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THE WEEK IN POLITICS
#7MemesFor7Days of political immaturity, incompetence & idiocy —or evil by design?

(Stories tended to break late in the day this week, so I've gone for themes instead of days.)

1. Tory hypocrisy vis-à-vis #NHS laid bare by *clap on Sunday, clamp on Monday*
#7MemesFor7Days

2. Johnson made his mismanagement of C19 in #CareHomes worse by BLAMING them for the high death toll —a mistake he's tried to row back from, but refuses to do the one thing that might help: apologise, even tho' Starmer gave him 3 opportunities to do so at #PMQs.
#7MemesFor7Days

3. The Times announced Cummings will cut the UK's armed forces. One Tory backbencher (#TobiasEllwood)found his backbone & questioned *Why Dom?* Another(#MarkFrançois) took it as a cue to threaten a General he'd get Cummings on to him. Silence from DefenseSec...🙄
Read 7 tweets
Fact check - Boris Johnson says they didn't know about asymptomatic transmission back in March.
The Sage minutes of March 31 include an NHS England paper written by Professor Stephen Powis dated March 31.
[Thread]
Professor Stephen Powis looked at the extent to which transmission within hospitals from patients to healthcare workers and vice versa had become one of the key sources of the outbreak across the UK.
Cont:
He was absolutely clear about the risk that people in hospital with no symptoms posed, saying: "A key additional risk is transmission of coronavirus from non-diagnosed Covid-19 positive patients or staff, i.e. those who are asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic."
Read 6 tweets
1) Ystdy, in order to explain what the PM had really meant when he said care homes "didn't really follow the procedures", No.10 said "the extent of asymptomatic transmission wasn’t known.”

@Dr_PhilippaW asked him about it on 11/3, & on 22/4 Hancock said👇
2). It’s true that we didn't know the exact extent of asymptomatic spread, but @MattHancock said on 22 April it was “very significant”.

"The scientific evidence DOES show that asymptomatic transmission occurs & that is one of the very significant challenges this virus presents."
3). On 9 April, Patrick Vallance said 30-50% of those infected by coronavirus could be asymptomatic carriers.

This was at a time when people were being transferred from hospitals to care home without testing.

20,000 care home residents died of #COVID19
Read 24 tweets
Mark Adams chief executive of Community Integrated Care is clearly furious with @BorisJohnson for blaming care homes for covid deaths. Tells @BBCr4today PM has shown a "cowardly" "travesty of leadership" and now resorting to "Kafkaesque" rewriting of history.
His words are the most withering of any charity chief I've ever heard on the PM's handling of the pandemic.
@Keir_Starmer's #PMQs have just been effectively written. And probably Labour's attack ads.
Adams says 1.6m social care workers, "brave people on minimum wage often with no sickness cover", being blamed by the most senior politician in the country is "appalling".
Read 14 tweets
THE WEEK IN POLITICS
#7MemesFor7Days of political immaturity, incompetence and idiocy —or is this evil by design?

1. Sunday: fall-out from Mikey Gove's Ditchley Lecture. Using reaching for FDR's greatness as cover, he revealed he wants radical experimentation without oversight.
#7MemesFor7Days

2. Monday: a new, inane 3-word slogan (#BuildBuildBuild) to headline another lacklustre prime ministerial speech. A prelude to more broken promises, more taxpayers' £ down the drain & a dead cat to distract us from the merciless drive towards NO DEAL with the EU.
#7MemesFor7Days

3. Tuesday: Johnson fulfilled the promise he made on 26June2016 that despite Brexit, we Brits wld still be able to live, study, work, buy property, set up a business & retire in the EU.

NOT REALLY! Rat-b*stard Cons voted to strip us Brits of #FreedomOfMovement.
Read 8 tweets
Slippery and worrying content in today's lobbying briefing after #PMQs. A quick thread, regarding latest comments on the #NHSapp fiasco...
H/T @guardiannews for the quotes
1/6
First, this on Johnson's "functionality" claim:

"When it was put to him that other countries do have apps, the spokesman said that they did not fully record people’s contacts and that they were not reliable enough to be used to tell people to self-isolate."
2/6
Worrying.
1. Ignores the privacy issue and will depress downloads.
2. More important, apps really should NOT tell people to self-isolate. It's a delicate personal request that requires human contact and reassurance.

