Dear Constituent

As we approach the next phase of the pandemic response where all businesses and services are allowed to re-open subject to social distancing rules, I thought I should write to you about where we have reached in handling the crisis. I will start today by looking at the response to the virus itself.

During the last six months I have pressed Ministers to work with doctors and scientists on a better set of treatments for serious cases of the virus. MPs without medical qualifications of course do not offer medical advice, but it is the job of Ministers to ask the profession for results and evidence about what might work. The early response to rely on oxygen, escalating to patients being placed on ventilators left us with a high death rate amongst serious cases. Ministers and advisers have been pressing for controlled trials of a range of therapies. So far this has resulted in the adoption of an anti viral drug which has reduced the time people suffer from the illness and helped recovery in a significant minority of patients. It has led to the approval of a steroid to deal with those patients that have extreme and damaging immune reactions to the virus. It has also led to some doctors considering blood clot busting drugs where there is evidence of clots on the lungs impeding the passage of oxygen into the bloodstream. There are other treatments which are proposed around the world which await conclusive evaluation here by the NHS. This is important, as we all wish to see the death rate down and suffering reduced.

I have taken up the issue of the spread of the disease in hospitals and care homes. Ministers have set policy to avoid the early release of CV 19 patients from hospital into care homes where they might spread the disease. They have also assured me the NHS is imposing strict standards of infection control, and seeking to isolate CV 19 patients and their treatment from other patients and procedures in General Hospitals. This is important not only to cut the spread of the virus, but also to reassure other users of the NHS hospital services that they are not at risk through attending a District General Hospital. My preferred solution of using the new Nightingale hospitals for CV 19 cases, leaving the General hospitals CV 19 free was not adopted, despite the obvious success in creating that substantial extra capacity quickly near the peak of the outbreak.

I have throughout sought to get from the government more accurate, consistent and reliable numerical data about cases of the disease and death rates from the disease. These are crucial to assessing the so called R rate or pace of spread of the virus, and to seeing how successful the NHS is at treating cases and bringing down the death rate as we all wish. Even in the last few days there have been changes to the figures for the number of deaths, as it has emerged again that past published figures were probably overstating the totals. The latest realignment puts the English figures onto a more comparable basis with Scotland by only citing CV 19 where the patient had it within 28 days of death. It still leaves open judgements about whether someone died of CV 19 or died of something else whilst also having had CV 19. The government did decide to seek a more accurate take on the rate of spread by sample testing the general population over time to see how the proportion with the virus varied. This was clearly a better way of judging it than trying to derive it from death rates which were based around changing and not entirely reliable numbers.

As we go forward I trust Ministers will press for more accuracy in data about incidence of the disease and death rates. They need to ensure decisions about local lock downs are well based, and to contain further outbreaks by a good test and trace system. As the Prime Minister has stated, we cannot afford another general lock down and must find other ways of countering the virus whilst allowing business and social life to revive.

Yours sincerely

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245 Comments

  1. Andy
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Dear Constituent

    Your entrusted my party with power.

    How’s that working out for you?

    60,000 dead.

    The worst recession in 300 years.

    Care home scandal.

    A level fiasco.

    Quarantine debacle.

    Brexit mess.

    Dinghy invasion.

    It turns out voting can be dangerous.

    I trust you’ll use your vote more wisely in 2024.

    Love

    Andy

    • Richard1
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Approx 1,600 people die daily in the U.K. obviously if there was a leftwing govt and / or we were in the EU that figure would be zero because everybody would be immortal.

      (It is entirely possible 2020 will show negligible excess deaths.)

      • gyges
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Your ‘negligible excess deaths’ point is an interesting one. A chap called Denis Rancourt is arguing that the spike in deaths was a response to how Govs across the world responded to the flu. He’s arguing that the deaths represented by this spike were needless and entirely due to Gov actions … Interesting, no?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Unlikely at current rates it will end up at about 67,000 about 11% more than in a normal year. But most of these were rather elderly so many will only have lost a few months or perhaps a few years of life. This should mean a lower figure next year and the years after for a while as one can only die once.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Some truths in what you say (for once) but the only alternative was an evil Corbyn/Mc Donnell dog with the SNP wagging its tail and a rapid trip to a basket case economy like Venezuelas and no Brexit or real democracy either.

      Douglas Murray today sensibly asks:

      Didn’t we vote for a Conservative government?
      There is still time for Boris Johnson to return to the principles that will save the country from calamity.

      Alas not much time and no sign he is going to do so yet. Hampered as he is too with his deluded climate alarmist wife. Sound policies will take time to work only four years until the next election and perhaps less than that Boris. Thatcher won three elections actually four if you include Major’s victory as her chosen man. (Until the public rapidly sussed out what a dire EUphile, disaster of a PM he was).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        Left wing Tory PMs in my lifetime – Heath, Major, Cameron & May have all been electoral, political, economic disasters. As one would expect big tax borrow and piss down the drain government does not work. Even more so when combined with expensive energy lunacy and endless red tape.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          And Boris!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:19 am | Permalink

            Looks like it, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt for a little while longer. He need to staft by cancelling HS2 and make it clear he will reduce the size of the state and not tax and regulate the private sector to death.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Boris’ ‘girlfriend’ is of his choosing. Another questionable judgement.

        You can’t quantify ‘democracy’. You either can or can’t sack your lawmakers. If you can’t then they do not sit in a Parliament, but an assembly. In the whole of the EU there is not 1 Parliament (def of which is that it can propose, enact, amend and repeal laws).

        There is no democracy in the EU no matter how many times people vote. Never will be. That’s why we needed to get out as the first stage of recovering our country. We can now sack Boris who is responsible for this mess… and we will.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          Alas we cannot sack the Lords about 90% of whom are left wing, climate alarmist, big government, pro EU, dopes (often far worse) with little or no grasp of science, engineering, economics, energy, transport, maths or logic …

          Peter Lilly, Matt Ridley, Charles Moore being some of the rather few exceptions.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            We can and will close down the House of Lords, easy decision as the real Lords have gone, and we give Neil Kinnock his most heartfelt wish ‘abolish the Lords and do NOT replace it’

        • Nigl
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          How condescending, I suspect you know almost zero about his girlfriend and in any event what has it got to do with any of us?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            I am sure she delightful – Godolphin and Latymer School & art history and theatre studies at Warwick. But she has referred to the “gigantic” climate crisis.

            But in my experience that less numerate or scientific you are the more you are fooled by the BBC, government, grant seeking academics, the absurd climate change committee and charity fund raiding propaganda. After all they hear all this guff and are not in a position to question or challenge it themself. So they think it is true.

          • Mark
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            She has chosen to reveal certain aspects of her character and beliefs via interviews. It matters if she has a strong influence over the PM.

      • Nigl
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        More obsession with climate change. Thank goodness no one is listening to you.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          No one among the strange minority within which you are apparently contained, perhaps.

          However, most of the billions on THIS planet are.

          • NickC
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            No, Martin, most of the billions on this planet definitely aren’t listening to the middle class Western obsession with CAGW. Most of the billions who have only recently acquired electricity are perfectly glad about it being supplied by coal. And those still without curse your like as spoilt brats.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Perhaps not – but they should be as the climate realists are clearly right. Far far better way to spend the money than pissing it down the drain a war against harmless plant food.

          Even if CO2 were the devil gas that alarmists claim their “renewable” solutions and electric cars make little no significant different at all not even to C02 levels.

          • NickC
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic, Exactly right. And I am listening to you about the wokerati’s fatuous CAGW obsessions.

      • MPC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        I agree and can see no Conservative vision for the future, only meek caving to leftish establishment views. 4 years is a short time and there will be more ‘events’, not just Covid, which will show this government as lacking in strategic direction unless things change very quickly.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          +1

      • Andy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        58% of us did not vote for a Conservative government – but we are lumbered with it anyway.

        Governments in this country are usually elected by a minority but need the consent of the majority to function.

        I suspect many of us are prepared to withdraw our consent from this particularly useless government.

        Remember, if the ballot box stops working for the majority there are other ways to remove governments.

        And I suspect if the electoral system is not reformed – and quickly – to better reflect our country, we’ll reform it for you.

        • Richard1
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          You got a referendum to change the voting system but the current system was sustained by massive majority. Again you lost. Get over it.

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • Andy
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            We haven’t had a referendum to change the voting system to PR.

            AV is not PR.

