One flu out of the cuckoo’s nest

So far I have avoided comment on the great pandemic.

In the early days Ministers and government told us they were valiantly combatting it, to stop it reaching us. I bit my tongue. It reached the UK.

Then Ministers told us they would stop it spreading in the UK. I kept quiet. It spread.

Government implied it was virulent and serious. They would fight it in the hospitals and in surgeries, with huge quantities of drugs. Fortunately so far it has proved quite mild for most people catching it, unless they already have some other serious condition.

Now we are told flu is flu. This one is like regular flu. You may not need drugs at all, or if you do a phone call to the GP should suffice to sort it out.

Why has the governemnt line kept changing? Why has so much effort be expended to so little effect? Why did they pretend they could stop it in the first place? How much has all this cost? Has anything they have done made any positive difference?


  1. Kevin Lohse
    July 15, 2009

    Dear John.

    Did you notice in yesterday’s news that the Gov’t had admitted that a key part of their strategy, the Hot Line, wasn’t ready yet? and that supplies of virus-specific drugs are some months away?

    Is Labours pandemic plan relying on big red X’s on doors and weekly collections of bodybags?

    To misquote your previous post, you won’t get the chance to be old under a Labour government.

  2. Mick Anderson
    July 15, 2009

    Government rather like trying to panic the population. It’s a distraction technique, to try and hide their incompetence.

    If they can convince us that we’re all going to die a horrible death in the next fortnight, they can try and claim all the credit when it doesn’t actually happen.

    Cost doesn’t matter when you’re saving the world.

    1. Kevin Lohse
      July 15, 2009

      Dear Mick. Panicking the population to gain more control is a standard Marxist/Fascist tactic. Why are we not surprised that Labour have used this tactic throughout their time in Office? (42 days, etc)

    2. oldrightie
      July 15, 2009

      I endorse your analogy 100%. They never were a Government, just a Labour Socialist experiment doomed to go the way of all such dogmatic rubbish. Sadly many people die in some way or other as a direct or indirect consequence of their intransigence and ignorance.

    3. jean baker
      July 15, 2009

      “100,000 doses of Tamiflu set to be ditched by HSE as expiry date looms … (end of July) – Herald National News 15th July.

      Predicted number of cases in Britain by August – widely and sensationally broadcast – “100,000”.

      Non Government affiliated health advisors warn of the perils of administering Tamiflu specifically in the absence of laboratory test confirmation.

  3. albert hall
    July 15, 2009

    There are no drugs to assist with pig flue. There is no helpline. The surgeries do not know what to do. The NHS is keeping quiet and the Government is hoping that the death rate from it will diminish in time as with our forces in Afghanistan. There is no money in the kitty to do anything about anything. Brown has backed the country into a solid brick wall.

    1. jean baker
      July 15, 2009

      Neither the government, nor the media, concerned itself with NHS struggles to cope with volumes affected by seasonal, routine flu prior to and after Christmas – far more virulent than ‘swine flu’.

  4. Iain
    July 15, 2009

    I want an answer to the question I posed on the ConservativeHome web site…..

    //We seem to be docilely accepting our lot with Swine Flu, why?

    “Fourteen patients are now thought to have died in the UK after contracting swine flu, the government has said.
    The number of swine flu cases in London and the West Midlands is approaching epidemic levels, Sir Liam added.
    The UK now has the third highest number of swine flu cases in the world – 9,718 – after the US and Mexico. “

    Why do we have the third largest number of people infected with Swine Flu?

    Spain, a country you might have expected to have a greater connection with South America has just reported it’s 2nd death and has less than 900 confirmed cases (I believe) to the UK’s 9,700 and 14 deaths. Months ago and very soon after the outbreak all passengers on all planes landing in Spain were given written warnings with symptoms to look out for.

    The British Government on the other hand seems to have had a lackadaisical attitude, it was weeks before they put out any health warnings to travellers to Mexico, or requests to returning travellers.

    While this one seems to be mild, though not to the 14 people who have died, what chance do we have with a much more serious disease, it looks like we are wide open to any of the worlds diseases going, what are the social factors here which aids the spread of the disease, is it because our country has been turned into little more than an international transit lounge?


