For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Friday, 15 May 2020

Covid 19 update

I have not conducted the research below myself but from what I know, or have been informed on by the media it seems pretty factual rather than subjective. There are aspects that in fairness are, or were beyond the control of the Government and one has to acknowledge that they are wrestling with a problem of unprecedented scale and there is bound to be some need for "make it up as one goes along." You could also write a companion script to outline what has actually been done and even though present results are disheartening the effort and scale of operations that has taken place is immense. But even if you redacted sections of the text below where it may just be possible to argue there was not fault or negligence by individuals or the Government, or the odd unsubstantiated claim, as a whole this is still a dismal record of none-leadership. 
December 31st China alerts WHO to new virus.
January 23rd Study reveals a third of China’s patients require intensive care. 
January 24th Boris Johnson misses first Cobra meeting.
January 29th Boris Johnson misses second Cobra meeting.
January 31st The NHS declares first ever ‘Level 4 critical incident’ Meanwhile, the government declines to join European scheme to source PPE.
February 5th Boris Johnson misses third Cobra meeting.
February 12th Boris Johnson misses fourth Cobra meeting. Exeter University published study warning Coronavirus could infect 45 million people in the UK if left unchallenged.
February 13th Boris Johnson misses conference call with European leaders.
February 14th Boris Johnson goes away on holiday. Aides are told keeps Johnson’s briefing notes short or he will not read them.
February 18th Johnson misses fifth Cobra meeting.
February 26th Boris Johnson announces ‘Herd Immunity’ strategy, announcing some people will lose loved ones. Government document is leaked, predicting half a million Brits could die in ‘worse case scenario’ 
February 29th Boris Johnson retreats to his country manor. NHS warns of ‘PPE shortage nightmare’ Stockpiles have dwindled or expired after years of austerity cuts. 
March 2nd Boris Johnson attends his first Cobra meeting, declining another opportunity to join European PPE scheme. Government’s own scientists say over half a million Brit’s could die if virus left unrestrained. Johnson tells country “We are very, very well prepared.”
March 3rd Scientists urge Government to advise public not to shake hands. Boris Johnson brags about shaking hands of Coronavirus patients. 
March 4th Government stops providing daily updates on virus following a 70% spike in UK cases. They will later U-turn on this amid accusations they are withholding vital information. 
March 5th Boris Johnson tells public to ‘wash their hands and business as usual’ 
March 7th Boris Johnson joins 82,000 people at Six Nations match. 
March 9th After Ireland cancels St Patrick’s day parades, the government says there’s “No Rationale” for cancelling sporting events.
March 10th - 13th Cheltenham takes place, more than a quarter of a million people attend.
March 11th 3,000 Atletico Madrid fans fly to Liverpool.
March 12th Boris Johnson states banning events such as Cheltenham will have little effect. The Imperial College study finds the government’s plan is projected to kill half a million people.
March 13th The FA suspends the Premier League, citing an absence of Government guidance. Britain is invited to join European scheme for joint purchase of ventilators, and refuses. Boris Johnson lifts restrictions of those arriving from Coronavirus hot spots. 
March 14th Government is still allowing mass gatherings, as Stereophonics play to 5,000 people in Cardiff. 
March 16th Boris Johnson asks Britons not to go to pubs, but allows them to stay open. During a conference call, Johnson jokes that push to build new ventilators should be called ‘Operation Last Gasp’ 
March 19th Hospital patients with Coronavirus are returned to care homes in a bid to free up hospital space. What follows is a boom of virus cases in care homes.
March 20th The Government states that PPE shortage crisis is “Completely resolved” Less than two weeks later, the British Medical Association reports an acute shortage in PPE.
March 23rd UK goes into lockdown.
March 26th Boris Johnson is accused of putting ‘Brexit over Breathing’ by not joining EU ventilator scheme. The government then state they had not joined the scheme because they had ‘missed the email’ 
April 1st The Evening Standard publishes that just 0.17% of NHS staff have been tested for the virus.
April 3rd The UK death toll overtakes China.
April 5th 17.5 million Antibody tests, ordered by the government and described by Boris Johnson as a ‘game changer’ are found to be a failure.
April 7th Boris Johnson is moved to intensive care with Coronavirus.
April 16th Flights bring 15,000 people a day into the UK - without virus testing. 
April 17th Health Secretary Matt Hancock says “I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and have PPE fall from the sky.” The UK has now missed four opportunities to join the EU’s PPE scheme.
April 21st The Government fails to reach its target of face masks for the NHS, as it is revealed manufactures offers of help were met with silence. Instead millions of pieces of PPE are being shipped from the UK to Europe.
April 23rd - 24th Government announces testing kits for 10 million key workers. Orders run out within minutes as only 5,000 are made available.
April 25th UK death toll from Coronavirus overtakes that of The Blitz.
April 30th Boris Johnson announces the UK has succeeded in avoiding a tragedy that had engulfed other parts of the world - At this point, The UK has the 3rd highest death toll in the world.
May 1st The Government announces it has reached its target of 100,000 tests - They haven’t conducted the tests, but posted the testing kits.
May 5th The UK death toll becomes the highest in Europe.
May 6th Boris Johnson announces the UK could start to lift lockdown restrictions by next week.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Has not every one of these comments and points been examined and dismissed as miscomprehensions, untrue, invalid, partial or worse by the media over the past months. It is such a transparently unbiased apolitical list that everyone would like to know who made it up. It looks backwards, not forward, not constructive, not in any way helpful.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Needlesshaste - forgive me, but your comment seems somewhat confused. ‘Transparent’, ’unbiased’, ‘apolitical’ - that sounds good to me yet your last sentence is critical.Could you clarify perhaps.

