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No milk today

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RolloTheRed Report 22 May 2020 12:50

the lions have gone away.

One of the UK’s most distinguished scientists has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson’s government, claiming the response to the coronavirus pandemic has been “too much on the back foot” during successive crises.

Sir Paul Nurse, the director of the Francis Crick Institute and Nobel Prize winner, said he was “desperate for clear leadership” at all levels and suggested responsibility for dealing with the virus had been similar to a game of “pass the parcel”. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the geneticist was also critical of the initial lack of Covid-19 testing, insisting smaller laboratories could have been used across the country to increase capacity and said that hospitals became “potentially unsafe places to be”.

“I’m not quite sure we are getting it right, and I think you're quite right to say that everybody involved - not just the politicians, the scientists and the doctors - we're all making mistakes,” Sir Paul said.
“And we have to try and learn from what mistakes have been made up until now. I get a sense the UK has been rather too much on the back foot, increasingly playing catch-up, fire-fighting through successive crises.” Addressing leadership during the crisis, Sir Paul went on:
"The question I keep asking myself is: Do we have a proper government system in here that can combine tentative knowledge, scientific knowledge, with political action?

“And the question I'm constantly asking myself is: Who is actually in charge of the decisions? Who is developing the strategy and the operation and implementation of that strategy? Is it ministers? Is it Public Health England? The National Health Service? The Office for Life Scientists, Sage? I don't know, but more importantly, do they know?" “It was little like pass the parcel. No clear lines of responsibility. I’m desperate for clear leadership at all levels.”

On demands for a public inquiry, Sir Paul added: “I don’t think we should initiate a formal inquiry now. We should do it later. What we need is more openness, we need to have greater debate in the public domain, we need to recognise when we don’t understand things and communicate that to the public.

“We have lions on the frontline of clinical care, we need lions also in the leadership so that we can actually drive this forward. I wouldn’t investigate them at the moment, I would just demand more of them.”

Responding to his remarks, Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, told the BBC: “I just wouldn’t agree with that. What we’ve seen through this actually is we as a government have been very clear with people, very transparent with people. “The prime minister himself has been very clear that the prime minister is ultimately responsible. We do want to follow the best advice that is out there from both the scientific advisers and our chief medical advisers and the teams there, but ultimately it is the ministers who make decisions.”


nameslessone Report 22 May 2020 13:46

I thought this was going to be about the milkman!

I wonder where the quote came from? ;-)


BrianW Report 22 May 2020 14:52

Seems to indicate that we need more scientists and experts deciding policy instead of politicians who, after all, need no qualifications in the field that they administer.

Barbara Castle, the non-driving Minister of Transport springs to mind. You can become Chancellor of the Exchequer without a maths GCSE to your name.

And the House of Lords is supposed to be a revising Chamber to keep legislation from the Commons on the straight and narrow but that has been stuffed with appointees for political services, party donors and as a retirement home for ex Ministers.


Island Report 22 May 2020 15:08

That was just to lure you in namelessone :-D


nameslessone Report 22 May 2020 15:28



JoyLouise Report 22 May 2020 16:26

Sir Paul has echoed what we've been hearing from several people.


RolloTheRed Report 22 May 2020 16:28


Kay???? Report 22 May 2020 18:13

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis , responding to the criticism about “firefighting” said: “I just wouldn’t agree with that.
“What we are seeing through this actually is we as a government have been very clear with people, very transparent with people.
“The Prime Minister himself has been very clear - the Prime Minister is ultimately responsible. We do follow the best advice that is out there from both the scientific advisors and chief medical advisers and teams there.
“But ultimately it is the ministers who make decisions and I think that is one of the things we have seen throughout this process, is our working to ensure we get as much information to people as we can to ensure that people understand what we can all do to play our part in keeping the R-level down."

This same version reads slightly different..


RolloTheRed Report 24 May 2020 11:00

There has been a rapid turnover of NI Secretary with the Cons governments, most of whom have heaped further problems onto an already very troubled province. As John Major PM would have put it "a few apples short of a picnic".
Karen Bradley was so bad at the job she needed a map to get there having being under the impression that she could do the job from London.
Brandon Lews is more like an orchard short of a farm. His main claim on the job is brexit to the bone. He replaced the only guy who really was good at the job during his short tenure before being sacked by Johnson.

Owen Paterson 2010 2012
Theresa Villiers 2012 2016
James Brokenshire 2016 2018
Karen Bradley 2018 2019
Julian Smith 2019 2020
Brandon Lewis MP 2020

Please do a bit of research and don't insult my intelligence by suggesting there is any sentient life inside BL's thick skull. Not a normal person.


nameslessone Report 24 May 2020 11:32

Such a shame that the sources of all the c&p wasn’t given. It might have explained Rollo’s reaction to Kay’s post.
One of those quotes was probably contemporaneous and the other wasn’t.


RolloTheRed Report 24 May 2020 11:47

...... :-S


nameslessone Report 24 May 2020 12:18

One was ‘verbals’ , one was written and tidied up from notes.