Delivering PPE

I have tabled a couple of questions to try to work out what happened with the much discussed Turkish order of protective clothing for health workers.

It seemed to me that Ministers were desperate to get more protective clothing, hearing of low stocks and possible shortages. They were clearly wanting more to be supplied and happy to provide the cash to pay. They also wanted to make some announcement that illustrated the massive amount of work that was going on to increase the flows into the NHS and care homes.

Presumably the senior managers for procurement volunteered that they had just placed a large extra order with Turkey. I doubt Ministers had arranged it themselves or would have known about it without briefing.

Whatever the involvement of Ministers in actually buying the goods, we do need to know whether they paid in advance, what was said about the specification required, and what if any checks and tests were made before taking delivery of the product.

Of course working at speed with a need for a  big increase in supply mistakes can  be made, but presumably the usual procurement rules applied. It is normal to issue a specification, and inspect or test samples before taking delivery.

It is also interesting that the UK agreed to go and pick up the consignment. What checks were made before loading the planes?

Let us hope this all has a happy ending. If we do not pay for the goods that did not meet specification no great  harm is done. It still leaves me wondering why this particular contract was selected to highlight in the media, and why there were so many problems with it. It seems many other contracts work and the UK is buying a lot more PPE one way or another. Why did officials single this one out for a mention and why did it go wrong?

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  1. Mark B
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Sorry, off topic.

    Today is the day the guns fell silent across Europe and the bloodiest war known to man had come to an end in this theatre – Japan had yet to surrender. Those that survived the carnage celebrated what was to become known as VE-Day and from the ashes a new Europe and world would emerge. The hardship and fortitude those previous generations showed throughout those dark times, and the sacrifices made by so many young people for a cause many now seem to have forgotten. That cause being freedom. Not freedom for Britain and her Empire but, freedom for the peoples of Europe and elsewhere. A Europe dominated by the Axis powers.

    So when I look upon those who job it is to protect and preserve the our way of life, I cannot help but compare them to that great generation to see how they measure up. All I can say is, our people, our nation, and her Empire, fought and won against a determined foe back then. Today’s lot, all I can say is, I am glad that the pubs and breweries are closed. It saves them trying to organise a ****-up !

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      O/T for me too.

      While I wish all those on here, a very happy VE Day, we must never forget the hardships and suffering it took to achieve it, and give thanks for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

      Freedom does not come cheaply. we must always cherish it. It came at enormous cost, both for us, and our Allies, who joined us in the fight

      • Stred
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        How on Earth did Churchill manage to clear out the incompetents and find the managers that built the aircraft, ships, tanks and firearms with the military that resisted and eventually won the war? After we had won the usual turkeys came back to their pens and ensured that we nationalised everything and lost the peace. The present civil service has left us defenceless and is planning to leave the country without the basic industries and sufficient energy. How do we defend 50,000 wind turbines in the deep sea? It seems that every Conservative and Labour politician has been hypnotised by a green invader from outer space intent on destroying Western civilization.

        • jerry
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          @Stred; “How on Earth did Churchill manage to clear out the incompetents and find the managers that built the aircraft, ships, tanks and firearms [etc.]”

          Churchill didn’t, he gave the task to Ernest Bevin, a Trade Unionist!

          As for loosing the post war peace, the UK’s best years since the end of WW2 were during the 1950s (and perhaps on to the mid 1960s), so quite why you blame the loss of UK economic might on 1945-50 era nationalisations…

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          And just as the high street dies for good and we are all forced over to internet shopping (lots of vans needed) Richard Littlejohn reports to-day that councils are busy narrowing roads creating more cycle lanes and wider footpaths to deliberately impede road traffic.

          How on earth is our economy supposed to recover ?

          A clue is in the hypocrite who gave us the lock-down policy and broke his own quarantine rules – and the greenist credentials of doxy with whom he did it.

          The fact is that we aren’t MEANT to recover from this.

        • Hope
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          We read the govt say it has its hands tied not to deliver PPE outside the EU unless on humanitarian grounds! I weep at the weakness of govt and the compliance by Sir Humphrey.

          Germany breaking state aid rules, not supplying PPE to EU neighbours, not going to give money to help southern countries but waiting to buy up those solvable companies and assets as it did with Greece!

          JR, Timothy Bradshaw in Con Woman worth a read today.

          We read how the EU agreed to censor Chinese virus origin and water down its critical letter after pressure by China! JR, is this true of our weak kneed govt? Why has the govt not redirected Sir Humphrey Haewei determination to keep UK oriented to China and EU rather than our natural allies like US?

          We read our intelligence services were aware of suppression and disinformation by China of the outbreak but did nothing. Johnson sat on his Hands? Is this because Sidwell is head of Security, Cabinet and civil service? When can we expect changes in his job profile and the announcement of his successor?

          • NickC
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            Hope, It probably is true, as demonstrated by the UK government declaring that the Wuhan flu has “natural” origins.

            Separately have a look at the CIB article “Are EU procurement rules to blame for the NHS PPE crisis”.

          • anon
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            Surely basic security and internal controls would suggest against having multiple senior roles fulfilled by one individual, which were previously separate.

            In normal times that would be of concern presently, it seem folly. Time to spread the burden and risk.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          We are witnessing the Decline & Fall Europe. I read somewere that the Ministry of Defence has more civil servants now at peace than they had at the height of the war. That’d WW2 not Blair & Campbell’s illegal war.

          • glen cullen
            Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            We have more civil servants now than at height of the british empire when the world was coloured pink

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Yes that is the miracle. Could not finish Wellington’s biography – not only did he have to beat every one of Napoleon’s Generals and the little man himself, but every morning he had a queue of chaps wanting furlough to attend a wedding/christening/funeral/etc. Also rubbish equipment, rubbish food – I just don’t know how he did it. He deserved Blenheim!

          • Fred H
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            Lynn – – But he didn’t get Blenheim, Marlborough did. Confusing military campaigns?
            Wellington got £60,000 in prize money after the Battle of Waterloo but returned £40,000 of this to the Treasury. The Duke of Wellington bought Stratfield Saye in 1817, using the money voted to him by parliament for ‘services rendered’ in the defeat of Napoleon.

      • Hope
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        JR, the short answer is the govt through PHE and NHS England resoundingly failed to prepare. These so called experts people paid football salaries for incompetence. Not only should there have been stocks but also a plan how to get more in a pandemic when it would be known there would be a world shortage. Logistics should also have gone with the plan like hand and glove. Hence why they have exercises like Cygnus!

        Less than four hundred people have died under the age of forty five we read. Is this true? If so destroying the economy will not help the country whatsoever.

        Teaching staff currently on rosters and going to different schools mixing with different pupils and having a lunch provided by canteen staff. Some teaching staff refusing, yes refusing, to take part! These children are young, not social distancing, putting hands in mouth and face. How is shutting schools helping anyone? How are these canteens different from cafes or any other canteen?

        The numbers at care homes show lock down not working. Would that be because govt put infected elederly people into them? A cynic might view it as helping to solve the adult social care problem that the Tory govt broke it promises on three times and Mayhab lying to claim, nothing has changed!

        Your govt will be booted out once the devastating economic reality hits home to the nation. At the moment people think of it as free money. There is no such thing. Labour and wee crankie exploiting the gullable Tory govtin extending nation house arrest in this regard.

        Suggest Raab no longer takes part in briefing, he has no credibility and looks completely foolish.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      OT also; I see Boris allowed himself to break his own rules yesterday, so the MSM can this morning print a picture of him laying a candle at the grave of the Unknown Soldier inside Westminster Abbey…. Could he not have simply flown a VE-Day flag from the steps of downing Street, like the rest of us are meant to, unable to pay our respects to the fallen (and in some cases loved ones) were the names are listed war memorials -especially where they are inside of buildings.

      I fear this is fast becoming a political lockdown, not a medical one, hence why the R number metrics keep changing, the R number has not risen, the high R number in care homes has always been present, the govt simply chose to ignore it before because care homes are currently very insular, many staff self isolating when not on duty or even living at the care homes, what next, another extension in three weeks because the R number in prisons are now being counted.

      PS, my spiel chocker keeps wanting to change “lockdown” to crackdown, it might be right…

      • Hope
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Jerry, you are so right. Johnson has repeatedly broke the law, before and after catching Chinese virus, while insisting us plebs should not. He will have an entourage of about 20+ with close protection etc. Therefore the risks are much higher, same for when he and his mistress go to their second state funded home. He is deliberately putting the life of his staff at risk.

        Ferguson no action, Jenrick no action, Cressida Dick no action, then we are told nine thousand fixed penalties issued and many arrests! Minister Conor Burns resignation epitomises the pompous do as I say not what I do phrase. Disappointed to read Greg Hands also abusing his position.

        The sleaze will come back to bite when people lose jobs, lose homes, businesses they worked to build, they will become very angry.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      As in the first war, we are Lions led by Donkeys.
      Nothing changes except today the military is the only public sector that actually works.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        And it will go on working for as long as politicians allow it to be different from civil society. To date, they only seem to want it to be the same!