  5. Needless and Afoot - I was similarly confused, although the last sentence seems to criticise the article. I did suggest in my intro. that there could be another side to the story and that extenuating circumstances may provide some excuse for some of the statements. I have some personal antipathy to over-wallowing in the past and much prefer to have goals and look ahead. However, if one wants to make decisions for instance on how to vote in an election, or have meaningful discussion with others it is essential to look back at the historical facts and rather than being "not helpful" they are essential to the process. I think you are to some extent correct in implying, or what I think you are implying, that a positive attitude in these circumstances is important and getting on with the job is the priority but success will only be achieved by strong, competent leadership backed up by attention to scientific advice.

  6. Looking back, a worthwhile exercise despite your commenters, at the last ten years of dubious political decisions on policing, health service, social services in particular, education and the environment.
    Who is to blame?
    Whoever voted for those policies.
    Unfortunately, they will be difficult to reverse in the coming financial straits.

    I've just had to verify pictures of tractors to post this comment, that would be easy for one of your other commenters.

  7. As this is becoming a purely political blog, in the absence of hard rock, I think I will answer BC 'question' - the financial crisis in 2008-9, the utterly unsustainable and unchecked spending spree of the 2004-2010 period and the refusal of the 'Liberal' 'partners' in the 2010-2015 coalition government to really get to grips with the scale of financial and fiscal mess and the very determined policies needed to get out of it - and thus the slow and delayed recovery from it - and the long-drawn out restrictions in public spending: it simply cannot be denied that the public finances are still in a mess: the epidemic crisis will make the problem very much more difficult to 'solve' over the next years. The only source of new wealth is private enterprise and that has been constrained and over-taxed for over 20 years , hence low investment, low productivity and low public revenues as a direct consequence - and the dreadful 'balance of payments' imbalance dragging the pound down.
    Of course the political paralysis since 2016 has made matters worse - and the present crisis was upon us before the new stable parliamentary and governmental position could make much impact on affairs. You simply cannot 'print' money, however much MMT devotees think you can, without disaster in the end. Countless examples from history and the current world demonstrate this ineluctable truth. As you would say, 'end of rant' !

    (ps i thought that that post from Needless was merely sarcasm , not as it has been read - maybe I missed something: but I have noticed that you seem get comments from there when you post one-sided quasi-political suff - like the old Labour Party rebuttal office used to do, they react almost before your speech has finished - I should know, over the years having been the target of similar efforts myself. So you must be on someones watchlist somewhere - maybe the Kremlin - in their labyrinthine manoeuvres, no stone is too small not to be overturned and exploited or used for misinformation ! make sure you wipe your doorknobs of more than viruses !)

  8. BC - my comment wasn’t a criticism of Sir Hugh’s post. I was confused by Needlesshaste’s comment.

  9. Afoot - I wasn't referring to you.

  10. An excellent and very disheartening post that deserves wider circulation. I hope you don't mind, I've posted a link to it on FB in the hope that others read it - and digest it.
    Thank you for posting.

  11. All - I have said what I wanted and welcome replies from all sides. I will leave this matter myself now for others to digest but certainly welcome any further comments.

  12. Confusion, confusion and more confusion. It worries me that Boris Johnson seems in great haste to lift the lock down, when, up here, in the North East, officials and medical people are stating the epidemic has not yet reached its peak. The risks are still high and some areas it hovers just on the one line
    As yet, I am still shielding. The constant lack of and conflicting information is very frustrating.

  13. Dawn - welcome to my blog. I sympathise with your confusion and frustration and agree about the unwise decision too open up too quickly. My daughter teaches and is currently working from home but feeling very uncomfortable about being forced into a moral dilemma as to whether to go back to school or not in the town that has, I think, the highest death rate in the country.