Now then, the last couple of months have been interesting to say the least. Widespread death on a scale we have never seen before, a level of ineptitude we could previously only imagine, and political tribalism of a truly stunning order. In the early stages of the current crisis reasonable people - by which I mean the vast majority of thinking adults here in the UK - by nature opted to allow the Government leeway, breathing space, in recognition of the very sticky wicket they were batting on.
As events have unfolded that has been eroded by a mind boggling succession of botched schemes backed up with condescending drivel and lies. No other way for me to put that. Never mind the shield of "not scoring political points" they appealed for, things have gone far beyond politics now. In any court of law they would be found guilty of lying constantly in a flash.
The list is now very long of glaring examples of ineptitude and falsehoods. Buying millions of the wrong tests kits, recycling out of date PPE, the Turkish airlift fiasco, "massaging" fatality figures, wild claims regarding the number of tests which had been carried out. This is not small stuff, it fetches with it confusion which has almost certainly added to the growing number of hospitalisations and deaths. Garbage like the above is usually followed by an appearance on one of our hopeless news channels by a very confident, self assured, forthright, utterly arrogant Minister to reinforce the absolute conviction of this Govt to invest hundreds of millions and drive the country through this trying time. You literally could not make it up. Makes Dads Army look like Panorama.
Talking of which, Johnson always reminds me of Godfrey.
Anyway, something caught my eye yesterday. This stuff about recruiting people to carry out the Tracking and Tracing. Firstly, how would this actually work on the ground amidst the people?. Would some recruit knock on your door and inform you that at some point in the last few days you had been near an infected person and ask you to self isolate for 14 days? Then grill you about who you had been in contact with. If so, that particular conversation could go on for hours. If you were still working could you then inform your boss that a recruit had asked you to self isolate and your boss be very understanding and say it's no problem I will keep sending the money?
I started to picture the recruit, very good intentions, keen to take part in the effort. Entering into this project wide eyed and enthusiastic to contribute. From what I can gather, here is how that has been going.
Firstly these recruits don't actually get to meet anyone when actively coming forward to enrol. I don't actually like the term "recruit", it conjures up images of being in some sort of army and being expertly trained to go into battle. These recruits are interviewed and given the job over the phone. There is no face to face contact with anyone. Sure enough they have to show evidence of being DBS checked and have proof of the right to work in the UK. All basic stuff. Given the gravity of the task I really would have thought things would be a little more in depth than this. People ring you up to try and sell you home insurance these days. In the PR garbage that accompanies this job the Govt puts forward that these people are stepping up to help in the country and will be given "rigorous and detailed instruction". All sounds very impressive does it not?
People have come forward who enrolled (thanks to them), here is how that went -
They spent DAYS trying to log into the online system. Once anyone actually got into the system they were then able to be given the relevant online training. In a group of about 100 with one instructor. Reports say that it was chaotic. No ability to put forward questions, confusion , hapless instructor unable to cope with so many people at one time.Surely this should have been a group of about 20? One bloke put forward that the first 90 mins was wasted with people writing in the chat boxes that they couldn't actually hear anything! Very definitely Dads Army time again. These recruits were told they would be acting as "agents" in the contact tracing team. From recruit to agent in one day of muddled online training.
The thing that worries me the most about this pantomime is this, one recruit/agent asked about how to talk to someone who had recently lost a loved one to the virus, the answer provided was to look at videos on YouTube! Now, this is actually rather worrying. What sort of training is that?
I have been on the end of the telephone and told about the death of my son. Along with that I have then gone through taking phone calls about it over the following days and weeks. I can state without question just how much long term damage insensitive phone calls can cause. In my case it was the press, that is not really the point. Putting these agents/recruits in that position without proper, professional training is crass. I do not care about some Minister wanting to appear on the box to make wild claims about how efficient it all is or to inflate figures. This ridiculous project WILL inflict psychological damage, not only to the bereaved person, but also the one who inadvertently inflicts it.
The whole thing is a fiasco. How much longer can they expect to be able to spin such buffoonery upon the UK public? I use the word expect because they really do see themselves as beyond reproach. The majority they hold has set them free to do as they please and that is exactly what they are doing. We have never had a proper lock down, tens of thousands have streamed into the UK on a daily basis via the airports. The USA is a breeding ground for the virus, yet flights have continued to arrive from that deeply troubled land. Workhouses such as ASOS have sailed merrily on. The Govt never had any intention of doing the right thing by the people, they opted instead to protect the ECONOMY. They do not give a toss about accountability or even honesty. There are now thousands of families here in the UK who have fallen victim to this appalling arrogance.
Just to underline the clueless attitude of this hard right Govt, there is not actually a Contact & Trace app for the agents/recruits to use. It is beset with problems. It is a bad joke. Serco had to send out an apology after disclosing details of hundreds of people by accident. New recruits/agents have been sitting by for days, whilst being paid with nothing to do. Seemingly it's all on hold while the Govt decides what to do about this app nonsense. All so very very demoralising.
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Society not Economy.