back to article In Hancock's half-hour, Dido Harding offers hollow laughs: Cake distracts test-and-trace boss at UK COVID-19 briefing

When something as serious as the UK government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is being openly mocked on social media, it's clear all is not well. Having made her first stab at notoriety by overseeing the data breach at TalkTalk, which exposed 157,000 customers details and cost the company £60m, Baroness Dido "Queen of …

  1. Steve Foster
    Facepalm

    World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

    ...oh yes, it is: it's the worst in the world. Even with the stiff competition from the likes of Bolsonaro!

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

      We are second worst in the world on most metrics, though the worst is different depending on which metric you look at. I guess that makes us worst overall.

      1. Eclectic Man

        Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

        It is world beating in the same way that Mr Chris Addison says our transport system is 'World Beating":

        In the UK we have the BEST rail replacement bus service in the world!

        So there!

        (Of course, it would be nicer if we had the best railways in the world, but you can't have everything.)

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

          Once upon a time we did have the best railway system in the world. Admittedly it was then the only railway system in the world, but you've got to start somewhere...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

      If only this Government could get fibre in the ground as well as they seem to be able to put people in the ground.

      1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

        And many were their own supporters!! Who'd have thunk it? Opps!

        Then again, who would have ever thought a Tory Foreign Secretary would ever say 'fuck business'?

        Funny old world.

    3. chuBb. Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: World-Beating? Oh no, it isn't...

      Once had an edict from on high that all software the University I worked at produced "World class" software, given that the majority of "dev" work was reskinning 3rd party software to look like it sort of followed the bullshit mongers style guide I had a simple solution...

      I created a class in pseudo code so it would be applied as a pattern to all dev work, the class was called World, and had a single getter which returned the version number. At which point all our software was world class...

      My solution here for World beating is to call the class galaxy, Tyvm that's an exorbitant consultancy fee I'm missing out on

  2. Mast1

    "......worst death toll in Europe"

    That statement is a bit cheap on statistical accuracy given the otherwise reasonable summary of Thursday's instalment of the UK soap opera. Try comparing death rates per million across Europe and you will see that, although the UK rate is bad, it is not yet a "world beater". More like "primus inter pares". To adapt Baroness Harding's metaphor : using that statistic is no way to ice the cake.

    1. tony2heads
      Unhappy

      Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

      BELGIUM to you sir.

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

      show the number one is Belgium, but the UK is a hot contender

      1. Peter X

        Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

        That's the annoying thing. We "the people", quite rightly critique gov.uk on their crappy performance, and then they just find somewhere that's worse and say "look, we're not _that_ bad".

        But here's the thing - where do *WE* expect to be? Surely, the UK should have managed this as well or better than other countries? If we do not expect that of ourselves, what does that say? (and by extension, that attitude most bode very badly for our future brexit strategy).

        IMHO gov.uk have handled this piss-poorly.

        There's no excuse for where we find ourselves.

        If they can't figure this out, then they really should consider their positions and call an election.

        And I know that last bit prolly sounds like a pipe-dream, but exactly why should *WE* be putting up with this incompetence?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

          Because they have an 80 seat majority and can quite happily stick two fingers up to the rest of the country, like they did over the Cummings scandal, for the next four and a half years.

        2. jonha

          Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

          > future brexit strategy

          You owe me a new keyboard.

          As to the rest of your comment... my father when I was a schoolboy used to say <stern voice> "YOU DON'T COMPARE WITH THE WORST... YOU COMPARE WITH THE BEST" whenever I told him my grades weren't that bad. Back then I thought he was just an old git but I've since seen the light.

        3. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

          Right now there are the countries that were able to shut down completely before the virus was loose in the community - like Taiwan and New Zealand - and countries that had it spreading for weeks before it was acknowledged as a pandemic - like the UK.

          Faced with prevalent infection in the country the Government had very few choices available. It's easy to sit to the side and criticise, but have you heard the shit being spewed?

          "We should have locked down earlier" is the attack on the Government, who were being advised by SAGE not to lockdown the same week that they finally did.

          "We should re-open the schools" cried the politicians, before backing their union paymasters in preventing that happen.

          "Where is all the PPE?" asked the union activist nurses, while their colleagues modelled it in fucking Tik Tok videos.

          "Why didn't you protect our care homes?" bleat the media, yet don't fucking dare ask Sturgeon why Scotland's care homes have many many more deaths.

          "It's too early to stop lockdown" cry the cowardly sheep, as they flock to the streets to attack war memorials.

          Aspects of the Government response have been shambolic but to pretend that the Government have managed this any worse than their peers across the world, or indeed any worse than the cunts like Kneel to the Mob Starmer would have done (bearing in mind he has no answers - for anything, ever) is wishful thinking.