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      I fear we need a new politician party, one that’s not beholding to the civil service, the media or lobby

      One that has the backbone to sail its own course and is proud to say what it means

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        You mean we need to get rid of the professional politician and elect the very best! I agree! Redwood stays – who else?

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          Bill Cash MP

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      “Today’s lot”?

      That’s “your lot” then.

      Isn’t it?

      • NickC
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        No, Martin, it’s your lot.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning,

    Interesting issue; a distraction..?

    ”Worst recession since 1709”

    National Debt in 1709 – – @30% of GDP National Debt in 2020 – – @85% of GDP, rising

    Income tax in 1709 – – Nil Income tax in 2020 – – @ 32%, rising?

    The UK government debt has never been higher than now (including expenditure announced this year) than at any time other than the two world wars.

    Our Conservative Party is financially incompetent, it did not make preparations for a national emergency while it could.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Just cancelling the zero carbon agenda, the climate change act, the Paris Accord, the absurd Climate Committee, renewable subsidies (and HS2 for good measure) would save far more than the economic costs or this wretched virus. As would a sensible bonfire of misguided red tape and moving to easy hire and fire.

      Just getting people to get their weight down to normal BMI levels by eating and drinking less would save more live than it has cost. Saving money too, reducing the covid death toll too it seems.

      • BeebTax
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Very good points, though politically difficult to achieve.

        We’ve been told for some years that the obesity issue is a time bomb. It seems the bomb has exploded. A sustained campaign of encouraging people to exercise, backed up by community health support might be very effective as we come out of lockdown: many people have got the taste for gentle exercise, many have learnt that being overweight can be life threatening to themselves, and if “saving” the NHS is the national mission then this is one way to do it.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          And stop trying to say that big is beautiful. It isn’t. Now we know that it threatens the NHS (now it’s biggest killer) it’s selfish too.

          But anyone who’s flown budget airlines and had their seating area encroached upon could have told you that anyway.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          10% of the NHS expenditure seems to be linked to diabetes 2 and yet this is largely curable for less than nothing, just be eating rather less.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Here Here to your first para

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        I see the EU environmental policy’s new guidelines for ESG sustainable disclosure exempts oil and gas from the definition of fossil fuels.

        So can we keep our cars please dear Boris. And we will not complain about your Dad breaking the ‘lockdown’ to visit his new grandson … etc etc etc

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood, Part of the problem is we rely too much on Jonny Foreigner.

      Our establishment is split between those championing globalist “free” trade who think that Jonny Foreigner will look after us; and those obsessive Remains, hating their own country, who think that Jonny Foreigner (in the EU) ought to look after us.

      This pandemic has shown neither are true. And, indeed, why should Jonny Foreigner look after us? It is time for a dose of nationalism – standing on our own two feet so that, whilst enjoying the benefits of some international trade, we make sure that the basics are covered at home.

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      And we thought Gordon Brown & Alister Darling were bad doubling the debt in 2 years with “Call Me Dave” quoting Kennedy about not fixing the roof when the sun was shining.
      It seems politicians of all hues don’t learn the lessons from past mistakes.
      Remember the great PFI heist? All done by Brown & Blair while saving us from boom & bust. Reading the Independent’s article from 17/02/18 is mind boggling
      The total bill for NHS PFI hospitals is ultimately projected to rise above £79bn, way in excess of original build costs of £11.4bn.
      if Boris intends emulating Churchuill it won’r be chanting “The show must go on”

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Once politicians get involved and demand certain “results” by certain invented deadlines things usually/invariable go wrong and vast sums of taxpayers money are wasted. As we saw with the “100,000” tests just on the one day of 30th April. We will see with the insane net zero carbon Renewable, lunacy unless it is abandoned now. It will waste many many billions, kill productivity, export jobs, kill people and destroy our ability to compete.

    The more I think about the practical issues and technology of this virus app (Bluetooth range, battery demand and the practicalities for people switching it of and on when working near Covid patients, public transport etc.) the more I think it will prove to have little practical value in reducing transmission. It will however waste a lot of people’s time.

    Politician often demand things that simply cannot work or cannot be done. As Richard Feynman put it in relation to the Challenger disaster:- “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

    We see it again where politician have demanded cars, heating systems, biofuels, daft energy systems and similar are ‘forced’ on to people that very expensive, over complex, unreliable, expensive to maintain and not very practical. They tend not to buy them if the can avoid them.

    Politician are nearly always PR over substance and reality.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Nightingale hospitals were surely PR over substance too. What was the point of these if they did not have suitable spare staff for them anyway?

      • sok
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        It’s not over yet, we may still need them)

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          They have beds, partition and a nice ‘Nightingale Hospital NHS” sign, but not the staff. That is not a hospital.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, All the CAGW, and climate emergency doom nonsense – and hence the battery car, renewables, zero carbon obsessions – are based on computer models which are just as flawed as the discredited Prof Bonks covid19 half-a-million-deaths computer model.

      This is the problem: non-technical, but over-emotional, people have taken over in the BBC, the rest of the MSM, and in the establishment. They are easily hoodwinked by the next plausible sounding snake oil salesman, because they’ve never got their hands dirty producing anything practical, so have no reference ground. The hysteria over PPE is an exact example.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:01 am | Permalink

        Indeed and almost none have even got any physics, science or maths beyond GCSE level.

        • M Brandreth- Jones
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Many continue to learn after 16 yrs or 18 yrs 21 yrs for the sheer pleasure of it and not to tot up kiddies exams when they are seniors.!!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


      As a trained professional you have successfully built up a business through practical experience. Your decision making determines your business viability; get it wrong and there are severe consequences for both you and your labour force.

      Over the course of 35 years I have watched businesses fail due to bad management decisions, usually for the same incompetent reasons…business reality vs hiding from the truth! Hiding from the truth keeps you in lucrative employment for a while, until harsh reality finally catches up.

      I cannot count the number of times I have sat through a business presentation and wondered how on earth is this business venture going to succeed? It is usually a desire to impress by the presenter, rather than the setting out solid foundations for PSSS; Preparation, Structure, Substance and Sustainability. In general, good country MDs will have a good understanding of PSSS and a solid Finance Director at their side to ensure reality.

      Few Politicians have the necessary professional training and experience and therefore he/she relies heavily on so-called experts to assist them in their decision making. If an expert has a personal agenda (civil service) this can lead to non-achievement of objectives and political suicide.

      Personally, I am in no doubt as to why Politicians consistently follow a course of action that leads to failure……public relations, political points scoring and vote winning is their top priority, substance is not!

      As you say….

      “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        Exactly, but in the state sector no one cares. Why bother firing a useless employee, teacher, nurse, bureaucrat or closing down a useless damaging QUANGO, it is only taxpayer’s money after all.

        You just make yourself unpopular. Better to expand it and try and get you family or friends a cushy job there.

  4. Irene
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “If we do not pay for the goods that did not meet specification no great harm is done.” Harm was done as those in need of PPE were given to understand PPE problems were on the way to being sorted. Care homes and others left searching for PPE that was not available. Stockpiled PPE out of date and useless.

    Who took their eye off the ball – again?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink


      Agree with the points you make, but the Government itself is not responsible for stock rotation, as practised in most businesses as standard, that is the responsibility of either health England or the hospitals themselves.
      The government should be asking those who work in all of these government departments that involve purchasing and distribution, what the hell is going on.

      None of us know the real story here other than the end result, we are all guessing just like the media.
      The sensible thing to do now is use the gowns in a less challenging environment (surely they are better than plastic aprons) and get a refund or gowns of the right quality made by the same people if that is possible.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Family members and friends have worked for the NHS in the past, before retirement.

        It would appear that the NHS purchasing system in many cases is an absolute farce, with certainly most non medical/surgical purchases (office equipment and supplies, including printing) being automatically placed with so called confirmed and approved NHS listed suppliers, even though much could be purchased on the high street at half the cost, and received in half the time.

        Getting on the NHS approved list would appear to be a nice little (large) earner for some.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      The Turkish are saying that they’ve not received any complaint about the products ?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        ah. but what did we buy – t-shirts – ‘Boris for PM’

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Care Homes are private sector not state sector, the question should be – did these private care homes do their annual risk assessments, were these risk assessments inspected once per year during their annual inspections, what ppe were they meant to hold in a case of a medical outbreak of any spreading disease, what stock were each of them holding, does their quango not hold group purchase or organise a holding of ppe for the care home use. What is the purpose of the care home inspections quango, how many are employed in it what is the wage bill.

      There are not only government ministers responsible for this absolute shambles and the Ministers need to start fighting back they’re on the ropes and they’re going down and out if they don’t.

      You can’t have people like Peter Parsons on this blog say only 6% of people work in the public sector but the government purchasing ppe is responsible for 94% of buying decisions. GPS are also private same questions above for them.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Conservative governments are there to hold power, Irene, not to do work.

      The two are entirely unrelated.

      Ordering a lockdown is power.

