Nu Labour Health Minister the boyish Andy Burnham, as he tries to assure us the government is on top of the pandemic of fear and panic they generated about Swine Flu increasingly takes on the air of desperation of a drowning man not waving but clutching at straws. Yesterday Burnham was on television talking about how Nu Lab will stop Swine Flue spreading by having schools distribute doses of Tamiflu and a similar anti viral to pupils.
Burnham was quickly crucified on this one by presenter Andrew Castle. Now Andrew Castle is not the most incisive political interviewer, his main claim to journalistic excellence being his once having reached the third round at Wimbledon. Thirty years ago Castle would have been confined to interviewing dogs that said “sausages” or people who stuck nails up their noses. He would never managed to rope-a-dope Dennis Healy or Norman Tebbitt as easily as he did Andy Burnham. The government’s great plan to hand out anti virals you see has not just one snag but many, all of which the government’s spokesman seemed blissfully unaware of.
The type of anti viral being handed out like smarties at the first sign of Swine Flu in a school can cause fatal respiratory collapse in asthmatics, this had happened to the presenter’s own daughter. It was not only the danger to asthmatics, a side effect of the drugs is they can cause vomiting to such an extent dehydration would result. Not an ideal result as the standard medical advice for treating any kind of flu begins with “drink plenty of fluids.”
And finally, even if the drugs don’t kill or harm you, they simply don’t work. Tests have show antivirals don’t cure or prevent swine flu. Their effect, if they have any, is to alleviate symptoms slightly. So what is this ridiculous posturing by governments all about apart from clutching at straws?
Could it be an attempt to salvage an expensive plan that aimed to increase their authoritarian grip on the nation that has failed dismally? Ah well, they who live by fear and panic will perish by fear and panic. It would be funny if it was not so dangerous.
Top satire every day from Boggart Blog