Dear Constituent

The good news is the NHS has coped with the surge in Covid 19 cases in late March and early April. National capacity is Well above the current number of Covid 19 patients, with numbers of new hospital admissions falling. Short of a massive unexpected  surge in cases to levels much higher than early April we can conclude the NHS has the beds and staff to handle this virus. The Royal Berks has plenty of spare Intensive care beds thanks to the efforts to expand facilities. The large emergency Nightingale hospitals mercifully have no new cases to look after.

There is still much to do to cut the death rates further, to limit the spread of the virus and to safeguard those most vulnerable to the severe version of this disease. Thames Valley MPs have a weekly meeting with the Local resilience Forum and with the local police by conference calls to see what needs doing and to tackle Ministers where Central government needs to take action. This week’s meetings reported no problems with the supply of protective clothing and equipment, and demonstrated good progress on expanding the number of tests and test centres, including mobile and home testing. I am in regular and varied contact with Ministers as and when an issue arises that needs UK government involvement.

Government did respond when I passed on – as others doubtless did – the danger of letting elderly patients out of hospital and back to care homes without checking they no longer had the virus. This I am assured has now been sorted out. Those Care Homes that do have cases of the virus now need good infection control to stop it spreading throughout their vulnerable residents. Care Homes are often privately owned and run, but are now being offered national , regional  and local government assistance with protective clothing and training to limit the continued spread in homes that have cases.

I have also raised the issue of the need for the NHS to resume more of its regular work, which government confirms they are ready to do. The NHS assures us it has   very good infection control in general hospitals which undertake a range of work in addition to handling Covid 19 patients. It is important that everyone with a serious condition that could benefit from hospital treatment feels confident to go to hospital to receive it.

I have been critical of the poor quality of the statistics Ministers and the public receive daily to monitor progress and to make decisions about future policy. The estimates of the Transmission rate are very wide – 0.5 to 1.0. This looks at how many people an infected person infects, and needs to be as far below 1 as possible for the disease to wane quickly. The national numbers were not based on  testing of a proper sample of the whole population which should give the best figures over time. I am told this is now being remedied. The figures for deaths have been changed several times, with different definitions and standards for registering a death as a Covid 19 death. This means we do not see an accurate plot of true trends in deaths over the last couple of months. The international comparisons are not comparisons as they do not even adjust for size of populations.

I have put this to Ministers and spoken about it  in the Commons this week. It matters, because government needs to make decisions to get  more people back to work safely, and needs accurate and consistent figures on deaths, transmission rates and hospital use to do so. I have also been working hard on the economic issues of jobs, small business and livelihoods which I will write to you about next week.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Another beautiful day today 🙂

    I believe next Friday the unemployment figures will be released. I wonder if our kind host will have something to say to those in his constituency who have lost their livelihoods and are now in risk of losing their homes as well ?

    I think the shine is beginning to come off this government, and so soon after it was elected. Will it, like the economy, ever recover ? Let us all hope that the economic shaman are as accurate as their contemporaries at judging pandemics. 😉

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I cannot help but think that my (and many people’s) children’s education has been rather improved by them being at home – contrary to the endless BBC/teachers messages (though I have huge sympathy for people locked up in tiny flats). Cooking our way round the world with suitable music from each country, mowing lawns, gardening, decorating, repairing various things, haircutting, fitting shelves, learning how to amuse themselves, even a bit of online school work too ……certainly they are getting better at fencing, table tennis, basket ball and badminton.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Your varied menu of cooking, music, gardening, DIY, and sports activities sounds admirable but I am afraid it is likely to be below 5% of the nation’s childrens’ reach. How many families have fencing, basketball and table tennis facilities at home?

        • Hope
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Care homes should have been part of the planning FFS. The govt panicked and deliberately ousted them to provide hospital beds therefore dooming those sent to care homes and those in care homes to death. It was known elderly most at risk. Etc edIt was a widely known risk and the govt recklessly moved them

          The graphs at the propaganda briefing a farce for over seven weeks! The alleged experts should have been removed, year nine pupils could do better. Deliberately showing US worse internationally, when it is nothing of the sort. Civil service Trump bashing again with fake figures! Liam Fox and others made the point about the fake graphs long ago. The R factor is not known without widespread testing, that is clear from world experts. UK experts guessing at best. No way could it be relied on with such a range, another terrorising scam to keep people indoors.

          Johnson has repeatedly broke the law, before and after catching Chinese virus, while insisting us plebs should not. He will have an entourage of about 20+ with close protection etc. Therefore the risks are much higher, same for when he and his mistress go to their second state funded home. Etc ed

          Ferguson no action, Jenrick no action, etc ed then we are told nine thousand fixed penalties issued and many arrests! Minister Conor Burns resignation epitomises the pompous do as I say not what I do phrase. Disappointed to read Greg Hands also abusing his position.

          I cannot think how the govt could have done a worse job in preparing, implementing or executing action for this pandemic. No wonder the world press in each country is condemning and rediculous UK response, while the PHE briefing dullards think they were an “international exemplar”. Deluded at best with their head up each other’s arses. Hancock’s daily testing record sham continues!

          • Hope
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

            Johnson tweeted at 931 am today to stay at home! He is being humorous or treating the nation with contempt? Why does he not do the same! Investigation required why he is allowed to break the law and be immune from prosecution when he tells us to stay in!

            I suggest someone has a word in his ear and tells him Bugger off . We also want the truth why he decided to destroy the economy rather than any excuse to pass blame to an inaminmate virus. His choice, his decision and he should be held accountable. Socialist love it, conservatives who worked all their lives will not.

        • Hope
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          JR, so you are saying your govt destroyed the economy on fake statistics, predictions? Explain with all govt resources why it could not find anyone from year nine onwards to provide better graphs to build a strategy, bearing in mind how many oxbridge grads are in govt!

        • Hope
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          JR, You forget a few critical points:

          The Tory Govt is unable and failed to protect the NHS from health tourism when it was govt policy!

