Dear Constituent

This is not the letter I wanted to be writing to you this Spring. I had been working hard on an agenda with the government to boost our economy, speed up our growth, create more better paid jobs and improve public facilities in Wokingham. We were making progress when the virus struck.

Now I have to report to you that the economy will shrink substantially as a result of the measures being put in place to combat the epidemic. I am only too well aware that many of you are now experiencing severe difficulties in your businesses, with activity drying up or with the business effectively closed by cancellation of events, eating out, tourism and the rest.

I have switched my main activity to pressing for a comprehensive economic package to keep more people in jobs and to mitigate the worst of the impact of the enforced closures and big decline in demand in many areas. I am pleased that the Bank of England under a new Governor is working closely with the government and has come up with major injections of cash and support to the banking system so commercial banks have the means to help their customers through a difficult time. I have asked for a wide range of financial measures to support business and  the self employed , with the stress on grants rather than loans where businesses have lost much of their revenue through no fault of their own. I welcome the emphasis on trying to avoid redundancies, as businesses need to keep talented teams together ready for the upturn when restrictions are lifted on normal life. Yesterday’s measures help but do not do enough for the self employed in particular.

I am very conscious that the government has no election mandate for the economic measures it has taken with the purpose of cutting the spread of the virus.  Indeed, they are the opposite of what we wished to do and talked about doing. So far I find a minority of you think the government should be taking more and tougher measures, whilst another minority think the fear of the virus is overdone and we should treat it more like winter flu and let it run its course. The majority seem to be in support of the government’s tightening of controls as the virus started to spread, to seek to limit the strains on the NHS. I am urging the government to proceed only with measures which command cross party support. The government’s chosen way of battling the virus is to limit human contact to limit spread. This requires buy in from most people to succeed, so it cannot be done with just one main political party support where a significant constituency in the country fundamentally disagrees. The government is following an international consensus on how to respond, and drawing on evidence and guidance from the World Health Organisation.

The government is taking emergency powers, which include the right to quarantine individuals who are carrying the disease, and the power to prevent public gatherings. There are also powers to direct and flex the health and schools sectors to meet the extraordinary requirements on  healthcare. These powers expire after 2 years. Some in  Labour have been suggesting they should be reviewed and only  if necessary continued for a second year after one year. I am urging the government to accept that sensible advice.

I am posting on this website relevant communications from the government that might help people with difficult problems created by the new circumstances. In general terms the position is as follows

  1. People caught abroad. The FCO has promised to work with the national governments involved to organise ways back home for all UK citizens wishing to return soon. They should contact the UK Embassy or Consulate near to them who will know if and when this can be organised in their case.
  2. Self employed and businesses starved of customers and cash. Various grants, tax holidays and tax deferrals are listed on government websites and here. We await the details of yesterday afternoon’s package which I will also post, which was designed to put more help into business to ward off redundancies.
  3. People’s right to a school place within the reduced educational provision. The list of occupations which qualify parents for places at school for their children has been published, based on the need of the parents to work away from home to maintain essential services. The list of key workers is available to view here.
  4. Food supply. There is plenty of food available to feed us all. There have been temporary shortages on  the shelves of supermarkets pending extra deliveries. This has mainly been brought about by some people deciding to fill freezers and store cupboards with an unusually large reserve which leaves the shops temporarily empty for customers who need an evening meal. At some point presumably the freezers will be full and demand will return to more  normal levels. It would be neighbourly for people not to do this, and great if people who have stocked up  now kept away from the shops and used some of their stocks. Informal rationing is  being operated by the supermarkets, who are doing a wonderful job in difficult circumstances. If there are too many empty shelves too often they will need to tighten the ration rules.

I wish you all success in avoiding or overcoming  the virus yourselves and in your families. I and my staff will help where you need assistance with government rules or think government can do something to improve the situation. None of us have all the answers to this new disease which so far evades treatment and vaccination. Government policy is changing at pace and it sometimes takes a little time for the detail and implementation to catch up.

 The best advice I can give is commonsense. Try to avoid contact with anyone outside your immediate family at home as anyone may be carrying the virus or you may yourself be doing so. Behave towards others as if you did have the virus by keeping a respectful distance. Look  after the vulnerable in your family. Buy what you need,  but be  mindful of the needs of others.  This is a time when communities can come together to help each other. It is a time where if you have the capacity it would be great  to help those in need, and for local and voluntary efforts to emerge to take some of the strain . Lonely people in isolation would appreciate safe communications  by social media or phone.

Yours sincerely

John Redwood

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

285 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Hungry people soon become desperate and lawless
    people and those who have lost income need money fast.

    The housing market has crashed and we have lost prrsonal creditworthiness as a last resort.

    A year long lock down just isn’t going to happen.

    The experts cannot mitigate hunger.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Oh come on you can live of a large bag of dried chick peas or haricot beens or a few bags of sugar and flour for a month or two or sunflour seeds, nuts, rice etc. Many of us, myself included are rather too fat anyway. I can always set a trap for those large deer than keep breaking into my garden for some meat if really desperate. Or I can go fishing.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        you have solved it for most of the readers here.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        sunflower

    • Christine
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Having just come from Spain, which is a couple of weeks ahead of us in this crisis, they experienced panic buying in the first few days but this has now settled down to near normal. John is right that once the freezer is full and people see food supplies replenished they will calm down. The Government needs to ensure the supply chains and imports aren’t affected. These workers are equally key. The list of key jobs must be reviewed daily. Farmers must be helped to increase production. Things like milk quotas scraped. This is a good forum for ideas which John can hopefully take forward. The Government needs to be utilising the experience of politicians like John from across all parties. We as a country need to work together to beat this virus. This is not the time for Brexit and Boris bashing and the usual suspects on this forum should desist.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        In the meantime given our supermarkets are about the busiest places in the UK at the moment ,why does the government not instruct them to put hand sanitisers at the entrance of every shop.

        Or as some cruise ships do at the entrance to all dining rooms, have an employee actually squirting hand sanitiser onto their hands for them, before being allowed entry, even if only 25% effective in stopping any transmission, multiply that by the number of customers, and it is a huge benefit to help stopping transmission.

        Likewise supermarket trolly handles, a potential lethal point of transmission.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          Wear gloves when out.

          Any will do, canvas gardening gloves are fine.

          You can buy them in cheap packs. They’re washable too.

          • Stred
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            Then you have to wash the gloves and your hands when you touch the outside of the glove to take it off. And if you touch your face with the gloves you can pass the virus as you would with your hand. As advised by my family medic.

          • Kevin Peat
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            They remind you not to touch your face, which is the most important bit.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

            Well don’t do those things then Stred.

        • Lester Beedell
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Alan Jutson, hand sanitisers aren’t completely effective, they’re only effective against Bacteria but not against Microbes but better than nothing!
          I never push a trolley by the handle but on the edge of the basket
          Keep safe, I’m in isolation!

          • Alan Jutson
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Lester

            Perhaps not perfect, but better than gloves Unless they are the throwaway, use once only type.

            I jell up before entering, jell up again when leaving after putting anything in the boot, so I do not contaminate the steering wheel, then I wash hands after putting stock away at home.

            May sound overkill but I have seen how quickly Norovirus spreads when people do not comply

            I also wash hands after opening the post !..

      • jerry
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        @Christine; I agree, farming controls should be relaxed, there is going to be interruptions to the supply of produce from abroad so UK farmers must be given the tools to maximise UK production. DfEFRA must set aside their Climate change agenda, their single task now is to feed the nation.

        The govt also needs to ask farmers and the food process industry if they have any labour or equipment shortages, there might be plentiful warehoused stocks now but those stocks will eventually need replenishing.

        • Mark
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely. We should not be burning crops as motor fuel – there is plenty of oil. Plant wheat and oats, not rape and low grade maize.

          • Lester Beedell
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Mark, absolutely agree, perhaps the current emergency will see the end of net zero!
            The worst possible policy imaginable

        • jerry
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          DfEFRA are trying to pass the blame, on to civi-street, again for front line NHS staff not being able to obtain provisions.

          Just a thought, when the British army went on manoeuvres, exercises or active, they did not have to find a supermarket to get their (NAAFFI) rations, they were provided.

          Why cant the NHS source basic provisions for their staff, working with supermarkets, wholesalers and manufactures, even what passes for the NAAFI today?

          This is something the logistic core of the Army could assist with, and I’m sure the govt could requisition a suitable warehouse close to Hospital locations. This would also limit any risk of contagion to/from NHS staff.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Maybe hospitals have been forced to out-source their catering, as have been various public bodies?

            If so then it doesn’t make for much direct control, does it?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Maybe it is cheaper.
            It will leave more money to save lives.
            But I realise socialism gets in the way of your logic.

          • jerry
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

            @MiC; Who mentioned catering, I’m sure that hospitals can still feed both patients and on-duty staff, please stop replying to comments you obviously have not read or do not understand!

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        If you have money to buy the food, Christine.

        I’m worried about the people without money. The self employed. I’ve been giving it to several people over the past few days.

        Anyone with a bit of spare should be helping people they usually paid but who can no longer work for them but there is only so much we can do.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          I know of tradesmen and women who have had jobs cancelled, but for no good reason. It is not necessary for the customer to be near them while they work, especially for outdoor work.

          People should think constructively and imaginatively before making such a decision.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Maybe the customer is not able to afford it any more.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      It’s difficult to understand why the self employed were missed out yesterday.

      Much easier even than taking 80% of a PAYE person’s wages is for the government to take 80% of the self-employed person’s last SAR income, and divide by 12. What’s more, those self-employed who under-declared or were taking cash won’t benefit.

      You can’t expect self-employed folk to continue dutifully paying tax and NI then get forgotten on the day of judgement!

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      JR, I was disappointed to read (and see photographs) how French border guards seized two HGV lorries bound for the UK carrying face masks for our NHS. Macron had decreed requisitioning of all masks for his country.

      So much for solidarity!

      If true, I hope this will be borne in mind by HM Govt. particularly about fishing. Why not start today as food will become a high priority? I think it is time to cancel negotiations and go to WTO rules with any mini deals that can be achieved.

      • Mark
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        We import 40% of our food. When supply gets tight, that will no longer be possible. I wonder what is happening with the production and distribution of Spanish fruit and vegetables for instance. For now there does appear to be traffic on the carreteras. At least around me farms are busy catching up with things they weren’t able to do during the very wet weather.

