Wake up Master Cole, you've been rumbled. Again
In a vain attempt to recapture the more lighthearted headlines of old, the Super Soaraway Currant Bun has proclaimed “Exclusive: French Sour Grapes … BREXIT STROP AS ‘NAPOLEON’ MACRON NABS 5M VACCINES BOUND FOR UK … Not tonight BoJosephine”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. But we do find out that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is going to “Focus”. What, all of us?
So let’s consider Master Cole’s story, however lame the invention on offer. “FRANCE swiped almost five million vaccine doses from Britain in a shocking post-Brexit tantrum … President Emmanuel Macron plotted with Brussels chiefs like a modern Napoleon Bonaparte as Britain’s Covid jabs rollout humiliated the EU earlier this year”.
Citation? We won’t be getting that. Instead, we get “A massive batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine expected to arrive in the UK was instead diverted from Holland. The PM then successfully focused on keeping Pfizer jabs flowing”. I doubt Bozo could focus on anything that wasn’t wearing a skirt. But do go on. “Raging ministers believe France’s actions could easily have cost lives in the UK”. Except they didn’t. Try again.
“On March 22, AstraZeneca boss Ruud Dobber publicly stated that a vaccine batch - enough to bottle several million doses - was expected to arrive in Britain imminently from its Halix site in Holland … But it never turned up - instead getting diverted to the EU’s stuttering rollout scheme, sparking blazing rows between the Prime Minister and Mr Macron … Amid a bitter diplomatic spat, the EU blocked its transfer to the UK”.
Given the precision of Master Cole’s claim, it should not be difficult to back that up with contemporary reports. Like from Politico: “AstraZeneca subcontractor Halix has not sent any Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses to the U.K. after the EU implemented export controls, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said [in early March]”.
There was more. He added “that AstraZeneca hasn't requested to send vaccines abroad since the authorization scheme”. And then on March 22, this from Reuters: “Executives would not be drawn on when Britain's drug watchdog may give the nod to accept Halix-produced shots”. The UK had not, by that date, approved vaccines from the plant.
Also, “the EU's leaders are set to discuss imposing a ban on vaccine exports to Britain at a summit on Thursday”. But they were only discussing it. Moreover, the EU procurement programme was potentially sourcing vaccine supplies for the whole of the bloc: there appears to be no evidence that France, or any other country, “swiped” anything.
Master Cole is damned by his brief foray into date precision: no export request, the Halix shots had not been approved by the MHRA, and no EU-UK ban was in place.
All of which points to one conclusion: Master Cole’s pants are on fire. Again.
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