(This article is solely about England. Excluding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All figures are for 6thAugust 2020)
A government’s first duty is to protect its people.
As fireworks lit up the sky on New Year’s Eve and welcomed in 2020, as gathered crowds across England, cheered and applauded, as people linked arms and sang Auld Lang Syne, one implicit belief, needing neither articulation nor discussion, rested inside each person. The belief that no matter which political party they had voted for, the newly elected government, if events ever made it necessary, would fulfil its foremost responsibility, and protect the people of England.
When a democratic government fails to protect its people, at what point do we say that government has betrayed its mandate? At what point do we say that government has turned against its own people? And when do we accuse that government of a Crime Against Humanity?
It’s a weighty charge; an accusation not to be made lightly or frivolously, without a depth of evidence speaking its own outrage, horror and grief. I would say England’s confirmed, Covid death toll as of 6th August, the highest in Europe, a catastrophic 41,686, is it’s own searing indictment. And set to rise day by day.
The government’s deliberate inactions and opportunism have created this massacre. Let’s call it what it is. In January, as news flew around the world about a deadly new virus, our Prime Minister refused to return from holiday. Then couldn’t be bothered to attend the first five meetings of COBRA, the Civil Contingencies Committee convened for matters of national emergency. Boris Johnson’s bluster and bluff made matters worse by denying the danger of Covid, as he happily gushed on tv about shaking hands with Covid patients. The government didn’t begin to organise sufficient ventilators early enough, didn’t ban huge events such as pop concerts and race meetings; didn’t impose lockdown till late March, has consistently given confused messages, and obfuscated when questioned. An absolute disaster.
When England’s government finally started to do something, instead of working from an ethos of saving lives and minimising the death toll, they went rogue and adopted the policy of letting people die. ‘Herd immunity,’ they called it. Later, as the death toll mounted, claimed they’d dropped that policy. The public begs to differ. Over 41,686 deaths tell their own truth.
We live in a connected global world. In no other pandemic has news and knowledge ever travelled so swiftly and visually. For our government not to begin urgent planning as soon as alarm bells began to ring across the world, and not to learn from best practice, is not only a dereliction of duty but a revelation of animus against the people. The government must be held to account. Where necessary, individual politicians and advisors, should be charged with the full force and fierceness of the law.
England was one of the last countries in the world to be attacked by Covid. In a globally connected world, our government can’t ever claim it didn’t get enough warnings, information, or examples of successful strategies deployed by other countries, to fight Covid and save lives.
In a pandemic, when knowledge and role models exist to save lives and keep the death toll to a minimum, the deaths of thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of citizens, is total carnage. A Crime Against Humanity is “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.” The term also has a broader use in condemning other acts that, in a phrase often used, “shock the conscience of mankind.” The people of England and the rest of the world are horrified and aghast at England’s Covid death toll.
If any country was well placed to have a minimal death toll, it was England. Possessing highly developed infrastructure, scientific institutions, manufacturing companies, global businesses, and professional expertise across disciplines. As well as a National Health Service with dedicated staff, ranging from cleaners to consultants. And a wealth of social goodwill amongst its people; as as was seen when the call for volunteers to help the National Health Service was made and over a million people swiftly volunteered.
Reports of the deadly new virus, emerging in China began circulating in early January. Coronavirus or Covid, as most of us call it, was quickly identified as being a global threat, likely to hit all countries. The World Health Organisation held press conferences, issued information and advice; vigorously recommending the formula of Test, Trace, Isolate. Many countries, such as Germany, immediately formulated their strategies, alerted their laboratories, and implemented WHO advice.
South Korea, swiftly began mass testing, medics pitching massive tents by roadsides, with results coming within 24 hours, contact tracing and quarantining; accompanied by other measures such as school closures and ending mass gatherings. South Korea currently has a death toll of only 302. I can’t stop looking at those figures. England could easily have had a similar number. Even 700, 1000, 5,000. Such a death toll could have been understandable, forgivable. But not the calamity of 41,686 and more. South Korea’s population is just over 51 million; England’s just over 55 million. Hardly a significant difference. Why then is our Covid death toll an outrage and a national tragedy?
Many of the Scandi countries only have death tolls in the hundreds too. Finland’s prime minister said in a recent interview on British tv, her government started out with ‘humility’, letting scientists and doctors take the lead. Denmark’s Claus Pedersen has said, “The biggest learning of the crisis is that, if you really want it, you can do things really fast and really efficiently,”. In Norway, to procure sufficient PPE and testing apparatus, the government mobilised meaningful collaboration between public healthcare and private industry.
The Indian state of Kerala, with half England’s population but a fraction of its wealth, as of 6thAugust, has a Covid death toll of only 94. A mere two digits. Showing what’s possible; showing the bloodbath England could have avoided. Kerala’s health minister, a cheerful 63-year-old woman, K K Shailaja, has been honoured by the UN and acclaimed as the ‘Coronavirus Slayer,’ and ‘Rockstar Health Minister.’ When our Prime Minister couldn’t even be bothered to return from holiday or attend COBRA meetings, Kerala hit the road running. In early January Shailaja read an article about the emergence of the new virus in China, rang her deputy to ask if it was likely to come to Kerala. Hearing his reply of “Definitely, Madam,” she swung into action. Within a few days, a rapid response team had been assembled, a control room set up, medical officers in every local district instructed to do the same, and the WHO’s advice of Test, Trace, Isolate and Support initiated. Underpinned by a strategy of clear communication with the public.
