Anyone watching the daily reports on the pandemic would almost be forgiven that politics had been suspended, journalists and politicians are almost bending over each other to appear to all be supporting each other and everyone is pulling together to get through all this. Almost, but not quite, it is not that suddenly politics has disappeared, it has merely become understated. Underneath it all, it is politics as usual, and there is far more going on than meets the eye.
I commented recently on the sneaky underhand attempt by a Westminster government department on Scots Law, but that is not all thats been going on while we have been distracted.
At a time when we are more reliant than ever on workers from elsewhere in our health service and other key areas the Home office decided it was a good time to update its guidance on its new immigration system, ” There will not be an immigration route specifically for those who do not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route”
In the midst of the Covid pandemic crisis they have felt it necessary to state that care workers, auxiliary nurses,hospital porters,cleaners, logistic workers, postal workers and garbage collectors among others will not be able to apply for a work visa from January.
The only low paid workers the UK government envisages to allow staying are agricultural workers, plane loads of Romanians being flown in over the past few days.
A leaked Home Office recording which the BBC marginally reported was explosive, but the BBC only focussed on the part where the home office insisted staff turn up for work in the passport office. The Byline Times covered the most alarming parts of it.
“leaked recordings of a Home Office conference call on Tuesday, exclusively obtained by Byline Times, reveal that the Government has all but given up in its fight against the Coronavirus and is intent on simply finding “a method of managing it within the population”.
The recordings show Home Office Deputy Science Advisor Rupert Shute stating repeatedly that the Government believes “we will all get” COVID-19 eventually. The call further implied that the Government now considers hundreds of thousands of deaths unavoidable over a long-term period consisting of multiple peaks of the disease.”
“Shute repeatedly insisted that “we can’t hide away from it forever, but we can manage the way in which we are exposed”.
The Home Office refused to provide any further clarification on the modelling the Government was using to justify this projection.
UK Government strategy, he confirmed, is not attempting to contain the spread of the virus, but simply to slow down “the rate at which we get this virus [which] has direct impact on the NHS. It’s vitally important that we don’t get it at the same time. But that does not mean we won’t still get it at some point… We’ve got to keep functioning our lives, go out for food and medication, and go out for work”.
“Reflecting on the “reality of the situation”, he said that “we will all be exposed to it at some point”. According to the “current modelling we are working on, 80% will get it – of that, a large portion won’t notice that they have it. Another substantial portion will have very, very mild symptoms. And a small portion will have a very significant reaction”.
So in effect what this appears to tell us is that the UK government has never really moved away from their crazy herd immunity plan. If so, that is truly worrying.
Meanwhile the Mirror reported :
“A leading infectious disease scientist claims the Government recklessly allowed tens of thousands of people to catch coronavirus
Professor Helen Ward, of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London has warned ministers “there will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving”.
The academic tweeted: “It’s very sad that so many people have died, and so many more are desperately ill because politicians refused to listen to advice.
“We said lockdown earlier, we said test, trace, isolate. But they decided they knew better. There will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving.”
Professor Ward told the Mirror the decision in early March to stop community testing and contact tracing was a “big problem” which meant we “lost sight” of the pandemic.
Prof Ward said: “The Government instituted the lock down on March 23.
“Ten days earlier it was clear to many major epidemiologists and public health experts like myself that we needed stringent social distancing. Those ten days were lost.
“On March 16, the Government reacted by saying people shouldn’t travel unnecessarily but didn’t institute any regulation of that.
“That was a major error that lost us seven days at least. In those seven days there could have been tens of thousands of people infected as a result of the delay to the lockdown.
“The World Health Organisation and other countries were recommending it at that time while the UK was still pursuing ‘we know better’.”
Asked why Britain’s epidemic was worse than countries like France and Germany, she said: “The decision in early March to stop testing and contact tracing in the community was one of the big problems.
“When that happened we lost sight of the number of new cases and were only able to trace people when they became sick enough to need hospital treatment.
“That was related to the lack of testing capacity, I accept that. That was then compounded by the ongoing transmission in hospital because of inadequate PPE.
“So there was a lack of testing, lack of PPE, lack of ventilators and the lack of hospital beds and NHS capacity in general.
“There are a result of ten years of cuts to the Health Service, a lack of investment and a lack of preparedness.”
In the meantime the British Media had as its headline news every day was not how many had been effected or died, but as Boris Johnson as some sort of heroic Churchillian figure for catching the virus, with some Torys asking the nation to clap for Boris like people have been clapping for the NHS workers. Utter nonsense!
Meanwhile there were other reports of marines coming to remove a couple of high tech robotic testing machines and relocating them to Milton Keynes, followed a couple of weeks later with news that Health England had instructed the 4 major suppliers of PPE in the UK not to allow any orders to go to Care homes in Scotland or Wales and only to supply England. What was that about being better together again?
The Tory Health ministers idea of rewarding the under siege health workers is to provide them with a garbage badge which they have to pay for rather than ensure they have the correct provisions or to, give them a well deserved pay rise… I am sure they would rather
be properly rewarded than be given the Clap!
Certainly in amongst this pandemic politics has not gone away, we see it for what it is, even if it is more understated than usual.
At the end of this crisis there will be a reckoning, and part of that reckoning will be the peoples judgement of the state of the Union and how we have all been served by it.