Commonsense and rules

MPs and the government are flooded with calls wanting detailed answers to how people can live their lives under the new rules laid out in Parliament this week. This is understandable given the magnitude of the changes required.

The rules themselves are fairly general and broad. The aim of cutting back sharply on person to person contact  is very clear. People should stay at home unless they need to go out  to carry out important work that cannot be done from home, or to collect food and  medicines or to undergo health care. There are  not always detailed answers to what this means for any individual’s life and circumstances.  People are allowed to go out, and need to exercise their judgement of whether this should  be done . If so they should do it in a way which minimises risks to themselves and others.

The police now have powers to require people to return home where they do  not have a good reason, and to fine for  non compliance. The police are keen to carry out their duties by consent, and would like us all to seek to implement the spirit of the rules without needing a strict fine and compliance approach by them. When I am asked difficult questions about what individuals should do I advise them to apply commonsense, to think whether the neighbours would agree they have a need to be out and about.

There are issues about what constitutes a family, what living together as a family means, and what to do about family members who have been travelling and staying away from home for a period. Many of these matters are judgements, where in a  free society we look to the adults in the community to come to sensible decision for themselves in the light of the threat and the general requirements of society. The government does not have ready made answers to all the detailed questions because it has never drawn up a blueprint to tell everyone where they have to live, whether they may travel and whose work is essential. It sought to get people to make a big reduction in personal contact by advice, and has had to move to legal requirements as a large number of people ignored the advice. Let us hope now people respond well, to avoid the need for a tougher approach to policing and punishing offenders.

Meanwhile I have  renewed my proposals to

  1. Get income into the hands of the self employed who cannot now work
  2. Get more home deliveries scheduled by food shops
  3. Have  more national and local government support for volunteering to help those in need of assistance thanks to their need to self isolate for 12 weeks.
  4. Get faster and more helpful assistance with the employee cost scheme and the loan schemes for busienss.
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368 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    People are allowed to . . .

    It was once the case that, we did as we please unless the law said otherwise. How terribly sad that we are little more than a Police State.

    There are issues about what constitutes a family . . .

    In this day in age, yes, I would agree. There are also issue as to what constitutes as a woman as well. All brought to you by the once Conservative Party.

    Some here have mentioned Labour’s client state and the failure of the Conservative government to deal with it. In fact, it if anything has added to it. So why is this important ? I, along with other do think it is important. It is important because we have a body that, without wishing to sound rude, is a parasite on the productive side of the economy. That is not too much of a problem when it is small and relatively powerless but, under Labour and then the LibDems and Tories, it has remained and grown into a body that seeks to preserve and build itself. It is not unlike the virus that we all now must effectively remain under house arrest to allegedly combat.

    As has been said – The supposed cure may well turn out to be worse that the disease itself.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      It used to be the case that if you “had something” you stayed in bed, away from other people. Then if you became really sick the Dr came round and you were whisked off into isolation.
      Sometime in the 1980s it became obligatory to “soldier on regardless” leading to people disregarding the ancient wisdom of quarantine.
      There is nothing bad that has not been caused/invented/imposed by governments.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      This is indeed a very serious danger. Why on earth no sunset clause – that is a huge outrage. The Conservatives are indeed almost as socialist as Labour and the National Socialist Party of Scotland the SNP. Many like Theresa May cheered on the appalling Equalities Act of 2010.

      All Conservative PMs since Heath have been essentially Socialists (other than perhaps Boris and Thatcher). Boris I suspect is another climate alarmist, an ever bigger state socialists but I will give him the benefit of the doubt for a bit longer. If he does not now cancel HS2 and all the expensive net zero carbon lunacy there is little hope for him. The virus is the perfect excuse for a change of heart.

      Even Lady Thatcher made huge mistakes, closing many Grammar Schools, falling for climate alarmism, failing to cut the state back sufficiently, failing to cut taxes sufficiently, appointing John Major as Chancellor and even letting him join the ERM.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        LL

        All people make mistakes. It is part of what it is to be human. The question is, are we able to admit to them and learn from them and share that knowledge ?

        PM Alexander Johnson will not cancel HS2 – PERIOD !!!!

        • BOF
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          ‘PM Alexander Johnson will not cancel HS2 – PERIOD !!!!’

          Or reverse his decision on Huawei, or on petrol and diesel engines, or the Green New Deal, or IR35, or subsidies on onshore wind turbines, or stop putting cronies into the Lords. Expect no change to the BBC licence fee. Already, HoC are to be kept at the bloated 650.

          It would, however, come as no surprise to soon see the extension to leaving the EU beyond 31st Dec.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            I fear you are correct on all points

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            Indeed.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          No I suspect you are right. Far to many vested interest with snouts in the trough. It is surely only corruption that is keeping this insane project on track.

          No other reason makes any sense to me.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Obvious and entirely predictable mistakes I meant like the ERM, HS2, climate alarmism!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Because the Government have a majority of eighty, and Parliament is supreme, Lifelogic.

        Next?

        This is nothing at all to do with “socialism”, however, it is about centralising power, continuing exactly what Thatcher did.

      • Martin R
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        I came to realise a while back that now there are two classes of politicians. One, the vast majority can be relied on to get every single thing they touch 100% wrong every time. They predominate. The other group, a mere handful, actually get some things right, as did Mrs T, despite all the opposition she faced including from her own party. President Trump stands out in that he actually gets it right most of the time, on balance. And that nowadays is truly remarkable. But then he was never a politician anyway.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          Well he is certainly right on Climate Alarmism and energy. His reaction to the virus was rather slow and clumsy. But surely he will still win another term, given the appalling Democrat opposition.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            The term “climate alarmism” in relation to some extreme predictions is not unreasonable.

            However, the term has been hijacked by flat-Earthers and by other basic science deniers to discredit perfectly sound and moderate ones, and which call for achievable measures to avoid unnecessary serious risk for much of the world’s population.

            I would recommend its abandonment by anyone trying to claim any kind of serious scientific credentials therefore.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            So you agree with Greta and her followers that ” the world is on fire” and that humans will become extinct in a decade or two.
            Or is calling those claims ridiculous also grounds for being labelled a denier?

            We are taking reasonable action to reduce CO2 emissions.
            We passed the radical and challenging Climate Change Act
            We have now committed to net zero targets.
            We are spending billions in the drive towards alternative energy methods
            We are bringing in low emission zones in most major cities.
            And the UK has reduced its CO2 emissions despite a recent period of increased population and economic growth.
            Shouting denier at anyone who challenges the latest hysteria is unhelpful.

          • Martin R
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            The most useful thing DJT did in double quick time was to stop incoming flights from China. BJ did nothing which means literally tens of thousands have come in since January without being checked in any way and without being quarantined. Yet at the same time the locals here are subject to much sterner measures despite the fact that the incidence of infection here at the moment must be far lower than in China where those flights originated. Just three long haul flights add up to about a thousand passengers or more. I am staggered at what DJT has achieved despite being under incessant attack by the left wing media, half his own party (Never-Trumpers & Rinos), a Democrat opposition that is sadly now little more than a criminal rabble, and at the same time being the subject of two major failed coup attempts by the apparatus of the government itself (DoJ, FBI). And that’s barely a fraction of what has been thrown at him.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            It is the perfect description of the people, organisations, charities, Greta types and whole industries who wish to create alarm over catastrophic, anth. climate change. Often making money or justifying higher taxes on the back of it.

            The climate has always changed and always will do.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Mrs T did NOT fall for climate alarmism. She specifically refused ‘to take responsibility for the weather’. She was forced, by Lawson (sadly) and Howe (elsbeth) etc into most other mistakes.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Well she gave quite a lot of speeches suggesting that she had. Also as Education Sec. and as PM many Fine Grammar Schools were closed. Plus she buried the country further into the EU black hole.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            closed or converted that is.

        • hefner
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          Well, years ago I saw a nice plaque marking the opening of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (HCCPaR) by Mrs Thatcher on 25 May 1990 in Bracknell. (Note the order of the words, not Climate Research and Prediction).
          Her speech is available on margaretthatcher.org.
          She obviously was not an alarmist.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            did it get chucked in a skip, or hand carried to Exeter? On a wall in the new wing? We deserve to be told.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            That’s why the Conservatives supported the Climate Change Act.
            And continue to spend many billions to mitigate the effects of warming.

        • Martin R
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          I think early on we knew far less about the climate than we do now. So people could be forgiven for being mistaken then about what was going on. Of course since the nineties we have also learned from the fact that every last prediction from the climate alarmists has fallen gloriously flat on its face and the skulduggery and fraud that has been employed at every level to keep this appalling scam afloat has become apparent. Initially I was taken in myself. You do tend to just accept the prevailing orthodoxy where it concerns matters that at the time you thought were merely peripheral. It was only when the late Chris Thame of the Libertarian Alliance spilled the beans in the nineties (I think it was) that I cottoned onto the fact that we were being had big time.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            Thank you for sharing I know lots of people with the same view

          • Martin R
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            Sorry Glen. Yawn.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        There *is* a sunset clause isn’t there ? It was added by parliament. 1 year ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          I read there was not one. I hope you are right.

      • turboterrier
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        The virus is the perfect excuse for a change of heart.

        Agreed, but it won’t happen. He could save billions, to use to put this country back on its feet .

      • rose
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Mrs T didn’t shut Grammar schools – local authorities did. It was not a central government matter and in those days ministers were scrupulous about not interfering in local government matters. Perhaps they should have.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Addendum.

      I have read elsewhere that the government has decided NOT to use the Civil Contingencies Act even though the Speaker’s Counsel has deemed it appropriate for such an emergency. The government through this new law has more powers over a longer period of time than what is deemed necessary. This is a very worrying development. Governments’ and their agencies always seek ways to encroach into and onto our lives. Being through threats (internal and external) whether they be germs, food products or trace gases such as CO2. Government seek to bombard us with threats that they must combat and, through evermore laws and power creep, they extend their power and control over us. And we, or at least those lacking in the ability to think for themselves (usually Lefities) are happy to surrender their freedoms for the comfort of a little more safety.

      Mark my words, we will come to regret that which has happened and the fools that we have been to listen to those siren words of ‘experts’ and the MSM.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        +1

        • Mark B
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          🙂

      • Martin R
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes. This has been used to expand the power and scope of the State in an extremely dangerous way. The late Christopher Booker well knew the propensity of the state to use any crisis at hand to advance its agenda. In particular the civil servants clearly plan to crush those they hate so much, the self-employed, and now as never before have a marvellous opportunity to achieve that end. At any time the state can be expanded at the drop of a hat. Yet it takes years, decades for the wealth generating private sector to evolve and grow to meet the multifarious needs of all of us. Dangerous times indeed.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      I agree, Mark B.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Thank you.

  2. bill brown
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    SIr JR

    Thank you valuable contribution, I just wish the government would have aced much quicker to your advise and proposals as it is all coming in a bit late now

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      I wish they had acted rather more quickly on NHS capacity they had plenty of notice of what was needed. If the NHS had sufficient capacity in place they would not have had to close down the economy quite so much.

      Plus they have acted far too late with this lockdown.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        This is not the fault of the NHS and they cannot magic equipment and clinical staff out of thin air. They have difficulty in keeping the staff they have due to the pressure. George Osborne was responsible for cutting the money and consequently beds were being cut. There are far too many managers, but that is the system invented by the Tories in 2012 with their obsession with ‘the market’ and duplicating effort all over the land and the inventor was shunted into a siding shortly after it was shown not to work, but no effort has been made to change it. All this whilst the population was growing exponentially. They say they have increased the money year on year, but that is typical politicians talk. What they don’t say is that they have increased the money per capita because they have actually cut it. Money has always been more important to Tories than the welfare of the people.

        • anon
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          Ulitmately- its Politicians and Civil Servants who made the mistaken choice of delayed action.

          The NHS has a huge budget and should have some strategic & operational planning to ensure the said Politicians & Civil Servants are held accountable.

          This is why we need a Public Enquiry into the lack of forward planning & capacity. We also need a WHO enquiry into the cause and origin of the outbreak.

      • James1
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Why on earth are people in the tens of thousands still being allowed to fly in to the UK from Coronavirus hotspots with no checks.

  3. DOMINIC
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    China’s delivered a gift to the world and reactionary politicians across the globe have used it to destroy liberty.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      In my view they look upon China with envy and seek to emulate in all areas. People should think about that the next time they vote.

      • BOF
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        It is the power that they envy.

      • steve
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        Indeed.

        I won’t be voting conservative again, ever.

        And just watch…..they’ll be using this to stop brexit.

        All these queues and shortages have been carefully engineered to fool us into thinking the UK cannot feed herself and cannot survive without the EU.

        Con trick of the century. Then again it was always said the political and business class would stop at nothing to keep us in.

        Boris Johnson was asked about brexit during a press conference the other day……but predictably he waffled and avoided answering the question, and only stated; “brexit, oh that thing, we don’t want to go there…..next question”

        You’re toast Johnson.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          The UK has left the European Union, Steve.

