Going out

People are mainly sociable. Most of us enjoy company, and like leisure pursuits based on sport or culture, dining out or drinking, adventure or romance.

The decision to ban these leaves a big hole in people’s lives. Governments have to allow people to go out to buy food, so the trips to the supermarket become more frequent as they represent one of the few reasons to allow people to go out as they wish.

The pressures on the supermarkets are mainly from the demand side. There are five principal reasons

  1. Some  have to buy more food more often because we are no longer eating in works canteens or attending working meals when working from home. Many people have to replace missed meals out with home cooking. This means food that used to go to wholesalers for the catering trade now needs to be diverted to supermarkets. This must now be happening and will help. Supermarket models of true demand need adjusting for the increased home meals effects. There is no overall increase in food demand.
  2. Some people have decided to greatly increase their stocks of food. Some have cleaned the stores out of new freezers to increase their storage capacity. Some have written unhelpful articles telling people what can be frozen, to swell the phenomenon. Most saw this as anti social and refrained, but a significant minority cleared whole shelves of items they liked .
  3. The government’s stronger guidance on 7 and 14 day isolation at home, and long term isolation for the elderly and ill, led more people to feel they had to lay in food for a longer stay at home, which increased the number of people building abnormal stock piles.
  4. The media fanned hoarding by highlighting empty shelves at periods of the day furthest from the restock deliveries, to encourage a feeding  frenzy.
  5. The statement that one of the few legitimate reasons to go out is to buy food meant people became likely to do it more often. Having got there they proceed to buy things they cannot eat anytime soon.

The government and supermarkets need to agree a tougher approach to limiting purchases, so we deter people from further large stock build. Once this can be achieved supply and demand should come into better balance, reducing the tensions and showing people we are not about to run out of food. Astute farmers will be watching all this and see an opportunity to plant and rear more food this spring and summer given the appetite for it.

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100 Comments

  1. Iain Gill
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    no trips to the shop become more frequent because you are not allowed to buy the quantity you would in a normal weekly shop, and what you want is no longer on the shelf so you have to come back repeatedly.

    • steve
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      “and what you want is no longer on the shelf so you have to come back repeatedly.”

      What I do is fill a trolley, then go to loo rolls for example. If no loo rolls, change my mind and walk.

      There is no law that compels you to buy from a store and you can change your mind at any time – use the fact to good effect. i.e ‘what no bread ?’……”ok you can keep that lot it’s no use to me without it.”

      • hefner
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        Are you putting the items in your trolley back on the shelves they were on originally?

        • steve
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Hefner

          No, I just walk.

          • anon
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            What about perishables? You may get banned and or sued.

            I can understand if non-perishables. Find another way to register dis-appointment.
            So like with the BBC dont use them, dont engage with them or if you do ensure it has a consequence in labour time.

            Otherwise, call the customer helpline. Shop elsewhere.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        on no occasion has any shop had everything I would need for a normal weekly shop since this started. I buy what I can find when I find it, to do otherwise would quickly lead to starvation.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Iain Gill; Whilst I concur with what you say, and each visit to a shop increases the chance of virus spread, but I do take exception with the following, I hope it was just careless use of words;

      “[my emphasis] and what you want is no longer on the shelf so you have to come back repeatedly.””

      I hope you meant “NEED”, a slight but important difference that those who knew rationing will understand.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        jerry it depends.

        I “want” a bar of chocolate for the youngest kid in the house. Sure they dont “need” it. But little treats are good for their mental health long term.

        and its not so different for adults.

        we are all living like submariners stuck in a box, we need to try our best to come out of this mentally together.

        but sure I know what you mean.

        cheers

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

          @Iain Gill; No there is no difference, if you need something you’ll get it (even if it takes rationing), if you merely want something you might well be out of luck – children wanted sweets during WW2, they were good for moral, they didn’t often get them so when they did get them it was even better for the moral…

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I do not give a damn about food or loo rolls! What I want to see is very many more ventilators and people who know how to operate them and who have the right protective clothing.

    I want to see Government and people taking the speed of this infection far more seriously so that the NHS is not overwhelmed. I do not what perhaps as many as 100,000 people to die for want of fairly simple medical equipment and care.

    Reply The government has ordered as many as people can produce

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Let us hope they arrive in time. Let us hope the rate of increase in the number of patients needing such hospital treatment declines very rapidly indeed, over the next few days. Despite the government appalling lack of sufficient action to delaying the infection.