      • Stred
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        When following the terrible events in China two months ago I noticed that they were all wearing face masks and so I went to B and Q to buy some for the family. The customer on front of me was buying a pack of them and the customer behind. They sold out days later. It seems strange that the NHS didn’t buy enough in advance despite Boris saying that it is so brilliant and that they would get everything they needed.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, suddenly things are put into a proper perspective, and many people perhaps realise how utterly silly and petty they were being about the European Union, and about other things which inflicted zero material burdens on their lives, indeed, rather, brought benefits.

      Even John has changed the subject now.

      So, to the matters in hand, some commenters are worried about compulsory vaccination – assuming that a vaccine be found – but let me say that this need not be compulsory and yet be almost universally accepted.

      A cash payment in hand of £100 for each, plus a tax cut for those with a certificate of vaccination, would, I think, ensure that across children, the poor, and the comfortable, the scheme achieved its 95% target.

      Reply So why don’t the couple of pro EU people on this site respond to the changed public mood and talk about what matters now. We have made our decision and left the EU, so move on.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Yes, you are quite right on those few facts, John.

        However, the differences between the various possible relationships that the UK can have with the European Union, since walking away from some of its institutions, are far greater than between being a member state and, say, being part of the EEA. Accordingly, the differences in the respective material effects on business and on people’s rights will also be correspondingly large.

        “Moving on” as you put it means making very major decisions in these regards.

        The madness, of leaving the European Medicines Agency, for instance, is thrown into sharp focus by the problems that we now face.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          It’s only madness in your opinion.
          PS
          We have our own medicines agency.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            and so what?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            So what?
            If we have our own agencies we wont miss not being in the EU version.
            That’s what.

        • Lester Beedell
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          MiC.
          Do you ever feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness?

          I have the distinct impression that not a lot of people agree with you!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            Far from it. There are at least sixteen million of us including nearly all medical and scientific professionals.

            That number grows by the hour too.

            No, not all Leave voters are dimwits by a long way, but believe me, I’ve never heard of a dullard, who managed to get to a polling station and vote anything other than Leave.

            The same goes for tattoo-headed football hooligans, loudmouthed bar room bigots, and for tax-dodging, cash-in-hand types.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            It’s similar to Labour who continue to think they had the right leader and the right policies but they didn’t get the message across.
            Or they try to blame the MSM.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          It is not medicines that are needed it is ventilators

      • jerry
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; Yes, unlike you and Andy, most people have realised how utterly silly and petty they were being about the European Union. Membership of the EU is not the issue in this crisis and many are starting to realise it never was, what’s far more important is ones own govt being in control of our own countries boarders, fiscal policies, economy & means of production.

        I suspect that once the world emerges from this hellish crisis both the European Union and Globalism will be consigned to the history books, that’s not to say FTAs will not survive.

    • agricola
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Why have you omitted the locusts.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    All sensible stuff. Clearly the government should do other sensible things like cancelling HS2 and the many renewable subsidies they cannot afford lunacies like this now. Still some good news, over the last three days the daily increase in the number of UK deaths has slowed to about 32% from 60%+ presumably due to the voluntary actions people were taking a few days back. Even so this is still an increase of x 7 in a weeks and x 49 over two weeks.

    The government has under reacted we need to delay the spread much, much more to give the NHS more time to prepare, equip and cope with the deluge. The NHS will still have many of the normal demands placed on it to cope with on top of this deluge.

    • steve
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      “Clearly the government should do other sensible things”

      ……like not allowing the damn virus to enter the country in the first place.

      • jerry
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        @steve; “like not allowing the damn virus to enter the country in the first place.”

        A bit difficult when so many business travellers have to visit China, as part of their globe-trotting travels looking for ever cheaper places to produce their value products…

        Heck, the UK can’t even make toy trains in this country, never mind our own electronics for a 5G network, even our full sized trains are being imported from the Far East in kit form…

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        It seems to have come mainly via Italy.

        Are you suggesting that people should not be allowed to holiday or to conduct business or anything else abroad?

        • jerry
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          @MiC; It’s about ministering the risk, as your first sentence proves!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I agree that restrictions should have been imposed sooner, but I understood Steve’s comment to mean that he wished that borders had always been sealed – in the context of various other posts of his.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Try flying off on holiday to most destinations.

        • Stred
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Skiers and school trips to the Italian Alps should have been banned. Passengers at airports, HS1 and ferries should have been checked and quarantined if ill and all told to isolate for two weeks. This would have given weeks longer to prepare.

          • jerry
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            @stred; But such monitoring does not work, we are were we are now but this is not the first serious epidemic, remember the worries about SARs a few years back.

            If we want protection from the spread of new or mutated viruses we need to go old school because we know that current medicine is becoming limited in its effectiveness, and these viruses are often mutating to avoid antibiotics etc.

            When people can fly around the world in the matter of a little more than a day, cross the western European Continent in the mater of hours by train, any infected person can have arrived, passed through your suggested health checks before symptoms show.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Surely this could be an excellent excuse for a U-turn on HS2. Absolutely no coherent case has been made for it all other than Andy Street seems to think it’s needed for his re-election. Given his opponent is Liam Byrne, one of the very few Labour MPs to have had a serious business education and training, this will not be a disaster for that region or the Country.

      I hope and assume there is some measure for checking which companies need the grants? Is the govt to pay the wages of all 30m employees up to 30k pa? why would not all companies apply for this whether they need it or not – some businesses are doing fine?

      Anyway the £100bn saved from HS2 might pay 1/2 the expected cost. It’s a no brainier to cancel it.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        correct…they need to send the right signal and cancel HS2 today

    • ianterry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic
      Just back from walking to the local village shop as a trip to the nearest town did not guarantee the shelves being filled. The number of people with the same idea was quite something. Keeping ones distance time and time again the same question was being asked. Why are planes, boats and trains still bringing people to this island?

      A pupil in a local school has been diagnosed and now they have been sent home. this will create some interesting times I am sure. Listening to some of the news coming out of Spain and Italy it seems that even youngsters are at risk. I think sometimes it is overlooked how unfit and healthy our children really are.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, I’ve been watching the same figures too.

      The European Union has a Civil Protection Mechanism – six non-member countries are also participants, I read.

      Understandably this is being ramped up and revised in its scope, nature, and provision as we write.

      I wonder if sensible discussions are being held, and whether anyone has been able to consider whether the UK would be a non-member participant after exit too?

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        does it matter? Oh of course, you want a voice in everything, don’t you!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          If it saves lives then I think that it matters very much.

          As it stands, any new developments in vaccines or in therapy arising in the European Union will now be delayed in being available in the UK, thanks to our withdrawal from the EMA.

          If you don’t care, then you don’t.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Wrong
            We have similar processes to make sure drugs are safe as the USA and the EU

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            It’s not about their safety.

            It’s about their availability when supplies are limited.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            The UK agency is perfectly able to approve medicines for use.
            If thecarexapproved by thecEUbir USA then they will be acceptable to the UK standards.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I just got this back from one of my many rather useless & rip off banks:-

      The Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The government backed schemes as it stands are for business owners that do not have the asset available to secure the borrowing themselves. The scheme has only been recently launched and as a result I do not have much information on this at the moment. I have found the following on the gov.uk website, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses which gives a bit of background.

      So basically if the owner has other assets they will use that as an excuse to tell you to get lost and the government will give no assistance. But borrowing against other assets is very slow and not remotely easy to do currently. Much of this due to idiotic red tape, the need for red book full valuation and other insane actions.

      Why on earth are Lawyers essential workers they can easily work from home!

      A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Also we are still suffering from EU regulations even given this disaster! This is from the government’s web site on the government corona virus loans.

      “Almost all business sectors are eligible, however there are a small number of excluded/restricted sectors arising primarily from EU de minimis-State aid rules.”

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Someone should read the force majeure provisions, perhaps?

    • zorro
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      On the previous blog, you were forecasting 10,000 dead by 30th March, are you still sticking by that figure?

      zorro

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The new governor of the Bank of England is the one who was in charge of the FCA which has encourage banks to charge 40% and even 78% in their (one size fits all) overdraft rates. So either he was in charge but did not know and is this incompetent or he did and is economically illiterate. Which is it? The result is that at a time when I may need to use my overdrafts I cannot as they are such a complete rip off.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      At a time of National crisis it is necessary to appoint the best and most capable leaders and Andrew Bailey should step aside if found wanting.
      It will be critical the Banks pass on charging single figure overdraft and loans to small and medium businesses pronto or chaos will result.

      Many do not realise how critically important SMEs are to bigger businesses until the “economic tide” goes out especially specialists like IT , Tech and many sophisticated skill-sets at one end and cleaners whose proactive activities ward off more subtle problems.

      When society breaks down the so-called black economy takes over and robs the govt the tax take, so for that alone plus the potential for germ spreading needs noting.

      Great to hear SJR as usual balanced views on this complex situation.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Looking into what is involved it surely cannot be that difficult to manufacture many more ventilators very quickly can it given all the engineering expertise we have in the UK. The NHS should of course have had kits and plans in store with suitable moulds & tooling to enable rapid manufacture of such basic equipment. It is easy to be wise after the event but it was surely not that hard to see this sort of planning would be sensible and not just for ventilators.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Ventilators are, after all, just a few plastic mouldings, some plastic tubes, an inflatable trachea seal ring around the tube that is inserted, a bit of control, warning and monitoring electronics, electric air pumps, some pressure detectors and not much more. All very cheap things indeed. A blood pressure measuring device for £30 from boots has much of these components in it! If we can build 22,000 spitfires etc. this should be a doddle. If only the country had rather more engineers and rather fewer lawyers, bureaucrats, gender studies and PPE dopes.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        lifelogic, love you and all that but you are hallucinating there.

        there is some work which suggests one ventilator may be able to be used on multiple people of the same body size in extreme situations, I hope someone is looking at that

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          Well the Italian at Bergamo Hospital clearly think they need far more of them.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            you missed my point

      • Stred
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        My family pharmacologist tells me that chloroquine is a simple drug and can made easily in large quantities. Let’s hope that, as it is known to be safe in normal circumstances, the health system does not withhold it and takes months doing trials while many are dying. Patients should be asked whether they wish to take any risk and be offered treatment.