          It’s done.

          Farage got his shove a few weeks back now – weren’t you watching?

          • steve
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            MiC

            You can forget brexit, Martin.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed and not only do China have form on this they will do it again with yet another virus in the future and politicians will then have a precedent to lock us down again. Of course they could take an alternative route and the countries of the world come together with some sort of punishment for China to make them change their barbaric practises that are the cause of these viruses they keep on giving the rest of the world.

      • steve
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        JoolsB

        “Indeed and not only do China have form on this they will do it again”

        Indeed they will, and they’ll get away with it just like the previous three times i.e H1N1, H5N1, SARS.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          Like Africa “got away” with HIV, South America with Zika virus, the Middle East with MERS, the UK with MRSA, and the US with Swine Flu, Steve?

          These things are going to keep coming at humankind.

          People get it now though, and the response is pretty self-evident.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            The UK got completely ostracised over Swine Flu by the EU and meat exports disappeared for years.

            in 2009 there were headlines such as “Government moves to ‘treatment phase’ as health secretary says infection rate could reach 100,000 a day by end of August”

            “Swine flu is spreading so rapidly across Britain that there could be 100,000 new cases a day by the end of next month, the health secretary, Andy Burnham, said today.” 2 Jul 2009

          • dixie
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            How did the US “get away” with Swine flu? that strain originated in Mexico.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            So some say.

            Others say California.

            But the point stands either way.

            It’s not always China by far.

            Then there’s HIV, from Africa again.

  4. DOMINIC
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    When does the gilded public sector start sharing the pain of the average private sector employee and in many cases, ex-employee?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      There was a TV programme about a Job Centre just a short while back.
      Many of the staff were on Universal Credit and many of them had second jobs in order to survive.
      Not terribly gilded.
      It is open to ALL to apply to the Civil Service.
      Surprising that more do not jump on the “gravy train”!!

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        On the Civil Services Gravy Train their are First Class, Second Class and Cattle Class services. It is the First Class that I, and many others I am sure, have issue with.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        It’s amazing who all the key workers are isn’t it Everhopeful, the benefits staff all working to ensure the Universal credit system doesn’t fall over, what is their average pay, the carers, nurses, cleaners and porters, doctors in hospitals and the community, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, pharmacists and their staff I wonder what their average pay bill is, I’m sure most of them are just on low-average pay.

    • Wonky Moral Compass
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Never, I suspect.

      A civil servant of my acquaintance has been at home for a week now, on full pay, with very little productive work to do. He’s saving on travel costs and enjoying extra hobby time. Nice gig if you can get it.

      Contrast that with an ex-employee. With savings, you’ll get contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance for six months. Eventually.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Exactly they you will be expected later to pay yet more takes to pay this little help back, repay the government debt and carry the bureaucrat and pay his gold plated pension.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          more taxes!

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          The only civil servants who are home on full pay, are those who have underlying health conditions. I know that for a fact!

          If they were exposed and caught the virus, they would be at great risk. Would you like one of your family to have to. take that chance?

          And as for ‘gold plated’ pensions. Perhaps for the upper echelons, but not for those at the sharp end.

          Please educate yourself before you keep making all these untrue claims!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            State sector employees have pension pot values of about 10 times those of the average private sector one. Perhaps you need to do some research?

      • Martin R
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        You mean he was in productive employment before this happened? I thought you said he was a civil servant!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Producing vast quantities or red tape and new more complex and absurd tax laws perhaps.

          • Martin R
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            Bingo. I don’t know if this is true but I read that Labour doubled the number of pages of tax regulations from a bonkers 5,000 to an even madder 10,000. Who knows, I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if that was the case.

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Exactly. My six figure salaried nephew and his wife both work for the same paper pushing department in the NHS. Not only have they been told to stay at home (on full pay) but because they have a two year old to look after have been told to only do what they can work wise. Before the virus she had already decided to cut her hours and work some days from home because of baby and they seemed to be on endless holidays. It makes one wonder if these civil servants can take so much time off work in the first place, are their jobs necessary? I’m sure the bloated public sector could be halved and we wouldn’t notice a difference. And that goes for the H of C and H of L as well.
        As many others have said on here, if only we had a Conservative Government rather than one in name only, to have the guts to do something about it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          “I’m sure the bloated public sector could be halved and we wouldn’t notice a difference.”

          We would notice an improvement I suspect. Much of what they do does positive harm.

        • Andy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          It couldn’t be halved and, if it were, you would notice the difference.

          Basically you are accusing all state employees – nurses, teachers, doctors, firefighters, soldiers – of being lazy parasites. My experience of them suggests this is far from true.

          I really wish you lot would grow up.

          • Al
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

            You can halve the costs without halving the workforce. The upper tier of management, who often work three days a week or less could easily be reduced into fewer full time positions, costing far less.

            Ideally that extra could then be used to support the actual front line workers, so they don’t have to claim benefits – another cost saving in admin and wages.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            The problem is that all entities are now run on quasi-private, Tory doctrinaire lines.

            That means that they must provide sufficient sinecures for the ex-public schoolboys on thumping salaries.

            The front line staff are ever more stretched too, accordingly.

          • JoolsB
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            Do you ever digest peoples’ comments? Obviously you state the bleeding obvious in the public sector workers you have conveniently chosen but there as many if not more in the public sector who are not key workers and whose only function in life is to get through the day with nothing much of importance to do counting the days to their next holiday or sick leave and of course looking forward to the day when they can retire much earlier than those in the private sector on guaranteed pensions the country i.e. the rest of us cannot afford and can only dream of for ourselves. .

          • Andy
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Yes I read what you said. And it is as untrue the second time you posted it as it was the first time you posted it.

            There are not hundreds of thousands of people poncing off the state in public sector jobs. It is simply not true. And of course senior propel should get senior salaries. I want the best people running our schools and our hospitals. And the best people cost money.

            Indeed one of the reasons why the quality of our MPs is so low is because they are not paid enough.

        • anon
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          yes
          – the time for a universal basic income and flat tax has arrived.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        We’re all equal just that some are more equal

        • Fred H
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          and well connected.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        The quid pro quo with the civil service,was,as far as I know, that salary was less than private sector because of pension and job security.
        Well..Cameron went back on long promise of RPI pension and there were several huge culls of civil servants from early 2000s onwards.
        Thus far private and public are equal. Pensions under threat and no job security.
        Also never forget those who were in mobile grades who upped sticks and moved for their jobs to be stranded by Mrs T and house price inflation in places they did not want to be.
        Still for all moaners …I dare say a few job centres could do with staff. If they could afford the pay drop and cope with the work.
        BTW..I was not a civil servant and never would have been but this is yet another divide and conquer tool.
        Ordinary civil servants, like the elderly are NO ONE’s true enemy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      That will not happen I suspect and the private sector will, post the virus, be expected to pay loads of extra taxes to repay the governments judge extra borrowings for the virus and lost taxes and continue to carry the bloated and hugely inefficient state sector with their well paid jobs & gold plated pensions. Many of these over remunerated bureaucrats are mainly employed to harass, mug, licence, tax and inconvenience the productive sector too.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t you research how and why nearly all employees in France, Germany etc. still have defined-benefit occupational pensions?

        Clue: they did not repeatedly elect British Tories to make their laws.

        The Politics Of Envy are the Achilles Heel of the right wing voter, clearly.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          Politics of envy is the central philosophy of the Labour Party.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          They’ve not paid them out yet!
          Let’s wait and see what happens with their pension time bomb and the reaction of their younger taxpayers when it hits.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      It doesn’t ! But what it will do, much like Auntie will, and all Socialist type constructs, is begin to eat its own tail.

  5. oldwulf
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    “to think whether the neighbours would agree they have a need to be out and about”
    …sums it up.

    Had the Government sought to apply a lock down a couple of weeks ago then I think the non-compliance would have been greater than it is now and policing it would have been more difficult. I think that carrying us along on the journey was a good idea as more people now take coronavirus seriously.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      We’ve locked the cell doors not the prison gates

      Illegal immigrants still crossing english channel, channel tunnel open, ferries & flights still operating

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        So you want a WWII-type blockade of the country then.

        Now that really would cause problems.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          You either isolate or you dont.
          Letting in untested people and allowing them free movement is not sensible.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            Well quarantine and test them then, as China are now doing, having ended the native epidemic in their country.

            You don’t need to seal the borders.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            Are you going to do it or shall I ?

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Give us just ONE good and logical reason, M i C, why we should be accepting ANY non UK citizens into the UK from zones badly affected by the virus at this time. Just one will do. Bear in mind in answering that we are not allowed to travel to the beach or to parks, or to visit our own vulnerable neighbours. You post too often, M i C, and some of your comments should be blocked. Do you have any idea how generous our host is in not blocking your complete nonsense?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            This country is now one of the zones badly affected by the virus.

            China on the other hand is no longer.

            Your post makes no sense. The virus was brought in by UK nationals returning from holidays in the Alps, so your rule would not have stopped it.

            Quarantine and testing would, however.

        • Pud
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          In WW2 the beaches of Kent were turned into minefields. That might discourage illegal immigrants paddling across the channel.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            I’m sure that the good burghers of Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs, and the rest would congratulate you on your brilliant suggestion.

            Take note normal people.

            The poster above appears to be entirely serious.

  6. agricola
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    All you say makes good sense. Sadly there will inevitably be those who ignore the rules for the common good. They will do so for personal selfish gain or because they are stupid. They deserve the attention of authority.

    Family is often a genetic term in the UK, not out of lack of regard for each other, but because careers lead to people being at distance from each other. None of my family are within fifteen miles of each other. Some hundreds and others thousands of miles apart. Thanks to modern communication we are all in contact. However no doubt we all have friends in closer proximity who can benefit from our friendship on a daily basis. Shopping plus moral and mental support where necessary. Authority must take into account this reality. Those of us in that position are in effect volunteers just as members of formal groups may be considered volunteers. We should all to a greater or lesser extent be looking out for each other. It can be done without close physical contact.

    Your four proposals are vital. To allow them to work it must be absolutely clear how the money is applied for, transfered, and obtained. Employers know who they are no longer paying a wage or salary to and should be in part responsible for ensuring that ex workers get this benefit. The self employed are known to HMRC, National Insurance, and their banks. The unemployed are known to the DSS or whatever it is called these days. All these organisations would be quick to react if they thought that money was owed them or that they were being defrauded. They have the information, let them be swift in sending money out to those who need it. It is good that government have the right intentions but the means of carrying out those intentions are even more important to those who need it. Politically you will be judged on results.

    • ianterry
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Agricola

      Further to your comments yesterday: I am equally convinced that much more could be done to make the diesel and petrol engine even less noxious than it is at present. Burning hydrogen would be even better. plus from today Politically you will be judged on results.

      In the grand scheme of things all that matters will be the end result and in the subsequent brush up it will highlight those who have been found wanting, but virtually guaranteed that nobody will fall on their sword in the event of being found incompetent.

      The same with different propulsion units for all vehicles. In the USA there is an ever growing ground swell towards “blue hydrogen, blue gas and many of the really bid transport companies and container ports are looking to this to drive their equipment. I have written on more than a number of occasions to my MP making him aware of the changing world to no effect. I now have taken to CC other MPs
      on a purely information only basis in the hope that when the present crisis starts to wane then a look at new technology that will be of a massive assistance to our industrail will come to the fore. Too much of our future is being placed in an electric basket. I know that our host for the likes of you and me has been aware of the possibilities on thinking outside the box regarding fuel alternatives but at the moment other things are taking so much of his time. I just happen to think that the country will need to be able to see a new road to a new future with new ideas that tick so many of the boxes relating to the climate change agenda thereby keeping most people happy.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Steam reformation of methane is one faster route to the hydrogen economy. The UK doesn’t seem to want to get its methane out the ground.

        • Old chemist
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Steam reformation does produce hydrogen but releases co2
          CH3 +2H2O gives 3H2 +CO2
          Sorry equation not balanced also lots of heat required to effect the reaction. This is not the answer if you wish to go carbon free electrolysis best bet if you Are
          determined to go this route

          • Old chemist
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            Sorry
            CH4 +2H2O gives 4H2_+CO2

          • Caterpillar
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            Yes Co2 produced, but at least a decade of designs to capture it.

            The endothermic issue is real but there are alternative reforming approaches. The total Co2 (or getting to neutrality) issue at the end is also dependent on where the input energy comes from.

            The main initial argument is as an approach to get the the hydrogen economy started (even though scale large) not necessarily the final answer as you indicate.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

            The gasification of biomass leaves a residue of charcoal, near-pure carbon.

            That is solid, and can easily be sequestered. Compressed and dropped to the deep ocean bed it also absorbs pollutants from seawater.

            Yes, the gas may contain some carbon too, but the cycle as a whole is carbon-negative.