            We had a referendum – imposed by the Tories – to change the voting system from a rubbish system to an even more rubbish system.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            Andy – It wasn’t imposed. All parties agreed. In February 2010, the Labour government (which had been in power since 1997) used its majority to pass an amendment to its Constitutional Reform Bill to include a referendum on the introduction of AV to be held in the next Parliament, citing a desire to restore trust in Parliament in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          I hated the Blair governments but accepted the result of the ballots.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            As far as I can see the commenter accepts the results of votes here.

            There’s no reason whatsoever, why he – or anyone else – has to think that they are a good thing, and not work to reverse them, however.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Martin he is threatening to overturn s democratically elected government.
            Very different to your laid back interpretation.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            Yes but via the ballot box, Martin.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            If they are found to have behaved recklessly, in breach of the law, then they – the responsible Ministers – can be removed without a ballot.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            Maybe ministers can be replaced
            But not a government which is what andy was threatening.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            Ed, if the PM – a minister – is removed along with other ministers, by order of the Court, then that government is gone.

            Do your family know that you are here, repeatedly embarrassing yourself like this?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Youu do not to understand how it works.
            PMs have changed without the Government changing
            Blair to Brown
            Thatcher to Major
            The embarrassing post is all yours

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

            When has a court removed all ministers and the PM?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            No reply as expected.
            Bit embarassing for you Martin?

            Try reading a little bit about the British Constitution and how Cabinet government works next time before showing everyone on here your lack of knowledge.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Another Dave Spart style ridiculous comment Andy.
          You off to the barricades with your comrades soon?

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Andy, I wonder if the UK had an election system like the EU MEP elections would we have ended up with a large majority Brexit Party run country, they completely maxed out the last set of European elections and obliterated the others.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            Good idea really. Of course 80% of the country did not vote to return a single MEP of any colour, but Andy still thinks that is good enough for the appointed Oligarchy to dictate to 400 million people.

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Yet when 52% of us voted to Leave, you did not agree with that either, Andy.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            No, only 26% of the UK’s 66million voted Leave, Nick.

            Yes, that was a win for your group, but do not make out that you are a majority of the population as a whole.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            More ridiculous statistical nonsense.
            Did you get all hysterical when Wales got it’s own parliament assembly by a tiny majority.

          • dixie
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

            @mic – Only Zero % of the population voted to join the common market in 1972.

            Only 30.9% of the population voted to stay in the common market in 1975.

            Only Zero % voted to become EU citizens in 1992.

            Only 25.06% of registered voters, and a far smaller percentage of the population, voted to remain in 2016

            You have never had a measured majority of the population in favour of the EU and yet you euphilics keep denying and blocking the democratic decision.

          • Fred H
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            Martin – the population as a whole don’t get a vote. Just thought I ought to let you know. Have you never wondered why childen aren’t seen in the voting room – in fact banned?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Nick, when you say “us”, please be clear what you mean.

            In this instance you just mean “those who actually voted” in the 2016 referendum.

            Some commenters here get very silly, when I simply point out that those who didn’t are British people too, with exactly the same rights as those who did.

            You could spare us these tedious recitals by a little precision.

          • NickC
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Martin, Mine was a reply to Andy’s claim that 58% did not vote for the Tories in the December 2019 general election, and therefore used the same definition of voters. That was the point. You need to learn to read precisely what the thread is about before pompously demanding precision.

            Furthermore, those who have the right to vote but don’t use it are not actually counted. You may not have noticed. And those who don’t have the right to vote aren’t counted either. So stop adding spurious extra people to the vote count. Leave won by 52% to 48%.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Every nation has some rules about who gets a vote.
            Here in the UK you need to be 18 years old or above and be a citizen.
            It isnt compulsory to go and vote.
            It is a simple system.
            Which works well.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Just because you deliberately ignore the point does not mean that there is not one being made.

            If you are going to claim that “we” means the whole people of the UK, then you must accept that the Leave vote are only about a quarter of them.

            Yes, Andy made the same error.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t say “we” unlike you and your pal Andy who say it regularly.
            You two just need to come to terms that the policies you like are currently not popular with the voters.
            Labour has it’s worst election result since 1935
            The Green and a few Lib Dems were basically ignored by the voters.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Dinghy invasion?
      Dinghy invasion!

      I thought you supported the invaders.

      How many invaders do you think should be allowed to live in this country?

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        As many as want to come seems to be the response of the whole political class in this country but unmentionable on our national tv service.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      A few of these points that allude to the reaction to the virus and the PM’s misguided continued support of Sunak, Hancock and others on the face of it are reasonable, however poorly presented. Nonetheless the blame has to be shared with the opposition, unions and media who have often asked for more of the same – close everything inc. schools, more inequitable unethical Job Retention Scheme (ha bl***dy ha), more control over landlords, more distortion of the housing market, more, more, more. Even our host who correctly argued after the first three weeks of lockdown to open back up, yesterday supported months of JRS.

      If Labour had been in power I suspect we would have seen the same incorrect response, and similar destruction of the economy, maybe worse. However, I suspect the Conservatives would have performed better at truly opposing what has gone on given the country more freedom in the direction it could move.

      • Andy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Labour aren’t in power.

        This entire mess is the responsibility of the Tory Brexit government.

        At least grow a pair and own the blame.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          I am not a Tory. I do blame the Govt but the blame is throughout the HoC, very few (anyone?) on either side of the house seemed able to “grow a pair” and stand up to the incorrect belief that the virus was an existential threat, when it isn’t, but destroying the economy and society is (Brexit is trivial background noise within this). {Sir John did rightly call for the end of lockdown after the first three weeks, but there was insufficient of the same calls throughout the HoC }

          I agree the PM needs to grow a pair and sack several members of the cabinet, on 6th June I also indicated that I awaited the ‘mea culpa’ moment of the Govt (https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2020/06/30/reforming-whitehall/#comment-1130174).

          The seriousness of the situation that the U.K. is in, is not a which team do you support moment (as Dominic often indicates none of the teams are worth supporting). Unfortunately all teams have been and are talking s***, none of them are recognising or talking reality. They are not responding to the actual data and they are hiding/not publicising the information content of the data.

          (Apologies for the ***).

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Andy, But Caterpillar did not say Labour was in power! And we’ve had a mess for 4 years now – caused by Remain parliaments supported by Remains like you. At least grow a pair and own the blame.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Do you know what, Andy ?

      Virtually all of your litany can be put down to obstructive Leftist institutions, Leftist organisations, Leftist Unions and previous Remainer governments and PMs.

      The PPE situation was as Boris found it three months into taking over from 30 years of Remainer PMs.

      “60,000 dead”

      Well Brexit voters were well up for being like New Zealand but you keep calling us racists for wanting it.

      You really are all over the place, mate.

      • Andy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        I don’t vote for Labour.

        The entire blame for this mess belongs to the Johnson government. All of it.

        Elect a clown, get a circus.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Elect a Remainer – (Boris a lifelong Remainer) get a mess!

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          And is Boris also responsible for the messes in China, Spain, Italy, and India (etc)? Thank God we did not elect a clown like you, Andy.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            China have stamped out their epidemic, bar sporadic smoulderings, which are snuffed out as and when they arise, according to independent observers.

            With a total of just a few thousand fatalities out of 1.4 billion too.

            That’s rather commendable.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            That you believe the communists propaganda says a lot about you martin

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          PPE stocks were sorted out by the past 30 years of Remainer Prime Ministers.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            Since they only have a short shelf life that’s a bit of a stretch for blame, oh nameless one.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          so you don’t vote for Conservatives, you don’t vote for Labour – -any clues as to who you vote for?

          Not that shower of Lib/Lab- nodemocrats who might be Green, might be idealist idiots, might be Marxist, might be Momentum – how do we tell?

          • gregory martin
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            You can be sure its not Monster raving loon , they are much more British, and patriotic. From those I have met, relatively sane, and reliable.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        New Zealand are no Country to be admired, she locked down a population of 5m on an island 10% bigger than the UK thousands of miles from anywhere, big deal! She’s made a rod for her back now, no incomers for six months (unless they are quarantined for 14 days and then limited), her government locks the whole place down at a minor rise in infections, why the heck are the rest of the world just allowing NZ to get away with this, I take it they expect to come here to the UK and RoW whenever they want, To work and play, export goods to us. Can you just imagine if the UK had locked down totally there would have been an uproar: xenophobic, little islanders, selfish, isolationist, exceptionalists.

