back to article Billions lost to fraud and error during UK's pandemic spending spree

UK government must figure out how to share spending data across departments after up to £59 billion ($74.4 billion) in expenditure was lost to fraud and error early in the pandemic. This is according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which found levels of fraud in UK public spending grew sharply during the …

  1. cyberdemon Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oops, we stole it

    Almost one HS2 worth of dosh has gone missing under the tory regime, and now we'll leave it to Labour to give you the next austerity budget!

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Oops, we stole it

      What's worse is that Toby jug Sunak actively declined to go after the fraud, instead just decided to wipe it clear.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        ...and NCA and SFO looked the other way... while getting paid for not doing that...

      2. Blogitus Maximus

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        I wouldn't do to piss of the Tory pals and donors who participated in the fraud and gravy trains. Too many yachts would have to be returned, and definitely no talk of people actually going to jail.

        No one will ever be prosecuted. No one will ever be held to account and we, the British public, will put up with it. If this were France there'd be burning tyres rolling up the Champs-Élysées.

      3. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        I wonder if its cause "mates" were involved.

      4. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        Rather a lot of the 'fraud' was intentional handing of contracts etc. to Tory donors so if Rish! had gone after them he would have exposed yet more Tory corruption.

      5. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        Whilst that was true I think part of the issue is that some very large sums of money would be spent on finding people (criminals) where both the money and the people are long gone.

        There was almost no hope of any convictions and zero possibility of recovering the money.

        I don't like the outcome and it tends to send the wrong message but in terms of value for money, it is the best of a bad job.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Oops, we stole it

      And to the downvoters: Hanlon's razor breaks when incompetence serves malice.

      Who benefited from this? Dodgy company owners, shareholders, directors. Principally tory voters. Not workers. (They did benefit from correctly-administered payments not included in this figure.)

      The problem wasn't just that the system was broken, it was that the operators of the system knew it was broken and didn't care. They told their mates that the system was broken and that they could fraudulently claim free money from the magic money tree and they would get away with it. And they largely did.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        "They did benefit from correctly-administered payments not included in this figure"

        https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/13/record-levels-benefit-fraud-universal-credit-first-year-pandemic-in-britain

        Someone managed to claim nearly £1500 in my name over the summer of 2020. When I finally got through to someone who knew what was going on they admitted that no-one had spoken to the person who made the claim. It was all done on-line. There wasn't even a check to see if they were still paying NI and income tax. I eventually got a letter saying 'oops, sorry, our bad, you don't need to pay us back'.

        Some people need to go to prison for the amount of fraud that was allowed to happen.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          You can't blame a tiger for behaving like a tiger, but if zoo keeper let it eat the patrons, then zoo keeper should be in prison.

          But this corrupt government and the three letter agencies that supposed to watch its greasy hands decided to maybe go after some tigers and have zoo keeper in the clear.

          I mean how zoo keeper could possibly know that if they open the tiger's enclosure wide its going to maul and eat the patrons?

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Oops, we stole it

            Who is the tiger and who is the zoo keeper in your analogy?

            I wouldn't class criminal gangs who set up large scale identity frauds as 'innocent wild animals'. Especially not if any of them had any connection whatsoever to the government. Nor could I class the directors of corrupt companies as innocent animals, and some of them definitely DID have government contacts.

            Nor would I class the government / police / HMRC as negligent zookeepers who absent-mindedly left the door of the tiger enclosure open.

            There was deliberate profiteering at the very top here. The zoo keeper shot and robbed the patrons and blamed the tiger

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              Especially not if any of them had any connection whatsoever to the government.

              This is to muddy the waters. If there is any investigation going to happen, redirect them to those unconnected to government in any way.

              Talking about having a cake and eating it.

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              The criminal gangs did what criminal gangs do best; exploit an opportunity…

              The government created the opportunity by the way they allowed monies to be paid out in ways that at the time were highlighted as being wide open to fraud…

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          There are several levels at play.

          We have the direct fraud that you experienced, that has occurred because criminals found an opportunity and exploited it. Politician, the media & public were screaming for things to happen quickly. That leads to mistake, lack of oversight or compliance and errors.

          Then we have the more difficult scenarios like PPE. Much of this was because the global supply system was broken and again companies (and people) could see opportunities. The Government then facilitated inappropriate contracts, many with people that had links to the Tories to buy stuff quickly. Again a lack of oversight combined with global shortages allowed things to happen that in normal times would not be possible. Should contracts have been given to people with direct links to MPs or the Government? Probably not and there needs to be restrictions in place to prevent this in the future.

          It is only after the event that the scale of some of the abuse of power and size of contracts has surfaced. Where there has been deliberate fraud (Mone) then one hopes they will be brought to account.

      2. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        "Hanlon's razor breaks when incompetence serves malice"

        In this case, not so much malice as avarice.

      3. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        Much like the tit that appears in the YouTube adverts about money in property. Can't remember his name but he just straight out came out with it. That people could claim Covid money, legally then use it to invest in property.

        He really is a cunt. Yet YouTube continue to display his ads.

    3. Chris Miller

      Re: Oops, we stole it

      And what would have been your reaction (and that of the media) at the time, if the government had said: "Faced with a pandemic, we're procuring lots of PPE and other medical equipment, but we must go through all the necessary steps to prevent fraud, rigorous testing to ensure quality standards are met, getting three competitive tenders on each bid, validating DEI and anti-slavery policies of suppliers, etc, which will delay things by a few months."? Note that Starmer's Labour were supportive of all these purchases, except for demands for "harder and faster".

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        It wasn't just PPE and other urgent covid related things though, it was all kinds of stuff going through the VIP lane. Multimillion pound IT contracts. Services for prison and probation. Schools contracts.

        To hell with all of this anti-corruption malarkey. That's why we left the EU, right?

        I've no love for Starmer and his neo-Blairites either, by the way. He just parrots anything the tories say

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          That's why we left the EU, right?

          EU is corrupt as it can be. We just wanted to be corrupt in our own way.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          You conspiracy theorists twist everything to fit your view.

          Back in realityland, the law was changed, and with it the system of contracting: anything that was not at arms-length prices can be clawed back after the fact, which is the stage in the process we're currently at. But, there just wasn't that much which was dodgy, rather than wasteful, other than the outright fraud by criminal gangs, who have now scarpered with the money. All the government cronies either made money supplying things at the same prices as everyone else, or have ended up - or will soon end up - losing the entire sum paid, rather than just the profits.

          It's typical tinfoilhat behaviour to conflate completely different things; in this case, wastage, fraud, and crony deals. The latter is a tiny proportion of the total.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge

            Re: Oops, we stole it

            They changed the law to suit themselves and their cronies, not caring that it suited lots of (other) criminals too.

            We plebs on the other hand, were robbed.

            1. blackcat Silver badge

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              How much was the test and trace contract? And how well did it work?

