The role of Parliament in the crisis

I am uneasy that I cannot go to Parliament and raise there the issues and problems that concern my constituents. I appreciate this is the normal time for an Easter recess, but these are not normal times. My case load, email box and website are even more active than usual. There is heightened awareness of government given the large increase in powers and the direct effects it is having on all our lives. I of course take things up by email, phone and letter, as Ministers are working.

I am seeking  reassurances today that Parliament will b e allowed back after the recess as planned. I understand we will need to continue adapting the work pattern to offer more protection to those involved, assuming the social segregation measures are still in place. The Speaker set out some changes which helped before the recess and more might be possible, to limit the number in the chamber at any time, but to ensure that public questions and arguments can still be put. Maybe there can be a temporary use of remote technology, so Parliament can have its version of the daily Number 10 press conferences with MPs asking the questions and making the points to the Ministers on duty.

This should be a time to demonstrate the importance of single member constituency representation at Westminster. Each of us receive many practical pieces of advice and difficult cases that reveal cracks or imperfections in  the rules and government programmes. These need to be put to government Ministers by MPs who are used to speaking truth to power and who know the Ministers well and how they might respond.

I would like strengthened accountability during this recess. The Cabinet office does allow a daily call to put issues, but it would be good to have a recess written question facility to all departments and virtual Ministerial statements with questions from MPs when the government is making important announcements.

I am raising these issues with the Speaker.

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267 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Thank you for all your work, in this difficult time, informing and educating us. When you have time, an update on Brexit progress would be welcome.

    • Andy
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I can give you an update.

      In January MPs passed Johnson’s agreement which puts a border down the Irish Sea and requires payments to the EU until the 2060s. Then you all celebrated it. Weird.

      Meanwhile the Coronavirus crisis has stopped face to face talks – and, despite the outrage of elderly Brexit backers, trade deals are not negotiable by Skype. Not that the UK even know what it wants yet anyway.

      The EU and its members have no time pressures and are rightly focussing on saving people’s lives instead of making them poorer.

      Next to nobody in Westminster is working on Brexit either but they are still too scared to tell you they are going to delay the transition. They are obviously considering when to slip it out so you don’t notice. There are lots of good days to bury bad news at the moment

      Meanwhile the Brexiteers have failed to recruit the 50,000 Brexit bureaucrats we need to deal with your customs red tape. 200m m+ extra forms a year – at least. Farmers are tens of thousands of seasonable labourers short so fruit is rotting in the fields. The £4bn we have spent on your Brexit so far could have been spent on the NHS – and we’re missing thousands of EU doctors and nurseries who let.

      The EU citizens settlement scheme has been closed down, because of Coronavirus- a breech of the withdrawal agreement.

      We have failed to replicate the regulators we need to be operational on 31 / 1 – including those dealing with aviation safety and chemicals. Industry has warned the government of the dangers but apparently Mark Francois knows better. Meanwhile the government has no idea what the internal border it agreed to will look like and how it will work – but it will add huge costs to business and massively harm Northern Ireland’s economy.

      Oh – and we are now the only people in all of developed Europe who no longer have the right to live, work, study, love bureaucracy free in 31 other countries.

      That’s how Brexit is going. You are very welcome.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        What a very bizarre post. Indeed trade negotiations can continue remotely just as commercial negotiations, board meetings and cabinet meetings can.

        You may have noticed that all the borders in Europe have been closed contrary to the Schengen Agreement. That France and Germany have blocked the export of medical supplies to Italy, contrary to the rules of the single market. And that members of the eurozone are screaming at each other again over the unresolved issue of fiscal transfers and cross-guarantees on debt. I think there will be many of us who were Remain or floating voters who will think we are well out of it. Yannis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister, who campaigned for Remain, has now reached the view that actually the U.K. is better off out. Mainly because of the impending disaster of the eurozone. Best to be well clear of it he thinks.

        There will of course be no border in the Irish Sea, but naturally the U.K. govt will find processes so as to respect the requirements of the EU not to allow unauthorised goods there.

        With all the other problems I very much doubt the EU will wish to add to all their other problems by starting a trade war with the U.K.

        Imagine how frustrating it’s going to be for you when there’s a good comprehensive FTA between the U.K. and the EU and everyone turns round and asks what all the fuss was about!

        • Andy
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          I’ve always said we will get a trade deal with the EU. And I’ve always said it will be far worse than the arrangements we had before. And it turns out I will be right.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            We lose £85 billion a year on our current trade deal.
            How much worse can it be?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        This what happens when you believe everything you read in the Gusrdian and Independent.

        • hefner
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          So do you have better information? You are very good at criticising other people but practically never contribute a positive piece of news or comment.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            Bit like you then Hefner.
            Read widely.
            Avoid biased sources.
            Some advice for you both.

          • hefner
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            Please can you provide me with unbiased sources. Thanks in advance.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        The EU and its members have no time pressures and are rightly focussing on saving people’s lives instead of making them poorer.

        Are they? You should ask the Italian, Spanish & Poles whose PM complained that Brussels ahdn’t given a cent in help.
        Do you know how many millions German banks made from the Greek debt? As of 2019? According to figures obtained from Angela Merkel’s government by Germany’s Green Party in 2018, Germany received €2.9billion (£2.5bn) in interest payments on Greek bonds that were bought through a now-defunct bond-buying programme.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Oooh, you are awful.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Heckling again Martin.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            No, cheering.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            Get you ears tested.
            You have a definite problem.

          • bill brown
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            Edward2
            I can see Martin go too far but your paternalistic attitude does not come across particularly well either, you might want to moderate it slightly

      • M Davis
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Andy, why don’t you swim the Channel, we would all clap you through our windows!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          Only in so far as “we” consisted of just a few euro-hostile fanatics.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, next time that I see ambulances attending a massive motorway pile up I must ask the crew how their pensions negotiations are coming along.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        thats pathetic.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          I agree Fred
          It is just a heckle.

        • Lester Beedell
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          +1
          The true nature of the socialists emerges even in a time of crisis!

          • Fred H
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            I wouldn’t assume socialism is there, more idealogical claptrap from Mao worshippers.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        What a disgraceful comment. More use of the delete key required, Sir John?

  2. DOMINIC
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    We are seeing nothing less than the political abuse by both government, State, NHS and opposition parties of the CV-19 event to ferment a collectivist mindset, a compliant mindset, an uncritical populace but more concerning is the general direction of State powers over our freedoms and the actions of those who impose such laws upon our person

    I shall think as a critical individual would. I won’t be coerced like a sheeple and corralled by this PM, Labour or indeed any other large state political animal who’s relishing the flood of cash and powers about to come raining down upon their gleeful heads.

    Many can see what the bigger game is here. We can see the leftist propaganda at work. We can see the NHS is being used as a Trojan horse to get inside the heads and hearts of a free-lunch loving populace to encourage State dependency.

    There’s a price to pay for State dependency

    Labour will be the main unwitting beneficiary of this appalling government’s response.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Here here.

      • Hope
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Do not forget Mayhab introduced the Snooper charter to local authorities and a host of other public sector bodies to ba able to view your computer traffic without any checks, balances or legal safeguard such as a warrant! Under the original guise to protect us from terrorism, but this is not the sole reason for snooping at your computer. The biggest Snoopers are local authorities!

        Tories promised to cut number of MPs in parliament following a host of promises to reform parliament after the expense scandal, nothing of substance materialised. A policy decision was reached with the police to prosecute a a tiny amount when over 302 were over paid or fiddled their expenses. Ten years on and under the cover of corona virus it was decided to keep the same number and award themselves a whopping pay rise to £82,000 and £10,000 advance when everyone else left to suffer.

        One reason to keep the huge number of MPs being the workload increased because there are no MEPs! This was not an issue in 2010!

        No MP screaming about the failure of reform, the shinangans over the past three years where some colluded with a foreign power to undermine the govt etc. Reform of parliament still very much required. The cess pit and Lords remain and in the latter case increases in number!

        • APL
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Hope: “it was decided to keep the same number and award themselves a whopping pay rise to £82,000 and £10,000 advance ..”

          Parliament is not a representative assembly, it’s a looting operation.

    • MarkLeigh
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      The snag is – what alternative do you propose ?

      I agree the risk of greater state control and surveillance is a problem going forward.

      But what’s the solution to the existential problem..

      I for one am glad we live in a country that says we will do what we can to save the lives of our people.

      Who would fancy drafting and delivering the press statement for the alternative?

      “We have decided that we are going to just let an additional 5% of the population die in the next few months. Sorry about that, but we have decided that business as usual is the best way forward”

      • Hope
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Mark,
        The govt are not saving lives, they have not found a solution to the virus and they have already changed strategy which were in contrast to each other and it is why the country is not prepared and has and will cause deaths.

        Johnson photographed on stairs in no. 10 with Handcock and others not complying with their own distance rules now both have the virus!

        Yesterday flights from hotspot countries still flying in, not quarantined or tested and went straight to public transport- reported in two national daily newspapers with photographs today. Lock down, for what purpose if this is allowed?

        Yes people die each day and each year from illness and voluntary activities. Speeding and drink driving cause deaths each year with years of govt campaigns. Did the govt ban us all from driving?

