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UK Politics Hamsterwheel Mk III

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UK Politics Hamsterwheel Mk III

Old 2nd Dec 2020, 17:33
  #5461 (permalink)  
 
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Watching 'The Butcher's Dog' I am expecting him to come out with either or both of:

'This is not the end of the beginning, but the beginning of the end' and 'Never in the field of human medicine has so much been owed by so many to so few'

His late mentor, The Rt Hon James Hacker, PM probably would have!
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 17:59
  #5462 (permalink)  
 
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I heard on the Beeb's News at One that the Buffoon's reaction to the rushed vaccine acceptance was, "This is fantastic news!"
Should I break the habit of a lifetime and believe him?

adjective: fantastic
  1. 1.
    informal
    extraordinarily good or attractive.
    "they did a fantastic job"
  • poor
    • of an extraordinary size or degree.
      "she had spent a fantastic amount of cash"
  • 2.
    imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.
    "fantastic hybrid creatures"
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 18:20
  #5463 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
I heard on the Beeb's News at One that the Buffoon's reaction to the rushed vaccine acceptance was, "This is fantastic news!"
Should I break the habit of a lifetime and believe him?

adjective: fantastic
  1. 1.
    informal
    extraordinarily good or attractive.
    "they did a fantastic job"
  • poor
    • of an extraordinary size or degree.
      "she had spent a fantastic amount of cash"
  • 2.
    imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.
    "fantastic hybrid creatures"
Relax, tomorrow's Excess headlines will do the job for you (the Mail is otherwise engaged heaping effusive self praise on itself )....." Boris Saves the Nation ! " " PM praises hero scientists ! " " Boris knocks EU off their perch ! " " Thank God for Boris ! ".....disclaimer.....I am not an Excess "reader " and neither am I employed by the rag

There may be a slight problem however, as some passing snow is forecast so "Arctic Hell for UK !! " may be relegated to a little box on the top of the front page.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 18:32
  #5464 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by charliegolf View Post
She was a scientist. Like an actual scientist. So you have no idea she would have gone against the snake oil salesmen, as you call them.

CG
Of course I have no idea what she might have or not have done. That isn't the point. My contention is that she would have come to a judgement based on many parameters and not just the views presented by an originally secret clique of academics on the taxpayers' books.
It is Boris's cop-out reliance on the "science" to the exclusion of pragmatic considerations which has brought us to this sad state. That would not have happened with Mrs Thatcher.





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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 21:22
  #5465 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
Relax, tomorrow's Excess headlines will do the job for you (the Mail is otherwise engaged heaping effusive self praise on itself )....." Boris Saves the Nation ! " " PM praises hero scientists ! " " Boris knocks EU off their perch ! " " Thank God for Boris ! ".....disclaimer.....I am not an Excess "reader " and neither am I employed by the rag

There may be a slight problem however, as some passing snow is forecast so "Arctic Hell for UK !! " may be relegated to a little box on the top of the front page.
KnC
It will be good to see how the UK involvement in this particular vaccine plays out in the press given little UK involvement. I have already posted in Brexit thread on this so will not go on further.
Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 22:01
  #5466 (permalink)  
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Amazing isn’t it.

You have the actual scientists on TV for nearly on hour explaining how the certification of the vaccine was done exactly by the numbers in order to confirm both its safety and effectiveness and to assuage any concerns of the public.

Then here, and doubtless elsewhere, you have apparently sane individuals, so enraged by Brexit and Boris, that they rage are “rushed” qualification and encourage doubt - and guarantee many more deaths and bereft families across the nation.