Almost all other apps supplement existing contact tracing.
3/6
Read 6 tweets
.@BorisJohnson "no other country has working Covid-19 track and trace app"

asks Keir Starmer to name a country with a working contact tracing app

@Keir_Starmer Germany has one, 12.2m downloads

@cirian75

Here are the rest of the officially deployed one

#PMQs
Australia: COVIDSafe

Azerbaijan: e-Tabib

Bahrain: BeAware Bahrain

Bangladesh: Corona Tracer BD

China: Multiple apps

Colombia: CoronApp

Czech Republic: eRouška (Singapore app based)

France: StopCovid

Germany: Corona-WarnApp (offered for free to the UK, Johnson declined)
Ghana: GH Covid-19 Tracker App

Hungary: VírusRadar

Iceland: Rakning C-19

India: Aarogya Setu

Israel: HaMagen

Italy: Immuni

Japan: Shingata Koronauirusu Sesshoku Kakunin Apuri

Jordan: AMAN

Latvia: Apturi

Malaysia: MyTrace

New Zealand: NZ COVID Tracer

#PMQs
Read 6 tweets
1/. “The risk at 1 meter is about 10 to 30 times higher than at 2m.”

This was Prof Vallance speaking on 5 May saying #coronavirus spread is up to 30 times higher when someone is 1m away from an infected person than 2m away.

Ystdy the UK had 921 new #COVID19 cases & 280 deaths.
2/. Beijing shut down areas when there were 36 new cases.

The UK hasn't met of the govt's own 5 tests for easing lockdown & only meets 2 of WHO's 6 tests.

An Oxford Uni study of countries listed in order of readiness for easing coronavirus lockdown, puts UK at 191st out of 195.
3/. “I think it's extraordinarily risky. I don’t think anyone could believe, from the scientific point of view, that this is a wise move.”

Former CSA, Sir David King, thinks easing lockdown “too quickly" makes the risk of a second wave "very significant".
Read 40 tweets
Today was the first time I was in the chamber for #PMQs watching @Keir_Starmer question BJ and there are so many things the cameras don’t pick up, including, how nervous Boris Johnson is when Keir questions him, how agitated and irritable he becomes and how visibly he...
relaxes when Keir sits down. Also how Boris Johnson needs the adoration and reassurance from behind him when he answers whereas Keir is much more comfortable and confident in what he’s saying and looks straight forward. #pmqs Yesterday when I saw Keir question BJ..:
I noticed that when comments were made about BJs “attention to detail” MPs from all benches started laughing, they know he’s not on top of the brief and now they are laughing at it, almost ridiculing him. The cracks are starting to show. #pmqs
Read 3 tweets
NEW: this is the letter @Keir_Starmer sent to the PM about reopening schools which he mentioned in #pmqs. Asks for a meeting with PM and Gavin Williamson about the issue.
Spokesperson for Starmer says: “Two weeks ago Keir Starmer wrote to the Prime Minister offering to work constructively with him to discuss how we can allow more children back at school safely. We have yet to receive a reply.”
PM says he spoke to Starmer about it. Let’s see what No 10 says in response.
Read 3 tweets
It's like a series of gentle lobs by @BorisJohnson, being smashed back by @Keir_Starmer. This is brutal. #PMQs
Assorted Tory stooges, including pro ones like @Tim_R_Dawson, accusing me of "editing Johnson's response out". I did nothing of the kind. Starmer moved on to his next question after the above clip. Johnson returned to it later. Twitter has a 2m20' limit.

