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Piers Morgan Highlights The Utter Chaos Of The UK’s Covid-19 Response

While the journalist and television presenter Piers Morgan has known no end of controversies and scandal in his long media career, of late garnering much criticism for his relationship with Donald Trump, future generations will probably judge him to have been on the right side of history in relation to the Covid-19 crisis in Britain. Though the Boris Johnson government in London has continuously downplayed the country’s death toll, especially the statistics on community-related deaths, the former newspaper editor has been among the few in the UK press to consistently highlight the mishandling of the crisis by the authorities, whether by accident or design. This clip from from the TV show Good Morning Britain is a good example of some of the tough questioning that Conservative Party ministers and politicians have so far largely avoided in their interactions with the metropolitan media.

30 comments on “Piers Morgan Highlights The Utter Chaos Of The UK’s Covid-19 Response

  1. I currently know of five couples where domestic violence has occurred under lockdown. To my knowledge this was not present if any of those relationships before. Even in one case where the husband was a raging alcoholic from 2002 until quitting drinking in 2014, there had been no physical violence earlier in the marriage. In another case I think they were both responsible and probably should have gone to the ER, but didn’t for fear of catching the virus. In yet, the wife and three kids ended up in a shelter despite the virus risks saying they were more afraid to remain that home.

  2. Where to start with Piers Morgan?
    He is, amongst much else, a total narcissist who takes jealousies and real and imagined slights to a new high of vindictiveness.
    Most importantly, no one should kid themselves that his recent performances have anything to do with journalistic integrity – or any other kind of integrity for that matter. They are, as with everything else in Morgan’s career, solely to do with himself. Yet another pose he has adopted in his constant quest for public attention and self advancement. Or they could be a by-product of his obsessional vindictiveness. This is a guy, after all, who spends half his time on social media attacking any celebrity or high-profiler who happens to displease him in even the most obscure way. This is a guy, after all, who, after being dumped by CNN, finally took his revenge on liberal America (“liberal” in a relative sense, you understand) by throwing his weight behind the Trump presidential run. That Trump was a (self-confessed) sex offender, an overt racist, and an all-round clear and present danger to not only the US but the world, didn’t matter to Morgan. He stuck by Trump all the way. Ever ready with excuses for Trump’s most obnoxious behaviour and eager to launch sneering “snowflake” attacks on his detractors. Morgan stood by Trump with the fealty of an obsessive, teenage fanboy. Then suddenly, he turned. Suddenly “Trump doesn’t deserve to be re-elected” because … well, he suggested people should take bleach to fight coronavirus. Out of everything that Trump has said, done and destroyed since he took office, Morgan found this to be the most offensive … or so he would have us believe. More likely, Morgan’s appetite for revenge on the US has been sated, so he no longer feels any need to align himself with the oaf in the Oval Office. Or, even more likely, he has found a new object of hatred, closer to home, to replace liberal America. Perhaps it’s the Tories in general, or the Johnson government in particular that have angered him. Who knows? Perhaps he’s sore because they haven’t offered him a role in government or, more to his taste, haven’t publicly blessed him with a knighthood or some other such bauble. Was some other journo given a state award recently, to spark his ire? Whatever the reason(s), it is certain that Morgan has landed purely by accident on a position shared by most decent right-thinking people. He deserves no praise. He will vacate this current position just as soon as it suits his purpose.

  3. The English love comparisons to WW2, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that 35,044 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in England and Wales up to 9 May. Adding the latest figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland and more up to date fatalities from the four nations , the total official UK death toll now stands at 40,496. during the Blitz: 40,000 civilians died in the seven-month period between September 1940 and May 1941

  4. This, on Johnson, from the irrepressible Marina Hyde of The Guardian: “This, alas, is the dramatically ironic way that time works in the coronavirus era. An action you did or didn’t do doesn’t have immediate consequences, but you reap its harvest on a lag. If you made a mistake several weeks ago, it doesn’t show up at first, but the consequences are most surely in the post. Odd that Johnson didn’t reflexively understand this concept, given his extensive experience with both Ancient Greek tragedy and unplanned pregnancy.