              1. Catkin Silver badge

                Re: Oops, we stole it

                It depends on how you define 'test and trace'. There was no one contract, it covered everything from the failed app to the highly successful whole-genome sequencing to identify emerging variants.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oops, we stole it

                The Public Accounts Committee were a bit rude about it in 2021:

                https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/10/pac_test_and_trace/

                Up to £37bn was earmarked over 2 years, but not all of it was spent.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Oops, we stole it

                  > Up to £37bn was earmarked over 2 years, but not all of it was spent.

                  That actually sounds like a success, unless you believe all of it should of have been spent regardless of need…

                  1. Steve Button Silver badge

                    Re: Oops, we stole it

                    Er, seriously!?

                    What did we get for the £37 Billion (or slightly less?)

                    How many lives were saved, and how much does that work out per person?

                    If it saved 37 people's lives, that's probably not great value for money.

                    If it saved 37 million, it would have been worth it.

                    I suspect it was much much closer to the former.

                    1. Roland6 Silver badge

                      Re: Oops, we stole it

                      Yes seriously.

                      If the budget (assumed based on a reasonable level of rigour) was £37b and service was delivered for less that’s a success.

                      Now I agree we need to question how the £37b figure was arrived at and whether it actually represented value for money.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Oops, we stole it

                        I'm not suggesting that losing 37b is good or bad..but put into perspective, it's around 2% of total tax receipts...less than 1% the total size of the UK economy annually. It's a large sum of money for sure, but in the grand scheme of things...relatively speaking...it's not that massive. It's basically a rounding error.

                        It works out to be approximately 10% of the NHS annual budget...£131bn a year is spent on benefits. £134bn a year on pensions.

                        If all the £37bn went into one persons pocket, then it's a large sum of money to lose and clearly some fraud went on...however, if it just ended up everywhere, as it probably did through incompetence...then the sum total is large, and the scale is noteworthy, but it's not a massive loss.

                        I prefer to think of the Tories as incompetent rather than scheming...because the latter gives them undue credit...I don't think any of them are smart enough to get away with a £37bn fiddle.

                        It's highly likely that chasing down this £37bn would take a large amount of time and would probably cost more than the £37bn is worth.

                    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

                      Re: Oops, we stole it

                      NICE reckons value of medical interventions as "quality-adjusted life year" and allows £20,000 to £30,000 so any health issues prevented need also be included in the calculation

                      Government use “value of a prevented fatality" for reckoning an indivdual's 'worth'. At about £2 million (though some think that an undervalue) T&T would only have to save 18,500 lives by my reckoning

                    3. CountCadaver Silver badge

                      Re: Oops, we stole it

                      Human lives should always matter more than money

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Oops, we stole it

                        Yeah, but these are your older Tory voters.

              3. cyberdemon Silver badge

                Re: Oops, we stole it

                > How much was the test and trace contract? And how well did it work?

                About 22 Billion wasn't it? Of which about 1 billion went to Randox. More billions to other dodgy companies that barely existed pre-pandemic (eyes passim)

                Work? It collected a lot of data about us all.. Did it do anything to stop the pandemic though?

        3. Necrohamster Bronze badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          "To hell with all of this anti-corruption malarkey. That's why we left the EU, right?"

          I thought we left because of the foreigners. And unelected mandarins in Brussels telling us what to do.

          Ok, so basically just because of the foreigners...

      2. Lurko

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        And what would have been your reaction (and that of the media) at the time, if the government had said: "Faced with a pandemic, we're procuring lots of PPE and other medical equipment, but we must go through all the necessary steps to prevent fraud, rigorous testing to ensure quality standards are met, getting three competitive tenders on each bid, validating DEI and anti-slavery policies of suppliers, etc, which will delay things by a few months."?

        Well, people might not have been happy at the time to hear that standards would be retained, but one definite outcome would have been that we weren't left with mountains of unfit for purpose PPE and billions being pissed up the wall top dodgy suppliers (including minister's mates), and the probable outcome of getting effective volumes of compliant PPE to the frontline, probably about the same as was eventually the case.

        But the root cause of the whole PPE mess was because Jeremy *unt as minister for health ignored the various exercises run by his own officials that predicted (eg Exercise Cygnus in 2016) and indeed had that work kept secret. It was known years before 2019 that a pandemic would see us run out of PPE in minutes, result in impact on health professionals, and result in an explosion in care home cases, but just like RAAC and Horizon, this sleazy, incompetent government just oozed on, doing what suited it's agenda of infighting and selecting imbeciles as leaders and ministers. If *unt had not been such a useless oxygen thief, there would have been ample time to go through proper procurement processes, ensure that standards were being complied with, and to consider contingency planning for the higher volumes of PPE that a pandemic would require.

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          How much did this cost the UK taxpayer?

          https://news.sky.com/story/huge-pile-of-unused-ppe-dumped-near-nature-reserve-in-hampshire-12905402

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Oops, we stole it

            Dumped or a chum-run medical equipment storage facility? Difficult to tell the difference.

          2. Necrohamster Bronze badge

            Re: Oops, we stole it

            "PPE dumped near a nature reserve"

            Lovely. No consideration for people or the environment. Why am I not surprised?

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        With all due respect, I'm still of the opinion that we witnessed a staggering combination of "this time it's different" with the headess chicken syndrome, determined above all to be seen doing something.

        Countries should have plans for epidemics and they need to communicate quickly and clearly the dangers, the home truths that potentially millions will die, and the rules for the first 8 to 12 weeks (doens't really matter after then).

        Unfortunately, many countries quietly shelved their plans, because maintaining the inventory costs money and we need to make some budgetary savings… We can always reactivate it when we need it…

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          To give you an idea of how much govts like to corner cut, here is a report from SAGE about ditching masks in operating theatres.

          https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0141076815583167

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            NOT "a report from SAGE"

            Beware —for clarification— this 2015 paper in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine is published by Sage Journals, part of Sage Publishing, which is an independent publishing company and has nothing to do with the UK government's SAGE —the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          "the home truths that potentially millions will die"

          Unfortunately they'd be up against unverified loudmouths on social media, and "opinion pieces" in sectors of the press not normally known for anything resembling accuracy.

          I've had arguments discussions with people who think I'm a twat to have had my vaccinations. To my knowledge, I never had Covid. Luck, or helped by the vaccine? Many of them, on the other hand, have had it multiple times. But, you know, there's this bloke on Facebook, says he's a doctor......

          <sigh>

          People are still arguing over whether or not it was useful to wear face masks. Was it really that much of a hardship to dangle a bit of fuzzy plastic stuff from each lughole for a while? If it was pointless, no big. If it potentially saved somebody's life, that's a big big. But most of us will never know and so the debates continue.

          1. AJ MacLeod

            Re: Oops, we stole it

            Actually there is data on the effectiveness of face masks and the answer is yes, it was pointless; any benefits are indistinguishable from noise. More than that, face masks are not free from side effects either so quite probably caused more harm than good (including to the emotional development of millions of children worldwide.) Personally I'm fine with you wearing a face nappy if it makes you feel good about yourself; I might quietly judge you to be a bit of an idiot but wouldn't say anything. On the other hand, I massively resent being ordered to do something which I am convinced is at best pointless just to make you feel good about yourself.