          Each year NHS gets close to be being overwhelmed because of Tory govt. deliberate mass immigration policyagainst ten years of cuts!

          Now go and clap to convince yourselves the NHS cannot be criticised nor Toryngovt. even though ther about £180 billion claims against it.

      • Stred
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        But will they know which of the 26 genders to choose ot how important it is to support the Swedish truant to stop the Earth from burning up? Some parents are a bit behind on this.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          I do indeed try to put them right on these issues!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Well, if people look around the world at the admirable response of many countries to this menace, then this one, under John’s party, appears to be an utter shambles by comparison.

      Their only hope is that enough of their voters fail to do that.

      However, they can, probably, count on that, at least to a degree.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        A reminder that from 1990 until three months ago this country was run by Remain PMs of – all three parties if we include Clegg – who made no contingencies whatsoever for a pandemic – this despite the SARS warning in 2002 and the Swine Flu warning in 2009.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          No, the country has been run by the Tories for the last ten years.

          Whatever, they have a majority of eighty now, and are indefeasible as to their policy.

          They, completely freely, decided to ignore WHO advice, and that from Italy for weeks, and are still scrambling around fretting far more over PR than over the material facts, it seems to me.

          They can’t blame either the Opposition or the European Union for that.

          It must feel very strange for them.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            Not by real Conservatives, pathetic, pro-EU, climate alarmist, tax increasing socialists or Libdims like Cameron, Osborne, May and Hammond. The Jury is out on Boris.

          • Anonymous
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            Dear Marin,

            Let’s not absolve Remainers of all the blame. They have been firmly in charge of the the show up until three months ago. (We now discover CV-19 could have been on the loose in October – before Boris came to office.)

            We Leavers voted more closely to resemble New Zealand’s border control. (Remainers wouldn’t let us.)

            We also wanted reform in our institutions so that our NHS management might more resembled Germany’s super-efficient private/public hybrid of health management, alas the ‘P’ word in health is anathema to the UK Left and any notion of reform effectively outlawed.

            I had long given up on the Conservatives.

            I only voted for Boris because the option to vote Brexit Party was taken away and I didn’t want us turned into Venezuela – Ooops !

            When this economic depression hits (which it will very soon) please don’t presume that The People will be running into the arms of the Left.

            Poor people are going to become extremely intolerant of Left wing largesse to soppy causes.

          • NickC
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            Martin said: “They can’t blame either the Opposition or the EU for that”. Yes we can, and yes we do. Labour ratted on its own Leave voters, and the EU undermined our government in cahoots with pro-EU fellow travellers. Neither the EU, nor Labour, nor you, believed in democracy.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink


          There would have been plenty of time to catch up when this pandemic struck.

          Instead Boris shrugged it off and sided with his American friend. And look what happened there.

          • Anonymous
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink


            Taking all the major countries in the EU’s death totals (not all smaller ones) from the Covid 19 Update site I calculate that the EU has (at least):

            103,600 covid deaths (pop 445m) to America’s

            78,700 (pop 328m)

            When I adjust figures to account for the population difference the death total is almost exactly the same between the USA and the EU.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Look what is happening, Margaret.

            Things haven’t even really started there yet.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t hear you calling for a total closure of ports and airports back before the government locked down.
            In fact you are stil against stopping immigration into the UK.
            What is your actual policy apart from arping and criticism by the delight of hindsight?

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            No, he listened to the advice of Prof Doom. You know the one who’s been wrong on all his previous predictions.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Johnson was the PM in January, when DECISIONS needed to be taken about stopping CV getting into the country. If those decisions weren’t correct – and I don’t believe they were – then that is his fault. The usefulness of the contingency plan is another issue.

      • Adam
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Work struggles in a tug of war between Covid 19 and Humans.
        Attracting work at unsafe proximity kills us, and C19 needs more to survive. Competition decides the victor.

        Many expend energy criticising Govt, or passing time on jigsaws, quizzes or Top Trumps games, yet these vast swathes of effort would be expended better in devising creative ideas for solutions.

        Here is the concept for one, entitled: Perishing C19

        Create two team types: one Human, one Covid19, each equipped with 19 soldiers (eg cards) who may attack or protect.
        A Team may comprise any number of players.
        Both Teams have to devise a plan for wiping out the other’s army to win, enacted in turns.
        They are allowed to devise or use any method they assess as being effective, whether medical, chemical, physical or any other whatsoever.
        Hundreds of teams may be formed, locally or nationally, each as if combining their brainpower at chess.

        Many new and unorthodox effective solutions would be likely to emerge. The best could be assessed by Govt specialists to consider for trial.

      • Mark
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Isn’t the shambles the government in Cardiff Bay? After all, you have a closeup view of the UK’s most infected area. The testing rate in Wales is half the UK average. Aren’t there questions about how poorly NHS Wales is performing under devolved government?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Pity the Welsh who deserve better – they voted for Brexit never forget! Their Assembly put to a referendum – I bet they would ditch it!

          • Fred H
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            Feel sorry for Martin, must be tough living with that.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Martin – The voters’ other choice is Labour who in Wales have done worse in every single area of the crisis under their responsibility. Still only testing around 1000 people per day !

    • BW
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Do you work for the BBC

      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        How dare you ! Of course not. And neither am I employed in the Public Sector.

        Tsk, tsk !