    A very simple requirement would have been to insist on the Airlines having a much higher air exchange/ventilation rate of their aircraft, but they didn’t even bother to do that………//

  5. Anon
    July 15, 2009

    “In the early days Ministers and government told us they were valiantly combatting it, to stop it reaching us. I bit my tongue. It reached the UK.

    “Then Ministers told us they would stop it spreading in the UK. I kept quiet. It spread.”

    I don’t recall them saying either of these things – I seem to remember that the efforts were to slow the spread down, but with an acceptance that it was inevitable that it would reach the UK and spread. Do you have sources for these alleged government positions?

    1. Iain
      July 15, 2009

      “I seem to remember that the efforts were to slow the spread down”

      Hardly, they made no effort to limit air travel or put any obligations on travellers to restrict their movements having flown back from Mexico. In one flight we had a couple who spread the flu in Scotland and a school girl who spread it round her school in Plymouth.

      I heard the so called experts claim that putting restrictions on flights would have no effect, but that flies in the face of common sense. You collect a load of people from an area that has wide spread swine flu, you put then in an enclosed space ( an aircraft) with limited ventilation for 8 hours, you then discourage them at their destination to go to all the points of the compass. I can’t think of a better way to spread disease than that!

      I can’t help but feel the experts view on air travel was more to do with what was in Heathrow’s and the air travels business interest than what was in the citizens interest, (it certainly wasn’t in the 17 people who have so far died interest ) and if part of their business model is to spread disease around the world, then that is a cost that they should be made liable for, just as asbestos manufacturers are being made liable for Mesothelioma.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    July 15, 2009

    From the outset, the way the spread of this strain of flu has been reported has seemed to be rather hysterical. Sadly, people die from flu every year but this is rarely mentioned. Those who catch “normal” flu usually take to their beds and with painkillers, fluids and rest make a fairly rapid recovery.
    Contrast this with the way in which swine flu is regarded. In today’s paper I read a two step check system entitled “Do you have swine flu?” which I am recommended to cut out and keep. This is apparently adapted from NHS swine flu checker. Step1 asks if I have a high temperature or feel hot and shivery. If the answer is “Yes” then I need to decide if I also have 2 or more of the following symptoms: cough; sore throat; headache; runny nose; limb or joint pain; extreme tiredness: vomiting; diarrhoea. If the answer is “Yes” then I am advised to phone my doctor who will decide whether I have swine flu. Just how a GP will make a diagnosis from this information I don’t know as many illnesses including “normal” flu present such symptoms. Having decided over the telephone that I have swine flu my GP may give me a number which can be used to pick up anti-viral drugs like Tamiflu from a local collection centre. At the same time we are told that most people who contract this illness will find its effects relatively mild and will recover within a few days. Until recently no one had died directly as a consequence of contracting swine flu in this country – unlike the situation with “normal” flu. I have read that Tamiflu will shorten the effects of the flu by 1 day. Is it worth the expense for that slight benefit? Good news for the drug manufacturers though!
    I can’t help wondering if there is an ulterior motive behind the swine flu scare.

  7. Arden Forester
    July 15, 2009

    You would have made a good prime minister. PMs should know when to bite their tongues and keep quiet. The last two have been garrulous and inconsistent with the facts.

  8. Javelin
    July 15, 2009

    Death, taxes and flu are inevitable …

    … under New Labour … death, higher taxes (and unemployment) and the threat of 48 hours to mass destruction are inevitable …

    … at least threats of mass destruction keeps the 26,000 politicans in the UK in a job ….

  9. Adam Collyer
    July 15, 2009

    I couldn’t agree more, John. In fact I would go further. Nobody has yet explained why this flu is any different at all. The flu virus does mutate continuously. That is why the elderly are given annual flu vaccinations – the vaccination against last year’s strain will not protect fully against this year’s. The health professionals have tried to draw a distinction between the “new” swine flu and the traditional “seasonal flu” (as they have called it). This really is just flu. There is a worldwide flu epidemic starting, which happens from time to time, and this is NOT a new disease. Just the current variant of flu. They are surprised that swine flu has not affected the elderly. But really it’s not surprising – the elderly are routinely vaccinated against flu, and that vaccination almost certainly provides some protection against swine flu.