      Organising the purchase of PPE, mass testing, and the follow-up actions, are work.
      Get the picture?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        The “picture” martin, is delegated to hundreds of thousands of very well paid professionals.
        Experts in their fields.
        Blame them.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          Not when it happens to be a Labour government though, Ed?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            I can’t remember that far back.
            I expect you don’t count Blair so that is over 30 years ago.

          • NickC
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Martin, That depends on what it is. Ministers are not directly responsible for ordering PPE. Ministers are responsible for NHS management being incompetent.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Who took their eye off the ball? – -the same sort of people who thought that opening the UK’s gates would only wave in 13000 a year. Now, our Police programs show immigrant after immigrant “driving” ( I use the term loosely) on our roads – drunk, no insurance. No – or fake – licenses. Crashing, causing injuries, needing the NHS they haven’t paid a penny towards etc etc.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    The highlighting of this particular order for PPE, at the time, was an attempt to manage headlines. It is not the first or only example of attempted news management during this pandemic. This is the purpose of the daily 5pm news conference. As often as not it serves to obscure as much as to enlighten or it seeks to distract attention from embarrassing issues – mushroom management in action before our very eyes. It was a failed attempt to cover up the shortage of PPE. The testing target of 100,000 tests per day was another failed attempt to distract attention. The failure/delay to disclose meaningful data on the progress of the epidemic continues. Part of the problem seems to stem from the stated objective “save the NHS”, a classic example of a huge, monolithic, bureaucratic organisation. Not invented here appears to have been the guiding principle that caused rejection of UK private sector offers of help to supply PPE and tests. It also appears to lie behind the track, trace and test app just launched. It also appears to lie behind the decision to send patients back from hospitals to care homes where staff are at the back of the queue for PPE for supplies. We have been promised clarity, we get obfuscation.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Yes I was part of a team once scrambling for numbers in a very short time frame for a Minister of State desperately wanting a large figure for the HOC to justify expenditure/prove a scheme was successful.

      We scraped the barrel and the figure was meaningless but she was happy and the opposition too lacking in subject knowledge or questioning skills to challenge her.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        sounds like your every-day politics to me?

  6. Nigl
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    And why did Jenrick make the announcement when he did allegedly against the advice of his officials? No QA was done and the Turkish supplier didn’t even have an export license. Same reason he ignored the lockdown I guess.

    Why has the NHS poured money into an app that eats battery life and only just passed its certification tests with a number of risks identified not the least data privacy, which at best is flaky and why is it now alleged senior officials are distancing themselves from it. Possibly as I have heard from an ‘insider’ everyone scrambling to avoid the post event fallout?

    What are ‘local difficulties’ at the testing sites? Code for shambles?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would you expect privacy from our data going to the govt? Someone gave a supermarket chain 110,000 people’s details. The “tracking app” for the virus – is just the first bit – -a tracking app – FULL STOP. We have to pay for our mobile phones – and now the govt is telling us they want to track us – -with what WE have to pay for.
      Similar to when Blair opened the doors to the UK, flooded the country with 3rd worlders – blatantly lied about the numbers arriving – then used the increase in crime to stick cctv everywhere. Now this so-called free country has the most cctv per person on the planet.

  7. Javelin
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    There needs to be TWO public enquiries.

    1) Pre-shutdown – eg why was the pandemic not planned for.

    2) Post-shutdown – eg did the shutdown save lives over the long term.

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      I suggest there should also be an enquiry into the computer code used by Prof Ferguson and his team to predict 500,000 deaths. It is reported that the code released for scrutiny is riddled with bugs and produces inconsistent results even when the input data is identical. Edinburgh University has reported this inconsistency after its review. Others have commented that such weaknesses are characteristic of much academic software. It appears yet another case of garbage in – garbage out.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Being clear logical thinking programming (as it used to be before modern software did most of the necessary routines ) is world’s apart from the average academic who might be clever in one discipline but hopeless at problem solving, coding (as it gets called now).

      • APL
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        oldtimer: “Prof Ferguson and his team to predict 500,000 deaths. It is reported that the code released for scrutiny is riddled with bugs and produces inconsistent results even when the input data is identical. ”

        Ferguson MUST NOT be allowed to get away with this. It’s another CRU. Except worse.

        This ought to be the last nail in the coffin of the British intellectual.

        If there are to be long lines of unemployed, then Ferguson must be in it. We can deal with the fool who took his advise at the next election – if we get one.

        And there should be nothing that saves any of the other members of the Tory party, not one of them stood up and said the shutdown was a bad idea.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        There could easily have been that many without the lockdown, and there may yet be, if the virus is not suppressed à la South Korea etc.

        They might just be spread over a longer time.

        This isn’t even the End Of The Beginning.

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          “Easily”, Martin? Prof Bonk’s flawed computer model is not the only “science” available, but it is the only science used by the government to make the decision to lockdown the country. And you support it. Vociferously.

      • NigelE
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        It would also be nice to know what assumptions Ferguson’s team made on contact rate between individuals, infection rate for each contact and mortality rate for those who developed the disease. Plus whether a single set of assumptions were made, or whether different assumptions were made for (e.g.) different age groups.

        Standard stuff for professional modellers.

      • NickC
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Oldtimer, Yes, too often gigo computer models are used in place of chicken entrails. And often without any more accuracy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        My prediction weeks back was just over 100,000 death accelerated by Covid 19 in the UK. I still think I will be about right. If the NHS is coping then let us get back to work. But the NHS, as usual, is clearly is not coping.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Agreed, but as well as enquiries there is need for quick answers to questions during the epidemic when improvements can be made;

      1) Why is the page with SAGE meeting papers so rarely updated and so few of papers published? Supposedly led by the science but the science not shown.

      2) Why weren’t care homes prioritised and/or effectively protected? (Interestingly the superb interview of Professor Giesecke 17th April Unheard TV makes the same criticism in Sweden)?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        It has been reported that Sweden is already investigating what went wrong in its care homes. Hopefully England will follow suit rapidly.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Bound to be a public enquiry but run as usual by the great and the good with the “not me Guv” outcome.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Not just “public enquiries”, public enquiries with teeth.

      Not to be ignored by those in charge
      Not to take years to complete
      Not run by and for the Establishment

    • Mick B
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


      Richard North has some good posts on his EUreferendum blog about past planning for a pandemic, well worth a read.

  8. jerry
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I suspect someone in their hast, to look on top of their brief, simply forgot to tell the Turkish factory that they needed to make UK spec gowns…

    Of course had the government ordered these from UK factories they would have been made to UK spec by default. By the way, how many factories have the UK govt requisitioned and re-purposed to make nothing but PPE since February, Gordon Brown is quite correct in what he said in his Sky News interview yesterday.

    The PM, on returning to Downing Street, asked about the mounting crisis in the country, replied Crisis? What crisis?.

    The right-wing tabloid press was full of it 41 or so years ago, but not one of them chose to ask such a question nor print that style of headline a week or so ago.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Any (even half competent) pandemic planning would have had plans to be able to ramp up manufacture of PPE and other medical equipment likely to be needed in a pandemic locally.

      • Andy
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Indeed. The planners and the logistics experts have spent the last four years working on Brexit. This is why the Conservative government failed to act – and from what I see most of them failed to even read – the review of the disastrous 2016 pandemic simulation.

        Brexit is the reason we have the worst death toll in Europe. Imagine how much better we would have done with David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major or Thatcher in charge.

        It is to the immense misfortune of the both the UK and the US that the virus hit at a time when both countries had their most incompetent post-war leaders.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          You don’t need logistics experts to organise the NHS.
          Planners in the NHS were not seconded to Brexit roles.
          Ridiculous propaganda

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:14 am | Permalink

          Well for whatever reason the Pandemic Planners were clearly inept. Much of it was ‘done’ or rather not done before Brexit.

      • NickC
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Alas the UK probably no longer has the manufacturing capacity, either for the correct material or for making up the gowns. Our establishment hates its own people so much they’d prefer to sneer at “white van man’s” England flag than make sure we can still make basic stuff here.

    • DavidJ
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      As ever it seems that incompetence apparently rules in government. I say “apparently” as it is probably so in many cases but we cannot rule out hidden agendas.

  9. Nigl
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Ps Brandon Lewis was absolutely pathetic with Kay Burley desperately dissembling to avoid the blame and claiming that somehow the fact that the shipment was stopped showed good process and blaming the media.

    When it is all over for goodness sake have a clear out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Brandon is clearly not the sharpest tool in the box, but to be fair it is not an easy thing to defend.

      What else could he have said but “sorry yes it was an appalling shambles as so much of the UkK government (and indeed the NHS) is”.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Nig1, It is NHS management’s job to source stuff for the NHS, not a government minister’s. Having said that, it is the government’s responsibility to make sure that NHS management is capable, and they obviously failed at that.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

        Exactly the senior staff, funding and indeed the structure.

  10. agricola
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Yes there are lessons to be learnt from many deficiencies highlighted by the Coronavirus pandemic. On PPE specifically, here are the questions you should be asking.

    1. Is the purchasing organisation within the NHS professional. Do they have value analysts that can calculate the cost of what they are buying.

    2. Is said organisation an NHS/UK one or is it fragmented into Trusts. If the latter, it is wasting taxpayers money due to lack of purchasing clout.

