Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Coming Down the Tracks



Mass testing means lower fatality rates from coronavirus because it allows detection of Covid-19 even in patients who suffer few or no symptoms, and who have a much better chance of survival.

 

The nose and the back of the throat are the two sites where the virus replicates. Swab tests are taken to the pathology lab and used to match the genetic material captured with the genetic code of Covid-19.

 

Medical staff taking the samples need to wear personal protective equipment including gloves, gowns, masks and face shields.. I was horrified to hear from a friend working as a hospital doctor that they are short of these PPEs. But never mind because Boris Johnson assures us that mass testing for Coronavirus is ‘coming down the track’ and will be taking place ‘as soon as possible’.

 

As I wrote yesterday, pathology labs in Germany have been conducting about 160,000 coronavirus tests every week. In the UK they average less than half that. And the pathology labs which undertake all this have been undergoing privatisation for over twenty years.

 

The Tony Blair / Gordon Brown governments reduced the number of hospitals that had their own pathology services and initiated their privatisation. Under the ‘hub and spoke’ model NHS trusts were encouraged into partnerships with private companies.

 

Pathology Clinitician, Denise Cooke, at Frimley NHS Foundation Trust has said, “The big difference with an NHS-led pathology service is the add-ons you get with it … So you absolutely get a clinically-led service and that is not something you have to contract for or buy, that is just the nature of the beast … On top of that you get all the other things the NHS offers; so there is a very supportive training and education programme … And then there is the ethos of it. The public sector is about doing good for the public, it is about making good use of taxpayers’ money for the public good … I think there is a different ethos in the private sector … I’d say 99.9% of people working in NHS pathology don’t do it for the money – they have some connection with the NHS and what it strives for and its reason for being.”

 

Here are just a few of the private companies involved today with our pathology labs:

 

Viapath (Serco) who have been found to overcharge the NHS for diagnostic testing amid allegations of cost-cutting and clinical failings. Senior consultants have claimed that staff cuts and a lack of investment since privatisation have left some laboratories close to disaster. One claimed that Viapath had an “inherent inability… to understand that you cannot cut corners and put cost saving above quality.”

 

Integrated Pathology Partnerships who were accused by Public Health England of running NHS labs with quality weaknesses. They concluded that: 'A number of working practices, particularly within the laboratory, compromise service quality and potentially patient safety'.

 

Synlab who were excluded from providing pathology services to Royal Free London and UCLH as the company lied - the company said it was in the process of developing a laboratory close to the two hospitals which would meet the requirements of the tender, but this was not true.

 

Other private companies involved today in NHS labs are, Alliance Medical, InHealth, Health Services Laboratory, Sodexho, Life Healthcare, The Doctors Laboratory Ltd and Mediscan Diagnostic Services. There are more.

 

A survey of 103 histopathology departments conducted in 2017 by the Royal College of Pathologists, found that only 3% said they had enough staff to meet the current clinical demand. 45% of departments had to outsource work, while half of the departments were forced to use more expensive temporary workers.

 

I worry about what is really ‘coming down the tracks’.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

German Tests, Johnson in Negotiation



 

The coronavirus crisis has hit Germany with full force. Infections are increasing rapidly with schools, factories and bars closed across the country. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there were 13,979 coronavirus infections in Germany on Thursday afternoon, (19 March) more than in any other country except China, Italy, Iran and Spain.

 

But Germany has only registered 52 deaths (20 March). Neighbouring France, by contrast, reports 243 deaths. Spain has had 803 deaths. The US, the UK and Italy all show case fatality rates significantly higher than Germany.

 

WHY?

 

In Germany there have been a high number of tests with laboratories conducting about 160,000 coronavirus tests every week.

 

Mass testing means lower fatality rate because it allows detection of Covid-19 even in patients who suffer few or no symptoms, and who have a much better chance of survival.

 

Experts also point out that Germany now has the chance to prepare for a surge in serious infections, with hospitals across the country expanding intensive care capacity and boosting staff numbers and with a government buying up as much critical equipment as it can.

 

Meanwhile here in the UK Boris Johnson has set our minds at rest by announcing yesterday ( 21 March) that good stuff is on its way. 

 

“to give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we’re in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test which can tell whether you have had the disease and it’s early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable. Because obviously it has the potential to be a total game changer.”

 

So for the UK it is ‘‘negotiations’. ‘early days’, ‘as soon as practical’ and ‘potential’ game changers.

 

We have no idea how the Coronavirus epidemic will develop over the coming weeks / months. We can say that since 2012 there have been a 120,000 deaths in the UK due to austerity policies.