        • Brigham
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          Chloroquine is known to reduce the immune system. The risk of this is obvious. If an antiviral is to be found I think it will be something like the acyclovir family of antivirals. It must be remembered that viruses are not organisms like bacteria, but are chemicals like RNA.

          • Stred
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            French trials in Marseille have had some success. It acts by supplying zinc into the cells attacked by the virus and this blocks the entry mechanism.

      • SM
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        And with all your vast experience and superior education, LL, what do you know about actually connecting a patient to a ventilator and dealing with the direct and side effects of such an intrusive procedure?

        What do you know about ICU-induced psychosis, or tracheostomies, catheters, drips, gastric tube feeding, sedation or the risks of further lung infection, intestinal obstructions and the severe distress that can be caused by removing the patient from the ventilator?

        • ukretired123
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          I think ‘LL was pointing out that if you at least get the ventilator s that is half way to solving the problem.

          1400 firms are working right now urgently on this.

          The next problem is your point.

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

            Problem is approval and CE marking. NHS can’t buy non CE marked goods, doctors can’t use them.

          • Brigham
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            Unlike the majority of non medical people, ventilators come in very different types. Positive pressure ventilators do a lot of the breathing for the patient. Other ventilators just supply oxygen. It depends what the virus is doing to the lungs, which type is needed. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about coronoviruses, but generic ventilators are not the answer.

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        In the papers yesterday GTech are in the process at Govt request. Let us hope other engineering firms will also come up with innovative ways of mass producing such items.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Thank goodness for John’s calm measured blog posts.

        Lifelogic, manufacturers are doing all these things right now, quietly and competently making prototypes to get sanctioned and they’ll be made and distributed quickly – not because you’ve said so it’s been going on a while now. I’m sure medical students from trainee nurses and doctors who aren’t in university are being put to work on wards right now and taught how to use all this equipment intensively and focused.

        (just how many of these Covid19 people would have died anyway one I read yesterday was 99 – how did that person catch it, were they already in hospital and caught it like MRSA? Did the GP give it them, did it cause his death or did he just have it at the time of his natural death).

        Aren’t you reading positive news, just focusing on the negative all the time like the BBC do is wearying; one hospital just ONE struggled and we’re doomed, how many intensive beds did that hospital have? How many patients they said dozens so how many 24/36/48, how many people do they normally treat? How many staff were on duty, how many staff on isolation leave, and how quickly was the problem resolved, we were told by the following day the issue had been sorted out, hysterical doctors making political points on the news should be stopped, not all doctors are like this so why is it only the most political that are seen? One other thing what caused all the intake in that one hospital on the same single night? Is there a super spreader in Harrow, we’re they connected to a school, university, family – the nhs can’t keep us in the dark forever we want to know how big this outbreak was and what was the root.

        Our government need to start answering back, they’re letting people scare people and take over using their own agenda. Our government are on the front foot and thinking 💭 out of the box on how to get ventilators made and distributed quickly. It is the newspapers that disseminate their messages and cause confusion, my husband is just reading gov.uk now because he doesn’t trust the News interpretation and spin.

        I’m worried more about keeping 40 families in work and productive, telling people to stay in for weeks on end doesn’t help this because people do have to go out to work in food shops and to deliver products, should they all wear masks? Should they wear gloves, you can’t wash you hands every half hour on the road and hand sanitiser can’t be found.

      • APL
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Life logic: “surely cannot be that difficult to manufacture many more ventilators very quickly ”

        1.
        If you are on a ventilator, ( mechanically assisted breathing rather
        than simply enriched oxygen ) your odds of surviving are about 50%
        in normal circumstances.

        2.
        You can’t just pump oxygen into someone’s lungs under pressure.
        Doing so, could very well cause more injury. Then humans cannot usually tolerate an atmosphere of pure oxygen anyway for any prolonged period of time.

        3.
        They used ventilators in Wuhan and the figures we have are that, use of a ventilator resulted in survival rate of less than a few percent. Much worse mortality than the 50% you’d expect under normal situation.

        ‘Ventilators’ are the Media’s fantasy. It’s something the BBC has fastened onto and are flogging for all its worth.

        I much preferred government from 10 Downing street, than the farce we currently have, Government by the BBC and Media.

        Borris sounded pretty good, in his first speech where it was:- ‘ there will be deaths ‘, but we are going to do what we can to help people’.

        The latest, lets shut down the economy is insane. The BBC is responsible for this, and it and the media need to be prosecuted for domestic economic terrorism.

        • APL
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          The survival rate for those on ventilators in normal circumstances is only 50% anyway.

          If your lungs are full of fluid, you can’t pump oxygen into them under pressure.

          With the indulgance of our host, I’ll post this:-

          http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/ImprovementStories/VAPGettingtoZeroandStayingThere.aspx

          “Clinical evidence shows that by meticulously following a care protocol that includes keeping the patient’s head elevated and discontinuing ventilator use as soon as possible, hospitals can virtually eliminate VAP. “

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Surely the very sensible Sir James Dyson and his many clever engineers can bang out some simple ventilators (instead or those deafening hand dryers that need ear plugs to use them or those rather expensive yellow vacuum cleaners for a change).

      • Beancounter
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Perhaps they can design them, but all heir manufacturing capacity is in Asia, so not a lot of use.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Oh, you’ve noticed too.

        A triumph of marketing over design, is what I’d generally call his products.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      It is the hallmark of the truly stupid individual who believes s/he has the solutions to all prevalent problems, if only we had all listened.

  5. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The Government needs to do something about food supplies , and fast!
    My Son and I are being asked to self isolate in our homes. No supermarkets are offering deliveries, and even small shops cant assist in this matter. My Son is down to about 5 days supply of food. He will have no alternative soon, but to go out, and see if he can find any.
    Many must be in the same position, and I fear that if something is not done soon, there will be another crisis to add to the Corona virus crisis.

    Boris is still ‘asking’ people not to panic buy snd strip the shelves, but its not working. Further measures are needed now.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      @Cheshire Girl; As I’ve said before, such measures should have been put in place before the govt asked sections of the nation to self-isolate and warned the rest they might have to do the same soon.

      Whilst I criticise the long-standing just-in-time stock control of the supermarkets it was a known-known, the current crisis is thus one made in Downing Street, the govt. is simply trying to pass the blame on to those who have been told to prepare to self isolate!

      Can some people also stop using very broad-brushes, criticising anyone they consider as ‘hoarders’, someone buying two 16 roll packs of toilet paper for example might not be hoarding but have a large household with valuable individuals, meaning they need at least 14 days stock in case they have to completely self-isolate, even worse there might be pre-existing medical issues such as IBS. At the moment we simply have no way of knowing, even though much of this data is already known to local councils, the NHS and their partner organisations.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Jerry,

        Many supermarkets do know many individual consumption levels through store card data.

        • jerry
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          @Caterpillar; Store cards prove nothing, someone with a store card might have been also buying for a neighbour last month but not this, so should the kindly shopper be allowed to buy extra for themselves this week?! Also a LOT of people do not use such cards, many don’t even use credit or debit cards either

          No the only way, should it come to formal rationing is via LA data (such as but not limited to CT and electoral registers) as that know who actually lives at the address, cross checked with NHS data that would show up any medical needs at the address.

    • Stred
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Why not order a takeaway. Pubs would be glad to have customers. It would have to arrive piping hot and left two metres away.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      All creatures risk their lives to eat. We have forgotten why. Now we know what it’s like.

      The lock down fails at the first hurdle.

    • small case shopper
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      No this food thing and stay at home thing are not going to work out. You could have the odd delivery delayed even in normal times. But the trouble’ has not even started yet so, looks like we’ll all be going out every day shopping and crowding everything out, may as well buy something so we don’t have to queue at least for that thing and be accused of hoarding. It will get really rough. on social media, there are fights breaking out all ready and are filmed. looks awful.
      I can’t see this lasting realistically when even a few staff go down with the virus. People on TV think that it is a question of a truck stopping at a warehouse and various items magically are “order picked ” and loaded just right for delivery and tipped at the supermarket, magically appear on the right shelves without getting in the way of customers .

      • Brigham
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        I was a small boy when rationing was introduced in WW2 There were some queues but orderliness seemed to be the way most people behaved.
        Stealing hand wash shows me that Britain has gone downhill. During the war draconian sentences helped to reduce the “black market”

        • Fred H
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          we’ll need to build a lot more prisons.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            People will be fighting to get IN to prisons.

            They won’t be going short of supplies.

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      CG, there are people with health issues and expecting babies in the same position. Johnson should have acted before announcing last Friday dramatically that people will die.

      What was he thinking before he made that announcement? All the ducks should have been lined up first. US briefing far better.

    • Al
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      It gets better. One of our local charities has reported they are not being permitted to purchase the food it requires for its nightly service providing meals to the homeless and housebound.

      In a period when we are being told to self-isolate, one would have thought the stores could make arrangements to ensure the vulnerable, both people trapped in houses and those living on the street could actually get food, rather than cutting off their established source.

    • rose
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the Deliveroo boys will be taken on as an extra workforce by shops now that restaurants are shut.

  6. Iain Gill
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks John, wish you were my MP again.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      maybe we could try and get some decent home teaching resources going on the tv, online, and available by phone.

      wouldnt be that hard to play the royal institution lectures and such on the tv

      thanks

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        Masses of educational stuff is available on the internet, open university programs, university lectures, maths, physics, engineering, business and similar. What is really needed right now perhaps is a video showing people how to assemble and test a ventilator, using a kit of readily available components and some PPE masks and outfits.

        It is amazing how much over regulation, health and safety, insurance requirements, professional body regulations, box ticking training requirements, demarcation, lawyers and the likes gets in the way of efficient health care. Or indeed efficiency anywhere. Get the ventilators and PPE equipment and train some people to use them it is not rocket science. We had two months notice from China after all. It was all entirely predictable for two months.

      • Christine
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Yes, a good idea. Maybe the BBC could switch a channel to home schooling. Teachers could video stream lessons to their pupils. Take the best teachers in our country, produce videos based on subject and age. Schools seem to be behaving as if this is an extended last week of term suggesting kids play board games. This situation might go on for some time. Utilise the army of people currently home schooling for their ideas and ensure children don’t miss out on their education.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          we need to careful we dont swamp the telco networks with all this streaming, its going to be needed for docs talking to their patients on video calls etc

          stick as much content as possible onto the tv channels

      • steve
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        @Iain Gill

        I think consideration should be given to asking Prof Andrew Sydlow to see if he might be able to help.