    • Marina Hyde is Piers Morgan’s ex girlfriend.

      • Yes, many years ago. Never proved or admitted, but enough insider comments point to the claims on an affair being true nonetheless. Having said that, I think it’s beside the point. All it proves is, at that time, her taste in men was atrocious.

        • Yes she is now married to a guy called Kieran so she can’t be all that bad. Her writing especially her Lost In Showbiz stuff is excellent.

  5. This here is very good:
    Brendan Behan on the Politics of Identity: Nation, Culture, Class, and Human Empathy in Borstal Boy
    By Patrick Colm Hogan

  6. Another excellent article, this time from The Atlantic on the state of the US:

    We Are Living in a Failed State
    The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.
    By George Packer

  7. As far as I can see, all Morgan’s points are correct and some also apply to our own Government in Ireland. Also, when Morgan talks about “our experts”, he is talking about those the Government listens to, not all in Britain. I am sure there are some who have different views but who are being ignored.

    Here in Ireland we hear the likes of Holohan as an “expert” but he is the Government’s spokesperson on the crisis. He has no independent status. This many has told the public initially that no public event would need to be cancelled, then that up to 500 attendance in the open air would be safe along with 100 indoors, then that all should be cancelled. He also downplayed until now any value in masks, did not promote use of gloves, backed a 2-km distance from home exercise limit (on what basis?), still has not published guidelines for public transport or shops, still has not closed ports of entry ….

    The MP says that now is not the time to investigate the mistakes (a response which I receive from time to time for one reason or another) — but it is. Otherwise mistakes will continue to be made. Not investigating (and not admitting) to mistakes) in the past is in order to avoid being held responsible and will at best delay and hinder our way out of this pandemic, with attendant suffering of many kinds and death. At worst, it will lead to an actual increase in the rate of contagion now or in a possible second wave.

    The issue about this clip from above is not about the persona of Piers Morgan (one I dislike with some strength) but whether what he says is justified criticism. I think it is — entirely.

  8. This from a book review has Morgan down to a tee: “Morgan is obviously stung by Cherie Blair’s view that he lacks a ‘moral compass’. Reading this book, you realise she’s not quite right. Piers does have a moral compass, but it is one on which the needle spins wildly around; a compass beset with powerful magnets labelled Self-Interest, Self-Pity, Self-Righteousness and so forth. None is labelled Self-Knowledge.”

    • Oddly, he had an Irish father, an O’Meara, who died when he was very young. One of those English celebs who rarely if ever acknowledges their Irish links. Like Jimmy Carr. Seems the quintessential Brit but is actually the scion of an Irish immigrant.

      • To be fair to him, which goes totally against the grain, I’ve seen where he has occasionally claimed Irish heritage. Then again, it’s only ever been to point-score against someone. Must admit, I didn’t know about Jimmy Carr.

        • Carr I think fell out with his father who was in construction and was his link to Ireland. I don’t think he ever dented his Irish family background.

            • Yes, the idea that it would hurt someone’s career in the UK to acknowledge their Irish family background is frankly, and self-evidently, ludicrous. As evidenced by the reams of high-profile Irish-born and Irish-background people scattered throughout UK industry, television, politics etc. I have to say, I find it quite disturbing that ASF seems to think that anyone in the UK with an Irish background should be shouting it from the rooftops, and if they aren’t it must be because they’re afraid to.
              As for Grace’s supposed Liverpudlian encounter. If I were a citizen of the US, like her (and like some close relatives of my own, as it happens) my abiding preoccupation at the moment would not be the historic/contemporary/imagined wrongs of other nations, but the contemporary wrongs, current state, and future prospects of my own. Unless, of course, I agreed with much of what the Trump administration is doing (let’s ditch the pretence that Trump is just some “stupid” lone wolf, passing aberration).

      • Would you say there’s still a stigma to Irish origins in part of the UK? If so what “level” would it be on par with? I met a Liverpudlian who argues that anti-Irish stigma in the UK can’t be untangled from classism. To me that would be a strange description for a full-blown ethnic prejudice, but he insists that’s the case. (I suppose it would be redundant to point out the man is largely of Irish origin himself.)