    3. Is ISO 9000 applied to the design and content of everything they are buying. If not how can they possibly control what they are buying.

    4. Do they run a system of maximum and minimum stock levels for all consumables. Does the NHS have a central and trust level warehousing facility.

    Perhaps you would be kind enough to publish the answers, should they be forthcoming. If there is a problem , and I suspect there is, I do not hold this government to blame. It will be a problem of at least twenty to thirty years of a lack of professionalism in the way this aspect of the NHS is administered.

    The other glaring black hole in our health care system, highlighted by Coronavirus, is care for the elderly. Before CV it caused bed blocking, during CV it’s inadequacies led to too many premature deaths. This is a whole different story that is in urgent need of sorting, politically and financially.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, Part of the problem is that NHS management tells NHS staff such as doctors, nurses, technicians, what to do. It does not ask. An example is NHS management threatening to sack junior doctors if they booked overtime (despite the overtime being necessary), presumably in line with the EU’s Working Time Directive, and fool government ministers by pretending compliance. NHS management is stuck in 1950s soviet socialist mode, and fails just as all top-down, over centralised organisations fail.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      According to the Procurement Power List 2018, one of the top 30 is someone with a reduced susceptibility to Corona virus and someone of the Ones to Watch (it didn’t say why) is with an enhanced susceptibility, both of whom are employed by NHS procurement. However, I suspect they are civil servants by training(!) with arts degrees.

      It would be interesting to know precisely what NHS procurements are centrally managed and which at the local level. Presumably Trusts should not be required to hold sufficient PPE stock to handle an serious imported infectious disease since they would not know whether it would strike their area or not and so they could hardly be expected to order and hold huge quantities in advance because the government was going to allow thousands of people suffering from coronavirus to pore into the country every week without any check and disseminate throughout the country; unfortunately, the stupidity of Arts graduates (generalists who think they can do anything including running our country) is difficult for normally competent people to comprehend.

  11. Javelin
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink


    You do realise that (despite the polls) that the Conservative Party is now finished.

    The dead don’t vote. The hospitals are not full. The economy is in freefall. 99.7% of people will not die (possibly as low as 99.9%). The Government did not determine minimum standards for pandemic planning. The scientific advice has been very poor (500k death estimates). The scientific adviser has a long track record of very poor estimates (eg foot and mouth). Millions of people will lose their jobs. Typically conservative voters, such as small business owners, taxi drivers, contractors are losing their business. 100,000 people are still flying into the UK every week. The police and Government are aggressively posturing over the law by giving ambiguous advice.

    No political party can possibly absorb so many terrible body blows and survive.

    In 1968 80,000 died of the Hong Kong flu – but the UK was still growing and London was swinging.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      But they have already…without a peep of protest or dissenting bleat..done away with local elections. Will “democracy”, elections actually be in their plans…er….going forward?
      They now have us totally under their control.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      The parties of the left were screaming for even more lock-down and still are. It would be worse if they were in power. There is more chance of recovery with a Conservative govt. People can see that.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        No, they are rightly demanding effective action.

        That is, get down the infections, and then implement test, trace, and ISOLATE.

        Tests alone are meaningless. It is the ACTION taken on the RESULTS which does the work.

        Ask everyone from Greece to South Korea.

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Martin, This is what I wrote here on 14 March: “Whilst I broadly agree with the government’s approach, there are definitely not enough tests being done, especially for those entering the UK from abroad“.

          I’m glad you’re finally coming round to my view of the matter.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Do the tests work?
          Can you tell us as you appear so expert?

          If you test me today will you need to test me every day after that?

        • Fred H
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          That’s a lot of people to ask.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Not if they pander to St Greta and the zero carbon nonsense. If they throw the recovery money into high cost energy green stuff there won’t be one, especially when the rest of the world will be funding theirs on a $20 barrel oil price.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink


      • JoolsB
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        If only it were a Conservative government Richard1 you might be right. With the exception of our host and a handful of others, there is a grave shortage of real Conservatives in the party calling itself by that name. Unfortunately for England there is now only a choice of either Blue Labour or Red Labour

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink


      • NickC
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Richard1, Yes we’ve seen plenty hysteria on here for more lockdown, more NHS happy-clappy and more EU from the resident Remains.

      • robert valence
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        There’s also many voices calling for an extension of the Transition beyond 31.12, citing complications & uncertainty caused by the virus.
        I would have thought that the financial drain caused by the Virus was predominant & that BREXIT on 1.1.21 was “simples”.
        Rather, other budgetary initiatives should be put on hold or cancelled. They include: Any Chinese involvement such as 5G, HS2, Green Energy transforming the power supply (but at the same time upping the cost of everything which we can definitely not afford)…..

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Its an awful thing to say (and I apologize in advance), but I sometimes wish we had a Labour Government.

      I wish this only, because, if we did, this virus would fall on their watch, and they would have to decide what to do about it.

      Does anyone really think, that despite their sniping from the sidelines, they could have done any better.? I think the truth is that they, and many sections of the Media, are ‘enjoying ‘putting the boot in’ because we have a Conservative government. They don’t seem to give a toss about helping to address the problem, but just scoring points. It makes them feel good.

      • jerry
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        @CC; “Does anyone really think, that despite their sniping from the sidelines, they [opposition parties] could have done any better.?”

        Not had they been elected on 12 Dec. 2019, but had they won any any of the other elections since 2005, yes they probably would have done better – but then any govt would have, including a Tory govt not welded to a fake “Austerity” regime.

        Mistakes happen in times of crisis, one of the reasons why I suggested a GNU at the start, that way no one party can be held responsible, but the right-wing didn’t want anything to do with a GNU, so now they will just have to shoulder the entire blame.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Yes, they would have followed WHO advice promptly, as did NZ, Aus, S. Korea … I get fed up of listing them all.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          well STOP listing them….

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Martin, The WHO was way behind the curve, despite having officials visit China. The WHO did not even call covid19 a pandemic until 12 March. By comparison PotUS Trump shut down flying from China on 2 February. To hoots of derision from you. Yet Trump was right.

          • jerry
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Oh dear, have you checked the death toll from CV19 in the USA?…

            As with Italy, the the POTUS actions did nothing but prove shutting down direct arrivals from a single country does nothing, asymptomatic but infected people simply fly to a third country first.

          • NickC
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The USA did not shut down only flights from China – that was merely the first. The USA death toll per million is very much lower than ours, and the EU’s. What’s your point?

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        The unavoidable truth is that we had three Conservative Prime Ministers before this one.

        I hasten that they were all Remainers.

        Two months after winning his election Boris (our first Leave PM ever) finds a note saying “Sorry. There’s no PPE. And [it seems] no contingency plan either !”

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

          @Anonymous; You’re talking almost as much nonsense about Brexit and the CV19 crisis as @Andy does…

          The problem has been the non EU-centric policies, Brexit did not stop the DfH from having NHS warehouses correctly rotate PPE stock or have ventilators retested/calibrated by their due date etc. Also CV19 had become a unknown-known back in Dec 2019, some 5 months after Boris became PM, by the end of Jan 2020 CV19 was a known-known, thus the current PM and govt have had plenty of time to -quite literally- take stock of the PPE/equipment situation…

      • Everhopeful
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        The Left pushed Boris and Trump into this.
        The Left wants the economy to crash!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          With a majority of eighty for the Tories, no one was in a position to push them to do anything at all.

          Do stop this pitiful, continual, victimhood pleading.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Do please read back what you write. Can you not see YOURSELF man?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Boris is left and he pushed Trump (who will never listen to a word he says again – like the rest of us).

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        I think it would have been a lot worse under a Labour Government Cheshire Girl but then I think it could have been handled a lot better by this lot.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        It will have depended who was in Cabinet whether Labour did better. I think the current Govt would have done better with other of its MPs in the key roles.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      No the Tories will be at least the largest Party I suspect. Who on earth wants Labour/SNP? Betting odds suggest this too.

      But Boris needs to get the economy going and go for cheap reliable energy and a bonfire of red tape now. It will, after all take time to act and only 4+ years left.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Take time to put in place and even more time to have a positive effect on the economy – I meant.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        If there was an election today I would vote Labour (unless there was a new realistic alternative). I think this feeling will grow; the economic damage, the bias, the failure to protect care homes, the lack of transparency, wrecking education (no lessons and passing/failing based on a teacher’s nod) … It all looks like being seen to be strong and act whilst still passing responsibility to science-led. It could come down to a weak cabinet by seeking to have strength at number 10, but it is still the same party.

      • Andy
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Which red tape do you want to burn?

        And how do the 50,000 Brexit customs pen pushers required to process the extra 400m forms required to import and export thanks to your Brexit fit into your red tape bonfire plan?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          You’ve not heard of computers?
          Do you really think people fill in forms with a pen?
          Do you really run a real business?

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Andy, The EU requires exporting firms to fill in all sorts of forms whether we are in, or out, of the EU. And have products certified whether we are in, or out, of the EU.

          But at least out of the EU we won’t have to fill in EU forms for the 87.6% UK GDP not involved in exporting to the EU.

