Getting eggs into boxes

Today I joined the MP call to the Cabinet office to provide feedback on virus related problems. One of the issues I raised was the continued empty shelf problem for a few products. I took the case of eggs as an example.

There are still the same number of eggs being produced as before the clampdown came into effect. Apparently there are plenty of eggs, but a large number are available in catering packs which are far too big to sell in supermarkets. According to the BBC  Radio 4 Farming  programme big caterers are more than  happy to transfer their egg contracts temporarily to the supermarkets, but the eggs need to be packed in retail packs. There are few manufacturers of the egg  boxes, with a main producer in Denmark said to be closed for virus reasons.

I suggested the Cabinet Office/DEFRA  help the private sector come up with a solution to a shortage of retail egg packs. UK packaging firms may be able to respond to the need quickly. Retailers might be able to buy in the catering packs and let people buy loose eggs, as we buy loose vegetables, for those who keep their last egg box and take it back to refill. That would take some pressure off.

There are a few other lines in common short supply where there can be fixes.

I am also sending these thoughts to DEFRA, as filling all the shelves again would reassure the public and remind people who are thinking of hoarding they have no need to hoard.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I’m reminded of the robot in Hitchhiker’s Guide, ‘brain the size of a planet and you ask me to solve the egg delivery problem..’

    How pathetic are we become, so dependent on the state to solve all our problems. This is truly a sad reflection, that you should have to suggest a solution for a trivial issue that common sense can solve in an instant. This is what a socialist state looks like; are we?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      No one asked him to solve that problem.

      John raised it himself.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      For some time with successive Governments all afraid of the People have dragged us in to the mire of you do nothing and your master will provide, don’t contribute and you will get rewards. The ultimate Socialist Super State.

      Make the People dependent, remove self reliance, then you have 1984 control. Any sane society would notice it doesn’t matter how warm and cuddly it seems it is still a Dictatorship.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t you look at this more broadly?

        How come the shelves are full, even in epidemic-stricken Milan and Turin?

        Why is this only really a problem here and elsewhere in the English-speaking world such as Australia?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          Because we obey rules! We are told to shop ‘seldom’ so we get double to halve the shopping trips. Everyone knows the Italians go their own way – that’s how they survive their ‘governments’.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous comment.
          There have been random shortages of products in Europe too..

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Nothing like here.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            You need to check your facts before your bias finds you out.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Martin I think you should look more broadly, this period of isolation will have people thinking what do we really need in services and products from the rest of the world but I think with an opposite result than your hypothesise.

          We’ll also have a lot of people suddenly out of work wanting jobs providing that we exported.

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood

      Agree entirely, though it is possible to sum up what you say by reference to dogs, as in ‘gone to’.

      It’s over. The only hope for the country is a rebirth. We’ll have to write off the current system in entirety, perhaps turning the country into a republic.

      Alternatively just get out and live somewhere else, claiming refugee status if necessary.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Indeed so, and wasn’t there an issue yesterday about who in hospitals could wear what. Needed some form of national directive I think. If the hospitals are sent the kit it should up to each hospital to decide. No doubt the bureacrats who decide these things are on big salaries and nowhere near the front line.

    • NickC
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood, It is not all doorstep clapping and inability to function without state direction. Some distilleries and Ineos have set up production lines for alcohol based sanitising gel; Dyson and G-Tech have developed ventilators in a matter of days.

      And the one of my children who is a GP (even though Jerry doesn’t believe it) has reported that their group set up phone/video based triage in opposition to the prodnoses at the local health authority. What is more they set up rooms specifically for Covid-19 triage with a separate entrance to avoid mixing patients, even though again the authorities opposed them.

      What this pandemic has shown is that private and individual initiative beats state direction every time. If only the state would set us free under normal circumstances.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Ineos, Dyson and G-Tech, and others, have performed admirably. Quite a contrast to Trump’s having to throw the Defense Production Act at the likes of General Motors.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        “What this pandemic has shown is that private and individual initiative beats Tory UK state direction every time. If only the Tory UK state would set us free under normal circumstances.”

        There – repair complete, Nick.

        It’s different in some other countries.

        • NickC
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          There speaks a man who predicted economic armaggeddon just because we are changing from one trade deal with the EU to another. That makes you unfit to judge our efforts against SARS-CV-2.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            No, I didn’t predict “armageddon”.

            I just said that things would not be as good as they were when we were in the European Union.

            And they won’t.

            It’s a fact. Things are different in other countries on health, education, transport, pensions and the like.

            That’s not a judgement.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            What future vision you have Martin.
            You know what will happen over the next 15 years.
            “Its a fact”
            No it us just your prediction.

  2. glen cullen
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    On the surface this might appear as a simple problem with a simple solution but if all MPs came up with 650 different solutions to 650 different problems it could combat some of the fears of lockdown

    Or the government could just reverse the policy of lockdown like in Sweden…problem solved

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen

      “Or the government could just reverse the policy of lockdown like in Sweden…problem solved”


      The fact that the government and their scientific advisers (with a vested interest) let the virus in nullifies any claim they may make to have moral high ground.

      They will often cite another country as being totally stricken with the virus, but still allow flights to the UK from that country as if nothing had happened.

      You may ask why the lack of common sense……it’s simple – we’re being had over.

      Don’t think for a minute they intend this perverse social control to be temporary. There will be a whole load of permanent ‘not allowed’s’ to come out of this. And of course they’ll make sure the big boys get every last penny off us

      Born of this crisis will be extreme S*^! Life Syndrome for the plebs, count on it.

      • NickC
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Steve, I hope you are wrong about permanent control. I would think you hope you are wrong too.