      The government should have ensured we could manufacture such equipment in a hurry when needed as part of their pandemic strategy. They have had two months notice too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Deaths up another 32% just today to 233 a faster rate of increase than in Italy. If this rate continues the 1.32^14*233=11,360 in 14 days or 80,000 in 21 days. With very many times this number needing hospital care.

        Why oh why did the government and their “experts” decide to accelerate the infection spreading by failing to take early action to clamp down on pubs, restaurants and mass gatherings! This despite watching what was happening in China and Italy and despite know how hopelessly inadequate the NHS capacity is!

        The foolish Mayor of London even encouraging people onto the tube and assuring them it was safe but a few days ago.

        • John L
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:06 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic,

          This is what you said on March 20th on this blog:

          ‘The daily increase in the UK death rate has slowed slightly, but it is still running at about 53% day. Suggesting about 10,000 deaths in ten days time. Perhaps 100,000 needing ventilation with the NHS having the capacity for less than 10% of this.’

          Ten days from March 20th would 10,000 deaths by March 30th.

          Can we be clear: you’re now saying there will be 11,360 deaths by April 5th and 80,000 by April 12th?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            The rate of increase has thank goodness come down slightly since then. It was running at about 53% a day now more likes 33% a day. Probably because some people are were starting to be more careful about 10 days ago. But 33% is still an increase of x54 in two weeks and x54x54 in four weeks if that continues.

            I said if that rate continued. The more we do to stow the spread the better as it will give the NHS as less overload and thus much fewer deaths.

      • Bob
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Dr Roy Spencer, research scientist at the University of Alabama has produced statistical analysis which suggests that chloroquine phosphate may provide protection against Corona Virus .

        Data for malaria cases per thousand vs Covid-19 cases per million:
        234 Malaria countries
        Top 40: 212 malaria vs 0.20 Covid-19
        Next 40: 7.3 malaria vs 10.10 Covid-19
        Remaining 81-234: zero malaria vs 68.7 Covid-19

        Dr Spencer tweeted In all my years of data analysis I have never seen such a stark and strong relationship: Countries with malaria basically have no COVID-19 cases (at least not yet).

        This drug has been used for decades as a treatment for malaria and has been previously used successfully in the treatment of SARS another coronavirus with similar characteristics to COVID-19.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Other research shows that the virus does not do well in hot humid conditions anyway.

          Correlation does not necessarily mean causality.

          • Bob
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            This drug has been used successfully in the treatment of SARS another coronavirus with similar characteristics to COVID-19.

            It inhibits replication of the virus.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes our capacity to treat serious cases of coved 19 has been disastrously depleted over time and there is no fat in the system .

      Compare and contrast with Germany where there is ample intensive care available .

      Even they have put up national borders and will not allow the single market to operate so far as medical supplies and medicines are concerned.Their export is banned.

      A bit like their We will take a million refugees ploy which exposed the EU to a disaster , not least Brexit.

      This time they have learned their lesson and are going for the National vote .

      • mancunius
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        “Compare and contrast with Germany where there is ample intensive care available.”
        Not so. See the front-page report on German hospitals in Die Welt today by the in-house doctors: “There is a lack of ICU beds (‘Intensivbetten’), protective clothing and staff. I find myself making daily decisions I would not have thought possible.”

        There is – unsurprisingly – no health system that can work wonders and cope adequately with a virulent epidemic. We should calmly accept that instead of imagining the grass is greener elsewhere. It is not, and we are so far doing no worse than our continental neighbours.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          We are all doing far worse than S. Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore though.

          I see that Russian military medics are going to help Italy.

          Russia has few cases of its own.

          Yes, they’ll help friendly nations first, I suppose.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            and later remind Italy about wanting a site for a Med base?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      You should care because unavailability causes panic and a whole concatenation of problems.

      Apart from food, retail PPE and substances seem all to have been bought up, often by black marketeers. That’s everything from dust masks at DIY stores to handwash at the supermarkets, along with painkillers and vitamin supplements. They are to be found for resale on the internet at preposterous prices.

      Could John perhaps introduce a Bill to make the selling on of retail purchases of this class of item a criminal offence?

    • DaveK
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      GTech swaps vacuums for ventilators in bid to ease NHS coronavirus supply crisis

      A Midlands company which specialises in making home and garden appliances has designed a medical ventilator to be used in hospitals in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

      Gtech said the ventilator could be manufactured in a “matter of days”, amid concerns that critical care facilities in the UK will come under pressure as the crisis intensifies.

