Tuesday, 5 January 2021
“I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.”
Hay, Johnson! Here's something that'll really help. Get back in your fridge, or your tent - or anywhere else far removed from places where real people are making a real effort to save lives - and stay there.
Monday, 4 January 2021
Saturday, 14 November 2020
What, this Pfizer?
A team of Pfizer doctors reached the Nigerian camp just as the outbreak, which killed at least 11,000 people, was peaking. They set themselves up within metres of a medical station run by the aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, which was dispensing proven treatments to ease the epidemic.(That's from the Independent back in 2009 - as reported on the ever prescient lefthandpalm.)
From the crowd that had gathered at the Kano Infectious Diseases Hospital, 200 sick children were picked. Half were given doses of the experimental Pfizer drug called Trovan and the others were treated with a proven antibiotic from a rival company.
Eleven of the children died and many more, it is alleged, later suffered serious side-effects ranging from organ failure to brain damage. But with meningitis, cholera and measles still raging and crowds still queueing at the fence of the camp, the Pfizer team packed up after two weeks and left.
That would probably have been an end to the story if it weren't for Pfizer employee, Juan Walterspiel. About 18 months after the medical trial he wrote a letter to the then chief executive of the company, William Steere, saying that the trial had "violated ethical rules". Mr Walterspiel was fired a day later for reasons "unrelated" to the letter, insists Pfizer.
Hopefully, because lots of the people needing the putative vaccine will be wealthy white Westerners Pfizer won't try any of their old tricks. But let's not pretend that a massive international drugs company is anything other than a savage money making enterprise with the moral instincts of a psychopath.
Monday, 2 November 2020
This isn't about Corbyn. He's a scapegoat for the people who set up an inadequate system to deal with anti-Semitism,then tried to weaponize it to damage the leader.
Instead, the 'centrists' of the party decided to make a fight of it. You will recall they started tweeting their resignations and refusal to serves during his victory speech. No "Well, let's see where he's going with this" - just straight in with the attempts to sabotage his leadership, from the get-go. Then there was the conspiring, the planned rebellion before the referendum, the Chicken Coup, the second leadership contest, the deliberate breaking of the discipline system with the intention of making the party look anti-Semitic and so on, all sauced with briefings and leaking and so on, which the rightwing media lapped up and which the Labour 'centrists' were too dim-witted to think 'why?'
So instead of May trundling along with the majority she inherited from Cameron until 2020 and suffering the same fate as John Major, we had the 'blood in the water' election intended to finish Labour off, which instead broke May's government. Then suddenly Corbyn looked potentially electable - so the campaign intensified, culminating in the 2019 election and the election of a thumping Conservative majority.
That's all down to the 'centrists' and their dim-witted 'grown up' politics. I hope they are pleased with what they achieved.
Though I suspect they actually are - leftists will look at how Corbyn was monstered and think twice about standing for the leadership, even though they know they will be in with a good shout. Because who would want to go through what Corbyn was put through, and is still being put through, by the right wing media and their enablers in the Labour Party?
Saturday, 3 October 2020
In total, at least 16.8 million people in the UK - about one in four people - face extra coronavirus measures on top of the national rules, including two-thirds of people in the north of England.
The prime minister, who has been speaking to BBC journalists from around the country, denied that a lack of testing in north-east England had caused the virus to get out of control in the region.
That's not the reality… the nation came together in March and April, what happened over the summer was a bit of sort of fraying of people's discipline and attention to those rules," he said.
Nah, Boz. this one is down to you.
You failed to take obvious, timely measures. You failed to provide effective leadership. You didn't manage to get a clear message out. You and your cabal of goons and carpetbaggers and borderline sociopaths didn't stick to the rules you did come up with.
People died. Tens of thousands of them. Because you got it wrong.
You had TWO chances to get it right. You blew both of them.
To nick something from Oscar Wilder, to screw up the biggest challenge of your premiership once could be regarded a misfortune; screwing it twice looks like carelessness.
Sunday, 6 September 2020
So, a few weeks ago a book was published, under the title of Left Out. It was written by Graham Pogrund and Patrick Maguire and purported to tell the tale of Corbyn's leadership from its zenith in June 2017 to the disaster of December 2019.
I hadn't been terribly interested in reading it, frankly, because of some of the immediate media coverage had suggested it was going to be something of a Corbyn bash. Hell, the Daily Mail got into a lather about it, though I won't link to their write ups.
Then I happened upon Pogrund's twitter account and I thought, "Well, he might work for Rupert Murdoch, but that doesn't sound too bad." So I acquired a electronic copy of it and will now treat you - my riveted readers - an occasional chapter-by-chapter summary of it.
So now ...
This is very interesting. Obviously, I am pro-Corbyn and am mostly interested in things that show him to be the luckless victim of the 'centrists' in Labout who thought they new better than the leader of the party and the membership who elected him (twice.) But I'll try to be honest and reflect the opinions of the writers.
I am glad to report the opening pages offer plenty of rick pickings.
It opens - almost inevitably - at the moment of neesis, as the exit poll is announced on the 12th of December, 2019, and whatever hopes Labour supporters had of a repetition of the miracle of 2017 were dashed. I was there, I remember how it felt. The authors note - without comment - that Corbyn was viewing the exit poll at the offices of a charity called Freedom From Torture. Perhaps, after the travails of the past few years, that was appropriate.
The authors note that Corbyn's inner circle had been aware they were up against it for sometime - that the grim, static polls in the run up to the election were reflecting what their own polling was showing (if anything, Labour outperformed their private polling, which indicated the party would win fewer than 180 seats.) Never-the-less, the sense of shock and misery is well described in these opening pages, and rendered sympathetically.
The prologue quickly defines the fault line at the top of the party - between Corbyn's inner circle (McDonnell, Milne, Murphy and a few others) and those who opposed him, implacably, from the start. Here the authors do not hold back, describing the latter as "the seditious officials at party HQ." Dwell on that word for a few moments - "seditious." That isn't all of it. A few lines later, they quote an email from Corbyn complaining about "self-absorbed disloyalty" following the leaking of the party's campaign grid. Think on that - someone had opted to divulge information they were trusted with relating to the conduct of the election campaign. This isn't small stuff. I'm nervous of throwing words like 'treachery' around, but sabotaging your party's camapign ... what else do you call it? Let's foll the lead of Pogrund and Maguire and call it sedition.
Later on, they hark back to the happier result of 2017, commenting how that apparent high point really marked the beginning of the decline. Though "the Project" had earned the authority to try things its way, in the face of "two years of bitter resistance from its internal opponents" it would really be all down hill from June 2017 - "the hostility of MPs and party officials did not abate" the authors note, referring to the leaked report on anti-Semitism, cataloguing the "toxic, distrustful and openly mutinous culture of Southside".
It isn't effusively pro-Corbyn, however. The authors do note, even ain these aearly pages, that Corbyn and his inner circle aren't blameless in their undoing and offer some wanings of what may come, commenting on the issue of anti-Semitism in ambivalent wording, "Corbyn's own stances on anti-Semitism and foreign affairs came to wreak such damage on the Project."
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