 

Information above comes from a FT article which is is here:

and from the Guardian which is here:

 

Boris Johnson is neither here nor there, but with his train set in La La land.

 

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Rough Musik


 

Barcelona residents in Coronavirus lockdown bang pots and pans from their windows and balconies. On 18 March protests were being held across Spain to demand that Felipe VI's father, King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, donate more than 100 million Euros to the public health authorities amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an amount he reportedly received as a donation from the Saudi monarchy.

 

This comes from a tradition known in this country as ‘Rough Musiking’ - raucous noise used in protest against kings and queens, landlords, tax collectors and other oppressors of the people!

 

I remember helping organise the banging of drums, bells, cymbals and other percussion instruments outside Westminster Cathedral when Tony Blair was giving a ‘faith’ lecture there.

 

Who would you like to ‘rough musik’ while we are in our Coronavirus lockdown? Any ideas of who should donate their ill-gotten gains to the NHS?

 

Watch Barcelona protest 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Upward & Downward - a New Science


 

Boris Johnson speaking on 15 March 2020
We are not, repeating not, closing schools now. The scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time.

 

Boris Johnson speaking on 16 March 2020
We think it’s much better that we keep schools open for all sorts of reasons.

 

Boris Johnson speaking on 18 March 2020
We think that now we must apply downward pressure on that upward curve by closing the schools.

 

Every time Johnson talks about his government policy on Coronavirus he repeats these three words, “The scientific advice.”

 

What is this newly discovered science of ‘upward / downward curves' children? Put your hand down Johnson. You haven’t a clue.

 

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Jonny and David

 


 

Not a day passes when I don’t think about my two sons, Ben and Jonny, and my grandson, Rhys.


How was Jonny able to exclude me from his life over so many years, years when I had life-threatening operations, illnesses and a stroke? Did he hate me so much?


Not long before I was expelled by Maria as grandfather Jonny wrote this to me .. “just wanted to write to you to say that I love you and also to say that there really isn't an issue between you and me.”


Earlier he wrote this … “You make Maria so happy I think you complete something she missed out on.. and not in a needy way but in a really positive way. The money you gave us rescued us and made this life possible and now this baby will make our family even more. …I am so blessed and you are so responsible for my strength, Anne too. Please express to her how much we love her and hope she is happy to be a grandmother.”


No, I don’t think he ever hated me.


In one of his many rants against his mother he wrote… ”They are feeding very bad things into the universe and although you can't count on Karma to sort them out you can count on yourself to speak up.”


So that’s what I am doing now Jonny, after it’s all over, ‘speaking up’.


Renata accused me of abusing Jonny when he was an infant, although later denied doing so. But her aunt Mirijana told me when I visited her in Zagreb, on my way home from Mostar in the 90s, that … “Renata and her father are going around Zagreb saying very bad things about you David. If Nada (Renata’s mum) was alive she would never have let that happen.”


When I was blowing the whistle on War Child corruption Renata told people I had been selling War Child trucks to the Bosnian army.


If you have read ‘Left Field’ you will know that is a lie and I kept the War Child Trustee minutes which prove this truck lie to be just that … a lie. Anne will be able to show you those minutes.


Now Maria. She didn’t like me or Anne from the start. Indeed Jonny told me that he had told her not to destroy his family. There then followed my expulsion as Rhys’ grandad because I had ‘taken Jonny into a war zone’. After my visit to Jonny and Maria in New Orleans she claimed I had chased hookers there. I hadn’t.


After Maria 'sacked' me as grandfather I never heard from Jonny again, not even when I was in hospital close to death. But he did send the following email to Anthea Norman-Taylor …


David took me to Bosnia where I was once beaten by many Croatian police who hospitalized me, I had guns put to my head multiple times and once someone fired a gun next to my right ear and I lost 20% of my hearing … For years now Anne has been spitting venom at my mother and both her and David have actively worked on making me hate my mother ** ... My father has a long history of bad behavour, he was arrested multiple times, he jumped from job to job and was financially unstable his entire life … He is hothead and I can't have him near my child … David comes from a long line of abusive drunks … The doctors told him the reason behind his brain issues were because he was heavily drinking since the 60s. He was an alcoholic and depressive before I was born … Anne is a bully she is horrid person, she orders David around and belittles and attacks him verbally … she is one of the most selfish people on this planet … David and his father were upper middle class entitled ponces, yeah he pretends to be a communist socialist lefty, but the fact is he comes from a very well of family that afforded him the time to waste his youth … David NEEDS to see a psychiatrist ... Jonny”


How was Jonny able to switch so quickly from hatred of his mother and love for me to the other way round?