      The owner of Gtech began working on the project on Sunday, when the Government’s chief commercial officer asked if the company could assist in increasing the number of ventilators in the UK.

      Apparently they have submitted 2 prototypes for government approval.

    • APL
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “What I want to see is very many more ventilators ..”

      Usually, you are fairly sensible. But on this you are not.

      If you have a respiratory condition, and your lungs are full of mucous, a ‘ventilator’ is no use.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        Not what the Italian or Chinese doctors are saying, nor indeed our government experts who are desperately trying to get more supply. They will not save everyone but many more will die if they have insufficient ventilators. The NHS is very short of them.

        • APL
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic: “Not what the Italian or Chinese doctors are saying .. ”

          Can you provide a source?

          Again with the permission of our host, I’ll post a SKY news item which it describes how the virus attacks the lungs.

          https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-what-x-rays-and-ct-scans-reveal-about-how-covid-19-kills-11955988

          Excerpt from the Sky news article:

          CT scans of coronavirus patients reveal how their lungs are being ravaged by the virus and filled with a sticky mucus that prevents them from inhaling because there is no space for air.”

          -“ no space for air ..

          So trying to force air into a patients lungs when they are already blocked up with mucous, would injure the structure of the lungs. And probably kill the patient quicker.

          I have seen another SKY news item from Italy. Where the consultant describes the Covid-19 presenting as more like pneumonia than influenza.

          Lifelogic: “I am using “ventilators” really as short hand for all the medical equipment, ”

          Then make that clear. Because in the unlikely event the NHS secretary was to take your advice, and buy loads of ‘ventilators’, he would have a ‘shed’ load of useless machines on his hands and have made no dent in the number of moralities.

          • APL
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            or even made not dent in the number of mortalities, either.

          • anon
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Oxygen content is increased.So aids breathing and stress on other organs.

            Having spare capacity is not a problem. This could be annual.

          • APL
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Anon: “So aids breathing and stress on other organs.”

            Normally yes. But this virus appears to attack the lungs and the lungs fills up with mucus that block the main bronchial tubes, thus air cannot get to the alveoli.

            That’s where the blood oxygen exchange takes place, not in the bronchial tubes.

            And that’s why the patient can’t breath.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        I am using “ventilators” really as short hand for all the medical equipment, staffing and capacity that is needed. Lack of capacity in Italy is killing many people who could have survived.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      When did they do that? On March 13th we had Vallance saying the government is trying to ‘flatten the curve’ not to ‘suppress’ COVID-19 in order to build up ‘herd immunity’; meanwhile China is claiming that their epidemic peaked on February 4th and South Korea on March 1st. Why is the government listening to Vallance instead of getting advice from e.g. South Korea how to get a grip on this epidemic before it does untold damage to the economy and people’s lives? There seems to be no co-ordinated plan of action even at this late stage other than to suppress activity.

      “South Korea introduced what was considered the largest and best-organised program in the world to screen the population for the virus, and isolate any infected people as well as tracing and quarantining those who contacted them.[13][14] The rapid and extensive measures taken by South Korea has been judged successful in limiting the spread of the outbreak despite not using the drastic measure of quarantining entire cities.” wiki

      Is the government tacitly admitting that the South Korean Solution is impossible because of the numbers of people living here who not amenable to co-operation with the authorities for whatever reason?

      • Stred
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        To be fair, they realised that they were up sh1t creek without a paddle after Imperial produced the figures and half a million looked bad for PR, ordered a paddle and are now going in the other direction as fast as they can.

  3. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with your comments JR.

    If people will still not listen, then afraid rationing of some sort be it by quantity or product will become inevitable.

    Let us hope common sense will prevail.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Food rationing is fine.

      Ventilator rationing is not so good!

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        @LL; Perhaps had we put buying NHS equipment (including ventilators), and employing the required staff, ahead of tax cuts over the last 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 years…

        China & Italy shows that no health system can cope with such a pandemic but those that were better provided for before crisis hits do better.

        Whilst you are correct that the NHS needs many more ventilators you do rather come over as the person who always cried Fire, especially when even a month back you were still calling the NHS dire, in fact you did that only the other day…

        Food is perhaps equally as important as NHS supplies because when poorly nourished the human body is less able to fight infection, someone who might have otherwise had a mild infection could end up needing a hospital bed, and here I’m not just talking about Cobid-19. During WW2 it was important to allow people antiquate nutrient to keep production up, today it is as important so to fight infection.