    This is all about publically-funded health jobsworths taking an opportunity for self-aggrandisement. Actually just like vCJD. Remember that one? How “millions” could die? And all the time they never were able to tell us ANY differences between it and CJD – which has killed very small numbers of people for centuries.

  10. Demetrius
    July 15, 2009

    Has anyone noticed that they are now fiddling the Bills of Mortality? But that has been going on for a while now in other ways. So if you have an issue, and then Swine Flu finishes you off, they say it is not the flu, and so is not counted. It is enough to give one apoplexy.

  11. Brian E.
    July 15, 2009

    I have long lost any faith in statements made by the government’s Chief Medical Officer, as it is clear that his views expressed over the past few years have been politically biased.
    A couple of months ago, when talking about the large quantities of alcohol being consumed by certain sections of the population, he recommended that the alcohol tax should be increased. Whilst it is in order for him, as CMO, to give his medical opinion on the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, it is a political matter, not a medical matter as to how this might be dealt with. H had previously expressed views on such issues as obesity and teenage pregnancy which I consider went beyond his medical remit.
    Thus one wonders how many of the statements he makes on the flu are considered medical views or statements drafted by Downing Street.

    1. SJB
      July 15, 2009

      Sir Liam Donaldson’s proposal to set a minimum price for alcohol was rejected by Gordon Brown. The article (see below) claims that for many years he met ministerial resistance to a ban on smoking in public places. Therefore, it seems unlikely he is another Downing Street stooge – particularly now he has his K, Brian 🙂

  12. Steve Cox
    July 15, 2009

    When you look back at the 1976 swine flu outbreak in the US, and the disastrous results of the vaccination programme, I wonder how many people here will line up to happily have their swine flu jabs?

    Of course, given the outrageous cost of the state pension, and its negative effects on Brown’s and Mandy’s spending plans, they may get the vaccine development right this time, so that it does a really effective job of getting rid of the elderly and infirm.

    I for one no longer trust the British government and its various tentacles, and will not be joining the queues for inoculation.

    1. Vanessa
      July 15, 2009

      I agree with what you say and – neither shall I!

    2. D.W
      July 15, 2009

      Nor will I ,however I have some advice you may find helpful in helping to fight off viruses (flu etc).Antioxidants (vitamins A.C.E) especially when combined with Zinc are very helpful in strengthening the immune system.
      I am 34 and have been taking Vitamin C and Zinc since I was a teenager and have not had a single bout of Flu since.Its not definative proof ,however all members of my family have had flu numerous times and I have escaped it.
      All members of my family are now starting to take antioxidents and zinc.I’ve even put my Mother(has C.O.P.D)and Father on antioxidents.
      The real worrying aspect of Swine Flu is that it penetrates into the deeper layers of the lungs (which makes it particlarly harmful)this is where antioxidents can really help as they help protect the lungs.
      I have been using Boots (high dose,one a day)sustained release vitamin C and Zinc formula for years and would recommend to anyone who would like to bouy up their natural defences.
      Anyway must dash,Boots closes at 8pm, and I’m short on said supplements(hope 3 for 2 offer is still on).Ciao.

    3. D.W
      July 15, 2009

      Sorry, I forget to add to always read the label before taking any supplements ,silly me !!!

    4. D.W
      July 15, 2009

      Sorry, I forget to add to always read the label before taking any supplements ,silly me !!!

  13. Vanessa
    July 15, 2009

    They like to rule by FEAR. A ‘pandemic’ is another example of how the population must be kept fearful and the government to be in control. Welcome to the new UK-SSR

  14. Chris H
    July 15, 2009

    Just dont force me to get vaccinated; my doctor would have to drag me to the surgery in chains. This flu thing is out of all proportion to its importance. It isnt necessary for most people to have inoculations, we know flu isn’t nice to have but the majority do recover after a few days or maybe a week or so. Now, IF….and I stress IF…this swine flu was proving to be a true killer, then the situation would be quite different. But it isn’t. Exactly why is the government so eager to pump vaccine into all the population? What’s in the vaccine that they are so eager to get into us? It does make you wonder. And how come they managed to get 90 million doses so quickly? Has it all been thoroughly tested or is it a rushed-job, by-passing the usual screenings in order to “have it ready”?
    Its all scaremongering and people are more likely to die from the stress caused by politicians and mainstream media than they are from the virus.

