Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Sunday Times publishes a truly shocking article it is beyond disturbing

Today (April 19th) the Sunday Times publishes a truly shocking article it is beyond disturbing.

Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster

Boris Johnson skipped five Cobra meetings on the virus, calls to order protective gear were ignored and scientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of lives

What the Sunday Times article says:

For people who don’t want to buy the Sunday Times, here is the gist.

It begins on the third Friday of January when the Coronavirus had started its deadly spread.
“The virus had spread from China to six countries and was almost certainly in many others. Sensing the coming danger, the British government briefly went into wartime mode that day, holding a meeting of Cobra, its national crisis committee.

But it took just an hour that January 24 lunchtime to brush aside the coronavirus threat. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, bounced out of Whitehall after chairing the meeting and breezily told reporters the risk to the UK public was ‘low’.”

This ignored advice in the medical journal The Lancet that this virus could be as deadly as the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic that killed at least fifty million people.

Boris Johnson had missed the Cobra meeting, but found time to go to a Chinese New Year celebration.
“That afternoon his spokesman played down the looming threat from the east and reassured the nation that we were “well prepared for any new diseases”. The confident, almost nonchalant, attitude displayed that day in January would continue for more than a month.

Johnson went on to miss four further Cobra meetings on the virus. As Britain was hit by unprecedented flooding, he completed the EU withdrawal, reshuffled his cabinet and then went away to the grace-and-favour country retreat at Chevening where he spent most of the two weeks over half-term with his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds.”

The article continues:

“It would not be until March 2 — another five weeks — that Johnson would attend a Cobra meeting about the coronavirus. But by then it was almost certainly too late.”

An adviser is damning:
“Last week, a senior adviser to Downing Street broke ranks and blamed the weeks of complacency on a failure of leadership in cabinet. In particular, the prime minister was singled out.
“There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there,” the adviser said. “And what you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends. It was like working for an old-fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be.”

“Among the key points likely to be explored will be why it took so long to recognise an urgent need for a massive boost in supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers; ventilators to treat acute respiratory symptoms; and tests to detect the infection.

Any inquiry may also ask whether the government’s failure to get to grips with the scale of the crisis in those early days had the knock-on effect of the national lockdown being introduced days or even weeks too late, causing many thousands more unnecessary deaths.”

“Britain was in a poor state of readiness for a pandemic. Emergency stockpiles of PPE had severely dwindled and gone out of date after becoming a low priority in the years of austerity cuts. The training to prepare key workers for a pandemic had been put on hold for two years while contingency planning was diverted to deal with a possible no-deal Brexit.”

This will hurt the notion the Tories are ‘patriotic’:

“Instead, the government sent supplies the other way — shipping 279,000 items of its depleted stockpile of protective equipment to China during this period, following a request for help from the authorities there.”
Johnson is castigated:

“The prime minister had been sunning himself with his girlfriend in the millionaires’ Caribbean resort of Mustique when China first alerted the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31 that several cases of an unusual pneumonia had been recorded in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Hubei province.”

Devi Sridhar’s warnings are highlighted:

“Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, had predicted in a talk two years earlier that a virus might jump species from an animal in China and spread quickly to become a human pandemic. So the news from Wuhan set her on high alert.

“In early January a lot of my global health colleagues and I were kind of discussing ‘What’s going on?’” she recalled. “China still hadn’t confirmed the virus was human-to-human. A lot of us were suspecting it was because it was a respiratory pathogen and you wouldn’t see the numbers of cases that we were seeing out of China if it was not human-to-human. So that was disturbing.”
By as early as January 16 the professor was on Twitter calling for swift action to prepare for the virus. “Been asked by journalists how serious #WuhanPneumonia outbreak is,” she wrote. “My answer: take it seriously because of cross-border spread (planes means bugs travel far & fast), likely human-to-human transmission and previous outbreaks have taught overresponding is better than delaying action.”

The article spells out the realisation of danger:
“One of those present was Imperial’s Ferguson, who was already working on his own estimate — putting infectivity at 2.6 and possibly as high as 3.5 — which he sent to ministers and officials in a report on the day of the Cobra meeting on January 24. The Spanish flu had an estimated infectivity rate of between 2.0 and 3.0, so Ferguson’s finding was shocking.”

“The professor’s other bombshell in the same report was that there needed to be a 60% cut in the transmission rate — which meant stopping contact between people. In layman’s terms it meant a lockdown, a move that would paralyse an economy already facing a battering from Brexit. At the time such a suggestion was unthinkable in the government and belonged to the world of post-apocalypse movies.

The growing alarm among scientists appears not to have been heard or heeded by policy-makers. After the January 25 Cobra meeting, the chorus of reassurance was not just from Hancock and the prime minister’s spokesman: Whitty was confident too.”
The UK would be an epicentre of infection:

““Cobra met today to discuss the situation in Wuhan, China,” said Whitty. “We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease . . . there are no confirmed cases in the UK to date.”