          I don't like the current situation but politically motivated attacks aren't helping anybody.

          1. Kernel

            Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

            "Aspects of the Government response have been shambolic but to pretend that the Government have managed this any worse than their peers across the world, or indeed any worse than the cunts like Kneel to the Mob Starmer would have done (bearing in mind he has no answers - for anything, ever) is wishful thinking."

            And yet, here in New Zealand we are back to normal life (except for border entry restrictions) and on track for declaring that the virus is extinct in NZ in about five day's time - so yes, it could be said that they've managed it worse than some of their peers across the world.

            1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

              Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

              Interesting to see how NZ balances the need to keep the virus out against the value of tourism to the economy. I don't mean to come over snarky, I genuinely am interested in what tactic they will take.

            2. Graham Cobb

              Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

              I'm no defender of the government but a comparison with NZ is useless. We need to compare with countries of similar population densities, similar economies and similar ways of life.

              That shows up plenty of concerns without bringing up ridiculous comparisons like NZ or Taiwan.

              1. Marcus Fil

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                Indeed, Germany is a fair comparison. How is the UK doing in comparison to Germany? Still not good is it? Whoever thought that mendacious tw*t Johnson should use the term "world beating" needs a world beating beating.

              2. John H Woods Silver badge

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                Sorry but when criticicising comparisons between NZ and UK, the different national population density is almost irrelevant. I won't bore you with the biology and the maths but just consider 10,000 people in a Lunar base: the moon would make Greenland look crowded, but Covid19 would still be a very serious problem.

            3. osakajin Bronze badge

              Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

              Until you open the borders... or is that not going to happen?

              1. Kernel

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                "Until you open the borders... or is that not going to happen?"

                If this question refers to NZ, then the answer is that no, it's not going to happen anytime soon - there was mention of up to 10 years before international travel is fully open again.

                My understanding is that currently, to get into NZ, you need to obtain a specific permit to enter, isolate in your country of origin and undergo several CV-19 tests with negative results then, when you arrive here, you get quarantined and tested for another two weeks,

                There is discussion around having open borders with countries such as Australia and certain Pacific island nations once both parties are able to establish that the virus is extinct in their country and that they have controls in place to keep it that way - so think isolation bubbles, but bigger.

                1. Robert Sneddon

                  New Zealand

                  Serious question here -- what is happening to folks like merchant shipping crews who work in the import and export businesses, delivering oil and other materials? Do they go through the full fourteen-day quarantine process and bill-of-health requirements when their ships dock or are they sequestered on board their ships and not allowed to land? What about NZ engineers, pilots etc. who go on board these ships, are they then quarantined after they leave those ships?

                  Britain is intending to implement a quarantine system like New Zealand's for visitors (too little too late but...) but we're also issuing tens of thousands of temporary visas to agricultural workers from Europe to work during the harvest season. They'll be off the planes and into the fields, no fourteen-day quarantine for low-paid "essential workers" like them. They'll be living in crowded and unsanitary temporary accommodations like guest workers elsewhere in the world, the sorts of places that have reported concentrated outbreaks of COVID-19 in the recent past. Food, though is the ultimate "just-in-time" product though, it has to be picked and processed on time or left to rot in the fields.

                2. osakajin Bronze badge

                  Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                  @kernal

                  Bwahahaha.

                  Nz is fucked

          2. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

            ""We should have locked down earlier" is the attack on the Government, who were being advised by SAGE not to lockdown the same week that they finally did."

            Here's the problem: SAGE was and is controlled by Dominic Cummings. Contradict him, and you get removed (as we just found out again). So the government wasn't advised by SAGE, they were advised by Dominic Cummings.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

              Given that Cummings wanted to lock down a week earlier than we did, you are wrong about him controlling SAGE and wrong about the Government not being advised by SAGE.

              Do please try and include basic facts in your unhinged rants.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                "Given that Cummings wanted to lock down a week earlier than we did"

                Stick to the facts?

                Given the SAGE meetings are strictly private, you have no basis to the truth of this. Any media reports are pure spin, and in no way factual, unless someone leaks the actual minutes of the meeting, even then.

              2. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                Evidence, please. Where did he say that, and when? Link, or GTFO.

                Or is this the same as him "predicting" the pandemic in his 2019 blog post written on the 14th April 2020 instead of trying to catch up on what he missed?

                According to the Government behaviour, he is still in favour of the "wild herd immunity" approach, which is also described as "kill 1 in ~300"

                1. Cederic Silver badge

                  Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                  Link as requested:

                  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-28/top-aide-to-u-k-s-johnson-pushed-scientists-to-back-lockdown

                  While the person above you claims that the media can't be trusted on this, note the date of that report predates the witch hunt against him, and it's a hell of a lot more evidence than the person to whom I replied provided.

