Wednesday 24 May 2023

Blame Game

COVID inquiry issues legal notice to Cabinet Office for not handing over unredacted Boris Johnson messages

The government handed redacted messages from Mr Johnson's devices to the official COVID inquiry. The chair of the investigation has now used a legal order to compel the government to hand over the unredacted messages.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "We are fully committed to our obligations to the COVID-19 Inquiry. As such, the Cabinet Office alone has already provided upwards of 55,000 documents, 24 personal witness statements, eight corporate statements and extensive time and effort has gone into assisting the Inquiry fulsomely over the last 11 months.

It may sound much too cynical and simplistic, but at the moment this comes across as little more than a hideously expensive blame game. A conclusion that government action should have been earlier, tougher, stricter seems to be baked in already. It is far too late to allow the do nothing option onto the table. That would leave too much egg on far too many powerful faces.

We'll see how it goes, but shoving Boris into the firing line already seems to attract the media and the bureaucrat finger-pointers. A familiar name for the public to remember and associate with the debacle rather than the inadequacies of the experts, media, NHS, medical bureaucracies, GP service, state education and the public sector generally.


DiscoveredJoys said...

An official enquiry is a chance for those who were involved to make sure that no blame attaches to them, a chance for those who were not involved to settle a few scores, and a pious hope that the time taken to produce the report will make it seem less important in the eyes of the public.

But this enquiry is about COVID. We have some people still frightened out of their minds, and others who realised (earlier or later) that the whole thing was mostly political theatre. I don't see an official enquiry being capable of reconciling those points of view.

Sam Vega said...

Yes, Boris got it wrong. Amazingly,an old Etonian classics graduate was caught flat-footed by a sudden crisis requiring epidemiological expertise.

I'm wondering about those people we used to meet on country footpaths during the epidemic, though. The ones who would back away into the gorse bushes, fearful eyes popping above the mask. Or those oddballs seen wearing masks while driving cars on their own. I'd like to see their unredacted messages.

dearieme said...

"a sudden crisis requiring epidemiological expertise." No it didn't. I have no epidemiological expertise and I could clearly see, by late Feb 2020, what the government should do. Namely, follow the UK's pre-existing strategy i.e. there wasn't very much that could be done usefully against a highly infectious respiratory virus that (happily) wasn't particularly deadly except to ill codgers. Perhaps try a few experiments on defending the care home residents (though even that might have done little good).

By later that Spring the penny had dropped for a few medics: anti-virals and the like would probably be irrelevant. What was killing people (apart from arms of the state) was cytokine storms. Suitable treatment was therefore available but it was rarely pursued. That was a case of expertise being useful if only government had paid any heed. But instead they followed advice from hysterical, perhaps evil, people some of whom styled themselves epidemiologists, pubic health experts, or whatnot.

Us? By early Feb 2020 we'd started taking Vitamin D and Zinc supplements. Did they do us any good? How could I tell? But they cost next to nothing, might well have helped, and carried virtually no risk of harm. Unlike, say, ventilators, masks, closing schools, closing much of the NHS, and so on. Effing madness, the lot of it.

All that was required was some reading and reflection and a bit of critical thinking.

If the gloomiest forebodings about the vaccines pan out we're going to have "excess deaths" and unpleasant illnesses for decades to come. It adds up to mass murder. There should be hangings. There won't be.

Peter MacFarlane said...

People wearing masks while driving alone in their cars, is the reason there are instructions on shampoo bottles.

James Higham said...

They play the blame game … people die.

A K Haart said...

DJ - only yesterday I saw an old chap wearing a mask while out shopping. Could be a number of reasons for that in his case, but yes we have some people still frightened out of their minds. I don't think the sceptical point of view will be on the table though, even if there is a nod in that direction for the sake of appearances.

Sam - and we'll never forget those people who would back away into the gorse bushes. Neither will the governing classes of course. Looking back, it was quite an experience, a lesson in human nature never likely to be forgotten.

dearieme - we took Vitamin D and Zinc supplements too, still take them although our Vitamin D supplement is quite low because we get out virtually every day. Yes - a sceptical and hard-headed scientific outlook was required from the beginning, but the bureaucracy which makes the decisions doesn't attract such people. That's the weakness they need to address, but they won't because they are the wrong people to address it.

Peter - even though the print is too small to read without a magnifying glass, but they have covered themselves if someone drinks it.

James - and possibly more than would have died anyway.