Could it be that Renata and Maria united in their hatred of me? Was Rhys told that Malcolm is ‘Deda’ - grandad? And most important of all, what will Rhys be told about me if and when he finds out I existed?


That I was a child abuser?

That I dragged Jonny into a war zone?

That I sold War Child trucks to the Bosnian army?

That I chased prostitutes in New Orleans?


When I am not here to defend myself, when I am no longer able to have even the possibility of contact with my grandson, when I am dead, please will you contact Jonny and Rhys and give them my sadly missed love. And will you please make contact with Ben and tell him my love for him has been with me always and goes with me.


David x


NOTE: I lived as long as I did with the love and support of my wife Anne, my son Ben and sisters, Liz and Joanna, my Mostar ‘son’ Oha, Masa and family, Teo and close friends, Eileen, Anthea, Jane, Maureen, Sebastian and Deicola. Andrea Rice, Ben's carer, has been supportive, not just of Ben, but of me as well. I am including her in this 'message'. There are others who left before me – Alice, Gerry, Robin, Ken.





The Love that’s deep within me

Shall reach you from the stars

You’ll feel it from the heavens

And it will heal the scars

- anon

 


 Additional correspondence:


Jonny to David: 21 January 2003


Dear David, please don't worry things are not as bad as they seem.The main point is that we finish every argument with love and with some sort of closure... Me and Nada (JONNY’S BOSNIAN FIRST WIFE) never finish arguments bad but we both have faults... My main thing is a take things to serious, there is not such a big problem with Nada's mum but basically I over interprit shit..… As for demon weed, the last time I smoked it was saturday morning which is part of the problem,,, but I don't need it.. Our characters show by how we deal with stress and I don't deal with it well.. The main point is when nada's mum had a go at me she was right about everything but also I think arguments are never dealt with in this way with her family so it is strange for her... I just hope she is cool with us... I don't want her to feel bad about being with us, even if the dali lama was sleeping over I'd get a bit miffed after a week... My problem is not her sleeping in our room (WHEN HIS MUM-IN-LAW WAS IN LOND ON FROM BOSNIA) but that since last sunday i haven't had 1 minute of my wife's time, I have had to call her at week to talk in private Nada's mums really felt that it was wrong to have that argument at your place, and it probably was I am very sorry... And I am selfish as well..DJing and all that is no where near as important to me as nada and I would work in a factory if it was the only way I could keep her.... so don't worry we have no wish to be a part but I must learn to deal with myself not just because of Nada but because of the way interact with everybody.… Also please don't feel renata is responsible for anything, she has really changed and I love her as well and a lot of my problems are exactly that, my problems, they are there because I created them... Whatever blame we like to put on our parents it's still me that has been alone all this time dwelling on bad thoughts... Renata and you are good parents and you should never feel guilty for the way you raised me and Ben, we are both good people....I love you and Anne and I thank you both very much for the way you dealt with our inbalance.I am sorry. Take Care, Love, Jonny


Jonny to Anne: 28 May 2007

hey anne, sorry to pull out tomorrow, thank you so much for each treatment, i really owe you. Acupuncture has been the only thing that has given me a very real sense of changing for the better. I regard you as healer way above that of a doctor. Much Love, Jonny


Jonny to David: 1 Jan 2013

“You make Maria so happy I think you complete something she missed out on.. and not in a needy way but in a really positive way. The money you gave us rescued us and made this life possible and now this baby will make our family even more. …I am so blessed and you are so responsible for my strength, Anne too. I know Anne will be exhausted and we completely understand if she cant make it but please express to her how much we love her and hope she is happy to be a grandmother.”


Jonny to Ben:13 May 2014

…when the divorce was happening Renata said David had sexually abused me, but all that aside i need to explain something to you about the divorce when Renata and David divorced I was 14 and you were 18 or older in the divorce David got 20,000 quid ish which represented about 5% of the family assets i then went to live with David , and even though I was the only child in the family at time (child being defined as someone younger then 18) David and I were awarded 5% of the family assets where as you and Renata got 95% so the reason David agreed to this was because Renata said she needed all that money for you and David wanting you to have a cushion in life agreed with the plan but Renata has ripped you off i'm afraid she is now keeping all the money to herself and giving you a small trickle to live on the actual fact of the matter is Renata legally agreed to support you by taking all of the families assets so it's none of my business because I took the 5% and Renata being consistently angry with me as a sign i should step away from our family and i must say i am more happier because of it BUT you have way more money then you think you do you are actually potentially a millionaire it's just the person who is safeguarding your money is being well dodgy please feel free to ask any questions if my explanation wasn't clear enough ….At some point you can ask her for the money you are owed … and you have at least a few hundred thousand … Think about it, she bought a house in cash in Cornwall … imagine how much she has sitting around … that's your money … because you were ill Renata was entrusted with all the assets because of you … she didn't get most of the money because she super cool or beat David at Scrabble … she got all the money because of you … and now she is keeping your money from you.