      • Mark
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        The climate for zero carbon is a’changin.

        One thing we are learning rapidly from the present situation is that models are a poor basis for forecasting. The climate agenda will come under severe scrutiny afterwards, when we need to reboot a ravaged economy, not pander to green gods.

  7. Everhopeful
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Just a little question.
    Why did Public Health England state that as of 19th March 2020 COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a HCID ( high consequence infectious disease)?
    And why is that not newsworthy and why is the govt still intent on ruining the economy forever and taking away all our hard won rights?

    • chris dark
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, this fact has been well broadcast in the blogosphere.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Because it is a technicality.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        When every negative “technicality” is reported ad infinitum I can see no reason why something positive should not be shouted from the rooftops.
        The downgrade is significant.
        But it don’t suit the narrative!!

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          correct – thats why it hasn’t been picked up by the news media, they only want negitive stories

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          It doesn’t change the facts, as to the amount of health care provision that would be needed under the different containment strategies, nor the respective numbers of fatalities.

          It is these which dictate material actions, not as what the virus is classified.

          The probability of death in any one case may indeed be quite low, but that good fortune is offset by its extreme contagiousness.

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

      Another person asked that yesterday, as did I. We need and deserve an answer as it is crucial to how the epidemic should be handled.

    • hefner
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      … Could it be because the WHO’s PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) declared on 30/01/‘20 and the warning of a COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic issued on 11/02/‘20 made the HCID irrelevant?

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    All sensible stuff. We desperately need to slow the growth of the infection as it is very clear that the NHS has woefully insufficient capacity of ventilators, trained people, protective equipment, testing capacity, organisational ability etc. Perhaps only about 1/8 of what it will be needed at the peak. Despite having had two+ months notice, but clearly they have done very little indeed yet. Get the veterinary staff and their ventilators involved too.

    Listen to the pathetic obfuscation of Matt (the NHS is extremely well prepared) Hancock almost every day and also Nadhim Zahawi who was on Newsnight last night.
    Expressions like within days, we have procured, ordered, some time in April, endless talk about the new antibody test (usually to distract from the lack of testing of even medical staff for the infection) …….

    Reply Ministers are working hard and in good faith. They are trying to get the system to deliver more capacity and have been for several weeks.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Yes but they are very inefficient. Why if they are acting in good faith are they (it seems anyways) no longer reporting the real figures of deaths yesterday? If the 10% increase yesterday is true that is very encouraging but is it? Why was the release so delayed and so out of line with the expected trajectory and indeed with the figures from Scotland?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        What is the truth here? Is it good news that it has only increase by 10% (less still in England) or are they using patient confidentiality to mislead about the UK increase?

        We need to know the truth.

      • Original Chris
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        You make the point about lower death rates than predicted. This finding is one of the reasons that the disease was reclassified on 19 March as NO LONGER an HCID. It had initially, in January, been given HCID status, but with more reliable and detailed figures being obtained, including about death rates, it is not now considered to be HCID.

        https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid
        Status of COVID-19
        As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

        The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak.

        Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria.

        They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about MORTALITY RATES (LOW OVERALL) and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.
        The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID….”

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I disagree Lifelogic, I’m impressed with the doubling of ventilators, not all hospitals are similarly overwhelmed to some of those hospitals in London right now and everything should be done to move ventilation equipment and staff to London from the least affected hospitals and then ramp up the new ventilator manufacturing to fill those other hospitals back up as the virus moves around the Country.

      Good news from Dyson today too.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Good news indeed from the great Sir James

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Let us hope they work and can be sorted in time.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            It sounds like they will not be ready for quite some time.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        They will be overwhelmed and very soon too. Why have they been so slow to lift NHS capacity and to slow the spread of the infection. Why did they not learn from China, Italy and the rest?

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          “Why have they been so slow to lift NHS capacity”

          I really don’t know, I’ve worked in logistics for 38 years and I always send my resources quickly to where they are needed most urgently.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      On these page yesterday is was pointed out that if Hospital ‘Management’ and their respective Procurement Departments had ordered the protected equipment it would have been delivered the next day. But they didn’t.

      The Health Minister does not manage individual units. With over 2,000,000, that’s 2 million people working in the NHS all with different requirements it would/could never work. That is why there are some very highly paid managers responsible for every day detail in the smooth operations of each medical unit.

      • SM
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Many people believe that the Secretary of State for Health actually manages the NHS.

        The management of the NHS is ultimately the responsibility of its CEO, Simon Stevens, who is answerable to Parliament for the way the organisation spends its £120 Billion budget.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Sir Simon Stevens has been “running” it for six years or so he never sounds very impressive to me when interviewed. It is certainly very badly and inefficiently run indeed but then the structure and the way is is funded makes this inevitable.

          I have noticed on three of occasions who patients are lied to by consultants. Told they do not need operation when they clearly do. Rather than told as they should be you need an operation but will not get it on the NHS so go and pay for one. In one case I know of this caused a blood clot that could have killed a man I know. He was then in pain for over a year as he could then not have the operation. He was well able to have paid for it if they had been honest with him.

          Another one clearly needed a knee replacement but was given a pointless arthroscopy (to get him off the waiting list I assume).

    • Obvious
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      I’m sure you are right JR but they are trying to enact the impossible and are making things dire, worse. They are surely worse than the virus certainly now and, the virus in real terms has done sweet remainer all.It has not even lifted a leg but merely scowled.
      We must all get back to work. Our country, obviously, cannot function by not working. This would seem a universal truth. We work to make things work!

    • anon
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Where was the Ministerial Directions in January asking that our ICU and ventilator capacity should be surge manufactured to the levels of Germany and way above in anticipation.
      Why were not industrial firms directed to produce the equipment, kits & tests needed 2 months ago?

      I am sure they are working in good faith now, this will be election deciding stuff.

      This was easy to see just examine how some have traded the “event” by selling this well in advance.

  9. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Sir John:

    Thank you for the good job you are doing to help to bring the concerns of us all to the Government.

    Personally, I think the Government is doing a very good job, in the impossible task of having to satisfy everyone,. If only the media would stop criticising, or ‘holding the Government to account’, as they like to call it.

    We should thank all the the public spirited people who have so kindly volunteered to assist in any way they can. What an amazing response to the call. Kindness is alive and well in the UK. It gladdens the heart to see it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Alas they are not doing a very good job at all. They could have been far more efficient in getting the NHS ready and should have locked down earlier given this NHS under capacity.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        I’ve read many times now people saying that the NHS is ‘under capacity’ but none of my research can tell me the actual figures? For example the number of active case virus patients in hospital ?

        To state something is under capacity suggests you know what the capacity levels are? Please enlighten me to link of this info

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          On the Newsnight last night it was suggested by a health minister they had about 6000 ventilators and might need as many as 25,000 I think. Even worse people often need them for two weeks. That is quite a lot of preventable deaths should they not get them and suitable staff in just two weeks.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            I was hoping that you’d point me to an offical link showing the baseline NHS capacity and its current shortfall

            Not a newsnight qoute

          • Fred H
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            and when patients die after being connected for 2-3 weeks, are they incinerated?
            Don’t fancy having a used one shoved down my throat, do you?

        • DaveK
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, the PHE Covid 19 dashboard and the worldometers UK page have figures of 163 serious patients with 9074 mild current cases. Since London has about half the cases then perhaps this is where the problem is. After all they are the centre of the UK universe . I wonder what would have happened if this had been treated like a flu outbreak and the non vulnerable patients sent to bed with a weeks worth of antibiotics and steroids/inhaler. And not had the media and LL with his sandwich board saying 20,000 are going to die.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            ….and why are we destorying our economy and industry…..ah because its media led

    • Vote
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl you are right to applaud JR for doing a good job. As to the government doing a good job, no not at all. It has damaged our country severely like no other..impossible to find such government in my lifetime. Impossible!!!

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

      It is the job of the media to hold the government to account. If you want uncritical media then you need to look to North Korea or Iran.

      The fact is that Johnson’s mistakes have already cost lives. People have died because he was too busy with Brexit and saving Priti Patel’s career to pay attention to the risk.

      If we had imposed the lockdown three weeks ago the outbreak would have been less severe, fewer people would have died, fewer jobs would have gone – and the ultimate economic hit would not have been so big.

      When Italy and France were imposing lockdowns his advice was to sing happy birthday and wash your hands. Incompetence in the extreme.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        i thought you wanted the govt to follow the advice of experts? the experts said don’t lock down the Country 3 weeks ago, do it now.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          👍🏻 I agree with Richard1

        • anon
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          MInisters tend to publish advice they agee. Events change the reception of prior advice which may well have been re-hashed as new.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Cases in France and Italy are higher.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        He was indeed a bit slow on the uptake! But why were his “experts”?

      • steve
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        “It is the job of the media to hold the government to account.”

        No it isn’t. It is the job of electors.

        “The fact is that Johnson’s mistakes have already cost lives”

        Agreed

        “People have died because he was too busy with Brexit”

        No, they died because he spent too much time listening to ‘experts’ who told him to let the virus in.

        “If we had imposed the lockdown three weeks ago the outbreak would have been less severe , fewer people would have died, fewer jobs would have gone – and the ultimate economic hit would not have been so big”

        Agree entirely….(but even better if he’d have immediately closed all borders including airports.)

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          The only way that an elector can hold the Government to account between elections is by Judicial Review, but you wanted the Tories to be an elected dictatorship, immune to such “interference” over Parliament having its say over relations with the European Union, didn’t you?

          Voting them out does not retrospectively change anything that they did either.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            One moment you tell us Parliament is Supreme
            Now you tell us the courts are.
            Make your mind up.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Italy! Andy. If Italy were where we are now three weeks ago why didn’t they stop holiday flights?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          Ask the government. Quite.

  10. Javelin
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I’ll repeat what I keep saying. They should of kept all vunerable people (old, obese, ill, immune compromised, diabetic) under wraps and supported by the Government and let the rest of us catch the virus.

    We all have to catch the virus at sometime. We can’t hide in our homes whilst the economy goes back to the stone age. More people will die from a 6.3% drop in GDP than the virus according to a Bristol Professor.

    Sweden is open and its economy is still moving. Deaths have not gone up higher than Norway. Daily Mail reports “Europe’s odd man out: Sweden refuses to bring in lockdowns despite 2,272 infections, keeps bars open and even ENCOURAGES people to go out”

    If it turns out Sweden is correct the Conservative Party will vanish like a Paul Daniels magic trick at the next election.

    • Javelin
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      The most common medical oath sworn by doctors is the Lasagna Oath. I have included two relevant clauses below. I do not think doctors are following the last clause of the oath.

      – I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

      – I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Yep – it looks as if the government was pursuing a herd immunity policy BEFORE isolating the vulnerable. If so, the persons responsible need to lose their jobs.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      “More people will die from a 6.3% drop in GDP than the virus according to a Bristol Professor.”

      But this is surely very dodgy – they look at lower life expectancy in poorer countries and make odd assumptions from these. This makes little sense there is no reason why a slightly poorer UK should automatically get a higher death rate. People and countries with poorer health outcome are likely to be poorer due to this. I suspect it is not the other way round. Indeed if people ate, smokes and drank a bit less they might be more healthy not less.

      Plus this virus is largely advancing the deaths of people who would die quite soon anyway.

      • Mark
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Death rates in the UK were higher when our GDP per capita was lower in real terms in the reasonably recent past. That’s before correcting for the older population profile of today. The Prof is onto something, though you may quibble about the details. There will of course be a lot of social breakdown death as well – murders will rise in fragile households, and so will suicides of those whose finances get destroyed despite everything the Chancellor is doing. That’s before we look at the health implications of lower real incomes. There is a very strong correlation between life expectancy and levels of wealth and income within the population.

      • rose
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Well, LL, one good thing about the curfew is that binge drinking and its attendant ills have stopped. Pavements still filthy but all the nightclubs and bars mothballed. The police and A and E won’t know themselves, especially on Friday and Saturday nights..

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Yep Sweden seems to have a reasonable logic. Its next step seems to be to treat Stockholm differently to the rest. The UK declared London was different but insisted on switching off economy everywhere.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      You missed out “smokers”, which, I understand, are at greatly increased risk of serious illness.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I assume state sector workers are mainly getting 100% of pay and private sector ones 80% of pay and so far self employed ones are getting very little indeed. One can see the priorities of the government very clearly.

    But they of course the government have no money they will just borrow it and it will all have to be repaid by even higher taxes on the private sector as soon as it is over. So when Boris talks about putting their arm round people I assume it will mean around their necks or reaching into their pockets. When on earth is he going to cancel the moronic HS2 and the zero carbon lunacy and all the grants for the very expensive and unreliable renewables?

    • SM
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Good heavens, it’s only 8am and Professor Know It All has already posted four lectures to the Government – do you live with anyone who could press your Off switch please?