    • percy openshaw
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      One can only agree. There’s an article in today’s Telegraph by the great Charles Moore recognising the massive expansion of the state which has been smuggled in under cover of the so-called “response” to the virus. With consummate tact, he frames this point as a “warning” to the “non-socialist” Johnson as to how actual socialists might exploit the situation. It’s tragic, for many of us realise that Johnson’s “non-socialism” is now purely academic or even – dare I say? – a thing of the past. He opted for this massive, intrusive and destructive state response; he decided to use that response as the basis for ill-advised paeans of praise to “our” NHS; and in the grip of panic as to what the resulting wreckage will do to his reputation, he is doubling down on “command and control”. During the election, many a Faragist Brexiteer railed at the Tories as part of a Lib/Lab/Con. I disbelieved them. Now – sadly, reluctantly but undeniably – I do not. If Johnson remains leader, I shall not be voting Conservative again – and I say this as a lifelong Tory supporter.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        I too tend to agree with almost all of Charles Moore’s articles (despite his religion occasionally distracting him from reason). But has the state got larger or has it just borrowed money to give (in effect) temporary tax cuts and loans people and businesses?

        The key thing is that they should employ fewer people, given the debt position they many well have to reduce the size of the state to increase the far more productive private sector who will have to pay it back.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          ‘they’ being the state sector.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Including a push to ban motor vehicles at the time that we need vans the most, since the high street is now dead.

        Just how are we supposed to stage an economic recovery with such restrictions ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          It seem the roads are to be largely blocked to allow more cycling and walking. So all the people paying for the roads will be blocked give room to all those who pay nothing for them.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      You’re right of course Mark but the sad thing is, what is the alternative? The so called Conservative party and Labour have the system stitched up between them. Both big state, high tax, wasteful, nanny state socialists at heart. What a pity the real Conservatives in the party, in the minority I know, have gone along with the illusion and kidded themselves they are backing a Government with Conservative values.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      “who have lost their livelihoods and are now in risk of losing their homes as well ”
      Don’t worry. If they lose their home the govt has the next boatload brought from Calais just raring to move in, bills paid from our taxes of course.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        150 yesterday, surely the NHS has enough staff. I see Barnier is still repeating that we must agree to a level playing field as judged by the ECJ and continue to abide by the common fisheries policy. I don’t think he’s aware that we had an election in December.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          If Barnier cuts up rough, then we should just open negotiations with the EU countries direct – starting with reasonable Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium. Let France wait until their fishermen have started causing mayhem in Paris.
          A good fisheries deal with the EU needs to include substantial payments from Brussels for OUR resources and year-on-year reductions to the EU quota if the British fishing industry wants a bigger slice of OUR resources.

          • glen cullen
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            or just sell them our fish

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            You can’t do deals with EU countries, it would be like Germany ‘doing a deal with Kent’. EU countries effectively don’t exist! Many of them don’t realise that yet, but they are all EU citizens.

        • steve
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Ian Wragg

          Depends if Boris has the bottle or will cave in to french demands.

          Personally I suspect the latter.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    You say:- “The good news is the NHS has coped with the surge in Covid 19 cases in late March and early April.”

    Well has it coped in reality? Most normal hospital activity is cancelled and about half of the people who have died of Covid never even made it to hospital. It has also largely created a huge problem for care homes. What proportion of the deaths in hospitals have occurred without patients even having the opportunity of full mechanical ventilation, failed kidney treatments, ECMO, plasma treatments and similar? How much NHS treatment was little more than a bed, tea, sympathy and an oxygen mask? How many have died due the the NHS pushing (likely infected) patients into care homes?

    Mortality rates per case in the UK appear to be circa 4 times higher than in Germany.
    We have, after all, had well over 50,000 excess deaths in the UK so far.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      The UK is in desperate need of a bonfire of red tape and for companies to innovate and create new real jobs (and hopefully to kill off all the largely parasite ones largely created by red tape and government). Yet reported in the Telegraph today we get the moronic suggestion that:- Ministers consider giving employees the legal “right” to work from home!

      Avoid employing people at all costs seems to be the governments message. Best avoided but if you must do it make sure it is through a company with no assets so you can liquidate it at any stage to ditch liabilities (without losses) as may well be needed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        I suppose most Government Ministers just think that work is sending emails, making speeches (usually stating the blindingly obvious or stating complete untruths), PR & spin and passing damaging laws and idiotic red tape regulations.

        So sure it can all be done very easily from home! In the real world however most people have to actually do things, make things, deliver things, build things, operate on people or animals, fly or drive things ……

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Your posts seem to be split into two sections, or to be of two types.

      Firstly, with admirable diligence and reason, you deduce the likely facts from such information as we might have.

      You then make suggestions, again based on reason, as to what action is required to address the position.

      So far so good.

      However, subsequently, I can only assume that you then ram these through a doctrinaire mincing machine, which determines how these actions or provisions are supposedly to be enacted by a deregulated and disparate private sector, working beneath a minimal government, to which any proper controls are heresy.

      I’m sorry, but it just cannot be done in the timescale required. These companies exist only to make money, and not to protect the public anyway.

      Not only that, but the structures have to be created to prevent this débacle from happening again when the next epidemic strikes, as it will. And there is nothing to say that it couldn’t be before this one is over either.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        The problem is in deciding what the #proper structures# are.
        Take supply of PPE (though it could be any product or service). Do you trust a centralised massive bureaucracy, where nobody appears to be accountable (let’s say for rules like keeping up to date on masks in stock)? Or do you subcontract the risk to several smaller private companies (to hold/update masks for a fee)?
        I think it could be either, but the key is in keeping proper metrics and transparency which are available to the private citizen as end customer.
        So the secrecy surrounding Cygnus on the demand side and genuine supply metrics is absurd. This alone should be cause enough for the health system here to be uprooted, weeds removed and replanted to grow properly.

      • rose
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Do you disapprove of Boots and co dispensing our pills? If they didn’t make money they wouldn’t be able to do it. Or do you think we should all queue up at our local infirmary?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          Why don’t you simply ask how Greece, a poor country, has managed to keep it’s deaths-per-million to a small fraction of the UK’s?

          And the many others?

          No, you’d rather divert attention from the fact that you voted for this catastrophe of a government.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            Greece has already had the weakest die from lack of medication, sustenance and housing – they sleep in the streets. So the Greeks facing CV19 are the tough lot, no fatties either!