  4. zorro
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    There has been continual talk on the media for days that there is more toilet roll in storage than you could ever need and that they can ramp up production without any issue, but for some reason, it is still not reaching the stores either. Why is that?

    The reasons you mention paint the picture of inefficient government machinery and seemingly complementary reporting too (mainstream media) conspiring to screw things up. So they are either really useless, or there may be some other problem – reaction – solution scenario playing out?

    zorro

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Tesco were completely cleaned out of baked beans, frozen chips, cheese strings and doggie chews when I last visited.

      However, in another supermarket, there was plenty of taramasalata, guacamole, quinoa and walnut oil etc.

      I think that this indicates who is and who is not buying stupidly.

      I think that I could be reasonably sure how the two groups generally voted in the referendum and last General Elections too.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Do go on and tell us Martin.
        I can’t wait to here your class based theory.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          Be careful about all this definition of the left , you might easily get confused between a socialist, a communist , a Marxist, Stalinist, Troskist or a Chinese communist, or modern materialistic communist.

          Not that I would expect you t know the difference, but happy to tell you

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            They all bring about an equality of poverty and you having to eat your pets to survive with tens of thousands dead or helpd in slave camps without trial.
            Democratic socialism is just a friendly step away from this nightmare.

            It is common amongst those on the left who like to muddy the waters by doing what you have just done bill.

      • Stred
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        We hope you enjoy your quinoa with walnut oil and Taramasalata Sunday lunch Martin. Did you manage to pick up a Guardian to read and cut up for the bog. Don’t flush it though because it will block the drains. Fortunately, I bought my chips and beans three weeks ago and enjoyed them last night.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          It’ll be lamb chops from the freezer, fresh mash, and greens from the little greengrocer’s, Stred.

          I’ve never tried quinoa.

          We have bidets.

          • stred
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            There’s always the old holy option of a bottle of water and strict use of the left hand for uncouth little Englanders who can’t afford Waitrose or bidets, Martin.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            Bidets?
            How very bourgeois of you Martin.
            Please return for re training.

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        @MiC; All it shows is, once panic hits, people will eat what ever they can get hold of, was the case in WW2 and it will be the case now if these shortages continue.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Perhaps you would enlighten us as to the politics of the pie&chips, baked beans eaters vs the prawn sandwich, smoked salmon lovers?

    • steve
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Zorro

      “but for some reason, it is still not reaching the stores either.”

      It IS reaching the stores, and gets put out just after you have gone to work. Go figure.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Thieves stole half a million from a wholesale warehouse recently as they are not secured like gold billion but will be in future? Known as bog-rollers….these thieves stand to make profits at others expense….

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        @ukretired123; Assuming they can actually sell their illicit goods, not so easy when standing on a street corner stands out like a searchlight and on-line trading leaves a trail like footsteps in the snow…

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      There has been continual talk on the media for days that there is more toilet roll

      >
      The toilet roll nonsense is fronted by a soap opera performer hint hint

  5. margaret
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I work as an ANP. Last thursday I developed a hacking dry cough which kept me awake all night , together with a fever and aching all over. Due to the symptoms I did not go into work assuming it was corona virus . I awoke today feeling a lot better so went to work making raised beds to grow vegetables, however the cough is partially back and although I am tired don’t really feel ill.I cannot get an exact diagnosis as we cannot take swabs locally , but the symptoms fit. I now have to stay off work 7 days( even though I could work) and making extra work for my GP colleague and this is presuming tonight I don’t have a set back because of my misplaced determination to grow my own food.
    It is so difficult not to keep on keeping on and relax as I, like many others, have an appetite for life and all the things we want to experience before we expire. It becomes more difficult as we get older, as time is running out.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      @margaret; RELAX, allow your body the time to divert all its energy to fight what ever infection you have, that way you will be around to experience those things before the proverbial No.7 bus comes along…

    • APL
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      margaret: ” I did not go into work assuming it was corona virus ”

      From what I have heard, about 85% of people who contract Covid-19 are asymptomatic or exhibit minor coughs or high temperature.

      Given that the Chinese government hid this outbreak until it couldn’t in January when they quarantined fifteen of their own cities, I think the British population has been exposed to Covid-19 for much longer than we think. Just think of the number of healthy young Students travelling between the UK and China – there was a clear vector into the UK long before it became ‘a thing’ the BBC and associated media fastened on to, to spread panic.