However, by then there had been 1,000 cases worldwide and 41 deaths, mostly in Wuhan. A Lancet report that day presented a study of 41 coronavirus patients admitted to hospital in Wuhan which found that more than half had severe breathing problems, a third required intensive care and six had died.

And there was now little doubt that the UK would be hit by the virus. A study by Southampton University has shown that 190,000 people flew into the UK from Wuhan and other high-risk Chinese cities between January and March. The researchers estimated that up to 1,900 of these passengers would have been infected with the coronavirus — almost guaranteeing the UK would become a centre of the subsequent pandemic.”

Still the government was complacent:
“On January 31 — or Brexit day as it had become known — there was a rousing 11pm speech by the prime minister promising that the withdrawal from the European Union would be the dawn of a new era unleashing the British people who would “grow in confidence” month by month.

By this time, there was good reason for the government’s top scientific advisers to feel creeping unease about the virus. The WHO had declared the coronavirus a global emergency just the day before and scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had confirmed to Whitty in a private meeting of the Nervtag advisory committee on respiratory illness that the virus’s infectivity could be as bad as Ferguson’s worst estimate several days earlier.

The official scientific advisers were willing to concede in public that there might be several cases of the coronavirus in the UK. But they had faith that the country’s plans for a pandemic would prove robust.

This was probably a big mistake. An adviser to Downing Street — speaking off the record — says their confidence in “the plan” was misplaced. While a possible pandemic had been listed as the No 1 threat to the nation for many years, the source says that in reality it had long since stopped being treated as such.”

Austerity is to blame for failings:
“Several emergency planners and scientists said that the plans to protect the UK in a pandemic had once been a top priority and had been well-funded for a decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. But then austerity cuts struck. “We were the envy of the world,” the source said, “but pandemic planning became a casualty of the austerity years when there were more pressing needs.”

The last rehearsal for a pandemic was a 2016 exercise codenamed Cygnus which predicted the health service would collapse and highlighted a long list of shortcomings — including, presciently, a lack of PPE and intensive care ventilators.

But an equally lengthy list of recommendations to address the deficiencies was never implemented. The source said preparations for a no-deal Brexit “sucked all the blood out of pandemic planning” in the following years.

In the year leading up to the coronavirus outbreak key government committee meetings on pandemic planning were repeatedly “bumped” off the diary to make way for discussions about more pressing issues such as the beds crisis in the NHS. Training for NHS staff with protective equipment and respirators was also neglected, the source alleges.

Members of the government advisory group on pandemics are said to have felt powerless. “They would joke between themselves, ‘Haha let’s hope we don’t get a pandemic,’ because there wasn’t a single area of practice that was being nurtured in order for us to meet basic requirements for pandemic, never mind do it well,” said the source.

“If you were with senior NHS managers at all during the last two years, you were aware that their biggest fear, their sweatiest nightmare, was a pandemic because they weren’t prepared for it.”

It meant that the government had much catching up to do when it was becoming clear that this “nightmare” was becoming a distinct possibility in February. But the source says there was little urgency. “Almost every plan we had was not activated in February. Almost every government department has failed to properly implement their own pandemic plans,” the source said.”
Economic considerations dominated:

“One deviation from the plan, for example, was a failure to give an early warning to firms that there might be a lockdown so they could start contingency planning. “There was a duty to get them to start thinking about their cashflow and their business continuity arrangements,” the source said.”

Herd immunity is condemned:
“But Public Health England failed to take advantage of our early breakthroughs with tests and lost early opportunities to step up production to the levels that would later be needed.

This was in part because the government was planning for the virus using its blueprint for fighting the flu. Once a flu pandemic has found its way into the population and there is no vaccine, then the virus is allowed to take its course until “herd immunity” is acquired. Such a plan does not require mass testing.”

And again, herd immunity dominated the strategy:
“A senior politician told this newspaper: “I had conversations with Chris Whitty at the end of January and they were absolutely focused on herd immunity. The reason is that with flu, herd immunity is the right response if you haven’t got a vaccine.
“All of our planning was for pandemic flu. There has basically been a divide between scientists in Asia who saw this as a horrible, deadly disease on the lines of Sars, which requires immediate lockdown, and those in the West, particularly in the US and UK, who saw this as flu.”

The prime minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings is said to have had initial enthusiasm for the herd immunity concept, which may have played a part in the government’s early approach to managing the virus. The Department of Health firmly denies that “herd immunity” was ever its aim and rejects suggestions that Whitty supported it. Cummings also denies backing the concept.”

Testing was a major failure:

“The failure to obtain large amounts of testing equipment was another big error of judgment, according to the Downing Street source. It would later be one of the big scandals of the coronavirus crisis that the considerable capacity of Britain’s private laboratories to mass-produce tests was not harnessed during those crucial weeks of February.”
PPE was a failure:

“The lack of action was confirmed by Doris-Ann Williams, chief executive of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, which represents 110 companies that make up most of the UK’s testing sector. Amazingly, she says her organisation did not receive a meaningful approach from the government asking for help until April 1 — the night before Hancock bowed to pressure and announced a belated and ambitious target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of this month.