      • Voter
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        I like Lifelogic 99% of the time. I wish he were President of the UK

        • Andy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          So does he.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Most kind.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic how are you going to feel when the self-employed are all asked to pay 12% national insurance on every £1 over £166 per week plus the 13.8% section the Employer’s pay that you will have to add on to your charge rates in order to pay like small businesses do when you do get back to work if you want all the same benefits, I take it you won’t be moaning about that change?

      There is going to be a day of reckoning on all this and I’m annoyed that people that are being asked to work and its not just medical staff will probably end up being punished in the long run with higher taxes and without a two-week to three month staycation on 80% of pay covered by future taxpayers.

      You see no-one is going to be happy especially when the benefit class keep getting all of their benefits PLUS a top-up £1000!

      As for public sector staff I hope that you have all agreed if you are on furlough and can’t work that you are on furlough pay only and you help to share the future taxpayer burden on this protection pay.

      • rose
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        More to the point, how does LL feel about tenants not being able to be evicted – no matter what!

    • Martin R
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      He won’t. Ever. That would mean admitting they were wrong, wrong, wrong. So it won’t happen. The madness will continue and crush the country even faster than before COVID-19.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      It’s not a question of the priorities of the government, just a question of the complexities of supporting the self-employed.

  12. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    By the sound of it The Government’s financial help to the man in the street won’t be happening soon.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I do not want anything from the government say, good governance. But that bird flew long ago.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Not true.

  13. Stred
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    The way that the Spanish army and volunteers have reacted, shown on last night’s news, was impressive. They were making paracetamol and masks. Has the NHS asked anyone to make essential drugs which are out of patent. Commercial drug companies are unlikely to volunteer unless they are paid. Is the NHS even considering using or making enough chloroquine if other countries show that it is effective?

    • Bob
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Chloroquine inhibits replication of the virus in human cells.
      It has been widely used as an anti malarial drug for many decades and it was proven to be effective when used in the treatment of SARS another coronavirus with similar characteristics to COVID-19.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Not much harm in giving it a try then is there?

      • Man of Kent
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes ,but as I pointed out the other day chloroquine was probably the reason our daughter was born with a cleft palate in Singapore in 1968 .

        A proven anti malarial but with side effects then. Now there are chloroquine resistant strains of malaria as well as paludrine resistant , certainly since 1982 when As general manager I was responsible for 1000
        Employees in PNG in a malarial region .

        So by all means use Chloroquine but on prescription so that it’s suppressant and curative roles and dosages are properly assessed and controlled .

    • Martin R
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      The hydroxychoroquine + antibiotic treatment falls into the “not invented here” category and hence will be given the usual treatment. It will be downplayed as unproven or similar excuse, or ignored as if it never existed.

      • Pud
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Antibiotics act against bacteria,not viruses, so any suggestion of using them against covid-19 falls into the “nonsense” category.

        • Martin R
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          I’m not suggesting the combination and it isn’t my idea. It is a treatment that is being tried fairly widely abroad, it is claimed with some success in practice. Hydroxychoroquine apparently is a prophylactic and the antibiotic perhaps is there to deal with secondary infection. I’m perfectly well aware COVID-19 is caused by a virus and not a bacterium.

          • Pud
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            So you’re complaining that a treatment that you don’t advocate has been dismissed?

        • Bob
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          @Pud
          The cocktail would be for cases of bacterial pneumonia.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        UK stopped exports of chloroquine at end of February in preparation.

        https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/uk-bans-parallel-export-of-two-covid19-treatment-candidates.html

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The answer to the last question is “yes”. They are in touch with South Korea to gain their experience of these types of drugs for example. Also, for example, doctors all over the world have direct access on-line information (videos and so on) from Italy on treatments. However their priority is to actually do this work rather than waste time explaining it to the media who would then launch into complaints about speed and differing opinions on it’s effectiveness and demands for peer review and so on. When the public inquiry comes I hope the media as a whole are dragged over the coals for their obstructive scaremongering and axe grinding. As a small example some idiot wasted a question at the press conference a couple of days ago asking if the reason construction workers had to still go to work was that the Conservatives had received a donation from the construction industry at some point in the past. An utter waste of a question for a start because he knew what the answer would be.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed is chloroquine effective or not in reducing those who get the more sever reactions. Or even is it likely to be effective and it does no harm try it out. Might blood transfusion from recovered people (who have developed antibodies help), can we somehow stimulate peoples immune systems in other ways.

  14. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    As Duncan Ballantine said how come ‘Common Sense’ is not that common.

    Keep up the good work Sir John and everyone keep safe

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Certainly not in government, nor in whomever did the pandemic advanced planning for the “very well prepared” NHS nor whomever decided what should go into the emergency pandemic equipment store it seems. An ability to be able to manufacture (very quickly and locally) such equipment as ventilators, viral test kits, protective gear for staff …. as needed was surely fairly predictable?

      Just as if you prepared a store for a potential war you would need to be able to manufacture guns, aircraft, vehicles, ammunition, explosives etc. very quickly.

      Ventilators are a fairly simple thing to manufacture quickly too with a little of advanced planning and they have had two months notice too. As at today the NHS only have 5000 with up to 8000 – 12000 “in the pipeline” according to the Minister of State for Health at the Department of Health and Social Care.

      They will perhaps need as many as 30,000 with staffing within two weeks or so!

  15. Stred
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    We have several well organised delivery companies ,many tradesmen with vans who could take their tools out and taxis parked doing nothing. There are cars with nowhere to go in garages and on the street. Yet the big supermarkets can’t deliver enough food to those ordered to stay at home or those that can’t go to the shop.
    Even some public spirited students on my road have offered to do shopping for people confined and they are doing this using the bus.
    If the highly paid managers and civil servants can’t organise delivery, then someone else should take over.

    • Stred
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Here’s an idea. Local supermarket managers are told to request a job on the internet trust a builder websites. The job is call at Tesco at 7 am and pick up the shopping. ordered on our website with our staff helping to put it in bags. Deliver 10 bags to the addresses within 5 miles. The customers will be asked to confirm delivery within the day. Wear a mask on delivery. Do not reply if you have symptoms or have contact with anyone with symptoms. Job value £50.

  16. Sharon Jagger
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I do think it’s a little sad that people are feeling the need to ask quite so many questions of the government.

    My father, a widow of 88 years, meets daily in the park with around 6 or 8 other dog walkers. They walk for an hour and chat as they walk. However, since the lockdown they have taken to walking in pairs at a distance , and before they depart, they stand in a huge circle at a distance from one another and wind up the walk with a general natter.

    And they didn’t even need to ask the government! They used common sense! And my father is then quite content to return home and spend the day and evening alone with his dog, while his food is delivered by family members.

  17. Norman
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I read this morning that many Italians in Northern Italy sold their leather goods and textiles companies to China. Italy then allowed 100K Chinese from Wuhan/Wenzhou to move to Italy to work in these factories, with direct Wuhan flights. Could this be why Northern Italy is Europe’s CV-19 hot spot?
    This interesting 2013 BBC article gives further background.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21350013

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that has been quite well covered.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        So you continue to support flights from Wuhan into UK, then? There was one yesterday

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Why do you assume that?

          I said nothing to indicate that.

          However, the position now is apparently that flights from the UK to China are a far greater danger to the Chinese than vice-versa is to the British.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Also an article, “Why Italy?”, by Tracy Beanz provides useful information. Excerpt below. The takeover of the Italian textile industry by the Chinese is examined, and the role of the political elite in cultivating links with the Chinese, to the detriment of its own people/employment/industries, and allowing the Chinese with their “One belt, one road” project, to access the heart of Europe:
      Why Italy?
      Italy has been ravaged by the Wuhan Coronavirus, but the reasons why are linked more closely to globalism than the age of the infected.
      • Hundreds of thousands of Chinese immigrants now live both legally and illegally in Italy, with 300K legally registered and many more illegal.
      • Italy recently entered into a new economic partnership with China called “One belt, One road”
      • China has revitalized northern Italian ports in order to transport goods more efficiently to the rest of Europe
      • The mayor of Florence initiated a social media campaign called “Hug a Chinese” using Chinese produced video as an engine to dispel the “racism” against the Chinese in Italy…..
      Source uncoverdc.

  18. Christine
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I am incredibly disappointed by the Government’s support for the self-employed. As someone has pointed out in a previous post, HMRC is incredibly efficient at extracting money owed to the Treasury, so it’s certainly perfectly capable of identifying and offering some financial support to the self-employed. This is extremely damaging to the CP, who are now being seen as only helping PAYE workers. As if the self-employed don’t contribute £5 billion annually to the economy. They have been hung out to dry and they will not forget this next time they stand in the voting booth.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      But what choice will they have in the voting booth the soft socialist Conservatives or worse or far, far worse.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Go for the far worse. It will all be over far quicker.

  19. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for your efforts John, always a voice of reason.

  20. ukretired123
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Everyone now is in the shoes of the self employed having to make their own decision-making based on common sense as SJR rightly says.

    This is a culture shock, a multiple shock as many will not know how to adapt and sad to say Mr Corbyn is out of his depth by his example and counter productive criticism when many are ” in at the deep end”.

    Edward De Bono’s Thinking Courses have been rapidly taken up by other countries for decades but ignored here in UK due to the intransigence of the education blob. Now they are needed more than ever as the nanny state approach cannot deal with problem solving.
    We need everyone to think creatively and see the hidden advantages in the disadvantage and focus on solutions.

    Thank goodness we have you SJR an oasis in the desert of common sense.

  21. Richard1
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    There is so much carping by armchair ‘experts’ and irrelevant posturing by certain politicians. The rules couldn’t be clearer but of course the govt hasn’t written specific hour by hour instructions for every single person. It has been totally clear to me what the rules are for work and social contact from the first.

    Of course the govt are seeking to get as many tests as soon as possible. Likewise the ppe equipment needed. What else do labour politicians and ranting leftists on social media think they are doing? But like every other country in the world there is a scramble for resources at an exceptional time.

    The really big error of public policy so far has been siddiq khans reduction of service on the tube which has forced crowding together.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      There is a difference between us in the UK and those on the continent – Our system of law. We, here in the UK, can do as we please unless the government says otherwise. Where as on the continent, they live under the Napoleonic Code which does the complete opposite.

      We have grown up as a free people where we see government as the servant, not the master as they do elsewhere. And those on the continent are, understandably, very suspicious of their governments. Sadly, this infection has now spread to the UK populace.

  22. Stred
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Here’s an idea. Local supermarket managers are told to request a job on the internet trust a builder websites. The job is call at Tesco at 7 am and pick up the shopping. ordered on our website with our staff helping to put it in bags. Deliver 10 bags to the addresses within 5 miles. The customers will be asked to confirm delivery within the day. Wear a mask on delivery. Do not reply if you have symptoms or have contact with anyone with symptoms. Job value £50.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Why would people do it now Stred when they think they can get money for nothing?

  23. acorn
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The MMT Job Guarantee (JG) Scheme should be implemented. The unemployed / furloughed self-employed should be paid by the state to work in the NHS or other public services, rather than thousands of volunteers who already have income sources else they wouldn’t be able to work for nothing.

    If a JG person has a vehicle of some sort he can deliver food from retailers and wholesalers. It has been suggested that £10 per hour for a guaranteed 35 hour week plus a vehicle supplement. All paid through their previous / existing public or private payroll systems.

    As Neil Wilson says on Bilbo (Wednesday, March 25) “Volunteering – when there is a systemic shortage of work – is almost certainly denying somebody else a job and an income. Usually somebody who can’t make a rent payment.”

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      A friend who worked as a carer many years ago recently renewed her skills on a course to go back to it. This was just as the c-virus news started. All 15 on her course passed, and have now – eventually – been sent their uniforms – BUT not been told to go anywhere – or any start date. So much for places “desperately” needing their help. Some of the women on her course put their notice in at their previous job – and have now been left with no income because of presumably lies, red tape and incompetence. Trained people not being used – while untrained people – who will not have been checked out for any criminal record etc – are asked to turn up. Madness.

  24. jerry
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The Govt needs to get some of the utilities to show more common sense to.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The government could today remove the carbon tax from energy bills

  25. Caterpillar
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Sadly today’s post reflects the dictatorial, police state the UK has now entered. (This is not a reflection on Sir John). As I indicated a couple of days ago the situation in which the Govt controls the mobility (transport, education, jobs) of the people and its food supplies is truly frightening and this is the situation we now have. If MP’s as awhole had common sense they certainly would not have let the Coronavirus Bill pass without a 2, or at most, 3 month sunset clause – 2 years of Chairman-like powers is the end of the UK. Before we know it, we’ll probably close Parliament as it is no longer needed.

    Common sense? As I indicated yesterday driving the economy in a Venezuela or North Korea like direction (or worse) is a high risk gamble in terms of childhood mortality, life expectancy and welfare. It is certainly not obvious that the cure is better than the illness.