      • APL
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Who on earth wants Labour/SNP? Betting odds suggest this too.”

        Lifelogic, tell me, what is the difference between Tory policies and Labour policies?

        The one thing the Tories had over Labour was a reputation for economic competence. That has just been blown skyhigh out of the water.

        The polls now, are meaningless, try reading the polls in three years time when unemployment is at an all time high, and GDP is still 8 or 10 % lower.

      • NickC
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, I believe you are under-estimating Kier Starmer. Anyone who can navigate himself to the top in the factional, Corbyn-dominated, gender-obsessed, antisemitic Labour party will be able to run rings round the Tory party. I think Starmer will be a shoo-in as the next PM.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          The way things are (not) going Starmer might be a good bet, wonder what odds could be got at a >30 majority at next GE?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:10 am | Permalink

            I cannot see this happening now LABOUR have lost much of Scotland and Wales. Plus Labour is still in the grip of the luny left and state sector unions.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

            The electorate might take vengence, not every voter has short memory.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; You totally miss the point, less people have died (so far) in this pandemic than happened in 1968 because of the lockdown, had there been no lockdown we could easily be seeing deaths way above that of 1968, and perhaps that of the 1957-8 Asian Flu.

      We will, thankfully, never know how many would have died had there not been a lockdown, but the educated (if unwelcome) estimates were for between 250 & 500k deaths here in the UK.

      • matthu
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        What evidence is there that lockdown, anywhere in the world, has saved lives? It may have deferred the deaths of some, most of whom will very likely die before the end of the year anyway.

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Many of the people who have died with this virus would have been dead already from their underlying health conditions, had they relied on the medicine available in 1968.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        It hits old people (90% of deaths) and we have failed abjectly to protect even Chelsea Pensioners in their care home during the VE anniversary for all the good the lock-down has done us.

        Clearly a universal lock-down has not worked. It’s resulted in locked-in, with the killer hiding beneath the stairs. (Sending 15,000 old people back from hospitals to care homes without testing them, so I hear.)

      • Everhopeful
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        I have seen it reported that deaths rose by 40% in the three weeks after lockup took place.
        In saner times it was customary to wait and see and then isolate ill people, not incarcerate the healthy.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Where is your evidence for that? Correlation is not causation….


      • NickC
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, It is you who has missed the point. Without a vaccine or cure, all that lockdown does is flatten the curve: it cannot – by itself – change the total number of deaths.

        Moreover there are further doubts emerging about Prof Bonk’s computer model. Apparently testing by coding experts (on a hastily modified version) shows numerous bugs in the code. So I wouldn’t rely on the 500,000 deaths prediction, if I were you.

      • Stred
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        The mistake is repeated frequently by people who seem to be unable to understand that the 500,000 was the estimate for a do nothing policy, the 250,000 was for some mitigation and 20,000 was for what has been done. In fact the estimate has proved to be under the number by possibly 50%. The estimate would not have been able to take account of the mistakes made with ppe and in the care homes. The Imperial report also forecast smaller outbreaks following the three month epidemic. Suppression of further outbreaks is inevitable.

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          @Stred; But not doing anything, or just limited mitigation, is what many (alt-right? [1]) commentators to this site wanted, you only have to look at the gross ignorance displayed in the comments above and below your own here.

          [1] a common line of thinking also displayed on certain alt-right ‘news’ sites, yes I do read them…

          • NickC
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You mean gross ignorance and “alt-right” like in Sweden? Hahaha, another of your strawmen. To put it in the simplest terms so even you can grasp it: the lockdown flattens the curve (which is useful), it is not a cure, and it is not an end in itself. But it comes at a terrible price: the destruction of a third of our economy (that’s real people affected); and premature deaths and poor life experiences for the 10,000s of people who have not been treated or investigated for other illnesses.

          • jerry
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            @NickC; “and premature deaths and poor life experiences for the 10,000s of people who have not been treated or investigated for other illnesses.”

            Yet you call my argument a strawman! Funny how you never showed such concerns when others were suggesting the NHS was/is woefully underfunded and that taxes should rise significantly to fund a better health service so that patients did not have to wait 6 or more months (yes I could cite cases, before you ask) just to see a consultant – preferring taxes to be cut if anything.

            As for the alt-right, no I was not thinking of Sweden, I was looking westwards.

          • NickC
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Yet another of your strawmen. The deaths I cited are the direct consequence of the lockdown policy. That makes those deaths independent of the NHS funding level.

      • matthu
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        What evidence is there that lockdown, anywhere in the world, has saved lives? It may have deferred the deaths of some, most of whom will very likely die before the end of the year anyway.

        (This message repeated as previous attempt seems stuck in moderation and I can’t see why …)

        • matthu
          Posted May 8, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Johan Giesecke, who was Sweden’s top virus expert for 10 years, believes lockdowns are merely delaying an inevitable wave of coronavirus cases and deaths – not preventing it.

        • Stred
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

          The lockdown just about enabled the staff available to treat and save many patiemts, even though the hospital deaths are higher than hoped. In care homes they messed up and the result is that the epidemic is continuing. Johnson admitted this in the HoC. Read the Reuter’s report on the concentration of effort on hospitals and lack of equipment and testing for cate homes.

          • Zorro
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense, the hospitals were never under any such pressure. There is massive ICU capacity and the Nightingale hospitals are white elephants!


      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Where has anyone shown thatb250 to 500k saved (with remaining life expectancy of ?) is less than the number of life years that will be lost due to the economic damage. 1 or 2 years of life expectancy gains did not happen in the UK due to the GFC, a smaller economic shock than the current one, there is no reason to expect the life years cost of the lockdown is less than the worst case of 500k (if that is even true).

        The Govt has not done or shown the maths of cost benefit. It hasn’t even shown the maths for effext of load on the NHS e.g. lives saved as function of utilisation.

    • Adam
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Knowledge of what millions of voting citizens will each later weigh up and decide is beyond what any individual can predict with accuracy.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Harm has been done. The attempt to fool us all and worse still those in need of protective kit shows arrogance and disdain of those running the administration for the rest of us. Let’s make a big announcement, never mind truth or efficiency. I dare say those responsible will remain anonymous and keep drawing their fat paychecks and continue to lecture us.

      And let’s not forget the trick Hancock pulled over the 100,000 checks by the and of April.Suddenly the target was met on the day by double talk and fakery.

      Nothing changes in this country. Incompetence is rewarded, the NHS remains unreformable and since everything about is now officially lauded what hope of change is there in that monolith.

      You may guess that I do not join in the performing seal clappery on Thursdays.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        The NHS is not unreformable. It was reformed in 2012 by the Tories to be the sorry mess it is today, far less efficient than it was before. They show no signs of admitting the error of allowing one man to have his way, make a mess and have no signs of changing things for the better. Then they wonder why people think they are preparing it for full privatisation. Let them prove they are not by correctly funding it after this silly internal market and over 200 Clinical Care Commissioning Groups all duplicating each other are reformed by someone who actually knows what to do.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Keep pushing a new positive target out in front of us. The sheep will forget what has and is happening….inquiry? OMG ….No!

      • Mark B
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        I have never joined in the Clap-a-thon. It is a form of mass virtue signalling. Something I deplore.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I think you are likely correct. The Labour party now has a huge space to operate in between austerity and profligacy – at both ends the Conservative party has demonstrable mismanagement.

      The Conservatives could come back through fast, sustainable economic recovery (over the whole country) and restoring fairness from the unfair treatment of different groups during the epidemic. It will have difficulties in doing this as it has instigated mass support of what will be another wave of zombie companies holding back the supply side (risk is reduced for businesses with nowhere to go whilst not for the new and innovative). Meanwhile it has shown patronage to some groups and done less than nothing for others.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      This is the end of ‘big Government’. The true Sovereigns – the voters – must and will I believe, refuse to allow so much power to be exercised by any government again. They must be cut back to the basics and be funded accordingly. They must defend us from external attack (armed forces) and internal attack (the Police and courts). No First Lord of the Treasury must be allowed to borrow money to ‘give away’.
      End the NHS; the EU; the UN; Climate Change and the idiot universities which think they are businesses!
      Boris must go! And FAST! Else we will see civil disobedience on a grand scale.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      The NHS was saved within the first 2 weeks of lockdown

      The past 4 weeks have been about manageing mistakes

      Every effort should now be about saving jobs and the economy

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        right on the money glen!

      • Ian@Barkham
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Plus one

    • hefner
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      So, on we had ‘Hong Kong flu in the UK was relatively 650 times worse than Coronavirus. Remind me why we are panicking?’

      And then the unnamed author put a footnote, likely appearing several hours/days after their original post had been published:
      ‘(Footnote: I couldn’t find original sources for this PA graphic claiming 80,000 UK deaths from Hong Kong flu. UK national statistics don’t show a noticeable spike in deaths in 68/69 but instead a subsequent four-year increase in mortality rates that may have been attributed to long-term flu effects).’.

