MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Matt Hancock’

PETER HITCHENS: We rant about the BBC Proms… yet make ourselves slaves | Daily Mail Online

Posted by M. C. on August 31, 2020

Is anyone still fooled by these figures for ‘cases’ of Covid-19? The more you look, the more you will find, but deaths and hospitalisations keep going down. It’s increasingly clear that the virus rarely affects healthy people.

In fact, I’d guess that the chance of a healthy young person dying from Covid is about as great as the chance of an eagle dropping a tortoise on your head and killing you.

This actually happened to Greek playwright Aeschlyus about 2,500 years ago, so it must be about due to happen again, especially with the growing eagle population in the country, and the huge number of pet tortoises on which they might swoop if hungry. Be afraid.

Using the panic-stricken logic applied to Covid by Health Commissar Matt Hancock, we should surely be taking serious precautions against this menace.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8677727/PETER-HITCHENS-rant-BBC-Proms-make-slaves.html

By Peter Hitchens for The Mail on Sunday

Why are arguments about the love of country always held between BBC-type Britain-hating pinkoes, embarrassed by their own nation, and shouty jingoes, who never think about what patriotism really means?

Here we all are in a state of rage about whether the words of Rule, Britannia should be sung at the Last Night Of The Proms.

Yet the same people who claim to be exercised about this meekly submit to compulsory masks, house arrest, the suppression of Parliament, compulsory family separation and a catalogue of outrages against our liberty that only a slavish mind would accept.

For months, jingoes put up with being treated like cattle or serfs. Then they get cross because of a song? What is wrong with them?

Here we all are in a state of rage about whether the words of Rule, Britannia should be sung at the Last Night Of The Proms (pictured above)

Here we all are in a state of rage about whether the words of Rule, Britannia should be sung at the Last Night Of The Proms (pictured above)

A proper patriot knows that what makes us great above all is centuries of liberty, and a state that is beneath our feet, not over our heads.

All they needed to do was to say ‘We’re not putting up with this’ as our ancestors so frequently did. But they gave in without a whimper.

When Britain actually did rule the waves, my late father helped it to do so. In peacetime this involved years of rigorous training, harsh discomfort and long months of separation from home. In wartime, well, you probably know what it involved if you think about it.

That’s why we did not become the slaves of Hitler in the 1940s – because we still controlled the seas that surround us.

By my guess, 40 well-handled destroyers, commanded and crewed by serious, well-trained fighting men, probably made the crucial difference when it mattered. But my father, like most of those who actually do the hard work which defends the freedoms of both pinkoes and jingoes, was not much given to bombast.

The Russian convoys he took part in were grisly, exhausting, sleepless slog, not glorious. He’d lost too many friends in war. He preferred sad sea songs like Tom Bowling to any amount of Rule, Britannia.

Around 1960, not long after an ungrateful government had dumped my father on the beach in post-Suez defence cuts, I first heard Rule, Britannia, sung in a wonderful old-fashioned way by the contralto Constance Shacklock.

Around 1960, I first heard Rule, Britannia, sung in a wonderful old-fashioned way by the contralto Constance Shacklock (pictured, Last Night of the Proms in 2014)

Around 1960, I first heard Rule, Britannia, sung in a wonderful old-fashioned way by the contralto Constance Shacklock (pictured, Last Night of the Proms in 2014)

It was a few years before the BBC fell under the spell of the cultural revolutionaries, who have been trying to get rid of such things since 1969. So she was still able to get as far as the verse containing the words ‘Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame’.

I suspect everyone listening, from my eight-year-old self to the most ancient retired Admiral nodding over his grog, pictured those haughty tyrants as foreigners in strange uniforms or silly hats, Bonaparte, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin.

We never thought that – when it came to it – our painfully acquired freedoms would be strangled by a jolly, obese, blond Etonian.

Or that a people once famed for their fierceness and independence would be tamed into muzzled, mumbling submissives by a little well-orchestrated fear propaganda.

Never shall be slaves, indeed. What right do we now have to sing it at all, whether the BBC lets us or not?

Is this advert masking a simple truth?

In the continuing struggle of truth against falsehood, I have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an advertisement plastered over bus shelters all over the country.

In the continuing struggle of truth against falsehood, I have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an advertisement plastered over bus shelters

In the continuing struggle of truth against falsehood, I have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an advertisement plastered over bus shelters

You may have seen it. An attractive young woman is shown with half her face obscured by a piece of cloth, which may well have been made from an item of clothing.

‘I wear this to protect you,’ she is supposed to be saying. ‘Please wear yours to protect me.’ I said to the ASA that she may believe this is so, but there is no hard experimental evidence to support the claim that people who wear such loose cloth masks protect me at all.