                  As for the SAGE meetings being 'secret' as someone claimed, perhaps they'll welcome a link to the SAGE meeting minutes:

                  https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?organisations%5B%5D=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies&parent=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

                  Note in particular paragraph 5 of the 17th Meeting on 18th March, and paragraph 21 in the 18th meeting on 23rd March, the day lockdown was announced. Also notice that the attendees of both meetings did not include Cummings.

                  It's almost as though the Government was following the advice from SAGE at the time.

                  Now, is that enough evidence for you and the other ignorant people accusing me of lying? I hope so because none of these unwarranted attacks are backed by any references at all.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    Good piece of input/Googling on your part to try and understand the uk.gov timeline.

                    Did Cummings original have a "herd immunity" based non-response planned? (Or was that a Sunday Times fabrication as is the current uk.gov story?) And if so, at which point did the apparent 180 occur. (At the time I thought it was the TV images coming in from Italy which swung Dom & the Johnson cabinet finally into action.

                    It will also be interesting to see if we ever find out about Faculty and their herd immunity sims and how that played a part, if any, in the early weeks of the outbreak. Given Cummings' links to that organisation.

                  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    "According to two people involved"

                  3. Rob

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    I don't think you've fully grasped how much normal folk hate Cummings. The witch hunt started years ago and was intensified when he released the Brexit lies. He designed and ran the Brexit campaign to leave, he's the reason Boris is in power. He has too much sway and is a self serving c**t, he needs to go!

                    1. Cederic Silver badge

                      Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                      I don't think you've fully grasped that normal folk voted for Brexit and voted for Boris to have an 80 seat majority.

                      If you think Cummings lied about Brexit then that's your choice. I know for certain that the media lied about it, the Bank of England lied about it, the BBC keep lying about it, countless politicians of all parties lied about it and the Civil Service, politicians and the media have spent four years trying to overturn the democratic will of the people.

                      Perhaps you feel that my correct course of action would be to spew vile hatred towards all of those, picket their houses, threaten their families and lie about them? Is that the behaviour you're advocating? Or would you stand up, say, "Hang on, get a grip, maintain some perspective, obey the law, don't be a cockwomble."

                      Because that's all I'm really doing.

                      1. Peter X

                        Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                        I'm totally resisting the temptation to point out that the majority only voted for Brexit in 2016 when the general public (and prolly the politicians too) knew far less about what it actually involved. And I'm not going to mention how in the 2019 election, the Tories + Brexit-party vote only amounted to 47% of votes cast; thus, one _could_ conclude that perhaps there's no mandate for a hard-brexit... which I mention purely because it looks like we might be heading that way. Nope... not going to mention any of that at all! :D

                        However... I would simply like to point out the amusing-if-it-were-not-so-grim, startling demographic overlap between brexit voters and COVID-19 death victims... in so far as both skew towards the older age groups.

                        Thus, I am of the opinion, the worse COVID-19 is managed by this government, the more they should reconsider their objectives vis-a-vis brexit. Seem's fair no?

                        1. Cederic Silver badge

                          Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                          We've left the EU. We end the transition period at the end of January.

                          Start dealing with it, because it's the new reality, whether COVID kills your elderly relatives or not.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                "Given that Cummings wanted to lock down a week earlier than we did"

                Interesting view, given the narrative was that Cummings wanted no lock down and dead old people be damned. Do you have a citation for this? Thanks.

              4. airbrush

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                And you trust what's written about Cummins, more fool you.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                  Presumably, airbrush, you're posting in response to the Anonymous Coward's comment directly above yours

          3. sabroni Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

            How do you manage to post this bollocks from the 1970s?

            Union paymasters??? Good grief....

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

              It's clearly escaped your notice that teaching (and other) unions fund the labour party, and that teaching unions have been celebrating the opportunity to get paid for an extended holiday.

              I'm so sorry that reality does not conform with your prejudices.

              1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

                Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                The first part of your first sentence is true, although union members are not obliged to make political donations. The second part is a fantasy conjured from your own prejudices.

                Maybe you should read your second sentence back to yourself.

                1. Cederic Silver badge

                  Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                  Oh ffs.

                  https://twnews.co.uk/uk-news/fury-as-teaching-unions-celebrate-victory-of-keeping-schools-closed-until-september

                  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8413875/Fury-teaching-unions-celebrate-victory-keeping-schools-closed-September.html

                  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/11/teaching-unions-accused-celebrating-schools-remaining-closed/

                  You're welcome to challenge the wording but it's no fantasy.

                  Incidentally, in case you're wondering, no, I'm not going to apologise for being better informed than you.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    Daily Mail? Errm, no thanks!