        But you are certainly correct that we should have, and could have, closed our borders completely, and sooner. After this is over (here’s hoping!) we must ask why the establishment stuck by their open border bigotry in the face of the evidence.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Has anyone else plotted-up the data from the W.H.O. Situation Reports page of their website into a spreadsheet?

      Look at the China data. Either they are lying, or……. they have a vaccine.

      And if the data ARE valid, and they do have a vaccine then :-
      1) Why aren’t they making it available to the rest of the world?
      2) How long did it take them to develop it? Given that W.H.O. have said that one is potentially a year away, are the chinese researchers so good that they have one in under three months? If not, then they must have been working on one….er…… before the outbreak occurred? Now then, how could that possibly be…… unless the virus WAS engineered.
      3) If release was an accident then they should be making any vaccine available worldwide.
      4) If release was deliberate, then why? The price of their vaccine – Chinese domination of all national markets and thence world economy? Have they already made that ‘generous offer’ and been told to F.O.? And consequently that is why we may be in prolongued lockdown until the west develops its own vaccine?

      Answers please, on a postcard, to Mr. B. Johnson, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      No quite sure what happened there – 2 copies. Please delete the earlier one.

  3. SM
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Very sensible John, but perhaps worth considering how people purchased and conveyed home eggs before the taken-for-granted box? They would take a rigid basket with some kind of loose padding/straw to prevent breakage, so perhaps something similar that could take a dozen eggs could be designed by some bright spark and manufactured quite rapidly?

  4. Pat
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    An obvious point- once there are actual shortages in the shops it makes perfect sense to raise the personal stock level, i.e. hoard. But since actual usage will remain largely constant the problem will ultimately solve itself.
    If course ‘re-opening commercial food outlets would obviate the need to create a new packaging industry just to last a month or so.

  5. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Not only can I not get a food delivery, even though my age places me in lockdown, but I hear from others that eggs are like gold dust now, such is the demand. They appear to be nowhere to be seen.

    Eggs are a very nutritious food, and can be extremely useful when nothing else is available. Everyone should have access to them. They should be rationed, so that all customers get some. There is going to be a real problem of malnutrition , if the present problem of getting good food to people who need it, goes on.

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      “There is going to be a real problem of malnutrition , if the present problem of getting good food to people who need it, goes on.”

      …..and of course provides the perfect excuse to keep us in the EU.

      Ever wonder why borders were not slammed shut and airports closed ?

      Do not be absolutely certain that we are not being had over. All governments work underlying agendas in crises.

      In any event, deliberately allowing the virus in (which is what they did) has destroyed any trust people might have had.

      It’ll be – ‘Oh we’re better off in the EU because that way we can guarantee food on the shelves’.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        The UK is not in the European Union, Steve, so cannot be kept in.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          I thought we were still connected until 31st December this year.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            The European Union have generously allowed this country to continue certain practical arrangements so as not to self-destruct, but the UK has left.

            It would have to apply to rejoin – and that would certainly be vetoed by one state or another, I think.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Excellent news – we are OUT and you will NOT be allowed to have us rejoin.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            So still connected until 31st of December as I originally said.

          • NickC
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            Martin, The UK has not left the EU. We are signed up to the WA treaty to that effect. The EU still controls us, and we must obey EU laws, as before. EU laws still have primacy. For example, the UK had to submit our program of state aid (consequent on CV19) for EU approval. We won’t leave until 31 Dec 2020, at the earliest.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think that this country should be allowed to join any civilised, enlightened association of nations, until the make up of its population has changed rather, Fred.

            Looks like progress is being made on that front, however.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            Which ones are you thinking about?
            Just because people vote differently to you doesn’t mean they are inferior.
            Mind that is the general idea of the left.
            It is controlling and dismissive of any dissent.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            MiC Your last remark shows your prejudices know no bounds

  6. Steve Reay
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The new problem at the supermarket is the queueing that is in place to ensure social distancing.People will now buy more than they need just to avoid the hours stood outside in bad weather.

    We may have moved slight to avoid panic buying and social distancing but created another problem. Older people will find it difficult to stand for long times.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Social, moral and economic cohesion is breaking down; you only have to walk down the high street to evidence this. I fear the harm we are doing to ourselves

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Supermarkets should sell timed entry slots to the shops – £10 a pop, to be credited from the same credit card used to purchase the slot which must also be used to purchase the food bought. That would save the queueing and be more convenient

      • Mark
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        I have also thought that queuing could be made more comfortable in other ways at large outlets with carparks. Use loudhailers and large signs to indicate who may join the much shorter queue at the store entrance while people wait in their cars until called forward, based on time of entry, running the car park in sections to act as a virtual queue: for simplicity, direct those on foot to the same blocks of car park so they join the queue in fair order. Try to indicate the expected queuing time – it may deter peak queuing. They should also take advice from those who know something about queuing theory.

        It also makes sense to allocate a day of the week for shopping to each household, cutting the daily queues.

    • Stred
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Standing 2 metres away for half an hour with the wind blowing in your face past the next person, who may be infectious. No thanks.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Two line would help. Or three at some wider entrances. Any idea what the limits are on numbers of people within the store? Floor area divided 4 sq m?

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Exactly get rid of the (often absurd) red tape. All the over the top labeling laws and endless other red tape and let people bring in their old egg boxes or other containers and just buy them lose.

    Red tape is everywhere doubtless even now it is slowing down the production of ventilators and PPE equipment and people will surely die as a direct result. The FT today reports “Ministers under fire for ignoring offers of more ventilators”. They have had over two months to get organised, so why on earth have they been so slow? We can make 22,000 spitfires and millions of other things …. aircraft, bombs, guns, uniforms, boots, radar …. in a few years during a war. Yet obtaining or making a few basic mechanical ventilators in time for the peak seems to be beyond the NHS and this government.

