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Saturday 2 May 2020

Tories Fiddle Test Stats - Media Joins In

As was demonstrated in the 2000 US Presidential Election by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), once an event is announced as fact, it becomes difficult to dispute it, even if the initial announcement was baseless. FNC’s calling of Florida for “Dubya” Bush established the idea that the Republicans had won the state, and anyone saying otherwise was being a sore loser. It is a lesson not lost on today’s Tory Party.
So as the deadline approached for owning up over the claim to achieve 100,000 tests a day for the Coronavirus - which was never going to be met - someone decided to fiddle the figures and claim not only that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had achieved his goal, but had ventured way beyond it. Three cheers for plucky Mr H!
There was, though, as Captain Blackadder might have concluded, only one thing wrong with this claim - it was bollocks. We know this as the Government’s own figures say so. Yes, the Coronavirus Daily Update shows the number of tests as 122,347, but next to that is the number of people tested - at just 73,191. A difference of almost 50,000.
How could that be? Simples. Any home test ordered, and posted out to the requester, was counted. Hell, according to the Health Service Journal, just an agreement to mail out a home testing kit has also been counted in. The figures have been blatantly fiddled.
A concerted disinformation effort was clearly called for, and who better to leave his conscience at the door but the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn: “I understand Matt Hancock has hit his 100,000 tests a day target. By any account, this is a phenomenal achievement … Not just met, smashed. 122,347 tests carried out in the 24 hours up to 9am on May 1”. But 122,347 tests had NOT been carried out.
No matter, Newton Dunn was off and running: “Today’s total test number includes the 40,000 home kits despatched, but not yet returned. Cue, a slightly pedantic debate on whether they should be counted immediately or 48 hours later when they are returned. Unconvinced the public will be overly bothered”. I’m lying but am I bovvered?
Then, with added gaslighting, came the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, telling anyone not yet asleep “Testing Target Smashed … Health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed that in the 24 hours up until 9am this morning, 122,347 coronavirus tests were carried out in the UK. This surpassed the Government’s target of achieving 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, with an increase of more than 40,000 on yesterday. People said this couldn’t be done”. No they didn’t.
The organised lying has continued into this morning, with the Daily Brexit, sometimes still called the Express, proclaiming “HE’S ONLY GONE AND DONE IT! Hancock smashes virus testing goal … MATT Hancock has smashed his audacious virus testing target - hitting 122,347 in a single day”. And then, to its shame, came the BBC.
The BBC Breaking News Twitter feed declared “The UK carried out 122,000 coronavirus tests on the last day of April, passing the government's target”. They didn’t. That did not stop Andrew Neil chiming in with ”The UK carried out 122,347 coronavirus tests yesterday”. One hates to come over all 1980s Neil Kinnock, but having a BBC presenter - a BBC presenter - pitching Fake News to the public is totally out of order.
Worst of all, the fakery was known hours before the proclamation that Hancock had “smashed” his target. Before 1430 hours yesterday, Dan Bloom of the Mirror noted “Oh dear... highly respected HSJ reporting the government has fiddled the figures to meet the 100,000 testing target - i.e. that tests posted out but not yet run through the machines are being counted”. And Richard Horton of The Lancet was not impressed.
If this report is true, it is another example of the government’s propaganda. If it is true, it undermines trust in government. If it is true, will the doctors and scientists who stand next to politicians every evening have the courage to call out the lie?” Quite.
As Ross McCafferty put it, “This 100k tests thing - I'm going to have [to] mute 90% of British journalists amn't I?” He then warned “remember that that news came alongside the news that over 700 people died in the last 24 hours before unleashing your ‘where are the boo boys now? Hancock smashed it, take that snowflakes’ takes".
On top of that, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson lied flagrantly about the UK’s testing numbers relative to other countries. And yes, there were another 739 hospital and care home deaths of those with Coronavirus in the 24 hours up to 0900 hours yesterday. The overall UK death toll is likely to be close to 50,000.

But remember, folks, this is a great British success story we’re talking about here. So be positive and upbeat. It is just 36 years since Nineteen Eighty Four.
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Fiddler on the Hoof said...

Using that method during a Parliamentary election would mean that everyone sent a polling card has voted.

Smartest Flies in the Room said...

Ah, like ENRON's counting system where power plants not yet built were marked as assets.

Arnold said...

Surprisingly, the Mail reported it. It seems to have lost faith in Bozo and Hancockwomble lately.

"Matt Hancock boasts he has hit 100,000-a-day testing target but only if you don't mind counting multiple tests on the same person and 40,000 kits that were posted to patients but not processed!"


Derek said...

Dear Zelo ,
When I was in Saudi Arabia in the eighties news would break and if it could be interpreted as unfavourable to the Government , the next day impressive officially backed what I called ‘Third World’ fantasies (some of them amusingly creative) would appear to distract and tell the public what to think . My view then was that such BS would not be successful with the British public , but this 122K tests achieved , played with the current death rate of over 700 for the day as a Great British ‘success’ story , proves my hopes wrong . The British public seem if anything more gullible than those of the Third World . Shades of Stalin’s admonishment of comrades ‘Dizzy with Success’ , murdering 5-10M Kulaks and creating famine ,

Arnold said...

Breaking news. Government announces record tax receipts after counting only demands for payment.

Anonymous said...

One clarification - to be fair to Andrew Neil, he did reverse his opinion a short time later on seeing the actual figures - and had the grace to leave the original tweet, thereby not covering up his initial error.

Ferdy Fox said...

Ah, so like the p.p.e. for hospitals and care homes - it's in the post.
Never mind. No doubt there'll soon be another "Hancock's Half Hour" to stretch our imagination.

Gulliver said...

What's the betting those 40,000 postal tests will be counted again once their finally processed.