Need a hand – just call Clarke

A couple of weeks ago a purported screenshot was circulating.

The usual suspects jumped on Matthew and accused him of smearing Clarke Gayford merely by asking if it was true.

I saw it also around that time, and didn’t blog it because I thought it sounded preposterous. The notion that a group of musicians who were told by a pharmacist what sort of test they needed would just call up the PM’s fiancée and he would then inform the pharmacist what the official health advise is – well surely no one would be so stupid as to actually do that.

If some friends called me from a pharmacy saying they think the pharmacist is wrong, I sure as hell wouldn’t go on speakerphone with the pharmacist and try to lecture him. I mean, who would?

The Herald reports that this preposterous story is in fact true. I’m amazed it took two weeks for it to be confirmed, but better late than never.

The Prime Minister’s fiancé Clarke Gayford has today apologised for “any confusion” he caused after speaking to a pharmacist about rapid antigen testing on behalf of a musician mate.

It’s not the confusion he should be apologising for. It is for using his status as the PMs fiancée to try and influence a pharmacist on behalf of his friends. And if anyone thinks it wasn’t him using his status, why else would the musicians have called him? Is he a known expert on Covid-19? Or a known expert on pharmacies? You can’t claim he was acting as a private citizen, when the entire reason they called him was because they though he would have knowledge as the PM’s partner.

The pharmacist alleged Gayford told him there had been a change to testing guidance from the Ministry of Health, which would allow Gayford’s friend to get a rapid test instead of a slower, more invasive PCR test.

I may be wrong but I think the Ministry of Health tends to inform pharmacies directly of their testing guidance, rather than do it through Clarke.

After being approached for comment, Gayford issued a statement through his manager saying “Mr Gayford was rung by a friend about Rapid Antigen Testing and was put on speakerphone while the person was in a pharmacy.

“He apologises for any issues or confusion this may have caused the pharmacy staff.”

A statement through his manager. That’s is the ultimate on contrition in the entertainment industry.

Ironically I wish Gayford’s advice had been correct. RATs should be more easily available. But the Government has refused to make them so. People who want to take a RAT should be able to just purchase one at a supermarket or pharmacy. They shouldn’t have to ring up the PM’s partner to try and get one.

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