        The govt is clueless and rudderless. It changed course on flimsy reasons without the basics for the plan being in place. Perhaps we could have a three word strap line to make us feel better.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      You are correct. The current situation is essentially a coup with a growing overthrow of democracy and freedom (the government structure) in the country. Centralised power, government patronage (which businesses are permitted to exist, which people will be funded?), a brutish police force, the dominance of society over the individual etc. I could even read Sir John’s admirable request to the Speaker as an opportunity that the U.K.’s new central authority will take to step further towards the Chinese ‘democracy’ of local meetings to feed the needs and thoughts up to the central power to manipulate. How has the U.K. central authority managed this change so quickly, with the usual techniques of fear, then authoritarianism to be followed by salvation. Fear was allowed to spread, aided by an all too willing/naïve media and (partially) state funded research rather than a rational presentation. This left many panicking, desperate for direction and an easy place for authoritarianism to step in. If more people begin to question this then we will see the next stage of a saviour central authority with friendly representatives. We will see astounding claims for lives saved by dictatorial rule, we will see the brutish police ease back and pretend to be one of the people again.

      So, I agree with you Dominic. We can only enjoy our moments of being able to post comments whilst we still can. These days may be numbered.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      And on the use of numbers of lives saved as justification for the Govt’s actions there are some difficulties. If the claimed numbers of lives saved is only in the tens of thousands (conveniently ignoring adjustments for comorbidities) then this will be insufficient against the lives lost and general welfare impact in a longer time frame due to the economic damage. Any transparent calculation would have to make this comparison. The lives saved calculation would be estimated deaths if NHS collapsed less actual deaths given current interventions. Looking at the number of deaths so far and estimates of infections per death of 1000 to 2000 (compatible with the experts’ public guesstimates of background prevalence of a few % at time of writing) it is hard to see an honest calculation demonstrating more than tens of thousands of lives saved. Of course the numbers could be worse, and the assumed background prevalence might not be as high as the guesstimates, but of course it could be higher. It seems little effort has been made to get to the point of sampling the population for which a thousand not a million antibody tests would be sufficient. I expect an attempt to associate more deaths with Covid19 giving a chance to elevate the estimate of lives saved, I expect delay on measuring or reporting the background cases, I expect a continued push on the save the NHS message alongside air-plucked numbers of lives saved, and then in a few months the (clearly untrue) claims of saving the economy – the role of saviour, after fear and central control will be complete.

      I desperately wish to be wrong.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      +1

    • turboterrier
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      DOMINIC
      leftist propaganda at work. We can see the NHS is being used as a Trojan horse to get inside the heads and hearts of a free-lunch loving populace to encourage State dependency.

      Agreed. With the amount of information rising slowly but inevitably to the surface due in no small part to the power of social media, even a few of our and international politicians are beginning to have concerns as to where the Trojan horse was constructed and its potential damage to the Western world.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      What has been exposed by this pandemic is the abysmal quality of governance in this country, based on politicians, bloviating to assuage the masses, possibly as amateur clowns, instead of acting decisively especially when they observed a tsunami of disease approaching these shores from the East; the shocking state of unpreparedness whereby at every level there is not the ability to contain or fight this disease should not go unpunished and that does not mean the usual game of musical chairs but a complete clear out of the old parties and old ways.

      We could have taken the Chinese or South Korean route but instead we selected the Italian route by default which will inflict far more economic damage and human misery.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      You seem to think exactly as Nigel Farage would want you to think, that is not to think at all in relation to his utterances.

      So I think that your boast is rather hollow.

    • Horatio
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      People discuss the economic impact of this virus lasting a generation, it is becoming ever more clear that the social impact will be as great. Heaven forfend that the next PM is a Red as it will further entrench this deeply suspicious derogation of our civil liberties. The Police already place more importance on chasing hate crime than burglars. Will these, Stasi-lite, neighbourhood snitching websites be disbanded asap or will they linger? One positive might be the continued repurposing (to domestic needs not Chinese and Indian Space programmes) of the disgusting, profligate Foriegn Aid budget.

      Missed in all this talk of NHS crisis is how overstretched we are as a result of mass immigration. Taking in the equivalent to a city the size of Liverpool every year since 1998 has undoubtedly put intolerable pressure on the creaking seams of the NHS. Of course this will never be raised publicly at a time like this but the logic is irrefutable.

      • M Davis
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Horatio – ‘how overstretched we are as a result of mass immigration.’

        How true! Pity we’re not allowed to say so out loud, not even by a Conservative Government!

    • everyone knows
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      We are seeing nothing less than the political abuse by both government, State, NHS and opposition parties of the CV-19 event to ferment a collectivist mindset, a compliant mindset, an uncritical populace but more concerning is the general direction of State powers over our freedoms and the actions of those who impose such laws upon our person

      >
      They think this is their big push for global control, but the bad news is this is the final act that ends politics worldwide, for 1000 years of peace. They will all be out of a job soon, oh dear. God wins in the end.

      • margaret
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Since we are talking conspiracy , might it be the opposite to what your are stating and the private large companies getting a hold on state imposing their wills in a potential totalitarianism..We cannot see all which goes on but there is plenty of pseudo- type fiction out there which could relay more truth that fantasy .Authors have to get their ideas from somewhere and in this giant chessboard of moves and countermoves there are only so many possible manoeuvres.

    • BOF
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree Dominic and nobody dare criticise the NHS, despite years of failure, which is on going.

      • SM
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Well actually lots of us criticise the NHS, and have done very seriously to both Labour and Conservative Governments, it’s just that both are too scared to take responsibility for the really thorough rethink that’s required.

        (The Lansley ‘reforms’ were just ludicrously complex reshuffling of deckchairs).

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I have just heard a senior policeman on the radio, suggesting that Police Forces need more time to decide exactly how to enforce government advice. Once we have the Police deciding that their role is not to enforce the law, but to enforce ministerial views and advice, it is the slippery slope. When did Police training go down this track and why?

  3. Peter
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, many ordinary members of the public will be worried about the new tendency for government by edict and the justification of all sorts of new intrusions on the corona virus.

    Furthermore, there is a concern that measures introduced ostensibly because of this virus will never get rolled back.

    Policing standards have dropped woefully from an already very low level. There is now a danger the police will lose public consent altogether.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      When you start chasing people in open spaces with drones and creating a Stasi type culture, people, decent free thinking people, are going to act badly. And those decent free thinking people tends to vote Conservative and will not like what is happening.

      • Hope
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        It is not the police, it is the govt! Wake up.

        The police allowed and watched eco lunatics to commit criminal damage by digging up turf, blocking roads etc. Now shouting, fining and prosecuting people for getting fresh air! Where does the govt think people in flats can go? How do they get out without breaking rules of distance by stairs or lifts? Before we talk about potential Grenfall issues?

        FFS, hate crime and all the lefty socialist monitoring brought in by the Tory party. The police are inspected on their compliance with diversity, hate crime, trans gender garbage etc.

        We read today Germany starts 100,000 antibody testing to get people back to work, our useless govt has not even approved a test yet! We read there is capacity to analyse testing but organisation is the issue in the UK!

        • Fred H
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          yep…..harrass the innocent, ignore the criminal.

        • M Davis
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          – ‘ FFS, hate crime and all the lefty socialist monitoring brought in by the Tory party. The police are inspected on their compliance with diversity, hate crime, trans gender garbage etc.’ –

          Absolutely, Hope, and I wonder if there is actually any hope for ever getting a real Conservative Government in the future! It seems to me that the Socialists have been ruling for a very long time now.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            What absolute rubbish.

            What “socialists”?

    • Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Again I ask, Why can’t extensive use be made of video conferencing to do normal work by government and parliament? There are ways to make it fully effective as a means of discussion, and normal parliamentary business could be conducted. There are even ways to take a count.
      If Parliament is to evolve, then accountability needs to be transparent – With that in mind, and video conferencing used, there is no reason not to have these discussions etc seen by the public – who might also be able to give a response as to how much they agreed with decisions made.
      Out of adversity comes innovation – we can but hope.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        MPs will not even use electronic voting in the chamber what chance of them using video conferencing

      • gregory martin
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        No doubt that video conferencing can be simply established. Doubtless that all MPs input/output is already filtered/directed via a substantial building near Cheltenham. Switching may need adjustment to limit the needless detail to pass to our ‘friendly’ neighbours, in advance. Can , no, should also pass through the existing Parliamentary public channels of Hansard &TV

    • MarkLeigh
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Well…as JR points out – that’s the purpose of our elected representatives in the HOC…

    • Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      @Peter – Excuse my comment above – was meant for JR – Not sure how that happened.

      I agree with “Furthermore, there is a concern that measures introduced ostensibly because of this virus will never get rolled back.”

      Additionally, we should be very concerned about the length of the lockdown – the longer it persists, the more damage will be done to our economy.

      IMVHO a complete extended lockdown is extremely destructive of society and morals

      • steve
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Bryan Harris

        “IMVHO a complete extended lockdown is extremely destructive of society and morals”

        You needn’t worry Bryan, since morals are a thing of the past, and society has largely been broken down.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed the lack of a sunset clause was an outrage. Why on earth did MPs agree to this legislation without one?

      The police have gone from doing almost nothing about most crimes like shoplifting, burglary, street crime, bank frauds and the likes to shaming people harmlessly walking their dog with drones and vandalising the Blue Lagoon with black die.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Correct we need a big rethink about the police and what we expect them to do and how to operate in the future

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Or even dye

      • Peter
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Anarcho-Tyranny in paleoconservative terminology :-

        “when the state tyrannically or oppressively regulates citizens’ lives yet is unable to enforce fundamental protective law.”

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Why on Earth? Because, as you celebrated at the time, the Tories have a majority of eighty, and expelled anyone who might possibly not rubber stamp everything that the Executive wanted to do.

        Next?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Some of those who “got expelled” stood for election against real Conservative candidates and all of them failed to get elected.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            comeuppance.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            Yes, they did.

            What has that to do with my comment?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            It shows that you were wrong in your criticism of the Conservative Party for expelling some members.
            They stood for election and not one got elected.
            It shows just what the voters thought of their conduct.
            Had they agreed with their behaviour and their views they would have voted fir them.