        Trump tried to close his borders look back at the reaction, she does it shes a hero, give me a break.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        You’ll need to elect a Labour PM, to be “like NZ”, then.

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          No, we’ve got one.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            Weird, plain weird.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          We’ve GOT a Labour PM.

          What are you talking about ?

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            +1

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Can you imagine, for one moment, how the UK’s Establishment media would have reacted, had a Labour government presided over any single one of these débâcles, never mind over the whole litany of them?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        I can imagine you not saying a single word.

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        I can, Martin. It would be a lot more circumspect and respectful, as the media arm of Labour (aka the BBC) would be leading the eulogies and excuses.

    • matthu
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Who would have done better, Andy?
      Jeremy Corbyn?
      Jo Swinson?

  2. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    “Prime Minister has stated, we cannot afford another general lock down”

    Well, he should rule one out completely

    Unfortunately this keeps coming up. Yesterday only 2 TWO Covid 19 related deaths. Yet the threat of Lockdown keeps looming.

    Why? Why ? Why?

    Does Matt Hancock ever answer your questions?

    Do any of your fellow MPs ever question this lunacy?

    I glad you called the “R rate” – “so called”. Most of the media treat it like it’s a fact, something that you can measure with some sort of thermometer.

    Are any of your colleagues planning to force the Government to repeal to Coronavirus Act 2020?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Deaths since the 20th June (for England and Wales) have been slightly below the 5 year average of about 9000 PW at this time of year. The bulge in excess deaths (almost certainly almost all caused by Covid) in the weeks before 20th was circa 70,000. Covid death now only about 10 per day (and only about 1% of new Covid cases)

      No reason at all not to return to normal life now (with just a few sensible precautions for the vulnerable). Many reasons why we must do too.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        There were 58,000 excess deaths in 2017 due to the flu and the flu jab (not working!). There were excess deaths in 2014. Excess death spikes are nothing new, it will be interesting to see the full year figures.

        There are people who think the excess death figures were caused by the lockdown, sending out infected patients to homes and care homes to spread, millions coming in from known about infected Countries with the virus not put into quarantine for a fortnight, poor early treatments, a big cry out for unnecessary ventilators (look in the mirror).

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, This is quoted verbatim from the ONS:

        “Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 7 August was 389,008, which is 52,737 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 7 August, 51,879 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 13.3% of all deaths in England and Wales.” Not 70,000.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:29 am | Permalink

          Is that just England perhaps and not the UK ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          That is England and Wales – not the UK.

          • NickC
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic, England and Wales, as you used yourself (“Deaths since the 20th June (for England and Wales) . . . .“).

    • matthu
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Today, number of “cases” continues falling. Yet SAGE estimates that R is 1.1 and presumably rising.

      How does that work out?

      So now we have government policy that is wrecking the economy, wrecking people’s lives and being determined not by a government manifesto, not by electoral demand but by a so-called R factor that is absolute rubbish and transparently so.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        New cases about a month back were running at about 600 a day but they have gone up to about 1100 a day now but then there is rather more testing so you would expect more positives. Deaths however has fallen despite this and are only about 1% of new cases.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          If you go around testing thousands of young people, the worried unwell, instead of focused testing on at risk groups it is pointless.

          People will be forced out of work for two weeks whilst well. It simply won’t work.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            Sorry, that was meant to be ‘worried well’

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          The ‘new cases’ are not actually ‘cases’ – they are not sick, just have had the infection. Let’s hope that number keeps going up exponentially!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Indeed. England and Wales now seem very competent at finding asymptomatic and low symptom cases.

      I do not understand why Mr Hancock and Mr Sunak’s lunacies are not called out for what they are.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Valid comments which I fully agree with

  3. agricola
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Yes I too am surprised that isolation (Nightingale) hospitals did not become the norm that allows the rest of the NHS to funtion normally. Was it a lack of staff to man them.

    (Irrelevant para left out ed)

    You make no mention of testing on entry to the UK. I know it is less than perfect, but it could release us from a quarantine nonsense which cannot be policed. When the location enquiring call comes through I could just as easily be down the garden as in the pub.

    Reply The problem with relying on a test is the incubation period of the virus

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      More should be made of this. The Nightingales were built at great expense, not staffed and not used, leper colonies are isolated why not Covid sufferers?

      Why is it the healthy who have to isolate and have treatment withdrawn. My daughter has waited 6 months for a dental consultation at our local hospital. We have now referred her to all three hospitals within 15 miles and appointment came there none.

      Do I get a tax rebate, do I get a rebate for the tax on my private insurance that I can not use? The insurance companies should be subject to a windfall tax for not paying out claims in this period and distribute it to the users.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        An expensive PR stunt is seems was there really any intention to use them. Did they ever have staffing etc. lined up?

    • agricola
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      If you left out all that was irrelevant you would have a much reduced diary. I suggest you acquire a sense of humour or get from up yourself. I begin to understand why you are still on the back benches after a short trial run under Thatcher and Major.

      Reply Bizarre and inaccurate comment. 10 years so far on front bench under Thatcher, Major, Hague and Howard.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        So far – never say never eh?

        Zorro

      • agricola
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        I do not recall Hague or Howard being in power. Front bench on the losing team is not being in a position to do anything but talk. When oppositions return to power the first thing that changes is the front bench, as must have happened when Cameron became PM. Your moderation today was silly and uncalled for particularly as the sentiment behind it was complimentary kindness. Can I suggest that before you leap for your eraser, stop, think, read again, and then make a rational decision. So much noxious crap arises in readers comments that you should have more than enough to vent your spite on.

        Reply Mr Cameron asked me to chair the Economic Policy review.

        • Peter
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Agricola. You need to get over it. Most of us have had stuff deleted. I often anticipate some of my posts being deleted.

          That said, I don’t have to read all of ‘noxious crap’ as you put it. I now know which posts I can skim.

          A moderator has to read everything. So ‘pausing’ might take more time than you imagine.

          A longstanding MP also has to consider what posts might be damaging. I can see you are not taking it well, but this site is not Guido Fawkes.

          You can always attempt to post stuff that might get deleted on other sites.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Agricola, but your side claim that the Government – with a majority of eighty – were somehow “prevented” from imposing border controls early in the epidemic by “open borders” enthusiasts – whoever they might be – on the Left.

          How does that sit with your claim – with which I agree – about the general powerlessness of the Opposition under the UK system?

          • NickC
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Martin, “whoever they might be”?? You and Andy for a start, but many other rather more weighty people on the authoritarian/Remain side. You need to look at the paper:
            Explaining the homogeneous diffusion of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions across heterogeneous countries“, Sebhatu et al, Institute for Analytical Sociology Linköping University Sweden, 16-07-2020.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            Nick, I wanted strict border control and quarantine for all incomers from infected countries right from the start.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,

      Would it be possible to expand on the ‘incubation’ argument for not testing in airports? I cannot understand it either technically nor statistically (from either a stratified perspective, reducing probabilities of spread or pooled designs within aircraft)

      (Even from a data gathering point of view it seems useful)

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Cyprus are insisting people arriving in their Country has to have a negative test certificate, UK privateers are charging £150 each for this test. If people want to come here why don’t we ask for the same? Just test UK nationals for free paid for by everyone else.

    • Peter
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      An MP who communicates with constituents is a good sign.

      My local MP never does that. He is a Lib Dem and, from his past history, he probably thinks keeping a low profile is best. No news is good news.

      As for Covid, I have the impression the government is still making it up as they go along. Top priority seems to be avoiding a damaging reputation.

      The questions need answers but I don’t think they will be full and frank.

      The Nightingale hospitals in particular seem like a wasted opportunity. Those who had covid should have been isolated there, rather than returning them to care homes and risk spreading the virus.

      At some point people will need to return to work but I don’t know when that will happen. Government seems very reactive. Maybe that is understandable; but it comes across as overly cautious and poorly thought out. We have been dealing with this since March now.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        The government is going to cause a mass panic on return to work, that hasn’t been there for people working for the past six months. Anyone suspects themselves of having covid with a cold can close the whole company down whilst they wait for a test, this test is taking one week now.

        Anyone that was in contact with that person, exactly when should they stop work at their own expense unless they work in the public sector or unionised ex public sector?

  4. Mark B
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    They have also assured me the NHS is imposing strict standards of infection control, and seeking to isolate CV 19 patients and their treatment from other patients and procedures in General Hospitals.