    Spain has been in lock down for about two week yet new cases are still rising at about 10%. Let us hope the UK’s belated lock down proves more effective. We shall see in about a weeks time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      10% a day that is!

      • zorro
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        So we are up to 1,000 deaths allegedly related to COVID 19 in the UK and you were claiming nine days ago that we would be near 10,000 in 2 days time!!


        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          I said IF that daily rate of increase continued for two weeks and did the sums. The average increase over the past 14 days has actually been about 32% day on day. So rather lower than it was on that day. But even at 32% it goes up by nearly 50 times in just 2 weeks.

          Let us hope the increase slows very dramatically indeed due to the lock down. Not much encouragement as yet from the deaths reported today. In Spain deaths are still increasing at 10% a day after about two weeks of lock down.

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink


      Except it isn’t really ‘lock down’ as it were.

      It’s more like a form of totalitarian control.

      Queues for food, restricted travel. Remind you of anything ?

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        More of a selective lockdown. Police clearing a park of well separated people, but doing nothing about packing in the tube.

        • Bob
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          – Prosecuting shopkeepers for marking two meter chalk lines on the pavement outside of their shop to help customers with social distancing while queuing for their shopping
          – Using drones to hunt down dog walkers in the Peak District.
          – Prioritising hate crimes over actual crime.

          A thoroughly debased organisation..

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

            I tend to agree, but do not worry – for people like Ms Cresida Dick what really matters is that the diversity of the Met reflect that of the London Population (who care about selection on merit and ability) – and they all go on lots of diversity awareness courses. Plus she has lots of hate crime experts to refer people like Boris too if needed.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

            They prosecute shopkeepers for this but do nothing about shoplifters?

    • Dave Ward
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      “And let people bring in their old egg boxes or other containers and just buy them lose”

      Exactly what occurred to me – and IF this problem had been publicised as soon as it was apparent, I wouldn’t have scrunched up my previous packaging and thrown it in the recycling bin! And now that bin probably won’t be emptied for months…

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    That is an interesting issue and no doubt is representative of problems with other products too. Well done for highlighting it.

  9. L Jones
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The idea of ”make do and mend” seems very slow in getting through. Retaining old egg boxes seems to be a no-brainer. There are many ways that we could help the supply chain, and now many of us have time to think of ways to do so.
    Speaking of ”helping”, I wonder how many students will offer their labour, volunteering to be pickers now that people can’t be imported. Perhaps they’ve heard of the adage ”… ask what you can do for your country”?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you volunteer your labour?

      You voted to make the problem permanent, didn’t you? The students generally didn’t.

      Well now’s your chance.

      • NickC
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Martin, What problem is that? The idea that a nation of around 70 million cannot supply its own labour is sheer Remain make-believe.

        Even you should be able to comprehend that changing the trade deal we have with the EU will be merely a rounding error on the immense damage done by SARS-CV-2.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          Hardly any British people opted to do the work before, so why should they now?

          The exchange rate to eastern European currencies made the work attractive to others, however.

          That latter point has been eroded of late, though.

          So what do you propose? Forced labour?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Because it was minimum wage work
            and it fails to encourage some people.
            I assume you feel low wages isn’t a problem.

            Maybe the wages will rise if employers need to attract workers.
            And the only difference is you might have to pay a few pence more for a punnet of strawberries or a bag of potatoes.
            Surely you dont resent having to do that Martin?

          • cornishstu
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

            Well in my youth I can remember when housewives and those unemployed would be in the fields picking the crops as did I and some of my friends to earn a few extra bob. It is only since the welfare state pays far more for doing far less that there lacks the incentive.

          • L Jones
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            ”Forced labour”? No. I was suggesting that people might consider it was worth volunteering to help their country. Obviously, you wouldn’t be one of those, since your mind immediately turned to money.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            If people really wanted to help their country then they wouldn”t have voted to leave the European Union, and to inflict this vast raft of problems on the it and on the productive among its people.

            But your favourite economist, Minton, says that we’ll just have to accept that farming and manufacturing are basically finished here.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            Not only have you got his name wrong but you have compketely twisted what he said.

            Professor Minford was asked if the UK economy could survive in the future without a big manufacturing and agriculture sector.
            He said it could.
            But I realise it is one of a few favourite propagands headlines for the left.

          • NickC
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Martin, I voted to Leave precisely to help my country. As even you can see the EU isn’t much of a “union”, is it?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Edward, the price of all fruit and veg could double or treble and I wouldn’t even feel it. I can’t tell you the price of a kilo of potatoes.

            I’m not so sure about the core Leave vote, however.

            Yes, pay British farm workers properly and bring it on.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            Labour is a small proportion of the final selling price of fruit and vegetables.
            You don’t even begin to understand business costs.

      • Mark
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        I think that a well run SAWS scheme would happily allow foreign pickers in more normal times. But for now the borders are largely shut. There are of course also a large number of young foreign workers who are not able to pursue their jobs as baristas in Starbucks and the like who might also be tapped in due course. Agricultural work allows good isolation to be maintained, so there are attractions of not having to run the gauntlet of city infection risk.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        We have thousands of asylum seekers that we are told are desperate to work but unable to, this could be fixed by building centres near to the farms with no labour.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the Leave-voting towns and villages of East Anglia would love that, a-tracy.

          It’s exactly for what they voted, I expect.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            One minute you complain about unemployment.
            The next minute finding jobs for people who are not in work seems to be a problem for you.
            Which is it?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

            I’m just pointing out the inconsistencies of Leave voters’ mentalities.