            PS - re: the vaccines you're fortunate; both my in-laws were not and both are now on long term treatment for vaccine-induced heart issues.

            PPS - you almost certainly have had covid. For many people it was barely noticeable or virtually symptomless, just as for some it was fatal... your genes and other health factors are far more likely to have helped you than the vaccines. Again... if vaccines made you feel good about yourself, I'm quite happy with that - I object however to people losing their jobs, being turned into social outcasts etc for not wanting them.

            1. CountCadaver Silver badge

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              You are talking utter shit frankly, let me guess you watch any or all of the following - fox "news", GB News, RT, Sputnik, OANN, Newsmax

              That your also subscribed to various anti vaxxer groups

              You read "news" from the Telegraph, Mail, Express or other crud

              Funny then how colds, flus and COVID cases dropped heavily when people wore masks and soared when the requirement to do so was removed.

              Conspiracy theorists and useful idiots like yourself should have either been jailed or committed To have your delusions treated......

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              and the sane people would consider you to be a conspiracy nutter twat.

            3. Necrohamster Bronze badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Oops, we stole it

              I lol'd at "face nappy" because it's obvious you're one of those people who gets their medical facts from Facebook.

              "I might quietly judge you to be a bit of an idiot but wouldn't say anything."

              I'm sure many will join me in saying that the feeling is mutual...

        3. Shalghar

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          "Countries should have plans for epidemics and they need to communicate quickly and clearly the dangers, the home truths that potentially millions will die, and the rules for the first 8 to 12 weeks (doens't really matter after then)."

          And they have. But whats the best plan when the collision with reality isnt considered to be a reason to adapt it ? And whats the best plan if nobody cares to know it exists ? Whats any plan if panic preaching and "models" (lies) instead of reality dictate the "protective" insaneness ?

          Whats the best plan if some pseudovaccine/mRNA bioweapon is politically enforced and vector vaccines and other better working and less risky vaccines are effectively prohibited (which means they dont count as politically accepted vaccination so if you dont like repression and factical incarceration at home better get your jab of snake oil) ? Surely it has nothing to do with von der Leyen being married to a high ranking pfizer guy or that the useless PCR "test" financially benefits the most prominent panic preacher besides Lauterbach, Christian Drosten, who is not only a bioweapons designer ("gain of function "research"") but also did profit during swine flu with another dodgy vaccine that had a lot of ill effects like neurolepsy.

          Concerning corruption, germany has had its share with several parliament guys being involved in overexpensive procurement of useless PPE, then minister of health Jens Spahn being involved in donors meetings in high class restaurants while preaching to the plebs not to go to restaurents and designing a PPE contract so corruption friendly that the useless stuff was deemed unfit for purpose even before delivery.

          Next minister of health, panic preacher Lauterbach closed more than 20 hospitals during a oh so dreadful panicdemic and let over 6000 "corona heroes" AKA nurses, doctors, those guys actually manning the closed hospitals get sacked, also devalued the "Pflegeschlüssel" (minimum mandatory amount of nurse per count of patients) so the profits for his long time "investor" friends with benefits could keep up. He also paid for emergency beds that either did not exist at all or did exist in a warehouse with no medicinic personnel to actually man them, should a patient be in need.

          So yeah nobody actually knows how severe it would have been, which might be due to the fact that not enough reliable data to actually assess this mess afterwards was ever collected.

          Situation in other countries does vary, i know, but in germany that was a pure panic terror glutton feast for totalitarians and corrupts of any kind.

        4. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Re: Oops, we stole it

          And less than a year into the pandemic and most of the safeguards that had it contained have been dismantled, conspiracy theories allowed to fester and amplified by politicians mates and benefactors.

          Colds, influenza and COVID are all spread by aerosol transmission - masks mean we keep each other safe, anti maskers would have been fewer in number if plod had done their job and the penalty wasn't financial but instead being hauled in front of the beak to be castigated for selfish and unacceptable disregard for the lives of others.

          However oh no we can't do something that sensible....no let's pretend we've won and it's all over ......this world is as thick as shit and proves the old adage, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it and next time might have a much much higher fatality rate..

          I.e. closer to ebola or Marburg than COVID..

      4. RegGuy1 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Oops, we stole it

        Well didn't they have an exercise is 2016 to see just what they should do if a pandemic were to happen? (Or was that project fear?)

        They cannot say they didn't know, and are guilty as hell. From the link:

        A key section reads: “There was a general consensus on the need to identify capacity and capability of assets within the health system.

        “Assets in this context would be all resources that would be required to effectively respond to a Mers-CoV outbreak such as trained personnel, appropriate PPE in sufficient quantities and the requisite beds with suitable clinical equipment.”

    4. jgarbo
      Pirate

      Re: Oops, we stole it

      No money was "lost". It was simply moved to a more "useful" purpose, eg real estate, mega yatchs, hideaway islands. Well, why waste it on the sick and feeble?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it actually count as fraud if it ends up in the offshore bank accounts of your friends, family and donors?

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      It's only fraud if you don't give a cut to authorities.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Pirate

        And if you ARE the authorities? Is it fraud then?

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          We have investigated ourselves and found nothing wrong.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        It's only fraud if you don't give a cut to authorities. your mates, the Tory party…

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    NAO can do

    Don't worry! We are going to pay everything back in higher taxes while ensuring mental health of fraudsters is not affected by pesky investigations.

    Imagine how much influence those billions can buy now. It's probably enough to send any three letter agency to wild goose chases until the end of time.

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    One of the best memes ...

    Family fortunes with Michelle Mone.

    Les Dennis: Name one thing you should get in a pandemic ?

    MM: Rich.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Officials told us that they struggled to access the data that they needed that existed elsewhere in government to support emergency responses."

    Paving the way for a new emergency response handling system. Which of the usual suspects gets the contract?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fujitsu probably have capacity in their new business pipeline?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      What data?

      The NHS needed PPE, it already had lists of suppliers and prospective suppliers, and probably all checked out. So the dept. of health usable to utilise the procurement knowledge etc of the NHS?

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        Didn't we ship a load of PPE to China? Yup, pretty sure we did. So we depleted our stock early on.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Hmmm..

          Aren’t we currently depleting our weapons stockpile….

          I wonder what might be just around the corner…

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Those suppliers were out of stock because they could not cope with the sudden surge in demand.

        That was a large part of the problem, everyone was competing to get the same resources and the only thing that made something happen was money.

        Look at the reports of US teams taking PPE destined for other countries.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the Post Office workers!

    Oooops, that’s been done already.

    Sorry.

    How about Teachers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blame the Post Office workers!

      surprised they haven't blamed immigrants yet

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Blame the Post Office workers!

        What, you mean those bastards who are trousering 8 million pounds per day! The scum

        Er, that's not a nice way to talk about messrs Hilton, Britannia, Travelodge et al is it m'lud?

  7. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Officials working in counter-fraud told us...