There was also a failure to replenish supplies of gowns and masks for health and care workers in the early weeks of February — despite NHS England declaring the virus its first “level four critical incident” at the end of January.

It was a key part of the pandemic plan — the NHS’s Operating Framework for Managing the Response to Pandemic Influenza dated December 2017 — that the NHS would be able to draw on “just in case” stockpiles of PPE.”

There was a sense of drift:
“The NHS could have contacted UK-based suppliers. The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) was ready to help supply PPE in February — and throughout March — but it was only on April 1 that its offer of help was accepted. Dr Simon Festing, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “Orders undoubtedly went overseas instead of to the NHS because of the missed opportunities in the procurement process.”

Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.

A senior department of health insider described the sense of drift witnessed during those crucial weeks in February: “We missed the boat on testing and PPE . . . I remember being called into some of the meetings about this in February and thinking, ‘Well it’s a good thing this isn’t the big one.’”What the Sunday Times article said Part Two.

Johnson finally returned from exile:
"By Friday, February 28, the virus had taken root in the UK with reported cases rising to 19 and the stock markets were plunging. It was finally time for Johnson to act. He summoned a TV reporter into Downing Street to say he was on top of the coronavirus crisis.

“The issue of coronavirus is something that is now the government’s top priority,” he said. “I have just had a meeting with the chief medical officer and secretary of state for health talking about the preparations that we need to make.”

It was finally announced that Johnson would be attending a meeting of Cobra — after a weekend at Chequers with Symonds where the couple would publicly release news of the engagement and their baby."

It had taken five weeks to respond:
"At the Cobra meeting the next day with Johnson in the chair a full “battle plan” was finally signed off to contain, delay and mitigate the spread of the virus. This was on March 2 — five weeks after the first Cobra meeting on the virus."
There was a desperate game of catch-up:

"As the number of infections grew daily, some things were impossible to retrieve. There was a worldwide shortage of PPE and the prime minister would have to personally ring manufacturers of ventilators and testing kits in a desperate effort to boost supplies."

Shame upon our MP's that have cost so many lives through their greed and bumbling mishandling of the crisis

This Government and the previous ones have failed the NHS, failed the people, failed the country and failed the world.

Their bumbling delays have for sure cost many lives and will cost more.

Just look at Boris Johnson, boasting of shaking hands will infected people in hospital, delay after delay, then suddenly contracting the virus, getting the best health care available, and making an almost miraculous recovery, then going in a car with at least two other people to his (the PM's) private luxurious residence at Chequers, whilst ordering others to stay away from hheir safe second homes, restrict their movements and keep their distance from their loved ones.

Shame on him, shame on all the MP's with their 10 grand allowance to "run" their business from home, 10% pay rise, 50 grand increase in pension, whilst letting the rest of us down in the worst way possible.

They have no idea and I really doubt mnay care.

Monday, 27 April 2020

EGO WALL by Alun Buffry, April 2020

So I am the Crown of Creation?
One in a seven billion nation.
Forget recreation.
Forget instant sensation.
Forget procreation.
Forget condemnation.
Focus on creation.

This I can never save the world.
That I cannot in Truth be blamed.
A Creator that can not be named,
Creation that cannot be tamed.
The rich, the powerful and the famed,
Together have our planet lamed.

We build it up, we tear it down.
We re-elect the greedy tyrant clowns,
We blame them whilst they laugh and frown,
As human beings sink and drown.
We beg for someone save us now.
As richest priests won’t bow down.

The Universe , we miss its call.
Those politicians so strong and tall,
They fucked it up and made us small,
Just play your part for one and all.
To put it right is one long haul.
So step outside your Ego Wall

More Poems by Alun Buffry

Books by Alun Buffry

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Appreciate your time and thank the workers

Seems that quite a few people that spent a lot of time indoors watching TV, on-line or playing video games are upset because they are restricted from leaving their homes and a lot of people that used to spend a lot of time outside of their homes are feeling much the same way.

Many workers used to look forward to the weekend but now they don't. Many that wished their holidays from work were longer now regret that wish. Meanwhile it seems that there is less pollution, clearer skies and nature is recovering fast, but we cannot all enjoy it.

I feel lucky I have a small garden and find my own company acceptable.

