Monday, April 27, 2009

The arrogance of government.

I've been spending a bit of time trying to get a hold on the swine flu situation and have come across the official UK planning advice.

Two things strike me:

    1) The defeatism in the advice. No attempt is to realistically be made to prevent the spread of disease through air travel - yes you read that right. There are sections that talk about having to appease pesky foreign govts that haven't given up like ours has with pre departure screenings of people. After all the advice tells us that even with 99.9% drop in foreign travel ( the other 0.1% is I assume govt minister flying to Afghanistan to try and get good publicity shots ) would only delay the spread by 1 month or so.

    But given the fact that a vaccine is 4-6 months away and the pandemic may come in waves, with later waves being worse than the early ones, that one month could buy a lot of lives. Not civil service or government lives you understand - as they'll be critical services like "nurses, doctors and teachers"(TM New Labour when smearing something they don't like ) and will get clinical priority. Just us ordinary folk will miss out.

    2) The govt has decided that face masks are just not worth it for the general population as they " there is no evidence they are effective". How hard did they look ?

    If there's a high mortality pandemic flu outbreak wouldn't you rather the govt had spent 10p out of the thousands and thousands of pounds tax you pay them to provide you with a face mask ? The govt of Mexico seems to think its a good idea. As did those in Asia during the SARS outbreak.

    Even it it made no difference ( which I personally doubt ) at least people would feel better.

    Only the UK civil service could come to a conclusion like that.

    If things do get bad this will be a key political issue and the population will just not understand why the government must be protected, but not its people. Especially when the cost of doing so would have been so small given adequate warning.

If you really want to get depressed follow this link. Personally I'd get yourself a stiff drink before reading it. Kind of reminds me of the skills they used on Foot and Mouth, just on a larger scale.

Time to get ourselves familiar with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 I think ....

Update: Just been told that flights some routes in the US to Mexico have been cancelled, but I can't confirm it via any other source. So its just a rumour. No news for example of Houston airport's web site or myFox Houston.

I've also seen reports via Twitter of Canadian flights being cancelled - no confirmation. Perhaps confusion between people cancelling their trips and official action.

Here we go : Just heard a Govt representative ( a minister ? ) on the radio saying that masks are no good, need changing twice a day, make people over confident (!! yes really) and are too expensive.

I just don't believe any of that. We are looking at a cost between nappies and toilet paper here. Even if the govt didn't want to provide for its citizens it should ahve allowed us to buy them if we wanted ...

Shortly they will be trying to justify leaving direct flights to Mexico and the US running, just wait.

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