Dominic Raab has heaped praise on UK statisticians for “superb record-keeping” in showing that the UK now has the most coronavirus deaths in Europe.
The foreign secretary insisted that the failures of the UK government in containing coronavirus are in fact successes, since they show how high a bar the government have set for themselves as “world leaders in successfully assessing failure.”
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing, he dismissed “unfair” statistical comparisons to other European countries since other countries have “an inferior standard for failure” compared to the UK, and that “we cannot trust their smelly figures.”
Raab said that the performance of the UK Government and its coronavirus strategy can only be compared “to itself,” which would produce “a hopeful and fantastic picture of our success”.
He said: “The only reliable and thorough statistics we have available are our own, so we can only compare those figures to themselves, and assess our assessment of our self-comparison, which paints a hopeful and fantastic picture of our success across the board.”
He cited Matt Hancock’s vindicated pledge of 100,000 tests per day as evidence for the UK Government’s success, as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s narrow survival after shaking hands with a room-full of virus-carriers.
Raab added: “Thanks to superb record-keeping, we are top of the table in self-assessment – and yes, top of the table in deaths, but we know how misleading international rankings can be. Just ask Belgium. What have they won?
“The real verdict will be passed once this over, and we can assess our own performances. Since we are world leaders in successfully assessing failure, even a failure would be a success, because of that assessment, and also our standards are so high that even failure is success.
“The only way we could have failed in our response to coronavirus would be if we we didn’t succeed in recognising our failures in that response, and we haven’t not succeeded in recognising our failures, which are successes, so the fact we did not fail, therefore is a success. As the PM said recently.”
ONS figures show there have been 29,029 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales, though there was confusion earlier in the day when a leaked Home Office memo claimed there had been “two thousand, nine thousand, zero hundred and twenty ninety” fatalities.