This is surely a time for us to focus on who we are and what we really want and need out of life, what is really important to us and what is not. In that sense these times are very valuable, And we must not forget those workers that keep the whole thing out there running, often putting their own health and even their lives at risk, for us. We can never thank them enough, IMO.
For sure the doctors, nurses, care workers and other health workers and admin, those in the laboratories, those that teach, those that empty our bins, those that work on shops and supermarkets, truck drivers, delivery people, pharmacists, those that keep our services running, in the power industry, internet and phone providers, train, bus and taxi drivers, post office workers and postmen, bank employees, electricians, builders and maintenance workers, those that keep our water supply and sewage systems working, farmers and agricultural works and warehouse workers, those that keep our roads clean, police, ambulance and firemen and those that don't spring to mind because we don't see them. Those that delivery the babies and those that deal with the dead. Those that print out newspapers and make our TV and radio shows. Those that make the essential equipment that enables everybody else to function and do their jobs ... thanking them all should be a priority - I have little to that our politicains for, what a sad bunch most of them are, that is my one negative.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

All the MPs who voted against giving nurses a pay rise in 2017

Boris Johnson has thanked the "unbeatable" NHS which he says saved his life as he battled Covid-19 at St Thomas's Hospital.

In a video message posted to Twitter, he named some of the nurses who cared for him, staying by his bedside for up to two days as he faced the worst of the virus.

But while the PM and his government are thanking the NHS now, people can't help but to remember a time when their gratitude wasn't quite as forthcoming...

You've probably seen references to the Tories voting against pay rises for nurses in 2017 on social media during the pandemic.

What were MPs voting on in 2017?

In 2010 the government under David Cameron and Nick Clegg froze the wages of public sector workers earning £21,000 or more for two years as part of their austerity measures. This included nurses, whose starting salary was just above the £21,000 threshold at the time.

Then from 2013, any increase to public sector workers's wages was capped at 1 per cent per year. Some people consider this essentially to be a cut, given that this was below the rate of inflation.

On 28 June 2017 MPs voted on whether or not to lift that 1 per cent cap, meaning workers including nurses might get a pay rise. And the majority voted against it.
Was the Conservative Party responsible for MPs voting against possible pay rises?

In 2017 the Conservative Party was under different leadership than it is now.

But essentially, yes. The amendment the parties were voting on was submitted by Labour and the vote was split along party lines.

The 323 MPs who successfully voted down the amendment were made up of 313 Tories and ten members of the DUP.

The 309 MPs who who voted in favour of the amendment were mostly Labour. SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and one independent also voted in favour.
What was the reaction?

Some Conservative MPs cheered as Labour's amendment was voted down.

Have MPs had a pay rise since 2017?

Pay for MPs increased by 3.1 per cent on 1 April, well above the 1.8 per cent rate of inflation by the CPI measure.

This brought their basic pay from £79,468 to £81,932.

In fact, MPs enjoyed eight pay rises throughout the 2010s, the most substantial being the jump from £67,000 to £74,000 in 2015. MPs can also claim up to £10,000 in expenses for working from home needs during the pandemic, on top of the £26,000 they can claim to cover office costs. The government have stressed that this money will be spent on equipment like laptops and printers, and is not simply a bonus for MPs.
Who voted against lifting the cap on public sector wages in 2017?

Familiar faces including Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson were amongst those who voted against the amendment.

But so did the rest of the Conservatives. With no rebellions, this seemed like more of a party decision than an individual decision. Some Conservative MPs like Andrew Murrison and Maria Caulfield did speak in favour of removing the cap, but ultimately voted on party lines.

Conservative governments were responsible for implementing and keeping in place the austerity measures that kept pay for nurses, teachers, firefighters and police officers below even the rate of inflation.

This cap was eventually lifted was largely owing to pressure on Theresa May's government from worker's unions and the Labour Party who gained 30 seats in parliament less than a month before the vote in 2017.
The full list

Current Cabinet ministers and attendees who voted are bolded.

N.B: Not everyone who was a Conservative MP in 2017 is a Conservative MP today. Some MPs like David Gauke lost their seats in the 2019 general election, whilst others like Rory Stewart are now independent.