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            Population density seems to be a factor.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            There are 1.4 billion Chinese, Ed.

            And they are returning to normality too.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            You are so easily fooled Martin.
            I expect you think North Korea has not had a single case.

            In other news everyone in Venezuela is a millionaire.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Clear Evidence emerging that government policy has actually caused the deaths of people in Care Homes. Do you think that even causing death might trigger action/remorse/resignation/sacking.

      Sir JRs factual non judgemental comment suggests otherwise. Politics more valuable than a life?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        It is about time the Government sacked all the Advisors and listened to the people (well not Andy, Martin etc).
        The (mad) scientists and flaky expert coders have brought the country to its knees.
        I don’t trust the Cabinet or COBRA to have a ha’porth of common sense between them.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know why Andy is whinging. Covid is killing off the oldies and he has been promulgating that since the referendum.
          Btw. Does he know that the basic state pension is about £9000pa but an asylum seeker gets circa £29,000. Perhaps thats another group he could go after

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          What we’re hearing and seeing isn’t science. It isn’t analytical in any professional way. Just stating another 5000 or whatever infections without analysing them is pointless. Same with deaths.
          Until we know precisely and quantitatively which circumstances cause people to acquire this infection, pass it on and die from it, there is little chance of stopping it.

          It’s rather like the police halting muggings by insisting that nobody carry anything of value with them, by law. It’s a sloppy alternative (and a very unscientific one) to them analysing patterns and catching the culprits.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Fine – how do you feel about a few hundred thousand dead?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            Include you?

          • NickC
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            Martin, You need to read the report in the Telegraph about a US study “New York study shows workers ‘no more likely to be hospitalised by Covid than those who stayed home’“. Your rants are guesses at best and certainly not based on factual investigations.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            the ‘scientists’ and ‘Advisors’ are saving a few hundred thousand dead?
            Lots of new Saints in order.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Excellent points. Anyone with recent experience of NHS care will know only too well what a rough, uncertain, neglectful experience it can be. And the business of infecting care-homes is monstrous. I would say “scandalous” but with the left in charge of the bulk of our media, such scandals are soon snuffed out; and the tired, ageing public hasn’t the stomach to make its protests felt more strenuously. All we can do is wearily vote Conservative, with declining levels of hope; and Johnson has just pushed those hopes through the floor.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Snuffed out indeed. We still have not compensated all the contaminated blood scandal people from the 70s if they are still alive that is. Whose bright idea was it to import blood products (often taken from American Prisoners) when people in the UK would give blood freely anyway? Whose idea was it to push infected people into care homes? Will anyone lose their jobs this time. Did anyone over the blood scandal?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes, people went to prison for a long time over that in France, yet the problem was less extensive there than here.

          No one even lost their job here.

          • Ian Wragg
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            People in the public sector rarely lose their jobs. They get promoted.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            That’s because the NHS is the UK’s religion.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            No, it is because this country has not defined the crimes, whereas others have.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            Go on then Martin lets define the crimes.

            Let me guess…being rude about any Labour politician,
            Being elected and then taking a decision you don’t agree with.
            Saying something negative about your goal Andy.
            Having one casualty more than any country on Earth in this crisis.
            Voting Conservative.
            Criticising the NHS
            Not buying the Guardian.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Johnson must go. We absolutely MUST have a British, Conservative in the driving seat. Else we will Ayn Rand it and let the socialists eat each other.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      There is a bit of ‘back-and-forth’ of the elderly between the NHS and care homes. Care homes will always try to offload their responsibilities / clients onto the NHS and hence the term, “Bed blockers” has come into the English language. I mentioned a little while ago that this drama, made into a crisis, would be used by others for their own selfish ends. It seems that the NHS, to my eye at least, has used it to rid itself of the the aforementioned bed blockers. It also seems to have in the process of rid itself of the very people it was created to serve. But many seem rather unbothered by that for some strange reason.

      • Mark
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        They might as well have been manning the trebuchets at the siege of Caffa in 1346, where the Tartars lobbed plague ridden bodies into the town.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      You may find it useful to look at this presentation of the ONS provisional weekly mortality data for England and Wales.

      Week 17 ended on 24th April. It is clear that hospitals stopped many treatments, leading to extra deaths from non virus causes overall, mainly at home and in care homes. The ONS classify any mention of the virus on a death certificate as a virus death. It seems clear that we are past the peak at least outside care homes (additional deaths from week 16 added in this release were just 5% of the initial figure, so revisions are not going to change the picture fundamentally.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes but this is largely tosh as it is only the deaths the doctors (have chosen) to record as covid. We know there were 11,500 more deaths just in week 17. What else caused these excess deaths (boredom perhaps).

        The NHS’s cancelled operations and procedures will actually, almost certainly, have reduced deaths not increased them. As we see almost always when doctors go on strike.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Plus it is not even a full strike urgent lifesaving procedure are largely continuing.

        • Mark
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          I think it is tosh to suggest that when covid is counted as the casue of death for the slightest excuse (even being pre-written onto death certificates according to newspaper reports), and when it is clear that hospitals stopped treating other conditions, there were not extra deaths that have nothing to do with the virus.

          The figures show that very clearly.

        • NickC
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic, Whilst I agree with much of what you usually say, your anti-doctor obsession is tiresome. Where a death is expected (usually elderly patients with co-morbidities) a doctor (usually the patient’s GP) always completes the death certificate.

          There is nothing unusual or conspiratorial in that. The doctor uses his/her clinical judgement including past information. Consequently what goes on the death certificate is a grey area determined by the expertise and knowledge of the doctor. Only rarely is an autopsy needed. No doctor is trying to fool you.