        • I know of several British actors or figures who play the quintessential Englishman – or woman – but have immediate Irish ancestry. Peter Egan springs to mind. I saw an interview with him some years ago where he discussed his vague sense of Irishness. Typically in the UK being an Irish immigrant is seen as both foreign and non-foreign, a kind of halfway house status with 8 centuries of history behind it. Or muddying it. Kinda like Canadian thespians in Hollywood, I suppose, who are automatically nativised. But far more complex. And driven my subliminal cultural views and prejudices.

          • Canadian actors in the US? I don’t believe that US-Canadian relations are all that similar to UK-Irish ones!!
            The main stereotypes about Canadians in the US are “They love hockey” and “They are too polite for their own good.” That’s pretty tame compared to some English stereotypes about the Irish-Unless you really, really hate hockey!!!

            I believe that with Canadian and even British actors it’s not so much a case of “nativized” as “people simply don’t realize that actor, or singer is Canadian or even British”. For one thing a lot of Canadian accents have only very subtle differences from certain common US accents. Others sound more British to most American ears. So really, unless somebody has a really “classical” Canadian accent and says “eh”, they aren’t going to be easily pegged as Canadian in The US. So those who enjoy watching movies with Dan Aykroyd, Michael J Fox, or Jim Carrey but don’t follow the biographies of celebrities likely have no idea they are Canadian.

            I used to work with a woman who I assumed was from Minnesota because of her accent until some months it came up she was Canadian.

            I know that as a pretty pitch perfect “American General” speaker, when I was traveling in Vietnam some months ago, that most of the Kiwis and half the Australians took me for a Canadian based on my accent. None of the Brits or Irish ever made that mistake. Don’t ask me why.

            Everyone knows Liam Neeson is Irish (unless they’ve only seen him in a few movies like “Darkman” or don’t really know who he is). However most people would only know he’s from The North if they either read it somewhere or heard an interview where it came up. Even if Neeson hadn’t clipped the Northern parts of his accent, most people in the US would have a hard time placing it. Some people might think that Ballymena accents sounds both like and unlike parts of Appalachia, Ozarks, and some remote parts of Northern Texas. I’ve even mistook an Ulsterman for an Ozarks native for three sentences before figuring out where he was from. (I am referring to an Ozarks accent quite different from the ones that likely hit the media across the Atlantic.)

            With British singers it’s often as simple as their American fans having never heard their speaking voice!!! Since some British actors like Christian Bale do nearly all their popular movie roles doing his perfect American Accent, that also means a lot of movie goers have no idea they’re British.

            I also suspect that people in different countries of the English speaking world are trained to “listen” rather differently. Americans audiences often miss subtle mistakes of British actors who try to do their accents (and many Brits are quite good at it). However they would be much more sensitive to very subtle grammar and usage conventions where US and British norms differ. For example if a British actor put on a good American accent but said something like “in hospital”, “the band are playing”, or dropping the subjunctive an American audience would pick that up as “sounding wrong” pretty much instantly. Worse if he tried using “gotten” to sound American but had the got/gotten distinction just a teeny, tiny littlest bit off? That would leave a US audience extremely………. confused!!!! Usually big studios manage to filter that sort of mistake but once in a while……..stuff slips through!!

            One Englishwoman I met said she thought an American she met in Poland was from Ireland because of his accent. I asked “Did he sound like he was from The North?” “No more like he was from Cork.” I honestly, couldn’t think what American accent that could be. Then again, I don’t have “British ears”, if you know what I mean. When I first came across a really “posh” high toned RP British speaker it was weird. On one hand that way of speaking does have a sort of intimidation factor I hadn’t known I would have to an accent. On the other hand much of how he talked sounds to most Americans sound like a marginally literate person in some parts of The South would talk. It’s hard to explain it.

            I suspect there may be more subtle lost-in-translation stuff, than people in any of the involved countries realize. Do you see what I’m getting at?