                    If anyone thinks that teachers are getting an extended holiday they are very much deluded.

                    As with just about every other aspect of this whole covid-19 crisis, there has been absolutely no Central leadership from government so schools are all dealing with lockdown in different ways but teachers are still having to plan (and certainly in secondary settings also deliver via Zoom and the like), lessons for all the kids at home, whilst trying to run classes of keyworker and vulnerable children which often span all ages and abilities. Now that some other kids are back but may be in only part time and in separate groups from the keyworker kids there's now a need to plan lessons for those which won't be quite the same as for the kids still at home.

                    The government hasn't even consulted with schools about any of their mad plans - the latest return of some kids was a completely political stunt. I'm yet to meet a teacher who thinks there's any point in year 6 returning when they've already done all their SATS exams and will only get to be reminded about all the events they'd normally be doing at the end of term (like the leavers' school play, end of term prom/ceremony, final school trip etc). And Foundation + Year 1 are still younger than kids even start school in some countries - any teacher of this age will tell you that bodily fluids are a part of every working day with them.

                    My wife and her circle of teaching friends have primarily been concerned with safety, then how to try and give the kids some kind of engaging school environment which works whilst maintaining social distancing. I can assure you that they've all been working as hard as they can from home whilst also trying to home school their own kids. But the teachers weren't asked - the government just made up a policy of the back of a cigarette packet and ran with it.

                    In my personal situation my wife has had to come up with weekly lesson plans which will accommodate the capabilities of our 6 year old and our 4 year old preschooler whilst also planning for her own school, attending meetings and making arrangements for children with special needs. Meanwhile we've also got a 1.5 year old toddling around and needing constant entertainment.

                    Meanwhile in my own line of work - my full-time workload has significantly increased during lock-down and I have to deal with kids having meltdown tantrums whilst I'm in the middle of meetings So I end up working late to catch up.

                    On the plus side we're lucky to still have jobs during this - so many people we know have had their lives turned upside down or their livelihoods destroyed because of this pandemic.

                    This. Is. Not. A. Holiday!

                    1. Cederic Silver badge

                      Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                      Fortunately I managed to provide you with multiple links, so you don't have to read the one you dislike.

                      In your personal situation your wife has had to come up with weekly lesson plans for your 6 year old, because the teacher that should have been doing that was doing.. what?

                      Yes, some teachers are working hard. Yes, some teachers are doing very very little. Yes, the unions fought to avoid their members having to actually earn that nice guaranteed pay that so many people can't get right now.

                  2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    Posting two links to Daily Mail articles and another to a Telegraph article don't make you look well informed, chum.

                    I held my nose and read them, but nowhere can I see your assertion that "..teaching unions have been celebrating the opportunity to get paid for an extended holiday", or anything close. As I said earlier, that's a fantasy that you've conjured from your own prejudices.

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

                    If that's your source of news you really need to get out more. I know someone responsible for operations at a large chain of academies across the country. All their schools are open as far as they can be while respecting the government's guidelines (though to be fair as those guidelines change every day - usually at about 7 pm....it's a battle) They have said that the unions have been really supportive, but obviously concerned about their member's health. Kid's education is amazingly important - but you also have to make sure staff and community are protected.

                    You are so not well informed! And the sad thing is you think you are....

          4. Mark192 Bronze badge

            Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

            Cederic spouted the black propaganda:

            "Where is all the PPE?" asked the union activist nurses, while their colleagues modelled it in fucking Tik Tok videos."

            Cederic, you have been lied to and are misleading us.

            My sister is a nurse who's main job through the pandemic has morfed into checking in on elderly COVID-19 victims as they die in their homes.

            Throughout March she and her colleagues had inadequate PPE. The PPE she did have then she described as "shit".

            Things have improved now, though they're unaware of how many people they've inadvertently killed by passing the virus onto patients, colleagues and family as, for some time after the pandemic hit, they were only tested if they had symptoms.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

            Wrong. They were being told to do lockdown 9 days before they finally did.

            I suppose you can't blame boris for being unprepared: after all, he didn't bother going to any of the Cobra meetings.

            P.S. Don't decry political attacks after erroneously calling Starmer a cunt. It makes you look like a twat.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

          '..

          And I know that last bit prolly sounds like a pipe-dream, but exactly why should *WE* be putting up with this incompetence? '

          We?, who's We, Kemo Sabe? sorry but a lot of us didn't vote these cnuts in...

          As to the ongoing display of 'incompetence'

          back of the envelope calculations late March (In another place..)

          It's an extension of the general policy of 'benign neglect', and the herdsmen have not culled their quota yet...for added tinfoil hat cynical bonus points, explains also why they're apparently indifferent to the muppet mobs breaching the current public health restrictions, they're giving them free rein to infect themselves...