    Common sense? In my area, presumably over the whole country, the recycling centres/tips are closed. These are areas in which people are typically distanced (individually operated machinery). Stop being dispose of waste is hardly a good approach to health. Moreover, in my area, those on lower income typically shopped in the markets, particularly for fruit and veg, so the markets have been closed.

    Common sense? Some realise that more public transport allows people to spread out – but Mayor Khan? Some understand that a 24 hour supermarket can spread the load over a greater window than a 12 hour opening supermarket. Some understand that if shopping for one’s own family and now additional elderly relatives/neighbours that you need to be able to buy more of some basics otherwise you have to shop (and risk contact) more than once. Some appreciate that vitamin D is likely important to limit respiratory diseases, in contrast the police are reported to be stopping people taking the sun rather than spreading them out, etc ed

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Much more transparency is still needed on the numbers from Govt. We hear roughly that London is ahead of the Midlands which may be ahead of the rest, although the whole country is under the same lockdown.

      Until yesterday, we could all have done a simple normal distribution fit to the reported national totals (assuming behaviour continued and followed Italy – which it may not) and estimate inflection at about 13th April, with max daily deaths at about 700, with final total around 18,000 with 90% by 25th April, but yesterday’s new deaths (25th March) were much lower and indicate shortening time and total down (though one point only). We need transparent predictions with numbers to be given today / tomorrow given the draconian lockdown continues and where UK needs to be between 6th and 13th April to inform review after 3 weeks of lockdown. We need to see the basis of decision before the decision is made.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Sir John,

        Dr Jenny Harries (- very impressive) today indicated that ‘we’ need to see a change in the slope of the epidemic (i.e. the gradient becoming lower i.e. just past the inflection, so not just 2nd derivative reducing but going negative*) before unwinding any of the lockdown measures. She did not specify which curve (the biased positive Covid19 tests, the proxy of deaths, the new number of critical cases or other). This needs to be in the open as does for how many days is the slope change needed (e.g. 3, 5 … how many days for a good curvature estimation). The Govt also need to be clear which interventions will be rolled back as, whichever curve it is, passes inflection. When there is talk that some of the interventions will be in place for 6 months presumably it is known which interventions will be unwound at which signals. Keeping some of these interventions in place for six months is frightening. Dr Jenny Harries refused to make a forecast, which is very reasonable, but surely there is some idea where the inflection is looking to be so that we at least know that there will be no rollback before then.

        (* Won’t these curves look pretty linear for sometime around inflection?)

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      It is more important than ever that we keep our petrol and diesel cars.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

  26. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Now we have a taste of life as promulgated by St. Greta the goblin of Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. The virus has come at an opportune time to remind politicians the absurdity of the zero carbon policy founded on pseudo science whilst neglecting the here and now.
    Impoverishing the populace following unproven nonesense will cost you dearly.

    • Stred
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Please National Grid, don’t give priority to wind farms sd recently and cause another power cut which results in the frozen food being wasted.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        So to trashing the economy electricity demand is down a third at 33gw. Wind is supplying less than 6% of demand but we are still Importing maximum from France and Holland. Could this be due to the utilities being owned by foreign governments.

        • hefner
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          IW, funny that you never ask: Could this be due to poor choices made by successive UK governments relative to infrastructure and energy provision?

          And don’t play the usual ‘get-out-of-jail’ card, “it is all because of the EU”. Whereas the EU has certainly recommended a transition to renewable energy by 2050, it has never forced any country in their choice of how to reach a more balanced provision of energy.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            It is due to climate alarmism
            The trend after the passing of the Climate Change Act has been to close down fossil fuel and nuclear methods of energy generation and replace with solar and wind methods.
            With a growing population and growing demand for energy there will be a reckoning.
            I’ve got a diesel generator.
            You may well be sat in the cold and dark.

    • steve
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      “Impoverishing the populace following unproven nonesense will cost you dearly.”

      Won’t it just !

      These con merchants must know we’ll be going for their throats at the next election. Perhaps they’ll try to ban that too.

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath is, as usual, exactly right today in the Telegraph. Why were governments so badly prepared for this Pandemic. Clearly the exact form it took and when it occurred were not predictable like an earth quake – but it was a well known threat. We have people paid to plan for the threat and we clearly could have been hugely better prepared.

    Also how on earth are we going to get the economy back on track quickly.

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

      The people paid to worry about threats like pandemics have spent the last five years dealing with your Brexit. And after Coronavirus they’ll be back dealing with your Brexit again. Coronavirus has come along and made us sicker and poorer. And your Brexit makes us poorer again still.

      It genuinely it not rocket science.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        the article criticises the preparedness of govts going back over 20 years. it isn’t all about brexit, although I understand for you it is.

        In other news Yannis Varofakis, a pro-EU former Greek finance minister who campaigned for Remain, now thinks the UK did the right thing leaving the EU. It is of course far too early to say, but it does seem that one result of this virus disaster will be another eurozone crisis.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Well, it certainly did the right thing for Greece and for the rest of the European Union, I think.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        You think scientists experts in viruses have been busy on Brexit arrangements?
        Hilarious.

        • Andy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          No. I think logistics experts, planners and the like have been dealing with your Brexit. And most of them think your Brexit is pathetic. Which it is.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            If you have any proof for this guess of yours let’s see it.
            Logistic experts and planners cannot work on a problem that didn’t exist for the last five years.
            Quite ridiculous attempt to bring Brexit into everything.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Well the logistics experts didn’t do a good job in the last two years then Andy did they, as people like you said imports would stop from Europe they would have anticipated reductions in imports such as France withholding PPE and keeping their stocks for France and Germany saying they were keeping all their manufactured ventilators for themselves.

            They tried this excuse for why ppe wasn’t on the front line but then we discovered it was in the UK and able to be delivered in two days. We need more essential products manufactured in the UK and quickly.

      • APL
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Andy: ” have spent the last five years dealing with your Brexit”

        That explains why China was so totally unprepared for the virus too?

        Or the USA?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          China has successfully stopped the epidemic according to WHO, with fewer deaths than Italy, yet with over twenty times the population.

          Their response has put to shame the West.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            Still you believe all the communist dictatorships propaganda.

      • steve
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Cheap, even for you.

        • Andy
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          No. It is true. The last five years of government in this country – and much of the next decade will be dominated by Brexit related issues.

          You lot decided you wanted to re-invent the wheel without giving any thought to what you would put in its place. You mostly still haven’t figured it out – but I can confirm it will definitely be less good than the wheel we had before. I’d rather keep my round tyres. I’ll leave the square ones to you.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            It is amazing how the 160 nations not in the EU survive.

          • APL
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            Andy: “You lot decided you wanted to re-invent the wheel without giving any thought to what you would put in its place.”

            That is just ignorant rambling.

            In 1972, we had perfectly good ‘wheels’, we then joined the EU wherupon, all our wheels were taken off, the economy was put up on jacks, the EU kept revising the time we could put the wheels back on.

            So, if the British vehicle is in bad shape, it is as much the fault of the EU as anyone. Apart from Edward Heath, who lied to get us in the damn organisation in the first place.

          • hefner
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, that’s another of your vacuous comments: are the 160 countries not in the EU ‘surviving’ in the same way? DRC surviving as Singapore. I wonder what the people in the countries present in the bottom quarter of the GDP per person PPP table would make of your comment.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          he just oozes class, doesn’t he?

      • anon
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        If the EU were any good they would have managed the situation at source,this is not the first outbreak.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          So you think that the European Union institutions should have the powers to impose lockdowns and closures such as the member nations do, then?

          And control public health provision?

          Why the complete change?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      LL

      In the UK’s case BREXIT and the GE got in the way. Then Christmas and the Cabinet reshuffle. There has been no real effective government since Cameron resigned. And to say otherwise would suggest that the person who inhabited Number 10 between 2016 and 2019 was in anyway competent.

  28. Chris S
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    We heard on the Today Programme this morning two of the most influential experts discussing the likely number of deaths from the Virus.

    For the first time it was admitted that at least two thirds of those that have died so far would probably have died in short order anyway, such was their poor state of health. In the light of this revelation, how can the Government justify trashing our economy in such a comprehensive manner ?

    Surely there will need to be a debate on whether it would have been better to have told everyone over 70 and in high risk groups to self-isolate much, much earlier and allowed those at low risk to carry on working with far less restrictions on economic activity ?

    In the months to come, I hope the Government can come up with an fiscal wheeze to write off all the money that is currently being spent supporting individuals unable to work. Otherwise, we will be burdened with having to repay through taxation, the countless hundred billions of pounds that will have been spent.

    It might cause a spike in inflation but, given the competitive nature of trading in the internet age, that risk will be much reduced and would be a price well worth paying.
    It would be unlikely to cause any further exchange rate reductions as every country in the world will be in a similar position.

    • Tick tock
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      One should not assume the government is going to last very long now. Weeks?It would be a bad bet if things roll on at this speed in all respects

      • ChrisS
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Tock Tock, could your post possibly be wishful thinking from a Guardian reader ??

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        There is no appetite for yet another GE and it will not solve anything. If you mean a new PM, then I am afraid we already have the best what the Tories can offer. Best concentrate on getting this over with.

  29. villaking
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I hope you are one of the MPs lobbying government about business loans backed by government guarantees. The problem is that the government only guarantees 80% and the banks are requiring personal director guarantees for most of the rest leaving banks with very little risk. As someone at the sharp end, I can tell you categorically that this will not work in its stated aim of trying to keep otherwise viable SME businesses afloat during this crisis. Directors, already worried about their financial futures with job at risk and pension fund decimated, will not be prepared to put their remaining personal assets on the line.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      The devil is in the detail….I’ve been in your position in 2008 and never again will I risk all on a promise of jam tomorrow

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Too true !

  30. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why flights have continued to be allowed to arrive from all over the world and particularly from places with high incidences of Covid-19 such as China, Iran, Italy, Spain, New York and Los Angeles. There appear to be no quarantining of arrivees. Remember when UK people were sent to be put in isolation on the Wirral? It seems a long time ago. How can we control this virus if we have an open door through which potential carriers may enter?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Open door Brian – and an open South Coast border as well.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Its not just flights, the channel tunnel, ferries and small boats crossing the english channel still in operation

    • I have clues
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Probably because government has not a clue it is happening.

    • Stred
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      They have just announced that the earliest person to fly back infected was someone who was skiing in Austria in January. He then infected his family. How many others continued to fly abroad to infected areas and came back without realising that they were infections? The epidemic was more advanced than the health authority realised..

  31. Javelin
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    What a great time to fill the potholes.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      We think alike on this Javelin.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      correct, what an opportunity wish contracts where that flexible….it will take highways agency and local government months just too draw up the paperwork

    • Grea savings
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Many millions are being saved each week by the absence of council and ALMO vans making unnecessary repairs and “improvements.” In my tiny street there are usually three vans per day making improvements etc. for years In these weeks, none!!! A massive saving to the authorities and tax payer.
      Even paying council and ALMO staff full salary for them not to go to work is a huge saving.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      jav…..I suggest whenever the Police stop drivers, the answer could be ‘ I’m filling the holes in society’.

      fits most things?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed but I doubt if they will be doing much of it.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      One of the roads through our village was supposed to be repaired now. It’s been cancelled. Why?

  32. a-tracy
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    John, you are a gem keeping positive and still blogging every day with information, thank you.

    I get really upset when I read about people over 70 stuck in their homes with no younger friends or family who can get their shopping, what is our Country coming to that they don’t have younger neighbours to call or fitter younger family member’s friends nearby to get their food for them, some are worried about getting money out because they need to pay strangers to pick things up for them. My parents don’t live nearby but early on we all came together on a rota and their neighbour who they haven’t known for very long has stepped in and shouts over the fence to ask if they need any essentials. Same for my father in law who lives alone hundreds of miles away he says he’s been self-isolating for two years and not to worry about him, he told his carer she could come 3 times a week instead of 7 this weekend because he thought other people might need her too and he’ll stay in his nightwear.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately a-tracy, there are already cases of strangers offering to “fetch shopping” – and then walking away with the person’s cash, never to be seen again. What happens when the “cashless society” is forced upon us? Will the person needing help have to give their card and their pin number over to a complete stranger?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard that bigneil too, this is where local co-ops and tesco who put lots of little family corner shops out of business could help more, a family shop would know the local regulars and take a phone order, deliver and take a cheque or cash on delivery but as you say times have changed.

  33. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sir John please add landlords, those who invest their very own money in society, to your list. At present the Govt. has specifically given permission for business and corporations, all receiving grants and having ditched their costs, not to pay rents.
    This will lead to bankruptcy and Banks will not want to pick up the pieces.
    I’m thinking of demolishing my shops to save on the business rates that I as a landlord are responsible for on empty shops.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed charging business rates on empty shops is an outrage.

  34. Bob
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The DT reports that NHS staff are wearing bin bags because protective equipment is in short supply.