      • zorro
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Well, what did you expect in creating a hysteria in which you have played a small part!? They have a tendency to abuse powers if not kept in check. They will enjoy nothing more than harassing people and fining them, rather than tackling drug dealing OCGs!

        zorro

    • steve
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Peter

      “There is now a danger the police will lose public consent altogether.”

      You could be right Peter. However a standard I apply is that if the Officer addresses me as ‘Sir’, then fair enough I have no problem and will reciprocate the courtesy.

      If not, them I advise him / her that I am waiting to hear it.

  4. agricola
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    This could be a forced start on the modernisation of Parliament, a long overdue event. Currently it is too great a costume drama and too little a modern business enterprise. A bit of theater is effectve on occasion, but what we have is largely a soap opera.

    • Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Does that go for the Church, the law courts and the Monarchy too?

      • agricola
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        The theatrical aspects of the Church and the Law Courts are there to intimidate. As the people become better educated and informed the intimidation aspect of the two diminishes.

        The Monarchy is pure theatre, relatively harmless theatre but on balance a great earner for UK LTD. Who would turn out or come from abroad to witness a president such as Blair strutting his stuff. They all have one of those at home.

    • MarkLeigh
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Agreed

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Stuffed with largely left wing, big government, pro EU lawyers, PPE and liberal art graduates whose main aim seems to be to overtax, over regulate, order people about and generally inconvenience them. Then to piss most of the money down the drain on bloated & largely inept government, HS2, renewables and other complete lunacies.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        fully agree

      • zorro
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Well, there’s going to plenty of overtaxing in the future because of the measures for which you have been a cheerleader! You have played right into their hands…..

        zorro

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          My approach was to get the NHS ready and geared up. I called for the lock down (that they belatedly did) but only due to the abject failure of the NHS to organise sufficient ventilators and other medical capacity.

          The 2 plus months they have had was plenty time to do all this. The pandemic planning clearly should have had provision to make or assemble such gear quickly.

      • steve
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        LL

        yeah, the lunatics are running the asylum aint they just.

    • Stred
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      All MPs to work from home in their constituency. The speaker to become a TV director taking questions on a split screen. Instead of jumping up and down like prairie dogs, MP’s push a button to submit questions. Speeches on Parliamentary Channel. Same with elected Advisors 200 max after Lords banished. Sell the Palace as an entertainment centre and museum.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      agree

  5. Javelin
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Senior NHS managers on £250,000 per year have failed to keep enough PPE or ventilators.

    They should be sacked for gross negligence.

    The next lot of managers should face stress tests similar to the banks.

    • Javelin
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      So digging around the legislation I have found the following. Before reading it this is not listed as a “national minimum standard” so I’m not sure if it was ever enforceable or not.

      Operating Framework for Managing the Response
      to Pandemic Influenza

      The Health and Social Care Act (2012) places a statutory duty on each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to “take appropriate steps for securing that it is properly prepared for dealing with a relevant emergency”. Similar duties are imposed on each NHS provider as a term of their contracts with the CCGs to provide NHS services.

      In addition, the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 places a statutory duty on emergency frontline responders to prepare, respond and recover from significant incidents and emergencies.

      The NHS England Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR) Framework (2015) requires each NHS funded organisation to have a nominated Accountable Emergency Officer (AEO) responsible for ‘ensuring that the organisation is properly prepared and resourced for dealing with an incident’.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        When there are so many ‘Acts’ and so many civil servants to review them nobody actually take responsibility

        MPs want to makes Laws
        Civil Servants want to manage and review Laws
        Committees want to scrutinise Laws
        Nobody seems to want to remove or combine them

    • Javelin
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      In terms of stockpiles. It’s says the bulk of the stock pile is PPE. We now know that this stock pile was (1) never defined (2) was inadequate. Does the UK really have enough antivirals for 50% of the population.

      This crisis will no doubt lead to a public enquiry and some of the questions need to be (1) Were the pandemic standards minimum standards (2) Were the stockpiling standards sufficient (3) Did the health authorities follow and standards.

      10.1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
      The bulk of the stockpile consists of PPE designed to protect healthcare workers from contracting pandemic influenza while caring for patients. This includes surgical facemasks, FFP3 respirators, gloves and aprons, plus hygiene consumables.

      10.2. Antivirals
      Prompt access to antivirals for symptomatic individuals is a key component of the UK’s ‘defence in depth’ response to pandemic influenza. The UK maintains a stockpile of antivirals sufficient to treat 50% of the population.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Ministers did not brief them to be prepared for these circumstances.

      It was ministers, reportedly, who were party to the analysis warning of this very sort of epidemic and its likely consequences, however.

      I think that you are gunning for secondary – though not blameless – targets.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Who are the people who did the pandemic planning in the NHS, why on earth was it so totally inept. Why was no action taken given the results or the experiment:-

      Ministers were warned that the NHS could not cope with a pandemic three years ago but the ‘terrifying’ results were kept secret. They know that Britain would be quickly overwhelmed by a severe outbreak.

      So which Ministers were these? Hunt/Rudd/May/Hammond I assume? Perhaps they can justify their inaction and the censorship.

      Can we be sure our defence planning is not equally appalling. I suspect it is given the aircraft carrier fiasco and other gross incompetence.

      • Andy
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Nobody was planning for pandemics. They have literally all be planning for your Brexit for years.

        I expected people to die as a result of Brexit. Even I am surprised it is already in the thousands.

        • The Prangwizard
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          But happy nevertheless no doubt.

          • Andy
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            I am never happy for anyone to die. It is you lot who don’t mind people dying – particularly if they are in dinghys or fleeing war in the Middle East.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

            Andy I didn’t know they rowed round Gibraltar – should be easy to stop them there.

        • Glenn Vaughan
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          “I expected people to die as a result of Brexit. Even I am surprised it is already in the thousands.” Andy

          I see that your mother has returned your computer to you. The consolation is that each one of your crackpot messages inspire laughter.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Rather more people spent years ensuring we didn’t get a Brexit we wanted and voted for. Yes, we voted for it in case you forget. Even now it is debatable whether we will get an acceptab;e version of Brexit.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Yes it’s now been clearly proven that Brexit caused the Coronavirus

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          The NHS hasn’t needed to be diverted from planning for health emergencies.
          You are obsessed with Brexit.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Worse they were doing expensive exercises with 200 organisation involved – then it seems doing nothing about the results.

    • steve
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Javelin

      “Senior NHS managers on £250,000 per year have failed to keep enough PPE or ventilators. They should be sacked for gross negligence.”

      To be fair to them, how do we know they weren’t denied what they needed, and then gagged ?

      Similarly I am not now entirely convinced that greed buyers emptied the shelves without some ‘nudging’

      I wouldn’t trust this (or any) government as far as I could throw it. They sit in their secret little COBRA meetings and decide amongst themselves what they think we should and should not be told.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Not even to have a supply chain in place. the next virus could affect say the kidneys, where dialysis might be needed. Are they going to be caught pants down again?

      • SM
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Once you are on dialysis treatment, you can’t come off unless you get a kidney transplant. I cannot imagine any health system that could cope with a vast amount of patients requiring such treatment, and I really don’t think that panic-inducing statements such as this and others on this site are particularly, or indeed at all helpful at this time.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Just what was said to Bill Gates in 2015 and to Imperial College in 2016. That reaction didn’t particularly help the present situation, did it?

  6. oldtimer
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I share your concerns. Give them an inch and they (government, NHS, police) will take a yard. Lord Sumption warned yesterday, on WatO, about excessive police behaviour and the danger of turning what he described as “citizen* police into an arm of a police state.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      As it stands on the evidence so far, it appears to me that we have a state which is knowingly presiding over a pathogen-mediated cull of the old, and of the infirm of any age.

      They wrongly called it a “herd immunity” strategy – a term used in vaccination theory.

      I’m not certain, as to what the correct term is for such a state.

      Fortunately, not all, e.g. S. Korea, are like this.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        S Korea has a compliant population and was hit badly by SARS.

        I think we honestly expected Covid 19 to be like the others.

        Remembering that China did not isolate herself when she knew this was beyond immediate control. They arrested doctors and allowed global contagion instead.

        Yet again Martin in Cardiff bows to the superiority of communists.

        Because he wants us to become communist.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          No, I don’t, and only the very silly would infer that from anything that I have said on this site.

          The S. Koreans are some of the most anti-communist people imaginable.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Lord Sumption (on this) is exactly right.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s mainly stupidity rather than any nal intentions. They’re not brought up or trained to think for themselves, so they just follow to the letter.

  7. Kevin
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    “speaking truth to power”

    When the health crisis is over, I would like to critically review this common phrase. I feel that it conveys the opposite of real life in the UK today, where power has truth in a full nelson.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, it’s an interesting use of words, since the Tories expelled all those who previously did that.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Labour have expelled lots of non Momentum Corbyn people.
        A real Stalinist style purge is going on.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Keir Starmer might be a breath of fresh air.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Labour’s total membership is about half a million, four or five times the Tories.

          Momentum’s is thirty thousand.

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

            Momentum are in the positions of power in local labour constituency parties.

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

            and at meetings with a vote 200 momentum turn up, and about 30 others……Motion Carried. next?

    • Fred H
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      often the only bits of truth that Government find palatable.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      correct

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      The real power, the power that will not listen to the truth, the power that does not permit itself to be challenged, lies with the media and most of all the BBC. Generally, if our government makes a mistake, it is because it has listened to the incessant irresponsible drone from the media.

      • Robert Eve
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Spot on.

  8. Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Good for you! You are right.

    Down at the bottom, two things really bother me (aged 80).

    One is the lack of the gym. My dear old body needs exercise of a fairly specific kind and I simply cannot get it at home. Already there are signs of wear and tear which need attention – and the last thing I want to do is to trouble the doctors at this time!