      And our own Javelin who told us some months ago he was screening websites in search of news unpublished by the MSM did not get this one, which appears to show that his often repeated 80,000 UK deaths might just be … what? Baloney? fake news?
      Or is it simply inattention from this brilliant contributor and him mixing up with the US 80,000 flu deaths in winter 2017/18 as reported by CNN and NBC.

      So Javelin, produce a proper reference to your 80,000 UK deaths in winter 68/69.
      Provide such a reference and I will be red in the face apologising to you.
      In the meantime, I thank you in advance for your efforts at providing the ‘truth’.

  12. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Well observed! Why was this one consignment selected?
    There are lots of places to look for trouble if you want to. The Nightingale Hospitals have not been used (Abu Dhabi has got one too that is not being used). Then there is the phone testing system that simply cannot work if you think about it. On top of all that, I wonder myself if basic questions have been addressed about what Covid actually is – how does it kill? How does it spread? Where exactly is the WHO? And finally, the tests are dodgy throughout the world. We have been very slow in applying them too. There is lots of stuff to discuss.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Where are all the infections coming from when we’ve all been locked up for 6 weeks?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      If you look at the virus – whom it kills and (more to the point) whom it does not kill(as we found out yesterday) if this thing really did come from a laboratory then to what aims were they working ? Who might it make things easier for in their colonial ambitions and their demographic problems ?

      Then the penny drops.

      And the BBC MSM focus all their energy on trying to paint the British and US governments as the racists ???

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      I’m relaxed about the London Nightingale not being used. If there was an ‘estimate’ suggesting that it was needed then I’ll salute the project management that delivered the capability, in time for the CV peak. I’m positively scathing about other aspects of the government response, however.
      P.S. The phone app, once it is up and running, needs regular tinkering with so that it is available on Day 1 of the next pandemic.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard; “There are lots of places to look for trouble if you want to. The Nightingale Hospitals have not been used [..//..]”

      Why are some being so critical that these “Nightingale Hospitals” are not being (widely) used, surely that’s not trouble but a success, perhaps we need to stop judging everything based on financial cost.

  13. Everhopeful
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Note to NHS/govt procurement.
    Next time …get a sample.
    Next time get a sample from several manufacturers….preferably BEFORE the outbreak!
    That’s what most people do.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      If it turns out ‘just load the boxes with anything, send an RAF plane stack ’em on the plane’s seats – wonderful PR photos. Troops unloading in our hour of need!

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful, Whilst what you say is absolutely correct, I believe part of the problem has been a global shortage of PPE, testing kits, etc. Having to scrabble for what ever you can get in such a situation is to be expected. One firm I know of has only just got approval for its covid19 tests, and is only now ramping up production. Again that is to be expected with a sudden and novel disease. Repatriation of at least some of our manufacturing would help alleviate some of these problems.

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      This is what we are up against: from the Independent 2018
      Many PFI contracts came with strings attached, “facilities maintenance” often subcontracted on a long-term basis as part of the deal. As a result, only specific contractors are allowed to change or fix certain equipment or fittings, such as a plug socket or a light bulb. A Daily Telegraph investigation flagged up several egregious examples but this one really stood out: one hospital was charged £52,000 for a job which should have cost £750 –
      What’s more, PFI payments have been indexed higher with each successive year regardless of a hospital’s revenue. Total UK PFI debt for the taxpayer is over £300bn for infrastructure projects with a value of £54.7bn. To put it into perspective, the PFI debt is four times the size of the budget deficit used to justify austerity. PFI, it could be said, underlines that austerity is a political choice rather than a necessity.

  14. Annette Bates
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Oh Sir John, haven’t you realised?
    RNHS is now the Government. One that must be publicly clapped & adoration shown at the mandated time. Our economy has been thrown under a bus to save it. Millions of livelihoods destroyed, many that will never recover to save it. Circa 3,000 excess deaths each week not related to the only illness that it is deigning to treat. Not a question nor criticism is allowed by their pr pimps, the MSM. Unlike many, who’ve lost their jobs, they remain on full pay yet are receiving many freebies & special treatment. The people that they are supposed to protect, nothing. They’ve even succeeded in preventing the private healthcare providing any elective treatment for the duration.
    In return, they entertain us with dance routines demonstrating why we must adore the institution. The bottomless pit without accountability continues to demand & waste. Debts now written off, it was an ideal point to properly investigate its institutional failings and start best practice.
    The question relating to PPE is an odd one. It ‘should’ be the well paid procurement depts, co-ordinated by PHE/NHE. If not, what the hell are these commissary being paid for? That you have to raise the most basic questions shows that ‘lessons’ have not been learned & the organisation is still failing to adapt to it’s most basic requirements.
    No doubt the surveillance ‘app’, again sprayed with a bottomless pit of money will be another gross wastage of money as were most previous IT systems. No-one’s asking about privacy intrusions, GDPR compliance and so centralised (for ‘control’) that it will fail. Never mind, the taxpayer funds it all. Wait, the taxpayers are the ones paying but the independents & SMEs the ones losing their jobs. So where will the money come from to pay for our bloated public service?
    Until the public sector has to pay a price, there is no incentive to change. An error only becomes a mistake when the error is failed to be rectified. Mistakes aplenty at the moment.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Oh thank god Annette, so glad there are others here noticing!

      We need a weather turn, thunder, lightening, days of rain otherwise I fear this madness has taken over, 90% of the public now want to stay at home paid to do nothing I read this morning! When we were still fully operational I had employees asking me to furlough them – young fit men, I had a couple of over 60’s begging me not to furlough them, they didn’t want to stay at home all day alone.

      They’re flooding Amazon and others with orders because they’ve nothing to spend their furlough money on – rent – don’t make me laugh, they don’t have to pay that they’ve been told even if they’re on 80% or full pay so they can buy a new telly!

  15. Jessica Hallom
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Lots more PPE? Well at least there are lots of empty wards to stack it up in.

  16. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    You persist in attempting to put a positive spin on this aspect of the government’s disastrous and incompetent Chinese plague virus response.

    The apparent failure of the Turkish authorities to undertake quality assurance checks on our consignment of PPE would almost certainly be due to nobody from our procurement agency flying over with the RAF and visiting the factories to take samples and confirm compliance to the specified parameters in advance of despatch.

    Yesterday was not a good day for the government or the nation. The report on Exercise Cygnus was leaked and published in a UK newspaper. Another mediocre presentation at the press conference by the Foreign Secretary – anouncing the worst number of fatalities in Europe and an epidemic in our care homes that is so bad it has pushed the R0 back above 1. More innane gaffes from the Health Secretary, who belives that 100,000 tests daily can be undertaken without reagents.

    Still no serious attempt to check people flying in to the UK. Last Sunday three wide-bodied jets flew in from Hong Kong and China, two Virgin Atlantic and one BA. My information is that nobody on arrival had their temperatures checked, nobody was tested, nobody was questioned concerning their exposure to people who had caught the virus and no social distancing attempt on the flights!

    The disastrous reponse to the crisis is making us look like a bunch of amateurs to the rest of the world. Instead of our crop of mediocre government ministers hiding behind the “scientific advice” chestnut and contantly manipulating the fatalities data, how about Cummings organising a clean sweep and replacing these jobsworths with some technocrats who can sort the buggers out?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      ‘More innane gaffes from the Health Secretary, who belives that 100,000 tests daily can be undertaken without reagents.’

      Well of course we might be able to do 100,000 eventually but why bother without using a reagent? A test should produce a meaningful result – that won’t.
      Positives – none. Negatives – none.
      Kits wasted – 100,000.

  17. George Brooks.
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    My understanding is that government sets the policy and direction and our large public bodies such as PHE and NHS Providers are supposed to have the skill and knowledge to implement.

    The media is slamming the government, but what is clear is that there is either a 5th column within these organisations hell bent on discrediting the ministers or a high proportion of the management are utterly incompetent. Most likely it is a mixture of both.

    If a division of a multi-national company was run and performed the way PHE and others have, there would be wholesale changes to the management and the shareholders of the parent company would ensure that this happened.

    When you get the answers to your questions it must not be a fudge with a minister accepting the blame but a detailed description of the changes being made within these poor performing entities.

    Academics are a vital part of these units but they should not be involved with the day to day operation as they don’t have either the skill or experience. The way the army rescued the logistical failure of PPE distribution is a clear example.

    Horses for courses and get good ones in place while you are at it

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      To this Government management is when you pronounce you are the ones who is hands on with every little function. All the while the high paid flunkies get to sit on their hands and let the Ministers dig big holes from which they cant retreat into from.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Well you neglect to ask where the so-called purchasing tsar, Lord Deighton was in all of this?
    Can the real tsar please stand up?

  19. Richard1
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I would like to report the following anecdotal evidence from sources known to me: 1) in care homes staff are not using PPE, even if there is some, with managements saying it should only be used when a resident has got Wuhan virus (which is too late of course); & 2) at great ormond street hospital there are children with Wuhan virus, but the doctors and nurses there do not have PPE.