Congratulations - hope you’re proud of yourselves.
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 22:58
  #5467 (permalink)  
 
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ORAC - much better for the blood pressure if you read and understand what is written before screaming about rage-induced responses. Those of us who wish to approach this 'fanfastic race-winning exercise', by our present Government, with a degree of caution, do so, perhaps, bearing in mind the 'performance' of this same Government in their efforts so far. Nothing which I have observed in process prior to ,or during, the pandemic give me any hint of informed, competent organisation, indeed quite the opposite. It is, of course, quite possible that some miraculous transformation has taken place and that what has been described, frequently, as a shambles, has been transformed, overnight, into a well-drilled, knowledgeable, cohesive unit, able to deal with the complexities of the managerial maelstrom to come; I find it difficult to envision this 'Damascene conversion'
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Old 2nd Dec 2020, 23:22
  #5468 (permalink)  
 
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Having discovered that HM government is uploading details of purchase/supply data to the EU web site Tenders Electronic Daily, (and we all thought "Out means
Out"!), I have just had a couple of days looking into various contracts for supplies and services relating to Covid-19. And some eyebrow raising is to be had there.

Among the data, the Miami based jewellery designer, Saiger LLC, (the recent centre of a court case involving a Spanish middleman), features in 5 contracts for supply of gowns, gloves, goggles and hand sanitizer for a total of £222,644,615. That's a quarter of a billion pounds! For a designer of jewellery!

Didn't they do well? Among others was a UK based manufacturer of PPE kit. Conveniently, this company has a web site offering their disposable plastic aprons at £60 per box of 600 aprons.
Bearing in mind this will be the retail price, you have to wonder how many pieces the government will get under that company's £28,688,700 contract for the supply of aprons. Well, using a figure of 1,320,000 NHS front line staff, at retail prices this will equate to 194 aprons per staff member.
There are 31 contracts for the supply of aprons from a variety of suppliers, totaling £328,080,910
That's quite a lot of aprons!

Looking at some of the recipients of the £5.7 Billion so far listed; some are already familiar due to media reports. One company that has featured in press reports recently is Ayanda Capital who were awarded
a contract for £252.5M for the supply of face masks. Another is the famous Brighton based company with next to nothing in terms of capital/assets, Pestfix. They seem to have been taken into another company, Crisp
Web Sites. This company, according to Companies House data declares its business as "Agents involved in the sale of a variety of goods". While the press was full of stories about this company receiving a
contract for £32M, it now transpires there have been 7 contracts awarded to Crisp/Pestfix worth £455,054,290. Not bad for a company that apparently declared net capital in 2019 of -£6,771. (Pest Fix
Contracts Ltd) or £901 in the case of Crisp Web Sites.

Here's a selection of some of the contracts:
£33M for supply of masks, to a company in Hampshire normally engaged in the business of growing and researching cannabis (for medicinal purposes)!
£140M (approx) for supply of masks & gloves to a footwear wholesaler that made just £143,188 net profit on sales of £12M in 2019.
£52.3M for for supply of masks,gowns, gloves and unspecified PPE to a company describing itself as being in the business of "Buying & Selling of Own Real Estate".
£49M for supply of Isolation suits to a company describing itself as being in the business of "Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified", having filed accounts for a dormant company in January 2020. 12 weeks before contract award!)
And so it goes on! One thing that appears in every contract is a declaration that this was a dire emergency and there was not the time to go through the normal tender process and the contracts were therefore awarded without competition. The EU, over this same time frame presumably suffering the same dire emergency still found itself able to go through the normal calls for competitive tenders.
The contract awards span the time frame from March to June yet most of them were reported in October and November. I notice there seems to be an absence of awards for supplies being reported from July to date.

In addition to contracts for supplies, there are contracts for air freight. Having said in some of the documentation that there was a dearth of commercial air cargo space, contracts were awarded to Virgin Atlantic and BA for the carriage of PPE related kit on their passenger flights from Shanghai & Beijing. Undeterred by the lack of commercial cargo space, the government still found they were able to buy some of this non-available space from a sea freight company for >£473M, £270K to UPS , >£14.2M to DHL and in excess of £55M to Air Charter Services, with the bulk of their freight coming in at Stansted. The totals for air freight came to £65M. As with the supplies contracts, the same "dire emergency" was used to circumvent normal tendering processes. So, in March or April, they were unable to see there would be a need for air freight for many months to come and start the usual tender process for later in the year? Really?
Staggering!
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 06:16
  #5469 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Amazing isn’t it.

