The absurdity of this wasteful, dangerous government
One feat of the Boris Johnson administration simply cannot be denied – it is a record-breaking government at being both wasteful whilst being immersed in more allegations of corruption that any government before it.
Whatever the Tories want to make claim to in future – being careful custodians of taxpayers hard-earned money won’t be one of them. Another claim it will no longer be able to make is about competence.
And whilst governments before them have embarrassed themselves over white-elephants and vanity projects, none can claim to be as wasteful, incompetent or corrupt as this government.
There is an undeniable fact that under this government, Britain has suffered much worse than all of its peer nations during the pandemic. One reason of many is the mind-boggling sum of £37billion allocated to the test and trace programme offered to private company Serco – the same company prosecuted for fraud, false accounting and accused of an extensive sexual abuse cover-up of migrants at an immigration removal centre.
This project has seemingly failed, having never met targets, nor prevented lockdowns – and yet it has cost three times that of the entire UK vaccination programme. This means that of 28 million working adults in the UK a charge of £1321 has been allocated to Serco’s failure to deliver anything tangible.
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It is hard to think that the government will not be held to account for such an incredible waste of money – almost a third of the annual NHS budget – just as it fights to keep nurse wages pinned down. But holding this government to account is legally becoming harder by the day.
To demonstrate the abject absurdity of the situation Britain finds itself in, one only has to look at, for instance, The Times newspaper over two days. One headline – “UK’s new foreign policy — Russia is No 1 danger” – and a day later – “Russian link to Downing Street’s new press briefing room.”
The first is a story declaring Britain will now treat Russia as a “hostile state.” This is according to a landmark review of British foreign policy – apparently.
The paper reports that – “The integrated review of security, defence and foreign policy will set out plans to boost spending on Britain’s offensive cyber warfare capability to combat Moscow.” The report also makes reference to China being a bit naughty but that it will still trade with it as little more than a “trading competitor.”
The review document brands Russia – “the biggest state-based threat that Britain faces as a result of its frequent aggressive incursions into UK waters and airspace and its willingness to use state-sanctioned murder against dissidents on British soil.”
The following day we find out that the much-reported £2.6 million renovation of Downing Street’s new White House-style press briefing room was carried out by … wait for it … a Russian-owned company.
In something out of a parody film, akin to Carry On Downing Street starring Boris de Pfeffel and Jonny English, the various departments such as those that carried out the review of British foreign policy that identified Russia as the No 1 cyber-threat to British interests – forgot to have a quick look at who was installing all the cameras, microphones and software at a Downing Street office.
The Times reports without any hint of irony that – “The renovations were carried out by Megahertz, which is owned by a Moscow-based firm that has carried out technical work for Russia Today, a state-controlled broadcaster.”
RT Today has been heavily fined for repeatedly breaching impartiality rules was banned from UK media freedom conferences, has been heavily criticised by MP’s and had its broadcasting licence threatened. RT Today is fully funded by the Kremlin.
So you would think as a basic precaution, that doing a technical fit-out of a room dedicated to media output at the very heart of the British government – was not carried out by a company associated with Britain’s arch-enemy – now branded a hostile state. Quite possibly a more competent person might have chosen – deep breath … a British company.
There are so many stories floating around of corruption and incompetence about Boris Johnson’s wasteful and dangerous government that nothing surprises us nowadays. But this story demonstrates not just the waste of money – because why does Downing Street really need a media centre – but also the unilateral scale of its ineptitude to manage anything – let alone a country like the UK.
Image – Steven Camly’s cartoon of Boris Johnson’s ‘blind optimism.’