    I suspect the problem is it doesn’t matter who is in charge of the NHS, mr hancock, mr jenrick, sir ‘forensic’ starmer (as the BBC is telling us to view him) or anyone else. Our centralised, top down, statist system simply cannot perform as decentralised private networks do. Like the supermarkets. Or the health service in Germany.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      What has happened to UK as the years go by? Nobody manages / administrates anything well. As a friend often reminds us the next generation will look back and say ‘we lived in the age of incompetence’.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Richard1, That’s entirely correct. Parts of the NHS have stock, other parts are short. That’s why the NHS management must be pulled kicking and screaming out the 1950s soviet socialist model and take up modern “Pull” management procurement methods such as supermarkets and car producers use.

    • rose
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I saw a comment by a German today which reads:

      It is interesting how left leaning commentators across Europe accuse the British of acting too late. Even here in Germany we did not believe there was a problem until sometime in February and started our shutdown at the same time as you. We also do not know why we have fewer deaths than you, nor do we understand why the death rates are so varied, even if Mr Massie thinks we do.

      Hamburger • 3 hours ago
      There is certainly less centralisation but whether it has been better orchestrated I do not know. A doctor I know was informed by the authorities that they would be kitted out centrally. His surgery has had 8 surgical aprons and 12 masks delivered. They lasted a day. Everything he has, has been privately sourced.”

      Just one witness but interesting.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just heard on tv a reporter asking about people moaning about not getting testing for 10 days, perhaps they need to give the role of booking them in to their employer. On a positive note I was quite impressed with testing I’ve had two members of staff ask for testing, one booked straight away as soon as it was released and went to a test centre the day after she booked but she wasn’t too picky on which centre she wanted, results back quickly, the second got a home test kit and his results back next day by text?

      Who are the new patients in hospital ill with covid19 what have they been doing for the last near seven weeks? How many of them are there? How many are care workers? It’s sounds like we’re completely doing a rubbish job of this, no positives allowed in the media am I the only one getting sick of this constant reporting of only negatives and no positive congratulations on the many hospitals reporting they’ve never run out of ppe?

  20. ukretired123
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    VE 75th Anniversary today to remember those who sacrificed their today’s for our tomorrows.
    At the going down of the sun
    And in the morning we will remember them
    We Will remember them!

    Out of a lot of bad came a lot of good. Today we celebrate our hard won freedom and thank God for our parents generations.

    • Andy
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I salute my grandparents generation for fighting for a free Europe – and for fighting for peace and my freedoms.

      Freedoms my parents generation then largely voted for take away in June 2016.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Welcome to democracy.
        You need to come to terms with the result before you get even more bitter and twisted.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Yes, indeed, Andy.

        My late father was a Battle of Arhem survivor.

        He thought that the European Union was a magnificent achievement.

        Very few Leave voters were there in WWII, for all their nonsense about it.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          Odd because you and Andy keep telling us how old all the leave voters were.

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Martin, Not a single one of my relatives, nor their friends, nor their spouses, told me that they had fought in WW2 to have an EU. Not one. Those who expressed an opinion were resolutely opposed to the EEC/EU.

  21. BeebTax
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The whole Turkish shipment episode was a PR stunt. It backfired on the government and was a win for the MSM. The media promote a hysterical response to the Coronavirus, and the government largely obliges them.

    As we get back to dying of cancer, influenza, cardiac arrest, road traffic accidents etc, we’ll look back at the Coronavirus issue and be thinking “ wow, we went overboard on that one”.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Beebtax, +1

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Are all these people being allowed to land in the uk because of the Migrant Compact that May signed up to… ie there is now no such thing as an illegal immigrant?
    Could I sail off to Calais for the day without a passport etc?

    • Stred
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      The UN migration agreement that May signed,without even a debate, commits the UK to assist migration and accepts that economic migrants have the same rights as those fleeing for their lives. UN and EU agreements and agendas are supported by all of the leaders in the civil service, parliament, police, media and education who are subversively leading beyond authority. That is the authority of the democratic parliamentary process. This is why the government ignores the public when policies like migration and the very damaging and expensive change to zero carbon dioxide and pollution is pursued without debate or vote. Politicians who previously seemed to be intelligent suddenly become compliant with the civil service when they realise that decisions have already been taken and there is no point in arguing when the BBC and other media are controlled by the same leaders.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      and throw yourself on the mercy of the French, travel with no documentation, and do not attempt to speak any French. How long to be taken to the benefits office, given a roof over your head, information about what you can claim, and how to bring relatives over?

    • graham1946
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Don’t know why they bother paying 5 grand for a place in a dinghy. By all accounts they could purchase an airline ticket and come through Heathrow at night with no obstruction at all.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      They are allowed to land because the alternative, i.e. to cause them to drown, would be a Crime Against Humanity.

      It appears that the last word there is unknown to you.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        One minute you post telling us that other countries have much more effective control over their lockdowns and now you say unchecked immigration, including illegal entry is just fine.
        Hilarious lefty logic.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

          Please post a link to where I say either of those things.


          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            I’m amazed at that reply.
            You post many times a day with your opinions on the effectiveness of the lockdown and compare the UK to those nations who have done better.
            Many of the ones you list have locked down their ports and airports.
            Yet your post above argues against refusing entry to illegal immigrants.
            Make your mind up.

      • dixie
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        That is not the only alternative, they could be landed on the continent and would not contravene UNCLOS or UNHCR Non-refoulement.

        These people are not refugees.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      “Could I sail off to Calais for the day without a passport etc?” – sure you could. But don’t expect to be picked up, ferried to France, Get free healthcare ( translators included) then after telling the French authorities a made-up story, then allowed to stay, No proof of ID needed, allocated a house to live in ( paid for by the French taxpayer) given free money and after more made-up stories, allowed to get your whole family into France for their free lives. the farce only works against us – and FOR the benefits of anyone who gets here.
      You could try the same on reaching a country of a certain religion, where you will be allowed to block the streets in protest, demanding that Christianity must rule their country. Best of luck. Bon voyage.

  23. Ex-Tory
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    According to a report by the World Economic Forum in October 2019, the UK was the second best prepared country in the world (out of 195) to deal with a pandemic.

    I don’t have an opinion about this, but it’s interesting.

    • hefner
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      It might simply show that the WEF is accepting whatever the representatives (mainly linked to business and politics) of the various countries tells it. If a British participant had told the WEF the UK was well prepared, what do you think the WEF, a NGO with practically no power outside organising annual meetings and writing reports, should have done?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      how very sad, but hilarious at the same time.

  24. Stred
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The shadow industry minister was on the radio yesterday and had been speaking with a manufacturer of protective equipment in his constituency. They obviously make the product to the correct standards but the NHS would not consider buying from them. Let’s face it. When ministers have to rely on a nationalised monolith staffed by overpaid and over staffed incompetents, it’s going to be cock up after cock up.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Local is not Chinese, so is dismissed by this Government

    • dixie
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      With regards to the professionalism and competence of civil servants in this area I refer you to page 11 of the Essential Technical Specifications 5, version 3 – 05/05/20, which covers new high-volume manufacturers of COVID-19 PPE.

      Page 11 covers surgical gowns and specifies design and performance as;
      – Should be made of well-established materials for this product area which have considered flammability properties
      – Must be validated as sterile – with Sterility Assurance Level (SAL) of 10 -6
      – Made of recognised materials for this product area which have considered flammability
      – The length must be mid-calf
      – Should have bonded seams
      – Manufacturer must have quality management system in place such as evidence of com

      Notice any similarity between points 1 and 2?

      The lack of attention to detail and rigorous review appears to be systemic, perhaps our betters are simply too used to copy & pasting rules from elsewhere to even bother reading what they are writing.

      • dixie
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        points 1 and 3

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    A sadly recurring theme thoughout this episode has been the way in which the government has allowed itself to be spooked by the daily rantings of a hostile media. The overall price we shall pay as a consequence, in terms of both the health of the nation and its economic health, will be far greater than it needed to be.

  26. James Freeman
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    If only government procurement was as simple as issuing a specification, ensuring the product met it, agreeing a price and delivery date!

    The reality is a myriad of further supplier requirements generated by politicians. Then complicated by the EU and gold plated by Civil Services to remove all known risks.

    When confronted with an emergency the process has become unworkable. So when trying to get this PPE, everyone appears to have forgotten the basics.

  27. Iain Moore
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Channel 4 news revealed that of our national stockpile of PPE gear, 45% of it was out of date, some of it by many years, and though they sought to finger a Minister for it, it’s quite clear the basic management of these stocks is someone else’s responsibility . Who? We will probably never find out in the unaccountable moras that is our Government , they will probably be up for a gong in the next Queen’s honours.

    An article in the Spectator looked at Public Health England , who spend £220 on obesity , double what they spend on infectious diseases , and in general, as shown by an IEA report on ‘Nanny State on Tour’ the amount of our money the Government has sloshing around in virtue signalling health projects abroad is quite extraordinary.

    -Imams trained to preach tobacco control during Quran classes: £795,463
    -Lobbying for taxes and regulations on sugar,salt and trans-fats in seven countries: £625,410.
    -‘Novel’ research in Africa used culinary photography to reach the conclusion that ‘junk food’ should be taxed and regulated: £624,770
    -China in £6.8million ‘research unit’ to reduce the amount of salt housewives add while cooking.