          The initial death lists were exclusively hospital based because that’s where the worst cases go, and where the most monitoring can be performed. The government should have stuck with that, because what’s important for tracking a pandemic are the rates of change. Care home, and home, and street deaths always emerge later in the ONS statistics, so they’re not hidden.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            I am not at all anti-doctor. My view is that nearly all the excess deaths over normal (these will now be well over 50,000) are Covid caused or Covid accelerated. What else might have caused them? The only likely other explanation is deaths due to the stopping of other NHS procedures. This is, in my opinion, very unlikely. As I say deaths usually (initially at least) go down when doctors strike. Clearly doctors cannot alway even know the real causes of many deaths I do not blame them for this at all.

            If these 20,000 or so extra deaths (not currently recognised as Covid) are really due to the NHS shutting up shop that would surely be more anti NHS and anti doctor as they could largely have been avoided by a competent functioning NHS?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Covid deaths adjusted per million people in Germany are less than 1/5 of the UK’s figures and that is with the UK still pretending that Covid (accelerated or caused) deaths are 30,000 when they are clearly well over 50,000.

    Perhaps Germany are distorting their figures to a degree too, but five times worse is rather a large disparity to explain.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Yes. Benchmarking is an important tool and Germany would be an obvious choice. It says it all that I think the politics around The NHS would preclude adopting more (effective) private sector practice even if it meant improvement. What’s a few more deaths if you can protect your ‘Stalinist model’?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Indeed fair competition is nearly all culled by free at point of use NHS model. Thus we have far less funding for health care overall and far fewer ICU beds, ventilators, ECMO machines etc. and worse outcomes in comparison to sensible systems.

        A system of rationing by delay and refusal to treat people promptly or indeed at all.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          when I pay my private health premiums then my treatment (at a private facility) becomes free at the point of use in the same way that my National Insurance premiums give me free at the point of use NHS (eventually).

          It is not the funding model but the lack of competition to drive improvements that hampers the NHS.

          We could still use NI to pay for our health so treatment remains free at the point of use. It is the delivery mechanism that needs to change not the funding.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but if you choose to take private health cover you have to pay many times over. Tax and NI for the NHS for others, tax on the money you earn to pay you premium, the premium and 12% IPT tax on top of that. So the NHS (like the BBC, social housing, universities and state schools) are blatantly unfair competition.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            Try setting up a business to sell say electricity, or hip operations, if the government forces everyone to pay tax for it and then gave away the electricity and ops for free? Not easy to make money.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            Not disagreeing with you @LL I am just saying that it is the delivery not the funding that needs to change.

            If Comet and Currys accessex taxpayer funds to provide household white goods then those goods would get better.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Yet suggest a private/public hybrid of health care as the Germans have and you are accused of heresy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Indeed some trade unionists and Labour people wanted requisition (rob owners) of all the private hospitals without any payment.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        The German health system is but one aspect of a completely differently organised society.

        You’d equally be accused of heresy for suggesting the German approach to elections, to industrial relations, to occupational pensions, to education, and to public transport and…

        • Edward2
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          So you favour the German health system compared to the UK?
          Interesting development.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            If the German government were running this country as they do Germany, and replaced the NHS, then I’d have confidence that it would be an improvement.

            But they are not. The English Tories are.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink


            “So you favour the German health system compared to the UK?”

            Anybody who has any experience of either would.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            Yet both of you rant against any reform of the NHS and any move towards a diverse system where some provision is, like Germany, via compulsory insurance cover.
            The NHS isn’t the best in the world and copying the best in the world should be our target.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            I think I could be persuaded.

    • NickC
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I fully accept that there have been more deaths than necessary due to NHS management living in the 1950s and running a soviet socialist institution.

      However, you keep touting the figure of “well over 50,000” deaths in the UK from covid19. Where did you get that figure from? And how much do you actually know about how German doctors log deaths – for example, are they only counting deaths from covid19 rather than deaths with covid19? In other words are you sure you are comparing like with like? And where is your evidence for that?

      • bill brown
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink


        you asking for evidence what a joke

        • Edward2
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Well provide us with contrary evidence bill
          Or shut up.

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Bill, You are at liberty to check all facts that I state, on the internet. However, I always check what I say first. It is telling that you have never, yet, managed to actually refute any of my facts. You just complain. Put up or shut up.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        The excess deaths over normal rates – what else is causing these?

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic, Lack of normal medical care for vulnerable patients due to doctors/hospitals being switched to the covid19 panic, perhaps?

    • Mark
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      De Statis are running 3-4 weeks behind the ONS with real mortality data, so we only have until 5th April for overall mortality in Germany, with no breakdown offered. That data shows no sign of excess mortality. It seems clear that the normal parts of the German healthcare system remained fully operational to that point (which was the peak of new virus cases in the UK, with deaths peaking a few days later), so that interventions were maintained for those suffering strokes and heart attacks etc. That was plainly not the case in the UK.

      It also appears that in Germany they were more successful in ensuring that those at high risk of severe virus cases and death were effectively quarantined and not exposed to carriers while in care homes or hospitals. That is probably the key element of their testing programme – keeping infectious people away from where they can do damage, and ensuring that nurses, doctors and carers are virus free. Of course overall, Germany reports a fairly high rate of cases – about 2/3rds the rate in the UK, because their testing programme identified many more mild cases that we are only beginning to test. But their big success seems to be preventing spread in hospitals and care homes.

  4. Nigl
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Thank and especially for your interventions. Our country’s policy is being driven by flawed statistics. I despair. The glaring admission from your blog is why? Because without knowing the why, nothing can be put right.

    The Japanese post war were leaders in Quality Management albeit mainly driven by Deming, an American and majored on statistical quality. I was taught they asked the question ‘why’ five times to truly drill down into the processes.

    So Sir JR please tell us with all the resources the state can muster why 70 years on your government is churning and relying on such rubbish.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your letter to your constituents with the rest of us. You make clear the salient issues on which the government and NHS has failed more politely than I could have managed. I fear that on this central issue of managing a way out of the crisis the country now faces my trust in government pronouncements and policies is low. It appears to be “save the NHS and screw everything else”. Perhaps Mr Johnson will make some substantive remarks on the way forward on Sunday. The muddled messages leaked out so far do not inspire confidence that he will.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The Governments series of mistakes and failings are dealt with as if ‘never mind it will all blow over’.
      Boris and the Government really have the skids under them.