Nigel Adams

Bim Afolami

Adam Afriyie

Peter Aldous

Lucy Allan

Heidi Allen

Stuart Andrew

Edward Argar

Victoria Atkins

Richard Bacon

Kemi Badenoch

Steven Baker

Harriett Baldwin

Steve Barclay

John Baron

Guto Bebb

Henry Bellingham

Richard Benyon

Sir Paul Beresford

Jake Berry

Bob Blackman

Crispin Blunt

Nick Boles

Peter Bone

Peter Bottomley

Andrew Bowie

Ben Bradley

Karen Bradley

Graham Brady

Jack Brereton

Andrew Bridgen

Steve Brine

James Brokenshire

Fiona Bruce

Robert Buckland

Alex Burghart

Conor Burns

Alistair Burt

Alun Cairns

James Cartlidge

Bill Cash

Maria Caulfield

Alex Chalk

Rehman Chishti

Christopher Chope

Jo Churchill

Greg Clark

Colin Clark

Kenneth Clarke

Simon Clarke

James Cleverly

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Thérèse Coffey

Damian Collins

Alberto Costa

Robert Courts

Geoffrey Cox

Stephen Crabb

Tracey Crouch

Chris Davies

David Davies

Glyn Davies

Mims Davies

Philip Davies

David Davis

Caroline Dinenage

Jonathan Djanogly

Leo Docherty

Julia Dockerill

Michelle Donelan

Nadine Dorries

Steve Double

Oliver Dowden

Jackie Doyle-Price

Richard Drax

James Duddridge

David Duguid

Alan Duncan

Iain Duncan Smith

Philip Dunne

Michael Ellis

Tobias Ellwood

Charlie Elphicke

George Eustice

Nigel Evans

David Evennett

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fallon

Suella Fernandes

Mark Field

Vicky Ford

Kevin Foster

Liam Fox

Mark Francois

Lucy Frazer

George Freeman

Mike Freer

Marcus Fysh

Sir Roger Gale

Mark Garnier

David Gauke

Nusrat Ghani

Nick Gibb

Cheryl Gillan

John Glen

Zac Goldsmith

Robert Goodwill

Michael Gove

Luke Graham

Richard Graham

Helen Grant

Bill Grant

James Gray

Chris Grayling

Chris Green

Damian Green

Justine Greening

Dominic Grieve

Andrew Griffiths

Sam Gyimah

Kirstene Hair

Robert Halfon

Luke Hall

Philip Hammond

Stephen Hammond

Matt Hancock

Greg Hands

Mark Harper

Richard Harrington

Rebecca Harris

Trudy Harrison

Simon Hart

John Hayes

Oliver Heald

James Heappey

Chris Heaton-Harris

Peter Heaton-Jones

Gordon Henderson

Nick Herbert

Damian Hinds

Simon Hoare

George Hollingbery

Kevin Hollinrake

Philip Hollobone

Adam Holloway

John Howell

Nigel Huddleston

Eddie Hughes

Jeremy Hunt

Nick Hurd

Alister Jack

Margot James

Sajid Javid

Ranil Jayawardena

Bernard Jenkin

Andrea Jenkyns

Robert Jenrick

Boris Johnson

Dr Caroline Johnson

Gareth Johnson

Jo Johnson

Andrew Jones

Marcus Jones

David Jones

Daniel Kawczynski

Gillian Keegan

Seema Kennedy

Stephen Kerr

Sir Greg Knight

Julian Knight

Kwasi Kwarteng

John Lamont

Mark Lancaster

Pauline Latham

Andrea Leadsom

Phillip Lee

Jeremy Lefroy

Edward Leigh

Oliver Letwin

Andrew Lewer

Brandon Lewis

Julian Lewis

Ian Liddell-Grainger

David Lidington

Jack Lopresti

Jonathan Lord

Tim Loughton

Craig Mackinlay

Rachel Maclean

Anne Main

Alan Mak

Kit Malthouse

Scott Mann

Paul Masterson

Theresa May

Paul Maynard

Patrick McLoughlin

Stephen McPartland

Esther McVey

Mark Menzies

Johnny Mercer

Huw Merriman

Stephen Metcalfe

Maria Miller

Amanda Milling

Nigel Mills

Anne Milton

Andrew Mitchell

Damien Moore

Penny Mordaunt

Nicky Morgan

Anne Marie Morris

David Morris

James Morris

Wendy Morton

David Mundell

Sheryll Murray

Andrew Murrison

Bob Neill

Sarah Newton

Caroline Nokes

Jesse Norman

Neil O'Brien

Matthew Offord​

Guy Opperman

Neil Parish

Priti Patel

Owen Paterson

Mark Pawsey

Mike Penning

John Penrose

Andrew Percy

Claire Perry

Chris Philp

Christopher Pincher

Daniel Poulter

Rebecca Pow

Victoria Prentis

Mark Prisk

Mark Pritchard

Tom Pursglove

Jeremy Quin

Will Quince

Dominic Raab

John Redwood

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Laurence Robertson

Mary Robinson

Andrew Rosindell

Douglas Ross

Lee Rowley

Amber Rudd

David Rutley

Antionette Sandbach

Paul Scully

Bob Seely

Andrew Selous

Grant Shapps

Alok Sharma

Alec Shelbrooke

Keith Simpson

Chris Skidmore

Chloe Smith

Henry Smith

Julian Smith

Royston Smith

Sir Nicholas Soames

Anna Soubry

Caroline Spelman

Mark Spencer

Andrew Stephenson

John Stevenson

Bob Stewart

Iain Stewart

Rory Stewart

Gary Streeter

Mel Stride

Graham Stuart

Julian Sturdy

Rishi Sunak

Desmond Swayne

Hugo Swire

Robert Syms

Derek Thomas

Ross Thomson

Maggie Throup

Kelly Tolhurst

Justin Tomlinson

Michael Tomlinson

Craig Tracey

David Tredinnick

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Elizabeth Truss

Thomas Tugendhat

Ed Vaizey

Shailesh Vara

Martin Vickers

Theresa Villiers

Charles Walker

Robin Walker

Ben Wallace

David Warburton

Matt Warman

Giles Watling

Helen Whately

Heather Wheeler

Craig Whittaker

John Whittingdale

Bill Wiggin

Gavin Williamson

Sarah Wollaston

Mike Wood

William Wragg

Jeremy Wright

Nadhim Zahawi


Gregory Campbell

Nigel Dodds

Jeffrey Donaldson

Paul Girvan

Ian Paisley

Emma Little Pengelly

Gavin Robinson

Jim Shannon

David Simpson

Sammy Wilson

So has the cap on pay rises for nurses been lifted yet?