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

      Every reporting entity is cooking the books, either intentionally, or because scientific methodology is beyond the elected igits comprehension or scope of caring. Or the standard they follow is much different. This is when the fake newsers advance their agenda. I will concede there are a few countries or regions that have gotten it right, but they are the exceptions.

      1. Big_Baldy_Bloke

        Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

        Great use of "igits" (assuming they are the same as "eejits"). Thank you and have an Upvote.

  3. Isendel Steel

    The Cake is a lie !

    it's not true

    1. IT's getting kinda boring

      Re: The Cake is a lie !

      Maybe not, but whatever it is it's almost certainly half-baked....

    2. circusmole

      Re: The Cake is a lie !

      I seem to remember that it was reported that her favourite question at board meetings with her directors at TT was "What's for lunch?" Has this woman got a food fetish?

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: The Cake is a lie !

      Apropos the "Cake" metaphor I prefer the GDS analysis of how most government projects are run, thus:

      "We are well on course and ahead of schedule. We have the roof installed and the chimney is being put in right now. We are expecting good news on delivery and installation of the walls shortly and we fully expect the foundations to be laid within the next 2 years."

      Sounds like Diana Harding is the perfect project manger to run Talk Track and Talk Trace

  4. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

    the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies,

    This would be the group of politically active left wing scientists.

    So not actually independent, but motivated to some certain degree to attack the government, on the basis not of science, but politics.

    While that doesn't necessarily invalidate their opinions, it's a sad day when El Reg has descended to the level of Sky and the BBC, in presenting potentially politically motivated opinion without pointing out the political bias.

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies,

      Interestingly, as you should mention prejudice, the author of this piece used to write for the Grauniad, you'll be surprised to gather.

    2. RM Myers Bronze badge
      Happy

      Re: the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies,

      You obviously don't have a full understanding of the meaning of bias. Bias is the thing that causes other people to disagree with my opinion. If they agree with my opinion, it is called "expert analysis".

  5. Symon Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Have a go at the policy...

    ...that's fine. But there's nothing wrong with using a metaphor now and again. Especially with cake. Mmmm, cake.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Have a go at the policy...

      Especially with cake. Mmmm, cake.

      Cake metaphors are an unfortunate choice in a time of social crisis.

      I think of course of an Austrian member of the ill-fated French aristocracy, (also with the title Queen) and her poor choice of words RE: 'cake'. Her unfortunate fate, almost as unfortunate as the choice of Dodo Harding for another important leadership role.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Have a go at the policy...

        >and her poor choice of words RE: 'cake'.

        Fake news. That is a misquote due to bad English translation. It was 'brioche'.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Have a go at the policy...

          "Fake news. That is a misquote due to bad English translation. It was 'brioche'."

          More Fake News. The quotation was around for decades before Antoinette's birth.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Have a go at the policy...

            @Dr_N @DavCrav

            Stop writing 'Fake News' - You're both not Trump, and it wasn't even 'news', it was oldz.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: Have a go at the policy...

              Apparently it's news to some people.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Have a go at the policy...

            That makes it more, not less likely.

            In a crisis people tend to quote aphorisms rather often.

  6. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Baroness Hardup has at least got sufficient time to develop a world-beating performance for the pantomime season.

    I wonder if she was subjected to the loyalty test or whether her background guaranteed that her compliance, if not her competence, could be relied upon.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      She is being relied on by many people, mostly the hackers who have your talk talk details......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hmm lets see

      Daughter of a Lord, PPE from Oxford where she was a mate of pig-face-f**ker, and also presumably the Blonde cockwomble, Married to a Tory MP/Lord who wants to scrap the NHS - whilst she runs NHS Improvement!

      Oh and appears to be an incompetent Tory apparatchik.

      Her loyalty is assured if only for the fact that since Talk-Talk her snout is 100% dependent on troughs provided by Tory governments.

  7. iron Silver badge

    I could have written a COVID app following the Apple/Google guidelines for both iOS and Android in about a week. On my own.

    NHSX have no excuse.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Yeah, but then you wouldn't have been able to award a £260m contract to people you know in order for them to suffer from Not-Invented-Here syndrome and piss about with approaches that everyone else already know don't work.

      The aim wasn't just to get a working app - that's easy - it's to get a working app whilst filling their mates pockets. Embarrasingly for them though, turns out their mates are as incompetent as you might expect from people who's work seems to be solely derived from knowing the right people

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      @ iron

      Considering who is running the show NHSX have some valid excuses.

      Is this cake going to be low fat, lactose and gluten free, vegan friendly?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Is this cake going to be low fat, lactose and gluten free, vegan friendly?"

        It's a Brexit cake, of the kind bu**it Boris was so fond of.