    "...the processes in place for sharing data, both between and within departmental groups, are often slow and burdensome, often resulting in incomplete or time-lagged data being shared"

    And that, I can only assume, is entirely by design. The people responsible for setting these policies and processes would really rather that there wasn't a clear trail that would expose all the other incompetent decisions they made.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Officials working in counter-fraud told us...

      @theOtherJT

      "And that, I can only assume, is entirely by design"

      Bureaucracy and fiefdoms. A slow process of forms in triplicate and confusing rules requires more administrators.

  8. wobball

    MALICE AND AVARICE DISGUISED AS INCOMPETENTCE

    And very much by design, right under our noses because they know they'll never get collared in our great mother of democracy.

  9. fg_swe Bronze badge

    The REAL CRIME

    Wasted money is bad. Harming lots of citizens by a dangerous medicine is even worse. A crime on humanity, in fact.

    See

    1.) CDC VAERS https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/datarequest/D8

    10000 times more heavy side effects than e.g. measels vaccine.

    2.) Outright fraud in the approval trials: https://rumble.com/vqwdp6-how-many-more-adverse-effects-have-been-covered-up-during-the-trials-maddie.html

    Welcome to the dark times of the Rule Of MAMMON.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: The REAL CRIME

      I remain skeptical of both sides of the anti vax debate tbh.

      The virus had some clear autoimmune effects that may or may not have been engineered. The same antibodies produced in reaction to the vaccine instead of the virus may have had the same effect, worse in people who had bad inflammatory reactions to covid in the first place.

      That does NOT mean that any vaccine was ever deliberately harmful.

      The virus, on the other hand, has a lot of respectable people (including the i newspaper for example) questioning its origins and suggesting it may have been created deliberately.

      But all the 5G microchips nonsense i personally believe was counter-propaganda designed to further discredit and demonise anybody wearing a tinfoil hat suspicious of the government. It may not have started as such, it could have come from 4chan. But big companies like facebook control what goes er, viral.

      1. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        The stories about wireless transmitters inside the C-vaccine were designed to either discredit any disapproval, or they came from a hostile power in order to stir up dissent.

        I never wrote about them here or quoted something of the like.

        In my circle of friends one man almost died from heart inflammation after the C-vaccincation. It was clearly a quick+dirty medical product.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The REAL CRIME

          All vaccines have side effects, with a few they are serious:

          My daughter was hospitalised after the first dose of the MMR vaccine, I still see the benefit as being greater than the risk, so she still had the second dose (markedly less severe reaction) and subsequent childhood/teenage vaccination's, my son also had the MMR (mild reaction) et al.

          1. fg_swe Bronze badge

            Re: The REAL CRIME

            My point is that the adverse effects were horribly high, 10000 times worse than e.g. long established measels vaccine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The REAL CRIME

              Are they?

              Remember the system for (normally) reporting vaccine adverse effects isn’t particularly robust. I have no idea whether my daughter’s reaction was reported or not, through the largely informal system used in the UK.

              With CoViD we had billions of doses administered in a relatively short space of time to billions of people, probably in more controlled environments. With CoViD we had to go specific centres and wait in a supervised environment for 15 minutes afterwards for initial reactions, then were told to lookout for reactions in the following days and weeks and to contact doctor/111/999, so much more data was captured.

              Yes, there is a significant increase in the numbers of people dying of certain heart conditions, since the vaccination programme, which is causing some to ask questions.

              What is clear, as far as the UK is concerned, thanks to Andrew Wakefield (MMR) and now CoViD, the way vaccines are handled, administered and adverse reactions reported upon, has massively improved.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The REAL CRIME

      Anti-vaxxers are the criminals.

      I have a zero tolerance for these unthinking Neanderthals.

      1. Shalghar

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        "Anti-vaxxers are the criminals.

        I have a zero tolerance for these unthinking Neanderthals."

        Karl ? Is that you ?

        I do approve working and reliable vaccines like smallpox, tetanus, rabies, measles but i do not approve enforced mRNA substances, much less if the stuff that got this questionable emergency certification was produced in vitro ("process 1") while the stuff injected into people was produced much messier and cheaper by genetically engineered bacteria ("process 2"), resulting in contamination and a severely reduced integrity rate of the mRNA.

        As watchdogs are, this was ignored by germanys institutes PEI (which still refuses to do any independant testing of pfizers mRNA substance) and RKI . It did make the european medicinal watchdog EMA do something very important: lower the quality standards so the new stuff could be sold on and "forget" to tell anyone until the pfizer files were court opened in the USA and quite a lot of unpleasant information came to light.

        While a normal vaccination practically gives your whole immune system "illness light" to teach it to cope when the full version comes around (or in case of vector vaccines, a sequence of the illness inserted onto a carrier virus, typically an adenovirus strain) with some additional substances mixed in so that your body takes the vaccination/pseudo infection a lot more serious than it is to augment the learning effect, the mRNA stuff enters an undefined amount of undefined types of body cells and reprograms them to produce a toxin ("spike protein") in an undefinable amount for an undefinable amount of time. At least if what pfizer and biontech claim is true. They produce this stuff, they should know.

        If the mRNA integrity is sufficient. If its not, anything might happen.

        So basically, real vaccinations aiding and immunizing are something i do approve. If the politicians hadnt changed the rules every few days and hadnt fetishized the mRNA substances, i would have gone with the single jab of J&J or the british vector vaccine that was valid as vaccination for a few weeks. Second choice - had it ever been approved - would have been sinovac or sputnik.

        Then again, since a thrice mRNAed individual infected the whole company, i had my three day flu AKA natural immunisation which was also politically invalidated.

        Experimental former cancer medicines like the mRNA stuff with questionable effect and principle are something i dont want. Tetanus and rabies vaccinations are refreshed regularly. Measles is unneeded, i had every child illness in its time.

        1. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Re: The REAL CRIME

          Did your parents drop on your head a lot? Perhaps all these childhood illnesses gave you brain damage? Or perhaps you just need some immodium for that paranoid verbal diarrhoea?

          1. Shalghar

            Re: The REAL CRIME

            Sorry to pop your aggro bubble but i deliberately did not read the extreme sides but the EMA report, biontechs own product description and correlated this to the ever changing "THIS is the ONLY truth" coming from above.

            If you missed the ever changing "facts" like "one vaccination is enough to immunize for life" going over "one "booster" every 6 months" to the actual version "well it doesnt do shit to immunize but we have a mathematical model that "proves" it reduces the chance of severe outcome" then i understand why you agressively defend the official "truth".

      2. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        Antifa in pay of PharmaMafia ?

    3. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Re: The REAL CRIME

      Nurse this patient is overdue his medication

      No shock you anti vaxxer Muppets appear in numbers...you are all pathetic, brainless little weirdos...

      1. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        Given that all you can do is insult the messenger, I take it as a validation of my message. Thanks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The REAL CRIME

      just fuck off with that conspiracy shit

      1. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Why ?

        The sources I quote are both part of U.S.G.

    5. Necrohamster Bronze badge

      Re: The REAL CRIME

      Measles cases are rising in the UK so obviously the "I do my own research" halfwits aren't any more receptive to that vaccine than the COVID vaccine.

