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Sunday 19 April 2020

Boris And A Five Week Killing Spree

Some of us knew that the stories claiming that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson had been working so hard that he made himself vulnerable to Covid-19 infection were bunk: Johnson is the laziest occupant of 10 Downing Street in recent history. What we also knew was that his laziness had led to delays in enabling the UK to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. Now everyone knows. And it doesn’t look good.
To its great credit, the Murdoch Sunday Times has the grim details of how Johnson and his cabinet knew of the virus threat and did nothing about it until they had put tens of thousands more people in harm’s way. But to avoid frightening readers too much, the story is pushed off top headline spot by an item on the possible reopening of schools.

Much of the text simply leaps off the page: “contrary to the official line, Britain was in a poor state of readiness for a pandemic. Emergency stockpiles of PPE had severely dwindled and gone out of date after becoming a low priority in the years of austerity cuts. The training to prepare key workers for a pandemic had been put on hold for two years while contingency planning was diverted to deal with a possible no-deal Brexit”.

There was more. “This made it doubly important that the government hit the ground running in late January and early February … Scientists said the threat from the coming storm was clear … It was a message repeated throughout February but the warnings appear to have fallen on deaf ears”. One NHS insider’s testimony is worrying.

We missed the boat on testing and PPE . . . I remember being called into some of the meetings about this in February and thinking, ‘Well it’s a good thing this isn’t the big one.’ I had watched Wuhan but I assumed we must have not been worried because we did nothing. We just watched”. And what did Johnson do?

He missed the first Cobra meeting on the virus. And “Johnson went on to miss four further Cobra meetings on the virus … It would not be until March 2 - another five weeks - that Johnson would attend a Cobra meeting about the coronavirus. But by then it was almost certainly too late … Last week, a senior adviser to Downing Street broke ranks and blamed the weeks of complacency on a failure of leadership in cabinet. In particular, the prime minister was singled out”. Johnson wasn’t there when he should have been.
Added to the front page almost as an afterthought

The adviser added “what you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends. It was like working for an old-fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be”.

And the conclusion? “One day there will inevitably be an inquiry into the lack of preparations during those ‘lost’ five weeks from January 24 … Among the key points likely to be explored will be why it took so long to recognise an urgent need for a massive boost in supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers; ventilators to treat acute respiratory symptoms; and tests to detect the infection”.

Tory ministers and their hangers-on are now frantically spinning against this narrative, which only shows how accurate it is. Michael “Oiky” Gove was particularly animated during an appearance on The Andy Marr Show™, complaining about journalists doing, well, journalism, which is a little rich considering his background. But the points within that article are pertinently made: the PM was absent elsewhere for five whole weeks.
That delay in acting means that tens of thousands more people in the UK will have been infected with Covid-19. Many hundreds of them will have died, or will soon die. And all the while, we are bombarded with Fake News from the rest of the right-wing press, claiming that Johnson tired himself out with all that hard work, which made him susceptible to infection. Bullshit. He’s overweight and unhealthy. And he’s a lazy SOB.

And that is where, perhaps, the most damage will be done: the Government will take a reputational hit, sure, but it would take that sooner or later anyway. It is the craven, courtier, client stenographers of our free and fearless press who will be exposed as preening, shameless, selfish and unprincipled propagandists.

Boris Johnson couldn’t get off his arse when he needed to. He spent more time chasing after Carrie Symonds than doing the job he was elected to do. And as a result he went on a killing spree, as sure as if he’d emptied an Uzi into all those poor souls.

Some of us knew he was worse than useless. This knowledge is slowly, but surely, spreading to others. If only it was as contagious as the Coronavirus.
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Arnold said...

"What we also knew was that his laziness had led to delays in enabling the UK to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic."
Not laziness. We were testing and contact tracing at the start when there were only a handful of cases. As other countries have shown, this would have prevented thousands of deaths. Instead it switched to herd immunity (a euphemism for very many preventable deaths).

David said...

While I would not wish to dispute the fact that Johnson is incredibly lazy (and negligent) one should also examine other reasons.
"Boris Johnson extraordinarily proclaimed that the Coronavirus would trigger “a desire for market segregation” that would go beyond “what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage” and “at that moment humanity needs some Government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange” – seven weeks before a nationwide lockdown was imposed in the UK."


In other words, there was money to be made.

Wildswimmer Pete said...

Johnson should be charged with Malfeasance In Public Office, which carries the ultimate penalty of life imprisonment.

Arnold said...

"Boris Johnson Said Superman Brexit Britain Would Take Advantage of the Pandemic and Go Its Own Way "
Trudat. We've had many more deaths than say Germany despite a much smaller population.