• Who do you think you are kidding Mrs Merkel?


    Notwithstanding the humour present in the above image, the dispute over the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is the most potentially dangerous situation to face “Europe” since 23rd June 2016.

    And by “Europe” I mean the continent of Europe – NOT the EU!

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken huge numbers of Europe’s elderly, frail and physiologically vulnerable population. Unlike the “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1919-1923, where the young were robbed of their lives, this time it is largely the old.

    One of the things that those who are now labelled (and label themselves) “Brexiteers” and who used to describe themselves as “Euro-Realists” and were labelled “xenophobes” by the remainiac Dim-Libs should correct or remind themselves of, is that despite it’s many failings and contradictions, the EU is composed of democratic nation states, the majority of whom have electoral systems that can be said to “pass muster” unlike those in such as the Republic of Belarus!

    What this means is that the politicians in these states – many of whom were elected by variations of proportional representation – have to respond to the wishes of their electorates; if they want to keep their well paid (and pensioned) jobs, that is!

    The other FACT that they should keep in mind is that a stated legal opinion of the FACTS can count for very little over a firm belief held by a majority – or sizeable minority – of a population.

    The FACT of the matter is this: that large multi-national pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, as a matter of routine use the services of specialist lawyers (often in-house) to ensure that every possible “i” has a dot and every possible “t” has a cross. These lawyers are very costly. In London such individuals often charge out at £475 per hour + VAT!

    What this means is THIS: That the VAST majority of businesses that get caught out insofar as breaches of commercial contracts are concerned are the self employed and what are termed “SMEs” – small to medium enterprises. This is because those running such businesses baulk at the prospect of having to pay £475 + VAT an hour for legal services so they attempt to get round it on the cheap by copying and adapting other businesses terms themselves. As a result, many land themselves in difficulty.
    Let me re-emphasise this: The managers at such as AstraZeneca DO NOT emulate the activities of “Bob the Builder” or “Rob the Roofer” when it comes to terms and conditions of contract!
    What this means is THIS: AstraZeneca will be on VERY FIRM legal ground insofar as it’s contracts to supply their COVID-19 vaccine to the UK and to the EU. Why? Because this is what experienced specialist lawyers charging £475 per hour + VAT do! It is what they are very, very good at! Which is why they can get away with charging £475 per hour + VAT!

    The problem – and it is a very, very BIG problem – is that whilst AstraZeneca will be on very firm legal ground; they are on VERY shaky POLITICAL ground!

    The politics of the COVID-19 Vaccine Crisis – it IS a crisis within a crisis – is that the success of the UK’s vaccine roll-out programme when compared with the laggardly EU roll-out programme is “political dynamite”!

    Let us be perfectly clear about another thing: The ONE thing you can say about Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission is that she is NOT an EU version of former US President Donald J. Trump!
    When Frau Präsidentin von der Leyen showed anger recently, it was real!
    The BIG, BIG, BIG PROBLEM with this situation is that whichever way it goes, the result is incendiary! IF AstraZeneca keeps to it’s supply schedule for the UK’s NHS and the UK’s vaccination programme does NOT suffer too badly – we can probably forget about receiving much more in terms of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Belgium – and the EU feels it is loosing out as a result relations between the UK and the EU will slump like Sir Philip Green’s assessed net worth! Furthermore, Boris Johnson will be in an impossible situation as they is no way he or the Tories could survive IF they acquiesced and allowed a DRAMATIC slowdown of the vaccine roll-out to assist the EU vaccine roll-out.

    This is why conflict breaks out between human beings: they manage to land themselves into a situation where they find it impossible to back down and compromise!

    This is a VERY bad situation!

    • Graham,
      You appear to have confirmed what the blog-post was suggesting, but with more detail.
      You’re a public service Mate!

    • My understanding of the AZ position is that the contract to supply contained a clause or clauses with “Best Endeavors” or such wording. This was deemed essential by AZ as at the time of contract negotiation the production equipment and process was not in place.

      The biggest variable in the production process is a live culture grown in large vats. The productivity of such culture growth is known throughout the pharmaceutical industry to be widely variable in efficiency and can differ by a factor of up to 3:1. As the EU dithered for 3 unnecessary months before committing, their vat/s was started much later than the UK vat/s. This more than anything has caused the shortfall in delivery to the EU. The culture growth for the UK order however with the 3 month head start is proving to be far more productive hence UK delivery schedules are by and large being met by AZ.

      The EU should closely examine their up front procedures that led to this unnecessary lead in delay. Look no further than Macron who was the main stumbling block trying to bias EU procurement toward a French vaccine program which is now predicted to have problems that will lead to 10 month delays.

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