You have the actual scientists on TV for nearly on hour explaining how the certification of the vaccine was done exactly by the numbers in order to confirm both its safety and effectiveness and to assuage any concerns of the public.

Then here, and doubtless elsewhere, you have apparently sane individuals, so enraged by Brexit and Boris, that they rage are “rushed” qualification and encourage doubt - and guarantee many more deaths and bereft families across the nation.

Congratulations - hope you’re proud of yourselves.
ORAC, yep, it's truly amazing that there are those in the electorate who have the temerity not to meekly conform and indeed, openly distrust ...I wonder why this may be ?....the current Gov't and Boris.

I'm sure however, the Excess will shortly be splurging a "crusade ".....across the front pages calling for a National Boris Day to become a public holiday in memory of Boris's unstinting efforts.....probably in conjunction with the re-introduction of Empire Day

And a special mention for the research efforts of Kelvin D here......those figures alone should be prominent at the next GE, or before, when Boris, and his successor, try to justify their generosity towards a carefully selected demographic whose accounts, sorry, profits and dividends next year should make interesting reading......assuming they're not all carefully hidden in convenient off shore accounts and tax havens that is.
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 06:33
  #5470 (permalink)  
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Bearing in mind this will be the retail price, you have to wonder how many pieces the government will get under that company's £28,688,700 contract for the supply of aprons. Well, using a figure of 1,320,000 NHS front line staff, at retail prices this will equate to 194 aprons per staff member.
Working on around 10 beds in a ward, that seems to be one days worth - per each nurse/doctorvattending each patient?

Deviating slightly, assuming they become expert and can change gowns and masks in a couple of minutes, that’s still a large proportion of their working day - and a massive amount of contaminated waste.

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity....PE-assumptions

PPE use in hospitals

ICU:

Gloves: 2 gloves for each of 170 changes per patient per day. This assumes a change with each patient encounter, as per normal practice by all healthcare workers.

Gowns: ..... 20 changes per patient per day.

Simple masks: ...... 10 changes per patient per day.

N95 respirators: ...... 6 changes per patient per day.

Non-ICU:

Gloves: 2 gloves for each of 80 changes per patient per day. This assumes a change with each patient encounter, as per normal practice by all healthcare workers.

Gowns: ......20 changes per patient per day.

Simple masks: .....10 changes per patient per day.

N95 respirators: .....An average of 2.6 changes per patient per day.......
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 06:51
  #5471 (permalink)  
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And so it goes on! One thing that appears in every contract is a declaration that this was a dire emergency and there was not the time to go through the normal tender process and the contracts were therefore awarded without competition. The EU, over this same time frame presumably suffering the same dire emergency still found itself able to go through the normal calls for competitive tenders.
The EU procurement ordering scheme, and membership, took a long time to organise; in the first wave and months of the epidemic it was every nation for themselves as far as procuring equipment - and massive rows as various nations closed their birders to exports where they were lucky enough to have a major producer.

e.g.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-supplies.html
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 07:23
  #5472 (permalink)  
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Much as I dislike anti-vaccine material being published, it does seem that, as with “hate” legislation we are being urged down an a dangerous path to censorship.

I am a firm believe in J. S. Mill and his precepts in On Liberty.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/ar...-emergency-law

Labour Is Demanding An Emergency Law To Sanction Social Media Bosses Over Vaccine Disinformation

An emergency law to tackle disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines on social media needs to be introduced by Boris Johnson next week if he wants to make a success of the roll out, Labour has said.

As the country prepares for a mass Covid-19 vaccination programme, shadow culture and media secretary, Jo Stevens, is calling on the government to introduce a bill in the Commons to force social media companies to remove false information within a fixed time period by law, and apply sanctions to bosses at platforms including Facebook and Twitter if material remains online.