    Sir John, have you asked how many CV19 patients have, or are being cared for at the Nightingale Hospital ? You know the one, the one that the British Army had to fit out especially for the purpose of keeping infected people away from hospitals, leaving the hospitals able to care for those with non-CV19 illnesses.

    I do not expect an answer, but it would be nice to know if all the effort that went into it was worth the media attention.

    Reply It was little used and currently empty

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      And costing £1 million a month in rent! I suppose the Govt, unlike me tenants, are paying that rent?

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        I trust that rent figure represents a fair amount. If it doesn’t then I would expect the government to just requisition the necessary buildings in future pandemics. Something for a Commons committee to look at.

    • matthu
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      No.of cases does not mean no. of people admitted to hospital.
      It does not even equate to no. of people with symptoms.
      And fewer than 1000 a day are testing positive, most of whom are unlikely ever to develop symptoms.

      Deaths from Covid-19 are currently only 2 per day.

      At the same time, 450 per day are dying of cancer, and this is likely to rise as fewer people get their symptoms checked out.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I now know two people who have died at relatively young ages because of lockdown and lack of screening.

        I’m not even sure I know anyone who’s had CV19, much less died of it.

        Whom can we sue ?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Boris!

    • oldwulf
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Our front line health workers have been brilliant. The management has not. Much money has been wasted on Nightingale hospitals … thrown into the bottomless pit of the NHS.

      The withdrawal of health treatment from non-covid patients has been a tragedy. The NHS is a myth.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        What are the NHS Values?

        Working together for patients.
        Respect and dignity.
        Commitment to quality of care.
        Compassion.
        Improving lives.
        Everyone counts.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Humility and modesty

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they have, and hundreds of them have been killed by covid19 as a reward for their dedication.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          not for their dedication – more for the hopeless NHS/PHE/WHO/UK Government.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          As it happens those numbers are commensurate with the general population.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            Oh, that’s fine then.

            They were all of working age though.

            And had to work without PPE or improvise it in many instances.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure that the NHS has had a good war, withdrawing treatment from so many. The Life Sciences industry has done better.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      “Reply to reply

      Reply It was little used and currently empty” . . . . . Why is it shut? Instead of treating all the new arrivals/replacement citizens to a 4* hotel and more comfort than you do to our ex soldiers, fill it with the “poor penniless” invaders who are being given a better standard of living for having got here and done nothing – – than the people whose taxes you use to provide it. Clearly foreigners come first in the govts eyes.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Sir John for your kind reply.

      Can we turn this into a place into a sort of shelter for the homeless this winter ?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        What you want to keep paying the £1 million a month rent for the Nightingale in London alone?

  5. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–It would be a jolly good idea if all MP’s and, a fortiori, Ministers had Science Degrees. I have said here a number of times, not wholly flippantly, that these days one of the more effective assets in getting elected is a nice pair of legs. Inter alia, so is being proficient at Rhetoric. Neither of these the slightest benefit in making decisions. Personally I have no idea why anybody in this day and age would want to stay with the much vaunted Representative Democracy, which was great when there was no other choice but is now out of date in Spades.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      What is the alternative to Representative Democracy? (Which we no longer have – we are trying to reinstate it).

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Dear Lynn–For a start much more Direct Democracy–closer to the Swiss System with many more decisions directly made by the people, perhaps after discussion in Parliament to air the issues. In case in doubt, I assure you the Swiss, despite the problems they face, get by and very well indeed. Our system has run its course. The idea that MP’s know better than the people just because they have won elections has no basis in logic that I can see. On a different tack, the “Representative” bit simply is not and cannot be true given the size of constituencies and I would prefer some form of “Delegation” in any event.

        • SM
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          The population of the whole of Switzerland is less than that of Greater London – you cannot compare their system with one that has to cater for more that 7 times that many.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Dear SM–There has been a digital revolution, under which wouldn’t matter if there were 7 trillion times to cater for, Each person gets to vote once and modern systems do not see high, as we might see it, numbers as the slightest problem.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          So if you have Direct Democracy or Delegation these are the bills each one of us would have had to vote on in 1 session. At present we choose someone whose judgement we trust and politics align to ours, and ‘delegate’ the judgement.

          Tell me how you would have voted on these, from just 1 session of Parliament;

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          Commons Tree-lined Streets Bill 16.07.2020
          U
          Lords Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (Legal Advice and Appeals) Bill [HL] 05.02.2020
          Lords Unconscionable Conduct in Commerce Bill [HL] 21.01.2020
          Commons Universal Credit Sanctions (Zero Hours Contracts) Bill 13.05.2020
          Commons Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) (No. 2) Bill 02.07.2020
          Lords Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) Bill [HL] 14.01.2020
          V
          Commons Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 12.06.2020
          Commons Value Added Tax Bill 12.06.2020
          Commons Victims of Abuse (Support) Bill 12.06.2020
          Lords Victims of Crime (Rights, Entitlements, and Notification of Child Sexual Abuse) Bill [HL] 23.01.2020
          Lords Video Gaming Health and Wellbeing Strategy Bill [HL] 21.01.2020
          Commons Voter Registration Bill 12.06.2020
          W
          Commons Welfare (Terminal Illness) Bill 23.07.2020
          Commons Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 13.05.2020
          Lords Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] 16.03.2020
          Royal Assent Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Act 2020 10.06.2020
          Commons Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill 13.05.2020
          Lords Workforce Information Bill [HL] 04.02.2020
          Commons Working Time and Holiday Pay Bill 12.06.2020

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Gosh
            I never knew

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

            Dear Lynn–I wouldn’t have the first idea whether to trust my MP’s judgement and that’s ignoring the voting done almost entirely on Party lines. Sounds as if you hanker after being an MP. Reading the list merely convinces me further that we want much less government and in all ways possible. Voting of course would not be compulsory and it should not be too difficult for the Parties to produce summaries of why they recommend which way they recommend voting on each bill and if that produced overreliance on Parties that is exactly where we are now.

          • dixie
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            How much of this is legal obfuscation to ensure that only legal types are involved in the decision making and the general public take little interest in laws that impact them.?

            How much of this is really necessary or appropriate at national or any level.

            There is a gender based pricing bill to prohibit differential pricing based on gender, why not prohibition based on new vs established customer.

            An Anxiety in Schools bill – A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about reducing anxiety about environmental concerns among pupils and staff; and for connected purposes. Really? Really!

            What about a Consumer’s Anxiety bill to reduce anxiety when the price drops immediately after I have bought something.

            Or the critical Non-gender-specific Passports Bill. Why?

            One of my favourites – a house of cheaters debating on the Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill.

            Voting is not the sole responsibility of a citizen in a democracy, we should be more concerned over the quality of the laws and lawmakers.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Oh my goodness! The unelected House of Lords get a say on all of this?
            Did they all get voted on?
            Where do you see the results?

          • hefner
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            Big list indeed. Now answer that question: how many of the 650 MPs actually take the time to study the background information for each of these bills and after making their judgment vote accordingly? And how many actually vote according to what the respective whips tell them?
            You seem to idolise the MPs, unfortunately they are humans, do not have 60 hours days. A good book on what it takes to be an MP is Isabel Hardman’s one ‘Why we get the wrong politicians’, Atlantic Books, 2018.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Lynn, well, we agree on a point.

      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Time to reread my de Tocqueville and Adam Smith. So much sound sense from two Hundred years ago and we now have a ‘democratic’ tyranny of Johnson and Hancock begetting bitter factional antipathies on the streets of our formerly sanguine nation.
        So much for cricket on the village green and warm beer in a country at ease with itself.

    • agricola
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Representative democracy might be much improved with the removal of political parties, every member being an independat free thinker. You are not going to get many of real talent if you pay them a pitance. T.he real talent is out there prefering the rewards of knowledge, experience and competance at ten times and more the going parliamentary rate. They also need culling to a maximum of 250. A super ready proven 100 retirees would suffice as a House of Lords. It will be the private sector that gets us out of this Covid crisis, providing the government gets off its back. Government is there to stop the rampant greed of a small element of the private sector such as operated outside the law in Leicester. This goverment didn’t even know it was happening. Anyone with real experience in the real world should have anticipated it and now be looking for it beyond Leicester. (comment left out ed) Why do I have to draw attention to such matters when we have 650 in the Commons.

      • agricola
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        I know there are “Sweeheart Deals”,some massive in the past. The “Oligarchs” also have their private arrangements to limit contributions to the Exchequer. I suppose it to be entirely feasible that HMRC should choose to ignore yet another target group. I can only assume you concur with it.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        You never get any legislation passed –

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          What % of MPs actually vote (not including abstain) on each piece of legislation in a session?