      Point is, many people do not have severe symptoms. And the UK population may well be on the way to gaining sufficient herd immunity to defeat the Covid-19 strain.

      I hope you are in the 85% and I hope you put your feet up and take a well deserved rest for a couple of days.

      And having benefited from the NHS on two occasions in the last ten years, I’ll take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks for the hard work you do.

      Thank you Margaret.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      You must rest Margaret.

      I once made the mistake of ploughing on with a bug, and it turned very nasty indeed.

      Thank you very much for your inestimably valuable work.

      Get better soon.

  6. acorn
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I bet somewhere in the bowels of Whitehall there are millions of old World War 2 Ration Books, just like the petrol coupons that were issued for the 1973 oil crisis but never used.

    As for the Anglo-Saxon supermarket shelf raiders, Michael Douglas as corporate raider Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street” said, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

    • Edward2
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Another favourite phrase of the left.
      Taken out of context and used as a club to hit capitalism and to promote what the joys of marxism would be like instead.

  7. stopevil
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Redwoods gone into total mind lockdown mode. deviating from the hysterical and emotional narrative now would be bad for his career, whats left of it. This is the problem we have.

    • hefner
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      I have never found Sir John’s postings more sensible than in the last few days. What’s the problem with you?

      • stopevil
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        He has gone insane

  8. Mark B
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    This morning I went out to buy a pint of milk. I could have bought more as there is ample room in both my cupboard and fridge-freezer, but all I wanted was just milk.

    The first store had nothing. The second store made people stand in a very long queue while they allowed only a few people at a time. The last one I finally got some milk. I stood in the queue and was told by other customers who were buying more that, as I only had milk I could go first. This was a very kind and generous act at a time of mass greed and selfishness. Perhaps if people were so not greedy and selfish, and the media stopped pedaling fear in order to sell copy, then maybe I might have not have to walk a good few miles just to get some milk.

    On one hand I am disgusted by some peoples behaviour and then, on the other, I am heartened how some people are kind and quite sensible.

    If we just all keep calm and and carry on then people like me just might be able to get some basics like bread and milk.

    Thank you.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “If we just all keep calm and and carry on then people like me just might be able to get some basics like bread and milk.”

      So one pint of milk is enough for 7 days, 14 [1] if you share a house?

      You really have closed your mind to how this virus is spreading and the fact that it kills [2], that the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed, yet you still think people should be shopping on a daily bases, not even for the week. 😡

      [1] hence the run on long life milk

      [2] and it can kill both children and the 18-40 year age group

  9. steve
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “The government and supermarkets need to agree a tougher approach to limiting purchases,”

    Couldn’t agree more Mr Redwood. Most decent minded people would have no objection to this, but what we don’t want is to go to the supermarket with intention of buying only what we need at the time, and finding the shelves are empty because the manager has stashed what’s left in the back store – ready to put it out overnight for the next day’s greed buyers.

    “The media fanned hoarding by highlighting empty shelves ”

    Yes they did, and it was a hugely irresponsible thing to do. It begs the questions; do those in the media have any idea of distress they’ve caused ? Do they have any conscience about how they must have caused tension in families, thereby affecting the kids ? And what of that poor care worker lady at her wits end ?

    All caused by irresponsible media.

    Time to make an example, start with the BBC – make them air a big grovelling apology, then take the licence fee away – because I for one object to paying an organisation to scaremonger and terrify people like the care worker we all saw.

    If I’d have seen a bloke in the street terrifying a woman like that I’d lay him out, so what right does the media have to terrify people ?

    Given what the media have caused on a national scale and at a time of national crisis, I think some form of terrorism related prosecutions should take place. e.g the purpose of terrorism is to cause mass panic, which is exactly what they have done. If they did this during wartime they would have been incarcerated for sure.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      @steve; “All caused by irresponsible media.”

      No, it’s all caused by a govt who made big public health announcements, telling people to self-isolate or prepare to self-isolate BEFORE they bothered to put in either better supply chains or controls on purchasing, the human Psychological response to those health messages was predicable and has been seen war and disaster zones since before WW2 – hence why the UK govt started to put in place measures and restrictions before 11am 3rd Sept 1939.

      “Time to make an example, start with the BBC – make them air a big grovelling apology, then take the licence fee away “

      Fine, but the govt will also have to take Sky’s subscriptions fees away too as they have been just the same, they will need to take ITV, Ch4 Ch5 advertising revenues away too…

      We need a GNU or the Tory party are going to be toast, further mistakes will be made, lets not infect politics too.