        You can eat as much as you like.

        It'll still be as much as you started with as when you finish eating.

        And you'll never get fat no matter how much of it you eat. *

        *No facts checked for authenticity, accuracy or even rationality.

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      In one week? Highly unlikely. I’d estimate 2 weeks iOS, 2 weeks android, two weeks server software to make sure any idiot can’t enter themselves as “infected”, two weeks QA. So 4 weeks total.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "In one week? Highly unlikely. I’d estimate 2 weeks iOS, 2 weeks android, two weeks server software to make sure any idiot can’t enter themselves as “infected”, two weeks QA. So 4 weeks total."

        Hmm. I got 2+2+2+2=8, not 4. (He said he was on his own, so unless he is able to do three things at once, it'll be six weeks developing.)

        And two weeks' QA is a joke. You need to test it in the real world, so a full test like the Isle of Wight. That has to last at least a month just to get enough installs and check it's working.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          DavCrav, This has been tested by Apple and Google. Give QA a dozen different iPhones and two dozen different Android phones and they can test this easily.

  8. Jemma

    No excuse..

    Yes they do. NHS is in the name.

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Better is possible

    Ceredigion Council (a county on the coast of mid-Wales, pop 70,000) started its own local test & trace system in March. It didn't wait for government permission.

    Ceredigion has had a total of 46 cases. 7 deaths. Lowest in the mainland UK. And has a relatively elderly population.

    If the rest of the UK had similar figures total deaths would probably be about 5000, not 60,000

    But Johnson has done brilliantly (according to him)

    What options are there to overthrow a government between elections?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better is possible

      You seem to forget, there's no 5G in Ceredigion. :)

      There's not much 4G or 3G either. A lot of 2G and mostly green open space with no signal at all.

      And those Ofcom coverage maps? Complete rose-tinted bollocks that don't in any way match reality.

      Add to that, FTTC cabs, that are currently at capacity due to uptake of homeschooling / remote working, so you can't order that either in some areas of West Wales, with no sign of BT Openreach doing anything, any time soon. Which, to the casual observers, certainly seems like a breach of contract in terms of the Superfarce Broadband contact.

      If you have anything about you, you leave Ceredigion as quickly as you can. You might not have Coronavirus, but at least you have a life.

      1. Jonathon Green
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Better is possible

        “You seem to forget, there's no 5G in Ceredigion. :)“

        Which of course is the *real* reason the numbers are so low... :-)

  10. Stu J
    Pint

    I ordered a test on Monday (as part of a study, I've not got symptoms, just hay fever).

    It was delivered on Tuesday.

    I did it on Tuesday night and a courier collected it on Wednesday morning.

    Still not had a result.

    If I was ill, contact tracing wouldn't have started by now, and people I'd potentially infected would still be wandering round oblivious.

    Whereas the Ceredigion tracing process was based on people being symptomatic, not testing positive. Which is why they've only had 46 cases in the entire county.

    The testing clearly still isn't fit for purpose, and by extension neither is the tracing. Piss up and brewery spring to mind.

    In fact, it's beer-o-clock...

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "I ordered a test on Monday (as part of a study, I've not got symptoms, just hay fever).

      It was delivered on Tuesday.

      I did it on Tuesday night and a courier collected it on Wednesday morning.

      Still not had a result."

      On the other hand: My son was sent home from nursery with a fever on Tuesday evening. Signed up for a drive-in test on Tuesday night. Turned up 8:30 am Wednesday morning, one other car in the whole centre. Out by 9am Wednesday. Three negative test results e-mailed Thursday 1pm.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        So 3 tests == 1 subject?

        The test numbers are meaningless.

        They publish "tests sent out", not "tests completed"

        Number of swabs, not number of subjects.

        No data whatsoever on turnaround. None.

        Couple the above posts with the other tests I know of, the average non-hospital test response takes in excess of six days from ordering to result.

        Hospital tests are faster, at around two days.

        This is entirely the Government's fault. They have insisted throughout that everything has to be centralised, refusing to use any smaller local labs. That alone adds 24 hours to the time, due to long courier journeys.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: So 3 tests == 1 subject?

          "The test numbers are meaningless.

          They publish "tests sent out", not "tests completed"

          Number of swabs, not number of subjects."

          More importantly... had a chat with a consultant yesterday who said that even she hadn't been doing the swabs correctly, unless it brings tears to your eyes you haven't swabbed deep enough.

          Virtually every patient she had who had tested negative (after being questionably symptomatic) was tested positive after a proper swab.

          There is no way anyone doing a home swab is going to swab deep enough

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So 3 tests == 1 subject?