In any case, turns out (and No.10 confirm) the only phone calls the PM could be referring to are either (a) a private call that PREDATES the letter or (b) a call after the letter with ALL party leaders in which the letter wasn't discussed. Johnson caught lying again. So tedious.
Read 3 tweets
REVEALED: The Scottish Governnent directly oversaw and signed off the purchase of care home beds for patients transferred from hospitals across Scotland, before mandatory testing.

channel4.com/news/how-many-…
Local areas across Scotland were asked to submit ‘mobilisation plans’ to @scotgov

These included buying up care home beds for hospital patients to free up NHS capacity.

This was long before it was required to test patients on discharge.
The Scottish Governnent approved all the plans.

However it won’t disclose how many care home beds it signed off on.

And to my knowledge the plans are not published.
Read 19 tweets
“It had nothing to do with it not longer being appropriate to test. You just didn’t have enough tests so you gave them all to the NHS. But there you have Jenny Harries telling us it wasn’t an appropriate mechanism. Now we know from @RobertBuckland that was a lie.” @piersmorgan /1
Contact tracing was halted on 12/3 due to a huge testing capacity shortage.

Even frontline NHS staff & people in care homes weren’t able to get tested,

On 26/3, Jenny Harries said community testing was "not an appropriate mechanism as we go forward”. /2
There are two crucial issues here:

1) Why were the public being not told the real reason for changing testing policy?

2) Why was there such a lack of capacity when the UK had had months to prepare?

On 13/3 #C4News showed how UK was EXPORTING tests!👇
/3

Read 19 tweets
Thread re COVID and Starmer. Received wisdom upon his election was that the crisis would crowd him out of the public discourse and valuable face time would be denied an alleged low key personality. A fair assumption. Just like a 80 seat majority looked rosy af for Tories #PMQs
This looked true as Boris enjoyed a poll bounce aided by patriotism and sympathy, and KS' perceived failure (albeit from those to his left) to 'hammer' the Tories as cracks began to appear in the govt response through early April appeared to lock in this received wisdom.
But the last few weeks has started to change that tune - retrospectively it appears the situ played to his strengths. The COVID crisis is a non-brexit topic that has allowed him to establish himself as reasonable and serious, while denying Tories framing him as a 2D Remainer
Read 10 tweets
My blood is boiling at #PMQs

@BorisJohnson says care homes went into lockdown before the general population. WRONG.

Family visits stopped, but hospital discharges of *positive* residents CONTINUED.

Staff working between care homes CONTINUED.

This was not ‘lockdown’
Seven weeks ago today...SEVEN WEEKS...@BorisJohnson told me at #PMQs that care homes would get ‘all the PPE they need’ by the end of that week.

It never happened.

Still today many care homes struggle to source PPE.
It’s three weeks since @MattHancock said every resident and worker would have access to testing.

That also never happened.

That won’t happen until June we now know.
Read 5 tweets
Starmer nails Johnson with the March advice that stated people in care homes were unlikely to catch Covid. 40% of deaths have now taken place there. Johnson lies that it wasn’t the advice and denies the government did anything wrong. Things are about to go downhill for him. #PMQs
Starmer now showing just how effective his tactics are. Slowly, carefully, methodically deconstructing PM by quoting his own gov’s figures and asking basic questions. Johnson, lifelong bullshitter, liar and charlatan, now with no audience to play to, is completely exposed. #PMQs
Another extraordinary moment as Starmer asks why the government has suddenly stopped publishing comparison figures with other countries and why the slides have disappeared from its website. No answer. He’s making Johnson look totally ridiculous with barely a raised eyebrow.
Read 3 tweets
About 25 people in Commons chamber for #PMQs, including parliamentary staff.

Don’t expect much cheering.

A couple of sketch writers in the gallery.
PM says 144 NHS workers and 131 social care workers have died from #COVID19.
.@Keir_Starmer starts with care homes and govt advice earlier this year saying ‘very unlikely’ people there will become infected.

PM: Not true advice said that. ‘Appalling epidemic’ in care homes. Number of casualties has been too high. Outbreaks and fatalities down.