    • APL
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      steve: “Yes they did, and it was a hugely irresponsible thing to do.”

      The BBC particularly as the media operation with a secure income so doesn’t have to chase ratings, should have been setting the standard of sober analysis and commentary.

      Instead what we have had is a hysterical fear campaign.

      In my opinion the BBC has acted as a terrorist operation spreading fear and dread among the population.

  10. Dave
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    This is an entirely media and government driven panic. Don’t criticise people for reacting in a logical manner. Criticise the panic mongers for their actions. This panic has all the hallmarks of an agenda driven false flag and some people are going to get even richer because of it.

  11. APL
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Most of us enjoy company, and like leisure pursuits based on sport or culture, dining out or drinking, adventure or romance.

    The decision to ban these leaves a big hole in people’s lives.”

    Just a brief question. What legislative instrument has given the power the government is using to impose this ban?

    • APL
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      APL: “What legislative instrument has given the power the government is using to impose this ban?”

      Please?

      • APL
        Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood, What lawful authority did the Government have to order all Pubs, Clubs and social events to be closed?

        I think we are entitled to an answer?

        Reply I assume the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 which updated emergency powers ,now to be strengthened by today’s Bill

  12. Peter
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    True. People have time on their hands and herd instincts will out.

    Two supermarkets near me – Sainsbury in Epsom and Tesco on the A3 made the newspapers. Sainsbury had the story of the old fellow with a shopping list and empty shelves. Tesco then topped that with photos of queues around the block at 5:30 in the morning.

    The latest panic is booze. Now the pubs have closed folk are stocking up for drinking at home.

    I am not sure farmers will benefit. There are plenty of potatoes and vegetables left and a selection of meats too. Hoarders are buying tins and frozen food.

    I think I could get by on tea and porridge everyday. Just need hot water and whatever fruit is available – a little milk would be a bonus. It’s filling and reasonably healthy too.

  13. Steve Reay
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s becoming harder to self isolate ,whereas I went shopping once a week I’m finding that to get the food items I need I have to go 3 to 4 times visiting 3 to 4 shops a day. So as far as self isolating goes shortages of items are having the opposite effect.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      Supermarkets are the worst places to visit at the moment. There are so many people crowded together that catching the virus should be easy. Why no hand sanitiser at the entrance? This is food we are talking about and it is being handled by many.

      • stred
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        My medical expert tells me to wash the food containers. Unfortunately, when I washed the sausages in a cardboard box, they fell into the bowl of hot water and splashed it into my eye. If you don’t see any more posts, you will know why. I spray the post with bleach.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 23, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          bizarre.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Bergamo Hospital used to have 20 ventilators before the virus and now has 139 it seems. How is the Government and the NHS getting on with this scale of increase? Yet still the hospital simply cannot cope.

  15. ian
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    If you decide to go with experts and listen to banks and business people you will be broke by the end of the next quarter in July, the bills and schemes they will be sending you will cost an arm and a leg and could even take down gov with all the bad press, that why you need a command and control system in place now, you gov does all the heavy lifting while CEO sits at home and get their 300 pounds a week for working from home for the government and that would include you to Sir John, sitting at home doing your job for your voters for 300 pounds a week while having your food delivered. You will soon lose control of events because won’t know who did what and what costing what and the press will have field day with stories and if the banks go down and lose all people money with the stock market and bond markets, the quick fix you are doing for businesses will go wrong because they are all greedy if your party fails the people now you and your party will be over and out for all time as a political party going forward, with thousands dead all over the country and their money gone with no money coming in because the gov got no money to give them because the pound note has disappeared down a hole and its bonds are ballooning up in price. that is gov that is out of control and I will take no joy in watching while thousands of people are dying.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      get that fullstop fixed on your keyboard.?

  16. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised, and annoyed that the Government ‘requested ‘ again today, that people shop responsibly. This is the third or fourth time they have done this. what’s the betting that the shelves will be stripped again tomorrow! It is obvious that the message is falling on deaf ears.

    If it goes on much longer, my Son, who is having to isolate because he has an underlying health condition , will be forced to go out, and see if he can get some basic items, thereby putting himself at risk of getting infected. There are no slots at any of the Supermarkets for home delivery for at least three weeks.
    When is the Government going to wake up? We don’t all have delivery vans, such as those that go to Downing Street!

