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UK government now says Events Research Programme findings “likely” to be published “shortly”

By | Published on Friday 25 June 2021

Houses Of Parliament

The UK government has said that it will publish the findings of its Events Research Programme “shortly”. Earlier this week it was “very soon”. Is “shortly” sooner than “very soon”? Is that an upgrade or a downgrade? They should have gone with “as soon as possible”. I love “ASAP”. It implies urgency but actually commits to nothing. Look at me! I could be part of the Bullshit Team at Number Ten Bullshit Street.

A spokesperson for the UK’s Bullshitter In Chief, ‘Boris’ Bullshitter Johnson, made the “shortly” commitment in response to the news that the live music and theatre sector are now suing his government to get access to the ERP’s findings.

Actually the spokesperson told The Guardian that the findings of the ERP are “likely” to appear “shortly”. There you go, fudge it further. Give that official bullshitter a promotion to the top tier of Bullshitter Johnson’s big bucket of bullshit, aka Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland.

The Events Research Programme kicked off earlier this year, of course, with the aim of investigating how full capacity events could safely return as COVID rules are relaxed across the UK. Various sporting, music and other events were held as part of the pilot – with ever increasing capacities – in order to inform government and the events sector on what measures could mitigate the risk of COVID spreading at full capacity shows.

All indications were that the research demonstrated that, with some simple logistical measures, full capacity shows could go ahead with no increased risk in the coronavirus spreading. But then the government postponed the publication of its findings and extended the research programme, strategically selecting a bunch of new events to take part.

It’s been alleged that the delay came about because the ERP findings contradict Johnson’s current policy that full capacity shows cannot return until mid-July. Meanwhile, by extending the programme, the Bullshitter can allow selected sporting events popular with his political base to go ahead despite that policy.

This has understandably annoyed the live sector, especially those promoters who took part in the programme at their own cost – and often at a financial loss – thinking that they were helping to ensure a speedier return of full capacity gigs and shows, while providing the live sector with important upfront guidance on how to make their productions super safe.

What they didn’t think they were doing was participating in another bullshit scheme from the Bullshit Brigade designed to allow the bullshitters to green light some bullshit sporty events while keeping the music and theatre sectors in shutdown.

I mean, that probably wasn’t the plan from the off – nobody in the Bullshit Brigade is that clever. But that seems to be how things have turned out. Meaning few in the cultural and event sectors will ever want to sully themselves in any government research programmes in the future. Not when they’re still desperately trying to wash off all the bullshit from the bullshit Events Research Programme.

Confirming that the live sector was now going legal to get access to the ERP findings, promoter Stuart Galbraith and co-founder of trade group LIVE said yesterday: “The live music industry has been very willing to work with government for the last year to show that our industry can operate safely. But it is intolerable that after running pilot shows for the government’s Events Research Programme, at our own cost, we have been blocked from seeing the results, leaving the whole sector in limbo with the real chance that the entire summer could collapse for the second year running”.

Asked by MPs earlier this week about the delay in publishing the ERP’s findings, junior minister at the Department For Cultural Bullshit, Nigel Huddleston, said that the government “will release the report very soon”, adding that doing so was “subject to a comprehensive and rigorous co-ordination and approval process across departments; the academic institutions that have been involved in the programme; and the ERP governance board”, which made getting anything ready to publish really hard. Which is convenient.

When The Guardian approached the bullshitters at Number Ten Bullshit Street for Bullshitter Johnson’s position on all this bullshit yesterday, they said: “These pilots provide real-life data so we can fully understand any benefits, problems or challenges with mass events. We’re assessing the evidence as we speak”. And the findings – the spokesperson then burbled through a big bowl of bullshit – are “likely” to appear “shortly”.

So to conclude… The Events Research Programme. What a load of bullshit.

In other news, the Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport this morning announced another round of beneficiaries of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to support COVID-hit cultural organisations. But, of course, no one cares anymore. Because of all the bullshit.