        Absolutely brilliant, lovely man. Exactly the sort of person this country needs.

        Check out his RI lectures on you tube.

      • Splash out!
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        I’m going to learn how to draw cartoons figures like Donald Duck. Lots of instructors online. Perhaps wall paintings with leftover paint from decorating. You can learn that online too. I hate calling them murals. I used to know a girl at school called Muriel.Her mother used to take in washing . Dead common!

    • ian terry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      +1

  7. SM
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    John, I sincerely hope that you will take good care of yourself.

    Here in SA, as in America, it’s common on parting from someone to say: ‘have a good day’. Some of us are altering this to ‘stay well’ – may I say that to you and all contributors to this blog.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Let us hope the Queen does too. I do not want a pusher of homeopathy and a “do as I say but not as I do” climate alarmist dope as the King.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        But hopefully if he does become King he will sensibly shut up and keep out of politics like his wise mother.

        • SM
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          If only you would listen to your own advice on this occasion, LL! Do you have no-one else to talk to, or has everyone fled your constant chatter?

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            What chatter ?

            All they’d hear of our resident polemicist is ‘clickety-clack – clack clack clack – tka tka tka’

            Unless he’s a one finger typist in which case ‘boof boof boof boof…’

    • formula57
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      +1

  8. Prigger
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The Trump medical team believe the coronovirus has been over-estimated at a 3% mortality rate and it should be 1% or below.
    More JR, as you know about linguistics, an utterance can be simply divided into two parts . The Utterer of a message and the Recipient of the message.

    “3% mortality rate” is not understood by the majority of persons in the UK. I am speaking of persons who may be asked out of blue in any street without prompting .
    It does not mean as they may think, that 3% of our total population are highly likely to die if there aren’tt any medical interventions and isolations at all. It does not mean that of all over 65s we can expect 3% of them to die if the virus is left unchecked in its progress. It does not mean that even 3% of people with underlying conditions over 80 are highly likely going to die.
    Politicians know this. They know what it means. Now politicians should tell the British people the truth and stop deliberately and with intended falsehood destroying our country. The clock is ticking and it is highly probable most MPs will not return to the next Parliament.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      If the hospitals are overwhelmed and do not have Sufficient ventilators and staffing then death rates can easily climb to over 10% or those infected as we saw in parts of Italy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      The property market has just crashed and this of its own would have been the end of our economy.

      It has not even made the news.

      My cousin was a partner/estate agent in a multi million pounds organisation on Friday and a shelf stacker on Tuesday.

      The gravity of our economic collapse is yet to sink in with most people and those without access to money will start to be hungry and hungry people start doing strange things. Be prepared for this.

      The Government knows full well that the true death rate cannot be estimated because they haven’t even attempted to TEST TEST TEST to find out what the infection rate is.

      The death rate could well be a fraction of a percent by the time this is done and the dead will probably have died within two years of natural causes anyway.

      What’s left of this land is going to be no country for old men and a good portion of those were in Weatherspoons last week giving it a bit of “Bring it on. We’re British !”

      There should be no more than 12 weeks lockdown – which we know will fail because this country has too many resident saboteurs; I shall not bother to name these handrail-spitter groups who number around four candidates.

      I note there have been no reports of stabbings in the last week ! Yay !!!! The gangstas are doing their bit and thinking about the NHS too !!! And they won’t be kicking off during the shutdown… promise !

      The lockdown should be abandoned at the first sign that it has failed elsewhere and nature to be allowed to do its worst. We have forgotten that shit happens and this part of the globe is simply not rich enough to afford the luxury of cowering away in caves.

      What’s the worst that can happen politically ?

      A tax and spend and piss down the drain Corbyn government and a police state lockdown ???

      Oh… hang on a minute !!!

      Reply Being negative is easy. Being bitter can be a boomerang. The government has made clear it wants to test more but there is a lack of capacity for test equipment. They have also only just developed a test for antibodies which is what they most needed.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Where is the Churchillian address to the nation ???

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          It was attempted.

          Did it fall rather flat for you?

          Or did you not notice it at all?

      • APL
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Anon: “The property market has just crashed and this of its own would have been the end of our economy.”

        It doesn’t surprise me, but other than anecdotal reports, what supporting evidence do you have?

        The tourist, Pubs and Clubs shut down. Many of those businesses won’t open again.

        No Chinese students, the University sector will contract too.

        And now the Property market.

        Banking and Finance won’t get away unscathed either.

        So, Depression looms.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Put your house on the market now. See what interest you get. Oh. You can’t put your house on the market.

          The estate agents are stacking shelves.

          • APL
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Anon: “Put your house on the market now. See what interest you get.”

            Why would I do that? My house is where I live.

            But, I guess, yes. The property flipping market is dead too.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I’m positive that this virus – though awful – will not deliver the percentage of mortality that is expected. Because the rates of infection seem to be far higher than counted and stated.

        I am negative that deaths caused from shutting down the whole western economies have not been considered or assessed in any way at all. Including from the collapse of the NHS from a dry up of funding.

        Why are we seeing no figures for the mortality rates of an economic depression ? Where is the assessment ?

        Suicides are going to soar – illnesses through alcoholism are going to soar.

        I am negative that no real cost/benefit analysis has been done because there is no real counting to compare.

        I am positive in a fair few suggestions I have made in these pages about how we can help people and how we can make the campaign for cleanliness and lock down more successful if that is what we are going to do.

        I am utterly negative that certain sections of our community are going to use the opportunity of absented streets and villages to go on a crime spree or otherwise cause us great harm for political or ideological reasons.

        The cost of this has not been counted.

        I am confident that in the future this crisis will be looked upon by historians and they will compare it to the Spanish flu and say WTF ?????

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          The WHO are saying TEST TEST TEST.

          Other countries clearly have the provisions and contingencies to do this. Ours splooged the money on lifestyle treatments and defending no win no fee legal actions under the legal system brought in by the Tories.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            I am positive that in three months time we will have no choice but to get the country back to work.

            Only then will we realise that we didn’t have a choice.

    • agricola
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Your final statement does not equate with your juggling of 3%. Most MPs is even more spurious than a percentage figure.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Prigger – – – ” politicians should tell the British people the truth ” – -best laugh I’ve had for ages. You old optimist you.

    • Stred
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      The worst case scenario if nothing much soon had been done, as calculated by Imperial College was 520,000. This is 0.757% on the population of 66 million. The higher % rate is for those being treated and the figures are using the information from Italy and China. If the social distancing and self quarantining work, then the figure of half a million will be much lower. The old and those with medical conditions will have a much higher chance of dying. Perhaps 5% but there will be many young people badly affected with scarred lungs.

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    We as a nation don’t take kindly to these measures.
    Is the House of Lords still claiming £daily.
    Prepare for a backlash.

    • Andy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      You’ll take even less kindly to pictures of people dying in hospitals, hundreds of body bags and mass cremations. And that is what is coming.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        you should consider stand-up comedy.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; Strange… Back in the 1980s, when the HoLs was filled with Tory supporting Hereditary Peers no one on the right would hear anything said against the then totally undemocratic and out of touch HoLs. Now it is a far more balanced, appointed, chamber the hard right can’t wait to scrap it.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Balanced my armpit. As someone on CH has said the WHO is skewing the statistics and it may turn out to be the most expensive hoax in history.

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Ian,
      Last week it was announced MPs to get a inflation busting 3.1 percent pay rise to £82,000 taking them to the top 5% of earned!Add insult to injury IPSA making an additional £10,000 available to all MPs! Talk about thinking about yourselves first!

      For a part time unqualified job. Where we were all promised substantial reform ten years ago and nothing of substance changed. In fact it has become worse because details of MP wrong doers now kept a secret! In stark contrast Cameron told us and/or lied transparency was the best disinfection.

      What happened to all those booted out by the public at the last election for betraying the will of the people and acting to undermine the Govt.? RPI pensions and parachute payments denied to everyone else!

      Reply The pay award was of course made by the independent authority IPSA which was set up after the last expenses row to ensure MPs themselves had no say in their pay.

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        JR, Oh please. Independent my foot. The chairs connections please. Oversight by members of public never achieved either for discipline, crime or pay. A bit like the appointments of quango heads! Disproportionately politicos or friends of the same. It is a bit like the independent committee to select Lords, normally friends or patronage of PM.

        You only have to read the book of the policy advisor to Cameron, now in the Lords, to know your reply is utterly contemptible.

        JR, you discredit yourself writing such nonsense without any substance. Moreover knowing what you say is specious at best.

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          correct – I am one of the countrys 15% that are self-employed….we get ziltch

          Business for the self-employed has completely dried up

    • agricola
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Please don’t aspire to speak for the nation. I suspect that the majority see the sense in what has been done so far and are intelligent enough to know that at the moment there are no absolute answers. Decisions are made on the best available information.
      The House of Lords and it’s activities and benefits are a mere bagatelle in the scheme of things. Backlash is a peripheral activity and can be dealt with within our democratic system.
      My answer while in isolation halfway up a mountain is to make a Tarte Tatin while listening to Tony Bennett and lady Gaga. I have known for a long time that he could sing but Lady G is a revelation.

  10. Steve Reay
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The government should consider reducing the retirement age to 64. It could free up useful jobs for any young person who have lost their jobs and useful to isolate a vulnerable group.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      @Steve Reay; It would also allow those at more risk take better care of themselves, but if this was an enforced retirement the Govt would have to create a “universal living wage pension”, not base payments on contributions., certainly if the age was lower than your suggested age of 64.

  11. Mark B
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    . . . some people deciding to fill freezers and store cupboards with an unusually large reserve which leaves the shops temporarily empty for customers who need an evening meal.

    My elderly next door neighbours told me, that they have never seen such greed and selfishness. And they lived through the war. Shame on those who panic bought.

    Sir John

    Many thanks for your kind words, links and advice. One criticism though. Do try to cheer up, it is not the end of humanity, that happened next year when the great asteroid of doom hits 😉

    As I look out my window the Sun is beginning to rise above the trees. It will do so again tomorrow, and the day after etc.

