All posts by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history has a few delays Shock

The most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history

That was how the UK Government described it.

And in the Independent:

Matt Hancock has said the UK will see the biggest seasonal flu vaccination drive in history this winter to try and mitigate the fear of a winter crisis mixed with coronavirus. Speaking remotely at the National Pharmacy Association annual conference, Mr Hancock said the government was planning now for winter, adding: “We’re going to frankly need to use all of the capabilities at our disposal to deliver the vaccine programmes that we need to in the months ahead.”

There are mounting concerns that a severe winter or flu epidemic on top of any second wave of Covid-19 infections could overwhelm the NHS for a second time leading to more deaths and cancelled operations. Mr Hancock said community pharmacists would be key to helping vaccinate as many at risk people such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Ambitious and so worthy of a little slack if there are some delays? Not in Scotland.

Our media have found a few to complain about delays. It is not known what personal connections they have to opposition MPS.

The Tusker asked its followers on Twitter and 95% said they had had a ‘good experience.’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) issued an apology today to members of the public for the way in which the flu vaccination programme has been delivered so far this year:

The Health Board is very aware of the concerns that have been raised by members of the public and the anxiety felt by those in the 65+ age group who are yet to receive their flu vaccination.

NHSGGC would like to reassure members of the public that all remaining letters to the 65+age group will be sent this week and their appointment will be scheduled before the end of November.

Mrs Lennon (73) said: ‘It’s not good enough!’

BBC Scotland’s Lisa Summers may soon call in ‘dysfunctional.’

SNP Government ‘Doing Better’ as Strategy gets results

The relative, 7 day average, infection level across the UK reveal it to be between 35% and nearly 50% lower in Scotland, six weeks after the introduction of measures in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire. More recent restrictions, imposed across the ‘Central Belt’, will further reduce it.

The contrast, above, with the situation in September, when the Scottish level was lower but much closer to the other nations, is clear.

The national level in Scotland has now fallen for 4 days.

Even in Scotland’s most highly infected area, Lanarkshire, linked with tougher restrictions in media reaction to a Scottish Government letter merely discussing the possibility, the infection level has been falling for 7 days now:!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview

How many more times son? It was not the hospital discharges.

On June 2, the Tusker began to rebut the unfounded claims that the care home deaths were the result of the discharge of hospital patients into those homes.

We did not have several research studies, then, identifying the true cause, just the single case of the Skye care home and the evidence from a large Public Health England study. The outbreaks in care homes were due to temporary care workers. We also, of course, could point to the lack of a single research study suggesting the discharges had been responsible.

Since then, we have rebutted the same accusations from different sources including Ian Murray, Alister Jack and several journalists, 7 times, with ever-increasing evidence that it was the use of agency staff and not hospital discharges, to blame.

Five months later, no researchers have suggested that the hospital discharges played any significant part in the care home outbreaks.

The most recent case, rebutting Douglas Ross, was on October 16th. This report includes all the research implicating the use of agency staff:

Today, undaunted and apparently uninhibited by his own ignorance of the facts, the Sun’s Chris Musson pressed the First Minister, quite determinedly, implying ‘reckless practice‘, on when she had known of the discharges, those discharges demonstrated scientifically by several research studies, to have been insignificant.

These briefings have boosted the First Minister’s reputation. The polls show that. Where stand the reputations of the press?

Sunday Times Scotland headlines English health care scandal

The Sunday Times Scotland

I’m trying not to think of Kirsty Wark’s upsides, any sides really.

The exclusive interview with Raheem will of course appeal to the many Scots whose only experience of watching international football these days, even on Scottish Television, is of the England Games.

Dad, Jamie at school says there’s a Scotland team. He’s wrong isn’t he. I’ve never seen one on the teevee.

Best of all in the Sunday Times Scotland, front page, a report entirely about NHS England but presented as being about ‘The NHS.’

On the Over80s denied intensive care, this is based on a documented triage system used in NHS England to protect the NHS (England) from overload. Some eejit in the admin at NHS Highland posted the guidance there before having to withdraw it. It was never used there or anywhere in Scotland.

And the drastic steps to prevent wards being overrun, NHS England medics have forecast mass cancellations of operations:

NHS Scotland’s calm response is here:

Some people buy the Sunday Times Scotland.

Swinney ‘Inundated’ by ‘Blitz’ of at least three emails!

Apologies for the mixed metaphors but I’m not to blame.