          I love the new government approach to counting tests sent out, not what any sane person would do, count tests actually analysed and reported. I read at the weekend that care homes who have asked for 100 tests are being sent 200 or 400, so that the number of tests can get inflated. So, basically 200,000 tests a day is actually 200,000 q-tips a day.

          At least it's improved my personal fitness - I was counting runs at the end of a session - so many kilometres in so many minutes (to be fair not many in a lot) but now i can step outside of my front door - take a few strides and immediately turn round and head back to the telly - logging it in Strava as another 20k polished off.

    2. Stu J

      I got the test result late on Friday night, negative as expected.

      What feels like the biggest con, is that allegedly they're treating the home test they send out as 2 tests, because you're swabbing both your tonsils and one of your nostrils. But it's the same swab for both locations (tonsils first, then nostril), sent to the lab in a single tube.

      If it is true, it's a scam of the highest order, purely designed to make the test capacity look higher than it is. It may also explain why they refuse to detail the number of people tested - when they could clearly get that data, as you have to enter your NI number to order the test......

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        Joke

        The tests are rife with inaccuracies. Friend of mine - mother is a GP, kids had all the symptoms, she did the swabs. 1 kid positive rest of the family negative.

        Its a joke - its not funny :(

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >What feels like the biggest con

        All in-patients are tested daily (that's at least three times the 10K-ish daily headline figure reported from ITU/HDU), along with suspected walk-ins - each patient is two tests. False negatives are around 30% - so hospitals also do blood based serology when it matters in addition to swabs - which makes 3 tests per person.

        >It may also explain why they refuse to detail the number of people tested

        There's no 'may' about it - gov knows most people have already 'picked a side' - those in the know first hand, ie working in health, close to someone who is (my other half in my case) and the grieving are lost forever.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sticking the tracing app up Matt Hancock's arse

    Matt Hancock & Dido Harding, you couldn't make it up.

  12. Thought About IT

    Typhoid Dido

    John Crace, the political sketch writer in the Guardian, put it nicely when he wrote "it’s going to take Typhoid Dido quite a while until the number of people she’s prevented from getting the coronavirus outweighs the number she’s helped to infect." ... by letting the Cheltenham festival go ahead.

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Tow the party line

      Must. Resist. Urge. To. Correct. Spelling. Of. Toe.

      No, it's no good.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Tow the party line

        I really do need to fire the sub...

  14. osakajin Bronze badge

    I was very worried about all sorts of tyrannical scenarios but I should have known better. Torys dont really give a fuck expect for lining their pockets ay my expense.

    I am still very confused about them giving several million people 6 months holiday at 80% wages. Im sure the swindle will become apparent with time.

    1. cbars Silver badge

      We have to *really* be fucked in order to swallow what the US will offer, post Brexit. This will do nicely and we'll not be allowed to compare with what we had, because you can't blame them for a global pandemic.... that is my bet, and the economy nosediving faster and harder than 2008 seems to be lining us up for it

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      @Osakjin

      The World economy has been heading down the pan for a while, since 2008 the Us debt has expanded from 12 trillion to over double that figure. Trump's trade wars and sanctions to make America great haven't helped, so as soonbas hurricane covid showed up it gave all the government's something to not only distract the people but to also get them used to not having stuff. The recession is already here but can be blamed on the pandemic, so the austerity you may be feeling you will blame on a virus which is conveniently connected with Chinese mismanagement if you believe the PTB instead of blaming your local leaders who print money to give to their buddies and corporations 'Too big to fail'™ .

      1. osakajin Bronze badge

        Oh yeah. Forgot that pulling the recession trigger was the reason for all the nonsense.

        2008 banks

        2020 flu

        Right on the 10 year recession cycle but of course this time there wont be any growth at all coming out as all the money will have gone to the 1% and now the middle classes will feel the bite that working classes have been enduring since thatcher.

        The furlough scheme leading to inevitable redundancy is just introducing the skilled white collar peeps to life on the dole.

        Ingenious.

    3. Jonathon Green
      Alert

      Not even that.

      The whole thing makes much more sense if you start from the proposition that BJ really doesn’t give a fuck about anything, not even the traditional Tory motivations, about anything beyond self aggrandisement - if he thinks something will make a good photo opportunity (or headline, or TV news clip, or radio sound bite) it’ll happen, if it won’t it is even on his map...

      It’s kind of like Trump and his tweeting, only with just a little more self awareness and a slightly longer attention span, anything which looks like a coherent plan or policy is actually just one of those oh-so-trendy emergent phenomena taking shape from Brownian motion within a self publicity spin machine.

  15. MatthewSt Bronze badge

    Thick Of It?

    Life imitating art

    https://youtu.be/JGiYUIi-FR8?t=93

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Thick Of It?

      Ha ha.