  6. Stred
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    There still appears to be no figure for covid cases per number tested given by the government ot reported in journals. The clearest graphs are on the government daily dashboard and thid shows that in July the number of tests increased. About half were actually analysed and the number of cases rose by a similar line on the other graph. In other words the rising number of cases would be expected because of the rising testing but decisions seem to be taken based on the absolute number.
    Another graph shows that England has the highest death rate per head in Europe and that France, Spain and Italy have similar flat increased rate to the UK. In other words, there is little increase in risk of dying when visiting these countries and in France they have also increased testing and increased numbers of cases would be expected, but the decision to quarantine is based on the absolute number.
    Are the authorities numerate or sensible?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      “Are the authorities numerate or sensible?”

      The govt will provide us with whatever numbers suit them. Most if not all will only be to try and calm any anger caused by the govt failure to look after the people who they love taxing and treating with contempt.

  7. Nigl
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Good letter. A shame it is directed at bumblers. Many of your bloggers dumping the same stuff day after day seem to think that policy/direction/outcomes can be changed at the click of a switch. It merely demonstrates ignorance of how things are done, nevertheless the least we can expect are measurable actions plans to address your and our genuine concerns and the needs of the person in the street and people held to account if these are not met.

    It is clear that some of the admittedly difficult portfolios are beyond some of the ‘Departments’ abilities yet politics continues to take precedence over performance. In your last paragraph you used an important word. Trust. I/we have none. Until the Captain changes some of his crew, nothing will change.

    Scrapping PHE is a good start but retaining the Chief Exec as an adviser when his organisation clearly failed, merely reinforces the cliche about deckchairs and the ‘titanic.

  8. NigelE
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “substantial extra capacity [- the Nightingale hospitals -] quickly near the peak of the outbreak. ”

    I think that should read ‘after the peak’. The Nightingale hospitals are without doubt shining symbols of public sector incompetence – apart from their construction.

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Social distancing. The new normal. Guaranteed to bankrupt the country for no actual reason.
    Government exerting control over the masses and a tory government at that.
    You just have to roll over to Brussels to show just how incompetent you are.
    The voters won’t forget, especially the 5 million out of work.
    £900 per person per week to home illegal immigrants and you think your doing a good job.
    Shame on you.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      It’s funny that there’s no money for social care but £10 billion for SERCO to accommodate aliens.

      Reply There have been substantial top ups of Council money for social care and other CV 19 related costs this year

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        We cannot have the spectacle of UK taxpayers being made unemployed then turfed out of their homes onto the streets while illegal immigrants are housed in hotels.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Yes, tenants should have far more secure tenure.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            But you don’t believe in Landlords and there will be no tenants, so you can’t have a home or a shop unless you can buy one.

            I’m almost in agreement!

            PS I can’t sell my shops to their occupiers because they CGT would wipe me out, else I would!

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            And each be given a bag of Magic Money beans.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Ian Wragg you’re correct in all respects and throwing money at local councils to alleviate the problem of illegal immigration is in fact a bonkers policy

        We need to see a clear, transparent and effective policy to illegal immigration and return

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        That’s not the point as you are well aware. Open ended funding for those who would do us harm.
        You have no idea who you are letting into the country to roam free whilst we are threatened with another lockdown.
        I see the graph used to justify another lockdown is a logarithmic scale purportedly showing the uk trending with Spain which is nonesense.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        CV19 funds to widen pavements, narrow roads, signage, divert 30 library staff to ‘other duties’ make Waste Disposal appointments like waiting for Godot – – is that what was needed?

        What about more Testing locations, relaxed justification, etc

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      +1
      Antisocial distance should be something for us all to decide upon. Spectator sports and theatre, cinema depend upon traditional social norms.
      Robinson Crusoe avoided disease transmission, as well as the laughter and joys and stimulation of good conversation in the world of the living.

  10. Mike Wroe
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I believe a lot of people would agree with the view that all businesses and services should be allowed to open even if they struggle to comply with Social Distancing. The small restaurant or pub for instance. Elderly and vulnerable people can avoid those places and younger healthy individuals can make their own mind up. Rises in infections is irrelevant in the latter. They don’t translate into rising hospital admissions or deaths and spreading the virus in the young and healthy moves us closer to herd immunity.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      +1 and I’d include cinema and theatre. We can all assess the risks for ourselves.

  11. Fred H
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    ‘I will start today by looking at the response to the virus itself.’

    A few very mildly hopeful treatment ideas, hardly a mention of the slow, ineffective, often horrendously dangerous muddled decisions and about-turns.
    No mention or discussion of the evolving timeframe of Covid devastation, panic measures and hopelessly poor 3 televised stooges presented to the country and laughed at by the world.

    I expected a better introduction to the 6 months horror story, both of the virus and the Government response.

  12. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I’d expect by now to know my risk profile. Without that I’m sceptical about the risk of catching this and then of being seriously ill.

    Rather like taking out a life insurance policy, plug in age, health conditions etc and be told you have x% chance of being hospitalised and y% chance of dying in the next 12 months. Compare that with the risk of other accidents in life and we might be in a better position to make informed judgements for ourselves.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      +1

      On several occasions I have mentioned the need for the Govt to immediately publish (sigh) the (implied) infection fatality rate as a function of age and underlying condition together with a comparator. Also, how it has reduced through the epidemic with likely reasons should be published.

      If the Govt does not have these numbers by now it cannot be making informed decisions. There are two choices the Govt is not making informed decisions and/or the Govt is hiding numbers from us.

      One would think every MP not in Govt, of whatever party would be writng to the PM.and Mr Hancock daily asking for these numbers and calculation to be published.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        This govt. pledged 10s of thousands where we now have millions.
        Labour claimed that very few would come from Eastern Europe.
        Our island is sinking.
        Politicians are innumerate and mendacious.
        Never mind selling the family silver …they have sold off the pots, pans and kitchen sink!
        And the shirts of our bl**dy backs.
        Making sure their own Savile Row linens are carefully laundered.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Actually they gave away the ground from under our feet. We managed to get it back, but I have the list of heroes, and the others.
          BTW Redwood is on the list of heroes.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Have there been any figures relating to CV19 that have been accurate and reliable? It doesn’t seem so. In all cases it seems the numbers have been inflated to exaggerate the situation and distort the timing of occurrences. The government has been engaged in a brain washing exercise of inciting fear in the public. The consequences, including deaths, of people as a result of government actions in response to CV19 are outrageous and the government must be held to account for them. This state grab of our personal liberty and freedom has gone on too long.
    Incidentally, I do not want any of the vaccines that Hancock has purchased – reportedly enough already to give each person in the UK five doses.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, but subject to their declared qualifications.

      However, it appears that you will have to search the relevant sites in countries other than the UK to find them.

  14. Adam
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Decades growing giant treat-everything hospitals turned patients into careless long queues and jams of confused muddle.

    Patients need their own chosen local doctor backed up with local common-need simple routine treatment services.

    Separate exclusive Emergency Hospitals should react for EMERGING URGENCY outpatients only, local enough for rapid reach and remedy.

    Major non-urgent services should be separated into Specialist Hospitals, more suited to a well-planned stay at a distant location.

    England is a country without medical borders, but invisible barriers of authority conceal inefficiency and reduce patient freedom.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      100%
      And that is how it always was. May God forgive politicians for changing everything so and leaving us all unprotected. (We all thought we had paid the protection money!)

      The Chinese very wisely used to/ or still do, pay their doctors ONLY WHEN THEY ARE IN GOOD HEALTH.
      How nice to watch our arrogant medics go down that route.

      • Adam
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Paying medics according to their patient health performance would stimulate efficient well-being. The dynamics all need to pull in the direction of best outcomes.

        Concepts need full analysis and testing to become functioning systems, but as a starting concept one way may be:

        • Treat GPs as ultimately responsible for their own patients’ health.
        • Patients choose their preferred local GP.
        • Every medical cost is allocated to the patient NHS no.
        • GP is paid an inverse proportion of the total regional expenditure.
        • GPs pay a Patient Death Tax, whatever the cause.

        There are many better possibilities, yet Govt seems rarely willing to act efficiently. Their prognosis is limited to the Borrow Box: borrowing more to pay more, instead of thinking outside of that box.

