Analysis comment

Video: Hancock in Jan – “UK well equipped”, world-leader in CV testing and NHS well prepared

Arrogance, complacency, incompetence – you will struggle to find a better example of any of them

Health Secretary Matt Hancock talking arrogant nonsense to MPs

As the UK’s ability to conduct coronavirus tests crawls questionably upward and his promise of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April looks ever more a perverse fairy tale, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his boss are rightly being criticised for their lack of preparation and their failure to act quickly when the opportunity was there and the need was unmissable.

But the arrogance, complacency and incompetence that underlies the Tories’ reckless and lazy approach to what has become a horrific national crisis was plain in Hancock’s statement to the House of Commons more than two months ago.

A blasé and pompous Hancock told MPs that:

  • the threat to the UK was ‘low’
  • the UK was leading the world on testing
  • the country was ‘well prepared’ and ‘well equipped’ to deal with ‘these types of outbreaks’
  • that clinicians were ready for diagnosis of the disease and for infection control

The UK’s testing capacity, which Hancock and Boris Johnson failed to build up until the crisis was already here – and even now – is a sick joke compared to countries like Germany and South Korea, which actually prepared in advance and followed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance.

Infection control is even worse, with NHS staff left treating infected patients for weeks with utterly inadequate protective equipment and infected care home residents sent home from hospital to infect others just as vulnerable – entirely in line with the lethal ‘herd immunity‘ strategy the government has supposedly abandoned.

Meanwhile, NHS staff who blow the whistle on the dangers, shortages and failures face disciplinary action as health bosses try to cover up the scale of the government’s guilt and incompetence.

Nobody in the UK could credibly argue that the UK was ever ‘well prepared’ or well equipped’ – and the mere fact that Hancock could even say ‘these types of outbreaks’ shows how desperately he had failed to grasp the scale of the threat, in spite of clear warnings from China and the WHO.

Even now, the Tories are ignoring WHO appeals to ‘test, test, test‘ as the only way to defeat the pandemic.

Leading medic Dr Kailash Chand called today for an independent public inquiry into the Tories’ handling of the threat and ensuing crisis. This video should be exhibit A – but criminal negligence and manslaughter charges for thousands of avoidable deaths would be more appropriate.

Thanks to Andrew Godsell for his help sourcing the video. Andrew is one of the many NHS staff members taking to social media to express concern about the Tory government response to the COVID crisis

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  1. big big BIG TORY LIE. The 2016 preparedness scenario run was clear. Were were unprepared. Recommendations were made. They were ignored. The results of the scenario test were withheld from the general public. read earlier posts here on Callous, deliberate and wanton negligence🔵🔵🔵

  2. 100K tests/day is 71 tests a minute – but the simplest swab test – actually two different swabs – takes several minutes with accompanying paperwork – and who is going to be in the queue in the early hours of the morning? – so just how many test centres will there be? – all sounds a bit impossible.

    1. KC, there are 223 hospital trusts in England, some running more than 1 hospital (e.g. Manchester has 9 and there are 2 where I live in the SE) but staying with that figure gives an average of 448 tests per trust per day, which over a 12 hour period equates to 37 tests per trust per hour.

      Obviously it wouldn’t be quite as neat as that but it does suggest it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility.

  3. ‘Arrogance, complacency, incompetence’ (well said!) on a cold base of tory callousness – a right coronavirus mess.

  4. He’s a lying little scrote, same as every other scumbag Tory shitbeetle.
    The only surprise would be if he wasn’t.

  5. Has anyone considered that Johnson might not be ill at all, that this is a ploy to avoid scrutiny and garner public sympathy and support as insurance against the inevitable day of reckoning where the whole corrupt shower get thrown out of office and end up in court?

    Just sayin…

  6. Yes.

    I have. For the exact same reasons you mention.

    That is, apart from the court/trial business because starmer will insist that NO toerag gets prosecuted; just like when he was DPP and could’ve nailed both damien green AND michael green/seb fox/ grant ‘bolly-eyed spiv’ shapps, but didn’t.

    1. It would certainly explain his/his govt’s non-sensically high approval rating!

      1. And I’m not saying he’s got a messiah complex, but what’s the betting he’s planning on discharging himself from hospital on Easter Sunday, to cries of “He is risen”?

  7. I was completely chilled by Johnson’s ‘take it on the chin’ speech because it was clear to me that what he was saying was the govt wasn’t going to do anything … and were prepared to see 250k-500k die. If it was clear to me, why wasn’t it clear to our media?

    The results of the Imperial College model did not change … it always predicted that sort of death toll. This Reuters article spells out the chronology:

  8. I look forward to BBC’s Eastenders addressing some of these important issues.Which family will have an elderly, vulnerable loved one returned to the care home by the local hospital to die? Who will be refused treatment or denied access to a ventilator or which NHS or Care Worker die because of inadequate PPE?

    BBC tackling issues?

    1. Nahhh gawd blimey gov’ner they’ll all be ouhhat banking the pots n pans for Boris . Q EE theme tune ad lib and fade ,, vomit inducing shite

    2. I knew Granada in the North West and other regions had their own local news segments on BBC News 24 of course, but I had no idea North, East, West & Southenders in London had their own regional newses.

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