The emergency bill is needed because the government’s own Online Harms Bill – which covers some of the same ground – might not pass through Parliament until spring 2021 as it is still just at the white paper stage.

“This is about preventing social media platforms from facilitating the spread of anti-vaxx information. This is being done at an industrial level scale by groups and bad actors,” she said.

The government should put a statutory duty on media firms to remove material in a fixed period of time, she said......
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 08:05
  #5473 (permalink)  
 
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This makes no sense to me, will they not be spreading further around communities in these weeks as opposed to just keeping the infections in a smaller area and largely amongst those who will be harmed the least?
Does anyone think that student age kidults will be locking themselves up for these five weeks?
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 10:15
  #5474 (permalink)  
 
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I could not believe I was hearing Keir Starmer calling for the suppression of free speech. I had not had him down as one of the loony left Stalinist/Trotskyites and god help us all if he ever gets to be PM. Will the Isle Sheppey become the first UK Gulag?
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 11:34
  #5475 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WB627 View Post
I could not believe I was hearing Keir Starmer calling for the suppression of free speech. I had not had him down as one of the loony left Stalinist/Trotskyites and god help us all if he ever gets to be PM. Will the Isle Sheppey become the first UK Gulag?
When did he call for suppression of free speech? Those are your words, not his. He has called for limits on dangerous propaganda that would cause deaths across the population. I don't want to catch a potentially deadly disease just because people I meet have believed fake news stories about the vaccine.

The likes of Facebook and Twitter already have their own limits on what they will allow, and where anti-vax stories are concerned they should be told where to draw the line.
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 13:48
  #5476 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Gipsy Queen View Post
Of course I have no idea what she might have or not have done. That isn't the point. My contention is that she would have come to a judgement based on many parameters and not just the views presented by an originally secret clique of academics on the taxpayers' books.
It is Boris's cop-out reliance on the "science" to the exclusion of pragmatic considerations which has brought us to this sad state. That would not have happened with Mrs Thatcher.
I find the parallels between Thatcher and her policies and the current policies towards coronavirus to be interesting. History can be a harsh judge, but it is important to recognise that decisions made in the absence of hindsight are always more challenging.

There is also the question of what would have happened in the absence of those policies.

Thatcher arrived into power at a time Britain was broken. The unions held, and exercised unwisely, in my opinion, far too much power in a world that was becoming ever more globalised. Thatcher believed in a need to be competitive to face those challenges, and believed firmly that national economies should be run like household budgets - you will have a better life in the longer term if you live within your means. She also believed in equality of opportunity, and considered her changes would facilitate that.

She is frequently blamed for the death of much of British industry, but I suspect the writing was on the cards with expensive and inefficient practice that would never have survived the increased globalisation that followed. Indeed, things might have been even worse without her reforms.

Just as the hard decisions being taken now must be seen in context. We don't know what the longer term results would be if more emphasis was put on maintaining economic performance at the expense of health priorities. It might be easy to say that a different direction should have been taken once we know the long term results, but for now it is almost certainly more fair minded to simply accept that hard decisions are being taken in the absence of that knowledge, and be grateful we are not the ones having to either make those calls or be judged by them once 20 / 20 hindsight arrives.

It is easy to see now that Thatcher didn't find the right balance. She almost certainly wasn't correct to stick so firmly to her policies and principles. It almost certainly isn't correct to run a national economy in the same way as a household one, and it is important to use policy and procedure to dampen down the impact of broader structural change, and to do that in an empathetic manner that gives full support to those most harmed by those structural changes. In that regard, Thatcher failed abysmally, and it is for those failures that she is remembered by many as divisive. She could have introduced longer term investment strategies to ameliorate the impact of her desired strategic changes of monetarism in a more empathetic way. It is not enough to advocate equality of opportunity if at the same time you act in a manner that eliminates that very equality of opportunity in practice to large swathes of the community.

