The government has mastered a test and trace system – for appointing Tory insiders

There must be an app that tells anyone who has been in contact with a giant failed project that they have to spend our public funds – and mustn’t go outside until they’ve splurged it all

Mark Steel
Thursday 15 October 2020 19:20
Comments
London set to move to Tier 2 of lockdown restrictions

How are they so staggeringly useless? Why isn’t the whole country screaming, “You’ve done every single thing wrong, test and trace is useless, your protective equipment ran out, and your rules are so complicated you’ll have to get Brian Cox to explain them, going: ‘The second tier follows waves that bend through the light-continuum, so a bubble of six expands, becoming nine as your external internals internally expand.’”

Now it’s been revealed the government pays some consultants £7,000 a day for assisting with this system, which tracks and traces almost no one.

That may be a fair sum, as it’s quite an achievement to fail to trace anybody. You could trace more people by accident if you blew dandelion seeds, whispering, “He’s got Covid, he’s got Covid not.” Reaching this level of uselessness clearly shows they’ve worked extremely hard on their algorithms.

Altogether, the government has given £12bn to companies to fail this badly. Boris Johnson claims to idolise Winston Churchill, but that’s the equivalent of Churchill outsourcing the Second World War to some private company, who announce nine months later that Britain is now a suburb of Munich, and still get paid anyway.  

This isn’t just a mistake, but a result of their insistence that the most efficient way to manage any task is to hand it to big business. So the NHS should follow this example.

Instead of employing nurses to waste time bathing people and applying respirators, they should hand over the contract to a private company, which for no less than £12bn sets up a “bathe and breathe” app that tells you if you’ve stopped breathing but doesn’t work yet, though it might do by next August.

The current situation is exactly what was predicted three weeks ago by the government’s own scientists, who gave explicit advice the government ignored, but are now trying to implement three weeks late.

Matt Hancock confirms London and other parts of England moving to 'high' tier 2 lockdown

This is what they do every time, suddenly announcing, “Look what’s happened. No one could foresee that happening, except the people we pay to tell us what will happen.”

If scientists told Johnson, “You must put petrol in the car, or it will run out of petrol and the car will stop,” he’d say, “Ah, we, eh, don’t wish to impose, to er restriction, of er, er, stopping at a garage, so remember faces fences faeces.”

Then an hour later, he’d be stuck on the hard shoulder of the M4, telling Keir Starmer he was Captain Hindsight for saying he thought this might happen.

We should acknowledge, though, that the government is good at tracking and tracing sometimes. If they want to outsource a service, they seem able to find a relative of a Conservative with astonishing speed.  

There must be an app that lights up when someone has been in contact with a failed project that has brought them millions of pounds. Perhaps they receive an alert saying they must spend the next two weeks spending millions of pounds of public money, and mustn’t go outside until they’ve splashed it all?

Their first aim with every announcement seems to be protecting themselves, so Matt Hancock interpreted French president Emmanuel Macron’s recent address as a “compliment” of the test and trace system, when Macron actually said, “If you look at our neighbours today, though, the cases they identified through these apps, even in Germany and the UK [were] very few.”

We should all try this game. I’ll start, with “Matt Hancock is an incompetent pompous over-promoted fool who stares inanely during press conferences, desperate to say something to make him appear less idiotic than he clearly is, like someone mistakenly placed on a Formula 1 racing team and asked how to tune an engine for maximum efficiency when they don’t know if the engine is in the front of the car on the roof, and they’re only there because of a failure in the app that’s supposed to track and trace expert mechanics.”

I expect tomorrow Hancock will issue a statement saying, “I’m delighted Mark Steel has complimented my ability as health minister.”    

Ministers can’t even communicate any of the developments in coherent sentences, and they’re getting worse. By December, Johnson’s press conferences will sound like an episode of Teletubbies, as he splutters, “R number gone up again, poor R number, oh well, not see friend ’til April, eh-oh, school shut-shut, never mind.”

Maybe this is because they’re split between themselves. For example, one Daily Telegraph columnist writing in support of the government claimed this week that there should be no restrictions because, “All you’re doing is delaying the deaths.” This is an excellent point, because what’s the point in curing anyone if they’re going to die one day anyway?

We waste billions on hospitals so they can do surgery on people’s failing organs, then at some point in the next 90 years, they still go and cark it, the ungrateful bastards. So instead of frittering this money away, we should use it to build multi-storey car parks.

Other Tories accept we have to do something, and there’s the divide between those who think we should leave people to die and those who see this as one huge opportunity for big business. 

Thank the Lord we’ve taken back control.

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