    KEEP CALM, AND CARRY ON.

    Reply I am keeping calm and working hard. I am also trying to mitigate the bad effects on people’s jobs and incomes.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “My elderly next door neighbours told me, that they have never seen such greed and selfishness. And they lived through the war. Shame on those who panic bought.”

      So they have not stocked up with their own self isolating supplies then I assume If they have not they are being as irresponsible as you seem to be.

      “As I look out my window the Sun is beginning to rise above the trees. It will do so again tomorrow, and the day after etc.”

      What else do you see Mark B, yes nothing but something is out there unseen and it might just kill you, or kill others your thoughtlessness infects. What the hell is driving yours and others stupidity, fear that your stocks and shares, your company, is going to be worthless, what good is such wealth if you or your loved ones are dead?

      KEEP CALM, INDEED, BUT FINE A CLUE (if you have not already done so)….

      I never thought I would see our host -nor people such as IDS and others- basically accepting the need for the government to in effect nationalise employment. Doesn’t that tell you the seriousness of this situation, and I suspect he, like other MPs, are likely far better informed about this crisis (but perhaps can not actually tell us) than the MSM (who might also be subject to ND orders) and most certainly individual citizens.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, those who crave power, to the extent that Tories evidently do, will do whatever is necessary to retain it.

        Any ideology comes second.

        • jerry
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          @MiC; All those who crave power will try to do whatever is necessary to retain it, the left is just as much a problem as the right, whilst Europhiles seem to be the very worst -how many times did you, Andy others demand a second Brexit referendum asking the same in/out question, trying to dress it up as merely ‘confirming’ the first.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            I personally never campaigned for a second vote.

            I think that the European Union is, from now on, better without the UK, and that is paramount.

            However, had there been one then I would have been forced to vote Remain, to avoid this country sending an appalling message to the civilised world yet again.

          • jerry
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Your last paragraph makes no sense what so ever, what (historical) ‘appalling message’ are referring to, that will get repeated due to Brexit?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            I agree Jerry
            When challenged Martin reverts to red herrings.

    • Andy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      The panic buying is appalling. But remember the people now stock piling loo roll are, largely, the same ones who told also all to have some backbone and remember the Blitz spirit as they looked forward to a no deal Brexit. Only no deal Brexit will lead to a shortage of actual food as well.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Do you have proof for this assertion?
        Or are you just exercising your dreadful prejudices as usual.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        The bidet-using nations of the Mainland must be wryly amused, by Tommy scrapping over toilet paper, Andy.

        Along with much else.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Do you realise by using the word Tommy you are being disrespectful both to the older generation and those older brave people who served in our armed forces.
          I expect you did know.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Edward2

            No surprise that you have to return to those old WW2 cliches that Daily Mail readers are so fond of. Maybe you can tell us what sacrifices you are willing to make rather than hide behind those of long dead people.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            Don’t be silly.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Not silly at all.
            You are intelligent enough to know the implications of what the word Tommy meant.
            And Margaret your instant defensive reaction only proves my point.
            Thanks

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            That’s a matter of opinion.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            Everything is a matter of opinion.
            I dont see how postt of yous really answers anything.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        any evidence or just your usual fantasies of old, wealthy spongers, greedily robbing the shelves while you slave away long hours protecting the nation?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Oh. They didn’t need to have ration books in WW2 then ?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Well said and let’s hope that JR is safe from catching bug.

    • Hope
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I understand the demand for freezers has stripped supply.

      JR, how about emergency powers for those profiteering on eBay and back of lorries with toilet roll?

    • Newmania
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      ….I have a suggestion….. the last poll is fascinating
      Remain 37%
      Leave 34%
      Don`t know 29% ( up and up it goes,,and really of course its don`t care )

      Kantar 9.3

      34% and probably less, now want us to leave the EU
      Businesses on their knees next year will be trying to get off the floor ! John; this is your chance to show there is more to you than keeping your seat. At least a two year delay ,we cannot CANNOT , afford this on top of everything else . Trust me , people will understand .

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        We have left, Newmania.

        However, a sensible EEA-type arrangement with the European Union seems the least insane of all the options, and no doubt minds are now being focused on what matters more, than the silly colour of a passport or a little ring of golden stars on people’s registration plates.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Great justification for belonging – pretty car number plates.

    • Al
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      “My elderly next door neighbours told me, that they have never seen such greed and selfishness. ”

      Tell me about it. I went to the supermarket and felt guilty for getting two blocks of cheese, (one for me, one for my neighbour), only to be told by the cashier they had had to stop a gentleman walking out with twenty-four which was all the store had in! People are literally cleaning out entire shelves for scalping.

      This is absolutely ridiculous.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Excellent. More power to you for your efforts.

      Many thanks.

  12. Mark B
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    If our kind host allows.

    BY RUDYARD KIPLING

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Oh and If you can build and work a ventilator it might help too.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

        LL

        Don’t be such a pessimist.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      If only.

      That poem is bollocks.

      To all who are at their wit’s end get The Power of Now on kindle. I am resorting to it very much now and it is like an instant sedative and anti depressant. No need for drugs – which you won’t be able to get now anyway.

    • Newmania
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      That was one of my entries in the Corona redraft competition

      To Kill a Mockingbat
      Great Expectorations
      Captain Corelli’s pangolin
      The Isolation Man Cometh
      Covid`s Metamorphosis
      …and of course Kipling’s hymn to manly virtue “ Sniff”

      PS Face masks : Guidance and supply please
      Broadband – fast as poss
      Cancel Brexit

    • Fred H
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      for many years I had a copy of this on a large tea-towel, bought somewhere like the Lake District, I think, on a wall behind a number of offices I used. No end of people asked who wrote it, wasn’t it wonderful, and what good advice when technical and business worries brought them to talk to me….
      I still think it is among the very best.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. 🙂

        We need a little bit of positive thinking.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      If I might repeat a favourite quote of mine:

      “If you promise not to tell lies about me, then I promise not to tell the truth about you”

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the summary.

      I apologise for commenting on this when I am not a constituent of yours Sir John. I commend the Govt’s actions on guaranteeing wages and reviewing after 3 months, personally I dont think it is a fair and equitable approach, but I recognise something had to be done that could be operationalised. I also commend the Govt’s action on closing pubs, leisure centres etc. with monthly review period. Nonetheless, I am extremely worried that the final destruction of the concept of personal saving together with effectively putting parts of the economy in deep freeze together remove the economy’s flexibility to respond, to redirect resources to where they are needed and to redesign services to a model in which social distancing becomes more of a normality. beyond these fumdamental changes to the UK.economic model
      some have been crying out for authoritarian control (as commonsense and decency no longer exist in some communities). The Govt will need to recognise what it has done and where it has gone, irrespective of the virus position in the coming months. The Govt will need to decide and begin to communicate how unwinding will happen, or that the change in socio-economic control will continue.

      I am sure we also all know that the Govt’s original view on fatigue was correct, despite the claims otherwise by academics’ letter signing. Some elderly feel isolated in the last days, months and years of their lives (just gossip, but I have heard of some going to the supermarket to feel involved). The journalist who asked at yesterday’s briefing won’t people just gather together in other (more) enclosed spaces if they don’t go to the pub is probably correct – prohibitions don’t last long – and finally we hear from Australia of home workers feeling separated and shifting to working at home together – going to each others houses to replace the office!

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        BTW will there be sufficient workers in the right place for the UK harvest season this year?

    • MeSET
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I like that one of Kipling but I don’t like this bit
      “And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise”
      I don’t see how I can realistically avoid it

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      For the ladies replace “Man” with “Human” !

    • Mark B
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for allowing this Sir John.

  13. Shirley M
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I hope that this virus is not used as an excuse to delay Brexit. Many Remainers are pushing to delay.
    We cannot afford to bail out half of Europe while trying to save our own people and our economy. The longer we are under EU control, the more likely we will be to have to contribute billions to their failing economies, at the expense of our own. The EU will not (understandably) care about our long term future. Only their own.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s happened, Shirley.

      Farage and his shower-of-uselessness got their metaphorical shove between the shoulders a few weeks back from the European Union Parliament.

      The Union flags have been slung out with the saurerkraut scrapings, pizza crusts and escargot shells.

      Didn’t you notice?

      We’re out.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        There’s OUT and there’s nearly out – I’m currently not at all sure whether any point in talking beyond June. There are however thousands of civil servant (experts) able to stay in a job as a result.

  14. hefner
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    thanks.

  15. agricola
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    For government I would say stay flexible because for all the right direction of their decisions there will be holes in the net through which some will fall we need instant fixing rather thsn adherence to rules put in place for the best of intentions.

    Fix the supermarket food hoarding tendencies of many of the people with legal measures if necessary.

    If lock down becomes a reality, prepare for problems caused by depredation of illegal drug supply.

    Share solutions with others on a worldwide basis to prevent, cure, and put this menace back inits box. Finally do not let it interfere with our departure from the EU.

  16. Sahara Gold
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    None of this would have been necessary, had the WHO (overwhelmingly funded by the Chinese communist regime) not recommended in early January that “it was not necessary to ban international travel” after observing “the situation is under control in China”

    The world’s leaders failed to review this recomendation with a critical eye and so imported the Chinese plague virus into their countries. I recall our hapless Health Secretary Matt Hancock pronouncing two weeks ago ” we will not be stopping flights from Italy….”

    To put this into context, yesterday Bloomberg TV noted that the China Mobile company, based in Beijing, reported that they had lost 6.112 million subscribers from 1st Jan to 18th Feb 2020. 6.112 million!

    I wonder where they went, to another provider? Another reason not to believe anything the Chinese regime says about their epidemic

    If our government does not take the unpleasant but now necessary extreme measures to protect the public, we will also suffer huge casualites. This is not the time for scientific civil servants to argue in committees about what should be done, the nation needs decisive leadership from the PM

  17. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I think the Government is doing a good job in the circumstances, the only real fault was not treating seriously for a number of weeks the threat of those who were arriving into the Uk from abroad, especially known hot spot areas.

    We are now where we are and we will now see the result of the actions of human nature within a democracy.

    How many will obey the rules set out ?

    I hope the vast majority. !

    Already we are seeing insurance companies and travel organisations trying to weasel out of claims for lost holidays, and the return of monies paid.

