2023 Mar 05 - Matt Hancock WhatsApp Messages

The architect Rafael Viñoly passed away, he was the man who designed London's Walkie Talkie building. I'm told the funeral was very sad but the reception was fantastic

Meaningless statistics are 12% down today

Let's skip straight to the main news which is the Telegraph's horde of 100k secret WhatsApp messages. These were messages to and from Matt Hancock that Isabel Oakeshott (who was writing a biography on him) had access to and she decided to leak the entire thing to the press, to prevent what she calls a whietwash. That makes her about as trustworthy as a politician, maybe she should run for office next time. Her and Matt would get on like a house on fire if she weren't busy destroying what's left of his career and if he wasn't busy getting divorced to shack up with Gina Coladangelo Anyway, what do the messages reveal? Largely that behind the scenes the government's response to covid in 2020 and 2021 was as shambolic as Boris' appearance, but they largely they fit into two categories.

1) Policy errors. There were a number of major decisions made behind the scenes by a secret cabal of advisors that were so incoherant that I wonder if someone of them are now advising Prince Harry. Face masks were introduced in primary schools simply to avoid an argument with Nicola Sturgeon, and then later, care homes were being advised to stop testing in order to make it look like the case count was coming down down. There are lines in the conversation like “the death modelling you have been shown is already very wrong” Just before they decided as a group what week they should declare a new variant in order to get maximum political expediency out of things. All of this is on WhatsApp and it really does retain that social media tone, Matt and friends scheduling a lockdown reads the same as some friends of mine scheduling a boozy Friday night out, especially the bit where Matt is told that there's a photo doing the rounds of him snogging a work colleague after hours. The last politician to have had this little brains was Kennedy after they'd shot him

2) The 2nd part to come out of all this is the naked abuse of power. There's a bit where Matt is talking to George Osbourne, at that point the editor of the Evening Standard, and he offers lots of positive front page news but only in exchange for a full sit down interview. Simon Case, a senior civil servant, mocked travellers returning from exotic foreign holidays and then being forced spend weeks isolating in grubby quarantine hotels by the airport. There's an ominously authoritarian discussion where they actively discuss if it's possible to target Nigel Farage and use emergency powers to have him jailed after he posted a picture of him sipping a pint. Clearly it wasn't just the pint that was bitter. And then there's a discussion about schools reopening and Gavin Williamson laughing about how teachers "really do just hate work" before the pair of them hrow in a curse word and some emojis to make fun of them. Oh well, I guess if work was supposed to be fun the rich would keep more of it for themselves, isn't that right Matt, oh yes I forgot, he finally did get forced to resign and will be stepping down at the next election.
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