            I couldn’t care less how they feel about the consequences of their deluded actions.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            MiC you keep insisting you know what Leave voters voted for! You’re not one of them it turns out you don’t have a clue. This is your hypothesis a stringent remain – it says more about you and your prejudices.

            No freeloaders, put all people to work, they can’t all stay in London or where they want. As a Country we need to get inventive. Scotland is desperate for immigrant workers, farms as you say, if people in Anglia don’t like it then they need to get their own unemployed into the vacant jobs. Care homes may have rooms to house out of work suitable couple’s to be specifically trained in pensioner care.

          • NickC
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Martin, Yet it is you who is being inconsistent. Yes, I know Remain propaganda was the same – and that’s your excuse – prophesying both increased unemployment and lack of workers at the same time.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          The inconsistencies are all yours.
          Your efforts to denigrate all the people who voted to leave the EU are just pathetic generalisations.

          • hefner
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Hi Edward2, you obviously never suffer from such pathetic generalisations. I am just so relieved to learn that you never dosuch things.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            Gosh you are getting even more bitter Hefner
            Is confinement getting to you?

          • hefner
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            Not bitter at all Edward, just amused to see you as a small doggy woof-woofing at the heels of everybody who is not following your right wing mantra.

            Oh, do not think I do not sympathise with you: to see the young priest of your cult tearing up the sacred texts: ‘there really is such a thing ….’.
            You should go and rebuke him like you are so good at doing (woof-woof) with all the left-wingers on this blog.
            Go go Go Eddie, go, … Eddie be good (sorry Chuck).

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            You sound bitter.
            Angry even.
            Even more so in this post.
            Perhaps time fo some self reflection hefner?

          • hefner
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the advice, you’re too kind.

      • L Jones
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        And what on earth makes you think I don’t volunteer my labour? That really is the most arrogant reply.

      • steve
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:31 am | Permalink


        Martin, may I respectfully suggest you choose your words with sensitivity.

        Many people are already doing their bit by way of sheer hard graft, irrespective of their voting preference.

      • steve
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:36 am | Permalink


        “Why don’t you volunteer your labour?”

        Your armchair must be a health hazard by now, surely ?

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      L. Jones

      Yes make do and mend is fine in principle, but we’ve had decades of euro-trash domestic products, mostly made deliberately unrepairable.

      Example; the drum bearings on my french trash washing machine have failed. Cast-in bearings, no grease nipples.

      Oh wait !……you’re supposed to throw it away and buy a new one, because one component has failed. Pure genius.

      Life will have to change after this and to our satisfaction, or else.

  10. everyone knows
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I am not having a forced vaccination. What do you say about that?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Me neither.
      Would a Dr,I wonder, be prepared to sign something declaring that “this jab” is guaranteed to do no harm etc?
      I have never had one single positive brush with NHS and have no faith in its “magic” thinking.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      You probably won’t be forced to have one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Up to you!

    • agricola
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Then you will only infect or be infected by others of a similar mindset. It is the main reason that measels has reared its ugly head again.

      • Bob
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        When I was young we were immunised by actually catching measles.
        All my family, friends caught it. A week or so off school and recovered with full lifetime immunity. No off them died.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps not be some certainly did.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Bob, please don’t talk about not having vaccinations. You and your ilk are a danger to others. My daughter was infected with measles 10 days before she was due to get her inoculations. She was extremely ill and it was not a happy time in our household. Without vaccinations many of us would not be here today. It is people with your mindset that are infecting people now. It’s nothing to brag about and indeed extremely foolish and selfish.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            It needs about 95% uptake.

            There’s room for him among the 5% I’d expect.

          • Bob
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            “please don’t talk about not having vaccinations.”

            Can we talk about people who have had severe adverse reactions to vaccinations?
            I have one in my own family and also a family friend.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            Martin – – and over time and outbreaks the 5% of the gene pool will reduce as they die of the maladies….

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            If they get the 95% – it may be even less depending on “R” – then there should not be any outbreaks, Fred.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            You stay in the 5%, my grandkids are in the 95%. As the members of the 5% club die it will naturally get safer.

    • steve
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      everyone knows

      “I am not having a forced vaccination. What do you say about that?”

      No problem, instead you can always be victim of electro-cardiac disruption for non compliance.

      • D Note
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        The Metro are saying “Hospitals in London are not at capacity yet”, quite remarkable as they are at capacity during a normal flu season.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          With well over 100 dying every day there must be rather a lot of people in a very serious condition now. How many of these are on mechanical ventilation currently I wonder? How many more days until they are at full capacity in London 3 or 4? Perhaps a week at best?

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            Agree Life Logic. There must be many in hospital gravely ill. Some will be lucky, others not so. Just lije with the people who turn down vaccinations. Some will be fine but others not because of their selfish behaviour.

    • Mark
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      You may not take foreign holidays. You may be excluded from certain lines of work. Your life insurers may charge a higher premium. You might even become a social paraiah if it becomes known.

    • NickC
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Everyone Doesn’t Know, Shouldn’t you wait to see what the side effects are before making your decision? Or is that too rational for you?

    • hefner
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      ‘everyone knows’, I would hope you would not as well want to be forced into the hospital if you were to need it. As obviously you would be consistent, wouldn’t you?