    The second is more important actually. Next week is Holy Week, the most important week of the year. Assuming this virus is fatal when it strikes (a big assumption I agree), then what happens after death? Christians believe that we have the answer. Now all that is put on hold and we just have to keep our fingers crossed and look, as the Muslims put it, for the mercy and compassion of God.

    Taking the sacrament over the Easter Triduum is very reassuring. Not this year though.

    • SM
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Why is death by covid19 any different, spiritually speaking, than death by cancer, road accident or war? Either you believe the soul lives on or it dies with the body, whatever the cause of death.

  9. Mark B
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Democracy has been suspended. But unlike last time when it was prorogued after the longest parliamentary session since the Civil War, and over the conference period, the Left will not complain. Why ? Because they have all the powers they want.

    I am seeking reassurances today that Parliament will b e allowed back after the recess as planned.

    When Parliament comes back, so too should the rest of the country

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    “Maybe there can be a temporary use of remote technology”

    No, it should be permanent, forcing MPs from distant constituencies to turn up in person in Parliament to speak and vote is absurd, the amount of time they waste travelling would be better used in the constituencies – there is absolutely no need for them to be physically there the whole time. Look at the stupid way you hold votes in Parliament, walking through a lobby, carrying in the sick from hospital sometimes, that could easily be replaced with secure on-line voting. Why not ?

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – for example look at all the Scottish MPs coming down to Westminster at great expense to the taxpayer to vote on education, health, policing etc. etc. even though they are devolved matters and do not affect their constituents in Scotland. Better they stay north of the border and concentrate on their own business and what does affect their constituents.

  11. DOMINIC
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    It is my belief that Boris Johnson’s actions over the last month as set the foundations for a Socialist Labour victory at the next general election. His acceptance of an unreformed and interventionist socialist State that panders and protects Labour and the union vested interest will in time encourage voters to look to the political State rather than themselves at all times. That emotional re-attachment to the State spells disaster for the Tories.

    When does this Tory government impose accountability on all State players? The BBC. The NHS. The Police. The judiciary. The CPS. All bend leftwards.

    Every leftward step of the State means higher taxes and less freedoms

    Yes, vote Tory get New Labour and a huge dose of Statism, PC and identity politics fascism and more immersion in a culture that demands adherence, compliance and silence

    In Parliament last week, Steve Baker made reference to a ‘dystopian society’, it’s arrived. Hand clapping seals is a visible sign of group coercion.

    Who’s now in control?

  12. Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Again I ask, Why can’t extensive use be made of video conferencing to do normal work by government and parliament? There are ways to make it fully effective as a means of discussion, and normal parliamentary business could be conducted. There are even ways to take a count.
    If Parliament is to evolve, then accountability needs to be transparent – With that in mind, and video conferencing used, there is no reason not to have these discussions etc seen by the public – who might also be able to give a response as to how much they agreed with decisions made.
    Out of adversity comes innovation – we can but hope.

    • DaveK
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      You could even point out how “Green” it would also be.

  13. James Strong
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    A time of crisis is not the time that Parliament should be in recess. On the contrary, it is a time when it is more important than ever that elected representatives work and speak in a recorded and official way.

    A quetion or statement made by an MP in Parliament is more important than the exact same question or statement made in a TV or radio studio.

    I have 2 major worries in this crisis: the increase in police powers and the tendency for powers to be abused, and the fact that Parliament is not sitting when they should be monitoring and assessing the actions of the government.

  14. Alec
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    The role of parliament is to exhibit the main effect of the virus which is stupidity and they are doing it very well. Amongst all the hyped up fear mongering is one statistic that shows just how exaggerted the death rate really is. We are currently 3200 below the five year average of deaths at this time of year. Let that sink in. We have shut the economy and removed basic rights for a scam. Many, many deaths are being attributed to the virus without autopsies and with little evidence. Constant press stories hyping up the dangers have made people fall for this charade. The lack of any critical thinking by MP’s have turned this country into a police state with an economy in slow motion collapse. Parliament has failed the people yet again.
    Most web sites will censor this comment, let’s see if you do too.

    • DaveK
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      In 2017/18 there were 46,030 excess winter deaths in England alone.
      16,130 of these were due to respiratory causes.
      The majority were over 74.
      Can anyone remember the lockdown?
      So, what’s the difference? I believe it’s no vaccine. Medical staff and the vulnerable normally get the flu jab.
      The non-vaccine process should have been to shield all vulnerable people and ensure top protection for medical staff.
      The government should also ensure better information is broadcast. Unlike your wailing trolls and the biased media I understand that herd immunity is the natural way. Do they think we should test and inoculate 70 million people every year?
      p.s. the modellers should now be considered as frauds.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        they made excuses to miss the Excel for Idiots’ course.

      • SM
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        I have great sympathy for what both you and Alec have posted.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      We’ll soon know.

      50 doctors dead in Italy. Is that normal for the time of year ?

      Hospitals in areas of the UK are certainly noticing the increase in respiratory illnesses. This is serious enough. But is cure worse than disease and I fear that we are about to be preyed upon by those watching how we react to the situation.

      If we are indeed *at war* then we have panicked terribly.

  15. IanT
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    It seems likely there will be many changes to life after CV – some good and some not so much.

    I wish you well in your endeavours Sir John

  16. acorn
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Lord Hailsham warned back in the seventies that Britain was in danger of sinking into an ‘elective dictatorship’ because of the vulnerability of its unwritten constitution to a left wing government. Now he would be foaming at the mouth witnessing the antics of a right wing government.

    Our Punch and Judy parliament is of little use at the best of times other than as an expensive debating club; currently “furloughed” on full pay and expenses. Holding Downing Street executive to account is, in reality, done by the main stream print media.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Seems only a few months ago you were telling us the Parliament was supreme and was correctly thwarting the referendum vote by voting the way it was.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Well, you can hardly call John Redwood ‘furloughed’, he reads us all bleating on day after day as one of our only outlets for the pressure many of us feel under, he is dealing as well with his constituents letters and concerns.

      His calm measured postings each day are welcome and reassuring that at least one MP is listening. I wish him well and I wish the UK parliament were more technically savvy in order to allow virtual group meetings, giving the speaker the power over who can speak for their allotted time (without interruptions) with questions at the end from fellow MPs selected by the speaker – it might actually make a nice change.

      If this goes on long term perhaps they will have to find a larger hall to meet in with properly spaced out desks and alloted times to walk in and out of the meeting room. There may even come a time when the Houses of Parliament are a visitors museum and a proper chamber with glass partitions is created or home/constituency based pods.

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I am terrified that you can’t go to Parliament.
    We lost democracy for a while during the Brexit debacle.
    It is becoming too much of a habit.
    I thought video linking/ conferring ( or whatever it is called) was all the rage!

    Also…re the plane situation. If this crisis is bad enough to allow the economy to sink…how come people are “brought home”? In extremis, horrible though it is, people DO get stuck abroad. Since when did the govt care about that?

    • Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      “I thought video linking/ conferring ( or whatever it is called) was all the rage!”

      MPs should install the video conferencing app “House Party” onto their iPads. This will allow them to continue meeting without risk of contagion.
      It’s all the rage among the kids nowadays.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, really this situation was quite apparent 2-3 weeks ago, when there were flights back. Why are we doing this? Presumably people were determined to finish their holidays? Or are they on a work mission, in which case why do they need to return?

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        And how many still STARTED their holiday in the last 2-3 weeks?

  18. Everhopeful
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Just wondered.
    Are all meetings illegal?
    I see that Christian Churches are closed.
    Is that by govt edict or choice?
    Are all places of worship shut?
    And dentists?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Also wondered where on Earth all these police have come from??
      Thought they were under resourced.
      Motorbikes, cars..not seen any on foot yet!
      Not seen so many FOR YEARS!
      Are they back to catching criminals?

      • ed2
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        The police are giving constant updates via twitter on how many law-abiding people they are harassing.

      • Original Chris
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Everhopeful, there seems to be a positive outbreak of the police all over the place. Or should I call it an epidemic?

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

          a force(d) march?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        To tell you the truth I’m glad to see it.

        Patrolling is highly effective at keeping all street crime down.

    • Martyn G
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      In the case of my village, we are told that it was the Bishop who ordered them closed. When all this started we were told that it was OK for an individual to enter for private prayer but that soon got changed to closed to the public.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Section 5 sub-section (5) of the new regulation states that all places of worship are to be closed

  19. John S
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Parliament should be suspended until the coronavirus is virtually finished. The country will tick over regardless.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Presumably H of L members can no longer turn up, sign on, collect £300 and pass go (back home)? Not an essential visit – it is closed.

    • steve
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      John S

      Agreed it should be.

      As should every factory, company etc except for food and energy – the only two things that matter.

      But as you would expect from conservatives they want business to carry on making profit, hence why there’s a grey area aspect to most of what Boris Johnson says.

      I have a better idea than suspending Parliament…..sack it altogether.

  20. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Given that different countries around the World have differing standards about Covid 19 control measures
    Are all of the passengers who are returning, or being repatriated to the UK being advised that they must go into 14 days proper isolation JR.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Nope.
      I may be wrong but allegedly they just hop off plane, onto public transport having been told to “self isolate” ( incarcerate) themselves at home.
      Oh and to sneeze into elbow if caught short on an overcrowded bus etc.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Food.

    All that arable land concreted over.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes!
      And allotments.
      Teeny, tiny new house gardens!

      Health.
      All those hospitals torn down for housing!

  22. margaret
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Except for Prime Ministers question time the benches in the House of Commons are mostly empty. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to suggest that MP’s sit 2 meters apart and that there is a limited amount of ministers allowed to go into debates at any one time, thereby keeping the numbers down to fit the 2 meter criteria.This could work on a rotation system.

