This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Sunday 19 April 2020
Tory Ventilator Foul-Up Cover-Up
There have been few press outlets whose reporting of the Coronavirus pandemic have been fearless, accurate and trusted, despite the claims from some papers. And one outlet that has been on the money, and on the Government’s case from the get-go, has been the Financial Times, and its public policy editor Peter Foster. He has been particularly harsh on the Tories’ apparent inability to get ventilators manufactured for the NHS.
His content has been accompanied by a prodigious Twitter output, so the widest possible audience gets a flavour of the players involved, their actions, the consequences, and where it has left the NHS as it looks to deal with tens of thousands of infected patients, many of whom will need hospital care. Those who follow his Twitter feed have been left in no doubt as to his verdict on the Government. It is severely adverse.
Fire up the spin machine. Badly
He concluded “What this speaks to is the deeply worrying tendency of this crop of politicians to think they know best … The 'cut-the-crap' 'how-hard-can-it-be?' attitudes that leads to headless decision making. It's embarrassing … Over the last week I've had SO many conversations with docs and experts that remind of the conversations I had with logisticians, port operators, customs clearers over #Brexit. Expert people TEARING their hair out at the wilful numbskullery of the people at the top”. And there was more.
“My inbox is full of people who daren't speak on record but are SEETHING at the way they were treated … People who worked 20-hour days for weeks; gave freely of their time, energy and spirit for nothing … The government may look to try and find an outlet for these ventilators in other places - but you have to ask, if they're not fit for UK patients (and we'll see if any can get clearance) why would they work for poorer countries? I'll be watching”.
And more. “The government said 'the clinical understanding of the disease changed' but that is a RED HERRING … What worries me is if this 'how hard can it be?' principle is applied to testing, to PPE procurement etc. The government needs to show some HUMILITY. It needs to LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW STUFF. I think this is a clear example of where it did not”. Why does the name Dominic Cummings spring to mind?
All those planted stories about new designs of ventilators that were going to be manufactured in their thousands, by the likes of Dyson. And what has happened? They haven’t. Now, stung by Foster’s criticism, the Government has decided to use the GOV.UK website to launch a rebuttal, thus wasting more taxpayer-funded resources.
Sadly, quite apart from someone in the Cabinet Office (hello “Oiky” Gove) forgetting Ronald Reagan’s maxim “When you’re explaining, you’re losing”, the rebuttal includes this prize giveaway: “No one was under any illusions at the time of launching the Challenge that producing new designs for domestic production would be anything other than a significant and exacting test”. So why waste everyone’s time doing it?
The only challenge that should have been entered into for ventilators was to manufacture more of what was already known to work - instead of which we had the sight of Wonderful Independent Go-Ahead Brexit Britain being bailed out by a shipment of sixty ventilators from … Germany. Foster is on the money: we wasted time and resources. End of story.
Now we’re wasting time and resources trying to spin it away. What an absolute shower.
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