Peston Chats Sh*t

“I’ve got to talk to you, I’m afraid, about poo” probably wasn’t the line of questioning DCMS Secretary Oliver Dowden was expecting when he agreed to appear on Peston last night. Asking about the opening of public toilets in line with increasing freedom to visit parks and other attractions, Dowden did a cracking job of keeping a straight face as one of the nation’s supposed top political broadcasters asked him whether the public can poo in a loo at a zoo. The public now has clarification that it is not government policy to allow excretion in public parks – where would we be without Peston…

mdi-timer 11 June 2020 @ 11:00 11 Jun 2020 @ 11:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Peston’s Testing Shortage Disinformation

On Tuesday evening, ITV Political Editor Robert Peston made extraordinary and widely shared claims that “there is no shortage of the relevant reagents” – implying that the Government was either lying or simply hadn’t bothered to ask around. His tweet has attracted over 14,000 retweets and 20,000 likes.

His single anonymous Chemical Industries Association source could be right. On the other hand, Guido has pulled together some other people who might just know what they are talking about:

  • Professional Association of Laboratory Medics, Germany: “The association is worried that the materials required for testing — sample kits, materials for extracting samples, and reagents — are becoming scarce”
  • Department of Health, Australia: “Due to global demand exceeding supply, stocks of all laboratory related testing consumables are under considerable strain. At the moment there are particular concerns around supplies of swabs and DNA extraction kits.”
  • Centre for Disease Control, United States: Important reagents are “now are in short supply,”
  • Leo Varadkar, Ireland: “The current cause of delay is a shortage of reagents. We hope to address that but then there may be a shortage of something else. We have to be honest about that – we will hit delays.”
  • Chief Public Health Officer, Province of Manitoba, Canada: “Right now the major roadblock is the reagent and that is worldwide.”
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention, South Korea: Kwon Jun-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said … it was true that Roche Diagnostics’ supply of reagents for nucleic acid extraction was not stable.”
  • Health Ministry, Israel: Deputy Director General Prof. Itamar Grotto said that “Unfortunately what we just received is not exactly what we needed. The test is comprised of many components and the main problem is that we are missing swabs.”
  • National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory, Lithuania: “The reagent kits have been shipped out but have not yet arrived. Supply chains are breaking down. We are following the situation and trying to coordinate.”
  • Metropolis Health Ltd, (registered lab offering tests) India: “Since resources are limited, including protection equipment for sample collectors and reagents, we have decided to prioritise testing to those who are most at need.”
  • Virology Laboratory at Italy’s National Institute for Infectious DiseasesEuropean Commission Coronavirus Advisory Group: “major companies that provide the reagents that labs need to analyze tests are reaching “the maximum of their capacity,” said Capobianchi, noting there’s also a need for more swabs for collecting samples. “I don’t know how long they would require to scale up their capacity,” she said of reagent producers.”

Whilst he later acknowledged that there was a global problem, Peston has still not deleted the original thread. Inevitably his later correction only got a tiny bit of attention, with fraction of the interaction.

Guido understands that the predominant reason Germany has a much higher testing rate is fortunately for them the specific diagnostics facilities needed to test for Covid-19 have a large number of branches in Germany, meaning domestic production just happened to be enormous to begin with. The UK will at least be very well served if any future pandemic requires a large supply of snide punditry…

Last night Peston had to be corrected again by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam on his understanding of which tests can do what, this morning Peston tweets that he “was slightly taken aback at the ferocity of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer’s response”. Painful viewing, see for yourself…

Isn’t it about time big news outlets had their health, rather than political teams leading on Coronavirus coverage?..

mdi-timer 2 April 2020 @ 10:37 2 Apr 2020 @ 10:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
McDonnell: Most Right Wing Cabinet in my Lifetime

The endorsements just keep flying in for Boris’s new Cabinet, it was John McDonnell’s turn on Peston last night to hail it as the “most right wing Cabinet in my lifetime” and predict that we’ll see some “pretty hardline neo-liberal policies come out”. High praise indeed from Britain’s most left-wing ever Shadow Chancellor. McDonnell astutely notes that they will be “differentiated certainly from the Labour Party”…

Whether it really suits Corbyn “down to the ground” is another matter, he may end up finding out sooner than he really wants. New Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg told Peston a general election was not a “government objective” but was “impossible to rule out” given the Parliamentary arithmetic. The way Boris ruthlessly stamped his authority on the Cabinet yesterday suggests he is more than prepared to face down any potential rebels. With an election if necessary…

McDonnell couldn’t even say Labour would definitely back Remain, meanwhile Corbyn continues to wander round aimlessly calling for a general election while refusing to table a vote of no confidence in the new government. Labour’s Marxist leadership may be in for a sharp shock now they’re no longer getting an easy ride against May’s muddled centrism…

mdi-timer 25 July 2019 @ 08:24 25 Jul 2019 @ 08:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tom Watson’s U-Turn on Bad Al’s Brexit Agenda

Tom Watson has been making a full-throated case for remaining in the EU this morning at the sycophantic pro-EU think tank Centre for European Reform. Guido couldn’t help but remember this memorable clash between Watson and Alastair Campbell just last May. Watson tears into Bad Al for not respecting the Brexit vote and repeatedly mocks the fact he no longer decides Labour policy:

“We have to listen to the whole of the British people on this Alastair and we’ve got to make sure that we honour them by saying we’re coming out of the EU…”

“What I’m saying is: you no longer decide Labour Party policy… I know you’d like to, I know they don’t pay you a lot of money as the editor of the New European…”

Campbell might have been unceremoniously shown the exit door from Labour, its Deputy Leader doesn’t seem to mind him setting the agenda again…

mdi-timer 17 June 2019 @ 12:01 17 Jun 2019 @ 12:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Heidi on Joining Lib Dems: Never Say Never

Heidi Allen tried to water down rumours that she will join the Liberal Democrats last night on Peston, but left the possibility open for herself saying “never say never in this game because there are shifting sands”. Guido’s analysis shows that as a Lib Dem Heidi would hold a decent chance of holding her seat. As for the other TIGs, not so much

mdi-timer 6 June 2019 @ 08:32 6 Jun 2019 @ 08:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hunt Won’t Commit to October 31 Brexit Deadline

Jeremy Hunt was grilled on Brexit by Peston last night after being forced to helplessly sit through a whole segment of the show where his flip-flopping on Brexit was read out line-by-line. Ouch…

More significantly, Hunt would not commit to the new October 31 Brexit deadline on the grounds that Parliament could try to block no deal, which he argues would lead to a “very, very devastating” general election. Hunt’s plan relies on putting back together the Conservative-DUP alliance, which will be a tall ask if the hated backstop is still in place…

On the other side of the argument Dominic Raab tells the Spectator that he would be prepared to use all the “levers of the executive” to force through a no deal if necessary, potentially setting up an epic constitutional crash with aspiring ‘Eternal President’ John Bercow. May never seriously attempted to use those levers so Raab would be in unchartered waters. Ultimately the onus would be on Remainer Tory MPs to decide once and for all what they really think is worse, no deal or a Marxist Prime Minister…

mdi-timer 30 May 2019 @ 08:54 30 May 2019 @ 08:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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