        Govt needs prescribing with a dose of healthier thinking, to be using what is already in their hands to be better, free of their needless recurring addiction.

        • NickC
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Adam said: “Paying medics according to their patient health performance would stimulate efficient well-being.”

          No, it wouldn’t. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare. And particularly as the GPs would scramble to avoid looking after care home patients to keep their “scores” up.

          • Adam
            Posted August 25, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Your assumption envisions ghosts operating, yet the nation’s health is easily measurable.

            An effective system is simply efficient.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Notable that for once yesterday there was an acknowledgement that a particular demographic was more likely to ignore lockdown rules than others.

    Hopefully this release from fear of offending racial groups and other minorities claiming special treatment due to their identity will pervade throughout governments. Truisms are worth being said.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      over the long haul being PC is becoming more dangerous than any single political party. Softly, softly catchee monkey…
      Who dares to use free speech as it should be?
      Everything has to be inuendo, read between the lines….weasel words.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        PC has seen the death of media, politics and education

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Phew, you are brave, surely ‘catchee monkey’ is now banned?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      In Ireland, it seems, others have been allowed to worship in a Catholic Church.
      Whereas Covid has denied that privilege to Catholics.

  16. Chris Dark
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Stop trying to counter the virus. As a biological entity it will have its way, no matter what this deluded government does. The statistics are already so mangled that no sense can ever be made from them. Government should stop relying on potentially dodgy vaccines and just get to grips with the treatments that are already available and proving themselves effective.

    You can’t stop people dying…no matter what the cause is. There is deeply irrational fear in this country about death and it is causing mayhem. It is part of life, which has many risks.
    Get rid of these masks too, they are nothing but social control tools; they are already causing people grief with facial sores, dry mouths and giddy spells. They do nothing to control the passage of viruses, you may as well wear chicken-wire, since the virus’ dimensions are measured in nanometres and will pass through any face-cloth you choose to wear.
    Ye gods we never had all this pantomime with flu epidemics in past years, which have killed just as many people, if not more, than CV19. Only people already known to be at high risk should receive extra care and attention; the rest of us, including the fit and healthy elderly, should be set free to live normal lives.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      And politically what would your acceptable level of people dying be/filling up hospitals/struggling at home.

      The problem that I have is all the people complaining now would be similarly whinging if the government had a laissez faire attitude.

      Opposing everything from the comfort of a computer screen, how easy is that. If ‘you’ want to change the world, get elected. Mmm not quite so easy!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Oh like Meghan and Price Harry who are ‘changing the world … mmmm

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Nig1 said: “all the people complaining now would be similarly whinging if the government had a laissez faire attitude”.

        No we wouldn’t. I have been sceptical of the full lockdown since it began. I was prepared to cut the government some slack over the 23 March decision because no one knew better. But the rollover of deaths occurred on 10 April, so we should have been out of the lockdown at the beginning of May.

        Government is not responsible for the fact of people dying (except of course for wars possibly, and executions and labour camps for sure).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Smallpox, polio, cholera etc. did not “have their way”.

      Why do you demand a useless, defeatist, wet-lettuce response to the challenge posed by covid19 in this instance?

      Well, I suppose that since that was many commenters’ attitude here to the very minor challenges, presented by working with twenty-seven other modern countries for the common good, it is absolutely to be expected.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Wet lettuce is far more desirable than dry lettuce.

        Trust me.

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Martin, No, the EU does not consist of “working with twenty-seven other modern countries for the common good”. That would be an intergovernmental organisation, which the EU is not.

        The EU is a centralised dirigiste bureaucracy aggregating power to itself. We have little influence and no control. And we are currently a mere “colony” of the EU according to Verhofstadt’s staffers. And that’s your, and other Remains’ fault.

        • bill brown
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          NickC

          So the 6 milion who voted to stay in the Eu are to blame for your statement what we are mere “colony”?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

            Wasn’t it more than 6 million bill?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Ed, for whatever reason it is clear to us all that Bill has a problem, either with his keyboard or whatever.

            Give it a rest.

          • bill brown
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            Nick C

            16 million

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            You are very touchy Martin.
            I was only asking a simple question.
            Can I expect a similar supportive comment from you when others like bill respond to my posts?
            Probably not I expect.

          • NickC
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Bill Brown, It is not my statement that we are a “colony” of the EU, it was made by Verhofstadt’s staffers on the BBC film “Brexit: Behind Closed Doors” shown 8th May 2019.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      The masks are also of unspecified quality meaning that they are political.

    • Enigma
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      My thoughts entirely Chris Dark

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Exactly.
      And apparently the first virus discovered was that of the tobacco mosaic virus and it was only found because it was small enough to pass through the finest porcelain. Thus called “filterable”. The scientists thought they had sealed it in the lab flask but it was able to escape thought the porcelain rim of the stopper!
      And funnily enough the TMV virus occurs in very large quantities in most plant cells.
      Soooo…if you went around testing a load of plants…many, many would TEST POSITIVE!
      Well I’m no scientist…no EXPERT…but that all sounds a bit familiar?

    • Barbara
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      +1

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Agree with your every word

      Rather than trying to stop things (virus, weather, sea level etc) maybe we, like animals and plant-life , should adapt and learn to live with it….you know the world is evolving

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        +1 and we are human beings, not God!

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Chris Dark

      Hear, hear!

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Chris Dark

      So at which university did you achieve your science or medical degrees?

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Probably the University of Common Sense & Logical Thinking…

        Except, I think that his thoughts on whether a virus can be stopped by a simple mask may be flawed. I would suggest that when an infected person exhales that the majority of any virus particles would be contained within droplets of whatever fluid happens to be in that persons throat and lungs at the time so would be caught in a face covering.

        Whether mandatory wearing of face coverings is useful is another matter…

    • Zorro
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is that there are too many unthinking sheep in our population. I sincerely think that if the scientists/‘Boris’ Johnson said that everyone needed to walk around with a broom up their fundament to stop the virus entering their bodies, at least about 50% of the population would do it. The contempt in which the government holds the UK population is beyond the pale…..

      Zorro

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Fundamentally we need statistics that reflect the truth of the matter, while arbitrary decisions should be laughed out of existence …. but who is doing that? Certainly not most politicians who are out of their depth.
    Honesty and open, unbiased, decision making is an art – but there is a formula our MP’s should follow: ” Pass rules and laws that help the greatest number of people — that’s why accurate honest statistics are required Do not pass laws and rules that do harm to the greatest number. You’d think that would be easy to understand wouldn’t you?

    There are now so many pc do’s and dont’s attached to CV, it is clear we are being pushed in one direction >>> Towards authoritarianism, absolutism.

    It seems doubtful that we will ever get a real honest discussion of what could be done — the left are so intent on taking advantage of it, and the government is too concerned with watching its own back.

    JR As the last real Thatcherite, a lot rests on your shoulders

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      +1

  18. George Brooks.
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Dear Andy,

    What a twisted view of the last 8 months.

    I am glad that we have a government with both brains and experience of running companies/organisations. Labour has little of both and both have too many lawyers.

    It is working out well in very difficult times.

    Many of the 42,000 would have passed away due to age and other medical problems.

    It was obvious the ‘lock down’ was going cause a recession and there is little relevance whether it is the worst for 30 or 300 years. We need to concentrate in rebuilding the economy and so far it is happening.

    64% of Care Homes did not have CV19 and got off their buts and acquired PPE. Prior to the pandemic ALL care homes made their own arrangements for the supply of PPE, but within a few weeks distribution was widened to include them. Don’t forget that there were under 300 distribution points at the outset and this was increased to 10s of thousands in under a month with the help of the army

    Ofqual should not have rebuffed the offer of a second opinion of their algorithm. Their decision not the government’s.

    Quarantine is disruptive but has to happen if we are stop the importation of CV19.

    Brexit is anything but a mess and we are getting the French fishermen out of our waters and escaping from the clutches of the ECJ

    I imagine you are in favour of putting illegal migrants into 3 and 4 star hotels and giving them spending money. Much better than a make shift camp in Calais.

    Voting is not dangerous and I certainly hope we get the present government re-elected.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Good post George but did Quarantine have to last for 16 weeks? Plus shouldn’t the people to have been quarantined been those that got off planes and boats millions of them bringing in fresh virus on a regular daily basis, infecting transport workers that took them to the next destination from their infected holiday or home.