      Dying of a preventable disease is a hell of a side effect.

      1. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        If you read carefully I write only about the quick+dirty Covid vaccines.

      2. fg_swe Bronze badge

        Re: The REAL CRIME

        Steve Kirsch (inventor of the optical mouse) says the Covid vaccine killed 10 persons for saving one.

        Given the VAERS numbers, I consider this as a credible statement.

        A huge failure of police, security and health agencies. Corrupted.

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    UK in the lead!

    So the UK had $74B of fraud and the US had $100B. Given the relative scale of the two economies I think that shows the Conservative's skill at perpetrating fraud far exceeds the Trump administration's.

  11. Stoic Skeptic

    Typical Government Program

    There were many billions more lost here in the states. It is just another example of the inefficiency and incompetence of government. Whenever programs are run by political appointees instead of actually competent people, there will always be failures such as this. More money = more failure.

    Anything that can be done by private enterprise should be done by private enterprise.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Typical Government Program

      Government can have highly successful and efficient large scale programmes. See: NASA, CERN, CEGB

      Private companies can have efficient and successful programmes too, though I fail to see how they can serve anything but self-interest.

      The real problem comes when government does business with private companies and lets them influence its decision making.

    2. Shalghar

      Re: Typical Government Program

      "Anything that can be done by private enterprise should be done by private enterprise."

      As seen by the success stories from deutsche bahn /german railroad, the german health system, the german pension system, deutsche Post/Telekom, the german "autobahn GmbH" (autobahn limited) the airport fiasco BER, the railway station fiasco Stuttgart 21.......

      Private industry is good at and interested in maximising profit for management and shareholders. The actual function for the customer is only an afterthought and neglected and ignored as much as possible as long as the profits are not affected.

      I would not recommend a mix of both, though, as proven by the protection racket media AKA "öffentlich-rechtliche Medien" some pseudoprivatised frankenstein mixture of state privilege and pseudoprivate goebbels media, definitely not like the BBC (i wouldnt taint the still visible quality of the BBC by comparing it with the self serving corruption infested propaganda cesspit of its german counterpart).

  12. codejunky Silver badge

    Well

    This is an interesting problem. People complaining the money went missing but it needs to be looked at in context-

    The UK wasnt locking down and buggering its economy, until suddenly it was. At that point people needed money because the government was ruining/saving their lives. Is it better for the people who need the money to get it or should it be slower and more rigorous shutting people out of money they need?

    Of course not buggering the economy would have meant not splurging like a drunken sailor, but the other option was taken instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well

      This is an interesting problem. People complaining the money went missing but it needs to be looked at in context

      Agree 100%. Only members of the chumocracy should be allowed to defraud the taxpayer.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Well

        @AC

        "Agree 100%. Only members of the chumocracy should be allowed to defraud the taxpayer."

        For example you manage to take my comment out of context by not referring to my comment. Congrats

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Well

      A large amount of the fraud was trivial to detect.

      For example, there were a large number of companies that were registered as "defunct" or didn't even exist until the day they put in the claim to support nonexistent employees or contacted their friendly local Tory Minister claiming they could supply PPE from the beer cellar.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Well

        @Richard 12

        "For example, there were a large number of companies that were registered as "defunct" or didn't even exist until the day they put in the claim to support nonexistent employees or contacted their friendly local Tory Minister claiming they could supply PPE from the beer cellar."

        Ok. So run through the bureaucracy to try and do something you would hope was simple and easy while the masses call for your head because you aint locked down and giving away money for nothing. These are politicians we are talking about.

        As with PPE contracts and such. The world wanted this stuff and the gov wanted to be in first. You remember the crying of Europe when Trump wanted the vaccine first for the US and would do whatever to get it? You remember the crying of Europe when teh US, UK and Israel got the vaccine while their gov was further behind in the queue.

        My opinion is that this could have been easily resolved by not caving to the hysteria and being sensible. But when the race is to be first, all thought be damned, then its a rush job not a good job. I doubt you would be happy without a job, without pay and awaiting the approval of some gov clipboard guy sitting pretty to eventually decide you are eligible.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Well

          "But when the race is to be first"

          In the circumstances, not even a race to be first but a race to get something done that needed to be done ASAP.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Well

          Companies - either you are registered at companies house or you aren’t, it is easy to do a check.

          Sole traders - these are harder, solution just get HMRC to hand out the monies.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Well

            If you think being registered at Companies House is relevant to whether the firm is a scam or not, I have some bad news for you:

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-67053586

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-66810106

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-65205520

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Well

              Yes there was the outdated practices of Companies House - interestingly “The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act” (the ECCTA) received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023, it requires mandatory proof of id for all company directors, both new and for currently listed companies. It will be interesting g to see what that uncovers, although the timetable which directors need to comply with is a little unclear.

              However, the issue was that the government department that handed out the monies did no checks, so can’t even point the finger at Companies House…

              Aside: The ECCTA is interesting in that it creates new bar to Corporate Criminal Liability, it would seem under the act, the actions of the senior Post Office management over Horizon are sufficient for their actions to be attributed to the company… what isn’t clear is whether there is any backdating, but certainly any new PO attempts to prosecute Post Masters will be impacted by this act…

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Well

        I believe there was more use of dormant and quickly setup companies to claim furlough fraudulently and it is also likely a larger amount of money.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Well

      Well in the big picture CoVID cost the government significantly less than it spent bailing out the banks from the 2008 financial crisis…

      I suspect if the government hadn’t splurged, the economy would have nosedived and not rebounded as fast…

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Well

        @Roland6

        "Well in the big picture CoVID cost the government significantly less than it spent bailing out the banks from the 2008 financial crisis…"

        I 2008 it was to keep the economy from nosediving into depression (agree or disagree with it or would have happened). The covid splurge was to prop people up while tanking the economy. In both cases some people thought it was worth it and others not.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Well

          Well 2008 was a crisis manufactured by the banks… so some parallels with Covid…

          What is notable is with 2008 the government decided to throw money directly at the banks, rather than taking to potentially cheaper option of simply underwriting the repayments of the sub-prime loans, which the evidence shows cost significantly more than the book value of the sub-prime loans, whilst also doing nothing to help the victims who lost their homes etc..

          With Covid the government bypassed the banks and directly subsidised people’s wages and thus companies. This approach seems to have cost significantly less and maintained a level of capacity in the economy to more quickly pickup (whether it did or did not is a separate discussion point).

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Well

            @Roland6

            "What is notable is with 2008 the government decided to throw money directly at the banks"

            The last equivalent situation was the 1930s. I wasnt a fan of dumping money on the banks at the time but it was about saving the currency and avoiding another great depression.

            "With Covid the government bypassed the banks and directly subsidised people’s wages and thus companies. This approach seems to have cost significantly less and maintained a level of capacity in the economy to more quickly pickup (whether it did or did not is a separate discussion point)."

