Whitehall – even less ‘fit for purpose’ than we already knew
First of all – thank you all for your good wishes for Debbie and for me! They were hugely appreciated and were an excellent tonic to speed up recovery. In contrast to the pronunciations of our health dictators there are other illnesses beside covid … Speaking of which, this morning’s come-back from my enforced abstinence of perusing our MSM showed me that there’s been no change in their “Project Covid Fear”.
There have been some interesting developments though which serve to indicate further that those at the so-called ‘levers of governance’, our beloved bureaucrats and civil serpents, are unfit for purpose. Their grasp of simple facts of life are below abysmal.
Take for example the ‘loss of data’ of the police database. Apparently, these records were ‘accidentally deleted’ thanks to a ‘software introduced by human error’ in November 2020. This data loss wasn’t noticed until January 10th 2021. What the fluffing fluff! It’s not only that ‘nobody’ noticed – were they all WFH? – it’s that any normal person using a PC today asks immediately ‘did they not have back-ups’?
Apparently not! According to The Times, this is the fault of government because the Home Office IT system is on its last legs. Look at the timeline:
“Minutes seen by The Times of a PND (Police National Database) national gold group meeting in July 2019 revealed that the Home Office would not invest beyond “fix on fail” — meaning that systems and hardware would be replaced only if they failed.” (link, paywalled)
July 2019? Crikey – that’s in pre-covid times! What did our civil serpents do since then? Drink tea and meet in sub-sub-committees? There’s worse:
“In October  senior police […] wrote to the Home Office to say that they had “lost confidence” in its ability to complete big IT projects. Delays have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds in overspending. Their letter referenced projects including the National Law Enforcement Data Programme, which is to replace the PNC and PND. Work began on it in 2016 but the project is not expected to be delivered until 2023.” (link, paywalled)
Ah – ‘overspending’: did the Treasury mandarins not have something to say about that? If not – why not? And why on earth does it take seven (!) years to implement such new Data Project? Only one year since 2016 was a ‘covid year’. What were, what are all these people doing besides having a cushy life on our taxes?
Then there are the Armed Forces. On the one hand they are deployed to help ‘Our Sacred Cow’ to run the mass vaccination programme and yet another ‘mass testing’ programme, on the other we read that there are plans to cut another 10,000 from the army’s personnel and replace them with drones – according to drafts of the Integrated Review leaked to The Times.
This Integrated Review is about how the Armed Forces should adapt to new challenges in the next ten or so years. Well, it’s a draft, not even yet published, but the first moans are already coming:
“Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence select committee, told The Mail on Sunday he feared that cuts to troop numbers were on the way. “All the indications suggest we are moving towards an even smaller, high-tech force,” he said. “But retaining relationships with our allies is critical and cannot be achieved if we cut the army by 10,000. I fear the army is bracing itself for cuts to numbers, especially infantry regiments, before its wider fundamental purpose has been established.” (link, paywalled)
Basically, “we” don’t know yet what is being proposed but let’s have a good moan anyway and get ‘our’ retaliation in first. After all, who’d believe this MoD statement:
“A statement from the Ministry of Defence said: “The integrated review is not yet complete and decisions about army force structure have not been finalised. The defence secretary has been clear that ambitions must match resources. Taxpayers are entitled to expect the armed forces to be credible, capable and ready to confront the threats of the future.” (link, paywalled)
Indeed we are, and we’re entitled to get the best possible outcome for their hard-earned money. However, compare and contrast: the NHS alone receives 7.4% of GDP at the moment – that’s without all the other bennies and welfare payouts – while the defence budget at the moment is 2.33% of GDP. One wonders if ‘Our NHS’ is going to pay for the man-hours the army is so generously allocating to help them out in their hours of covid needs. I’ve not seen or heard anything about us plebs being asked to clap for the Armed Forces though …
Meanwhile, back in covid-reporting country, there’s been another ‘fear number’, this time propagated by the head honcho of the NHS. Allegedly, a covid patient is admitted to hospital ‘every 30 seconds’, and since Christmas Day, “15,000 Covid-19 patients had been admitted, enough to fill 30 hospitals” (link, paywalled). ‘30 hospitals – a patient admitted every 30 seconds’ – what strange coincidence of numbers. But perhaps the NHS director meant to muddy these covid waters:
“More than 25,000 patients have caught coronavirus in hospital since the second wave of the pandemic began in September. One in six Covid-19 patients in NHS hospitals in England were infected while being treated for other conditions, according to internal Health Service figures. So far this month, 5,684 Covid-positive in-patients out of 44,315 – about one in eight – were infected after being admitted for other conditions.” (link)
Meanwhile, we’re being prepared for a longer lockdown. According to Mr Raab – not a covid minister – ‘mass testing’ of entire regions is being ‘considered’, not to get rid of lockdown but to ‘ease back’ into tiers, hedged about with more ‘ifs’:
“The Foreign Secretary said that by the “early spring, hopefully March” some restrictions would be lifted “gradually” so the country could “get back to normal”. He warned it would not be a “big bang” end to lockdown but a return to tiers depending on the level of Covid admissions in hospitals, death rates and hitting targets on vaccinating the over 50s and vulnerable by early spring.” (paywalled link)
How and especially who is going to do all this testing when at the same time ‘everybody’ in the NHS is also working flat out to get us all vaccinated as well as treating all those covid patients – well, ‘tis the good old army to the rescue, innit.