      The UN was majorly upset with France for just leaving migrants to squat in empty homes, offices, fields, underpasses, France breaks every UN rule and just want to pass their problems on, however, the UN doesn’t deal with them why? The men dying in dinghies off their shore, men that applied for asylum and were refused in France not escorted away back to their home Country but rather passing problems on to us, this can be turned right around during withdrawal transmission and should be enacted immediately, return to France.

      Plus what is going on in Sudan? What political and worldwide effort is there to resolve problems, why are their men fleeing in their thousands, who is in charge in Sudan and other Countries people are fleeing from what is the UN doing about it?

  19. DOMINIC
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    When will people understand that the now authoritarian British State and the distant, Unionised, socialist public sector have used the CV19 issue to reset its relationship with the individual. All parties including the one in government are working to the same script as are the unions.

    Crush access to services, crush debate, assert control, play the fear card, expose to propaganda

    The now vile NHS for example is only concerned with expanding its budgets, protecting itself from reform and expanding its political influence. Patient care is not a priority as we saw at Mid Staffs.

    Johnson’s given the NHS carte blanche to act in whatever manner it wants, above the law. This PM of this most offensive party that he leads is an appalling betrayal of this nation’s history and culture

    The British people are simply beyond naive that they continue to vote for parties that now actively conspire against them using the taxpayer to conceal their true political objectives.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Shut the NHS down excluding emergencies and replace with insurance based system.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        They have all but shut them down.
        Held to ransom by the unions no doubt.
        Your suggestion is no doubt EXACTLY what the govt. has in store.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      As ever Dominic, utterly spot on.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Mess, muddle, mayhem, madness.
    What on earth is any constituent supposed to think as they struggle for oxygen through their mask?
    Obviously they would feel that despite all, they remain alive with a failing business/huge debt/no return on savings/mental issues etc etc? Plus draconian, totalitarian, soviet-style plans for their future.
    And a govt. that has to BEG the “health service” to use a range a drugs that should be everyday practice.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Nightingale Hospitals were an excellent idea, constructed at a speed that needs to be replicated in converting empty high street stores into homes, yet not used – virtue signalling. They exemplify the hopeless organisation we have called government. Of course all covid patients should have been moved to them.

    General population testing is vastly more sensible than track and trace. I know a few people who are paying £95 to have a full test with private GPs. The NHS GP setup is way past its sell by date, as shown pre covid with many choosing A & E as their primary choice for help.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      £150 someone paid in London this week because they cant fly to Cyprus without it and cant get their holiday refunded.

    • Mark
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      At the present low prevalence of active cases in the population widespread testing is only really going to show up variances in false positives arising from slightly different tests and procedures. We don’t even have an accurate handle on the false positive rates for the various tests – estimates suggest a range of 0.4% to 1.6%. So we don’t know how many to subtract from the positive test numbers to estimate the true level of infection. So 100,000 tests may on average throw up anywhere between 1,600 and 400 false positives – but the numbers of false positives will vary from day to day quite significantly.

      Testing does not seem to correlate with more serious cases that require hospitalisation, because we are now picking up many mild and asymptomatic cases in addition to the false positives. You will doubtless recall the brouhaha over Leicester caused by this pattern of tests

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/h8sGI/2/

      The underlying reality was that when they thought they had spotted some small trend in the data they went into overdrive on local testing, greatly increasing the numbers of local false positives as well as identifying asymptomatic cases. Meanwhile this is what happened to hospital admissions

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/9Macf/1/

      The big benefit of the testing was to uncover some of the local hidden slavery in clothing factories.

  22. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It was always a mistake to close the old ‘cottage’ hospitals and move to the collosal monstrosities we have now, demanded by ‘bean counters’. We do need to stop the continued closure of small ones. They are claimed to be inefficient only because they are badly run.

    We need to resurrect local solutions with further expansion of minor treatment units and certainly we need isolation units – once called fever hospitals. Maybe the relaxation of planning rules will help but not I’m afraid until the present NHS policy planners are replaced as they will otherwise be obstructive. The country is full of obstructionists in all walks of life. No wonder we are falling behind as a nation.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I would argue the large hospitals are badly run! They may centralise the best consultants, but the admin appears to be second or third rate.

  23. Enigma
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    We, your constituents, are relying on you as our MP to get us released from this tyranny. Please do not let us down.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Tyranny? Sounds like you have a PHD in hyperbole. I think the government has made mistakes but this is hardly Stalin’s Russia.

      • M H
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Tyranny – cruelly harsh enforcement of authority. You need to get out more Nigl and speak to those with loved ones in care homes, and others experiencing terrible hardship due to lockdown.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Nigl
        And that, if I may say so, is the sort of attitude that will land us with Stalin’s Russia.
        Can’t you see the trajectory??

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Nigl
        This government allowed hospitals to stop Healthy men (no temperature) from being at the birth of their child, why? If they had gowned up and the staff wore ppe why?

        This government allowed hospitals to stop people being at the bedside of dying relatives, some allowed it with gowns.

        People in London were terrified of even going to the park, NHS staff were telling them they were killing them if they sunbathed on the grass!

        Yet BLM protests they were ok? Nothing to see here.

        If theatres want to open and think they can introduce social distancing safety measures, just tell people you go at your own risk, get the government out of individual decisions now.

        If people want to home teach their children, allow them to, give them the £4000 resource and check on their child’s progress with exams quarterly.

        One thing for sure, the public sector best stop expecting us to pay up for no service and just sit watching them all drawing full salaries and pension payments.

        If my families private medical care doesn’t start up again soon I’ll be cancelling the whole kit and caboodle.

      • LH
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Hard won freedoms are easily lost – even harder to regain

      • Zorro
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Have you read the Coronavirus Act 2020??

        Zorro

  24. Javelin
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The Gov covid dashboard reports 2 deaths yesterday.

    Then they announce they are going to stop publishing the daily death statistics

    Last updated 21 August 2020 – hide all updates

    21 August 2020
    Updated to reflect that the page is no longer updated with daily statistics.

    20 August 2020
    Updated daily figures.

    19 August 2020
    Updated daily figures.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Now thats a worrying development – why stop the information ?

  25. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you Sir John for the update from your perspective.

    Most understand the situation, we have never been here before and everyone is feeling their way. So yes, mistakes are made – that is called learning.

    Going forward, it is clear that what our arts & craft Government thought of as science, never was. Unfortunately the figures bandied about under the banner of science never were science. We get it – now. But is there a plan to correct that? Seemingly not.

    Removing PHE and replacing it with National Institute for Health Protection, does nothing. Creating a science based operation and seemingly appointing some one that failed elsewhere because they are known to a minister is an illustration of flawed thinking. Why not advertise for a new boss and select the best!

    The NHS in in its current form is damaged, primarily from a centralist government that thinks a one size fits all approach will yield results. It never has and never will

    It would be easy to go on and on. Health, Education, Transport, Defense, the House of Lords and A Civil Service as it is today, all flawed and underperforming for the same old reason ‘jobs for the boys’ . They inherently set out to perpetuate and defend the status quo at the expense of the taxpayer. They all have the same trait what is right for MetroLand is right for the Country and the must be controlled by the Centre. We have a Tory Government designing and perpetuating a Socialist State.

    The Market therefore the People would decide, improve and enhance this Country far better than this Socialist Government, but they are not allowed to, they are inhibited from doing what is right. Is it because the Political Class is frightened to be shown up for what it is – an expensive waste of space.

    Reply The new Head of NIHP is an interim appointment. There is also a proper recruitment process for the replacement.NIHP will also have a CEO.

    • MG
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      We will wait and see then

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Is the ‘National Institute for Health Protection’ a UK wide organisation then, no more devolution on this? Or is it just for England and Wales – if so shouldn’t it have EW Institute for Health Protection?

  26. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    From the Express attributed to you. “We need tax cuts to promote growth. We need to cut tax rates that do not maximise revenues because they stop people buy or selling a home or car or other items because they are too high.

    The right tax cuts bring in more revenue as the economy grows and as people return to doing more of whatever was taxed too much.”

    Isn’t the problem as much to do with the over complications in the system. That then requires ‘hand-outs’, ‘grants’, ‘allowances’, and ‘incentives’ to even out the imbalances on one sector or another. These tweaks then have to be followed up with more layers to correct the layers already induced by an imperfect system.