  23. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Derbyshire police have demonstrated what a police state would look like.
    Too busy harassing the little people of British ethnicity whilst turning a blind eye to our more culturally enlightened brethren.
    We are a relatively passive race but if the government thinks it can confine us to barracks for 3 months or more then be prepared for civil disobedience on a grand scale.

    • Andy
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Derbyshire Police have been disgraceful. But they have been enabled by incompetent government. Priti Patel is in charge of the police. It is little wonder that 7 days into this a police state seems a very real prospect.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        That is ridiculous.
        It isnt the government’s fault that senior Police officers make nonsensical interpretations of their instructions.

        • Andy
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          On the contrary. It is not the fault of police officers that the instructions from their seniors and the government are nonsensical.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            No one told the Police to dye a lake black or to threaten a shopkeeper with charges for paintylines on the pavement outside his shop to help customers keep apart.
            Or to threaten people with fines for buying Easter eggs.

        • steve
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          Yes it is the government’s fault.

          The government has consistently and deliberately given instructions that can be interpreted to state advantage, and at detriment to our liberty.

          What else do you expect from a bunch of con merchants ?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            Silly interpretations
            As the Government have now told these senior officers.

  24. ferdinand
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Very sensible.I am surprised there is not such a set up already. It would not be difficult to arrange.

  25. Polly
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    There appears to be very little thinking outside the box in the UK, probably because rules and procedures have becoming fortifications behind which small minds have built empires….

    The UK has blocked the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a last resort for critically ill COVID-19 sufferers !

    ”US health regulator approves two malaria drugs as a last resort for coronavirus patients in hospital – but the UK will only let doctors use the promising medications in trials”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8167241/UK-regulators-blocked-use-antimalarials-treat-coronavirus-despite-doctors-using-it.html

    What hope is there for the UK if officialdom has this mental attitude ?

    Polly

    • SM
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      And if you (and others) were given chloroquine today and a year down the line discovered it had some permanent and very nasty side effects, wouldn’t you be jumping up and down, instituting legal proceedings etc, because insufficient trialling had been done?

      Etc ed

      • Polly
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Please note that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are already used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis so the effects are known. These are not new drugs.

        In any case, POTUS and the FDA have authorized their use ”as a last resort” so I hardly think your concern is justifiable.

        Polly

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Well clearly you if you want to try it (and there is some hope it might work) you should sign aways any rights to sue.

      • gregory martin
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        In such circumstances, would be delighted to be able to do such as you describe. A much better outlook. Same tunnel but more light.

      • APL
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        SM: “And if you (and others) were given chloroquine today and a year down the line discovered it had some permanent and very nasty side effects .. ”

        If you are suffering from COVID-19 today and you’ve been offered these drugs, it’s because your ‘timeline’ is a matter of days, rather than weeks.

        So, if your a year down the line and you find you’re alive to experience the side effects, you might consider yourself lucky.

  26. Al
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I have to say, my MP appears to have been altogether absent during the proceedings.

    Here’s another issue to raise: the banks are apparently not offering the government loans to small businesses, instead offering their own loans. I had experienced this, and heard similar from the online SME forums, but then saw it again in the paper this morning. If it is this widespread a problem, the UK banking industry may require a much tighter hand in the future, given that they are already flouting the government guidance on cryptocurrency, and are now activiely blocking support for small firms.

    • MG
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I agree with comments regarding loans from Banks for small businesses, after much digging on our company’s bank website it appears to say that applications for the Government backed loans can only be applied for if the critiera for the Banks own loans (with onerous charges and hefty personal guarantees) are not met. This is not what was announced at the Government press conferences.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed buy off offer customer cheap government loans if you can rip them off on up to £39.9% interest rates on personal overdrafts or other expensive in house facilities.

        They are useless (and in general a compete rip off) – government needs to get the money direct to companies. Not through these useless, rip off, slow, inefficient and totally incompetent middle men.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Indeed why would a bank choose to offer cheap government loans …

    • zorro
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Surprise, surprise!

      zorro

    • steve
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      A1

      “the banks are apparently not offering the government loans to small businesses, instead offering their own loans.”

      Yes there’s a lot of shysters exploiting grey areas left by an incompetent government. Including Company bosses who’s pay is linked to output…..and who should be closing the company but won’t, because they don’t want a basic pay packet like the rest of us.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      My MP has been absent for the past 2 years but can’t judge him too unfairly as I believe he went into self isolation way before the coronavirus

  27. Maj
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Other things are also changing. I went to my doctor’s surgery this morning for a routine blood test (which I was also told could be done in the car park!). As I went in a male patient, obviously in some pain, left and a female couple also left as I was waiting. Otherwise there seemed to be few if any other patients. As a member of staff said to me, it’s amazing what can be done by telephone consultations, albeit perhaps not as comprehensively as face-to-face ones. I wonder whether there will be a longer-term change in the method of at least initial consultations when this C-virus thing is over?

  28. margaret
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Actually John when you say you speak for your constituents the probability is that most outside your Wokingham boundaries will experience similar problems which need highlighting , but as the PM and others have recently experienced you risk too much being in close contact.

    I am aware that ( as I have worked in the NHS since 1968) the rules for eliminating bacterial and viral transmission have slackened. This many be due to reliance on vaccines and medication such as antivirals, antibiotics and antiseptics. I was always taught and it seems reasonable to accept the fact , that these pathogens do not discriminate about where to land, host and infect. Of course infection and proliferation of pathogens is a matter of ambience and mutation to thrive in a specific area. This is why for example in theatre work we scrub up to the elbows , we wear gowns , we wear masks , gloves and a cover for hair and these are changed at every separate operation having previously been sterilised at high temperatures. The worn protective clothes are then put into laundry waste bags to be burned very carefully .Staff should wear indoor and out door clothing and in the more up to date places showering available to all staff.

    The truth is natural selection is finding a way to rid us . Complacency and lack of care in the human race has not made us appreciate what we have and how to take care of the world we live in and our place in it.

    Taking these things into consideration and having the awareness of what covid-19 can do, I suggest that the old fashioned rules of hygiene and transmission should be spoken about and simple cross infection rules applied. I have seen staff with hair dangling into food stuffs , computers and other places which the public share. I have seen cigarettes being thrown into public places from cars, I have seen males spitting on the floor and many other cross infection potential hazards which some may not even realise spreads infection . It is simply not just about touching. Pathogens live on different surfaces for different amounts of time . Alarmingly when plastic aprons are used, I have read , covid -19 can harbour and live for 3 days ,therefore it is imperative that the aprons are only used once and then thrown away in an appropriate place for burning. This means a lot of aprons following contact.

  29. Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I see the ‘massaging’ of Coronavirus death stats is beginning already and excuses like ‘warm weather will kill the virus’. To justify the outrageous clampdown and loss if liberty and finances inflicted on the U.K., several hundred thousand deaths exclusively caused by this virus must be clocked up. I think the gap between reality (my early prediction published on this site was under 5,000 seem way too high now) and the justified number is too big to massage.
    Newspaper pictures of 2 policemen, discovering their inner NAZI, fining a man in Scotland and standing closer than 2 m to both him and each other have annoyed the hell out of me. It’s nobody’s business where we walk so long as we remain ‘socially distanced’.

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

      So my conclusion is that MPs dealing with these and many other issues is even more important now we have a Sovereign Parliament. It must never be impossible for MPs to do their job of holding the executive to account.

      • Will in Hampshire
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        The real shame is that the new Speaker has done nothing to dispel the impression that he’s no more than Boris Johnson’s poodle. He should be the one taking steps to ensure that the Members of Parliament continue to have the opportunity to hold Ministers to account for their actions through these critical days, but I haven’t seen any evidence of creative or innovative thought from him or his team about how to do that under these unusual circumstances. It’s hard to resist drawing the conclusion that they’re nothing more than the Prime Minister’s chamber lackeys.

  30. GilesB
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I hear that Facebook is giving employees an extra one-off 1,000 in recognition of the additional stress they are under.

    The Government should do the same for NHS and other essential workers NOW.

    Not offer an additional payment when/if they die for goodness sake.

    • MG
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      I do think this request should also be considered from the viewpoint of the many ‘non-essential’ workers who have lost their jobs and income or who are reduced to 80% income at best.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Stress isn’t working for the NHS with a guaranteed salary
      Stress is being told that your place of work has closed down
      Stress is going to work knowing that that company hasn’t any new orders and you could be furlough or its about to close

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        There will be soup kitchens come winter.

  31. Stred
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    The lack of parliamentary questions may be making the government take very silly decisions. The daftest, just reported is that anyone going out on an essential journey should take public transport instead of their car. The car will be the least likely form of transport to cause infection buses, trains and taxis are the best way to spread it, with airborne droplets and surfaces covered in the virus. Are these highly paid civil servants really that daft?
    Perhaps it’s just an early application of latest policy, sneaked out last week, that we will all have to take public transport in the future and only a few cars will be allowed. In my case, my commute by train takes over twice as long. Vote Conservative get Green. It’s s shame for the 95% that don’t.

    • hefner
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      ‘Anyone going out on an essential journey should take public transport instead of their car’: Where did you see that?

      • hefner
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        As of today (31/03) there is no such recommendation by the Government nor in the law. People have simply been asked to go shopping only once a week, if at all possible. The limitations are already quite drastic without having fake news disseminated by uninformed people, people who cannot find or cannot bother to find the proper information.

      • Stred
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:26 am | Permalink

        Telegraph. Advice on policy.

        • hefner
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          Advice on policy, neither an order nor a prescription. The rest of the original comment is your own, not the Telegraph’s.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like Agenda 2030 of the UN. Very much worth a read. Alarming policies. It fits in perfectly with the One World Government agenda which the global political cabal have been systematically implementing with frightening speed and with little resistance.