In September of 2017 Theresa May began to show flexibility, allowing pay rises for police officers and prison workers.

Then in March 2018 she lifted the cap on pay rises for NHS workers.

Unions including Unison and the Royal College of Nursing agreed on a pay rise of 6.5 per cent over three years for nurses, paramedics, midwives and healthcare assistants.

This would take starting pay for nurses from around £22,000 in 2018 to £25,000 next year.

Will nurses be paid more because of the coronavirus outbreak?

Matt Hancock has said that he is "sympathetic" to the argument that the nurses who are risking their lives to protect us from Covid-19 should be paid more, but that "now is not the moment to enter into a pay negotiation".

The Health Secretary has also been criticised for not knowing how many nurses had died of the virus when appearing on BBC Question Time.

He later paid tribute to those who had lost their lives to coronavirus whilst working for the NHS.

Hancock might think now is not the time, but what better time could there be to give nurses the pay they deserve?


Friday, 17 April 2020

UK Government restrictions on democracy and people

UK Government are setting a leading example for the rest of the world on how to govern without interference and scrutiny:

1) we no longer have Parliament sittings, they will hold their meetings on secured on-line setup:
2) there will no longer be open debates, open PM question time, MP's will no longer be able to stand up and make their speeches
3) the opposition parties will be less effective
4) there will no longer be a public gallery
5) there will no longer be televised sessions in Parliament
6) there will no longer be a press coverage
7) MP's will get a 10% pay rise
8) MP's will get an extra 50 grand each on their pensions
9) MP's can claim an extra 10 grand to enable the above, on top of expenses
10) the public will no longer be allowed to gather together to protest anything at all.
11) social media will take down anything considered anti-government
12) meetings will often be held in secret
13) we will only know what they tell us
14) you may get a letter telling you what you have already been told
15) members of the public will not be allowed to visit their families, go shopping with their families, travel more than 2 together in a car
16) people will not be able to visit second homes, holiday homes, caravans etc, unless they are members of the Government
17) all holidays are cancelled except for essential works who won't get any holidays
18) many health staff will not be provided with satisfactory equipment unless some charity pays for it; the elite will be given priority testing, safety equipment, hospital beds and treatment, maybe with one or more nurses present 24 hours a day
19) targets such as the number of useless tests will not be met but we can do nothing about that
20) MP's will no longer have surgeries for their constituents
21) Elections will be postponed because people will not be allowed to go out to polling stations (the new 3 week minimum extension to the lock down) - Government have postponed the elections due in May 2020 until 2021, at least.
22) People ill or dying in hospitals will not be allowed family or friends visits but some old people may be moved into care homes; deaths in care homes will not be counted in the death tolls but the death tolls will include nearly everyone that dies will be attributed to Corona virus
23) Funerals will not be allowed; religious gatherings will become virtual
24) There is nothing anyone can do about it, so lump it herd.

UK Government puzzle - can you work it out?

It's ridiculous - "they are saying" one infected person could infect 5 more; those 5, 5 more each, that's 125, then times 5 times 5 times 5, ... they say everyone is just six steps removed from everyone else on the planet; they say the fruit pickers from Eastern Europe (what one the Brexit vote) are tested before they take off and sit 2 metres away from each other and presumably stay 2 meters away from everyone whilst working and don't go shopping, yet two people that live together cannot sit together in a park; then we read that thousands of people are being brought home and not tested or put in isolation .. Boris said at the start, about herd immunity, so us, the herd, animals, need to catch the virus to build herd immunity, but not all at once because the health service his party underfunded can't cope - so is that the plan, so we all get it, he saves on pensions, population drops, but grows too because we bring so many home and so many at home will be making new slaves, ooops i mean babies, and he and his cronies can sell care badges whilst boosting their own salaries by 10%, increasing their own pensions by 5 grand each, and awarding large sums to their rich tory members who are "suffering" because of his mismanagement whilst he "takes one for the team" by going to hospital for a few days and then off to Chequers for a holiday whilst everyone else has to stay at home?

Have I got that right?

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

UK Government mismanaged Covid 19 Corona Virus crisis from the start

Boris Johnson and his cronies mismanaged this virus from the start, in fact long before the start - it must be obvious even to an idiot that health is the priority in any good society - or even "herd", as Johnson called us - and nothing should be considered more important than servig the health services, for without life and health we have nothing meaningfull to strive for.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Readings from Inside by Hat 10 April 2020

SENT to my MP, Chloe Smith, Norwich North re £10,000 payment to work from home

SENT to my MP, Chloe Smith, Norwich North
CC'd to local press Eastern Daily Press, Eastern Eveing News

Dear Ms Smith,

I have read that the Government has decided to give an extra £10,000 to all MP's to help them work from home.