            With covid the gov caused the crisis by abandoning science and the preprepared plans to trash the economy. Initially nobody knew anything about the virus and the assumption was a new black death. I am not sure how you think it costs less although maybe there was a hope it would. Instead its inflicted long term harm we will be paying for the foreseeable future.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Well

              >” am not sure how you think it costs less although maybe there was a hope it would”

              Need to separate costs:

              Total QE monies 2009~2012 £375bn

              Total furlough monies 2020-2022 £70bn

              Neither of these figures allow for inflation etc.

              >” it was about saving the currency and avoiding another great depression.”

              Yes, it was flagged back in the mid to late 1990s that the UK economy was overly exposed to the health of the global financial market; from looking at the balance of trade figures, it would seem we still are…

              > the preprepared plans

              I thought that was part of the problem, there were no real plans as the plans that existed were based on assumptions CoViD invalidated. Also, preparation cost money, hence why there was a scramble for PPE…

              The biggest issue I had was the lack of preparation in the NHS in the acute wards: patients were dying from an unknown illness for several months before CoViD-19 was finally isolated, yet they didn’t implement strict biohazard containment procedures; I had cousins who were working these wards during this time…

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Well

                @Roland6

                "Yes, it was flagged back in the mid to late 1990s that the UK economy was overly exposed to the health of the global financial market; from looking at the balance of trade figures, it would seem we still are…"

                That really isnt a shock. For all the hare brained schemes of government I dont see much changing either.

                "I thought that was part of the problem, there were no real plans as the plans that existed were based on assumptions CoViD invalidated"

                Unfortunately not. There were plans, Before Boris caught it and was then fell into the same panic as other countries we were following it. Unfortunately even though Covid was bad it was still gonna infect everyone and was also nowhere near as deadly as initially suspected. The severe FUD and confused policies were a knee-jerk reaction to following peoples cries instead of leading through the pandemic.

                "I had cousins who were working these wards during this time…"

                I can sympathise. The NHS tried to kill my family member during covid by not treating them but dumping them on a covid ward (she had a stroke). The procedures to visit her were so incompetent it could easily be the cause of more infections and even deaths.

  13. 45RPM Silver badge

    The best method to avoid waste is to ensure that we have a government of technocrats rather than a kakistocracy of greedy populist blow hards who dance to the tune of far right influencers like Nigel Farage and Rupert Murdoch.

    More broadly, it is necessary to shy away from the woolly thinking that requires all view points to be 'balanced' by an opposing view point. Value the experts. If 99 economists say that Brexit is a bad idea, and 1 disagrees, there is no need to give the 1 equal air time - I'm not saying that they should have no air-time, but they don't deserve half of the air time (1% would be about right). Ditto if 99% of climate scientists believe that global warming is anthropogenic then there's no need to give the dissenter more than 1% of the time.

    One has to remember that most people are not very good at thinking critically (look at the popularity of the tabloids) and they will see this balance as confirmation that all points of view are equivalent. By extension, it will also be necessary to limit the ability of media outlets to promulgate lies. Freedom of speech demands that they should be allowed to say what they like. Democracy demands that if they're caught bullshitting then they need to broadcast a full retraction and apology at least as loudly as the original offending article (and, this is the difficult bit, taking into account how vigorously the lie has been spread on social media.) No, I don't have a solution (sorry), but failure to grasp this nettle will result in the sort of government that we currently 'enjoy'.

    As long as the views of experts are denigrated, it's very difficult to get to a technocracy. Technocracies are almost by definition boring. Serious people doing serious things. And that isn't relatable. But it does result in less wastage and a better quality of life for all but a greedy few.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @45RPM

      Damn, I never thought a comment could look just like someone repeatedly bashing their head against a brick wall and thinking its a miracle cure for a head ache, but you also managed to do so on a topic unrelated to doing so. You may not wanna look across the channel, you might get upset.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: @45RPM

        Re-reading what I wrote, I'm not surprised that it looked like "bashing their head against a brick wall and thinking it's(sic) a miracle cure for a head ache" to you. I used too many long words. Probably also explains why you split the word headache into two - reduces the syllable* count.

        *whoops, did it again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @45RPM

          don't mind junky, he's the local right wing bellend we laugh at!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @45RPM

        Brexit has failed.

        Even the IEA is readying for a reverse ferret. Why Brexit was a mistake

    2. blackcat Silver badge

      Ahh... rule by the tyranny of the majority. If you are a minority then STFU. Can't see that backfiring horribly :)

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Nope - that's not what I said is it? I said that the population should be given the facts in a digestible manner. It is not unreasonable that the majority, who have not had the education necessary to interpret scientific (or mathematical, or other complex topic) information should attribute volume to validity. We saw this happen with Brexit - where whataboutism ensured that both sides were given equal weight. Result? Vast swaths of the population couldn't decide which way to vote, because they weren't given the information in a way they could use. We see this now with Brexit regret, and a majority in favour of rejoin - and an even larger majority wishing that we hadn't left in the first place, even if some of those aren't quite at the rejoin stage yet.

        How much more democratic if they'd been presented this information honestly in the first place, with retractions for falsehoods prominently advertised when necessary.

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Nope, that isn't what you said at all. You pretty much said that if the majority opinion is x then the dissenting opinion should not get equal or balanced coverage. And you've reiterated this by saying the plebs would have voted remain if they'd only been given information that you approve of.

          If 95% of the people thought a certain way would you agree that the remaining 5% should only get a 5% say and that they should just accept the decisions of the 95%?

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            Analogy. If, on a day that it's raining, 9 people were involved in a discussion on how long the rain will last and what to do on a wet day, would you want to include the one person who thinks it's a bright sunny day and who wants to go sunbathing (this despite the fact that they're soaking wet from the rain)? By your argument, they should have equal airtime despite the fact that a) the evidence is against them and b) there are 9 other people who might want their fare share of the discussion time (i.e. 90% of it).

            Or maybe we have 100 people on a bus. 99 people want the bus to stop before it goes over the inconvenient cliff at the end of the lane, but one person is suicidal and wants to drive over the edge. Should their opinion be given equal weight (again, by your argument, yes they should.)

            By my argument they should be given no more than their share - and maybe none at all, depending on how bonkers their view is. If, in the first analogy, another person came along claiming the sky was made of spaghetti and answered to the name fishy-mcfish-face then, yeah. No air-time. You'd grant them exact equivalence.

            Incidentally, I don't need to "approve of the information". I might vehemently disagree with it. But it should at least be accurately reported and honest. For example, you might say that there's a really cold winter coming, and we should burn lots of oil to stay warm. If there was a really cold winter coming then I might disagree with you (I'd argue in favour of renewable energy sources to stay warm), but I couldn't accuse you of lying - so we'd be able to have a reasoned debate on what course of action we should take to heat our homes, weighing the pros and cons of both ideas. If one side bases their entire argument on a tissue of lies then it impossible to have a reasoned debate, to the detriment of democracy. So no. Exact equivalency is not a good thing.

            1. blackcat Silver badge

              "Should their opinion be given equal weight (again, by your argument, yes they should.)"

              Never said that. You are now pretty much advocating not just for majority rule but also only people you agree with. This ISN'T democracy. This is tyranny.