20 May 2014: Jonny to David

I can assure you Renata is crazy ...she's just not smart enough to see how she is projecting her hate rather then handling it … but anyone who says any of this is your fault is just lying and i know it's really hard but you should try to let it just roll off your back and not let it get you down because she's mental and your not … Renata must be counting her blessings that she doesn't have to put up with any snotty little mix raced children ( MARIA HIS WIFE IS MECICAN-AMERICAN)… Fuck that bitch … I fucking hate her … the only blessing she has now is not hearing that i despise her … fuck her and all this hatred she put on me from such a young age … and I want our family to be something Rhys runs back to , not away from … but she needs to be fixed because she is broken


30 May 2014: Jonny to David

Malcolm and Renata need a world view with a horizon blocking their way because it is their safety ... sticking to the family home of memories, not having close relationships where friends can question your world view … to them keeping close minds is a neccessity for them … but they have money and cushions and a palace ... people like Malcolm and Renata need to be shut down the same way Halliburton needs to be shut down ... they are feeding very bad things into the universe.


30 Jan 2015: Jonny to David

“just wanted to write to you to say that I love you and also to say that there really isn't an issue between you and me.”


02 August 2015: Jonny to Anthea Norman-Taylor, (ex-wife of Brian Eno and my close friend)

David took me to Bosnia where I was once beaten by many Croatian police who hospitalized me, I had guns put to my head multiple times and once someone fired a gun next to my right ear and I lost 20% of my hearing … For years now Anne has been spitting venom at my mother and both her and David have actively worked on making me hate my mother ** ... My father has a long history of bad behavour, he was arrested multiple times, he jumped from job to job and was financially unstable his entire life … He is hothead and I can't have him near my child … David comes from a long line of abusive drunks … The doctors told him the reason behind his brain issues were because he was heavily drinking since the 60s. He was an alcoholic and depressive before I was born … Anne is a bully she is horrid person, she orders David around and belittles and attacks him verbally … she is one of the most selfish people on this planet … David and his father were upper middle class entitled ponces, yeah he pretends to be a communist socialist lefty, but the fact is he comes from a very well of family that afforded him the time to waste his youth … David NEEDS to see a psychiatrist ... Jonny



All I can add here is that the final outburst against me is out of character. Six months after telling me he loves me I become the Devil. I Don’t know why he wrote to Anthea with such hatred for me, but I suspect he is under pressure from his mother and his wife. I don’t think he is working much and he has always taken drugs and think this has affected his thinking. No one is able to get through to him. Brian Eno, who helped start Jonny’s music career and got him is US Green Card, wrote to him and didn’t get a reply. A senior person in the UN who knew me in Mostar and knew and liked Jonny wrote. No reply. One of his London friends met him in Barcelona and told me that he refused to talk about me at all. We are all blanked. But still I have a big wish. I have had two major surgeries, a stroke and a serious infection of my heart valve. I am not worried about my death, but I don;’t want to die without at least speaking to my son. Not sure what else I can say here. Oh and Jonny was never in a hospital in Mostar and I wish I was as well-off as he says I am. As for the multiple arrests and long line of drunks. Not sure he slept well the night after he wrote that! Talk on Saturday and thanks for your time and help. David



Wash your hands to 'God Save the Queen'


 

“The United Kingdom has an enviable reputation for resilience. In a rapidly changing world, we are at the forefront of embracing new opportunities and seeking innovative solutions to emerging problems.” Foreword to Cabinet Office National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, 2017

 

In the three years since its publication let us examine the innovative solutions to the most recent ‘emerging problem', the COVID-19, Coronavirus outbreak.

 

VENTILATORS: These assist respiratory functions, pumping oxygen into the blood for vital organs. They are the main supportive treatment for critical stage COVID-19 patients.

 

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said he could not make guarantees that everyone who requires a ventilator will get one, saying: “We don’t make guarantees in healthcare”.

 

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chairman of the British Medical Association says UK’s lack of ventilators “is a result of a decade of under-funding”.

 

Former NHS trust chairman Roy Lilley has said, “I mean we’ve seen this coming. It’s pretty obvious we were going to need more ventilators and somehow or other, either we’ve been left flat foot and haven’t started to buy them quickly enough or we’ve tried to buy them and they’re just not there.”

 

HOSPITAL BEDS: Chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said the UK has about “a quarter of the critical care beds that Germany has and that the country’s “starting position unfortunately has been far worse than many other of our European nations”.