    A simple suggestion, the financial ombudsman to make a clear statement that anyone obeying the Governments instructions on unnecessary travel (and a holiday is exactly that) is guaranteed to have all money refunded should there be any dispute to the contrary.

    Let us hope that the Scientists and Heath professionals find a solution for treatment and a vaccine that works fast.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      With regards to the self employed.

      Surely the simple thing is to pay them 80% of their declared earnings to HMRC from the tax return they completed and submitted last year.

      Same rules apply as to PAYE up to a limit of £2,500 per month.

      Thus you pay those that did the right thing by the taxman.

      Not really complicated at all.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        It is complicated

        When self-employed army reserve where called up they assessed their income on declared taxable profit and not there declared daily rate of pay……result no self-employed army reserve voluteered

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          glen

          Perhaps no one wanted to join the reserve.?

          taxable profit surely equals income for most people does it not.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            Your assumption is incorrect

            Self-employed attempt to reduce taxable profit at every opportunity

            Income is therefore a combination of legitimate expenses and legitimate expenditure and the smallest amount of taxable profit as is legally possible

            Therefore taxable profit is a false measure of income

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            Ref reserves the govt guaranteed no loss of income to every reservist that volunteered for a tour, against their civil employment salary. However this couldn’t be realised for self employed as HMRC would only measure accountable profit as income….result – of the hundreds of self employed reservist not one volunteered

          • Alan Jutson
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:12 am | Permalink

            Glen

            So you want to pay the least tax possible (understand that) but claim the most relief and help from the government.

            Bit one sided don’t you think. !

            Seems like you want the best of both Worlds.

            Unfortunately life is not like that very often.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    An excellent letter!

    The government has played it’s hand to deal with the evolving situation. The two year period for Draconian powers sounds much too long to me – what is the government hiding from us to demand this? One year should be the maximum with explicit parliamentary approval for any extension.

    The state will accumulate significant additional debt to deal with the coronavirus threat. I suggest this be ring fenced to be written off over an extended period, say 25 years like a war debt. The opportunity to review, reform and simplify the UK’s tax and regulatory systems should be taken now for implementation starting 1 January 2021. The Chancellor has displayed boldness and confidence in bringing forward his first budget and these latest measures. He should seize the opportunity of this crisis to make the reforms that will be needed to spur a national recovery after the economic devastation that this emergency has and will continue to cause. The post WW2 war tax and regulatory reforms introduced in Germany provide a useful example of what is needed in such situations and what can be achieved if bold action is taken.

  19. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Sir John some of my tenants in small shops are falling trough the net – their employees have 80% of their wages guaranteed, the small business grant will keep the premises available and necessary services on tap fo reopening, but the entrepreneurs themselves have nothing. Could they not claim the aerag4 wage of their own employees and get 80% of that – at least?

    Reply I am trying to get the self employed some income

  20. Javelin
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    After the public have had a sore throat and dry cough that is not distinguishable from any other cold, we will all be asking was it worth crashing the economy, losing hundreds of thousands of businesses, causing millions of unemployed, reducing tax and medical research and investment for 15 years to save a few thousand old people who were months from death anyway and being kept alive by expensive medical interventions.

    I can predict the backlash and anger already.

    • Javelin
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      As I was saying yesterday about them Art of War – win before the battle, take your opportunity, strike when weak – and unprecedented nighttime incursion by Chinese warplanes into Tawain airspace. taiwannews.com.tw reports that yesterday.

      “10 Chinese speedboats attack Taiwan coast guard cutters

      Chinese speedboats hurl rocks, bottles, Taiwan CGA cutters respond with shock bombs, bean bag rounds”

      This is not some random attack by school boys or drunk sailors. These are extremely skilled special boat services mounting the back of Taiwanese coast guard boats using large high powered speed boats.

    • APL
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Javelin: “we will all be asking was it worth crashing the economy, losing hundreds of thousands of businesses, causing millions of unemployed, reducing tax and medical research and investment for 15 years to save a few thousand old people who were months from death anyway ..”

      Harsh, but I think correct.

      • APL
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Javelin: “to save a few thousand old people who were months from death anyway ..”

        In Italy, 5,476 Covid-19 related deaths. I’ve heard that less than 1% are young >50 healthy individuals. And many of the rest already had significant co-morbid conditions.

        The average age too is around 81. Now I’m not going to go all religious on everyone, but the only guide we have is three score and ten, that’s 70.

        The figures out of the CDC that I’ve seen is that there are 14.8% rate of morbidity in the 80th decade.

  21. rick hamilton
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The idea of selective schooling for health workers’ and other public servants’ children obviously is well-meaning, but it does discriminate against those who strive to create wealth as small businesses and generate a lot of the tax revenue. They have the double whammy of keeping their source of income going somehow while staying at home to look after and educate their children barred from school. If the situation were reversed Labour would be shouting from the housetops but, as it is only private business that suffers, that’s absolutely fine by them.

  22. Andy
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Finally some action from our bumbling government. The schools, pubs and clubs have closed at least three weeks too late. The economic measures to save the economy do still not go nearly far enough. Cutting the interest rate, for example, is wonderful for people with tracker mortgages but does nothing for the majority.

    But the virus has been allowed to spread too fast whilst Johnson has bumbled and delayed. Still we are not seeing the measures in place in Italy – we will surely see a similar or higher death rate.

    Meanwhile while extraordinarily draconian measures are in place we still do not have the government of national unity which we need to retain long term for these measures. 57% did not vote Tory. We have seen from the failed response which immediately helped businesses but delayed helping workers that the interests of all of us are not being represented. We need seats around the Cabinet table for the leaders of all the parties. And we need it now.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      How would you have “unity” ?
      Labour would vote against nearly every Conservative proposal and the Lib Dems and SNP would probably vote against both parties.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Edward 2

        wake up this is an emergency

        • Edward2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          I’m fully awake thanks bill
          I just dont think a government of “unity” would be anything other than a disaster.
          But I’m sure a lot on the left and all the usual pro EU fans like you will carry on pushing it for ulterior motives.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      If we are discussing people rather than voters, then only about fourteen million out of sixty-seven million voted Tory, Andy.

      It’s been similar under Labour too.

      FPTP does not unite nations.

      But the Tories have perhaps seriously worsened this mess.

      Finally the global consensus plus local facts will force them to do what is right however, even if too late.

      I don’t see why anyone else should be positioned to accept any of the blame.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Usual nonsense about elections from you Martin
        We have a system for elections and it has been the same for many decades.
        If you add all the votes for all the other parties together then in virtually every election the winning party has less votes than the total for all the others.
        Also like every nation, we have rules for voting, you have to be a citizen and be 18 or above.

  23. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Restaurants may be closed down, but flights in and out of the UK continue, albeit at a slightly lower rate. So the process that brought coronavirus into this country continues unchecked.

  24. agricola
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    PS.

    Re para 2
    Organise with the supermarkets, for essential workers, a phone in order service for collection 24/7 when they come off shift.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree agricola this isn’t too difficult for the supermarkets to co-ordinate surely.

      However, there are plenty of people trying to work and give it all they have to keep food on our tables, medicines tested, deliveries done, clean water being processed, milk produced, electricity to power our needs, telecommunications, heating systems and boilers running, I appreciate our health workers including the cleaners and porters in the hospitals are on the front line and if they haven’t got ppe then I hold their management responsible for putting them in danger and reducing care workers through infection for the urgent need of other people falling ill, they’ve had two months to prepare, so if I were Matt Hancock I’d ask why after just two weeks of rising numbers some hospitals have run out of ppe for Coronavirus wards and A&E!

  25. David L
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I guess it’s human nature; told that there’s something you can’t have and suddenly it becomes the focus of your desires, even humble loo rolls! Maybe if the Government forbade us to show consideration to others we might find ourselves in a far nicer world.

  26. jerry
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Sir John, that is not a letter to your constituents, it is a letter to the Nation. Thank You.

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Hunt says we should hope and pray that the government has acted early enough and the NHS will not be overwhelmed. They clearly have not done but it seems the people did react a week or so back hence lower increase in deaths now. Praying will of course do nothing this as I assume that the virus was part of God’s plan should one exist.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      @LL; “Praying will of course do nothing”

      Oh do leave off… Praying provides emotional support for many, and the strength to carry on, I’m not particularly religious either but if others want to pray then it has nothing what so ever to do with anyone else.

      As certain TV comic used to say at the end of each show;

      “Let your God go with you”

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        and his wry answer to most things seemed to be a glass of scotch and a cigarette – and many of us miss him (Dave Allen)so much.

        Hilarious references to son Ed (Edward).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Indeed I rather liked Dave Allen. If it helps some simple people so be it.

        • jerry
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          @LL; What ever. I suspect Dave Allen’s comic sarcasm actually went way over your head, he wasn’t poking fun an religion but the pomp. Your own disdain if likely due to the pomp you had to endure. Many of the men that went to the Moon came back far more religious, care to explain (rhetorically)?

  28. Ugly Toads
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    French TV says that 465..I forget the exact figure, it was in the middle 400s deaths by the coronanvirus in the UK. Our news says 177. Do we tell lies for France too?

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      JHU CSSE 21/03 11:43 France 12,632 infected, 450 dead, 12 recovered, all these based on actual blood tests (which might be better than the corresponding information for the UK).
      ‘Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for System Science and Engineering’

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      meanwhile in sunny Turkey they report 670 cases with 661 recovered….I wonder what they’re doing right

      • Mark B
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        Fiddling the figures to avoid panic.

  29. BJC
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    It was disappointing to hear Mr McDonnell’s attempts at political pointscoring, which was very distasteful in such difficult times. Yes, Labour should be holding the government to account, but they also have an important role to play in the wider community. They like to think they’re a grassroots movement, so should be encouraging their supporters, particularly the young who listen to their ideology, to wholeheartedly adopt the measures government is proposing, simply because it’s designed to support the NHS; the very institution Labour always claims as its own. Barracking from the sidelines isn’t in the least helpful.

    With regards to your hopes that panic-buying will subside, Sir John, I understand that sales of freezers have increased dramatically! There’s also a tendency for shoppers to travel over a very wide area, stripping store shelves like locusts and preventing locals from shopping. This is hitting those without a car very badly and also means there’s no cheaper products nearing their sell-by date, which many people, particularly the elderly, benefit from. There’s apparently also been issues at FoodBanks. Sadly, it’s doubtful there will be little option but to introduce far more draconian measures around food. It might be a good project for Labour to be putting their energies into and could help prevent troublesome behaviour from a desperate public further down the line.