  11. zorro
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    A lot of these packaging issues could be solved using reusable egg boxes i.e. the ones we have and also having bottles refilled, although doubtless some scientist, as they seem to be doing on a daily basis, will say oh no it will potentially harbour COVID 19 like every square inch of the planet so you cannot reuse them! All you hear is don’t touch this, don’t touch that purely to scare people to death


    • gregory martin
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      The default system of egg producers revolves around non-returnable pulp fibre trays which contain 30 (2.5 dozen) eggs per tray. It would not be rocket science for these to be split instore into half trays ie 15 eggs.
      My local ‘market street ‘ supermarket has loose eggs on sale from these trays, with a few half dozen convention egg boxes for one to pick (handle and select/reject) ones eggs .They have limited the sale to 2 such boxes per transaction. These are located within the ‘market street ‘area. There is no signage upon the bare shelves where prepacked eggs should be stocked. No suggestion that the boxes might be returned/reused in future.

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I dare say that DEFRA is the sole reason why people no longer keep chickens.
    And pigs come to that. And goats.
    Eggs, meat and milk!

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Apparently chickens are very popular in fashionable ‘St.Greta’ circles. Pigs need space and goats are a nightmare and totally unsuited to most homes. Then there is the question of slaughter. Would you do that? When I was a kid just after WW2 we always kept rabbits and chickens and a ‘man from the allotment’ would come and kill them as my dad couldn’t do it. I was always sent on some errand when ‘the man’ came.

  13. steve
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    L. Jones

    Perhaps they’ve heard of the adage ”… ask what you can do for your country”?

    ROFL !

    Not a chance mate, not a chance.

  14. steve
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh well, essential travel only. Maybe they can use this to force crappy useless electric cars upon us, eh.

  15. Uneducated
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago my corner shop used to sell from a catering pack behind the counter, in full view, with a sign asking customers to being back their empty 6-boxes to have them refilled.I don’t suppose she and her husband had a University Degree. Just as well.

    • NickC
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Uneducated, Yes, I do not see what the problem is in customers re-using their old egg-boxes. Why is it an issue?

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      My local farm shop does just that and lovely eggs they are too, all free range and not always in stock. I know the owner and he tips me off when his wife is going to the farm so I can get some, except that now I am banged up for the duration so will have to rely on supermarket flavourless ones I suppose. Morrisons have been doing it like that since last summer in our local one. Trouble is, there were none for sale last week.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    OT On the subject of cashflow, ( a named large company which I cannot source ed) has said it is burning through c£2 billion each week and that this was an “acute economic risk” to the business. It is one of the few businesses I am aware of that has quantified the impact of zero sales on its operations (apart from a small and slow resumption in China). It is not alone in facing “acute economic risks”

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I find that figure difficult to believe. Sure it’s not per month?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        People’s car 2.2 billion dollars per week.

        Reply I have now seen a VW statement referring to Euro 2bn of costs they need to meet.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Thanks for reply.

          Yep. It feels about right against their 2019 revenue of about 250bn. I haven’t, nor will, look at accounts for other figures. It and Toyota are up there as wealthiest companies by revenues, many of those above them are oil companies so will also suffer in terms of revenue (I dont’ know their costs, solvency, or liquidity).

  17. Fred Egg
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Funnies of today
    FIRST A man, possibly a senior nurse or more, was on video link to Sky News. He welcomed the new idea, “to be rolled out at the weekend” for a trial run of testing some front line staff for the virus. He added that “we” had be calling for it for some time. Also he said staff just didn’t know what to do when they thought they had the virus or even know it! “what with the situation” in the country with the virus “whether to go into work or stay at home.”He said they hadn’t been any guidance from the NHS on the matter
    SECOND pictures of workers constructing mega-structures to use as outside hospitals with battery-chicken-like 10 foot by 10 foot “bedrooms” with just ticky-tacky walls 6 foot high going far into the distance like rows and rows and rows of those gun racks in The Matrix .

    The problem with the NHS is not money. It is lack of the basic hygiene knowledge and skills right at the top management of the NHS, like those imparted to those small kiosk establishment staff one used to see at the sides of roads accompanied by our Union Flag flying high selling bacon and egg sandwiches and tea for passing motorists and lorry drivers.
    Each had to have a certificate which they posted on the ticky-tacky walls showing they had undergone a safety and hygiene course demanded by HM Government and had passed with flying colours.
    What has become of us?

  18. glen cullen
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    My close friends in isolation
    2 teachers under self imposed isolation (no symptoms) full pay
    2 NHS staff under self imposed isolation (no symptoms) full pay
    1 civil servant under self imposed isolation (no symptoms) full pay
    4 local govt staff under self imposed isolation (no symptoms) full pay
    1 multi national company staff under self imposed isolation (no symptoms but maybe a cold) full pay
    1 charity worker under self imposed isolation (no symptoms) full pay

    My close friends not in isolation are everyone else that works for a private SME or are self employed

    Even as close friends they still won’t say they’re swinging the lead rather they’re using the opportunity offered to them by their employer (the tax payer)

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Had an email from our local government to say the offices are now shut and asking people to pay their council tax electronically as there is no-one to process cash or cheques. Brilliant for the people who scrape together their tax in cash from meagre wages and go to the cashier because they have just basic accounts. I’d save it up and make ’em wait or send a cheque and get the benefit until they open again. No-one is going to chase it up.Unfortunately I do mine by dd.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      the only downside being close proximity to the spouse …. and worse the children?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink


      But many you describe want the same or better wages than the private sector, forgetting that they also have taxpayer funded pensions, sick pay, paid holidays and some flexible hours.

      Many also have generous employment protection schemes, yearly grade increases and generous redundancy packages.

      They now have the protection of the recent PAYE protection salary scheme.

      But they still moan !!!!

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        oh yes…they do indeed moan everyday

        One teacher is trying to recover the cost of her broadband and utility costs as she has been forced (even though it was her decision) to stay a home and possibly be asked to do some work at home

        She not a bad person just the attitude of every teacher I know

  19. steve
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink


    “There are a few other lines in common short supply where there can be fixes.”

