Wrong satellites and a new deal con

This is a reminder of the chaos the UK government has caused in the last four days. It’s a thread by a guy called Russ who compiles TheWeekInTory. He describes himself as: Designer, coder, analyst, painter, wazzock. Feminist, centre-left, Remainer. Working class Manc in Cheshire.

Enjoy or scream in frustration and fury.

This episode of #TheWeekInTory is just stuff since Friday

1. Ineptitude alert: due to Brexit the UK is leaving the EU’s Galileo satellite scheme, which is vital for satnav

2. Independent experts said developing our own satellite system would cost around £4bn

3. So instead, the govt announced £500m investment to make existing satellites to do the job

4. But they are too close to earth to be used for GPS positioning, so cannot work

5. A space policy expert said “The fundamental starting point is, we’ve bought the wrong satellites”

6. Democracy news: it was reported “PM wants Brexiteer to head Civil Service”

7. But the Code of Conduct says Civil Servants “must not act in a way that is determined by party political considerations”

8. Then Michael Gove gave a major speech about the need to decentralise govt

9. And the next day the Cabinet Secretary was sacked, so that Dominic Cummings could centralise more power

10. A replacement – David Frost, a Brexiteer – was appointed, and will now be Cabinet Secretary, National Security Advisor and simultaneously lead Brexit negotiations

11. The former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell said “I’m worried about the appointment” as it was “made without any due process”, and Frost “doesn’t have much background in security”. He said “it shows an erosion of civil service impartiality”

12. Public safety news: 3 years from Grenfell, the National Audit Office found only 14% of dangerous buildings have had their cladding removed

13. The UN warned the UK may breach international law over its failure to remove combustible cladding from high-rise buildings

14. Days after corruption allegations against Robert Jenrick & Matt Hancock, it was revealed developers backed by Johnson as London Mayor donated almost £1m to the Tory Party

15. If you take away some of the letters and add different ones, “donation” is an anagram of “bribe”

16. And now, onto Covid. On 1 June the govt said “we will work around the clock to ensure that nobody goes hungry as a result of this crisis [Covid19]”

17. This week govt data revealed 7.7m adults missed meals, and 3.7 used food banks during the crisis

18. Senior police officers warned govt that lifting the lockdown was “total madness”

19. The next day the govt lifted the lockdown

20. The day after that, a major incident was declared as 500,000 people crowded beaches, and illegal street parties broke out across the country

21. Priti Patel said “I want to make sure our police are absolutely resourced”

22. Since 2010, Tories have cut 21,000 police officers, 23,000 police support workers, and shut 600 police stations

23. Trading Standards, which investigates fraud, also had 70% of its budget cut

24. The Home Secretary said the public “shouldn’t take liberties” with the rules and “the full weight of govt powers” could be called upon to ensure guidelines are followed

25. I’ve looked into this, and Dominic Cummings is still in his job. So, remarkably, is Robert Jenrick

26. Matt Hancock said “a protective ring had been thrown around care homes” by the govt

27. A report this week showed the risk of Covid-related deaths in UK’s care homes is 13-times higher than in German care homes

28. The govt told parliament there are sufficient supplies of PPE

29. The next day govt confirmed that the phrase “200 pieces of PPE equipment” refers to 100 pairs of gloves

30. UK Statistics Authority issued a 2nd official rebuke about the trustworthiness of govt data

31. To address the financial crisis caused by Coronavirus, the PM pledged a £1bn school building programme over 10 years

32. This is 1/7th of the cuts to school budgets since 2010

33. The Blair govt increased school budgets by £12bn in 3 years, which is 40x as much per year

34. A SAGE scientific report said fully reopening schools without substantial improvements in the performance of the test-and-trace system could risk a new surge in cases of Covid-19

35. So the govt announced it would fine parents who didn’t send their children to school

36. Boris Johnson compared himself to Roosevelt and promised a £5bn “New Deal” to boost the economy, and said “this is what the times demand”

37. Roosevelt’s New Deal expenditure was up to 40% of US GDP at the time

38. Johnson’s £5bn is slightly less: about 0.2% of UK GDP

39. PM promised £100m for 29 road projects – around £350k per road

40. The Manchester Airport bypass alone cost £280m

41. And then it was revealed Johnson’s “New Deal” is not new at all, it just brings forward money already promised in previous budgets. So… Old Deal.

42. The govt refused to rule out tax rises to pay for the coming crash

43. Then Boris Johnson explicitly ruled out tax rises for the rich, saying we should “clap for bankers who make the NHS possible”

44. So if the rich aren’t being taxed, that means… oh, it’s you and me again

45. On 24 June, Jeremy Hunt wrote an article in the Telegraph urging the govt to do mass testing of NHS and Care staff to prevent a second wave

46. On 24 June (the same day) Jeremy Hunt (the same Jeremy Hunt) voted in parliament against mass testing of NHS and Care staff

47. The WHO said “a second wave of Covid 19 is a highly likely outcome” and advised all nations to begin preparations for one

48. The govt declined to do a review into preparations for a second wave, even when one was recommended by the Royal Societies of Surgeons, Nurses & GPs

49. BMA reports 1 doctor in 7 is planning to quit after the current crisis subsides

50. Over 22,000 EU-national staff already quit the NHS after the Brexit vote

51. Tories cut £1bn from NHS training budget from 2018 to 2023, so there aren’t enough trainees to replace them

52. And, to end on a cheery note, researchers in China discovered a new type of swine flu capable of triggering a pandemic.

53. So far, there’s no confirmation that Chris Grayling is involved in Chinese pig-farming

54. This is just 4 days. My previous #TheWeekInTory was worse

All that in just a few days. And we have another four and a half years of this Tory government.

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