    • jerry
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      @BJC; Mr McDonnell simply pointed out that the govt have still; not gone far enough to secure the lives of those who now have zero income through no fault of their own, the fact that you do not like him holding the Govt to account is irrelevant, it is no more “political” than Boris not forming a GNU fir the duration.

  30. DOMINIC
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The pain isn’t being spread around. While the private sector is being laid waste and decimated the public sector party is in full swing 24/7 and has been for many years. It is a reflection of where the power of influence lies in this country. The public sector unions and the political leftist cabal in London have this nation, every Tory MP and its taxpayer over a barrel.

    And please, less of the wartime, Churchillian rhetoric from our ‘leaders’. This isn’t WW2. It’s an offensive analogy to those who fought and died between 1939-1945. Flying over Berlin for example in a Lancaster Bomber during night bombing is not analogous to queueing up for 10 mins in Tesco to buy a loaf of bread

    • Mark B
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      Here here.

  31. Ugly frogs
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    French TV has changed its mind about the death toll for the UK not to 177 but to 167. The French have always been up and down but short of the mark. Napoleon was reckoned to be a short chap too.

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      everybody who dies its always because of coronavirus , the good news is that all the other diseases and death from old age have gone down to zero

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        suicide over boredom might head the list.

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      For the UK, 4014 infected, 177 dead according to John Hopkins (JHU CCSE).

  32. Tabulazero
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I am happy to see you support the UK government’s decision to close down schools to slow down the spread of the virus after you trashed this exact same idea less than a week ago when it was implemented elsewhere in Europe.

    Reply These are difficult judgements. When I wrote about the schools issue I said I was unsure of what was best. There are no easy answers to any of this. Maybe this is not the time to make nasty comments about people trying to help the community. I have not written in favour of the schools closure and will be sending the government more thoughts on how we can carry on education against the current backdrop.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Many schools are setting work tasks for kids on the internet. Parents should have some sort of idea of syllabus – if not set them to read a book, and ask questions about it in a week. Words they didn’t know, hero, villain, favourite bit etc…

    • Tabulazero
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      The gloating was unbearable, especially knowing what was very likely to happen in the UK in a very short order.

      I am not being nasty in pointing out that piling on all the uncertainty of a hard Brexit in December on top of all the disruption brought by the Covid-19 crisis is sheer lunacy for the British economy.

      It could be high time for the Brexit extremists in the Conservative party to leave their ideology and public persona at home and put pragmatism first, don’t you think ?

      • ukretired123
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Tabula-Zero with hindsight it is so easy to criticise especially for anonymous “keyboard warriors” from a remote armchair.

        It’s what totalitarian states have been doing very effectively recently and covers up their own problems.
        How many cases are there in N. Korea Russia etc ???

  33. Kevin
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    If I may make a casual observation about what I understand to be the Government’s economic strategy. Roughly, access to (the most publicised?) support measures seems to depend on whether or not you were sitting in a job at the precise moment the crisis struck: a sort of fiscal version of musical chairs. If, for example, you lost your job last Christmas Eve, what help is available?

    Additionally, if you had prudently made provision in the form of savings to protect yourself against adverse circumstances, what compensation is being offered for the years since the financial crisis in which, it has been claimed, because of monetary policy and through no fault of your own, you may have been unable to obtain a market rate for your money?

    Reply When the virus struck most people of working age were in work. They need their income for their commitments and need help.
    It is true that those of us who have savings deposits have had little or no interest. That is because there is a glut of savings – we are indeed getting the market rate.

  34. John E
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    As a constituent I thank you for that comprehensive account Sir John.

    Do please remember to take good care of yourself as well during this crisis. We need the voices of experience and reason more than ever now and in the eventual recovery from the crisis. Please prioritise appropriately the care of your own health and well being. The simple things like getting a proper nights sleep are very important to protect our natural defences.

    Reply Thank you for thinking of me. I am getting deep sleeps, but wake early because there is so much to do and I need to get on with it.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      don’t forget the glass that cheers in the evening….. wine, spirit, scotch…..whatever, but good for the soul.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      +1

  35. Mike Wroe
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The Chancellor must also look to raise revenue by taxation from those who can afford it. Not everyone has lost their job, and pensions continue to come in every month for millions of better off. Increase basic, higher and additional tax rates. 25%, 50%, 60%? No one should be able to save during the crisis period. Like you I prefer a low tax economy but not now. Use your influence please. Those financially secure will not complain.

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      And what about all those who have been making money day in day out by shorting all kinds of shares over the last few weeks. Yesterday night the market closed like everyday at 16:30 for individual investors. Within 10 minutes, there was a large sell by institutional investors (II) shorting a large number of British shares (by orders of tens of thousands of shares at a time), which resulted in drops of a further 1 to 3% in the value for some of these shares. And I do not expect the money gained that way will fill the pension pots held by these IIs, more likely to fill the pockets of their top management.
      But as some here will be saying, that’s the result of a working ‘free market’.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        They only make money if their predictions are proved correct.
        You are really clever so why don’t you go and make loads of money by doing this?

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    How ironic that politicians have spent the last 40 years ripping up the fabric of society and family yet now expect people to act as they did in the 1950s!
    40% of people never even speak to their neighbours …never mind care if their neighbour can buy any toilet rolls!
    “No such thing as society”.
    It can’t be reinvented at will!

    There would have been no stockpiling in small independent shops. Who brought in supermarkets?

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      EH, Wait a minute, Edward2 will be onto you for having desacralized his idol.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Hilarious as usual Hefner.
        I will continue to point out that your repeated use of one line from a one hour speech now used as a left wing totum is out of context and does not represent what the whole speech was about.

        • hefner
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          That’s a big fish to my hook.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Carry on until you catch something.
            If it amuses you.

          • hefner
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. BTW I did not repeat that ‘one line’, EH did. You are so keen on jumping to put right what you perceive to be wrong that it is really funny.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

            Not sure what you are fixated about but if you are amused and entertained do carry on hef.

  37. DOMINIC
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    This health scare is a gift for Labour, their unions and their allies spread across the UK. A massive expansion of State power across all areas of life including economic control and social control powers.

    The virus has delivered socialism. Tory MPs must confront the leftist State’s expansion of its powers. If they stay intact a future government with a red tinge would then completely and utterly bury the few freedoms we have left

    Parliamentary legislation must be introduced to prevent an abuse of State power over our lives

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      (Reverse) Citizen Smith alive and well -:)

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      The only thing which would do that would be to have a formal, codified constitution that could not be overturned by a simple Act Of Parliament.

      As it stands, whatever Parliament decides becomes law. In principle we are never more than one Act away from tyranny.

      Reply And never more than vote to reverse anything objectionable

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        “Objectionable” is subjective, John.

        A proper constitution would have to be approved by a super majority, probably both amongst the people and their representatives too, and so if there were anything “objectionable” in it, then that would only be so to a defined minority.

        Once established it would do nothing to prevent a later Parliament’s overturning any earlier Act if that should be found “objectionable” either. However, it would prevent their removing overwhelmingly agreed rights from the people.

        I’m not sure what your point is, really.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Well it has never happened for centuries so I reckon you can relax.

          • hefner
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            Edward2, what a vapid statement. What about considering a say prevalent in the investment industry: ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results’.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Dominic

      THis is an emergency stop being patchetic

  38. Man of Kent
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I wonder how the Civil Service is coping with home working on benefit claims , monitoring requests for funds from business , and devising a possible rationing system .

    Seems a stretch to me .

    • hefner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Not that complicated if the relevant administrations have proper servers allowing all relevant information to be visible remotely. Whether one looks at it from a computer in the departmental office or from a remote (home) site does not make much difference if the addresses of the remotely-logging computers have been registered beforehand.

      • Man of Kent
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Thanks !

  39. Mike Wroe
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Why not use pubs as outlets for the supermarkets? Tesco can pay Landlords and their staff to sell a range of foods locally. This will reduce crowds at supermarkets which is proving to be a health risk. They can also sell their fraught beer for takeaway.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      fraught beer possibly caused by failure to clean the pipes? And draft beer might happen keeping the doors open for the queues? (forgive my silly joke trying to lighten up things).

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Fraught is what you get with Top Pressure.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          and a lot of frothing, generated in this diary.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      So pubs can still provide takeaway food & drinks….I’d go one further and allow takeaway customers to use the spare seating to rest and maybe eat & drink their purchases before they get cold….and maybe purchase additional drinks before they go home, just a thought

  40. graham1946
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    As I understand it, the government is offering help with wages to the extent of 80 percent with a maximum of £2500 per month to about median earnings. Fair enough. What about public employees (with exception of NHS workers who are already overworked). Any of them going to get a cut to their salaries to 80 percent with a maximum of £2500, including especially MP’s? Is the House of Lords talking shop to be capped at £2500 per month or closed down altogether for the duration?

  41. GilesB
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

    We are certainly getting those on the economic front. And we need to overshoot in order to get cash out quickly … an acceptable price.

    The social distancing and self-quarantining measures will be harder to sustain. We don’t need public criticism to undermine them.

    Without going as far as a national government, couldn’t we have an all-party commission to oversee these measures?

  42. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    If – if – the disease were bubonic plague/Ebola/AIDS, then surely the tellies of the nation would be full of smelly hospitals, dying patients, weeping mummies and distraught doctors?

    None of this.

    So what is the panic? And it is not fair to blame the English government. The Scottish government, the Abu Dhabi government, the Singapore Government and the Australian governments are all doing the same thing.

    Why precisely?

    • Andy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Because millions of people will die if they don’t – and you might be one of them.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        rename yourself ‘The grim reaper’.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Do the arithmetic.

          It’s pretty simple.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            based on mostly deaths attributed to the virus when other conditions would have followed to do the deed. Bizarre extrapolation should mean the smart ones are making coffins – are you?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            But maybe not for years.

            And what about the young who are undergoing chemotherapy etc.?