The advantage of the greater flexibility offered by the very size of the national economy should be used. To leave things entirely to market forces is a mistake, and a managed economy is nearly always going to give better results over the longer term. Her view that is was better to suffer the short term pain to ensure long term benefit failed because it didn't share the pain around more evenly. And putting large sectors of the economy out of work in the way she did meant that the pain of getting back to a sound footing inevitably was going to take even longer. Economies only thrive when they are productive.

In the longer term, it is important that even national economies live within their means. In that regard, I agree with Thatcher. And, she was clearly highly principled, believed deeply in her views, and was extremely hard working. Characteristics I admire considerably. But, getting the balance right between spending and support is never easy. Most governments seem to swing too far one way or another.

However, GQ, where I find myself at odds with your thought is that Thatcher would have allowed more pragmatism to drive coronavirus decisions rather than blindly follow the science. She definitely followed the science of monetarism without allowing for that pragmatism so frequently demanded by many of her more 'wet' colleagues. And, sadly, in her later years appeared to me to fall foul of that old saw that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. She let her ego run away with itself.

However you judge her now, though, she was a force for change that made hard decisions in hard times. It is instructive to see how much has changed over that time which makes it even more appropriate to see her decisions in not just the light of uncertainty but in the light of the times. She was, after all, our first ever woman Prime Minister - something inconceivable when she started out in politics. I wonder how many here who knock her so firmly would have fared themselves? Even my own analysis above only comes with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, I was a big supporter.

It is so easy to be that Monday morning quarterback. Far harder to be actually in the game.
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 14:26
  #5477 (permalink)  
 
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Paultheparaglider
An interesting point you make, and I do agree with you about changes having to be made, and like you I was a supporter, but I though her latter term was a car crash. Totally a believer in her own publicity and views to the exclusion of all others by then.

Kind regards
Mr Mac
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 22:52
  #5478 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Working on around 10 beds in a ward, that seems to be one days worth - per each nurse/doctorvattending each patient?

Deviating slightly, assuming they become expert and can change gowns and masks in a couple of minutes, thatís still a large proportion of their working day - and a massive amount of contaminated waste.

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity....PE-assumptions

PPE use in hospitals

ICU:

Gloves: 2 gloves for each of 170 changes per patient per day. This assumes a change with each patient encounter, as per normal practice by all healthcare workers.

Gowns: ..... 20 changes per patient per day.

Simple masks: ...... 10 changes per patient per day.

N95 respirators: ...... 6 changes per patient per day.

Non-ICU:

Gloves: 2 gloves for each of 80 changes per patient per day. This assumes a change with each patient encounter, as per normal practice by all healthcare workers.

Gowns: ......20 changes per patient per day.

Simple masks: .....10 changes per patient per day.

N95 respirators: .....An average of 2.6 changes per patient per day.......
And I will say this is nonsense. The NHS has various sites on the web, showing how much of what kit should be used during work on hospital wards etc. Unfortunately, I was reading these pages early this morning and forgot to bookmark them so I have forgotten the precise details. I do remember though how I was a little surprised when I saw one item of PPE came with an instruction to throw it in the bin at the end of a spell of duty, not between patients. Some other items such as googles carry instructions on how to clean them each day. Perhaps I shall seek those pages out again tomorrow and post them here.

As part of the Good Law Project's case against the government, they are focusing on the ridiculous award to Ayanda Capital; remember, this was a contract to supply Face Masks and was worth £252,500,000. The Good Law Project has discovered that, at the time of the contract award, the unit price for face masks was between 39p and 46p per mask and this price had reduced to 26p per mask by May. In the words of the Good Law Project, the quarter billion pounds awarded to Ayanda would have sufficed the needs of the NHS "for many years to come". Of course, the NHS/Government didn't need to worry about demand over a few years to come; they merely had to get an order to cover the time it would take to co through a normal competitive tender process and effect delivery. Let's say 3 months. We know 3 months is a valid time as the government contracted in May with Honeywell to produce millions of masks at their Glasgow factory and the production was said to be starting in July. Less than 3 months so the 3 months I quoted allows the incompetents some slack in their handling an accelerated competitive tendering process.

