Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage detects “the smell of failure in the air” as the coronavirus crisis unfolds in Britain, blaming Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the medical technocrats at Public Health England (PHE).
Writing in The Telegraph, Farage conceded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was enjoying a bump in popularity — which is often the case during major crises, when the public rally around their leaders, right or wrong — and that this popularity had even “survived the reversal of the herd immunity strategy that his government had been pursuing”, but predicted that this would not last if it continued to fail on priorities such as testing.
“I feel that quangos such as Public Health England, together with Whitehall mandarins, are managing this crisis in a way that is reminiscent of Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations,” Farage said, referring to the “expert bureaucracy” fronted by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty — currently in isolation with coronavirus symptoms — and his deputies.
“The smell of failure is in the air,” Farage continued. “To say that the UK is following scientific opinion makes no sense either because experts have widely divergent views. What is needed is a decisive move away from the bad old days of managerial career politicians who thrived under the administration of David Cameron.”
It is quite frankly unbelievable that flights are still coming in from China, America and Italy.
When the history book is written, we will see that the British government allowed the daily import of spreaders into this country.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) April 2, 2020
So far, the public have been kind to Public Health England (PHE), perhaps due to its relatively low public profile and the long list of impressive qualifications appended to its chief technocrats’ names — but it has made a number of decisions which may draw public ire once the dust settles.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, they repeatedly played down the crisis, saying that the risk to the British public was “very low”, and the risk even to Britons travelling direct to Wuhan, China “low” and later merely “moderate”.
PHE also resisted banning passenger flights from China and newly-emerged coronavirus epicentres including South Korea, Iran, and Italy — the United Kingdom has no travel bans in place to this day — and as late as March the Mayor of London was claiming there was “no risk” to travellers on London’s packed Underground subway system, allegedly on PHE’s advice.
Breitbart London has previously reported how Public Health England even refused to admit a danger to the general public in the wake of the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury for a full week, even as officials were attending the area in full hazmat gear.
Thanks Michael – and for your leadership too – it’s been a big team effort
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) March 31, 2020
Farage reserved the lion’s share of his ire for Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a Remain-voting technocratic type recently recovered from the coronavirus himself, and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, accusing them of “self-indulgent mutual backslapping” as the crisis continues to worsen, with the test goals either late or entirely unmet and the country’s ventilator shortage still not resolved.
“When it comes to career politicians, Hancock is a classic of the genre,” Farage said, likening him to the insipid character “who rises without trace to become an MP and then First Lord of the Admiralty despite having no naval qualifications” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.
“The time has come to remove Hancock. This must happen quickly,” Farage insisted, calling for Johnson to an appoint an outsider cut from the same cloth as Lord Beaverbrook, the (in)famous Canadian-British press baron who served in multiple ministries during both the First and Second World War.
“If Britain sticks to its existing course, not only will the death toll be higher than it should be as a result of inefficiencies, but there will be other consequences too,” Farage concluded.
“I want Boris Johnson to succeed as prime minister, but his time in office will end in ruins unless he grasps the nettle now.”
WATCH: Drive-through testing facilities for NHS staff at Chessington and North Greenwich virtually empty at 4pm. Wembley was also empty.
Considering the government says it is massively ramping up testing, this looks very, very odd. pic.twitter.com/Is3Hde2uO0
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) April 2, 2020