            You just don’t care, do you?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      +1

  43. Tom Weston
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I trust that HM Government are going full steam ahead with the actual commissioning of the urgently needed pothole repairs and approved construction projects whilst traffic is light. it will have the added bonus of keeping more people in gainful employment.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed and all outdoor and the weather is improving. Though making ventilators and finding better treatments is rather more urgent.

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      The roads are like a third world countries, but the govt are more interested in playing Satan.

  44. Fred H
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    with regard to me the bookmaker on yesterday’s diary:-

    Form an orderly queue on virtual payout for Lifelogic at 2-1, then Martin at 3-1.

    Don’t think I’d survive more than a day as a bookie.
    jerry rushed up at the finish, but didn’t quite make it, but trying hard.

  45. ed2
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Just listening again. Dr Montanari says that there is no rise in the usual mortality rate
    You probably already know but the ‘test’ does not and cannot detect coronavirus, just low antibodies, if you are run down you can test positive. This leads to the disturbing ‘cures’ claims I keep seeing, where they claim that a ‘coronavirus’ patient ie either a non existent patient, or a run down person who tested ‘positive'(low antibodies) on a Monday say, was ‘cured’ with such and such. One of these that is being mentioned in the mainstream is Remdesivir(spelling from memory but I think that’s right) I haven’t dug into myself, but apparently it is a failed Ebola vaccine that’s been gathering dust on a shelf. Contains a ‘safe’ version of the Ebola virus apparently and an animal virus of some kind which side effects include flu like symptoms in Humans.

  46. glen cullen
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Excellent letter Sir John

    You and this blog are a little bit of light in what is a dark media takeover of sanity

  47. ChrisS
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    A very sensible and measured contribution to the debate.

    I would only add one thing : early diagnosis seems to be crucial if the low numbers of deaths in Germany are to be believed.

    When we returned to the UK from two weeks skiing in California on the 10th, we took the precaution of self-isolating for two weeks.

    I had also pre-ordered a digital thermometer from Amazon and my wife and I have been taking our temperatures every morning since. At a cost of £5.00, this seems a sensible precaution for anyone in the elevated risk group. ( we are 66 and 68 ). We are now on day 11 and the likelihood of our being infected while away has probably now passed but we will continue so that we might have the earliest possible sign of infection.

  48. villaking
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    An excellent letter. I am not a constituent and I hold different views from you on most things but I recognise the contribution you and are making at this time. Stay healthy.

  49. Original Chris
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I am very heartened to see that at least one journalist is raising importing issues and subjecting BJ’s policy to some scrutiny.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/21/economy-sacrificed-nhs-unprepared-pandemic/#comments
    Our economy is being sacrificed because the NHS was unprepared for a pandemic
    ROBERT COLVILE

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they told us how wonderfully well the NHS was prepared for this and that they had a special stock of equipment for such a pandemic. Any yet they do not even have protective masks for staff, let alone a way of getting sufficient ventilators in place. Then they failed to delay the infection to give them time to get then. The foolish Sadiq Kahn was telling everyone the tube was safe just a few day back (as they were using hospital grade cleaners!). They go ahead with Crufts and Cheltenham ……Why oh why have they reacted so late and why even now so little action to delay it? The NHS will be overwhelmed it cannot even cope already.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        In 2018 56,000 admission to NHS in 24 hour period….flu like illness coronavirus 4,094 in 2 months

        We really need to put things in prespective

        While the BBC and SKY are running continuous clips of Italy hospital wards I believe the NHS are coping quite well

  50. ian
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    GOVERNMENT talk before it acts instead of acting and then talking, case in point, over the seventies, lock yourself up and wait for food, who going to deliver the food with millions sitting at home, the supermarkets are being emptied every morning with very little food left for delivering to the over seventies, they are short of drives, vans and stackers, all food that was being eaten in restaurants and elsewhere will need to go to the supermarkets.

    How long before the stories are on the news about people staving in there homes.

  51. ChrisS
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    As a professional landlord of 20 years experience with some properties carrying buy to let financing, the lack of an option for a mortgage payment holiday for us makes it even more important that tenants continue to pay their rent on time and in full.

    I fear that many of those on housing benefit will be likely to stop payment to their landlords, even though their rent is fully funded by the state. I therefore think it would be a sensible precaution for the government to sanction housing benefit payments to be made direct to landlords as used to be the case.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Stred
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Boris promised to prevent eviction of tenants by section 21 and this was in the Queens speech. Stand by for unpaid rent and sitting tenants with the property devalued. The BTL sector with 2 million private landlords offering flexible and attractive accommodation for short term lets and those that can’t afford a mortgage created by Thatcher and ended by Johnson. Who would buy a property and rent it when they could not get it back?

      • ChrisS
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        It would appear that the Conservative party has just as much dislike for private landlords as Labour. This is a disgraceful state of affairs, given that many of us are natural Conservative voters who only increased our investment in property after Gordon Brown decimated our pensions industry.

        As a professional Landlord, I am also self-employed so the impact of losing rental income would be a triple whammy.

        1. Increased debt and damage to my credit rating if too many tenants
        stop handing over their housing benefit and we have to suspend
        making mortgage payments.
        2. Loss of income on which my living depends
        3. Compounded by zero support for the self employed from the state
        in the current crisis.

        • Stred
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          I know tradesmen who work in London who have chosen to keep a house belonging to the family and let it when they moved into their present address. The rent is part of their income after they have paid for the Euro 6 van, congestion charge and double parking charges for diesel. Then the residents parking permit for tradesmen in my area costs £800. And now the work has stopped too. The constituency has been solid Conservative but I wouldn’t blame them for changing.

  52. Ronald Olden
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The economic data for April May and June will the worst we’ve seen since records began. Much worse, for example, than during the 1930s when the depression was a much more gradual affair, at the outbreak of WW2, when there was little instant impact, or even during the blitz.

    It will however be interesting to examine the data to see how much economic activity is still going on under the surface, I think we might be surprised.

    The threat of unemployment jumping by several millions is gone and it’s likely to rise by hundreds of thousands instead. The government’s actions to pay their wages, have enabled businesses to keep people on their books, even if they aren’t doing much, but there are plenty of things that businesses like pubs restaurants, and other service outlets etc, can get on with, even when they’re not open, which will help them later on.

    And people claiming Statutory Sick Pay don’t count as ‘unemployed’. The big jump in the unemployment data is linked to be self employed people, because they’re now going to get Universal Credit at the same rate as an employed person would get if he was off sick.

    The government has done ENOUGH now. There’s still some technicalities round the edges to be sorted out, but not much more money is needed. Leave all these measures in place now till the time limits approach and then see if the end dates need to be extended, or how best to withdraw them.

    This gigantic government borrowing might, if the crisis eases soon after June, not be much of a burden. The money is either being borrowed at miniscule rates of interest or is money effectively printed by the Bank of England.

    So the latter element of it, like the Quantitative Easing following 2008, never needs to be paid back, and the interest the government pays on it is paid back to the Government by the Bank of England. The debt might just as well be written off completely. Thank goodness that by not joining the Euro, we still have out own currency, central bank and didn’t join the Euro.

    The important thing next is to get the draconian elements of these social restrictions over with as soon as possible, otherwise we’ll go into an economic ice age.

    This could also become very inflationary. We can’t keep pumping more and more money into extra economy with no goods and services to spend it on. Even as it is, people will be spending much less, saving all this money up in their bank accounts and spending it when the crisis ends, causing a huge jump in prices.

    As soon as the coronavirus is seen to be peaking we need to START gradually lifting the restrictions. The only good reason for them at the moment, is to stop the NHS being swamped with cases all at once. We must try and manage these numbers so that everyone other than the very vulnerable have had their exposure to the virus well in time for next Winter.

    We’re lucky that the build up to this will be in the Spring, the peak in the early Summer, and we’ll have a long period of warm weather when the NHS is under least pressure for it run its’ course.

    If the UK gets this right, (and as things stand we seem to be), our handling of this in both economic, medical, and social terms might be seen to have been amongst the best in the world.

    There might also be some silver linings. Everyone who possibly can work from home will have tried it and their employers will have adapted to it. Which might, in the future, mean more people will carry on doing so, and unnecessary travel to work might become thing of the past.

    It might also change attitudes especially amongst some of the younger demographic who have been incited by Left Wing politicians to think that every inconvenience or challenge , often trivial, in life, is a ‘crisis’ which has to be solved by governments.

    THIS is a REAL crisis. And it might see the Left who’ve been actively scheming to create a snowflake generation emotionally and physically dependent on the state, set back decades.

    Most young people as it is however, are not the simpering, fragile snowflakes, the ‘Left’ have tried to turn them into . When asked to they usually step up to the plate.

  53. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    I wish you well and appreciate the good work you afford us.

  54. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    But for the high death rate I would be inclined to let the disease take its course. In a previous blog, I did a rough calculation of how much the government’s measures will cost if implemented for a full year. The calculation included the cost of grants, an allowance for defaults on loans of 10% of the loans made, and an estimate of the cost of subsidising labour costs. Overall, it came to close on £200 billion, or 9% of GDP. If you think that is wrong, Sir John, let’s have your calculation.

    Now I offer a subjective judgement. It is not worth spending so much money to prevent thousands of deaths of elderly people, who will die sooner rather than later in any event. (And I write that as one of the elderly). The best we can do is to increase PDQ the number of critical care beds, ventilators and protective clothing for the doctors and nurses doing the work. We must think in terms of lifting the emergency measures in 3 months.

    Reply I out the loss at £70bn for the worst affected sectors if they were down for just 4 months then recovered rapidly, plus losses in other sectors.The fact that the B of E has decided on £200bn of QE gives you a similar order of magnitude to your estimate.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I have some sympathy with your assessment

      However this situation has now gone beyond reality…the media is in charge of events

  55. a-tracy
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I can actually understand the governments problem with self-employment cover for those out of work, HMRC don’t get monthly information on their gross wage tax and national insurance as they get through PAYE, how do you compensate someone for lost work that isn’t future guaranteed or pre-sold, if you take the previous years earnings they may have been busier this year or quieter. Usual top up income work is now lost through bar work, waitressing, cafe and restaurants being closed where they often did zero hours between contracts. Unlike PAYE workers they haven’t been remitting tax and ni monthly so if they have had no earnings for March their tax and Ni due will be offset. But how do you assess them? Something is going to have to be sorted by April though because the clock on cumulative tax and ni restarts.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page