    A moment Mr Redwood Sir, if you don’t mind.

    We were told, on many occasions – ‘THERE IS NO SUPPLY PROBLEM”

  20. Mark
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Most eggboxes and catering egg trays are now made of recycled cardboard and paper (many years ago I had a customer who made most of the production of them in Northern Ireland). We can surely take advantage of the ability to manufacture in blow moulded plastic. Perhaps someone can devise a suitable method for cutting a catering tray of a gross of eggs into 24 half-dozens with a jigsaw or similar – you’d only need one per supermarket. Plastic wrap to hold them in place – no lids. Suspend the green regulations if necessary.

  21. Bob
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    “Retailers might be able to buy in the catering packs and let people buy loose eggs, as we buy loose vegetables, for those who keep their last egg box and take it back to refill.”

    Reusing the egg cartons is a sensible suggestion.
    If we had a proper public service broadcaster they would make people aware of this instead of leaving it to the blogosphere to communicate the problems and solutions.

  22. everyone knows
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Everyone Doesn’t Know, Shouldn’t you wait to see what the side effects are before making your decision? Or is that too rational for you?

    Why shouldn’t I be as hysterical and irrational as the MSM and political class?

  23. J Bush
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the problem has, for a long time, been politicians taking the easy option and being too fixated on just ‘rubber stamping’ EU dictats rather than having to work in the best interest of this country, such as maintaining an element of self reliance.

    It certainly wasn’t like this up to the early 1970’s, there were factories and manufacturers right across the country.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Yes, there were elm trees too.

      Damn that European Community, with their Dutch Elm Disease, eh?

      It was outrageous, their banning Berni Inns, Green Shield stamps and Tupperware parties too, wasn’t it?

  24. Zorro
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


    This is what a group of experts think will happen in our society/economy over the next 18 months. Does it ring true to you or other bloggers? How do you all feel about it?


    • Zorro
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink
      • a-tracy
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Interesting. However, I don’t agree with all of it. Productivity of home workers will prove to be lower, if people do work from home, horrible systems of computer and desk movements, and keystroke logging would become more scientific, monitoring by camera ‘for team chats’ will become more controlling- social interactions will change immensely, if this came to being all the public transport would be cut, coffee shops, central London grinds to a halt, lunch social life, gyms, after work dance and socials in Cities would die. People planning to do childcare and work will find incomes dropping, people would become more a slave to their computer, the office banter would disappear.

        People will want to know what the underbelly of unemployed are actually doing, what are they fit for, because if we now demonstrate that people can work from home why can’t they?

        This whole thing scares the sh1t out of me, the State control would be horrendous. That camera will be on all day long Siri and Alexa take over our homes.

  25. Mark B
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    It is not about supply it is about greed and selfishness. This greed and selfishness has been caused by panic.

  26. Zorro
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh very interesting – look what Mr Fauci is now saying post bailout in the New England Journal of Medicine about the relative threat of COVID 19 when compared to other diseases over the last 50-60 years….


  27. David Fawcett
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I remember a chain of shops on the high street called Weigh And Save. Surely its day has come again. What with the modern fashion for reusable bags and packaging, it seems a good idea.

  28. miami.mode
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s well understood that washing hands will remove the virus but it’s reported that it can hang around on hard surfaces for more than 2 days. Has there been any sort of advice that, say, boiling water or putting objects in a freezer for a while will kill the virus?

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Freezers do not kill viruses. They are not ‘living things’ in the sense that we understand it, just a bag of something or other which spring to life again after being frozen. Heat above 60 deg C does kill it off.

      • Stred
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        Research labs store viruses in freezers.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Yes, put your loaf in an oven at 150c for two minutes before using it.

  29. Stred
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    For those without used egg boxes, the supermarket could boil the eggs and then put them in bags. Alternatively, set up a stall in the car park and customers could put them gently on the back seat and remember not to sit on them.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      or even buy a laying hen….no cooperation and she gets the coup de grace.

  30. a-tracy
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Put the message out in the media and I don’t see people having any problem taking their empty egg cartons to buy 6 new eggs, we take our own bags now. Charge more for the packed version and 10p less if you bring your own packaging. I used to sell six eggs in a brown paper bag on a market stall years ago, women used to just be careful and load them in the trolley last.

    Now can you also tell me where to buy soap and some hand sanitiser? Is that shortage a packing problem or because all the Boots are now closed?

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      As I am self isolating, and cannot go round different stores trying to find a supermarket or shop that stocks what I need, I have now resorted to Amazon to buy basics such as soap powder, flour, and so on as they do not seem to be available locally. Amazon have a good selection of soap, and if you have prime the delivery is free and speedy. Boots seemed to be hopeless, right from the start, in my experience.

      For the rest of the time I use local farm and veg shops which arrange delivery boxes. A strange state of affairs, but at least now we have the basics. Oh I forgot, we cannot get toilet rolls, and my order for them, made over two weeks ago has now been rescheduled for beginning of May.

      The promises/assurances from supermarkets that they are working to take care of the elderly and give them priority delivery slots seems to be totally meaningless. There is no way to register as over 70 etc on the website other than trying the phone helpline, and with that it is absolutely impossible to get through to a person. Just messages from BT saying there is overload, or recorded try again later. I have emailed the supermarkets and was told they were unable to help and that I was to go to the help section on the website which then directs you to the phoneline. Useless.

