We can answer this question

Britain

21 thoughts on “We can answer this question”

  1. Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so few to so many.

    A long lingering painful sexless death in poverty is owed by these cvnts to us in recompense.

  2. ‘A pandemic has been warned of for years.’

    By him.

    ‘David Alexander is professor of risk and disaster reduction at University
    College London and vice-president of the Institute of Civil Protection and
    Emergency Management’

    ‘But the government’s flat-footed response betrays its lack of emergency experts’

    If you only had more people like him.

    “You need more people like me. ME! ME! ME!”

  3. “When disasters strike there should be three elements to the response: plans, procedures and improvisation. We can imagine the planner as an orchestral conductor, directing the members of the orchestra to play their sheet music. It’s the conductor’s job to ensure the musicians play in harmony, and although improvisation can’t be eliminated, it should be reduced to a bare minimum. Emergency planners will be needed to identify and meet the novel challenges that coronavirus presents – both now and in the future. Never have they been needed more on critical advisory committees.”

    I’m now convinced that this is never going to work with government. There’s that old military quote about “fighting the last war”, and the same thing happens across government. At the end of this, we’ll have stockpiles of ventilators in warehouses after a report, and the next threat won’t require them.

    It’s been the private sector, individuals, charities and businesses that have been the big damn heroes in all of this. Gin producers switching to making hand sanitizer in a weekend, Cisco making their Webex free for all, people setting up groups to help people help each other on Facebook, the Met Opera putting all their operas on streaming to keep people occupied. All of this happened really fast.

  4. @ BoM4
    +1
    Plans made in advance only work if the crisis matches the prediction – any difference has to be met by improvisation.

  5. ‘Gin producers switching to making hand sanitizer’

    My God, man! The worst possible disaster. Do I need to hoard some? Gin, that is.

  6. The Meissen Bison

    plans, procedures and improvisation.

    Improvisation and plans can make uneasy bed-fellows. Where the planners exercise a grip on process and procedure, improvisation is inadmissable which is why the management of the pandemic and of public health more broadly has been so cack-handed. BoM4 is spot on: innovation and improvisation are better companions.

    We can imagine the planner as an orchestral conductor, directing the members of the orchestra to play their sheet music. It’s the conductor’s job to ensure the musicians play in harmony, and although improvisation can’t be eliminated, it should be reduced to a bare minimum.
    What a useless metaphor. If the musicians aren’t playing in harmony the ones playing the bum notes need to be replaced.

  7. Dennis, He of the Consistent Panda Bear Shape

    What Mr. Alexander ignores is the fact that the people he would task with anticipating, developing, implementing and improvising are – at best – marginally competent at their jobs under the very best of circumstances. The bowels of a bureaucracy isn’t where an untapped well of leadership, planning talent, or crisis management skills resides.

    What Mr. Alexander also ignores is that public health experts don’t run things during a pandemic… politicians do.

    When Andrew Cuomo implements a policy requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive senior citizens, there is little a well funded and competent team of public health experts can do.

    Similarly, if Bill de Blasio decides to ignore the obvious benefits of systematically cleaning subway cars in NYC for two months, there is little that can be done by anyone to mitigate the effects of that decision.

    It’s no accident that COVID-19 has hit the states such as NY, NJ, MI the hardest. Each is run by a governor that simply wasn’t up to the job of taking early and effective action to combat the pandemic. Each of the governors made a series of poor decisions that no team of public health experts or officials could overcome. And in NY you have the double whammy of having an incredibly incompetent mayor running NYC.

  8. Meanwhile, in trannytown:

    I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m currently self-isolating with a temperature of 103.

    Press F to pay respects.

    This is the problem with the people demanding “freedom” from virus restrictions. If they were campaigning for the freedom to blow themselves up in an empty car park somewhere, I’d be all in favour. But that’s not how this works. The people who won’t stay home, who won’t keep their distance, who won’t conform to even the most common-sense instructions are dangerous not just to themselves, but to the rest of us too.

    Too bad, Carrie. My body, my choice!

  9. Gosh if only Public Health England’s budget was £5 billion instead of £4 billion we could have hired some more disaster planners and everything would have been ok.

  10. “ At the end of this, we’ll have stockpiles of ventilators in warehouses after a report, and the next threat won’t require them.”

    It’s not entirely certain we needed them this time either based on some of the medical reports not the MSM hysteria

  11. @ Ummm.. Oh no.. the dearth of suitable ventilators is quite real…

    Unless you know Beancounters somewhere who let a hospital stock 10 bits of Bloody Expensive Equipment “just in case” where they usually need 5. ( So they have three and borrow/lease the other two when needed….)