            • No, I was just making the point that Canadian actors in the Hollywood set tend to be lumped in as American. Their Canadianess is brushed over or sublimated or not seen at all. British celebs of immediate Irish extraction would be the same. But the need to assimilate is greater and with obvious different historical and cultural reasons. In the US on the other hand some second generation immigrants in the celebs world still can maintain some degree of otherness or have it recognised if they wish. In the UK, Irish extracted celebs or figures tend to push the ancestry or parentage down deep. At least on UK media. They play it up when they visit here. Or feel more comfortable discussing it.

              Obviously it’s more complicated and nuanced than all of the above. Just using a short hand illustration.

              • One thing you see in the healthcare debate in the US: 70% of Americans on both sides of the debate over healthcare think that Universal Health Care automatically/always means a system more or less like Canada’s. Of course, to an advocate of a more German style system like me that’s an improvement. It used to be more more like 95% of people on both sides believed that.

                One reason a lot of Americans just don’t realize their country is something of an outlier in not having a national level VAT. Canada calls it a GST, so when the prospect is discussed it gets talked about as a “GST”. Those who travel see a VAT on a sales receipt and may not recognize what it is.

                We are pretty aware of Canada as a distinct nation!!!! I’d say the relatively uncomplicated relationship with a neighbor is a blessing-surely an Irishman can appreciate that. Canadians in the US just aren’t always easy to spot.

          • To be fair, I think the anti-Irish thing dissipated quite a while ago. Anyone familiar with this part of the world could, off the top of their head, name innumerable UK high-profilers (musicians, actors, politicians, entertainers, sportspeople, presenters etc) of obvious Irish descent, and that’s without mentioning those high-profilers that were born and raised in Ireland. As with all things human, everywhere, targets for prejudice are constantly being replaced by more recent (and often more readily identifiable) arrivals. (Except for the US, of course, where no matter how many new targets for prejudice they find, black people are never able to escape it). And nor does it necessarily follow that just because someone doesn’t trumpet their antecedents that they’re afraid to. Believe it or not, except for a mild passing interest, most people couldn’t care less about where their people originated from, and give their full allegiance to the country into which they were born. Finally, let’s not pretend for a second that we in Ireland are without our own ugly prejudices.

            • Also, prejudice often works both ways. If you ever make the mistake of asking a Canadian person what part of the US they’re from, witness the appalled look on their face. 🙂

              • “We are pretty aware of Canada as a distinct nation!!!! I’d say the relatively uncomplicated relationship with a neighbor is a blessing…”.
                Ha, ha, ha, the below is from a report in yesterday’s Guardian:
                “In Canada, it was the White House order in April to halt shipments of critical N95 protective masks to Canadian hospitals that was the breaking point.
                The Ontario premier, Doug Ford, who had previously spoken out in support of Trump on several occasions, said the decision was like letting a family member ‘starve’ during a crisis. ‘When the cards are down, you see who your friends are,’ said Ford. ‘And I think it’s been very clear over the last couple of days who our friends are.’”

              • All nations that share a border for a few centuries have cases where the politicians disagree. That Trump is an ass is controversial in neither country.

                However, having lived near that border, my experience is that there is very, very little mutual hostility between US and Canadian citizens as a whole. Doug Ford however was a Trump supporter not too long ago.

                Most Canadians don’t like being taken for a USian simply because they are tired of it happening on a repeat basis. To them it’s like if they don’t wear a Canadian flag in some places people will keep making that mistake. It’s not usually about any serious prejudice. You’d probably be annoyed if you were perennially taken for an Australian even though you probably aren’t, and you probably have nothing against Australians as a whole-I’d assume.

      • He is more Scottish and Irish than he thought he was according to DNA tests. And not very English. At least according to same DNA tests.

  9. Apologies for the change of subject, but back to Brexit and another “You couldn’t make it up moment”. All thanks to the DUP’s support. 🙂

    • Now that made me laugh when I read the early reports yesterday. Like, it’s all so predictable. And yet the Dupers still look to Mother England for their lead. Well, until the last couple of days!

      • Quite literally, the DUP’s blind support for the Tories has weakened the union more than republicans ever have. Yet local NI media hasn’t made nearly enough of how stupid the DUP were, so they probably won’t suffer enough, if at all, at the polls

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