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Saturday 9 May 2020

The Selective Briefing Continues

Tony Blair’s Government was infamous for it: briefing policy first to anyone but those to whom it should have been - the members of the House of Commons. And the practice hasn’t stopped since. So well before alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson deigns to tell everyone what his roadmap for easing the Coronavirus lockdown looks like, they already know, providing they have assembled the jigsaw.
That’s because parts of the new policy have already been leaked - to the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, as befits the paper Bozo The Clown used to work for (well, write for, anyway), the BBC, and the airline industry, or at least the part of the airline industry that is still functioning. All that is then needed is for political observers to take each piece of briefing and put them all together.

Or it would do, had the Tel not put their part behind a paywall. So after we read “Boris Johnson's roadmap to ease lockdown and reopen schools and shops … Gradual lifting of restrictions is expected, provided reproduction of Covid-19 remains low enough to avoid second peak”, it’s a case of, er, that’s it. Ross McCafferty was not impressed.
STOP MANAGING A PANDEMIC THROUGH ANONYMOUS FUCKING BRIEFINGS … It’s behind a paywall! Jesus wept … Camilla Tominey the honorary member of COBRA. This stupid country smh”. It’s bad enough having a former Royal correspondent cobbling it together. It’s worse when you have to pay to find out Government pandemic policy.

Fortunately, one part of the jigsaw was also briefed to the BBC. “Garden centres in England will be allowed to reopen next week as one of the early steps to ease coronavirus lockdown measures, a senior government source has told the BBC”. It’s that “Senior Government source” again. And there’s a good reason for the move.
The Welsh Government has said garden centres can open from Monday”. So Bozo has had his hand forced. Also, “Centres can reopen from Wednesday if they comply with social distancing. Nursery bosses must control the number of people inside their shops so customers can keep 2m from each other, while in-store cafes must stay closed”. So forget the idea of using that as an excuse for a family day out.

The Beeb also has the airline industry’s part of the jigsaw, perhaps because the airlines aren’t happy about it and leaked. “UK airlines say they have been told the government will bring in a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The new restriction is expected to take effect at the end of this month”. Er, hello Grant Shapps.
This might have been some use had it been done at the same time the country was locked down in late March. In the meantime we’ve had almost eight weeks of arrivals without any kind of health checks at all, free to do what they like after passing through passport control. It’s been shambolic. Just like the scattergun nature of the briefings.

Perhaps Dominic Cummings could just leave off the briefings for the duration of the pandemic. Unless he wants to make things even worse than he has already.
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1 comment:

Bwana Mrefu said...

Judging by the furious and sarky comments, This article in the Mail on Sunday, which attempts to resurrect a Gove and Cummings favourite concept - The Blob - seems to be a case of selective briefing seriously going wrong