From Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in South Korea, at the time of writing, is 246. Compare that with over 21,000 deaths in U.K. hospitals alone. And although it is thought that we have reached the peak of the current outbreak, there are still over 500 people a day dying in our hospitals, with additional deaths in care homes. So how did South Korea do it? This article in The Guardian gives us an explanation:
“By the time the World Health Organization issued its plea in mid-March for countries to “test, test, test”, South Korea had spent weeks doing just that, quickly developing the capability to test an average of 12,000 people – and sometimes as many as 20,000 – a day at hundreds of drive-through and walk-in testing centres. The mobile centres conducted the tests free of charge within 10 minutes, with the results were [sic] sent to people’s phones within 24 hours. By mid-March more than 270,000 people had been tested.”Read more
The Government will today start to rush through emergency measures in the Coronavirus Bill. It is expected to pass all stages in the House of Commons today. The House of Lords will debate the Bill tomorrow and Wednesday.
COVID-19 is a national and international crisis. In these extreme times, extreme measures can be justified. It is clear from reports over the weekend that many people are ignoring medical advice to stay indoors, or, if they leave home, distance themselves from others. Those who are acting selfishly and irresponsibly are making it easy for those who advocate draconian measures to get their way.Read more
Boris Johnson is about to give HS2 the green light. This is despite ballooning costs (over £100 billion and counting); despite evidence from France and Spain that the major city hubs (Paris and Madrid respectively) benefit far more from high speed rail, which in turn means that London will suck in more investment and regional English cities will not benefit by as much as some would have you believe; despite the fact that most people will not benefit; despite the environmental damage that will be inflicted on those areas which will not benefit. I could go on.
In a recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, Simon Heffer observed:Read more
In an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday, Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, wrote:
"Twenty years ago Blockbuster, the then heavyweight of video rentals, turned down a £38 million merger offer from Netflix. Today Netflix is worth £50 billion, 1,300 times its offer to Blockbuster – which has gone from 3,000 stores to a museum in Oregon, for people who want to remember what video cassettes look like. Netflix now competes with the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple for dominance of the multi-billion-dollar streaming market. The result is that people now spend three times as much time watching subscription services such as Netflix than they do BBC iPlayer. More children now recognise the names Netflix and YouTube than they do the BBC. I believe, no matter how well-funded these international streaming giants are, UK public service broadcasters are vital".Read more
The following was written for this series of essays, published in January of this year, by Daniel Moylan, a former adviser to Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, and who could take charge of Brexit policy if Boris becomes Prime Minister.
London has long shrugged off the brooding sense of resentment other parts of the country sometimes feel at its dominance of national political and economic life. After all, the capital, with over eight million people, is a social eco-system of its own, caught up in its own affairs and confident that its net contribution to the Government coffers (over £26 billion a year) is sufficient answer to any regional chippiness.Read more
London is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, yet despite this, Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, found the time in her busy schedule to ponder Boris Johnson's Telegraph article about Muslim women wearing the burqa.
She must have thought long and hard about it, too. She weighed up the pros and cons. She may have had a couple of sleepless nights and suffered nightmares about it, but she then decided, without a complaint being made to the police, that she would ask the Met's hate crime team to investigate. Has Boris committed a criminal offence? No-one else was thinking that apart from her, but what the hell, if they discover a crime and then charge someone for it, it makes the crime figures look better.Read more
Boris Johnson is in trouble again. Nothing new for Boris. But this time he has been labelled Islamophobic and a racist for an article in yesterday's Telegraph where he opposed a burqa ban. He feels (as do I) that banning women from wearing the burqa in public is illiberal. He would also prefer (as I would too) women not to cover their faces. What he got into trouble for saying was that "it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes" and saying that women wearing the burqa look like "bank robbers".Read more
"It's not too late to save Brexit". Watch Boris's tour de force in the House of Commons this afternoon.
I use an acid test when judging cabinet ministers. Would they have served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet? Margaret Thatcher always surrounded herself with competent ministers, and those who were found wanting didn’t remain in office for very long. She hated sycophancy, and she would not have tolerated a cabinet colleague pleading for their job for an hour and a half during a ministerial reshuffle.
Although I do not believe that Margaret Thatcher would have wanted to move Jeremy Hunt from his position. He has faced down the unions and defends the NHS to the hilt. He may not be a card carrying Freedom Association member, but he’s not a Remoaner; he’s not trying to derail Brexit and he is a highly intelligent man. A cabinet full of Jeremy Hunt’s would not be my cup of tea, but compared to the current batch, it would be an improvement.Read more
Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns, discussed Theresa May's future and Brexit in a four way discussion on TRT World.Read more