Comments: This is Ground Control to Colonel Tom

"Oh Colonel Captain, the government thanks you for distracting the nation from the true facts of their utter and ongoing incompetence."

Don't agree at all. Faced with an impossible situation, I think HMG has done brilliantly. You cannot expect professional politicians, supported by bureaucrats, and in receipt of conflicting advice from scientists, to know everything and to get all the decisions right.

You might as well expect a retired schoolteacher to know better than everyone in government.

Posted by Temp on 1 May, 2020 at 10:18 AM

Temp - the statistics, when they are analysed in a couple of years, will tell the true facts.

At least there has been more talk of the 'excess death rate' (over normal patterns) in recent broadcasts.

FYI, I'm not a 'retired schoolteacher': although I am a qualified/experienced teacher, I went on to do related but different things, with evidence/research/evaluation/understanding stats basis.

I do not claim to know 'better than everyone in government' but I do believe that I can spot flaws in procedures and planning better than most, because,
(a) that is how my brain works, and
(b) 30+ years of successful professional practice.

Posted by Blue Witch on 1 May, 2020 at 10:42 AM

HMG has done an absolutely terrible job. That is why we're going to end up with the worst death rates in Europe.
Despite being later to see our first cases they failed to learn anything from what was going on elsewhere....there was still a ridiculous attitude of "Johhny Foreigner not knowing what he's doing" that persists

You can't expect them to get everything right but they still seem incapable of learning from their mistakes. Again and again!
They weren't even capable of following their own advice with regards to social distancing.

It really scares me that there are some sheeple who believe that HMG are doing a good job.

Posted by NiC on 1 May, 2020 at 11:39 AM

OK, OK, I was doing a bit of trolling - but so were you, I suspect, with your broad brush criticisms which I quoted.

The story will be written up from many different viewpoints, but I don't suppose I will live long enough to see any of them.

I have been impressed, however, by getting targeted letters, from HMG, from the hospital authorities, and from the local council all within a very short space of time, and the council backed it up by a phone call to make sure I was all right. That must have taken quite a bit of organising. Less impressive has been the response of the supermarkets to a request for a priority deliver slot, but having regard to the huge demand they have had to face, I am not surprised.

But the Government's failings? Well, time will tell. I expect HMG will next be getting the blame for not spending enough on flood defences, even though all the money has gone on the present emergency.

I wonder if we will ever hear a BBC interviewer congratulate or encourage a Govt. Minister for all he is doing? All they seem to do is to find fault. And so do you.

Posted by Termp on 1 May, 2020 at 11:42 AM

I think that many people are judging the current crisis by what they personally are getting out of it, Temp

We are getting/have received precisely nothing.

Except demands to fill in self-assessment tax returns. They were sent out 2 weeks earlier than usual this year.

Have you tried Morrisons for delivery slots Temp? I am not a usual Morrisons shopper (except their GF pasta, which is excellent) but they have been brilliant and have put on delivery services to this remote area where none existed before. cf Waitrose and Sainsbury's, who I have used before who now aren't offering here. I guess this is Morrisons heartland up here, but they were very late to the delivery game, and are way ahead of the others now, as far as I can tell from what I'm reading out and about.

Posted by Blue Witch on 1 May, 2020 at 12:17 PM

And - when there is something to congratulate a Minister about I will be the first to do it. At present I see nothing.

Posted by Blue Witch on 1 May, 2020 at 12:18 PM

NiC - yes, yes, and yes.

As I said the other day, either Brexit Mach II or Brexit Plus.

(Sorry, your comment got locked in the comment sin bin earlier, together with a lot of comments from foreign.)

Posted by Blue Witch on 1 May, 2020 at 12:47 PM

I actually agree with Temp.... from what I have seen first hand HMG have not done too bad a job. I think the unprecedented nature of all of this you have to expect not every call is going to be correct. I’ve even seen people criticising that the nightingale hospitals are empty?! That said things like Cheltenham going ahead now in hindsight (and at the time) look crazy.

On death rate, yes agreed I am glad excessive death rate is now being talked about.

For example I have heard from a friend in Germany (that would be privy to this information) that the way a lot of the deaths being recorded over there are not as COVID19 even if present. If someone dies of the associated pneumonia, then pneumonia is what the death is recorded as, not COVID. I obviously have no proof of this and is hearsay but an interesting observation.

