those on the front line directly. “A number of transport workers have been in touch independently and have confirmed high levels of sickness amongst staff at TfL which is affecting service levels. (My DMs are open & confidential)
” he told.
So what did he find out? “Been inundated (20+) with transport workers at [TfL] all saying the same thing and outlining how many are off sick and how they are working to keep the service going … TfL workers absolutely furious with [Matt Hancock]. All say they can’t run a full service due to high levels of sickness. ‘Many are working overtime in dangerous conditions just to keep the stations open’ … ‘Normally no time for Sadiq but the Govt has gone too far’
”. And there was more. Rather a lot more.
“Tube Driver : we have [30 out of 80] drivers off & half the managers. We are trying our best. We want to do more but we don’t decide the service levels. We don’t want to be driving packed trains of non essential workers [hint for Hancock there]. Very upset we are being blamed when we [are] putting our families at risk
”. And more.
“Devastating from this Tube driver: We are attacked no matter what we do. Most of us have families and because people who should be in quarantine or practicing social distancing, aren't following guidelines we are being exposed to the virus even more. We are dropping like flies
”. It is not in Sadiq Khan’s gift to make the obvious decision.
And that is to stop all non-essential commuting into Central London - including the significant numbers of construction workers whose presence is only essential to the continued financial performance of their employers. It is not acceptable for any transport worker to have to risk their health - and worse - just to keep the job running.
Moreover, it is not acceptable for Matt Hancock, or any other minister, to deflect from his own failings when he clearly doesn’t know his subject. Time to say sorry, Matt
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From the Mail's spEak You're bRanes section.
Key worker Tony Drew tweeted: 'No-one is listening to you and don't need to reduce the service as much as you have. "..
You're a rail expert are you?
"Put extra carriages on the trains to give people more space. Fewer trains running - make them longer, and less staff able to cope with that. This bloke should NEVER have been elected Mayor of London as he is totally useless, and an apologist for "common sense"
Good thinking Batman! Well apart from the fact that it would make trains longer than the platforms.
Cue the "driverless trains" argument.
I'm more concerned that HMG's advice on work has been watered down from 'key workers only' to 'if you can't work from home'. Apparently highlighted by Piers Morgan?
Labour leadership election:
Former Conservative minister backs Starmer.
George Freeman, former Boris Johnson appointee, says:
“When Labour have a sensible new leader, Keir Starmer (if elected) should be invited to Covid cabinet, Cobra and joint No 10 briefings”
(The Guardian, 25 March 2020) p2.
The former minister’s comments highlight the very real danger of a victory for Starmer and illustrate why people need to vote for RLB and for Richard Burgon in the deputy leadership election.
Not only is Hancock a truly creepy weirdo...he's also wholly incompetent and a lying prick.
In short, a typical far right tory.
***Taught a lesson?***
Once there was a time
To dampen the virus curve
Once there was a way
To plan for tests
And tracing those ill folks
Now all we've left is Bojo's panic
Cummings or Johnson still your lies
Don't you gamble on people's lives
Get to grips with what it takes
And we might have a chance to survive
Man, we gotta stay in our homes
Stay in our homes for some time
But, if you need to take a walk
Be sure to keep your safe distance
Herd immunitys one thing
Another is hoping that all will be fine
But when considering the final lessons
Experts win big time!
(h/t L&M or M&L take your pick)
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