In the Herald today:

JOHN Swinney has been accused of allowing the exams fiasco to “fester for days” after newly-released correspondence revealed he was inundated with a dossier of criticism from parents and pupils before eventually signaling a U-turn. The Education Secretary faced calls to quit after thousands of pupils saw their teacher estimated marks downgraded through moderation from the SQA – before a change of heart led to the original grades being allowed to stand.

This all comes from a Scottish Conservatives Freedom of Information request. I cannot find it to check how high the ‘inundation‘ really was.

Why are there only three quotes in the Herald report if there’s been an ‘inundation‘ or as Jamie Greene’s Tory mind prefers a ‘blitz of criticism?’

I’m reminded of earlier cases where 5 out of 55 000 teachers write to John Swinney to complain about something and it is presented as ‘teachers complain’.

Sources matter and we need to know whY this guy is

Guy Stenhouse, I know ‘who?’ writes in the Herald today to argue that the independence question should be different next time, even though the UK Government and the Electoral Commission approved the last one after changing what the SNP Government wanted from:

Do you agree that Scotland be an independent country?


Should Scotland be an independent country?

Stenhouse argues that the first version was biased and that the second was a gift to the Yes campaign. Then he tries to argue, I think, that the possibility of responding with the ‘powerful’ word ‘Yes’ was an attempt to ‘manipulate‘ voters.

Does anyone think that if the last 9 opinion polls showed a majority for ‘No’, he’d be giving us this nonsense about the word ‘No’?


More important who is this guy? He pops up now and then, from stage-door-right to spout stuff then disappears.

In June, he had a go at bending reality with the suggestion that the FM and the PM were somehow alike.

I wrote at the time:

In the Herald today, the rare appearance entering from stage door right, of Guy Stenhouse, to suggest the pandemic is not such a big worry:

Comparing Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon is an interesting exercise. Nicola, one has the feeling, is comfortable giving us instructions – her motives are decent but she finds the state telling the citizen what to do a natural state of affairs; if the medical advice says we wait, then I will tell you to wait and you will do it. Boris, on the other hand, is plainly uncomfortable with this, he is an instinctive libertarian, the state infringing the freedoms of its citizens, especially when the real danger is far less that [sic] the shrieking tabloids would have us believe, does not come naturally. Boris wants us to use our common sense and just act sensibly.

Guy goes on to suggest that, based on his treatment of Mr Cummings, we’d all prefer Boris as our friend in difficult times. We might well but would that be any way to run a country?

Then, he piles in behind the private care home owners, calling criticism such as presumably Care Inspectorate reports, ‘complete absolute nonsense’ and suggesting that they suffer greater scrutiny than the public sector ones. Evidence? Don’t be daft.

Worst of all though, is that sentence highlighted above. What IS he saying? We don’t get the benefit of his peer-reviewed research data confirming the danger is far less than any media coverage.

I’d agree that there is always some media amplification of threat but to appear to side with libertarians, such as Boris and his chums, puts you pretty firmly in a herd quite immune to human concerns about mass death among the poor. It’s quite clear that in the first few weeks the UK Government’s strategy was herd-immunity and ‘taking it on the chin’ to toughen us up, encouraged by dithering experts until, too late, the tsunami of death was visible on the horizon.

OUTRAGE as Herald headlines Anti-English views

In the Herald today:

A £29m contract to maintain and service a large chunk of Scottish Government-owned lifeline ferries has been awarded to an English shipbuilder over a Scots company that has been supporting vessels on the Clyde for over 100 years. Concerns have been raised over how the deal to maintain and service six Scottish Government owned lifeline ferries was given to Merseyside shipbuilder Cammell Laird over Aberdeen-headquartered Dales Marine who have operations in the Garvel Dry Dock in Greenock.

Last time I looked we were still part of the United Kingdom. Even if we were independent wouldn’t CalMac still be allowed to buy ferries elsewhere?

Willie Rennie MSP is known for his staunch opposition to anti-Englishness, even when no one else can see it. He must be furious about this.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives must be asked about this outrage. I feel sure he’ll want to rush to the defence of Scottish shipbuilders just like he did for fishermen and farmers.

He’s in Kazakhstan?

Scotland: Too wee, too poor and with too many paedophiles too!

Children are being sexually exploited in almost all parts of Scotland, according to the first national study of the problem.

First thing in the morning and then with a further 20 or so doses throughout the day, across BBC Scotland, TV and Radio, plus who knows how many other mentions elsewhere, this is what Scotland is today according to an editorial choice in Pacific Quay.

The researchers found:

Cases have been identified in all but five of Scotland’s local authorities.

There are so many questions to ask of the state broadcaster here. The headline is sort of geographically accurate, as are many in the Sun and the Daily Mail, but somewhat limited in the meaningful representation of the truth.

