The desperation in the MSM’s newsrooms is palpable – a desperation created by th ‘purdah’ which will end after Prince Philip’s funeral tomorrow. The poor things are scrabbling about, bereft of their ‘sources’, ‘insiders’, ‘senior sources’ and people ‘in the know’ in Whitehall, the cabinet, No 10 and Parliament. Instead, the front pages of this morning’s papers give the impression that they’re now all ‘court circulars’, where for ‘court’ read: anyone who is even remotely involved in tomorrow’s funeral. Yes, we really must be told today, as a matter of importance, that uniforms won’t be worn to spare Harry’s blushes and that he and his brother won’t walk next to each other. Gawd – couldn’t this breathtaking piece of news wait until tomorrow?
Oh – there are some covid news which read like a subdued squealing from ‘interested’ parties trying to make sure we haven’t forgotten them. So there’s the breathtaking ‘latest’ from an ‘expert’ who has suggested to lock down whole streets, in case of a new outbreak, to keep ‘new variants’ under control (paywalled link).
Ah – but is he a SAGE? Is he even working at the Hancock Imperium? No – he isn’t. But it’s good to know the opinion of a ‘covid expert’, to fill the pages and keep the fear campaign going. Never mind that living in an ivory tower makes people sound more like that French queen who had her head chopped off for asking, allegedly, why people didn’t eat cake when they had no bread.
Then there’s an article in The Times telling us that ‘a study’ – not peer reviewed, but hey, pages must be filled and a lack of peer review is only bad when that paper is critical of lockdown, tests and all the rest – where was I … oh yeah: that study showed that a covid infection also induced blood clots. So ‘tis better to take the jab than get covid (link, paywalled). Can we call this ‘scientific whataboutery’? I think we can.
There’s one more piece of covid ‘news’ showing the MSM’s desperation. It’s about a leaked email, from an ‘adviser to Hancock’. That email was leaked to the Guardian on April 9th. Well, we know what happened on that day, but The Times had to scrape through the bottom of the barrel to get another covid article on their pages – thus their article. This is actually interesting – not because of the content but because of the way this is written up. First see this:
“Senior government officials are said to fear that it will soon become unreasonable to ask people to self-isolate after a positive lateral flow test because cases are falling and the false positive rate is rising. Ben Dyson, an adviser to Matt Hancock, said in an email leaked to The Guardian that his concerns needed “fairly urgent” attention. He wrote on April 9 that self-reported tests returning positive in London had an accuracy rate of 2 per cent to 10 per cent, with a similar pattern in other areas where coronavirus has receded.” (link, paywalled)
Oh dear. This from an adviser to yon Matt? Never fear – for the sake of showing impartiality, The Times then writes:
“A spokesman for the Department of Health said that there were “no plans to halt the universal programme”. He said: “With around one in three people not showing symptoms of Covid-19, regular, rapid testing is an essential tool to control the spread of the virus as restrictions ease by picking up cases that would not otherwise have been detected.” (link, paywalled)
Yay! ‘A spokesman’! And of course T&T must be kept going. The covid government and all those manufacturers and tracers need the income, after all. Another instance illustrating the stupidity of the ‘covid mantra’ which is that if you don’t have symptoms you must be sick and need a test. It won’t matter though because “we” will be told to get another jab and another, according to the Pfizer boss (link). It seems there are no fat ladies singing on the horizon, so it’ll never be over.
And so to the ongoing issue of sleaze in government. We’ve seen yesterday that the top mandarins of Whitehall weren’t precisely pure as the driven snow but never mind that – the MSM are back to writing only about sleazy politicians because: “Tory Sleaze!”. They’re wriggling mightily to keep those mandarins out of the limelight. While the ‘court circulars’ have other things to write about this morning,The Times has two opinion pieces and one report where we’re told that the current ‘code of conduct for ministers’ needs updating:
“A Whitehall source said the code was a “mess” and that discussions were continuing to update it to make conflicts of interest clearer. Ministers are also considering making consultants drafted into Whitehall sign agreements that explicitly bar them from benefiting from inside knowledge and contacts when they return to the private sector.” (link, paywalled)
Look – there’s a ‘Whitehall source’! He/she/it is pointing at ‘ministers’, deflecting from ‘mandarins’. There’s also a former Tory minister, Lord (yes, he’s now a Lord) Pickles who is in charge of this obscure board looking at lobbying and ministerial connections to said lobbyists. He told The Times:
“Pickles said there were steps that “could be taken now” to put guidance in place “well before the summer”. […] Pickles urged ministers to impose “consequences” for breaches of lobbying rules, and suggested that senior officials were not taking the “revolving door” problem seriously.” (link, paywalled)
This begs the question what Pickles has been doing since lording it over that obscure ‘sleaze’ board. It’s surely inconceivable that there weren’t at least rumours about Greensill, Cameron and those former civil serpents.
Next in The Times we find an opinion piece by Paul Goodman in which he tries to square the circle of civil serpents also going ‘to feel the lash’ of more regulations and the reforms envisaged by Dominic Cummings. It’s quite amazing that The Times mentions him without screams of pain but in a clever ploy, after mentioning him we’re told what his friends are saying. Ah. This is followed by a general deflection away from cronyism to ‘procurement reform’. The key quote for me though isn’t about Whitehall mandarins or Tory sleaze, it’s this:
“There weren’t enough people in place who understood statistics,” says one of those friends [of Cummings], of the period between last spring and autumn when the domestic coronavirus death toll rose.” (link, paywalled)
Crikey. I bet there were enough people around who understood money and profit, who had cronies – and not just amongst the Tory ministers. In their editorial this morning, The Times, also does a good job of deflection, never mind the repeated mentioning of ‘public sector’:
“Public servants in Britain do their jobs, in the main, because they want to play a part in making Britain a better place to live. Hence the shock when evidence emerges that gaming the system may be wider than suspected. The collapse of Greensill Capital, a financing company, has thrown into doubt the institutional safeguards against conflicts of interest in the public sector. Whatever the damage to individual reputations or party fortunes, the affair shows the urgency of the need to strengthen the rules on lobbying.” (link, paywalled)
“Moar Rulz” is always the cry when actions must be taken – nobody asks how come such rules are needed in the first place. We’ve all been aware of the disintegration of standards in public life ever since TB and his Mandelson who was ‘extremely relaxed’ about consorting with Russian billionaires. The fortune amassed by said TB ever since he left office surely speaks for a hefty dose of cronyism which has been carefully shielded.
It shouldn’t be about ‘moar rulz’. It should be about a drastic cultural change in the mentality of mandarins and the rest of the civil serpents. Would politicians, from MPs to PMs, have got away with their sleaze if their mandarins hadn’t turned a blind eye because they, after all, were also wading in sleazy murk?
This Westminster ‘culture’ which has infected Whitehall, Parliament and MSM equally, truly growing to staggering proportions ever since TB, this ‘culture’ is one of the drivers of that abyss between ‘them’ and us peasants. It’s time to remind them again that they serve us, paid by us, and that enriching themselves while making us poorer is not going to end well – for them.