Finally considering we haven’t run out of beds or ventilators and I assume the way we treat patients here is no different to the rest of europe, I think we all know we won’t know the truth for a long time, if ever.

Posted by George on 1 May, 2020 at 2:31 PM

In my opinion it is a curate’s egg. The answer is never a simple one, but the Govt does seem to risk losing its grip on the situation and reverting to good old fashioned political numbers. We can achieve 100,000 tests a day, but are they the right tests for the right people (that seems less important than the target).

I do accept that the numbers of deaths is unreliable across countries and that in the long term, at least across Europe, the current relatively small differences are likely to even out.

The Govt started out on the back foot, not least because the 2016 Cygnus exercise report into pandemic readiness wasn’t implemented because it wasn’t sexy enough or vote winning enough in political minds.

The Govt appeared to lack decisive decision making by switching from herd immunity to lockdown. But some credit due for being willing to change their mind when it is often seen as political weakness.

Then the Govt appeared to do the right things by quickly introducing financial support for employees (needed lots of tweaks but no surprise and no real criticism of the Govt here). The grip and leadership felt strong.

The Hospital response appeared solid, capacity was efficiently increased, the army did their thing. But people needing hip replacements, let alone cancer treatment, suffered.

Then it all seems to be going a bit wrong with the Govt telling us we can’t go out for other than essential reasons but B&Q can open to sell us paint and plants, but a garden centres can’t open to sell the same plants. But are we allowed to drive to B&Q anyway?

Then it starts to feel a little like the Govt has crossed the line over listening to scientists into abdication and planting the decision making at their door (we’re only doing what the scientists tell us to do).

Then scientists start breaking the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ ranks and saying that the Govt really isn’t doing the best thing.

The Govt continues to claim that care homes are getting all the PPE they need, when the care homes are all saying that they aren’t getting it.

Then the Govt are back to searching for political headline numbers (how can we make the numbers look as good as we can, I know when counting PPE, instead of worrying about masks and visors let’s get a box of 1000 plastic gloves and add them all up into the biggest number we can get).

For me, the Govt and the Public Services have the most difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs. But, it does just feel as if, rather than gaining confidence and control at a time when it is incredibly important to manage the slow release of the lockdown, it just feels like control could slip away whilst they focus on achieving the wrong headline numbers.

Posted by Mr BW on 1 May, 2020 at 8:02 PM

...put in the bin with Johnny Foreigner? An old lag like me? What is the world coming too?

PS (If links work)

Posted by NiC on 4 May, 2020 at 6:51 AM

To be fair to the media, Marston spells itself in about three different ways anyway - there's (the usual) Moretaine, but also Moreteyne (also the name of the local manor house) and Mortayne , just for fun.

And weirdly, it's actually where I do live - just down the road from Captain Tom - and it's been Fuckwit Central all week. Even the national news covered a group of people from the local old folk's home (directly over the road from Maison Tom) standing arm-in-arm to sing Happy Birthday, and the NHS Clap (mutter, snarl) was followed by people standing outside to sing it again. And then they all stood round for a chat.

I expect a story in a couple of weeks about a weird statistical blip of cases around the Bedford / MK area...

Posted by Lyle on 4 May, 2020 at 12:33 PM

NiC - Love it, love it, love it!

But I can’t quite work out all the words on the very lo-tech I have availabe to me currently… (I like to know the words, which might make me 104, but I don’t care).

Has your Manager pointed out that at 2 tracks down in all that time, your first album might never happen? Or don’t people make albums any more? Is it all just one-tracks? I’m old, see, I no longer know about these things.

At least you are a two track pony, not just a one track pony. Or a two track wonder, not a one track wonder 😉

Whatever, it’s great, and I can’t wait to hear more, more, more.

Posted by Blue Witch on 4 May, 2020 at 6:07 PM

Lyle - I'd forgotten you lived there. You did tell me that once. Must have been interesting. I'm with you on the 'mutter snarl' - I wonder if for the same reason?

Posted by Blue Witch on 4 May, 2020 at 6:10 PM

BW - My *mutter snarl* about the Clap is that it's basically bollocks, performed by idiots to feel better about things, rather than actually helping anything.

Posted by Lyle on 4 May, 2020 at 9:19 PM