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Never mind.
    I received an e mail from a large chain store today telling me:
    “We are all in this together”.
    I seem to remember that being said before…..

    No food, no law enforcement, no health service.
    All of this previously known and nothing done.

  18. Everhopeful
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Plane to Milan just went over.
    Look on internet flight tracker…sky over Europe full of planes.
    1 billion people confined to their homes.
    What’s all that about then?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I just took a look, that’s bizarre there is a flight from Milan! To Boston? Does Trump know?

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Do those flight trackers tell you the cargo?

        I once came back on a flight from Spain (this was in the 1980s), a big wide bodied aircraft, no exaggeration but there was about 30 people on the flight [1] and that included the crew, it was either a positioning flight or the hold was likely full of freight.

        []1 only time ever few 1st class, that uis during the flight, I have to be in my allocated seat for take-off and landing as per the regs, also had two meals…

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Good point Jerry, it may be cargo but I don’t think I’d want cargo from Milan right now would you. I fear for people working in the warehouses handling the goods, perhaps they are spraying them before manual handling?

          I read a report that said so many A listers picked this virus up at fashion week in Milan, but it may be just rumour, I don’t know what to believe just now.

          I would like to know how many over 70’s deaths Italy had in February and March 2018 and 2019 to compare to 2020.

  19. DOMINIC
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe people are being greedy by buying abnormal levels of shopping. It’s a natural response to the scaremongering and offensive exaggeration by the media, the BBC and political parties who have disgracefully politicised this issue.

    Let’s hope that once this issue is put to bed the increasingly authoritarian, leftist British State delivers back to the citizens our hard fought for freedoms

    Not everyone enjoys the comforting arm of the State. Most of us live in the real world in which uncertainty and unpredictability become commonplace.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      It is not a natural response.

      It is the idiot’s response.

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        @MiC; Indeed the tone of comment being posted by the likes of @Dominic are not a natural response but as far as the response to becoming scared witless due to the govts increasing incompetence it is natural.

        The army has a logistics core, they appear to be more or less confined to barracks, yet the supermarkets own transport logistics can not cope…

      • Fred H
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Martin, I think it’s more the me me me selfish ‘I’m alright, jack’ reaction. I can queue, I can pay, I have cupboards, freezers etc. Sod the rest, the working all hours people, the poor.
        What a society we have/ are becoming.

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I am concerned about all 5 points but hope the effects of 1 to 4 recede. I remain concerned about 5, and this will grow as more retail outlets close – perhaps encouraged to do so by wages of furloughed staff being paid. There needs to be thought given to how to keep some options open and how to unwind the restrictions taken so far. I hope DIY stores choose to remain open, both in case I (or others I help) have a new problem, but also as I already have several repairs to make following the earlier strong winds.

    Packing people into smaller and fewer options is a bewildering strategy of distancing, be this less public transport or fewer shops. The Govt needs to rapidly work out how to more safely reopen things not just how to close them. No risk reward for resources to stay put may be sensible in the short term environment but it is an immense danger thereafter.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      I think DIY stores open is inviting trouble.

      Power tool accidents and falling off ladders should not add to the NHS woes – I’d say cycling and motorcycling should be avoided now too. Keep driving to a minimum.

  21. anon
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    What were HMG doing in Nov/Dec/Jan?

    Lets get the Public enquiry underway before evidence is airbrushed.

    Can we have a daily update on the NHS capacity in critical areas where life and death choices are being made?

    Ventilator & ICU rationing, essential items.
    Time to clear any legal or other impediments for increased supply of needed items by any expedient means.

    Look at Germany’s stats compared to the rest of Europe. Big differences!

    Food who cares?

    However we can deflect attention away from an unprepared NHS etc.

    There is food in the shops- maybe not your choice but you wont starve.

    So –
    Why were the supermarkets unprepared to restock or upscale deliveries in massive quantities – foreseeable yes.
    Suspect they are raking it in! as a consequence. No need for 2 for 1. The problem of supply/demand will fade.

  22. Brit
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    “Parents have been seen with their kids in parks,lots of them! ” says an outraged media
    Okay, it is time the government resigned. This has gone far enough.
    Go play at Viruses in someone else’s country!. This is the United Kingdom.

    We have looked at the models, statistics on flu ( mostly hidden) and the Wuhan Virus models, projections. It is time the government resigned.

