In the UK, we have the BBC, which subtly but pointedly tells Covid19 truth to power. But is power listening?

I have no way of knowing whether or not Americans know anything about the disgraceful behaviour of one Dominic Cummings (pictured here), the Chief Advisor to our bumbling Prime Minister. Or whether Americans care a damn, anyway. But the bigger picture is this, in the UK: (and as for pictures, apologies for the pic of Mr Cummings being a bit fuzzy. That’s the way he prefers it.

According to the glove-puppet who presents himself as our Minister of Health (he is clearly being worked from under the podium by one of Boris Johnson’s Special Advisors if not Johnson himself) everything in the British garden is lovely, and Covid19 is well under control. At least 100,000 tests are being carried out every day. Soon it will be 200,000. He says.

But why the BBC wants to know, is Britain still second only to the USA in total deaths? The peak of infections seems to have been reached, but in comparison with Germany for example, when there were +- 800 deaths at the early stages, there were already over 3,500 in the UK? And the comparisons have steadily got worse, with the UK way behind.

The 100,000 figure, a programme called “More or Less” on the BBC’s Radio 4 explains, includes testing kits that were sent out but … how many were used? No information. It included people who were tested twice, so was the promise about 100,000 people being tested, which was implied, or 100,000 tests? Not the same thing. Techies laboured mightily to produce an app which would, magically, make mobile phone connections between people who had tested positive and those who could have been in contact with them. The pilot scheme was launched amid much media excitement, suddenly nothing happened and the pilot scheme is still, as I write, not off the ground.

Scientists, brows appropriately furrowed, disagreed on just about everything. Is it airborne? Maybe. Should we all wear masks? Possibly, or maybe not. The Real Prime Minister, Mr Cummings, does exactly what he pleases, and to hell with lockdown or any other regulations. There is abundant evidence that the public is disgusted with him and want him gone. His underlings in government defend him, and parrot, endlessly, “let’s move on.”

Almost half a million pounds (call it over half a million US dollars) of PPE, essential for protecting medical staff, arrives, having been ordered from Turkey, and is useless. Why? Because, I was told, it came from Turkey.

Evidence is now conclusive that the UK Government ignored all warnings when Covid hit Italy, delayed, then delayed some more, then dithered, then acted far too slowly, and is now left to issue badly worded and dangerously vague advice, or regulations or whatever they may be called, to encourage businesses, but not too much, to get back to business.

England has one set of Covid-control regulations. Scotland has another. Wales yet another. Northern Ireland? Who knows? The Covid virus, of course, recognises those national boundaries and changes its behaviour as soon as crosses borders.

Those who know how to read the real signs are convinced that if the UK Government ever had policy, a strategy, a plan, anything, it has always been to move cautiously towards herd immunity, even at the cost of a great many lives. Learn from other countries where cases are encouragingly low, and deaths correspondingly so? No. We are Great Britain. We can go it alone, as we have proved by “getting Brexit done”. It isn’t remotely done, of course; and the ties that bind us to Europe and Europe to us will never be entirely undone, and trying to stand alone in the face of a Covid attack is criminal insanity — but I digress.



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Dr John Grierson

Broadcaster, academic, journalist, columnist, humorist. Show- off contrarian. Seriously centrist politics junkie. British Americanophile.