      The imposition of these draconian powers by this government, with no sunset clause, fits their agenda perfectly.

      I just cannot believe that so called Conservatives have not only presided over, but enabled, the radical changes in our society that have been taking place in its ever leftward direction. Gorbachev’s observations about how he could not understand why Europe was so intent on building a new Soviet Union in Europe, the EU, are chilling, but absolutely true.

      The far Left seems to have infiltrated key parts of our society, including education, the civil service and the MSM, but we have been complacent and lazy in challenging the erosion of our society. The fault is ours. Will we wake up in time? We need a true Conservative leader for that to happen. Boris is not that person, in my view.

  32. Tom Rogers
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Parliament is now neutered and irrelevant. We are now ruled, not governed, and it is by executive fiat. Even if, as I suspect, normalcy is restored in due course and the whole embarrassing saga is officially forgotten, the damage will have been done. Some of us will be preparing for the next time.

    I am born with my liberties. The onus is not on me to justify these liberties. The onus is on you to justify why they should be taken away. You have categorically failed to do so. Some of us who are still free and can think for ourselves can see this “crisis” is, at best, hysteria, and possibly something worse and quite sinister. This will not be forgotten.

  33. rose
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I’m not keen in introducing remoteness to Parliament. methods. That is what La Lucas wants, and once granted it can’t be taken away.

    Let the disgraceful antics of Tulip Siddiq be a lesson: our Parliament must not be manipulated by those with an ulterior agenda.

    • steve
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      rose

      “our Parliament must not be manipulated by those with an ulterior agenda.”

      Rose, it went beyond that a long time ago.

      Consequently there is always a hidden agenda in everything the government does, labour and conservatives alike, they always turn a situation to their advantage.

      My guess is this time it will be remoteness for the purpose of even less accountability, and restrictions to our liberty becoming permanent.

      If they really did have our interests foremost like they make out, they’d have slammed the borders tightly shut and closed the airports pronto the minute this virus outbreak was known of. That way there would be fewer deaths and an infection rate much more nearer manageable. This isn’t rocket science.

      But no, they have so-called ‘experts’ to do their bidding to the public’s face, and of course the secretive COBRA where they decide what we should be told because they think they know best.

      I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, they’re an absolute bunch of stinkers the whole lot of ’em.

      • rose
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        As I understand it, the Home Secretary wanted to stop flights but the Foreign Secretary prevailed with his concern about hundreds of thousands of tourists needing to come back. They haven’t thanked him though and in their aggressive entitlement some have been demanding private jets courtesy of HMG to get them back. People didn’t do that in 1939.

        • hefner
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          What a pile of …. The Home Secretary had asked without any concern for the thousands of British people wanting to come back to the UK. Fortunately the Foreign Secretary prevailed. And where did you get this ‘piece of news’ that people were demanding private jets? Source, please. And BTW how can you know that people didn’t do that in 1939?
          And if it were true (which I very much doubt) and have a source to prove it, was it worse that the Masked Avenger who today requests Sir John to repeal the coronavirus bill.

  34. steve
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Just been informed that I am a key-worker.

    Excuse: MoD supply chain. Note – manufacturing, not logistics.

    I wish I could be laid off on 80% pay.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      No you don’t. You just wish all the supposed non-essential workers were still working.

      • steve
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Fred H

        “No you don’t”

        Oh yes I do.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          how very sad Steve.
          I’ve been retired quite a few years, doing a very active volunteering varied job. I miss it terribly and my general physical strength is going downhill as a result. Mentally I stay philosophical but watch the gradual destruction of our economy for a quite difficult reason. Us old ones often have underlying health issues and put the grim reaper to the back of our minds. We have witnessed close ones, and good friends go out of our lives, knowing it can be our turn quite unexpectedly. This virus or rather the media portrayal has the population panicked.

  35. zorro
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    As one of your constituents, I request that one of your first acts be to ensure the speedy repealing of the Coronavirus bill, no reviews, just get rid of this monstrous attack on our liberties!!

    zorro

    • hefner
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      As another one of Sir John’s constituents, I would add ‘How grandiose one can be’.

      • Zorro
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Grandiose? Hardly….

        Zorro

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Agreed…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed why on earth did the MPs fail to insist on a sunset date?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        I really can’t believe, that someone who claims to be a mathematician would implicitly admit to being unable to grasp the simple arithmetic relating to seats in Parliament, and what that means for votes there.

        Really.

        • Zorro
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          As usual, you don’t address the point. Why no sunset clause?

          Zorro

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          MP chose to go along with no sunset clause it is nothing to do with maths. They could have insisted but did not do so.

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Well you say that John, I am disappointed with the quality of reviews of the issues by MP’s available for all to see in their tweets, interviews, etc, and indeed the quality of reviews of the issues by the press.
    It really does look like this whole thing is bringing out the best in some and highlighting the worst is others.
    I am almost throwing up at the sick inducing hype over the NHS in all of this, a failing institution that has long been due a reality check and bringing up to date with the systems in the best of the rest of the world. Dom may have neutralised the Labour attack using the NHS as a rallying cry, but this has been done without any of the necessary reality checks needed to improve healthcare in this country.
    I am upset that money has just been thrown at local councils to “help the community” when the reality is, they mostly are clueless how to do that, and much of that money is being wasted.
    Upset that DE&S one of the most inefficient poor-quality parts of the MOD and public sector has been flooded with money and given ample ways of hiding their long-term failures, so they will be able to avoid necessary improvements for decades to come.
    Cheesed off that large parts of the public sector have just stopped work completely, not even trying to work from home. Look at the financial ombudsman service, almost completely shut, all on full pay no doubt.
    We have the Chancellor and his advisors who have socialised the losses of the big consultancies who can now run massive benches (of people without assignments) and keep them on the headcount subsidised with 80% contribution from the tax payer (regardless of the savings/wealth of the individual workers), when they were already running tax avoidance measures like moving profits to tax havens so minimal corporate taxes payable here, masses of imported workers getting first year in the country free of national insurance, and so much more. Pumped money into the long term unemployed, and done nothing to improve their incentives to work, or incentives to move geographically for work.
    And a Chancellor who has actively decided to slag off freelancers and accuse them of not paying enough tax. Clearly not understanding that many cycle in and out of different types of legal working framework, umbrella companies, personal service limited, sole trader, occasional “perm” role, and gaps. Seemingly not understanding that in many cases, such as umbrellas inside IR35 for public sector gigs, they are actively forced to pay for work expenses like travel, hotels, etc out of taxed money making them the most taxed workers in the workforce. And offering no help whatsoever to large %’s of the workforce, cos they don’t have mates in high places, like the consultancies do, to argue their case, or slip in measures under smokescreens. Which will force many into a new underclass, and a whole new set of problems for society, the most entrepreneurial and flexible parts of the workforce shafted while the cosy lazy parts have been boosted, its not going to be good, our whole ability to generate wealth as a society is going to take a massive kicking.
    Then we have the way the centre is managing the big picture, centralising way too much, when decentralising medical treatment would do a lot to reduce cross infection. Hiding the computer model being worked on from other teams, and other individuals, who could and should be able to come up with alternate improvements etc. Playing “knowledge is power” games at a time like this is silly.
    My overwhelming feeling is of a top-heavy society that simply doesn’t understand how it pays its way in the world, and how it actually hangs together normally, actively trying to destroy the most productive parts of that society and flinging money around like confetti at the most problematic. The political/public sector/journalistic classes are an embarrassment.
    As for the police, and the enthusiasm of many of their members to wield new powers to persecute ordinary people, while leaving the real hardened criminals alone, is revealing. The politically correct way they have been recruited and run for decades is showing now in how poor quality they are. They could and should have taken the opportunity to reassign resources to tackle some of the real hard-core hardened criminals, but instead they are doing Doris the nurse for being 5 mph over an arbitrary speed limit on her way to the hospital.
    Makes me embarrassed to be a Brit the whole thing.
    The biggest observation is how little the real way this country and society works is talked about and understood by the elite, they simply have no clue how the most complex projects get delivered, how the money is generated, none at all.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to add that our ‘bills’ haven’t changed

      Still have to pay council tax, energy tax, income & NI and VAT all on top of normal household bills

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill,

      I am also embarrassed to be a Brit, but I am also scared to be a Brit in (what was) my country.

      The key piece of information on whether the UK can regain transparency will not be so much the hidden model, but whether when prevalence rates are measured they are honestly released with the day and cohorts. Today Dr Jenny Harries indicated measurements were being made, with these we can easily estimate the lives that will be lost whilst within NHS capacity and thus also those if above NHS capacity. The excess can be compared with what the expected effect of closing the economy is. With estimates of 1000 or 2000 infected for each death and about 1/8th of hospitalised dying then closing the economy looks a bad decision (ignoring the police state). If it turns out there is much less than a few percent background prevalence then it may well have been necessary (though approach needn’t have been so heavy handed). The question will be when will the Govt have the numbers, and if/when will the public.

      In terms of models I don’t think the Govt has even indicated what economic (and welfare) model has been used in conjunction with the epidemic model to inform the decision.