At the time of the Ayanda award; the NHS specs for face masks said masks can not be fixed to the wearer via ear loops but a head harness must be used. Bear in mind that this was the specification at the time of the Ayanda award. Ayanda took the money and delivered a shed load of masks to the NHS. (50 Million masks). Upon delivery, it was found that 44.8 Million of the face masks did not meet the spec and could not be used. The cost of that lot was £150 Million. And it gets worse; the government says that £150 Million is not recoverable. So, while only 10% of the goods ordered can be used, the government has still paid 100% of the bill!

Touching obliquely on a point I made in my previous post; it has been pointed out in various publications that government rules, including anti-corruption) stipulate that contracts such as these must be reported within 30 days of award. With a lot of these contracts only having been revealed in the last couple of weeks (April contracts being published in December) one has to wonder what is going on there. Are they waiting for a nuclear attack to occur, providing them with a "good day to get the bad news out"?

Finally, the Beatles famously sang about how "Money Can't Buy Me Love". They may have been right but, for a modern day example, why not search for "mylittlecrony" on the web and see how Money Can Buy Influence?
The Good Law Project can be found here: https://goodlawproject.org/update/the-ppe-fiasco/ and I "commend it to the House!"
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 23:20
  #5479 (permalink)  
 
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KelvinD
A good bit of research there if I may say so. I do hope all this comes out into a more public domain sooner rather than later. It would be good if it was not one of the broad sheets but one where they say how many doctors. nurses etc could have been employed to give it context to the average punter. Sadly I think I will be waiting in vain.
Kind regards
Mr Mac
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 23:49
  #5480 (permalink)  
 
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Paultheparaglider Thank you for an interesting and comprehensive response to my post. We are ad idem on nearly everything, but I would add the following;

Originally Posted by Paultheparaglider View Post
However, GQ, where I find myself at odds with your thought is that Thatcher would have allowed more pragmatism to drive coronavirus decisions rather than blindly follow the science. She definitely followed the science of monetarism without allowing for that pragmatism so frequently demanded by many of her more 'wet' colleagues. And, sadly, in her later years appeared to me to fall foul of that old saw that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. She let her ego run away with itself.
I was living abroad during Margaret Thatcher's second ministry (and during those of the mediocrities who succeeded her), so have no direct knowledge of that time. I fully accept that whilst she may have been correct in her understanding of and measures taken to correct the problems of the time, her apparent inability to articulate the social changes and empathise with those most immediately affected by her actions were particular shortcomings and a character trait which has defined her perception in contemporary thought. Yet, during the Falklands conflict, she was tearful on a number of occasions when considering the condition of the troops involved. She demonstrated really myopic behaviour with the coalminers and poll tax issues, particularly the former which had such profound socio-economic consequences, still felt today.

Whether her embracing and enthusiastic pursuit of the moneterism advanced by the likes of Hayek, Friedman and Alan Walters, now known as "Thatcherism", was "blind" pursuit of the science is, I suppose, a question of semantics.

Yes, it is not easy, particularly for those too young to have been fully aware, to judge her in the light of thirty-odd years ago, but I think it is helpful to remember that there had been uninterrupted national decline since the end of the War, a decline accelerated during the Heath, Wilson, Hume and Callaghan years. It was Mrs Thatcher who stopped the rot and restored some much needed national pride and confidence. However, whilst judgements now made of her performance with the benefits of retro-vision might be Monday morning stuff, considerations of Boris and his less than adroit performance are contemporaneous.

KelvinD It is evident that you have done a substantial amount of work. Thank you. The post mortem of the Covid affair will make fascinating reading although, like the Warren Commission, of doubtful factual validity since governmental influence, as in the current Simon Dolan action against the government, will disallow much of the findings.

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 4th Dec 2020 at 00:05.
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