      I have a funny politico story. Rose Gentle and her daughter were finally allowed to meet with John Prescott, after years of demanding a meeting with Blair to discuss the death of Gordon Gentle in Iraq. Prescott nodded his head and agreed with everything that they said. The daughter told him, "You remind me of Churchill", and Prescott visibly puffed with pride.

      "No, not the Prime Minister, the insurance advert dog"

      She was only 13 and she totally skewered the pompous Deputy PM.

      It is surreal seeing volk supposedly defending a statue of Churchill giving Nazi salutes.

  16. N2 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Queen Carnage

    The moment I read that, I instantly though she now worked for Crapita

    The two seem a perfect fit.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Queen Carnage

      She does, by virtue of being a member of the government that keeps giving them contracts despite multiple failures

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfair

    Harding's performance prompted derision on Twitter, with her name briefly trending on Thursday evening. Commentators were quick to point out that her appeal to the public to do the right thing was a bit rich coming from a woman who sits on the board of Cheltenham Festival organisers The Jockey Club, which allowed 260,000 people to attend the horse-racing event just 10 days before the UK went into lockdown.

    That is most unfair and a rather bitchy thing to write. Dido Harding is, among other things, a remarkably talented jockey and owns Cool Dawn - a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Fine: a complete disaster when it comes to business but lay off the things that she does really well.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Unfair

      "That is most unfair and a rather bitchy thing to write. Dido Harding is, among other things, a remarkably talented jockey and owns Cool Dawn - a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Fine: a complete disaster when it comes to business but lay off the things that she does really well."

      I'm a bit confused. The author was criticizing her judgment in letting the meet go ahead, not her ability in the saddle.

  18. adam payne Silver badge

    "I have repeatedly said this is the cherry on the cake, not the cake itself...."

    The app is key to the strategy for unlocking so it most certainly is the bloody cake.

    This is, of course, unconnected with the fact that the app has been said to be riddled with bugs and open to abuse.

    How long before this app goes live and spills personal data?

    1. Mandoscottie
      Facepalm

      what cake? it is a cherry on a shit sandwich

      Not only a shit sandwich, but hopefully end up a vapourware shit sandwich.

      Good to see Dido is being let loose on noncritical things with such a stellar track record, i was starting to think it was doomed, but with Miss Mannering in charge, bring it on.

      Remember the days when BJ was just an in-bred fool on tv (at least some things stay constant) and some may woman was doing that job.......she doesnt seem so bad now.....did i just say that.....F me.

      1. dak

        Re: what cake? it is a cherry on a shit sandwich

        You're right, it takes a special kind of talent to make Theresa May look good.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TITSUP

    Test, Isolate, Trace, Safe Until Positive

  20. ovation1357 Bronze badge

    Cake, in this particular context, conjures up a mental image of the kind of cake you'd find in a Rohald Dahl book - made with maggots, beetles and worms which all come wiggling out alive as it's cut.

    Come to think of it that's probably not such a bad metaphor for the UK government's handling of covid-19

    1. Lyndon Hills 1

      Cake and government remind me of the 'Brass Eye' stunt, where they persuaded various people that cake was the latest drug menacing the nations youth. youtube Led to questions in the house, ISTR.

      1. ovation1357 Bronze badge

        Aaah, Brass Eye! Now that was some brilliant satire. I'd forgotten about 'cake'.

        P.S. I've realised that I've misspelt the great man's name, so apologies to the late, great: Roald Dahl, without the spurious 'h'.

  21. xyz

    Blimey...

    Reading through the above I get the impression that el reg has connected to the BBC HYS database by mistake.

    We should all know how HMG dev works by now...

    1) Big announcement by knobhead using phrases like "world class" etc.

    2) Some wallah who knows jack gets put in charge..

    3) Developers' weekly report says this is shit/might not work and getting worse.

    4) Every middle tier manager sticks some gloss on that until it is "absolutely glorious" by the time said report hits no2's inbox.

    5) Budget spirals out of control.

    6) Eek moment followed by silence.

    7) Public enquiry into what went wrong so lessons can be learned.

    1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      Re: Blimey...

      Step 7 is usually: Hold an internal enquiry and completely ignore its non-binding recommendations.

  22. PassingStrange

    Red Flag "Management-speak"

    I can't remember whether it was Boris or Hancock who first used the phrase, but when i first heard one of them say "world-class" I positively cringed.

    If you've spent time in a large organisation, you know that there are jargon phrases that mark someone out as a somewhat clueless "manager", rather than a doer who actually has any idea of what's going on. "World class" is most definitely one of those. It means nothing, and shows that the person saying it has no idea of the challenges involved.

    It's also, considering the woeful delivery record of the Civil Service under governments of all colours for the last half-century, a woeful triumph of hope over experience, but that's another issue.

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