    Which is the first problem of Being Prepared.. I takes an investment the Beancounters will be screaming about and won’t sign off on… And quite a lot of it has a shelf life, so it means continous investment for something that may or may not happen in the way the [ahem]Experts cooked up. Usually not…

  12. Government / Civil Service broadly splits into two areas: Policy and Delivery.
    Policy folk tend to be Sir Humphrey and can waffle and spaff for Britain. Entrust them with nothing – least of all giving sensible non-partisan advice. They are wankers with no passing acquaintance with practicalities.
    Delivery bits can often be surprisingly sensible and efficient. Think of online passport renewal, driver’s licences, or HMRC getting the furlough scheme designed, built, and operating well inside a month. These people generally dislike and despair of the grip Policy folk have on the machine.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    TMB

    We can imagine the planner as an orchestral conductor, directing the members of the orchestra to play their sheet music. It’s the conductor’s job to ensure the musicians play in harmony, and although improvisation can’t be eliminated, it should be reduced to a bare minimum.
    What a useless metaphor. If the musicians aren’t playing in harmony the ones playing the bum notes need to be replaced.
    What a useless metaphor. If the musicians aren’t playing in harmony the ones playing the bum notes need to be replaced.

    Its worse than that as a metaphor.

    If the conductor is conducting the influenza symphony and that all they’ve practised and the orchestra notices that the crowd want to hear the SARS symphony they should be able to go off on their own and ignore the conductor. That’s just what happened here and has led to any number of problems.

    As to the command and control elements, and BOM4 points out generals prepare for the last war. Yep, they did, PHE and NHS really did plan for a ‘flu epidemic and were in denial when it was pointed out it was SARS.

    The difference is that with the military when a plan starts failing the guys in the middle and on the ground are taught to improvise to meet their objectives. Yes, they may have the wrong stuff and be in the wrong place etc, but they usually find a way to muddle through and eventually the generals get to figure out what’s really going on and start providing the support that is needed.

    Here we’ve had PHE and NHS demanding that everything remains centralised. There’s been lots of comments about why we didn’t start track and trace earlier; its because PHE insisted on doing it and centralising in on “gold standard” lab rather than outsourcing.

    Now we’ve got NHS central command insisting that they want the “gold standard” tracking app. All the troops are telling them it will fail but they’re ploughing on and insisting they won’t be dying in a ditch.

  14. No BiND, the generals who eff up the first battles are sacked summarily. That does not seem to happen in government/civil service.

  15. The Meissen Bison

    BiND / rhoda k – I think we’re pretty much of one mind here. However…

    There will be a stupendous bill to pay at the end of all this and its order of magnitude is such that the Sir Humpreys cannot remain unscathed and politicians who accepted duff advice will be discredited.

    Boris Johnson’s track-record of appalling decisions since his December election victory (Huawei, HS2, Green targets) will seem as nothing compared to his acceptance of un-peer-reviewed recommendations from a solitary source with a history of dreadful over-estimations and uncommented models (excluding his part-time bathukolpian evening playmate).

    The disappointment in all of this is Dominic Cummings, reputed to have a brain the size of a planet. His blogging has always been impenetrable which is not generally a good sign but his colleagues during and after the referendum campaign showered him with praise and he did produce a result against the odds. Like a planet, though, his brain is apparently inert: he has accepted all the statistical pap without a questioning murmur. What of the weirdos and misfits he was looking to hire if he himself isn’t an analyst or risk taker?

    I rather hope that VAT will be raised to 50% to pay for all this nonsense and help concentrate minds a little but it’s far more likely that those who have stuff will be milked to pay for those who have had a lovely furlough while we clap ourselves on the back on Thursday evenings for having saved our blessed NHS.

  16. The problem is that the next pandemic will be an intestinal one. Mark my words, there will be a shortage of bedpans.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    TMB,

    There will be a stupendous bill to pay at the end of all this and its order of magnitude is such that the Sir Humpreys cannot remain unscathed and politicians who accepted duff advice will be discredited.

    Indeed, but its unlikely that the sainted NHS will receive any criticism and so far the public seems oblivious to incompetence and what appears to be political malice of PHE.

    The latest madness from the NHS is buying unusable gowns from Turkey that involved, to much fanfare, such incompetence that they had to send the RAF (that was meant to be a triumph of logistics not a sign of failure). As reported everywhere the gowns failed the CE mark test.

    There’s a convention that politicians don’t target the civil service or other bodies when things go wrong and its probably good politics, the public doesn’t like that sort of finger pointing in a crises. There needs to be a reckoning and very quickly before it all falls from the public conscious and makes reforms impossible. No doubt Sir Humphrey knows that and will ensure all the commissions and other investigations looking in to what went wrong will take a long time and key findings are buried in civil service gobbledegook.

    The end result will probably be the opposite of what’s needed and we’ll get even more centralisation.

  18. @BiND May 6, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Spot on with military improvise and muddle through best as can
    vs
    NHS/PHE “must be tried, tested and perfect” to be approved. Applies to Chloroquine etc too

    Hancock & BoJo failed by accepting this instead of over-riding

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