I am writing to ask that you give this money to help the NHS staff and other care workers at this dreadful time; they need it, they deserve it and I think it could be used to benefit and maybe even keep alive many people.

Alun Buffry

REPLY received Aprill 15th
Dear Alun,

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me about office expenses for MPs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I want to be clear that the additional money is not a pay rise and was allocated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, not by MPs or the Government.

"MPs' expenses" cover MPs' office work as well as reasonable personal expenses. You can read all the rules here as well as on the surrounding website: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/publications/scheme-of-mps-business-costs-expenses/.

IPSA explained publicly that this £10,000 allowance, if claimed, has to be rigorously accounted for and is only to be used to help MPs and their staff carry out their duties by working from home.

I'd like to mention that MPs' staff help their MP deal with a lot of urgent constituency cases. MPs can be a vitally important route for recourse for many people who do not know where else to turn. As you can imagine, in the last few weeks, thousands of people have asked for various help and information. My staff have helped me do all this, and moved to work from home at very short notice, where as a responsible employer I have had to make sure they are properly equipped just like any other employee in the land. That's what this allowance is for.

I can assure you in general that as your MP I believe very strongly in spending taxpayers’ money wisely or not at all.

With best wishes,


Chloe Smith,
Member of Parliament for Norwich North

The World That is For Ever Changing - a poem by Alun Buffry

The World That is For Ever Changing
Alun Buffry
10 April 2020

In this our time the world has changed,
It seems our Lives are re-arranged.
The Tyrants, they have made their laws,
To try to keep us all indoors.

Once we gathered, groups of friends,
Now we think that’s reached the end.
Are those laws so right or wrong?
Regardless we must each stay strong.

No more gatherings in the streets,
No more protests bad laws to beat,
Through emails, Twitter, Facebook and Skype,
What we once shouted now we must type.

I thought this world was meant for me.
I thought mankind should all be free.
To travel roads and seas and skies,
To Live our Lives so we feel high.

Right now the virus makes some fright.
Governments tell us alone is Right.
Inside our homes they want us to hide,
Yet happiness and joy remains inside.

This time must pass as all time does.
What we must keep is peace and love.
Bad laws we know they’ll introduce,
Our peaceful conformity to seduce.

But look at it another way.
Don’t let our hearts to hatred sway.
For life is not just about this world,
our lives inside us always unfurled.

What’s still important for you and me,
is what lies inside that each must see.
Whatever happens in our lives,
For peace and love we each must strive

Thursday, 9 April 2020

UK Government bringing Brits home from abroad, no testing, no isloation, released to public transport all throughout the country

Foreign Secretary's statement on coronavirus COVID-19, 6 April 2020

""On commercial flights we’ve helped over 200,000 UK nationals come home from Spain, 13,000 from Egypt, 8,000 from Indonesia.

We’ve also chartered flights from 7 different countries, bringing home more than 2,000 British nationals.

"We’ve repatriated a further 1,550 from cruise ships, including most recently the Coral Princess and the Zaandam.

""And for those travellers still stuck abroad, we’re doing everything we can to keep international airports open, to keep commercial flights running, and to charter flights, when there are no other options – under the new arrangements I announced last week, and which have now been agreed with 14 airlines.

We’ve allocated £75 million to support those arrangements. We’ve already had flights back from countries including Peru, Ghana, and Tunisia.

"And we’re fixing further flights from India, South Africa, Nepal and the Philippines, which will fly later on this week.

"So, I want to reassure people that every arm of government is doing everything it possibly can to defeat coronavirus and rise to the challenges it presents us at home and abroad."

Clapping and raising money for the NHS

i would really like to think that the money gets to where it is intended FAST and not sit in the bank which it has done with so many charities.

i think it is a shame that the government cannot give them this money especially when The Times reported that every one of the 650 MP's is to be given an extra £10,000 each to "help them work from home" 650 x10,000 = £6,500,000

Also, IF they raise 5 million pounds, there are about 2 million NHS staff, so that would be £2.50 each.

Coronavirus: #OneMillionClaps appeal aims to raise at least £5m for NHS workers

The money raised will provide NHS nurses, doctors, staff and volunteers with food, travel, accommodation and counselling.
Greg Heffer, political reporter
Greg Heffer

A new appeal being launched on Thursday aims to raise at least £5m to support NHS workers battling coronavirus.

Organised by NHS Charities Together, the #OneMillionClaps appeal aims to inspire at least one million Britons to donate £5 by texting "clap" to 70507 along with a message of support.

The money raised will be used to provide NHS nurses, doctors, staff and volunteers with food, travel, accommodation and counselling during the COVID-19 crisis.

The appeal will begin on Thursday evening when Britons are again expected to applaud NHS workers from their doorsteps for the third week in a row.