              One of the features of the political system in the UK is that the bar for entry is really quite low. You don't need billions and insanely rich friends like you do in the USA.

              Many times in the history of the world there has been a lone dissenting voice who turned out to be correct.

              We live in a world where the 9 people will read something on the internet that tells them its raining and they will believe that without question. The one person who looks out the window then gets ridiculed for having a differing opinion. 'I don't need to look out the window, these experts told me its raining and we must trust them'.

              And in your analogy, what has it got to do with the 9 other people if one person wants to go sunbathe in the rain? We don't all have to think the same way. Again history has taught us that diversity of thought resulted in some of the greatest achievements.

              1. 45RPM Silver badge

                I think you’ve gotten yourself so knotted up in your fallacious argument that you’re able to see the back of your own tonsils.

                The nine who get their information from the internet are the general public. They aren’t likely to be asked for their opinion. The one person who looks out of the window is the expert. In real life there will be more than one. We should listen to them more. Expertise is not something to be ashamed of. But we shouldn’t be trying to gin up some false equivalency with pigshit ignorance.

                And if the one wants to sunbathe in the rain then good on em I say. But they shouldn’t be allowed to pull the roof off the building and force everyone else to.

                1. blackcat Silver badge

                  "pigshit ignorance"

                  Contained in these 2 words is the reason why remain and Hillary lost. It is hard to bring someone over to your side if you call them things like gammon or a basket of deplorables.

                  For reference I voted remain.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Were you reading a different thread? I don’t think they called any one anything. They said that a truthful expert should be balanced by a truthful expert. Which seems obvious and like fair dos.

                    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

                      Polarisation of politics means that if two experts disagree, it is impossible to consider that they might both be truthful.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        "Polarisation of politics means that if two experts disagree, it is impossible to consider that they might both be truthful."

                        It's worse than that ... It's also impossible to consider that they might both be full of shit.

                  2. CountCadaver Silver badge

                    The correct terms are fascists, gullible and bigots

                    If the shoe fits

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      The shoe certainly fits you!

                2. Shalghar

                  The problem with "Experts" is that they often are not or are selected for politically compatible views.

                  What i have seen in the media, be it in the panicdemic where medicinal economist Lauterbach suddenly was proclaimed an epidemy expert (he is not) or in the current frenetic propaganda war against anyone not sharing the current governments attitude that economic suicide is a good idea where "experts" suddenly appear out of thin air who never studied but have a history with certain political organisations from parties to government cozy "N"GOs.

                  Buy yourself a loudmouth with or without a title, and you have your expert of the current ages.

                  Just take that bullshit word "renewable energy" and ask someone who knows about irrelevant things like laws of thermodynamics if energy can be renewed. If the questioned person says no, they know physics.

                  Show me one "Expert" who has taken the ill effects of the "renewables" into account, just the obvious things like 3000+ tons concrete foundation which messes with ground water levels and soil density, the infrasonics that permeate soil and water (for offshore) for the inefficient birdshredders, the compensation loss to connect to the AC network in the correct frequency, the impact on airflow and detrimental results for the environment when reducing the kinetic energy of the atmospheric air movements/wind by converting it to electrical energy, etc.

                  Its quite a lot of information for those wind generators alone and i highly doubt that even half of the negative effects of brainless "lets plant lots of those" are being taken into account.

                  I also doubt such complex information can be simplified enough properly enough to get the "news" consumers informed enough to make an informed decision.

                  I really like your idea that any media spouting lies must remedy this by publishing a correction as prominently as the lie, as was german newspaper law in the 1980ies. In reality, the corrections were printed in the commentary section (for more "integrity oriented" media) or in small letters and placed in between the sex phone adverts and similar paria printouts. If at all.

                  Nowadays... forget it. The best you can hope is a stealth recensoring like with the "fact checkers" from state and NGO sponsored media outlet "Correctiv" concerning a presumed "secret meeting for mass deportation" in november 2023. Which was neither secret nor discussing mass deportations but this fake news ignited mass protests "against nazis" while minister faesers idea to resurrect Adolfs "Sippenhaft" (punishing people who have done nothing because they are family members of criminals) or her idea to destroy the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" ("Unschuldsvermutung") strangely didnt trigger the nazi warn sirens.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "Many times in the history of the world there has been a lone dissenting voice who turned out to be correct."

                Sure; decision making is easy. Let's always go along with the lone dissenting voice, because they aren't always wrong. /s

            2. codejunky Silver badge

              @45RPM

              Your analogies are interesting. So when the defector from N.Korea describes life in N.Korea do you give them equal weight with N.Korea describing paradise? When someone escapes the cult do you believe them or the cult? Do you still think- "By my argument they should be given no more than their share - and maybe none at all, depending on how bonkers their view is"

              Now lets consider truly bonkers. A few conspiracy theories have turned out to be facts in the US! Give truth airtime or not because it might sound to some people 'bonkers'? You talk about brexit as a bad thing and somehow think leave advocates were bonkers. Maybe in your opinion but most of us voted leave and a few remainers seemed upset the country didnt implode as they were told it would. Accurate reporting would have swept a lot of the FUD from both sides away. It would have left very little for remain to say (single market basically) but a lot for leave to say.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @45RPM

                "You talk about brexit as a bad thing"

                So do the IEA:

                https://iea.org.uk/why-brexit-was-a-mistake-from-a-libertarian-perspective/

                Big Fail. Even Mr Farage has said so.

                "A few conspiracy theories have turned out to be facts in the US! "

                A stopped clock is right twice a day.

                Which conspiracy theories have been correct? QAnon? Pizzagate? Birther? Superbowl was fixed for Taylor Swift? The moon landings were faked? There was no holocaust? The Earth is flat? The Earth is hollow and aliens live inside down at Antartica? The Sandy Hook school massacre was staged?

                Which of the above (And the ****ing tonne of other garbage) were true, hmmm?

                1. codejunky Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: @45RPM

                  @AC

                  Are you the same coward I pointed out as lying last time?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    No.

                    So which conspiracy theories are you claiming to be true, hmm?

                    Is it the great replacement? Blood libel? Adrenochrome harvesting? The mothman? Chemtrails?

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Is it the one about 5G turning people who were vaccinated against covid19 into zombies?

                    Is it the Sovereign Citizen movement beliefs? Deep Underground Military Bases being used for child trafficking? The Illuminati ? David Icke's Lizard People? The Secret Space Program? JFK Jnr is alive and will be Trump's running mate? Paul McCartney is dead? Elvis is alive? ....

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @45RPM

                  A stopped clock is right twice a day.

                  codejunky is more like a clock running backwards: it's right more often than a stopped clock, and the faster it runs, the more often it's right —but one would never rely on what it says as anything other than garbage.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Maybe they are off fighting the Giant of Kandahar? Or deep in study of Fomenko's New Chronology of "history".

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @45RPM

                      They certainly do a lot of spinning. I imagine they're trying to write a modern-day follow-up to Fomenko, but without such a rigorous intellectual grounding.