  6. Cheshire Girl
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Well Done, Sir John.

    Now all we need is for the Media to stop criticising and scaring the population with their endless forecasts of doom. Even, yesterday, VE Day, they couldn’t give it a rest. In my opinion, the BBC did well, with their coverage of the occasion. I felt that yesterday was not the time for endless criticism of the present Government, but for Channel 4 news, every day is a good day.

    Frankly, they disgust me.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      When I did my tv media training it was made quite clear that I would never get an ‘easy’ answer that I could give a good news reply to.

      Bad news to them makes good copy, gets readers so they are pathologically addicted.

      Read the Daily Telegraph. Pages of negativity. On one page under the heading Good News a 4 x 4 inch piece says it all.

    • BeebTax
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Me too. That’s why I stopped paying the TV licence and only now watch Netflix and non-live television. It’s very satisfying not to be paying into the BBC’s coffers.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        You do pay for it if you watch any Hollywood film or listen to music. All of it is given free promotion (advertising) on the BBC.

        One continuous luvvie feedback loop.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      So why scare all these BAME people quite wrongly.

    • Andy
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      The VE Day coverage was lovely. Look – you all got to wave your Union flags and nobody complained about it. In fact nobody ever does complain about it – except if you fly it upside down.

      It was an important occasion marking 75 years since Europe was freed from Nazi tyranny. It was lovely to see Angela Merkel marking it too. Remember millions and millions of perfectly decent normal Germans were freed on that day too – when the regime which had stolen their country and claimed to act in their name was finally defeated.

      As for news, I’m afraid you Brexiteers face a very brutal lesson. There is almost never any good news about government. All news about government is bad. You will receive little praise for what you do right and you will receive masses of criticism every time you do something wrong. And this Brexit government is doing a lot wrong. This is how it has always been. And many of you want the press to leave Boris alone. ‘He’s doing his best.’ Yeah, well with 30,000+ dead his best is not good enough.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Remainers were firmly in charge of everything since 1990 up until three months ago before which we are now getting the news that CV-19 was on the loose.

        Any lack of provision for PPE stockpiling or contingency planning is the cause of Remainer PM’s – especially those warned about pandemics since SARS 2002 and Swine Flu 2009.

        If you think a PM who took power just over 12 weeks ago is responsible for those failures then I defer to the audience to consider our respective ‘facts.’

        Covid – 19 hit Italy and Spain first. Were we to nick all the PPE ?

        I agree we should have locked borders early. We voted to be a bit more like New Zealand but your lot didn’t want us to be !

      • UK Qanon
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        News is not just what happens. It is what a fairly small group (UK Establishment) decide is news. Wake Up.

      • NickC
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        Andy, But half of Europe was not freed from Soviet Socialist tyranny on the first VE day. Selective again, I see.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Scaring the people? . . . “30’000 dead” gets more effect than (est pop ) 75 m x 0.0004. . . 4% of 1% of the population. . . . and the country is being deliberately trashed. And our replacements ferried in.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Cheshire girl

      In Stalin’s Russia there was a decree that all news story had to contain something like 90% of positive items.

      You know, pretty rosy cheeked girls riding a tractor and singing with happiness. Fantastic trade figures showing Mother Russia far outstripping the decadent west. I suppose it was the gulag for any journalists not obeying the order.

      Quite frankly I prefer Channel 4 News.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t 90%

      • NickC
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, A bit like your EU empire then. You know – where Remains won’t accept anything wrong with the EU. And it is more complicated than “Mother” Russia, it is combined with the concepts of Rodina (place of birth) and Otchizna (fatherland), so you’re wrong about that too. Then there was all the other conquered nations, so not just Russia. Again a bit like your EU empire. But then the EU doesn’t have its Beria to take the little girls away, but it does have something else. Can you guess?

  7. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    It is truly tragic that you have to point out that without facts or even consistent counting, no trend can be ascertained and no decisions taken. All flying by the seat of their pants and guesswork hugely overlaid with coverup mantra.
    With this level of sophistication they missed a trick – might as well have aped the South African Government and banned tobacco and alcohol too, because, its claimed in contradiction to evidence, both are bad for CV19. Take away football and chocolate as well and it would have been a perfect recipe to alienate the entire population for all time.
    I’m afraid Boris looks ill and should retire ASAP.

    • SM
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      The ban on alcohol and cigarettes here in S Africa is driving most law-abiding people nuts, Lynn. The incidence of illegal alcohol brewing is rapidly and dangerously increasing, as is the looting of licensed premises. The tobacco industry has pointed out that the Government (already effectively bankrupt) is missing a large tax income stream as a result of both bans. Wine is a major export from SA, but the wineries are closed, so yet more desperately needed revenue is being forfeited.

      May I add that inter-Province movement is banned (apart from last week, when those who needed to return home after being stranded by lockdown were permitted to do so), there is a curfew between 8pm and 5am, and you may only leave your home during the day for essential journeys other than between 6-9am, when you may exercise or walk outside, and masks must be worn outside your home at all times.

      The incidence of infection and deaths is nevertheless rapidly rising now.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        It’s absolute madness to attack the one world class industry they have left – the famous vineyards. And impossible to deprive nicotine addicted people of their drug instantaneously. The senior ANC chap on TV assuring the country that ‘we are running out to buy vibrators’ (presumably he meant ventilators) would be funny were he not in charge! SAA employed 900 people per aircraft before going down, hopefully for the last time.
        God help us all.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I thought that too.
      But is it post flu fatigue or worry at the monumental hole he has dug his govt into?
      Someone with a conscience needs to have a word!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        His real challenge is to tell us how he is going to deal with the economic situation. I’m not even sure that he comprehends the abyss on the rim of which we are now dancing. This is no time for presentation and political correctness. We need supercool Redwood here and now. We are in a tailspin and we need a pilot, not an entertainer!