      After all this I intend to stay with the small scale suppliers plus Amazon, (yes, and odd combination) and give my normal supermarket a wide berth. They have let me and many others down badly. They were too greedy at the beginning and apparently delighted that things were flying off the shelves boosting their sales. Some form of rationing only came in when it was too late and shelves were bare, and what rationing there was seemed to be arbitrary.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        All the pages on Amazon for soap are out of stock when I checked yesterday, I have Prime and do use Amazon their delivery service is amazing! It’s for work I need it not home, we’ve been running through it like crazy for the past two weeks.

        I try to only shop once per week but the major store was out of soap, anti bac soap and toilet rolls yesterday still after 3 weeks of trying! So those stockpiles were wide after all! We tried Wilko today but they were out of toilet rolls, soap and antibac gel too.

  31. ukretired123
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    SJR relates to the real world practicalities more than any MP and he used the example of eggs only to demonstrate a more multi-dimensional problem before this and other key sources of nutrition are thrown away as waste etc due to misunderstanding etc

    A stitch in time ….

    He Shows also that whilst suppliers are keen to help they also need other key items like retail sized packaging to cope and then need volunteers etc all along the distribution chain to deliver to unusual routes to the customers…

    It’s obvious from some keyboard shallow thinking critical warriors here that they have no idea how businesses operate at the wholesale bulk levels of production, distribution, stocking and retail at the national level and if so experienced should kindly offer their help instead and thank you very much indeed in advance.

  32. David Brown
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I suggest the big supermarkets co-ordinate supplies in this time of national crisis. Eggs are an interesting product to raise here. I also notice that my local big Tesco is always out of milk no matter what time I shop, yet lidl next door has lots of milk same with Asda. To make sure the public are reassured the supply chain is good we need to ensure supermarkets work together for the time being. This would also alleviate the long ques I see at some supermarkets and not others. The 2 German supermarkets seem to be much better at stock control and que management with far more recruited temp staff to ensure sustained supply than Tesco or Sainsbury

  33. ChrisS
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Why we are discussing egg boxes here, yet another article, this time in the Guardian, reports that British citizens stranded abroad are not getting the help they need.

    The newspaper reports that Brits are stranded in New Zealand and many other places while countries, included Germany, have chartered Lufthansa planes and taken them home.

    All these reports cannot be wrong. There have been frequent examples of similar cases long before the current virus pandemic and every time the FCO is criticised for doing either nothing at all or lagging well behind other countries.

    There is a real need for MPs to take a critical look at the performance of the British Foreign Service and compare it with that provided by similar Western countries.

    Perhaps you could take a lead in this, Sir John ?

  34. Sea Warrior
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I’ll go off piste here and just say that I can do without eggs for a few months.

  35. Andrew Barnby
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I always reuse our egg cartons… some have been going for months. We go up to a local farm for meat every week and refill the egg cartons there. I shall now use them to grow tomatoes from seeds… one tomato has lots of seeds… in one carton, easy to do. compost, seeds and water every day. All from one tomato. Not difficult really, just common sense.

  36. Lear’s Fool
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Nuncle, I just bought some loose eggs supplied by a farm in Kent!

  37. Trimperley
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    My local farm shop has always sold eggs from stacks of large trays and was doing so today. I’m sure if supermarkets said we have eggs but you need to bring your own container folks would manage. Something happened in the last 20 years or so that has infantalised society.

  38. mancunius
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Customers could bring their own egg boxes, or the supermarkets could have a recycleable stock demanding a large one-off up-front deposit to induce re-use.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    On the general subject of supply shortages caused by measures taken in response to the virus, we have to speculate on the probable effects of the Bank of England cutting base rate to 0.1% and introducing another £200 billion of QE.

    If this does get through to the public it will be spent on goods and services not subject to 100% supply constraints, inducing inflation in those markets. Expect price rises in supermarket produce and in asset prices such as gold, fine art and houses.

    There is no guarantee that the banks will pass on their bounty to the public. They might hoard some of the money to improve their share prices; they might invest in emerging markets such as South America. They have done these sort of things with past QE. Before raising a cheer for the current round of QE I would like detailed accounting of what happened to the previous lots of QE. To my knowledge, this has never been supplied.

    QE has also created a dispute as to whether it should be included in the State debt total. I say it should but Sir John says ‘no’ because the State owes QE to the Bank of England, a State institution. It’s about time this issue was resolved by HM Government making a definitive statement on the subject.

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    We appreciate your concern but it’s much more important to get ventilators into hospitals. We ought to have twice weekly progress reports from the Secretary of State for Health on this and other aspects of increasing the number of critical care beds PDQ.

    The silence of both the Government and the NHS bureaucracy is unacceptable.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      This is complete nonsense. We’re getting reports on these issues more or less daily

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed the government Ministers and NHS officials simply refuse to answer directly questions on how many ICU beds and ventilators they have available, how many are currently in use and when they expect to run out of these. They just waffle on about other issues to distract from the crux of the matter.

      Professor Stephen H Powis Director of NHS England yesterday was asked on this yesterday but he simply ignored the question and waffled on about how they are getting more beds organised. No numbers, no facts just pathetic obfuscation. No follow up questions allowed so they cannot say :- Can you now answer my damn question please?

  41. Norman
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    In many parts of the country, there are local producers who will supply eggs and other fresh produce and deliver them to your door. Our eggs are sourced from a local Free Range flock.
    I have also been amazed to discover many such local businesses offer an excellent array of foods, delivered free or to be picked up from a collection point, after paying on-line. Also, our milkman delivers bread and other dairy products 3 times a week – the service has been there for years, but we have only just discovered how effective it is. Quality is excellent, and at sensible prices. This has been an eye opener, and so good to see local enterprises coming into their own in the present crisis.

  42. John
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    All these problems are in the metropolis over populated areas.

    Not in the un developed villages.