    You will not take my advice. If I hated you as human beings I would be very happy about that.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Yet we are not allowed to mention that this started in China. Where they can organise the most synchronised Olympics ever – build hospitals in a week and see off the virus… yet can’t run hygiene or stop people eating bats, chucking babies down drains, boiling dogs and cats alive….

      It was bad enough that we sacked our workers and suffered welfare and an underclass for cheap goods – but now this ? That toaster doesn’t seem so cheap now, does it !

      You would think that Boris/Trump started it all.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    My wife shops at the supermarket more often for the reasons that you have given. She is 67 years old. I have tried in vain to persuade her to start ordering food over the internet. Chinese data gives their Coronavirus mortality rates: low up to age 59, 3.6% for 60 to 69, 8.0% for 70 to 79, 14.8% for 80+. Beware the law of unintended consequences.

    My friends are trying to organise bridge over the internet. It doesn’t really appeal but I have volunteered to join in if others make it work. I have found the internet very useful for information but slow for other purposes such as form filling.

    In order to minimise my chances of being a victim of scammers and trolls, I eschew all social media sites and electronic banking. I bomb out of any web site that uses cookies. My Nokia phone is more than 20 years old and has neither a keyboard nor GPS. Don’t let the b_____s get you down.

    • APL
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall: “My Nokia phone is more than 20 years old and has neither a keyboard nor GPS. ”

      Exactly, fashion is for the gullible. I bought my own solid handset over ten years ago, it can do internet and so on, but the screen although big enough is really too small for that purpose.

      Best wishes to you both.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Mine too. But there is another issue which I find appalling and that is with pay as you go phones – if you don’t make enough phone calls the operators steal your money – ie cancel any credit you may have. We live in an area where there is no mobile coverage and so we have very basic old flip phones just for emergencies and as we are not obsessed with phones, (having spent too many years of our careers on the things) we often go months without switching them on. The latest case is where my operator stole £12 of my credit and I cannot make any calls until I top up with another ten pounds which will no doubt be taken again. I know they have costs, but surely a little investment in public service would not hit their bosses bonuses too hard. The government could easily stop this.

  24. Edwardm
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I fear that not only does food stockpiling by some lead to shortages for others, it will ultimately end in more waste of food by those who have over stocked.
    Those with plenty of food need to be implored to eat what they have before buying more, on grounds of minimising waste as well as importantly giving a chance to others who are low on food.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      They should be encouraged by the government to pass on overbought produce to poor self employed people who now have no cash flow.

      Lack of cash, not food supply is the problem for these people.

      Give to food banks. Bung your fitness instructor, window cleaner, pub landlord, hairdresser the money you would have spent if you can.

      It is so SO iniquitous that the strivers are the ones most in trouble.

  25. alastair harris
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps trying to individually isolate a population of 65 million is laudable, but as you point out people do need to shop for food, and judging by pictures in the media this is hardly an isolated or even a quick process. Personally I think the original advice was good, but we seem to be morphing into a socialist police state. At some point sure even Boris has to accept there are limits to what governments can achieve!

  26. John McDonald
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    There is more risk in spreading the virus going shopping then there is walking in the Park keeping the appropriate distance apart. So why allow shopping but not walking to keep fit and relieve stress in these difficult times.
    Waitrose, in all in go faith, said the oldies could shop last Friday from 8 till 9. Arrived at 8 saw the queue around the car park and went back home. Very high risk arrangement. If nothing had been said would have been a normal Friday. There was at another store which was limiting the purchase of toilet roll to two packs. You could buy two packs of two or two packs of 9. We are not up to speed with fair rationing yet.
    When China was implementing tough measures last December to contain the virus no notice was taken and so the oldies can’t walk in the Park now. A bit simplistic but not far from the truth.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    There is also the fact that many people eat a lot more than they need to so are hoarding a lot more than they need to.

    It is always wise to have rations at home but this should be built up in times of calm.

    I have often been ridiculed when my wife tells people I’ve always done this. I simply don’t trust the supply line.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Hello John,

    Can SMEs have clarification of the rules on furlough please.
    My understanding is that if your business is shut through government telling people not to use your business such as Cafes, Restaurants, Pubs, nightclubs, gyms, theatres then your laid off staff are entitled to 80% of their usual gross up to a maximum of £2,500 per month if you have resources to pay them and claim it back (but when will you pay the business? And How?).

    Then what about businesses that are operating like supermarkets, delivery companies, telecoms, etc., is the instruction that we just all shut up and close tomorrow, people are thinking that Boris speech about not mixing socially includes working together.

  • 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.

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