    I suppose the only good thing to come out of the Wuhan flu economic depression we are falling into is that some of these money wasting schemes will have to be cut if the Government is going to spend 0.7% on Aid. As our GDP is collapsing, they will be cutting Dfid’s budget won’t they, or will we find that projects like culinary photography are just too important to be cut?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Please read it as £220 million on obesity.

  28. formula57
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    And beyond but akin to reckless PPE procurement, I see it reported that the useless to the point of dangerous NHS tracing app. developed at allegedly enormous expense is to be superceded. Alas, this new version is in the hands of those who commissioned the last one.

    The extraordinary incompetence coupled with huge money flows surrounding crisis measures indicate possibilities for extensive corruption. Let us be ready to be outraged.

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Simple answer. The government’s covid response is now entirely directed by the media, they scream about PPE so some headline catching thing gets done, they scream about testing, likewise, they scream that lockdown can’t be lifted as lives are more important than the economy, the lockdown stays. All following a pattern now.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      The daily briefing is intended to stroke the ego of the Minister and be a vanity parade for the media whose objective is not inform, but to have a look at me moment.

      If you create enough fear you became the bully in charge

  30. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    While you’re at it John ask how much they’ve spent on this NHS app they’ve developed (contracted out so some USA developers) – just to be ready when it doesn’t work properly. As a minimum we should have developed an app jointly with Ireland. Or better, modified one already in use in Korea or somewhere. But of course the NHS – with an appalling record in IT development – knows best.

  31. John E
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Most new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York state are from people who were staying home and not venturing much outside, a “shocking” finding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
    The preliminary data was from 100 New York hospitals involving about 1,000 patients, Cuomo said at his daily briefing.
    It shows that 66% of new admissions were from people who had largely been sheltering at home. The next highest source of admissions was from nursing homes, 18%.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Put the Army in charge of all of it please.

    It’s the only institution that isn’t riven with political correctness and wasteful Leftism – yet.

  33. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should shift focus onto prices for drugs and vaccines to fight CV. Cost plus 20% seems about fair, in this war. I hope that the Pharmaceuticals industry will act in the national interest. (I write this despite having shares in a number of Pharma companies.)

  34. Remington NORMAN
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    John, it has been clear for many years that while the NHS front line is first class the bureaucracy which administers it is poor. Countless incidents of grossly over-paying for drugs – Google NHS and Melatonin – use of costly external management consultants to prop up inadequate managers and the routine use of expensive agency medicals, reinforces the need for a thorough review of the service and its civil service counterparts.

  35. JoolsB
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    The government’s handling of the virus has been woeful. Why have so many businesses in this country offering to make PPE been stonewalled? Why did we give away what we had to China at the end of February when the rest of the world were thinking about stockpiling? The testing has been a farce from the start, setting targets that were conveniently met for one day only so it could be claimed it was met. Why are hundreds of thousands of children from broken homes allowed to flip from mum to dad’s house and back again at will if the rest of us are in lockdown? Why are flights still arriving with no requirements to go into quarantine and why are we still picking up illegals in the Channel and escorting them into the country – 500 of them last month alone?

    It’s scary to think how many of the deaths and destroyed livelihoods could have been avoided had the politicians in charge not been totally out of their depth. Sadly I’m beginning to think Boris is one of them.

  36. Grahame ASH
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Do you believe everything you read in the MSMs or from the BBC? The other side of the story – The Main article in the Cyprium i/net News which you maybe interested in reads

    “Just a small portion of the personal protection equipment (PPE) sent by a Turkish private company did not conform to the standards, a U.K. government spokesperson said in a statement to Anadolu Agency Thursday. He said the majority passed the test and got the green light to be used in the field.

    The statement came after the BBC ran a story claiming that a batch of 400,000 PPE sent from Turkey was “useless” as they did not meet the safety standards.

    The spokesperson added that when a private firm wasn’t able to deliver the products on time, the Turkish authorities stepped in and supplied a total of 68,000 gowns. All of them passed the quality check and will be distributed to the personnel who need them.
    In the statement, he said the Turkish government was very helpful during this process and accelerated the export permit, as well as helping with the supply of protective gowns. He added that Turkey had previously donated gowns to the country.

    The British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott said in a series of Tweets that the news stories involving the so-called “useless PPE from Turkey” were not true. He said the U.K. was thankful for Turkey’s aid in supplying PPE.

    “The majority of the delivered products is still waiting to be tested in the warehouses in the U.K. and Turkey,” Chilcott wrote in Turkish.

    Previously Turkish officials said that the government was not involved in any stage of the production of the 400,000 PPE that Britain rejected for reportedly not meeting safety standards.

    “Out of solidarity with the U.K. authorities, the Turkish government ignored an export ban to authorize this sale. However, no part of the Turkish government was involved in producing, packaging, or delivering the said equipment to the U.K.,” the official added.

    The official pointed out that the dispute was between the private company and the U.K., while an official from Selegna Tekstil, which produced the gowns, told the BBC that the company has not received any complaints from the National Health Service (NHS), the British embassy in Ankara, or British government officials regarding the quality the PPE.”

  37. ian
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I watched question time last night which is usual for me and a minster was on call George and he said that the cabinet has been meeting since the begin of Jan 2020 working on the virus crisis and making plans to deal with it every week in a meeting and had information coming in all the time form other countries of what was going on, I hear that the Italian PM along with others, told the Gov in the UK to take action in late FEB 2020 and close borders.
    So they did know all about the virus all along, I find that this is now just case of criminal neglect on the GOV behalf and left the country and it people undefended with no PPE and arrangements for hospitals and staff to fight the virus while they had time to arrange for people.
    Then they come up with the coronavirus act to cover themselves from any wrongdoing and make sure that no one would ever know how many people have died from the virus.
    It clear case of sabotage.

  38. ian
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    When one sees the market going up like they are one get the feeling of something afoot going on as the main street get devastated but the markets are booming with luxuries goods like cars are at highest ever.

    • NickC
      Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Ian, If only you’d done GCSE English so we could work out what you meant without having to spend too much time doing so.

  39. William Long
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    This certainly has all the marks of something being done to show that something was being done, with little attention to the necessary due diligence. It is very important to know to what extent it was done at the behest of ministers. I wonder how much commission was pocketed by the salesman whose photograph we saw on today’s Daily Telegraph?

  40. Caterpillar
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    There was some Chinese PPE delivered to RoI that had sleeves too short (3/4 length). This was reported in Irish Times 7th April. A Cork based company was also reported to have stepped in to modify, possibly taking suitable material from other garments or other parts of garment since procuring appropriate fabric is difficult.

    (I have no understanding why full length sleeves are used rather than intentional short allowing soap and water for lower fraction of arm. Presumably someone medical can explain that, if it is not only for speed.)

  41. ignoramus
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I remember VE day as a young boy (someone pinched the two paper flags I put on our garden gate) and the wartime atmosphere in which I grew up, one of can/must do).

    Unlike today Ministers were sacked if they made serious mistakes. There were clear priorities and the government did not day dream (eg HS2, abolishing all man made CO2, promising deadlines which will never be achievable but which make good headlines).

    Is our political system now past its sell by date?

  42. ian
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I meant to write, I watched question time last night which is unusual for me because I don’t watch political programs that much.

  43. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    The problem is simple. This Government is so desperate to be seen to be doing something and that means they have taken on micro-managing everything, something that is impossible to do.

    At each daily briefing it is all meaningless mumbo jumbo so the Government Ministers can impress on the public they have as individuals have done something.

    It is a nutty way to run a Country, its an inept way to run a Country. There are a lot of well paid (more than ministers) individuals whose sole function is to do what individual Ministers say they are doing and want the credit for. You don’t manage a Country by doing what someone else is paid to do.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Its more than that its actually embarrassing to watch

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        With all their ‘sure footed upticks” and worrying about the all important transport graph showing a minute increase in people not staying at home. The nomenclature in all their incompetent glory.


  44. a-tracy
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    The governments excuse for not buying ppe from British stock holders was that the product wasn’t tested, well it would have been a damn site quicker and easier to get a robe delivered on the same day and tested than getting one from Turkey! Which it turns out were bought totally unseen, surely Turkey have to abide by EU standards?

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 8, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I have a different question. Would care home staff attending to highly infections residents with Coronavirus prefer to have slightly substandard PPE than no PPE at all?

    Did anyone in Government or the NHS procurement bureaucracy think of asking them?

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I see that the NHS top brass still want to procure PPE centrally. The good news is that many individual NHS trusts are telling their top brass to take a running jump and are buying PPE locally. Also, some individual doctors, nurses and carers are buying their own PPE. Moral: the instinct for self preservation is strong and centralised bureaucracies are neither to be trusted nor obeyed.

  47. a-tracy
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    John, have you asked after seven weeks, the care workers who say they are working without ppe what % of them are being treated right now for Covid 19 in hospital?
    what % are now self-isolating for a fortnight because they tested positive recently?
    What % of them self-isolated, recovered and are now working again?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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