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                3. JimmoMoyya

                  Re: @45RPM

                  "So do the IEA:

                  https://iea.org.uk/why-brexit-was-a-mistake-from-a-libertarian-perspective/"

                  So they're clamouring for the colonies to rejoin Britain then?

                  "Big Fail. Even Mr Farage has said so."

                  No, that was how the government handled it...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Just an admission of the predicted failure. I see no proposal on how to remedy the bad situation they helped to push for.

                    And to be fair that is the case for all the vociferous pro-brexiters. They got what they wanted, but it delivered nothing they promised or were promised. No reduction in foreigns. No cheaper food and power. No massive trade dealers with new trade partners etc etc etc.

                    The sunlit uplands turned out to be nothing but Brexit bullshit. Even Mr Farage and his band of grifters have admitted as much.

        2. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Also see it with weaponised falsehoods about the trans community, stirring up hate akin to Germany circa 1933...

          1. Shalghar

            Would be a lot easier for any real transitioning person (i have several friends and one in the family who suffered long and hard to finally succed in transitioning) who detest the excessive extremism that sullies every discussion. The outright ignorance and holier than thou attitude coming from the usual extremists who are themselves not affected but claim to be "activists" for those poor immature shy minorities that wont stand up for themselves (usually because they just want to be accepted, not praised and put on display) is disgusting.

            Thats basic parenting. Tell one child it is somewhat more important and disrespect the other and there will not be too much love between the siblings.

            Just let people live their lives without stuffing the "Those are our minorities of the day" praise and propaganda in everyones face.

            Just like i experienced in Bristol. Theres an indian with the traditional headdress in a smart suit passing by someone in a kilt, half naked with pict tattoes all over his body, some women with a headscarf is passing by, some punkers in their usual attire, some people without any specific peculiarities and.... NOONE gives a damn about attire or looks of anyone else. THATS "tolerance" and acception and quite a better experience than imposing verbal minefields and dystopian newspeak just because some oversensitive unstable wannabe entitled person might want to feel insulted.

            Strange, when you talk to those supposedly "empowered" by all those wokish extremists, they share my disgust for those parasitic jokers who abuse real or made up minorities to show their own made up importance and propagate their peculiar ideology.

            And for those who want to feel insulted now, grow up and get a life.

        3. JimmoMoyya

          "We see this now with Brexit regret, and a majority in favour of rejoin - and an even larger majority wishing that we hadn't left in the first place"

          Except, we're not seeing any such thing. Confusing your Twitter echo-chamber with reality again, apparently.

          "It is not unreasonable that the majority, who have not had the education necessary to interpret scientific (or mathematical, or other complex topic) information should attribute volume to validity. "

          Most attributive to people like yourself, a guy who failed to even realize Biden is centre-right by British political standards, where Trump and Republicans would be far-right.

    3. CountCadaver Silver badge

      A good start would be making the Murdoch family persona non grata on the grounds of being against the public good, shut down that claptrap called "GB news", block bookface and all the right sites

      Only then we might start to undo the damage done to our society

      1. JimmoMoyya

        Yeah screw free speech and freedom of the press. Typical far-left moron that has infected The Register; haven't got a single clue.

  14. Phiphi in SoCal

    A billion is in the noise...

    The pandemic cost TRILLIONS.

    If you're worried about a billion, establish a bounty to report and prosecute the fraud.

  15. Paul 87

    Said it before and I'll say it again, the governments need to define data standards for records, health data, education data, welfare data, etc. all needs to have a common data standard that's flexible to cope with future changes, but robust enough to survive long periods without the standard being updated.

    If they did that, then all the software companies wanting to tender for government business would have to work off the same approach when it comes to data interchange.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      An attempt was made back in the 1980s… EDI

      Okay it didn’t extend to medical records, but the idea of common and open data exchange formats would have. Unfortunately, short term laissez-faire market thinking by politicians largely killed the initiative, the laugh is in the UK the DTI (department of trade and industry) and CCTA prior to No 10 interference was promoting open data exchange formats…

    2. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

      So that seems the sensible approach, but then take a step further and establish the oversight bodies as the authority data standard. All data from each department must be exported to them in real time in a defined manner and structure. Surely can’t be that difficult, even for Fujitsu. Just needs someone with the political will and determination to see it through.

      Anyhow 60 bn will fill the MOD black hole and fund the local councils with the money they should have been getting all along.

  16. xyz123 Silver badge

    Most of the fraud was committed BY MPs of both major parties. They gave contracts etc to "best buds".

    The whole Tory / Labour and even US Republican/Democrat thing is a total farce. Behind the scenes off camera they're personal friends, go to each others weddings, birthdays etc.

    System designed to make you THINK there's an election choice.

  17. Abominator

    I remember early on during the pandemic when the government back loans were introduced.

    People were complaining banks were taking too long, so the press and other politicians were screaming for the checks to be removed by banks. Checks there to stop fraudulent loan claims due to the pandemic.

    Eventually the government relented and ordered banks to streamline.

    Well, that has consequences. For everyone who says this is now bad, at the time the government and banks were the bad guys being too cautious and slow.

    The way the press whips hysteria is half the problem. It would have been better to let many businesses go to the wall rather than enable this amount of fraud.

  18. Necrohamster Bronze badge
    Devil

    The rot starts at the top

    Let me just say I'm surprised Baroness Michelle Mone OBE isn't under investigation for corruption.

    Leak reveals Michelle Mone told government she would not benefit financially from PPE firm

    The Conservative peer Michelle Mone assured the government that she was not entitled to “any financial benefit whatsoever” from a PPE company, five months before £29m of its profits were transferred into a trust for her benefit.

    Leaked emails between Mone and the Cabinet Office reveal that a civil servant asked her to make a declaration that she had no conflict of interest in relation to the company, PPE Medpro, which she had recommended to ministers in May 2020.

    Mone stated that she had “no conflicts whatsoever” and that she was not “entitled to any financial remuneration or financial benefit whatsoever”.

    1. Ashto5

      Phew that clears it up

      So glad you posted that, I can now rest easy as she did not stand to gain and therefore did not, I mean she told us so.

      1. Necrohamster Bronze badge

        Re: Phew that clears it up

        I suppose putting the ill-gotten money into a trust is *technically* not the same thing as putting it in her own bank account, so maybe she didn't stand to gain at that exact moment in time when the question was asked. :D

        The fly in the ointment is that her [husband's] company is being sued by the government for providing defective PPE, so putting £30 million in a trust might be seen as a cynical move to put the money outside the reach of the courts.

        Either way the whole deal stinks from start to finish.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: The rot starts at the top

      "Mone stated that she had “no conflicts whatsoever” and that she was not “entitled to any financial remuneration or financial benefit whatsoever”.

      Translation: "I didn't feel conflicted about receiving the money, because even though I wasn't entitled to it, obviously I was able to accept any financial remuneration or financial benefit offered”.

      Twisted politician's minds are twisted.

  19. CorwinX

    Orwell nailed it decades ago...

    "The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance."

    George Orwell, 1984

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