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Thursday 2 April 2020

Covid-19 - The Day The Press Lost Faith

Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his Government went into the Coronavirus crisis with the full support of most print media, and a good deal of the new media. Those dissenting from official strategy and pronouncements were sidelined, dismissed, even smeared, while Bozo The Clown, we were assured, was doing a great job. Yesterday, another 563 deaths were announced, and the mood music changed.
Today’s front pages illustrate the extent of the new dissent, from free sheet MetroThe heroes on front line STILL without proper kit”, through the Mirror’sSHAMBLES”, the Mail’s550,000 NHS STAFF … ONLY 2,000 TESTED”, the TimesVirus testing plans in chaos” and the i Paper “NHS frontline staff let down on testing” to the Guardian’s grim warning “Virus patients more likely to die may have ventilators taken away”.
Only the Murdoch Sun is left to deflect from the failings. Why this should be is not difficult to deduce: the questions keep being asked, but in place of clear and honest answers has come evasion. The Downing Street machine is very good at slagging off the opposition in order to bolster its press coverage, and hence poll ratings. But it is lousy at dealing with an opponent that can’t be dismissed, not even with the most brutal smear campaign.
And the bad news only fuels the idea that those in charge don’t have a proverbial Scooby Doo when it comes to getting a handle on the pandemic. Covid-19 testing? Alberto Nardelli of BuzzFeed had more on that: “The UK Missed Out On Thousands Of Extra Coronavirus Tests After A Communications Breakdown Between Two Government Agencies”.
David Schneider observed the BBC’s Jane Hill’s astonishment at revealing that just 30 new ventilators were to be deployed. “40 new hospitals are actually 6 hospitals … 50,000 new nurses is actually 31,000 nurses … 30,000 new ventilators is actually... 30 … Can this be true?! It’s just insane”. It can, and arguably, it is. And Personal Protective Equipment?
Sky News had something on that, after the incessant talk of “ramping up”: “Heads of Britain’s health and social care unions have warned ministers that lack of personal protective equipment for NHS and social care workers is a ‘crisis within a crisis’ and has called on the government to increase the supply urgently”. So much for “ramping up”.
And the daily Downing Street press conference was not inspiring confidence, as the Guardian’s John Crace observed. "This Downing Street press conference is a complete car crash. Government just doesn't have any answers on testing”. Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, vilified but now vindicated, added “I understand that Public Health England has a complex relationship with government, but seeing PHE leaders defending a failed government testing strategy is hard to take. Remember that Duty of Candour?
John Burn-Murdoch of the FT brought the day’s stats, and their bad news: “The US now has more deaths than France had a day earlier in its outbreak … UK death toll is now higher than Italy’s at the same stage”, while Horton concluded “The handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK is the most serious science policy failure in a generation. Last week, the Deputy CMO said, ‘there comes a point in a pandemic where that [testing] is not an appropriate intervention.’ Now a priority. Public message: utter confusion”.

The honeymoon is over. Now Bozo must shape up. If not, he may have to ship out.
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grim northerner said...

They will blame the 'bloated and inefficient' public sector (in this case nhs management) and the gammon cultists will lap it all up.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't get too excited about the "change", Tim.

The obvious incompetence of mad bastards in the Bozo Circus can't be ignored, not even by the mad bastards in the tory press. My guess is that it'll develop into a faction fight, nothing more.

Oh there'll be some crumbs scattered for the peons, probably promoted as "profound social change" by liars like Kuenssberg. But actually it'll be nothing of the sort. Mark my words, in due course we'll be back to the same deluded diet of lies, greed and wilfull ignorance - instead of the social revolution we REALLY need.

Might be worthwhile re-reading Spengler........

Anonymous said...

NHS (England) got its full order of testing kits from Roche whilst the NHS (Wales) order to Roche was cancelled. It wasn't NHS Wales / Welsh Assembly that did the cancelling.

Neil said...

I read that Liz Truss has drawn the short straw and will be the government's representative at today's press briefing.

I'm recording the show, it will be a comedy classic.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of Johnson doesn't solve anything - it would be the *fourth* Tory leader in four years.