Skip to main content

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds. 

That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet. 

As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made. The program is overseen by Dido Harding, who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no noteworthy experience or competitive advantage, but which are owned or led by donors to the Conservative party.

In Estonia the cost of the Hoia track and trace system was mostly carried by a small consortium of tech companies and the cost to the state was €30,000. Even all in the cost was less than €2 million. That is 0.005% of what it cost the UK, and although there have some glitches in the Estonian system, it has generally performed far better than the UK system.

Over the course of early 2020 the Conservative government spent a further £18 billion in generally untendered contracts for personal protective equipment for health care staff in the NHS. The way that these contracts were awarded, several -again- made to politically connected companies with little or no track record in the field, was found to be illegal in the High Court on February 19th of this year.

£55 billion has been spent by the Conservative government in a manner that is at best questionable and at worst actually illegal.

But the Conservatives´ allies in the UK media would far rather that we discussed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

In a way you have to pity the discount British media, since the revenge that Harry and Meghan took on the feral press by talking to Oprah, the largest individual media figure in the world, instead of for example, the obnoxious Littlejohn or the shallow, self-regarding oaf, Piers Morgan, has been exactly the treatment that they deserved.

The fact is that the Conservative government is as dishonest as it is incompetent. Billions are  being wasted and the UK media, and even if the average journalist understands the scale of the crime they do not seem to much care.

We should care. 

We should demand a trial for those responsible for wasting public money on such a spectacular scale by paying their cronies.

As to the media, that willfully ignores corruption and viciously attacks members of the Royal family (but not the ones facing actual legal investigation), they are contemptible. 




Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi