There’s money in misery. There’s cash to be made in a crisis. You can monetise just about anything these days, after all. The growth of the social media giants should have taught us that.
This government is turning out to be world-beating at funnelling your tax and mine into the pockets of mates, donors and favourites. We should have properly blown our stacks over the trolling we are having to endure as they taunt us with the succession of outrageous contracts and ludicrous appointments, of which Dido Harding is probably the most in-your-face offensive. Failing upwards, that speciality of Failing Grayling, is now probably an aspirational strategy in some quarters.
But I digress. The thing which has really got my blood beyond boiling point is the latest on Moonshot. (Check out the Urban Dictionary definition number 3 and you’ll wonder if Dom I-need-an-eye-test-where’s-the-furthest-castle Cummings is having a right old filthy snigger from behind his screen.) Hugo Gye from i-news broke the incendiary story today.
The upward-failing Dido Harding told the CBI that Moonshot tests will not be available on the NHS. If you want one of the promised (heard that before…) 15-minute tests which will be your pass to a normal life, you’ll have to pay for it. It will be a ‘cost of doing business’, Harding said. It will also be the way you get access to the very many pleasures denied us by Covid-19: theatre, galleries, conferences, parties, weddings etc. Got a Moonshot pass? You’re in. Can’t afford one? Aww. Shame.
Limiting access to social interaction according to ability to pay is bad enough, but here’s the killer: you and I are paying for this service to be developed. We are funding a money-spinning start-up. We’ve already funded a whole heap of handouts to private companies for PPE, most of which has yet to materialise. Hell, we’ve paid Serco £108 million for a failed call centre and tracing system, and just given them another £45 million for new test sites. To rub salt in the wound, we’ve a government that has tried to pin test, track and trace chaos on the NHS by refusing to call the system by its true name: the SERCO Test, Track and Trace (TTT)scheme/fiasco/failure.
The thing that makes you want to scream until your throat bleeds is that the government then decided to pay consultants (chaps in suits) to work out what is going wrong with TTT! As Stephen Reicher of Independent Sage tweeted:
But where’s the fun in that? Or rather, how does that get moolah to Conservative-backing mates?
And how about this little whiff-of-corruption story in the Daily Mail, of all places. Johnson’s half-brother Max recently joined the board of ‘wellness’ company, REVIV. Guess who is rumoured to be at the front of the queue to deliver Moonshot testing? Yup. You got it.
To be honest, the stench of corruption emanating from this toxic government is now so strong that the permanent wearing of a mask would be on the cards, virus or not. To relieve the pressure on your olfactory senses, you might want to take a look at the Good Law Project, who are holding the government to account on all these dodgy, utterly opaque deals on our behalf.
How about that other little gem of weapons-grade squander? Theresa May’s sat-nav vanity project. Contract awarded to OneWeb, a bankrupt company who made the wrong kind of satellites. Of course they did! (you might spot a pattern if you look at the PPE scandal). The UK is now liable for any space junk generated by them. Cleaning up space debris ain’t cheap. I expect someone in the cabinet knows a mate with a Dyson…
We’ll be begging to rejoin Galileo soon, I guess. Ahh, Brexit! Just one long catalogue of joys.
War is the big money-spinner for opportunists, but we don’t look to be at the point of providing the vultures with that little treat quite yet. The virus has been just as good, though! It’s killed off plenty of economically non-viable people, bankrupted some businesses which can now be hoovered up on the cheap, and it’s been the perfect cover for all manner of little scams and schemes. It’s even distracted us from Russian interference in our politics, the property developers’ charter (disguised as planning reform), AND, come January when we are facing hardship in a post-Brexit world, the ensuing disaster can be blamed on Covid-19! Simples!
The only thing Johnson has not quite got away with yet, is breaking International Law with impunity. But, hey, another lockdown and we’ll forget all about that, won’t we?
I’m feeling pretty mad. I’m guessing you are, too. Don’t let’s get used to this. Keep calling it out. Keep sharing the truth. Keep hammering away at your MP. It’s not too late to stop the kleptocrats nicking absolutely everything we hold dear and then flogging it back to us.