    The NHS should have spent less money on Diversity Managers and more on medical equipment.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Agreed Bob. They should also not be spending on “Aspiring model” boob jobs, nor sorting out botched plastic surgery jobs that people have had done abroad “cos it’s cheaper”. Then the taxpayer has to cough up for the repair or the NHS gets sued.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        agree

    • Stred
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      My wife received a letter from the NHS recently about testing for cancer. On the back page there was a message in ten different languages, including Chinese and two types of Arabic text, which in English offered a telephone advice and translation service.
      In other countries like France, if you can’t speak the language, you provide your own translator. Some businesses must be making a good living at the expense of the taxpayer.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        that was Tony Blair legacy of ‘multiculturalism’ which has never been reversed due to fear of upsetting some people

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      And are these Diversity Managers still working and drawing their pay? I am not impressed with this hero worship which is being encouraged for the NHS and everyone in it.

      I fear we will never get back from this state involvement in everything when this panic is over. And the idea that the state can remimburse every loss everywhere is insane. We will soon be bankrupt and self reliance will be a concept thrown in the bin. Dependency will be deeply embedded and entitlement the norm and unchallengable.

  35. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    You are right on common sense John but it suits the media agenda to construct elaborate cases not explicitly covered by the rules and then use that to push their agenda that the government’s communication strategy is a shambles. I think this is because they are plainly too thick to argue against Whitty and co. on the actual strategy so as a displacement activity they moan about the communications strategy which in their own minds they know something about.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Aren’t the media just selling their wares, which means the ‘egos’ of their people. Keep asking how long a piece of string is and the public will be fooled into believing you have an informative question that deserves an answer,

  36. turboterrier
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Please can we use your site to remind everybody that at 8pm tonight there will be a on the door step, in the open window, on the street applause session to show our support and gratitude to the wonderful staff across the whole of the NHS who are in the front line of this national emergency

    • DOMINIC
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      The people on the front-line are every private sector employee who are no doubt facing redundancy, insecurity, bankruptcy and all the worry and psychological pressure that comes with this. Meanwhile those in the public sector enjoy a job for life, early retirement, a FS pension, a 4x mortgage facility and flexible working with ZERO worry about where the next meal is coming from

      Step outside of the gilded public sector and life becomes a dog fight for survival, a fight against emotional torment and a fight against a client state that serves its own at the expense of those who produce the wealth that is abused for public sector enrichment

      Labour are clapping alright. They’re the ones who will profit hugely in many ways from this PM’s massive lurch into socialist parasitism

      • Mark B
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        And heavily unionised.

    • Eh?
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Don’t hold your breath

    • chris dark
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I won’t be. What a load of rubbish. I don’t get hand-clapped for doing my job.

  37. JoolsB
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I am a royalist but it’s interesting that Prince Charles has very mild symptoms of the virus and Camilla none yet two testing kits were used on them whereas our brave doctors and nurses working on the front line are denied them. We hear many of the rich and famous are deciding to get tested even if they show no symptoms. Why isn’t Matt Hancock not commandeering all testing kits so they can be used on those who truly need and deserve them?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      ” We hear many of the rich and famous are deciding to get tested ” – of course they are – just another way to get their name and photo in the papers again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is an outrage that front line NHS workers cannot get tested (or get the protective gear) and get back to work. Often NHS staff share houses too and then they might all be off work isolating.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I too am a Royalist. But not very keen on having Charles as King with his daft political views, his do as I say not as I do climate alarmism and his pushing of quack medicine. He should have kept out of politics as the Queen does. Especially as he is so totally misguided and hypocritical.

      • steve
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        “But not very keen on having Charles as King with his daft political views”

        You needn’t worry, the royals don’t interfere with governments, not even foreign serving rogue ones clearly intent on treason and destroying the country.

    • MWB
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      I am not a royalist.

    • MWB
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Meant to say:
      I am not a royalist, and deplore the privileges given to these so called ‘royals’.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I am ‘not’ a Royalist and I am definitely not a Republican either.

      In a modern Society of equals isn’t it a bit perverse that we breed people to be Royal. Surely that’s a type of modern slavery. What chance have they to ever be normal when they are albeit plushly imprisoned by the people of this country to ‘serve’ – what ever that is.

    • outsider
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      What a sickeningly self-righteous exchange.

    • DaveK
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Is it not the case that the current test only shows results if you actually have the virus? Therefore if the NHS staff are not displaying symptoms testing them will produce loads of negatives and consume thousands of test kits. Prince Charles was displaying Symptoms and had a test which proved positive, it was obvious then to check his wife to check whether she is asymptomatic. Otherwise she could have gone on to infect many others. I also believe that the NHS procurement departments need a slow hand clap as they don’t appear to be doing their jobs. If the PPE is incorrect then who did they tell? Why ask a politician, ask the logistics/commodities managers what they are doing instead of getting the political “parade of the bleeding stumps” types pushed forward in the media.

  38. glen cullen
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Sir John, once again thank you for providing this blog and its varied contributions

    I now find due to these strange nay interesting times I now have the opportunity to not only glance at contriutions but to read them all

    Its much better than watching the BBC news

    • Mark B
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  39. JoolsB
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    John, what is the problem compensating the self employed? Employees and Employers are being supported by the Government and small business are getting cash grants irrespective of how much their businesses make. Why can’t the self employed be given cash grants in the same way? I was speaking to two Accountants yesterday who hire out their barn as a sideline for a few weeks in the summer who will qualify for the £10,000 cash grant even though their barn doesn’t generate that much just because they registered as a business. Meanwhile the self employed in many cases earning far more than that (I’ve lost over £3,00 this week alone) are losing their livelihoods because they are being offered nothing. Irrespective of their earnings, in the same way business are being given cash lifelines, why can’t the self employed be given the same?
    We are told Sunak is going to make an announcement today but we don’t want to know how we can claim universal credit or other benefits, we just want to be treated the same as everyone else and given the same support.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Small business aren’t all getting £10,000 cash grants irrespective of how much their businesses make? Where did you get that information from? Our accountant has told us differently.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        you’re correct and so is your accountant

  40. Tick tock
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    It would be an idea if the police made themselves scarce after say two weeks. Perhaps they can arrange with themselves on a strike. We wish them well. I certainly do genuinely.

    • gregory martin
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      In all probability they will, the sudden exposure to the community at large may well cause them all manner of infections, that their natural immunity has forgotten about!

  41. Ian Pennell
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    A timely analysis of where we are in Britain in the fight against Coronavirus. Evidence from different countries around the world would indicate full lock-down sooner, but for a shorter period is most effective. China, for example took drastic steps sooner and now the number of new cases has dropped to almost nothing and-as restrictions are relaxed- the Chinese economy is recovering. Donald Trump’s softly softly approach (with initial denial about what was happening) is more harmful because the disease is spreading fast and the resultant restrictions will end up being protracted- causing greater damage to the USA economy (and thus to Donald Trump’s chances of re-election in November!).

    In Britain the measures are appropriate, though if I were in Boris Johnson’s shoes I would have acted sooner with the more severe measures to stop the spread of disease. I would also have imposed a ban on shopping (and sought the Army in assisting with home deliveries instead) and been more honorous in my definition of what “Key Workers permitted to travel” would be- Police, NHS Staff, the Army, food producers, Chemists, Banks, delivery drivers, local and national government, Social Services….that would have been it! Reducing opportunities for large numbers of people to be close to each other (whether in supermarkets or commuting on packed trains) has to be the overwhelming priority with a contageous virus capable of killing up to 4% of all who are infected.

    In the longer term there are the Fiscal and Monetary implications of Borrowing and Printing ££100 billions to stop the Economy tanking- indicatiors such as the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) show this happening. A deep Recession also has Monetary and Fiscal implications. You will need, Sir to be planning ahead to consider how Boris Johnson will also be able to fulfill Manifesto Pledges in what will become a Much Less Accommodating environment for Government Borrowing or expansionary Monetary Policies (like Quantitative Easing) in future.

    In particular, this means a discussion about Wealth Taxes- such as a Land Value Tax will be needed: Politically and economically Wealth Taxes are less harmful than raising Income Tax or VAT- although many of the Conservatives’ traditional supporters in the Shires will detest them and would hate any Government that imposes them. But if Boris Johnson is serious about “levelling up” and shifting the Conservatives’ Support Base to be more Northern and Working Class this is a policy nettle that MUST be grasped. We have an ageing population, more money will be needed for Pensions, the NHS and Social Care in future- so a serious discussion and confrontation about Wealth Taxes is one that has been bought forwards by Coronavirus (and the economic implications of measures needed to contain it). Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak need to know this.

    By the way, with the right mix of Tax Rises (perhaps with some cuts to Income Tax to compensate) Britain could cope with higher taxes and still have economic growth. Norway and Sweden still had economic growth (Norway even managed to build up a Sovereign Wealth Fund) despite the governments there taxing well over 40% of GDP throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s- and it’s not just because of North Sea Oil (which Sweden did not really have) that they were able to do this! So Britain could cope with higher taxes on Wealth and still have economic growth going forwards.

    I trust that you and your family are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.

    Ian Pennell

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Ian Pennell,

      The Chines Communist Party did not act early.

      It locally denied.
      It locally punished those warning.
      It nationally denied.
      It nationally denied human to human transmission (even after infections were outside China).

      I do not think we should believe anything with the CCP’s hands on it, not should we succumb to a Chairman’s rule / police state model for 2 years.

      (In the USA the CDC had unfortunately botched a reagent in its tests, hence the delay at the centre. Red tape / regs that slowed up others stepping in early with tests. I do not know if we yet know how the CDC had a reagent problem.)

      • Turboterrier
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Who is best placed to gain out of the financial crisis the Western world is facing due to this pandemic?
        The gratitude expressed by some countries for the assistance in safety equipment and ventilators (suddenly available as only one city was infected) provided by China will be music to Beijing’s ears as it seeks to distance itself from its culpability in causing the pandemic in the first place. As Yu Jie, a senior research fellow at London’s prestigious Chatham House think tank, commented earlier this week, “China is trying to turn its health crisis into a geopolitical opportunity. It is launching a soft power campaign aimed at filling the vacuum left by the United States.”
        China’s cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage are not just deeply unethical: they should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted. A lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G.

        • steve
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Turboterrier

          Agreed.

          If the west ever recovers from this I think it would be high time China was ‘shut down’ and banged back to the stone age.

          H5N1
          H1N1
          SARS
          COVID 19

          Too high a price to pay.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Agreed.

          (But I prefer to refer to Chinese Communist Party rather than China. Individual and companies have tried, without success, to stand up to it.)

          The Chinese leadership is culpable.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Caterpillar
        The pandemic started in Wuhan. The local leadership moved to silence whistleblowers such as the late Dr Li Wenliang who tried to report the existence of a new disease. The central party subsequently stepped in, put Wuhan as well as the rest of Hubei into lockdown, replaced the local leadership and subsequently apologised to the family of Dr Li. How long will it take the Tory Party to replace Sadiq Khan or are they satisfied with his response to coronavirus in London? What China and the UK means by lockdown are not quite the same because theirs involves checkpoints to prevent internal movement except at the lowest locality level, the checking of people’s temperatures within a grid and food deliveries within the grid to those in total isolation for reasons of age or health. The situation now is that Hubei has free movement as of Friday and Wuhan has had checkpoints removed and will have total free movement within Hubei after a further fourteen days provided there are no further new cases. Meanwhile our epidemic is just getting started because on March 13th the government policy was ‘herd immunity’ as the daily deaths in the UK overtook those in China, population 1.3 billion.

        The South Korean approach of a massive testing programme (over 18,000 test on March 5th), tracing and quarantining and, blocking external movements has worked but we are far too late for that now.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          It is not just the local leadership that misled. The central party denied knowing when there is evidence it knew, the central party denied human to human transmission after it was clearly happening (and indeed after the virus have reached Thailand).

          In no way can the Chinese Communist Party be defended at any level. I would associate zero trust with anything they state.

          South Korean initial infected were a large number of young, non-smoking, females.

    • outsider
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Dear Ian Pennell ,
      Economies and the lives of 60 million different people are incredibly complex. The tighter, simpler and more rigid the rules imposed on them, the more the unintended consequences. Under your preferred regime, for instance , it would have been illegal for Sir James Dyson to employee engineers to design a ventilator that he could readily build, let alone to make them. No restocking of toilet rolls or domestic handwash. Deliveries by soldiers who do not know the area. That would be fun.

      Same with taxes. It is much easier, cheaper and more accurate to tax money transactions ( eg PAYE, VAT, CGT, fuel duties, stamp duties, dividend and insurance premium taxes) and generally less onerous for the taxpayer. Ask anyone who is self-employed.
      Wealth taxes cost more to administer, are inevitably arbitrary and could force millions to sell up. Your Council Tax is still based on bands of notional values in 1991, even if you live in a brand new 2019 built home. Even in 1991, it was deemed too expensive to value all properties individually .