It’s not really happening in ‘all parts‘ now is it?

There were a horrific 5 311 cases last year but that’s among 5 400 000 people and many of the abusers repeatedly abuse the same person. So, in every 1 000 people, how many experienced or were responsible for one of these offences?

It’s horrible, horrible, but it’s not everywhere among us is it?

No doubt it’s insensitive in to show that these offences are more common elsewhere in the UK but they are:



Headlining all day today on BBC Scotland, to boost your anxiety levels, and keep you reluctant to consider change of any kind, we heard: ‘Offences of child cruelty and neglect recorded by police in Scotland increased by 28% in the past year according to the NSPCC.’ There were 818 reports of child neglect or cruelty … Continue reading Cases of child cruelty and neglect TWICE as high across UK than in Scotland but it’s not reported→

More important, I’m sure, is what is being done or not done to prevent these offences:

Headlined in the Guardian on Christmas Day 2019:

Thousands of children in care are increasingly being placed in homes that are illegal or unregulated, in what critics have labelled a national scandal, a Guardian investigation has found. A lack of places to house vulnerable children in the UK is prompting a surge in placements that are less safe. These include those that are unregulated or not registered with Ofsted. MPs, the police, charities and the children’s commissioner warn that children accommodated in these homes are at risk of exploitation from sexual predators and drug gangs.

As always, the report conflates England and the UK but has nothing to say of Scotland in the content. This is not surprising. As we reported in July of this year:

Children in residential settings are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse by adults working in those settings who are responsible for their welfare. Yet the Inquiry has noted that there are no professional registration requirements in place for staff, other than social workers, working in children’s homes in Englandunlike in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Finally, it’s informative to compare today’s reporting with BBC Scotland’s reluctance to do so at other times:



When it comes to an SNP MSP texting a 16-year-old, Willie Rennie is right at the front baying for blood but when it was his old leader David Steel, clearly failing the victims of the serial actual physical abuse of boys by his pal Cyril Smith, he was in a more forgiving mood: The Lib … Continue reading Willie Rennie’s double standards on child abuse→



See him, down at the bottom? Contrast these alleged crimes with those alleged of the former SNP leader. Hidden away and not one mention of his party allegiance anywhere in the BBC reporting. I searched for a sign of his party affiliation. I was difficult to find any mention. Only on the third page of … Continue reading Another Lib Dem accused of repeated child sex abuse but BBC can barely find a space for him and never mention his party→

BBC Scotland uses England’s top statistician to inform us inadequately on trends here

Little useful analysis from the BBC Scotland report:

Earlier, the UK’s national statistician said there was “no question” that the UK was experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases. Professor Sir Ian Diamond, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “I think there is no question we are in a second wave. We are seeing infections rise very quickly.”

He said that in England about one in 130 people had the virus, with estimates for Scotland and Wales being “a little lower” and in Northern Ireland “a little higher. Even if we were to get R in the north to around about one, it would continue to have infections at a high rate. I really do think it’s too early to say on slowing down.”

I feel sure ‘In the North‘ means Lancashire, not Scotland, in this BBC Scotlandanalysis.

Here’s some data the Diamond Geezer won’t be bothered with:

Infection level rise flattening off, perhaps beginning to fall.

Infection rate increase per 1 million population, significantly lower in Scotland.!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview

In an area which has had stricter measures longer, levels now falling.

Hear the one about the Bishop and the Super-spreader?

BBC Scotland has been super-spreading this story:

The Bishop of Paisley has called for a 24-hour “circuit breaker” to be put in place on Christmas Day, amid warnings of a “digital Christmas”. In the Sunday Times, John Keenan compared the idea to the Christmas Day truce during World War One.

Before I could get my act together, regular Tuskerer stewartb spotted the flaw in the Bishop’s thinking:

Just heard about the cleric from Paisley who is arguing that the Scottish Government should remove Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas Day. This headlined BBC Scotland’s TV news tonight. To support his argument, he draws the analogy with the World War 1 Christmas Day truce when enemy soldiers played a game of football.

Was the key thing about this WW1 Christmas Day not the agreement, the certainty, that NO weapons would be fired?

Does this cleric intend to call on his god to negotiate a ‘cease-fire’ to ensure all Coronavirus transmission stops for a day? And if he believes he can do this successfully, perhaps while he’s at it, he could ask for this virus ‘cease-fire’ to last a lot longer than a day!

Hmmm…..maybe the plague is a punishment? Because we are too tolerant of something not allowed in the Old Testament?

I know, it’s the 20% who vote Tory! Where’s my flaming torch and pitchfork?