    Then of course Michel Barnier insists the UK is being intransigent by not subjecting itself to EU laws and rules, that we have no say in. Even he recognizes what we call democracy isn’t so why should we care.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Michel Barnier is also insisting the UK is being intransigent by not handing control of UK sovereign territory authorized by international treaties to the EU. All the while Michel Barnier refuses to accept the UK has the right to Govern itself. Even the UK media buys into the idea the UK should capitulate and continue to accept EU rule.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Barnier is not refusing to accept that at all. The EU’s position is that if the UK wants to retain its current tariff free, quota free access to the EU market, then that comes with other requirements that the UK must also accept as a condition of continued, unrestricted access.

        The question for the UK government is how much it values continued, unrestricted access to the EU27 market for UK exporters (currently about 12% of the UK economy) compared to other, political, choices.

        Reply The bigger issue is how much tariff free unrestricted access to the UK does the EU want. In a majority of cases they are the exporter and we are the customers!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          John, what is the balance when the “they” are all the countries of rest of the whole world, rather than the twenty-seven of the European Union?

          If it just happened that we bought more from “them” than “they” did from the UK, then does that mean that “they” could be bullied by the UK into conceding all manner of things to it?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            No, of course it doesn’t, and it is equally silly to apply that fallacy to the countries of the European Union.

          • dixie
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            But “they” are not the whole of the world and Barnier does not represent all of them.

            “They” are the countries in the EU and Barnier is representing them so well they may lose advantageous access to our internal market.

            Further, if there is no trade agreement then our trade won’t be with the EU but with individual countries so maybe they lose their benefit of numbers.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            Yes, they’re all the same aren’t they, Dixie – foreign, every last one of them?

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply: For the EU27, exports to the UK are about 3%-4% of their overall economy. Tariffs and quotas will therefore have less overall impact on the EU27 than they would be on the UK simply by applying to much less of their economy.

          Looking only at a balance of trade figure ignores other key factors like the relative difference in the size of the two economies. It also ignores the differences in the impact on trade in goods versus trade in services (where the UK runs a surplus with the EU27).

          reply As long as we refuse to make concessions all will be well. Don’t run the U.K. down.

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Peter P, The UK has stated repeatedly that we want a trade deal (trade for trade), and not trade for our sovereignty. If the EU tried that on with any other country it would be told to take a running jump; and quite rightly so. But the EU never has. So why do you support the EU treating your own country worse than all the rest? Hmm?

          • bill brown
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            NickC

            thay are still negotiating and plying silliy politics whilst doing it on both sides

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            Bill what silly politics are they plying? What on earth does this sentence mean.

            You can’t expect your own Country (if you are from the UK) to give up so much when this would damage the Key Countries paying in to the EU who export far more to the UK than they import from us?

        • bill brown
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Sir JR,

          There is much more involved then this including financial services and many other treaties and supply chains, this is not only about import and exports

  27. forthurst
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The R rate is not helpful as applied to a country or a region because it is not describing what is happening on the ground. On the ground, there are clusters of illness in local areas. As the more vulnerable protect and isolate themselves, there is more asymptomatic infection amongst the young. It is therefore essential that the response to newly formed local clusters is directed in the areas in which they occur by health professionals being able to enforce local responses to the disease. The generalised lockdown is economically damaging and very unfair on people who are nowhere near the epicentres of outbreaks. Putting the whole population on the alert because of a lack of geographically specific information is counter-productive and causing many people especially the young to regard the epidemic is a hoax or a total over-reaction.

    It is time for the government to get a grip and understand that their role is collect and disseminate information and give necessary authority to those who could control the outbreaks locally but not to try to control the epidemic from a command centre in Whitehall by someone without any scientific qualifications and a history of failure.

  28. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    There is much talk here and in the US of the qualities and the abilities of POTUS. These thoughts and subsequent objections usually come from the ‘left’ and illustrate why some just don’t ‘get it’.

    Trump is not considered to be a member of the Political Class, that is the simple reason he got elected. All political systems get corrupted by those seeing they personally have inalienable right to rule. Being leant the authority to Govern should always be considered a privilege by the recipient and not a right. The UK political class have distorted democracy into a virtual controlling socialist dictatorship seemingly inherited from how the EU is controlled.

    All the things Sir John aspires for the UK are corrupted by those that have hijacked the power base away from the People. The House of Lords, come on, why.

    @Leslie Singleton earlier today. The real root of the problem in the first instance is the selection of candidates, their funding and a system that uses taxpayer money to fight of any challenges. It should be a level playing field at constituency level, not a gang leader parachuting in their personal selection.

    • rose
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      The Left simply don’t get why people voted for Trump and will again. The Left think if they can cast aspersions on his character people will go off him. But people didn’t vote for him because they liked him, even though the Left continually make out they blindly love him. They voted with their eyes and ears wide open, not to have more of the same. They saw in Trump someone who didn’t give a damn about Political Correctness and didn’t need to keep signalling he wasn’t a racist or a sexist in the way left wing habitual racists and sexists do. Political Correctness and all that has come with it is a tyranny to ordinary people and they want someone who will stand up to it all. They also want their law and order back. We do too.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      +1 the Constituency Parties had the power to select whosoever they wanted as their candidate. Heath removed that power, that is the root cause of the disgraceful Parliaments we have suffered. Heath wanted MPs to be disgraceful so we asked to be rid of them. His plan was for us to be reused by people like him, in perpetuity, with no redress for our grievances.

  29. John Hatfield
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    “As the Prime Minister has stated, we cannot afford another general lock down and must find other ways of countering the virus whilst allowing business and social life to revive.”

    Perhaps we should follow (or have followed) the Swedish model John. Despite the Prime Minister’s comments there are murmurings of an autumn lockdown. Something which must be avoided at all costs for the sake of the country.

  30. Ian Wilson
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    How about the pertinent members of the Cabinet taking an RAF communications aircraft and flying to meet Anders Tegnell in Stockholm to learn how we should handle the coronavirus? of course there isn’t the slightest chance of it happening as how many politicians ever admit they were wrong|?

  31. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    You do throw yourself into things John ., but we cannot fully control the virus ; it is doing its own thing. I have been separated from my family since feb and it is hard as my family are also my social life so .I am not really saying’ que sara.’ but we need to alter our lives accordingly.

    Many don’t want to get tested even though they have fevers in case they find out that they have covid 19 , They don’t want to phone 111 in case they are taken to hospital .

    I certainly need a social outlet and others feel similarly and I am wondering how long patience will last .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      “we cannot fully control the virus ; it is doing its own thing” – indeed it is giving lots of people a free vaccination albeit as rather risky one.

  32. matthu
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    We read in one of the national newspapers that “Councils have been forced to perform a humiliating U-turn on Grant Shapps’ green roads policy, after residents across the country revolted against the street closures.

    The Transport Secretary unveiled a £250 million scheme this summer which gave local authorities extra powers to close roads to cars and expand cycle lands without running consultations.”

    What is more disgusting is that while many have suffered the inconvenience of road closures and lane narrowing and so forth … we were all being misled that this was for reasons mandated by the science when in fact it was simply another example of the government and local councils bending the science to suit their own misguided aims.

    Basically another example of lying to the electorate.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

      +1. If you block roads and create “environmental” areas you increase congestion, inconvenience people, reduce productivity and make people drive further causing more and more pollution.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    So … this evening I was walking home through the park and this guy was vaping 25 feet ahead of me – from that distance I was inhaling strawberry flavoured smoke.

    A) Social distancing is way too close

    B) We should ALL be dead by now

  34. Dave, Spencers Wood.
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Have you been paying attention ?
    If the government were a plc, Johnson and Williamson would be looking for new jobs. If decisive action had been taken at the start of March, the human and financial cost could have been reduced massively. We can see that by comparing Germany to us.

    From the exams fiasco to the poor leadership in getting schools re-opened, it is clear that Williamson should be fired. You talk about Nightingale hospitals, but where were the Nightingale classrooms? Why on earth is Williamson still in a job? And that Johnson chose to disappear on holiday at this time AGAIN. It is just pitiful.

    For all that I have disagreed with Conservative governments in the past, the one thing I thought could be relied on was a basic level of competence and decisive leadership at a time of crisis. Not this time. We will be paying the cost of Johnson’s inaction and sloth for generations.

  35. Ian
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Well done Lynn ,
    Thank you for putting Heath In the frame for Parliament s such as we have now, and have had since he was in power.
    Now that we all know now , why can we not elect the people that would be better for our Country, we can not go on like this being Betrayed, by the Vast majority of both House’s with no recompense in law by those peddling treachery Parliament after Parliament

  • 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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