  42. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Not sure I understand the logic behind the recycling centers closing.

    With more people at home surely more gardening and DIY will likely be completed but it will bested over the whole week rather than most visiting at weekends.

    A visit to the tip does not involve personal contact within 2 metres of anyone as you unload stuff yourself the only contact likely is with the person who you have to verify identity with, and surely that could be waived for a short period.

    Meanwhile garden rubbish, grass cuttings and other stuff builds up at home, and when eventually the recycling centres open up, there will be a huge surge in people attending.

    Aware all workers need to be kept safe, but such centres are open for normal council rubbish collections which go to exactly the same site.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      “Bested” should read “be used”

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree with this comment. We’ve had five local flytipping events in the last year. That may now become 50. It seems to me that instead of the ‘Dunkirk spirit’, we now have the exact opposite, ie there is a vast number of siren voices, particularly in the MSM and amongst politicians (not you, Sir John) calling for literally everything to be shut down.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      you can show your driving licence etc through the drivers closed window.

      Re3 workers self-isolating? What paid 80% for staying at home?

      sounds like a good wheeze.
      Green waste collections suspended for Bracknell Forest, how long before Wokingham follows suit?

  43. RichardP
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John,
    I have just clipped this from the Government website:

    “As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.”

    Could you explain why the country was put in lockdown days AFTER they knew this to be the case.

    • Polly
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      No ”common sense” ?

      Polly

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      So thousands of people do not die for lack of NHS capacity of course. They did it rather too late alas.

      • DaveK
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        Please give some non emotive figures and evidence to complement your cut and paste wailing or at least remove the logic part of your name. Note that a few years back the UK experienced 500 excess winter deaths per day reaching a total of 50000. To date we have sadly had 578 deaths in just under a month. Once the data has actually been analysed I suspect a huge proportion of these sad losses would have been lost to a normal influeza winter.

  44. Polly
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    How’s the ”common sense” going in the British government in investigating fully the ACE/ARB research outlined in the BMJ, The Lancet and by Louisiana State University ?

    Nothing happening apparently !

    Does the British government have ”common sense” ?

    Polly

  45. BOF
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “to think whether the neighbours would agree they have a need to be out and about”

    I think, Sir John, that when it comes to this, we are well and truly into 1984 territory. It is exactly how people behave in a totalitarian state.

  46. DOMINIC
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Marxist Sanders praises the Chancellor. This is the ultimate indictment of this Tory government and the death of Thatcherism. This government has delivered to Labour even more power than they could ever have imagined by expanding the size and reach of the State.

    We are now living in a politically engineered environment.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Different groups are competing to be more needy than other interest groups to win Govt support. You couldn’t make this up and foresee the consequences – unless you were Ayn Rand …

  47. everyone knows
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Police checkpoints now John? Can we still flee accross the Berlin Wall or is it too late?

  48. Polly
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Amusing how the globalists are using c-19 as an excuse for World Government !

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/26/gordon-brown-calls-for-global-government-to-tackle-coronavirus

    Polly

  49. MeSET
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Why has coronovirus left the UK intact in real terms?
    Because I am here! It fears me like no other. Frightened to death of me. It is right to be scared.
    My dog agrees with me. He knows me

    • Fred H
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Only look in the mirror from at least 2m away – be ready for the shock.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        I don’t wish to be pedantic but you can stand just 1m away as the other 1m is inside the mirror….but give yourself a margin as the police are now, all of a sudden, everywhere

        • Fred H
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          thats due to the muggers, burglars, wall-ATM thieves leaving well alone. They realise the virus cannot be seen. Suddenly we have a less violent, crime ridden society freeing up all the form filling Policemen/women.

  50. General Socket
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Boris was right not to have Steve Baker in Cabinet. He is a weak crybaby. Cannot keep his head and the war against Mr Virus has not even begun except by his allies in Supermarket chain leaderships.

  51. Polly
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    As Sherelle Jacobs in ”The Daily Telegraph” tells us……….

    ”The PM was panicked into abandoning a sensible Covid-19 strategy, and has plunged society into crisis”………

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/03/26/lockdown-wests-berlin-wall-moment-elite-managerialism-collapses/

    ”Boris Johnson risks being flattened by an obsolete ideology crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions
    Beyond the slam of lockdown, does one detect the gentle quivering of a Prime Minister who has lost his nerve? What irony that Boris Johnson’s opponents have failed to pick up on this weakness. In their desperation to whip up hysteria against No 10’s “insufficient” coronavirus response, the liberal media has missed what could prove the century’s biggest scoop.

    Namely that, faced with the protestations of the London bubble, the PM has jettisoned the only sensible strategy for dealing with the biggest global crisis since the Second World War. To put lockdown in the most cynical terms, the Government has decided to trash the economy rather than expose itself to political criticism. Unless Mr Johnson U-turns, the fallout could be cataclysmic.”

  52. Food Buyer
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Just done two bags of shopping. Small supermarket, very local. Persons queuing I have never seen before.Time on their hands as they are NOT WORKING
    Potatoes, 75% increase in price. New brand, hence officially shop has not increased price
    Bread ,400% increase in price as I normally buy a cheaper brand and there are no sell-by–date offers which I usually buy
    Tuna fish 25% increase in price (no cheap offers which I normally use)

    Other, food 25% increase in price, normal to the store but I am unable to buy online.

    Milk 300% increase in price because I cannot buy much larger bottles online as usual and this shop is higher in price anyway

    The shop assistant informed me that a woman had minutes ago rushed into the shop an attempted to steal the charity box of money which was for food banks. Caught by the new young and strong security guard which of course is an added expense for the store.
    I thanked her and the guard for their work.She told me “We expect things to get much worse.”
    We must ALL go back to work NOW!

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      fully agree ….we must now stop this lockdown

  53. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    It is very concerning that this Government has re-defined how a death should be reported from this virus.

    No one has been named on going for a while, so anonymity is a given. However, you can now only be dead from this virus if the next of kin wishes it to be counted as such.

    That is a dangerous reinterpretation of death from a Government that wants to suggest it is open and transparent.

    • anon
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes- one for the Public enquiry to look at.

  54. Iain Gill
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Simply staggered that the chancellor thinks that’s good enough. I can see every freelancer in the country screaming at the TV.

    What about the people who regularly swap between umbrella, ltd and sole trader? What about those who make money in the last few months of the tax year. What about the people who took a sabbatical.

    Clearly none of those surrounding him have the faintest idea what the freelance lifestyle entails.

    I give up what a poor ruling class we have, makes trump look like a brain surgeon.

    I simply give up on the political class and civil service, Dom Cummings is correct about the dysfunction throughout.

    Grad trainees could have done better.

    As for the pop about paying more tax moving forward, wtf when many are working part of the tax year for an umbrella PAYE due to ir35 still being live in the public sector and paying for travel and hotels out of taxed money.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      A fair assessment, they should of asked a few self employed people how it works…not the CBI and FSB or special advisors

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        correct, they have no clue whatsoever

        if nothing else they could have made universal credit payable regardless of savings for 3 months, to help the millions who will be let down by the shambles the chancellor announced

        and pops at freelancers re tax going forward are in very poor taste given the tax perks and avoidance of the big consultancies like that of the chancellors father in law

        absolute disgrace

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      If everyone pays the same rate of tax, national insurance (including the employers element) and nest then what will be your problem, your rates to clients should reflect all these taxes in the same that sme’s have to, if you put up a proportion of what you earn each year to cover emergencies then you won’t have a problem. You owe the government tax as it is, the first instalment isn’t due till July so explain what your problem is with an offset against this money that you owe.

      If you can afford a sabbatical then you must have put money up and the Chancellor has said he’ll average over 3 years so again can you explain what the problem is, you can’t have been on a sabbatical for 3 years and if someone has been on a sabbatical with 6 months without contributing tax and insurance then how can you withdraw from an insurance fund that’s not been contributed to?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        1 if you work both private and public sector gigs, then public sector ones will be through umbrella paye, and private ones will be through ltd. if umbrella earnings are more than ltd in recent years then chancellor has said you dont get anything.
        2 working through umbrella you were already paying for work travel & hotels from taxed money making you the highest taxed group in the population, but now dont get any help as no fixed hours
        3 freelancers need a float of cash to cover inevitable gaps in freelance gigs, if they are forced to spend that before becoming entitled to universla credit then they will be forced out of freelancing and the whole workforce will become a lot less flexible
        4 all of this shows how little you and the political class understand

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Iain, you’re correct I don’t understand.

          Lots of my family and friends are self-employed, or business people, freelancers etc. Several work paye in some periods of employment and invoice for other gigs but they only have one tax return each year. One composite tax return that declares all their earnings through paye and the freelance invoiced work?

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        The issue is the chancellor for self employed is using profit as a measure of income, this isnt the same standard measure for limited companies

        I had a saatatical but still had to pay my NI stamp

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          For limited Companies the HMRC are using the payroll figures for 2019 – 2020 averaged. They are not covering any other costs for the vast majority of companies.

          For a self employed person they pay tax on their profits after all allowable expenses. Since that is their earnings it is exactly the same for limited companies. Taxable Earnings.

          As for stamp when on a sabbatical, did you pay the minimum contribution only? This is :

          • Class 2 if your profits are £6,365 or more a year
          • Class 4 if your profits are £8,632 or more a year

          You work out your profits by deducting your expenses from your self-employed income.

          Class Rate for tax year 2019 to 2020
          Class 2 £3 a week
          Class 4 9% on profits between £8,632 and £50,000
          2% on profits over £50,000

          So class 2 would be £156.00
          Which is not bad when you consider it entitles a person to receive back £168.60 per week state pension.

  55. acorn
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Have you noticed that nobody in the media is talking about the “national debt” anymore? Even the right wing elite and their tethered politicians, are demanding the government bails them out first and the rest of the nation second.

    There is no neoliberal global capitalist “free market” solution to this problem. Only sovereign fiat currency issuing governments have the unlimited capacity to solve this problem. It is time for those governments to take back control from the global capitalists that intend to turn democratic sovereign states into giant corporate states.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s the capitalist free market that pays for the bail out.
      In poor socialist nations they dont have the wealth to do anything like what Germany USA and the UK can afford to do.

      • hefner
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        LOL, my poor Edward, if you think that the capitalist ‘free market’ paid for the 2008 bail out … you are even more deluded than I thought. A real ‘free market’ would have let banks go down. So how comes that the banks had to be bailed out with public money if the ‘free market’ is the solution to everything. So RBS got back on its feet all by itself. That’s news to me.

        For somebody who claims to know about business and is not afraid to tell us ignoramuses, it is rather a poor show.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          I’m not poor.
          I was talking about this bail out right now.
          Try again

      • hefner
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Edward2, Would you care to (re-)read what Sir John was writing between the 5th and 7th October 2008: Germany guarantees all deposits, Save the taxpayer!, What did Bradford and Bingley do to deserve nationalisation?
        My understanding is that this was not ‘the capitalist free market paying ‘for the bail out’.
        But maybe my economics and/or history knowledge is deficient. I apologise in advance if this is the case.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Again your are embarrassing yourself.
          I was referring to the current bail.out.

          • hefner
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

            The ‘capitalist free market’ did not pay for the bail out in 2008, nor will it pay for the current one. Why do you seem to enjoy being mostly wrong?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Acorn, that and more things are becoming very apparent.

      Such as the fact that the European Union has zero powers to subject its citizens to the sorts of strictures that member national governments have.

      That shows where the real power is, and always has been, and therefore that statements to the contrary have all been lies.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        The EU has told member states what to do and they have carried out that advice.
        Soon the EU will have its own armed force, at the moment it does not.

        • hefner
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Not true, look at the timeline of measures taken by different countries. The EU27 countries are at different stages of action/reaction/inaction wrt the infection. Just compare how things are in Hungary, Sweden, Italy. Just an example, if what you were saying above were true, how can you explain that a store on the border between Belgium and The Netherlands has its Belgian half closed and the Dutch still open to trade? At this stage, the antipathy to the EU becomes a disease.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            Of course the member states will take action at different times and in different ways.
            I’m not against the EU giving strong advice to member states.
            I just find it amusing to see pro EU fans denying it happened.

          • hefner
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            How twisted you are, Edward2. You started this thread commenting on acorn’s statement and affirming that the capitalist free market pays for the bail out. After been shown wrong you get back to your usual weak tirade about tirade about pro EU fans. Isn’t it funny?

            Are Branson applying for (100s of) millions of state aid for Virgin Atlantic, Trump’s $2.2 tn of emergency relief package and Sunak’s 80% covering packages proofs of your original assertion?

    • anon
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes- Universal Basic Income should be the outcome of this with a flat tax.

