Is Gordon Brown responsible for swine flu panic?

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

I went to the doctors this morning because of an irritating bad chest I’ve had for weeks and while I was there I asked him about the swine flu vaccinations and whether they have a list of at-risk patients already (#2 has a heart condition so I’m naturally interested to know).  He said they do have a list of people who are high risk, #2 is low risk with his heart condition as it’s not chronic but as a young child he’ll be one of the first to be offered the vaccine.

Interestingly and perhaps a little unsurprisingly, he said they were being inundated with calls about swine flu and the majority of the calls were from people anxious about swine flu or convinced they had it when they didn’t.  This is presumably why I got an engaged tone for 15 minutes this morning trying to get an appointment.  Does it help that the British government has told the general public that up to 65k people could die from swine flu?  In his opinion it wasn’t the best move, let’s just leave it at that.

The thing is, for the amount of people who have contracted swine flu, the number of deaths has been low.  Lower than you would expect with seasonal flu.  Yes, swine flu is spreading round the population faster than seasonal flu but that’s because we don’t have an immunity to it.  Having said that, Europeans seem to have a better natural defence to swine flu than Americans which would suggest that it may be something we’ve had here before.  Tens of thousands of people already have immunity to swine flu by virtue of having contracted it in the last couple of months.  By the end of the year, if all goes to plan, the whole population will be offered a vaccine.

So why the panic?  Why are the NHS (or, more properly, the British government) putting out information that’s causing panic?  We’re in an era of unprecedented access to information, it’s possible to lay your hands on more information about virtually anything from your living room than ever before.  This is the first major domestic public health problem we’ve had since most of the population got access to Google so perhaps the British government is thinking that the best way to satisfy peoples’ thirst for information is to give it to them, warts and all.  Or perhaps not …

There is a theory (you might call it a conspiracy theory) which quite a few people have arrived at that the Prime Mentalist is behind this.  Not that he has unleashed a swine flu virus created in a secret laboratory in a disused tube station (although I bet you could find someone who thinks that) but that he has presided over mismanagement of the epidemic to give him a crisis that he can use to increase his popularity and stop talk of an election.  How could we have an election in the middle of a swine flu pandemic?  Think of the public health risks.  Think of the disruption when we’re in the middle of a potentially disasterous flu epidemic.  How could you call an election under such circumstances and claim to have the interests of the country at heart?

And, of course, there is the vaccine.  The UK is the only country in the world to order enough vaccine for the whole population.  If and when the vaccine materialises – and assuming it doesn’t kill more people than swine flu does like the vaccine the Americans used in 1976 – then El Gordo will have been the Prime Minister that saved us all from the killer flu that would have killed up to 65k people but for his intervention.

The theory that he has allowed swine flu to take hold and spread scare stories in the media just so he can avoid an election and look good when it fails to wipe out half the population hinges on whether El Gordo’s insanity is so pronounced that he would sacrifice the lives of hundreds of people for personal gain.  I’m quite prepared to believe that he would do it, the only question for me is whether he will get caught out.

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  1. Man in a Shed (10 comments) says:

    Even I couldn\’t blame Brown for creating Swine Flu.

    However he is responsible for the response.

    All this government knows how to do in a crisis is put its over promoted career politicians on TV to declare that \”Britain is the best prepared for [terrorism/credit crunch/debt crisis/swine flu/alien invasion] in [Europe/the world/the known universe]\”.

    There have been a number of very bad mistakes already.

    1) The failure to use quarantine early on. ( Could have bought an extra 2 months – long enough for the vaccine to be ready – the Chinese and Japanese have understood this ).
    2) Failure to tell the public that its infectious 1 day BEFORE symptoms ( CDC in the US tells its people that ).
    3) A failure to even have enough face masks for its own NHS employees ( which it solves by telling everyone else they are useless and a waste of time just as it places an order for 0.5 million on them ).
    4) The creation of a completely untested drug distribution network – that doesn’t even work yet.
    5) The belief that if things get serious the Czech Govt. will allow the export of vaccines before its own population is served.

    Its all the usual govt shambles.

    However Brown has the most to worry about, as his son has Cystic Fibrosis which I would think does put you on top of the at risk list.

  2. Arden Forester (8 comments) says:

    Gordon Brown is probably not responsible for swine flu, but his is responsible for making a pig’s ear out of the economy thereby allowing swine flu to become a problem with regard to finance.

    Have the doctors got enough money to treat the sypmtoms, have the NHS trusts got enough to cope with patients, and so on…

  3. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Guys, maybe it is his fault, if you have seen many of the women from central Fife, you will know, why porking the pig, is such a preferable past time up there

  4. axel (1214 comments) says:

    no 2 is ‘low risk’ but that is good, the other 2 are ‘no risk’

    have you got my mail address, i want to tell you something juicy but not in a public forum

  5. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    The lack of any attempt to quarantine was shocking – BA were still flying to and from Mexico when it all kicked off! It’s not too late, now that the schools have broken up. Mexico locked down for a week and virtually erradicated the virus, it can be done here too.

    Axel, I’ll ping you on MSN later.

  6. jameshigham (87 comments) says:

    Either him or his masters.

  7. jameshigham (87 comments) says:

    Forgive this OT promotion but please support Man in a Shed’s “Silly Week” next week. Logos are available at his site.

  8. axel (1214 comments) says:

    james: will this support make my willy fall off or will it make me vote Lib Dem?


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