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          bang on the money

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Boris retire? To be replaced by whom?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        You should have thought of that before you voted for his party.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


          Just a little reminder, the other alternative was a certain Mr Corbyn, who seemed uncertain about most things, what a loverly cuddly old grandad of a figure he was he was.

          He had wonderful policies, won the argument (so we are told), but got the worst election result in 85 years for the Labour party.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          I would not consider changing the party. There is absolutely no alternative. But we need a healthy and sound PM. Boris has our thanks and good wish for his convalescence and nappy changing extended paternity leave.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Well football has been suspended, although I’d doubt that it will be banned due to the amount of money being poured into the Premiership.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I doubt his ‘stability’ at this time and think that someone with his character traits will not be able to face up to what he has done to the country. The latest pronounced/tested through the media are ridiculous. He is being led by the other nations and appears incapable of effective leadership. Even Javid is challenging him and making more sense.


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        We don’t need Javid.

        • zorro
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          We certainly don’t, but what does that say about Kim Jong Al?


          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

            Yep. This is the best the May Tory Parliamentary Party would allow us. We have to do better and deploy the massive talent available to us.

  8. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The sooner the NHS can resume normal activities the sooner the rest of us can.

    This won’t be the last virus though! Better ways of handling such problems need to be formulated in advance to avoid more suicidal lockdowns. We need a strategy of prevention.
    Such problems always bring out the worst in those in authority who want to impose harsh measures – We cannot allow such people to be in charge of anything.

    Prevention means being aware of risks, and making sure our bodies are up to fighting viruses, something they have been doing ever since Man arrived on the planet.
    Prevention does not include forcing untried drugs on anybody, nor does it include certificates to allow access to ‘LIFE’ showing one has succumbed to a vaccination…and it certainly does not include being chipped like animals.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed….but PREVENTION don’t equal £££££££££££x squillions!
      Do it?

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Of course it won’t be the last virus. But, hopefully, it will be the last we will hear from the so called ‘experts’.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      NHS . .normal activities . . A week ago I received my letter to make my annual Retinopathy appt. Usually a 4-5 week wait. I rang instead of looking online – only to be told cheerily that they were “booking for October” – and the online system didn’t go that far in front anyway. At my age I could be dead, buried and worm food by then – but at least i’ll leave an empty house for the govt to shove new residents in from Calais.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I spent many years from childhood with vaccination certificates rubber banded into my passport. Without, I would not have been permitted to travel.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Those vaccinations did not include mercury – these do! I have no intention of becoming a Stepford Wife thank you very much! I will go to jail before submitting to be vaccinated.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink


          The new powers the government have allows then to administer any drug to you whether you consent or not.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            The most dangerous position for anyone to be in is to have an enemy with nothing to lose. Then it’s no holds barred and a fight to the death. If these few in Government want to take on 60 million of us, I don’t like their chances, but I will take the sleeping tabs before the vaccine. PS make sure your vital organs are good and contaminated too else they take them from you live (pink, warm) body – they legally changed the definition of ‘death’ to do this evil (in SA first which is why the first heart transplant happened there).

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I did reply to this but our host found it not to his liking

  9. Stred
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    It seems that some sense is being applied to the opening of garden centres and exercise. Builders are working already with distancing. However, it looks likely that my family will be expected to return to the house in London work in the centre and risk travelling on the highly infectious tube. At the same time we are prevented from travelling by car in isolate conditions between the house outside London and the London home. This home is now outside of the conditions of insurance and some of the property needs checking and maintenance. Could someone ask Boris to apply a bit of extra common sense?

    • villaking
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      @Stred: Boris himself went with his partner to his second home in Berkshire. I have asked Thames Valley Police about this and it seems it’s fine to move between London and your second home if you say you are recovering from the virus symptoms

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


      Yes many people forget that if you leave a property without anyone being present for (normally) more than 30 days, without anyone inspecting it, the insurance could be invalid.

      Same when you go on a long holiday for more than 30 days, or indeed are in Hospital (if you live alone).

      Most people do not read the terms and conditions until they ned to make a claim.

  10. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I see we are now looking at some sort of quarantine for anyone entering the UK at last.

    About time since the past excuse used there were too many people coming in to do anything was simply ridiculous.

    The vast majority of us who have been trying to keep ourselves as isolated as possible, were beginning to wonder why, when such a large hole was being left open at the borders, likewise those who were seen out in parks (who perhaps have no garden) were being chastised when illegal immigrants (many who have been living crowded in camps in poor conditions) seem to have been crossing the Channel at will.

    I certainly agree we need accurate reporting of a whole load of statistics so that sensible plans and ongoing policies can be made, but certainly given the latest figures we have a very long way to go indeed before this virus is anywhere near to being contained.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Quarantine for anyone entering the U.K. except for those coming from Southern Ireland? Does this include people going into Southern Ireland from elsewhere? Have Southern Ireland also put a 14 day quarantine for anyone going into their Country – if not they must not be allowed to come across the border until they have spend a fortnight in Southern Ireland otherwise the ferries will be doing a rip roaring trade in potential new carriers.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Have you got it into your head yet, that the quarantine to which UK travellers are and will be subject on their arrivals in other lands will continue, until this country has effectively suppressed this virus?

        And that there is no foreseeable prospect of that?

        Meanwhile, the rest of the civilised world – that does not include the US – deals with it properly, and strictures are being eased in many countries, because it is safe for them now to do so.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          I don’t care whether we’re allowed anywhere else Martin? That’s not the question I asked which you chose not to answer going off on a wild one?

          Is Southern Ireland having the same quarantine rules of 14 days as the U.K. or not?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Basically, a-tracy, it means no decent holidays abroad for UK people for the foreseeable future, while much of the rest of the world gets back to something like normal, having suppressed the virus, and while there is no declared aim to do so here.