  56. mancunius
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I feel great sympathy for workers who are forced into Central London with a heightened risk of infection due to tube trains that are overcrowded because the Mayor has drastically cut down the service – notably at workers’ rush hour- apparently to save the money he had splurged before the mayoral election was postponed. Four days ago I was sent a TfL email from one Vernon Everitt,
    Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology that stated wthout any apparent irony: “We are operating reduced services and closing a number of stations so that we can keep things running for critical workers.” (Mr Everitt is evidently an afficionado of the Boolean-logic inspired works of Lewis Carroll.)
    And can it it really be true that, as reported, an entire third of TfL’s workforce has “reported sick with coronavirus symptoms”? Surely this extraordinary statistic needs examination.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      TfL’s coronavirus sick problem will only last two weeks then these people will be expected back to work.

  57. steve
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Queue’s now at virtually every shop that is still open.
    So, we’re expected to wait two hours in a stupid queue only to find when we do get in that the supermarket hasn’t put any bread on the shelves.

    It’s like some kind of communist third world republic.

    This is what happens when you put your faith in scientific ‘experts’, and a government that allows off licences to remain open while us plebs starve…….can’t have the elite going without their brandy & wine can we.

    The next logical step is to ban the next general election, then we can have mass anarchy.

    This country has gone to the dogs, it’s over. Well done Johnson, well done.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes this happened to us after work today Steve, we walked and queued at a local Tesco finally got inside no bread, no potatoes, no soap empty shelves – a few bottles of cook in sauce left. A couple of years ago before this store put John out of business we’d have been able to call him to box us a loaf or one of his homemade breads, some pies he used to make and potatoes he bought from local farmers, he used to butcher his own meat from local farms. It’s a sorry day when we let these majors take out butchers, bakers, and open all hours shops.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      It really is time to be a world leader and get the UK back up and operational, kids back to school, people back to work and open shops and pubs

      Its just another flu, a strange one with a new name but flu nonetheless

      Stop destroying the UK

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      but it all got petrol poured on and stoked well by the media. They have deaths on their hands and panicked the so-called government into one mistake after another.

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

      Victory Gin with juniper berries…..hmmmm

      zorro

  58. John E
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s unfortunate that some police forces are setting up roadblocks and treating people who are doing nothing to endanger anyone’s health as if they have been put under house arrest. Not something I expected to see in this country.
    Common sense is not as common as you would like.

    • Mark
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      I did hear of common sense from the Chief Constable of Manchester on a radio programme where he was answering questions, who said it was a good idea for a caller to drive with her dogs to a large park where should could walk them in comfortable isolation from others. These things should be obvious. Then again some police forces seem to side with XR against the public and common sense.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      I heard this too from someone near Tunbridge Wells. The government have clearly made a huge error in failing to lock down early enough given the NHS shortage of capacity. It will surely kill many thousands who did not need to die. Doubtless they will try to blame it on the public not doing what they said. The deaths are increasing by 25% a day again after the dodgy/fiddled figure of 10% yesterday.

      About 5000 infected patients in intensive care in London alone it seems.

      • rose
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Have you read Dr John Lee, a Professor of Pathology, in this latest Spectator?

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        as at 22:00 26th March

        10,783 mild condition cases & 163 serious or critical cases (source worldometer)

        So where did you get your 5000 in intensive care from ?

      • zorro
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        No LL, there are 163 in serious/critical condition. Show me the evidence for your figures instead of scaremongering. Who is your mate from Tunbridge Wells…?

        I was speaking to a nurse neighbour and she said that there are plenty of places and they are well prepared. The hospital in Southampton has been almost completely cleared to await the supposed influx!

        zorro

  59. glen cullen
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    The chancellor said tonight that the self-employed might receive up to 80% grant against and in direct proportion to published profits in accounts

    Self-employed have to show profit in access of wages for the past 3 years to be able to claim

    If a limited company shows a loss does that mean they’re not eligible foe furlough support

    He also we are all in it together

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, so if they’re been accounting creatively, then that will slash any benefits that they might receive.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Glen we’ve been advised sme’s will have to be viable and pay the wages and demonstrate that they can continue to be a going concern otherwise they’ll be throwing good money after bad, it was all in the original reports just not disseminated correctly. Viability is an important part of these loans, if you can’t survive for 6-8 weeks and keep your payments up then the chances are you won’t be in a position to claim anyway.

      Think about it the self-employed have put up their tax and ni for the last tax year and haven’t paid it yet so they have reserves, or should have. Their first instalment is due in July and the payments are coming from the government in June so they can live off their put up tax and use the money to survive.

      Likewise sme’s will owe vat or tax which they may have to live off and pay the wage bill of furloughed employees.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        This is the jam tomorrow theory

        No SME nor self employed would use assigned/alloted tax monies to run their business, its a debt, its not your money

        In my experience the SMEs that fail are the one’s the use VAT or Tax money to cover running costs and when it comes time to pay the tax there isnt any in the pot

        What you’re prescribing is poor business practice

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          I know Glen however in this unique situation if you have no other reserves the government have said they will give this furlough money to you in June before any debt is due in July.

          • glen cullen
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Yeah its tuff out there at the moment

  60. ukretired123
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Self-employed govt help is not failsafe based solely on “profits” as it incorrectly assumes all SMEs make profits !
    Even over 3 years avg.

    This is very worrying as it should have been 80% of their “Payroll Costs” on a par with Employed folks!

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      correct …its not the same playing field

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      its only based on PAYE amount, and since most accountants recommend paying the maximum allowed without becoming liable to national insurance, and the rest as pay to spouse or dividends, they will not get reasonable figure. and those who have swapped between public sector (IR35 in force, need to use umbrella and PAYE) and private sector using personal service companies will not get an accurate figure. and as I understand it if you earn more through umbrella than through your ltd in a tax year only the lower amount is used. there are so many issues with what the chancellor announced plus his active attack and dig at amount of tax paid, does he realise the number of freelancers paying for work travel & hotels out of taxed income due to IR35 etc?

      complete and utter disgrace.

      • ukretired123
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Margaret Thatcher was the last PM who understood SMEs as she had worked and lived above in her father’s shop!

        No one since has protected them and the self-employed are the LAST in the Queue!

        To add insult to injury paying based on the emotional dreaded ” Profits ” (which is oxygen for any business future !) It’s like paying the bonus without the base wage/salary!

        Also London / Home Counties SMEs have totally different incomes from the rest of the country.

        How you set out your stall frugally, expensive or somewhere inbetween should be taken into account.

        Trouble is the arrogant bureaucratic Civil Service haven’t the faintest idea and the fact that their multiple ultra expensive IT Databases are not in synch and need new systems to cope shows how they disrespect the Digital Revolution which occurred decades before the Internet Revolution around year 2000!.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        correct and this reflects many self employed

  61. Original Chris
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    What is going on, Sir John? At last some scrutiny of the modelling of Imperial college and their apparent row back. I believe that we now have to have some proper science injected into the debate and the policy of economic shutdown by Boris subjected to very close scrutiny indeed plus a rigorous cost benefit analysis. You cannot have a situation where the so called remedial measures are far worse than the disease itself.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/imperial-college-scientist-who-predicted-500k-coronavirus-deaths-in-uk-revises-to-20k-or-less

    “A scientist who warned that the coronavirus would kill 500,000 people in the United Kingdom has revised the estimate to ROUGHLY 20,000 OR FEWER.

    Scientist and Imperial College author Neil Ferguson said Wednesday that the coronavirus death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and COULD BE MUCH LOWER, according to New Scientist. He added that he is “reasonably confident” that Britain’s health system can handle the burden of treating coronavirus patients.

    “There will be some areas that are extremely stressed, but we are reasonably confident — which is all we can be at the current time — that at the national level we will be within capacity,” Ferguson said.

    The Imperial College had previously warned of modeling that suggested over 500,000 would die from the virus….

    Ferguson credited the U.K.’s lockdown for stopping the spread of the virus, but as Berenson points out, the country “only began its lockdown 2 days ago, and the theory is that LOCKDOWNS TAKE 2 WEEKS OR MORE TO WORKD.”

    “Now that we are seeing that the ICU bed & vent projections from orig Imperial College study are almost certainly WRONG, it is critical that we think immed about staggered, gradual opening of our country with new protocols,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said on Twitter following the revised projections.

    “The guy behind the doomsday Imperial College model now says he expects UK not to run out of ICU beds and UK deaths ‘unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower,'” American Commitment President Phil Kerpen tweeted.

    Stanford scientists recently wrote an opinion article suggesting that more information is needed before settling on a coronavirus mortality rate and posited that mass quarantines aren’t necessarily the most logical answer to combating the virus.

    Almost 500,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the globe, and over 22,000 people have died, while almost 120,000 have recovered.”

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      This tweet shows the exasperation with the I C modellers and their reported predictions for the USA.
      Thomas Lee
      @fundstrat
      “The Imperial College study originally predicted 2-6mm deaths in USA and was the reason the White House shut down America.

      They have now revised their UK death estimates by by 96%!!!!

      from 500k to 20k deaths… Yup…”

    • APL
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Original Chris: “They have now revised their UK death estimates by by 96%!!!!”

      No, I fell for that too. That is a misquote of Ferguson.

      With the ‘lockdown’ and ‘social isolation’ policies, the death toll might now be 20K.

      However, he also says “We will be paying for this year for many decades to come in terms of the economic impact.”

      And:- “We don’t know what the level of excess deaths will be in this epidemic, by excess deaths I mean by the end of the year what proportion of those people
      who died from COVID-19 will have died any how, but it might be as much as half to two thirds of the deaths we are seeing from COVID-19, because this is
      affecting people who are either at the end of their lives or with prior health conditions.”

      So on his 200,000 projection with no countermeasures – 130,000 will be dead by end of year, because they are naturally near death or have prior conditions that may kill them.

      But those 70,000 are going to have a twenty year, maybe 30 years economic cost. To buy a few months.

      Perhaps, this is a case where we should be asking the children.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Lies, damn lies, and statistics – even worse – forecasters.

  62. Dunedin
    Posted March 26, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Re proposals about food shopping:

    I was surprised to read yesterday that online grocery shopping, prior to the current crisis, is less than 10% of the total UK grocery shop (Mintel have 7% for 2018). This indicates that even a big increase to the current level of provision will probably still be nowhere near enough to meet current demands.

    For lockdown to work, we need to reduce the number of times people have to visit the supermarket so a big increase in click and collect would be very helpful. We could collect our own shopping and pick up orders for elderly neighbours. In the car park, supermarket staff could check order numbers and customer ID through the car window and either put shopping in the boot or leave beside the car. This would reduce the risk of infection for both customers and staff.

    Supermarket delivery vans are designed for foodstuffs that need to be kept chilled or frozen which limits the number of orders they can accommodate. However most items do not require chilling, so any orders which contain only dried, tinned, or packet food, UHT milk etc. could be delivered using non-specialist vans. At this time of year it is cool enough for even fresh milk, butter and cheese to be delivered without chilling. Only orders containing fresh meat, fish or poultry and frozen goods would require the specialist vans. In the small town where I live, the local taxi firms will deliver shopping for the normal metered rate. As taxi drivers have already passed criminal records checks, they could deliver to the vulnerable and elderly who have no one else to shop for them.

    Urgent action is needed to deal with the profiteering on sites such as Amazon and Ebay. Profiteers who are bulk buying to sell on at inflated prices are adding to the shortages created by the panic buyers.

  63. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Wouldn’t it have been far simpler to just pay everyone that is currently working a basic wage starting immediately and go for total lock down? You have everyones tax records so it can’t be open to abuse and would relieve a lot of stress, how are self employed people now supposed to live on nothing till June possibly July?

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      A lot of self employed will become unemployed very soon

      • ed2
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        we already have

  64. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    The Government is making huge impositions on its citizens, expressed in emergency legislation. On its own account, Government assistance to businesses, employees and the self employed will lead to unfunded borrowing at an annual rate of £200 billion, which will eventually have to be repaid through taxation or inflation. It may be worse because the Government’s revenues will probably fall.

    It is reasonable for citizens to ask Government to do something for them. Top of the list is the need for many more critical care beds and the ventilators to go with them PDQ. Dyson has a contract to make 10,000 ventilators but GTech, formula 1 racing and other companies have expressed willingness to manufacture ventilators. As far as I am aware, they haven’t been taken up on their offer.

    The UK has 6.6 critical care beds per 100,000 population. Germany has 29.2 critical care beds per 100,000 population and Germany has a much lower deaths to cases ratio. To get to the German level of critical care beds, we need to boost the UK’s number of such beds from 4,200 to about 20,000. Potentially, every critical care bed needs a ventilator.

    I would like Sir John to ask an urgent question about the availability of critical care beds and the production of ventilators.

    Reply the government has published a spec for ventilators it will buy. Any company wanting to make them should send a sample product to the NHS for urgent testing. If it works they will get an immediate order.

  65. David Banner
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    As a Protestant Christian I will be REFUSING government money as I do not want ANYTHING to do with you. Do you understand?

    I am self employed as I like to be my own boss but is that now forbidden?

  • 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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