  15. Robert K, Oxford
    July 15, 2009

    The answer to your question, John, is simple. Governments prefer their citizens to be frightened. A government can then offer protection and in return gets what it wants – power.

  16. Paul Godwin
    July 15, 2009

    Well I’ve got it and been confined to my house by appealing to my socially responsible side, must be because I can’t think straight? I can understand the need to stall this if possible, I am not exactly all that ill at the moment, but when it first hit it was a little surprising after a sore throat for 2 days and then suddenly up in the night with a fever, feeling weak and unbalanced. I can see how if it was only slightly worse it could be a real problem. The public do seem to be needlessly in fear, mention the Tamiflu prescription and everyone steps back 2 paces (according to my “Flu buddy”) in the chemist.

    So how exactly does a viral transcription inhibitor pose a risk to people without flu? It would only effect viral illness so what is the problem? Ok I have a masters in plant disease and that was mainly mycology and virology and a few years ago, so why should I be scared of Tamiflu or a vaccine, hey can’t we try it on pigs first?

  17. Mike Stallard
    July 15, 2009

    Today the Government conquer Swine Flu;
    Tomorrow the world….
    (Damn, they’ve already done that.)
    No wonder they hate God!

  18. DennisA
    July 15, 2009

    “Why did they pretend they could stop it in the first place?” Sounds a bit like climate change doesn’t it?

  19. thespecialone
    July 15, 2009

    I never ever listen to anything pandemic, endemic, xxxbloodydemic alert that this government tries to frighten us with. It is the same with SARS, CJD, AIDS. I know of not one single personally who has died of any of these or of anything else that ‘millions’ are going to die from. Some unfortunates have. That’s just the way it is.
    I have also read on the internet (not a blog but Yahoo news)but not in the MSM that the GP who died of ‘swine flu’ actually died of a blood clot on the lungs and also had a heart problem. He just happened to have swine flu as well. I have not heard any more of the poor little girl though.
    Marxist governments all over the world need to control their citizens.

  20. Adrian Peirson
    July 15, 2009

    Mr Redwood, regarding this Issue, I wonder if you can mke enquiries as to the sell by date of UK, EU and World Tamiflu stocks.
    There is a doubke whammy for us here, firstly they do not need to trow these away if they are required for a Pandemic.
    Secondly, Govt’s will afterwards be forced to restock their supplies.
    Thirdly there is yet another opportunity to do away with our civil liberites by requireingh mandatory vaccinations for any recombinant recurances that reapear over the next few yrs.

    I’m indigenous White Briitsh Heterosexual and Anti EU, as such I am an enemy of the EU State,So there is another opportunity here for the EU to get rid of Political opposition.

    (Allegations about a particular company removed)

    Reply: I am am asking about tamiflu – thanks for the suggestion

  21. ManicBeancounter
    July 15, 2009

    The BBC may say that the true cost of politics is £500m a year – which is the salary and expenses costs for the thousands of elected representatives. The bill for this panic could be somewhat more.
    One might say that this might be good value if it distracted the government from taking on more long-term liabilities. Unfortunately this is not the case. for the latest liability that we are to be saddled with.

  22. […] John Rewood makes comment in “One Flu out of the Cuckoo’s Nest” […]

  23. Javelin
    July 17, 2009

    This just got published today – not the juice the extract (e.g. I take it anyway as it reduces thrombin.

    Pomegranate extract supresses the H1 virus and enhances Tamiflu.

  24. Oseltamivir
    July 27, 2009

    The U.S. government has bought 195 million doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine for a possible autumn vaccination campaign, a U.S. federal official said on Thursday.

  25. norman
    July 27, 2009

    A total of 16 per cent of patients had no medical conditions and were not taking any medication.

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