The poster could claim ‘I wear this because I believe it protects you’. But it is wrong to say that it does.

I am pleased to say that the ASA has agreed to investigate the complaint – and has now referred it to its council. I will let you know what happens.

Covid? You may as well fear falling tortoises  Read the rest of this entry »

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UK to roll out antibody testing, planning ‘antibody certificates’ | Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

Posted by M. C. on May 22, 2020

The level of immunity remains a mystery, wrote Nature’s editorial board. Tests are unreliable, the volume of testing needed is unfeasible and the threats to privacy and marginalised groups who would likely face even greater scrutiny all mean that immunity passports are a bad idea, they wrote.

Comrade, minor details like these will not stop the state.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/uk-roll-antibody-testing-planning-antibody-certificates-200521222513391.html

Around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already had the coronavirus, the United Kingdom’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as he announced plans for “antibody certificates”.

Data gathered from an antibody surveillance study suggests 17 percent of people in London and around five percent of people across England have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus, he told the daily Downing Street briefing.

This news comes as the government agreed to a deal with pharmaceutical firms Roche and Abbott for more than 10 million antibody tests, to see if people have had COVID-19.

They will first be offered to health and social care staff as well as patients and care home residents.

UK’s divided response: Varied messages across four nations [2:43]

The tests are not without their critics. Germany, one of the first countries to order millions of tests from Swiss drug giant Roche, said it would not use them until they had been debated by the country’s top ethicists.

Concern remains about how the issuing of “antibody passports” could lead to a two-tier society, with some people continuing to be locked down at home while others move about freely with life beginning to return to normal.

“In our view, any documentation that limits individual freedoms on the basis of biology risks becoming a platform for restricting human rights, increasing discrimination and threatening – rather than protecting – public health,” read an editorial comment in top science journal Nature.

The level of immunity remains a mystery, wrote Nature’s editorial board. Tests are unreliable, the volume of testing needed is unfeasible and the threats to privacy and marginalised groups who would likely face even greater scrutiny all mean that immunity passports are a bad idea, they wrote.

The UK government is, however, seemingly pressing on regardless, and also arranging supplies for the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with each part of the UK deciding how to use its test allocation.

Syrian refugee’s message to Boris Johnson [1:54]

While it remains unclear what level of immunity people develop once they have had COVID-19, some experts hope a degree of immunity lasts for at least a year or two.

However, having antibodies does not automatically mean a person will not pass the virus onto somebody else.

Hancock said: “This is an important milestone and it represents further progress in our national testing programme. Knowing you have these antibodies will help us to understand in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus.”

Testing times

Hancock also announced a trial of a rapid 20-minute test to tell people if they currently have COVID-19 following criticisms that people have been waiting days or weeks for test results.

Accident and emergency hospital departments, general-practitioner testing hubs and care homes in Hampshire will all trial the new test, which will be used on up to 4,000 people.

The test does not need to be sent off to a lab and will be rolled out more widely if it is shown to be effective, Hancock said.

Can apps put coronavirus in check? | Inside Story [24:42]

Before the press briefing, Downing Street announced a U-turn on the National Health Service surcharge, saying overseas health and care staff would be exempted from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS.

It came after mounting pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson from senior Tories, with former party chairman Lord Patten calling the charge “appalling” and “monstrous”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who urged the prime minister in the Commons on Wednesday to scrap the charge, said: “Boris Johnson is right to have U-turned and backed our proposal to remove the NHS charge for health professionals and care workers.

“This is a victory for common decency and the right thing to do. We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.”

The decision came a day after another U-turn, when the government extended a scheme offering indefinite leave to remain in the UK to the families of all immigrant NHS staff who die as a result of contracting coronavirus.

Certificates

At the daily press briefing, Hancock said certificates were being looked at for people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies.

Key workers at risk: UK companies accused of overlooking safety [2:27]

He said: “It’s not just about the clinical advances that these tests can bring.

“It’s that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us to understand more in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, of dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus.

“We’re developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do.”

Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told the briefing the total number of deaths from all causes was now down to the rate in an average winter.

He said “All-cause mortality has come down at the same time as the COVID deaths have come down, and it is now at roughly the rate it is at in an average winter.

“So, we are essentially having a winter in health terms, in terms of mortality, but in late spring and early summer.”

Prof Whitty also said care home deaths had peaked and have now come down.

On the test, track and trace strategy, Hancock sought to play down the importance of the delayed app in the contact tracing process.

He had originally said the app would be rolled out by mid-May, but it has now been delayed by several weeks.

Be seeing you

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