Unrobing the Emperors and other matters of concern. An author's blog - begun in January 2016 - revealing political deception in the UK - paving The Road to Corbyn (2016, Matador), my updating of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. Featuring the story of the writing and research for The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone (2020, Unicorn) with readers' reactions. Also updates on my work in progress: Dying To Know.
Sunday, 10 May 2020
MAY BANK HOLIDAY CRISIS AS UK GOVERNMENT INITIATES STAGE TWO OF THEIR DISASTER
Expect nothing less - but it still hurts when it comes. Our misgovernment continues. Prepare for a second spike in deaths.
'Stay alert' - to the invisible? 'Control' the virus?? (Skwawkbox: Sunday 10 May 2020)
Image created by @ukdemockery
The Tories have changed their coronavirus slogan from 'Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives' to 'Stay alert, control the virus, save lives'. Boris Johnson is softening up the UK for a relaxation of the lock-down.
The new slogan, which has appeared on the front page of right-wing papers today, has been attacked as both meaningless and sinister - and as a cover for the next phase of Johnson's 'herd immunity' plan, which never went
away in spite of government claims to the contrary and was merely rebranded.
Leading left-wing Labour MP Richard Burgon was one of the first to point out the danger:
People should not be forced to return to work until it's safe to do so.
With thousands of new Coronavirus cases everyday, it clearly isn't safe yet.
The stay alert message is incredible stupid. I am a doctor and I have no idea how to be "alert" to it. How the heck is anyone else supposed to be. In a few weeks that 2nd wave is incoming. Do not say we did not warn you.
At the same time, there have been scenes of crowded parks during the bank holiday weekend after the Tories' briefed the press to push the idea of imminent lock-down 'freedom':
A scene in London this weekend
With a complicit press helping Johnson prepare to lift restrictions, expect a new spike in deaths starting in a couple of weeks or so, pushing the UK to further depths of shame as the hardest-hit and most shoddily-governed major nation in the world by an even greater distance - and yet more government dishonesty to cover and distract from the consequences of their actions.'
Now for some good news.
Here's how a touch of local government in Northern Ireland helped lower the death rate:
Save lives. Save the NHS. Ignore Boris Johnson
(Skwawkbox: Saturday 9 May 2020)
Derry in Northern Ireland
The community of Derry and Strabane council area is the fourth largest in Northern Ireland, with almost 151,000 people, yet it has the second-lowest incidence of coronavirus infection in Northern Ireland - and a fraction of the deaths a similar-sized town or community in England would be expected to have suffered.
And it has achieved this by ignoring Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock.
Derry and Strabane locked down two weeks earlier than the rest of the UK - a move driven by the community itself rather than ordered - and has seen only 155 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths, a rate of 129 deaths per million people. By contrast, even based on official government figures which are widely recognised as understating the real death numbers by half or more, the UK's mortality rate is almost 500per million population.
Scientists calculate that Johnson's decision to lock down on 24 March instead of even one week earlier will increase the UK's ultimate death toll in the current phase of the pandemic by around 60,000 - but the people of Derry and Strabane ignored Johnson and locked down two weeks before.
As the Belfast Telegraph has reported, NI British Medical Association chair Dr Tom Black noted:
We probably shut down two weeks earlier than England and that was a huge factor.
In Derry there was also an incredible community buy-in and it became very clear that nobody was actually paying attention to Boris Johnston
There was a feeling in Derry that we have to shut down early to save the old folk in our community and there was a lot of pressure from the community in Derry towards businesses who were still open which resulted in everyone closing down and doing the social distancing, and that worked.