  37. glen cullen
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Last week I reflected upon my friends that where self isolating (mainly public sector)

    Well this week it just got more serious, my friends and colleagues that own SMEs report the following:

    Solicitors Office closed (courts closed) 10 staff (most have self employed status) sent home no furlough

    Automotive Engineering (cancelled orders) 14 staff sent home, attempting to furlough, will not get bank loan, and will close business down completely end of April

    Specialised Rail Engineering (no new orders) 6 staff to be sent home Friday, attempting to furlough, also will not get bank loan, and will close business down completely end of April

    Marine Insulation (current 6 week contract no new orders) 5 of 10 staff to be furlough, also will not get bank loan, and will close business down completely end of May

    These SMEs are all in a 20 mile radius in a region with almost no recorded coronavirus….If it hurting here it must awful for SMEs in the rest of the country

    I can see a lot of SMEs going to the wall at the end of April

    So the role of parliament is to reverse this lockdown

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The effects of this shutdown are going to be catastrophic, but Boris and his team do not seem to have thought it out. Unforgiveable.

      You only have to look at a very small area to see the network of businesses and small enterprises and the intricacies of how they relate to and depend on other people/businesses. The pleas for help (We cannot last like this till June…) are apparently falling on “cloth ears”, who seem to lack any common sense, and who lack a fundamental understanding of how local businesses and communities operate. It is deadly serious, Sir John, and I don’t think Boris et al have a clue. They seem utterly incompetent.

      • Original Chris
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Right on cue, with reference to my comment above about the scale of collateral damage, the Daily Mail publishes this:

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8171419/Millions-seasonal-plants-worth-total-200m-destroyed-coronavirus.html
        Millions of seasonal plants worth total of £200m will be destroyed due to coronavirus because they cannot be sold to garden centres – leaving UK’s 650 nurseries and growers facing ruin
        Greenhouses are full with plants that now cannot be sold due to the lockdown
        Plants are perishable so cannot be kept for long and will need to be destroyed
        This means hundreds of growers and nurseries now risk going out of business.

        Also worth noting, that people are encouraged to take exercise in their own gardens e.g. doing gardening. what is the next thing to happen? They cancel the brown bin wheelie bin collection. The garden centres are closed, and the growers and nurseries are going to take a huge hit. So much for the govt encouraging us to garden.

        Another spin off from all of this is general wellbeing. Has the govt thought through all the repercussions of the media hype, the govt draconian measures, the over zealous police actions, the curtailing or banning of activities that promote good health and well being? No, they haven’t, and although these things might not be at the top of the list in terms of importance, they are still part of the whole picture, which the government seems unable to comprehend.

        • steve
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Original Chris

          “Has the govt thought through all the repercussions of the media hype”

          Gov’t doesn’t need to, since Gov’t was / is secretly behind most of what media says.

          Medis specialises in nudge……highly useful when you want to BS the public.

        • Stred
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:12 am | Permalink

          The silliest policy is that garden centres are allowed to sell food such as vegetables but the police will not allow them to sell plants. The spacing in garden centres was already beyond six feet and it would be easy to maintain distance between customers.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it’s the obvious thing to do, play the banks at their own game.

      Rather than hand everything over to the banks, tally up and close the doors. The assets are still there and can be bought back later by shareholders from the banks and finance companies at a fraction of the outstanding liabilities. Or not – it’s the banks’ choice. Either way, those premises and assets won’t sell or let themselves in the meantime.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

      The common sense solution has been discussed but, after that we should have instigated testing on all primary people (eg Nurses, doctors, police) and then to the wider general public starting with the most at risk.

      Once we had an idea of the extent and the ‘hot spots’ we could have isolated them and left most of the country alone.

      The government has panicked. It has allowed itself to be frightened by so called experts and an MSM eager to peddle and milk this story. They will not suffer.

  38. zorro
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    George Orwell wrote in 1984 about the future…. ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever,’.

    I feel that this needs to be updated for 2020 – If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever while the face being stamped on proffers thanks.’

    zorro

    • Horatio
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes indeed. The woke are ever grateful for their subjugation. Its because the next generation have been taught tgat they czn only survive when coddled by the state.

  39. everyone knows
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Are all the MPs sitting at home or in their villas like Gorbachov during the coup? And no one is going to protest? Wow, how pathetic.

  40. BOF
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I resent the new draconian role of the Government, with the supine support of Parliament.

  41. glen cullen
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    ONS statistic week 12 (20th March)
    Deaths total 10,654 – 5yr Ave 10,573 – Covid19 related 103

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/week

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but that is death of people with Corvid19 and not necessarily because of Corvid19.

      And as others have pointed out. How many people have died with, or because, of the common flu ? We don’t know because no one is counting.

    • APL
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen: “Deaths total 10,654 – 5yr Ave 10,573 – Covid19 related 103”

      total deaths from pulmonary conditions w/e 13th March – 1,488
      total deaths from Covid-19 for week ending 13th March – 0005

      total deaths from pulmonary conditions w/e 20th March – 1,514
      total deaths from Covid-19 for week ending 20th March – 0103

      For the first three weeks of January this year there were over 2,000 deaths in this category.

      For January 2015 there were nearly twelve thousand deaths in that month alone.

      If the lock-down is a thing, why is the government allowing medical staff who are exposed to the virus to return into the community?

      What is the potential that the medical staff and orderlies are actually unwitting agents of the condition?

  42. Ian Pennell
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    The drastic measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus- given that up to 500,000 people could die in Britain if it is allowed to spread unchecked- are measured and proportionate to preserve life. They will likely be needed to be extended until the autumn to guard against a possible Encore should a second wave of this pandemic hit.

    All of that mounts up to one huge Economic hit. The Government cannot borrow £1 Trillion to bail out the entire Economy- Fitch has already downgraded Britain’s credit-rating last week and if Britain is downgraded to one notch above junk by all three international Credit Ratings’ Agencies the Interest to pay just servicing the new National Debt will increase to £200 billion. That would require some very nasty Austerity to get under control!

    The Bank of England can neither print that sort of money to keep the Economy afloat when the supply-side takes a big hit during the Lock-down (workers staying at home, etc.) without provoking 10%-plus Inflation. The Bank of England could probably print up to £500 billion- using it to buy up commodity-backed securities to back up Sterling and that will feed into the wider Economy to prevent a very deep Recession- but when the Supply/ Manufacture of goods is reduced printing more money will just cause massive Inflation.

    Thus beyond the measures announced already the Government will have to put up taxes, probably on Wealth, in order to help households and businesses- and invest in Infrastructure (as promised in the Conservative Manifesto). Foreign Aid will likely have to be cut to help pay for all the borrowing and worsening fiscal outlook caused by Recession.

    Given the likely Fiscal and Monetary restraints by autumn, one would welcome your thoughts, Sir on how to raise ££100 billions needed to invest in roads, rail, new homes and broadband across Britain whilst cutting those taxes that hold Britain back without a) Causing Inflation/Borrowing to get out of hand or b) Provoking such Electoral Fury that Boris Johnson is guaranteed to be a one-term Prime Minister? Perhaps you could then share these policy ideas with Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

    Conservatives dont like “Wealth Taxes on the Rentable Value of Property”, but they do less harm economically than other taxes, for the population as a whole such measures would be less likely to provoke electoral fury than further Cuts or other Tax Rises. Sure, some Conservative Voters in the Shires will squeal, some might vote “Liberal Democrat” in protest, but that’s better than five million Northern and Midland voters going back to Labour in protest at Benefit Cuts or VAT being raised. These are the choices facing the Government when all this is over.

    Mass Privatisations would also be unpopular, though some might be unavoidable to raise monies to keep the economy afloat. The Rail Infrastructure (tracks, signalling, etc) is still State-owned -that might have to be sold to raise ££ billions needed.

    When this is all over, there needs to be a serious plan to put in place a British Sovereign Wealth Fund- so if ever such a catastrophe should befall the UK Economy again there are reserves to call upon: We need to fix the roof when the Sun comes out again!

    All the best for you and your family at this time.

    Ian Pennell

    Reply I disagree and think it imperative not to hike taxes during the recovery phase

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Some good points but para 4, sorry but this government (all governments) will never change the law to reduce foreign aid

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      The actions taken are indeed very effective at filling the news.

      However, they are not the ones crucial to suppressing the epidemic.

      They are:

      Mass testing.
      Isolation of the infected.
      Rigorous contact tracing.

      These two facts are related, I think.

      • ed2
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        There is no mass testing going on Martin, the test sites are all empty, no one is being tested, there are dozens of videos on youtube showing them all empty. It was all just a show for the camera.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Yes, exactly.

          The real intention can only be deduced.

    • everyone knows
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      The drastic measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus- given that up to 500,000 people could die

      >
      This has been downgraded to 5300, yes from 500.000 to 5300. Did you not read Hitchens article last Sunday?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Your numbers in paragraph 1 correspond to 1 in 100 who are infected dying and an R0 of just over 3. This could justify the scale of supply side shock, if that were the number of lives saved. However the Chief Scientific Adviser has suggested perhaps 1000 cases for each death, whilst Imperial’s guestimates of a few % of the population already infected reduces the mortality estimate further. Under these numbers it is difficult to justify the supply side shock. It might be the case that under demand side recessions / depressions that it is possible for mortality to actually decrease, but supply side shocks (e.g. think of oil in the 70s) can lead to a drop of growth for decades. Such growth is what correlates to increase in life expectancy, lose a year of potential gain in life expectancy across the population is roughly equivalent to 800,000 lives. (Think of the new normal growth in the past decade and the slowing of increases in life expectancy). The risk of the supply side shock is quite reasonable if 500,000 lives are to be saved, but if the mortality rate is an order of magnitude lower it is much less clear. Once ‘we’ have (if ‘we’ had) prevalence rates it will be more clear.

  43. Polly
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    This so looks like a crisis overwhelmingly in the risk categories, and of those it looks like ACE/ARB meds are probably a major factor.

    Very sadly indeed ”England’s death toll has risen to 1,651 after a further 367 people, who tested positive for the Covid-19, have died”.