 

Europe is the third biggest manufacturer of hospital beds after New Zealand and the USA. Former NHS trust chairman Roy Lilley said “This is capital equipment and the hospitals won’t have been buying them”. He doubted European producers would sell to the UK now we are leaving the EU.

 

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: The Times reports that, “frontline hospital staff fear that doctors and nurses will die because of NHS guidance that they do not need to wear full protective equipment when caring for virus patients.”

 

TESTING: The World Health Organization has criticised the approach of countries like the UK that are not prioritising testing, with its director General, Tedros Adhanom, saying “you cannot fight a fire blindfolded … test, test, test”. The Guardian reports that a junior doctor in an emergency assessment unit has started a petition called “Test frontline NHS staff for Covid-19 as a priority”, which has so far attracted nearly 700,000 signatures.

 

The UK government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance was asked if the UK should have mass testing on the scale of South Korea which has tested more than 250,000 people out of a population of 51 million, and is bringing infections down. He replied, : “I think we need a big increase in testing. That’s what I’m pushing for very hard.”

 

PRIVATE HOSPITALS: Spain and Portugal have led the way by requisitioning private hospitals, their equipment and staff. The UK are going to pay £2.5 million a day to ‘buy in’ these facilities.

 

LOSS OF EARNINGS: In the UK those who have lost their incomes are entitled to £94 a week. The Irish government is giving workers who have lost their incomes the Euro equivalent of £203 a week. The generous UK ‘scheme’ doesn’t even cover the many phony self-employed. Firms like DPD, a delivery company, is insisting that employees who self-isolate will still have to pay the costs of renting vans and equipment. And have I mentioned the homeless? It’s impossible to voluntarily self-isolate if you are sleeping on the street. The state should requisition hotels for the homeless. There they can be be fed, kept warm and offered medical assistance.

 

CLOSING SCHOOLS: The government’s reason for keeping schools open is that working parents will be deprived of the free childcare they provide. Schools across Europe are closed. In Boris Johnson logic it is better for children to travel to school, mix with each other, come into close contact with dozens of adults and spread the virus.

 

If Jeremy Corbyn were PM today millions would feel more secure. Even journalists like Robert Peston who spent years attacking him is now making the case for something resembling a socialist response to the crisis.

 

“ ‘Community organising’ is one of the platitudes frequently offered when someone is bereft of political ideas. It is hard to do and often very dull. This time it is different.” As one Tory minister put it to Peston, these principles imply that Boris Johnson will almost certainly have to oversee a Government that for a good year or maybe longer will look quite socialist. The Minister added, 'We'll find ourselves implementing most of Jeremy Corbyn's programme'.

 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Basta


 

Boris Johnson told business leaders yesterday that the effort to manufacture more ventilators could be called “Last Gasp’. Meanwhile the company ready and willing to make millions of them has not received one order from the NHS. What a joker.

 

The ‘government’ is going to pay over £2.5 million a day to use private hospital beds. Meanwhile the Spanish have requisitioned them. This means the private health companies will make a profit out of the pandemic. Coincidence or planned?

 

Theatres are ‘advised’ to close but not ordered to. This means they cannot operate insurance cover and many smaller venues and theatre companies will go the wall, but hey a business opportunity for new property development. Coincidence or planned?

 

The UK is second from bottom in Europe for level of support to ill workers. In France, employees can exercise what is known as “the right of withdrawal” from work by walking off the job if they believe their health and safety are at risk, without having wages docked or facing punishment. In the UK no such luck with just £94.25 a week sick pay.

 

Meanwhile non-tax payer Richard ‘hold em to Ransom‘ Branson asks for £billions as airline ‘Coronavirus compensation’.

 

As the Italians say (who are increasingly on strike over all this) BASTA - enough. My Jewish friends would add ‘already’.
Keep well and if you are able to, don’t get upset - organise.

 

Need more information than you can get from MSN. Here are a few websites/ Facebooks for you. Twitter is also a useful source of information and debate

 

THE CANARY
https://www.thecanary.co/

NOVARA MEDIA
https://novaramedia.com/

WEAR RED
https://www.patreon.com/weearred

SKWAWKBOX
https://skwawkbox.org/

VOX POLITICAL
https://voxpoliticalonline.com/

EVOLVE POLITICS
https://evolvepolitics.com/

ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE
https://www.facebook.com/Another-Angry-Voice-185180654855189/

JOHN PILGER
http://johnpilger.com/

JONATHAN COOK
https://www.jonathan-cook.net/

and this US website

COUNTERPUNCH
https://www.counterpunch.org/