#PMQs
Read 15 tweets
[thread]

NEWS

"We're launching"

No you aren't

You are re-announcing something and the money part that was announced nearly 2 months ago for political spin advantage on a Wednesday which just happens to be oh yes #PMQs day

What cynical utter bastards you are
"A major new human whole genome sequencing study will take place across the NHS, involving up to 20,000 people currently or previously in an intensive care unit with coronavirus, as well as 15,000 individuals who have mild or moderate symptoms."

gov.uk/government/new…
"The project is backed by £28 million from Genomics England, UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Institute for Health Research. Illumina will sequence all 35,000 genomes and share some of the cost via an in-kind contribution."
Read 13 tweets
It’s early in the season & your team are having an awful start.

No decent signings over the summer, injuries stacking up & confusion on & off the pitch.

You have a new manager who keeps saying everything will be just fine. And you want to believe him.👇
👆Things are going from bad to worse

Painful to watch

Leaking goals at the back

No creativity up front

Baffling team selection

Incomprehensible tactics & formation

Fans getting restless

Hopefully we’ll sign some top players in the transfer window.👇
👆The transfer window comes & goes with no signings

Then reports from the dressing room reveal that the players don’t EVEN have the proper kit

Frustration is building with the manager, but he injures himself on the training ground & ends up in hospital.👇
Read 17 tweets
As the PM quoted Spiegelhalter, on the limited value of international comparisons, it's worth pointing out what else the Professor said to @adamboultonSKY yesterday on @SkyNews:

"Certainly, there are countries that have not done well, and that includes us."

@Keir_Starmer #PMQs
This point is getting lost in arguing whether UK figures are worst or second-from-worst or third-from-worst. It's irrelevant. The UK has certainly fared badly and is AMONG the worst. This is incontrovertible and all one needs to compare to where you would EXPECT the UK to be. 2/4
This is the second point getting lost. Where the UK *ought to be*. By squabbling over this imaginary race among equals, gov't supporters obscure a simple fact: We're not equals. The UK started the race in pole position in a Porsche and finished behind Greece riding a donkey. 3/4
Read 5 tweets
First Johnson vs Starmer at #pmqs

@Keir_Starmer says PM described Britain’s “success”

But Starmer says we have highest death toll in Europe, second highest in the world

“How on Earth did it come to this?”
PM says it’s difficult to make international comparisons

Starmer says “that doesn’t hold water” as he holds up a govt graph which compares the UK to other countries
Starmer asks PM why Govt hasn’t done more already to deal with crisis in care homes

PM says he has “bitter regret” about the epidemic in the care sector
Read 9 tweets
TWO EXAMPLES of why @Keir_Starmer's #PMQs made me very happy.

1. Instead of ploughing on with a prepared set, watch how he listens to the evasive answer given by @DominicRaab and turns it into an even more devastating point.
2. Asking for meaningful stuff. Not only vital information, but information which is highly damaging to have the government say out loud. When he is dismissed with flannel, he puts a marker down. He will ask again next week.

This "can't get away with evasion" stance is crucial.
I find it strangely gratifying and affirming, that these are the very two clips being circulated by Starmer and Labour.
Read 3 tweets
#PMQs in the age of #covid19
Starmer asks how the govt is possibly going to get to 100,000 tests a day from the 18,000 number we’re currently at

Raab says capacity is at 40,000
Starmer says if the capacity is 40,000 that means 22,000 tests were essentially wasted

“Why isn’t the govt using all the tests available every day?” #PMQs
Read 13 tweets
Sir Simon retracted which is unusual enough - worth remembering EU schemes have so far not delivered vital kit, but...
Sources part of Cobra talks at start of pandemic say there were conversations about working with EU where Health Sec acknowledged sensitivities of doing so - one says he was urged to put politics aside, and minister there says there was added dilemma about anything to do with EU
But sources close to Health Sec strongly dispute there were any Cobra discussions about the specific EU schemes and are adamant ideological considerations were not part of any of the process
Read 4 tweets

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