    Patients were aged between 19 and 98 years old and all but 28 patients (aged between 19 and 91 years old) had underlying health conditions, a statement released by the NHS said.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-covid-19-news-updates-cases-deaths-flights-latest/

    All but 28 were in the risk categories, and some of those perhaps were smokers, vaping, rec drug users.

    So can everyone not in the risk categories go out now please ?

    Polly

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      No not yet because:- if the NHS is overwhelmed many people who could have survived will not (this for want of ventilators and other medical care). Underlying condition might be quite minor slightly elevated blood pressure for example.

      We need to get the NHS up to a level where it can cope (and then we can relax the controls a slowly). Unless you want perhaps 15,000+ or so avoidable deaths on top of the circa 20,000 that we are likely to get anyway. I certainly do not want any of my family or indeed anyone else to die for want a ventilators that could easily have been made for about £2,000 a piece in the 2 plus months notice we have had – had proper pandemic planning been done.

      • margaret
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        We need to know how many people have been successfully weened off ventilators .

        • APL
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Margaret: “We need to know how many people have been successfully weened off ventilators .”

          When we finally get the figures, let’s compare notes. I say it’ll be less than 50%, very substantially less than 50%.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            Well that is still a lot of lives saved.

          • APL
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “Well that is still a lot of lives saved.”

            Thing is it’s not. When I say ‘less than 50%’ we’re probably not talking about more than 10%.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Worryingly the Chinese have said only 3% in their case, Margaret.

          However, I understand that in European countries the figures are less alarming.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            are you getting this stuff from Christmas crackers you hadn’t pulled?

      • rose
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        We have been told we are not at capacity for ventilators yet and that 90% of patients put on them die. Only 10% survive. Shortage of ventilators is not the major problem it has been made out to be. Old age and illness are.

        • APL
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

          rose: “Shortage of ventilators is not the major problem it has been made out to be. ”

          More misdirection by the BBC and associated media.

        • John E
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          The Chinese doctors told us that patients with this virus have to be put on ventilators early for them to work. If doctors wait until patients obviously need them then it’s too late and there is little or no point.
          They can only be aggressive in using them if they have enough to go round.

          • rose
            Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            The main point is that old people or other very ill people are often too frail to survive the treatment. It is not a picnic.

      • Original Chris
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        If you trash the economy to take pressure off the NHS, then you will end up with no money to actually run the NHS which you were supposedly trying to save.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Which is the current state of affairs

      • SM
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Do you know how high the risk of death is from the very fact of being on a ventilator in the first place? Do you know that the older you are, especially with the likely conditions you will have in old age, the more likely you are to die BECAUSE you are on a ventilator and therefore run the serious risk of contracting pneumonia?

        Try looking up the relevant scientific papers on ventilator risks before you write yet another ignorant rant about how little they may cost in terms of £££s.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

          I did not say they cost £2000 but that they could have been made for £2000 each.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        And serious critical cases remain at 163

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        You must know you’re wrong now, Lifelogic.

        Like so many you’ve taken a stance and won’t back down.

        Have you any idea what a real economic depression is going to look like and how many of ALL of us it is going to kill ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          I do not accept that I am wrong at all on this. The economy will recover very well indeed once it is all over and especially once we have a vaccine. Once the NHS has capacity to cope we can slowly relax restrictions.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          To be fair, as I understand it LL’s initial position was re the wrongly called “herd immunity” project – the cull, in truth.

          The Government then hastily moved to be seen to abandon that, when China showed them up by stopping their epidemic.

          However, it has not adopted the measures specified by WHO, and indeed, reliable news as to what is being done – and its effects – is hard to find. I think that is intentional.

          But broadly, LL has been correct if you deal with his numbers as he intended, as a guide to orders.

      • everyone knows
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        So Lifelogic, you have suddenly turned into a big spend Socialist on the back of a Media hoax?

  44. DaveK
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Apologies Sir John, but you are my go to politician. Would you be amenable to a Points or Thoughts to consider post re the current situation? Things that may have been overlooked etc. Such as 1. The truckers delivering vital supplies have lost nearly all facilities such as bathrooms/places to stay and hot meals – solutions? 2. The charitable air ambulances/RNLI also need PPE, should they buy their own?

  45. James Bertram
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, the central issue you need to raise with Government, and urgently, has been provided by today’s BrexitFacts4EU website (no, not the piece by you on the Beeb, I’m afraid):
    https://facts4eu.org/news
    Deaths per week in England and Wales are not any higher on average than they were for any of the previous 5 years.
    What is the factual basis for this lockdown and the trashing of our, and the world’s, economies?
    Isn’t it time they looked again at the ‘scientific models’ and ‘expert’ advice they so uncritically accepted?
    What on earth is going on?

    • DOMINIC
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Some call it centralisation. Some call it Reichstag politics. Labour call it a once in a lifetime political opportunity to promote collectivism, socialist compliance and social group coercion using emotion and psychological warfare

      The unprincipled Tories haven’t a clue about how to react except spend like a lunatic which is what happens when you’ve sacrificed all your values and principles and are now kneeling at the altar of Labour’s political construct

      We’ll pay a heavy price for a Tory party that’s a copyright abuse of what they once were

      I know Thatcher wouldn’t have responded in a manner that may deliver Marxist Labour the next GE

      You can’t OUT-Labour Labour

      • ed2
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Some call it centralisation. Some call it Reichstag politics. Labour call it a once in a lifetime political opportunity to promote collectivism, socialist compliance and social group coercion using emotion and psychological warfare

        >
        Yes, it wasn’t hard to co-opt the stupid Labour Party into tyranny was it. Just goes to show they are not fit for their positions, any of them.

      • ed2
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Until now I never really appreciated the dangers of the Left, Boris, Cummings and Hancock, included.

    • Richard
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      ex-Prof Hector Drummond has also collated some good analyses, pointing out:”A communicable disease epidemic in summer is really, really unusual.” and asking where is the solid evidence that it will happen?
      https://hectordrummond.com/2020/03/31/some-european-death-graphs/

  46. Not UP enough
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes but what are the “Community” figures for the probable role of Parliament?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52103808#

    • Not UP enough
      Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Now whether those said to have died from the Virus even in hospitals is in severe doubt.. No evidence produced that the patients were in fact proven to be Virus cases leading to death.

      • ed2
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Now whether those said to have died from the Virus even in hospitals is in severe doubt.

        >
        I wonder when people will realize the MSM needs drama and hysterics to make money?

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Yeah those figures are not available anywhere so we don’t really know the scope of the problem…..Can’t understand why BBC or Sky aren’t asking the basic questions

  47. everyone knows
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    We all know the politicians are pretending to have it, I mean how stupid and foolish do they want to look? Are they just insane?

  48. Richard
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I gather at least “73 senior and respected medical opinion leaders who refute the widespread political overreaction to COVID19…..that is, a lockdown/shutdown response”.
    Here are 22 of them:
    https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/24/12-experts-questioning-the-coronavirus-panic/
    https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/28/10-more-experts-criticising-the-coronavirus-panic/

    Stanford professors of medicine, Dr. Eran Bendavid and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, believe that the lethality of Covid19 is overestimated by several orders of magnitude and is probably even in Italy only at 0.01% to 0.06% (based on the fully tested Italian community of Vo) and thus below that of influenza. https://www.theblaze.com/news/stanford_coronavirus_too_high_death
    Medical researcher Philip Duvall:
    “During the first six weeks of this year I was living in Beijing, and there was no ban on informal gatherings and no social distancing of ‘two metres’. When I left Beijing three weeks ago, while I was still quarantined at the university, locals were coming and going to their offices in groups. In other words, our measures are significantly stricter than China’s”.
    Duvall remains bewildered by the Establishment reaction to COVID19 beyond Asia.

    See also: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/03/22/letter-to-matt-hancock/#comment-1097975

  49. Rhoddas
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    No-one doubts the sincerity of the Government effort to do the very best they can, but the structure appears to be getting disjointed and a bit slipshod especially when it comes to logistics around tests, personal protection equipment and ventilators.

    As another commentator on this site recommends… set up a Programme Management Office and lets get proper structure and dependencies/logistics, risks and mitigations resolved as a matter of urgency.

    Judging by the excellent capability of our military to get new hospital facilities up and running in literally days, I would heartily recommend the Government appoint a Forces led PMO with workstream Owners/Leads from various NHS agencies/companies involved as appropriate.

    With such a focussed PMO we should see the uprated testing regime up and running nationally, like the Germans/Koreans, also all the extra ventilators and PPE replenishment where they are needed. Time is of the essence!

    HMG would then be clear to perform the Steering Group function with CMO/NHS Directors and continue with public daily communications.

  50. a-tracy
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering about this Nightingale Hospital, how will the patients use the toilet? How long do the NHS expect patients to be in a Pod? Will they all be on just liquids and a catheter? Will they be mixing men and women together?

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Parliament missed a recent opportunity to limit the powers of the Executive. The recent emergency legislation gives the Government draconian powers for two years. If parliament had insisted on the insertion of a sunset clause, so that the powers lapsed after six months, Government would pay more attention to the wishes of the House.

  52. Time they went
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Yorkshire and Humberside population 5,480,000
    Yorkshire and Humberside deaths………………….90

    We, or rather the USA, who are after us in The Curve have said that the next two weeks are going to be horrific in terms of numbers who will die in the USA

    So just a few more days…in fact less than a few days in the UK to meet the Government’s plague target and so justify in the least degree in ruining this country in every possible way.
    Of course those 90 dead include flu and sepsis victims and “community” guessed at reasons for death victims and include deaths by all other causes , heart attack, smoking, VD, sunburn etc etc as pre-existing conditions.
    Things are looking terminally ill for the Government. It has just a couple of days left of even tiny credibility. Say by Saturday this week.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      By the end of the week there’s going to be a lot money people unemployed

  • 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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