Comedian David Walliams has voiced a short film featuring NHS staff to promote the #OneMillionClaps appeal.

It also features a re-recording of Queen's hit We Will Rock You with the new lyric: "NHS, we love you. We say, we say, thank you."

For the last two weeks, people all over the UK - including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and countless celebrities - have joined in the "clap for our carers" campaign on Thursday evenings, in order to thank NHS staff for efforts on the coronavirus frontline.

1986 Tenerife, La Gomera and Portugal

Prague, Kutna Hora, Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic 2004

2007 Venice

Monday, 6 April 2020

2017 Rhine Cruise

Open letter to the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson

Open letter to the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson.

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your recent mailing that you had written, printed and posted to everyone’s private addresses. I must say that I was surprised because I imagine that took a lot of effort and cost a lot of money. Could I suggest that next time you use the press, media, emails and text services and social media to save money that could be put into, for instance “the fantastic NHS”; surely that could have been better used to buy the essential equipment that the NHS is so short of? There could be publsihed an opt-out service by text, I am sure the computers could handle that.

In response, may I ask you a few questions that you and your team could maybe use the media to answer.

1) A few weeks ago, you publicly asked the public to stay at home to avoid risking infection from Covid 19, or risking infecting others. Did you think that such advice would be heeded by the population and how long did it take you realise that a stronger “order” was needed?

2) Whilst giving such advice, why did you show yourself proudly shaking the hands of patients infected with Covid 19 in hospitals? What sort of example was that? Or did you put yourself at risk to emphaise the dangers?

3) Why did you continue to visit the House of Commons and sit in close proximity to your colleagues and staff and even allow yourself to be shown on TV shaking their hands? Do you now understand that you put yourself and them at risk, especially after shaking patients’ hands?

4) At what stage did you realise that the Corona Virus was a threat to everyone and that it was likely to overburden the NHS and result in so many deaths?

5) When did you realise that the NHS is “fantastic” (one definition being “imaginative or fanciful, remote from reality”)?

6) I was sorry to see that you have had to go into hospital – how will you manage to “run the country” whilst seriously ill in a hospital bed?

7) Will you now consider ensuring that the NHS has adequate supplies, especially as you say, it will get worse before it gets better? Will you ensure that hospital staff have enough Personal Protection, transport to and from work and income appropriate to their essential value?

8) How often did you wash your hands or touch your face? Do you think that was how you became infected or do you have any idea how you became infecetd and how many others you may have infected by not heeding your own advice?

9) Are you accepting full salary whilst off sick?

10) Are you intending to apologise to the public for your blundering delays and resign?

Many thanks for your kind attention and care

Alun Buffry
Norwich North

2007 Switzerland, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne

Friday, 3 April 2020

Corona Virus, 5G and YOU

There are 2 issues here, 5G and Corona virus. I don't think many people here are saying that 5G is good, or that it is not dangerous to health or even life. I don't think anyone here is saying that the virus is good or a danger to health. I don't think anyone here is against stopping both.

The differences arise because some people believe that the virus is man made and escaped a laboratory, or was even released deliberately. Obviously the 5th generation technology was invented.

The ultimate question is whether either was created as a weapon are if so why, and do those that are so using either have themselves protection against it?

The question is, is 5G making us less immune or more prone to suffering and dyeing from the virus because some of us are surrounded by the effects of 5G?

Is there a correlation between countries with 5G set up and corona virus infections / deaths?

Some people refer to scientists or their supposed reports and theories either way. There is disagreement between the scientists themselves. Why?

The answer is that we have to use the word "believe", or at best "conclude". It is surely a matter what one believes - just like whether man walked on the moon, whether the illuminati exists, whether the British royal family are lizards etc etc - that is why they are called conspiracy theory.

One thing I believe for sure, one should not base one's life and risk ones life and the lives of others based upon what some politician, scientist, doctor, lawyer, teacher or preacher says.

The ultimate question is surely what can we do about it either way.

Wash hands, keep a safe distance, try not to catch anything and try not to infect anyone , eat well, sleep well, if possible, help others and realise the most important truth of all. "You are alive"

Does anyone actually disagree with that - of course somebody will, somebody will say that it is all an illusion, or a holographic universe or part of some super-being's computer game. Well, I know that! ;)

Another thing I believe, that the super rich, super-powerful, want to hang on to what they have, even at the cost of human life. They will lie and cheat to control the masses. And they are a miserable frightened super-rich and powerful because they too know that they will die and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. They know that all their riches and power has not made them happy and they don't know what to do about that either.

So I say, look for where we find happiness, joy, freedom, contentment and peace - inside ourselves; it is not in 5G and it is not in no5G. It is not in the virus and it is not in the cure. It is not in this world at all. It is within inside each of us and if we cannot find it, find somebody or something that can show it, spark it up, and the enjoy it.

Alun Buffry

Watch and Listen, Prem Rawat