  43. Richard Joyce
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    There can be no shortage of eggs during spring in this country – every single hen is laying to bust – false – rubbish news; pack them in paper bags if you must or wrap them in all the unused toilet rolls perhaps.

    • Al
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      The smaller shops seem to be more innoveative than the larger ones at the moment. Our local independent shop simply offers foil trays for eggs boxes if you don’t have one, and lets customers bring their own boxes if they have them (filled by staff wearing gloves). The independent pharmacy nearby is allowing people picking up prescriptions to call ahead and has staff bring them out one by one to customers in the car park without entering the pharmacy or leaving their car, protecting staff and customers.

      Meanwhile our largest supermarket is saying they have problems with egg boxes, and the pharmacy inside the supermarket is insisting people picking up prescriptions go inside and wait ten minutes at the counter for it to be assembled, blocking others from entering the supermarket and exposing them to every other customer.

      I know which group I would say is handling it better and doing more to limit the spread of the disease, and yet the government is supporting the larger stores first.

  44. Nig l
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Frankly I couldn’t care less about a shortage of eggs, a few weeks with out them. So what?

    What I am interested in is an update on the progress of the furlough initiative. Do many share my worry that HMRC is not capable of developing a computer programme and resourcing the data input, inevitable umpteen phone enquiries, (the self employed one doesn’t bear thinking about) within a timeframe meaningful for people without income.

    Those with longer memories will recall the chaos of compensating farjers for swine flu which ultimately took years to sort out.

    I want to see HMGs good intentions turn from BS to action.

  45. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Clearly the problem with inadequate supplies of eggs, for example, is down to the usual issue of people buying far more than they need. I shopped regularly for eggs at one supermarket, and there was always plenty throughout the day – So how do we stop the greedy and irrational from causing such problems?
    Profiteering is also something that needs to be considered. There is little reason for price increases.
    On that subject, I trust the Chancellor can remind insurance companies that increasing car insurance when there have been no or limited claims for accidents, ETC, would also count as profiteering, and should not happen.

    • APL
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Bryan Harris; “is down to the usual issue of people buying far more than they need.”

      Nonsense. there is loads of eggs, the government has shut all the outlets, pubs clubs and cafes that would normally take them in bulk.

      supermarkets sell eggs in units of half or a dozen. so all the packing into catering packs for businesses that the government has just destroyed, need to be realigned to consumer demand. That is difficult to do overnight.

      The real problem is, the idiots in government think they understand how the minutiae of the economy works.

      Truth is, they are utterly ignorant.

      How may other things that ‘just worked’ because it was self organised by the market, that have now failed, but no one has noticed …. yet?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Hardly nonsense – Check your local supermarket

        • APL
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          Bryan Harris: “Hardly nonsense ”

          Ok, you have identified the symptom but the underlying problem is that the government has decided it knows better than the market how eggs should be distributed.

  46. Richard416
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I think it is becoming more and more evident that we are importing far too many ordinary things that we should make for ourselves.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been advocating that these last couple of years. Who needs that autocratic club over the water?

  47. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The big question should be: –

    Where is all the produce going that normally goes to canteens and restaurants now closed?

    Shouldn’t this be diverted to supermarkets, or some way found for consumers to use it?

  48. Martin R
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Beginning to look like a combination of factors may have put us on course for an otherwise avoidable economic disaster: flawed statistics especially from communist China, flawed analysis, hysterical press coverage, inappropriate actions (not sealing borders) and politicians’ (understandable) fear they will lose popularity by failing to act decisively (do something). Already even government’s own scientific advisers are beginning to have second thoughts and retract or water down their warnings, while independents have been voicing their concerns from the beginning of this business. It is quite possible that COVID-19 is no more dangerous overall than flu. The obsession with COVID-19 may also be diverting precious medical resources from other seriously ill patients and consequently causing fatalities elsewhere in the system. But the government juggernaut, once set in motion is almost unstoppable, as we see in the case of the official state global warming religion.

    In our own experience we know of relatives, a family of four who apparently had this (fever, etc.). In their case they suffered less considerably less than with the flu and were over it quickly.

    German infectious diseases specialist Dr Sucharit Bhakdi discusses the COVID-19 epidemic on a subtitled video:

  49. Graham Wheatley
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    We also need some sense prevailing on what constitues ‘panic-buying’ and the supermarkets’ approach to multiple items – usually a 3x limit on most items.

    For instance, I can buy three 12x tin multipacks of baked beans, but I can not buy 4 loose individual tins.

    I can buy three 6x multipacks of 2L (total 36L) carbonated water, but I can only buy 3x individual 2L bottles (total 6L).

    It would appear that the principal symptom of COVID-19 (or even the risk of it) is dementia.

  50. Dunedin
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Morrisons have been selling loose eggs for a couple of years now so you can buy whatever number you need (limited to 12 today with plenty stock). You just fill a small egg box from large trays so it should not be a problem to use the catering stock for retail customers.

    If the usual egg boxes run out, a tupperware box or small cardboard box would do, with a bit of bubblewrap or other soft material. For those of us who keep things because we might find a use for them some day, a quick rootle around the kitchen/garage/loft/shed should produce something suitable.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      I really don’t see a problem; eggs can’t be repacked because there is no such thing as an egg repackaging machine so supermarkets or street markets will have to sell open trays from wholesale boxes and people will take them; talking about egg boxes is a displacement activity like selecting biscuits to put in food hampers for the most vulnerable.

  51. Dunedin
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Apologies – I think I may have posted comment twice

  52. a-tracy
    Posted March 31, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    One more idea, most of us have plastic egg moulds loose in our fridges, these could be used to transport the eggs home in.

  • 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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