Also, this ‘lateral flow test’ might be send out to all households, for DIY testing. That’s interesting: this test has been ‘discredited’ by the covid tsars as being inaccurate because they don’t produce as many +ve tests as PCR. Furthermore, apparently the covid tsars suddenly deem us plebs trustworthy to test ourselves while not trusting us to ‘follow the rulz’. And this mass testing is meant to happen ‘within a week’ (paywalled link) – will the coiled police enforce this? Hm.
Meanwhile a nice little smear has been published, about ‘highly-paid management consultants’ having pointed out that a 24/7 vaccination for the elderly is somewhat unfeasible (paywalled link). Indeed! The – presumably lowly-paid – advocates of the 24/7 vaccination drive don’t seem to have spared a thought for the well-being of the 80+ olds: who’ll drive gramps to a vaccination hub at 3am, who’ll wake up granny at 2am in a care home, just to fulfil their stakhanovite drive to vaccinate everybody a.s.a.p. ?
And what about the report a few days ago that NHS managers told doctors to discard precious vaccines rather than use it for people ‘not in the appropriate age group’ (paywalled link)? “Covid bureaucrats rule ok”, is it?
There’s another point worth keeping in mind: according to that DT report, ‘government’, i.e. civil serpents, have allegedly spent millions on outside consultants, hired to deal with the logistics of getting the vaccine programme rolling (paywalled link). At least these consultants got the thing rolling.
However, this begs the question: are our mandarins only good at outsourcing problems to consultants or to the Army but are incapable of solving problems themselves? One is permitted to think so when one sees on what they’ve spent their time instead:
“All supermarkets face inspections in the next fortnight to ensure they are Covid-secure, as health chiefs warned “one-shopper” rules may be needed to stop family outings to stores. Ministers have told local councils to check that the 7,000 main supermarkets have effective measures in place to prevent overcrowding, bar those without face coverings and provide necessary sanitation.” (paywalled link)
These ministers are doing this only now, practically one year after the first lockdown? What have they been doing all this time? Moreover, this is based on ‘could’ and might’ – and on suspicions that we peasants are abusing the shopping ‘rule’ to meet family members in supermarkets:
“The move comes as ministers consider a one-shopper rule amid fears that people are treating trips to the supermarket as family outings, adding to the risk of overcrowding in stores. […]The crackdown on supermarkets follows meetings last week with ministers who have been concerned they could be vectors for the spread of Covid.” (paywalled link)
In other words: no meetings of family members are permitted, not in pubs (closed), not in cafes and restaurants (closed), not in parks (forbidden), and now not even in a supermarket! Perhaps our covid government should look to China and tell local councils to follow suit:
“Essential workers in Nangong, a town in Hebei province with 49 cases of the virus, have been ordered to live at their workplace under threat of arrest until an outbreak of coronavirus is defeated. The rest of the town’s 500,000 population have been ordered to stay at home or face arrest. Nangong’s measures are the most drastic in China since the pandemic began in December 2019, ” (link, paywalled)
The mind boggles! Mind you, we all know that ‘numbers’ coming from China are to be treated with the greatest ‘respect’, i.e. not to be taken at face value, so look at this next:
“Xinhua, the state-run news agency said that a hospital with capacity for 1,500 Covid-19 patients had just been built in Nangong.” (link, paywalled)
Apparently, the Chinese authorities must be expecting the worst! And then we’re told that the Chinese health authority blames this latest outbreak on “people or goods arriving from overseas” saying: “They are all imported from abroad.” (link, paywalled) – oh dear!
Hands up all who’ve travelled to Nangong in the past weeks! How could you! And you didn’t even have a vaccine passport, did you! Meanwhile let’s hope ‘our covid government’ isn’t going to demand “we” follow China and ‘do a Nangong’ here in our green (not yet, but “we” will get there if Carrie has anything to say to BJ!) and unpleasant covid lands …
Clearly, we still haven’t reached peak covid insanity.