Why did it go so wrong in England? Class, corruption and the insidious entrenchment of totalitarianism.
Class has always existed in England; centuries of the Upper Crust tenaciously hoarding and increasing their wealth, jealously hanging on to their privileges. The world of Downton Abbey may look pretty but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Elitism and inequality have long fought battles, from the Tolpuddle Martyrs to the Peterloo Massacre. Heartless cruelty is woven into the upper echelons.
Corruption goes hand-in-hand with class; as it does with totalitarianism. Unlucky England, bedevilled by its curses.
The insidious implementation of totalitarianism in England is proving to be a highly successful project: planted, nourished and nurtured by Russia. The Russia Report prepared by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, examined the accumulation of connections between senior political figures, enablers such as lawyers, and the Russian influence on the Brexit referendum. The report was blocked from release for nine whole months by Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister who loves to party in Perugia, at his pal Evgeny Lebedev’s castle, where it’s said “nothing is off the menu,”. This very special friendship appears to be paying dividends for both; Johnson has just granted a peerage to Evgeny Lebedev. The House of Lords will soon be graced by the presence of Lord Lebedev, the son of a KGB agent.
In Number 10, Boris Johnson’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, who spent three years in Russia, has established a culture of fear and intimidation (hallmark of totalitarianism), is gathering more and more power unto himself, suppressing information and dissent, and is rapidly dismantling England’s civil service – the organisation whose role it is to speak truth to power. Methods described by many as Putinesque. Cummings chose to appoint Andrew Sabisky a man who’s preached that “black people are less intelligent than whites” and has argued for enforced long-term contraception of all teenagers to prevent what he calls a “permanent underclass”. Cummings has a father-in-law who expounds the theory of inherited superiority ‘…one is one’s genes…’ Dominic Cummings himself endangered lives by flouting lockdown rules, travelling to Durham with his family, 264 miles across the country, while he had Covid symptoms. Not once, but twice. Later refusing to take responsibility or apologise. No greater contempt could a chief advisor have for the people.
Hannah Arendt, whose work is enjoying a resurgence, perhaps because of the worrying changes in our political culture, argues that totalitarianism arises out of chaos, racism, and when the elite “…gets together with the mob…”. For “mob” read Russia. In England, chaos grew, expanded and gaslighted people, with the bitterly divisive Brexit referendum, opening the door to electoral fraud, economic damage and instability.
Professor Robert Eaglestone here (11.00 – 14.00) describes Arendt’s chilling analysis of how totalitarianism dehumanizes people by taking away their identity, reducing them to meat, thus rendering them ‘superfluous;’ giving licence to those who would abuse and exterminate them. Or just let them die of a rampaging virus.
Totalitarianism has never been a friend of the people, and has now taken up residence at the centre of our government; enabling unbridled corruption.
Many commentators have already accused the government of using Covid as an opportunity for looting the treasury: friends and cronies hoovering up contracts, for supplies and services they’re in no position to properly fulfil. Contracts which most certainly include secret mechanisms for hefty back-handers. Civil servants believe the government may already have wasted in excess of £20 billion on faulty PPE and a faulty Test and Trace system. Every failure means lives lost.
In the midst of Covid and its grisly death toll, the government refused to extend the Brexit deadline, endangering our medical supplies, food and other essentials.
If Covid is merciless, so is the government of England. I’m reproducing an update by Jolyon Maugham QC, director of The Good Law Project, which tells us everything we need to know about how England is being governed, why we have the highest death toll in Europe, and why it’s time to accuse the government of Crimes Against Humanity.
“The Government awarded a PPE contract worth £252 million to Ayanda Capital Limited, a ‘family office’ owned through a tax haven in Mauritius, with connections to Liz Truss (Secretary of State for International Trade). It is the largest PPE contract we have seen to date.
In response to judicial review proceedings issued by Good Law Project, the Government has admitted that the 50 million FFP2 masks they purchased from Ayanda Capital – for a price that we calculate to be between £156m and £177m – “will not be used in the NHS” because “there was concern as to whether the[y]… provided an adequate fixing.”
So, unless Government finds another use for, or seeks to sell, those unsuitable masks, that money has been wasted. And as for the remaining 150 million Type IIR masks purchased from Ayanda Capital? Government has admitted they also require further testing and have not been released for use in the NHS.
We have also unearthed another absolutely remarkable feature of the £252 million Ayanda contract. Matt Hancock’s lawyers have now admitted they planned to enter into that contract with a £100 company wholly owned by Liz Truss’ adviser Andrew Mills and his wife. Mr Mills asked – and Government agreed – to enter into it with Ayanda instead because the £100 company (Prospermill Limited) didn’t have “international payment infrastructure.” Just how much has this arrangement prospered Mills?
Good Law Project and EveryDoctor has now issued three sets of judicial review proceedings in relation to the procurement of PPE – with a pest controller, a confectioner, and Ayanda/Prospermill. Not one of those contracts has resulted in any PPE yet being released for use in the NHS. The entirety of the PPE delivered under these three contracts is either untested or has already been found to be unusable.
These are the facts – and they are not disputed.
The more we scratch the surface of the PPE fiasco, the more shocking the details that emerge. If we are to prevent more PPE failures and protect public funds, we need proper answers from this Government.”
An icy cruelty sits at the heart of our government. It’s become an oligarchy, rule by the few, in the service of their own interests. The deaths from Covid of 41,686 people, the highest death toll in Europe, increasing by the day and likely to double in a second wave – is an affront to the conscience of mankind. The government of England is now Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.