            You might not care, but plenty of Tory voters do.

            I think that we can trust RoI to be rather more sensible than whatever is done here, on form so far.

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            Well if not, it’s closed borders 7 months early, surely?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Martin these ‘civilized countries’ will have to do without the British tourist £. As the U.K. endures a tourism deficit, good news all round😄, I might even visit Cardiff – I’ll give you warning though, because I maintain a Socialism-Free-Zone at all times.

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            Martin doesn’t understand Tory voters Lynn.

            If other Countries don’t want us to visit screw them, we’ll find something else to do.

            As for the Republic of Ireland * have they got a 14 day quarantine for visitors or Not? *. If not then they can’t come to the U.K. either or our announcement in the U.K. is pathetically pointless!

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink


      We wanted to be a bit more like New Zealand but Andy’s people stopped us.

      Now Andy wants us to – you guessed it – be more like New Zealand and have the nerve to blame us for what THEY caused. Including all the PMs from 1990 who were Remainers right up until three months ago and didn’t stock PPE or make pandemic contingency plans.


      • Andy
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        You people are very odd.

        When history is written it will be your Brexit government which failed on Covid 19. What an embarrassing shambles you all are. If people weren’t literally dying because of your incompetence it would be funny.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Boris took over around 12 weeks ago.

          Remainers were firmly in Charge from 1990 until then. They didn’t stockpile PPE or have proper contingencies.

          We WANTED to be more like New Zealand. But your lot wouldn’t let it happen.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        What strained, irrelevant nonsense.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Well tell Andy to stop comparing us to New Zealand all the time when they have a country the size of England with a population three million fewer than London.

          It needs pointing out.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          Sad that you and Andy are so desperate to make this crisis so you can to make political advantage.
          Low level politics.
          Hindsight is an easy way to claim you would have done everything better.

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          What strained, irrelevant nonsense M i C. I wonder why you bother to post such trash day after day

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Its trolling
            20 contrary posts a day.

  11. Boncelines
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    “Government urges the public to walk and cycle more.” It is not rationed on salt for rubbing into wounds we see. British dark humour at its best.

    “UK ‘to bring in 14-day quarantine’ for air passengers”
    “UK airlines warn quarantine will ‘kill air travel'”
    Of course, that is the idea. Government are not full of thickies

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Given all that has happened recently, I think advice from the government is the last thing we need.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Walking and cycling are fuelled by eating more food (though cycling is more efficient per mile than walking about three times so). Food production, distribution, cooking etc. is rather carbon intensive fertilisers, packaging, transport cooking (especially meat production and fish). I thought the government wanted to reduce CO2 emissions (for some idiotic & bogus reason)? Fuelling transport with steak and chips, tandoori chicken, beer, claret and pizza is not therefore such a good plan in CO2 terms.

      Then again given the red arrows and all the other display aircraft flying about yesterday perhaps they now like C02?

      • Life? What's life?
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        I can’t believe we have senior ministers encouraging cycling when there are dead bodies strewn across their lawns.
        We live in surreal times though surreal has been clichéd. I still prefer “Another period of mass hysteria, causes not understood entirely by medical science., or if they do they are not letting on. I doubt they have a clue. I’ve heard the UK virus team.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Women will look great turning up for work in professional capacities or to bang their head on glass ceilings, having cycled 14 miles in the rain and dark.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Rather like immigrants, where there aren’t enough of them to make any difference to the outbreak apparently. So perhaps when one person robs the bank, it won’t matter now, because only one person doing it won’t make such a big difference?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      At least St Greta would be happy.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        And hungry 😋

    • Zorro
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Maoist China – here we come!

      Is the PM becoming Kim Jong Al or a worse version?


      • Have some Tea
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        To be fair Mao never put his nation as a whole under house arrest. I believe he put Deng Xiaoping under house arrest, in fact I know he did. Deng Xiaoping on gaining power after Mao put Mao’s wife Chiang Ching or to posh in newspeak Jiang Qing[under house arrest then sentenced her to death, changed his mind to life imprisonment and it is said she committed suicide in jail. after a bit.
        On that basis..of house arrest, Boris is far far worse than Mao, and Deng Xiaoping and probably Maos wife who never put anyone under house arrest. He’s growing to be a right me old China

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink


        No, a brush with death brought him to his senses after initially ignoring his scientists and advisers.

        • Zorro
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          Made him lose his senses more like!


        • Anonymous
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          It does give a rather skewed view of life, a brush with death. But the stats clearly show that a man of his age has better odds of surviving this than a young man did in the whole of WW2.

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          I can’t believe, MH that you’ve posted this. You obviously have zero understanding of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. I’m praying you’re not a history teacher in a Comprehensive School. Sadly everything points to you being exactly that.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t there a song about 8 million bicycles in Beijing?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        That a fact, a thing we can’t deny ……
        Except it’s 9 million.

    • Mark
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Flying to be limited to those who can pedal their own Gossamer Condor? Range is just enough to cross the Channel, I believe.

  12. Richard1
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The nation will be astonished to learn that the NHS app for track and trace doesn’t turn out to be as reliable as the one developed by Google and Apple, which is being adopted by numerous other countries and is becoming the international standard. Who would have imagined that – ‘our’ NHS not as well placed to develop an app as two of the world’s leading tech companies?!

    Who makes these decisions and who provides the advice upon which they are made? we need to understand that after this is over.

    In the meantime let’s use the app which works and is available off the shelf.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      the waste of money IT projects in the State sector are just horrendous.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        I am shocked to my very core!

    • Andy
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The government made the decision to have its own up. It is believed to be Dominic Cummings’ mate who is behind it. Conveniently, it means he has our data afterwards for whatever spurious purposes he wants it for. And the strong data protection laws we currently have – thanks to the EU – will be scrapped by the Tory police statists soon.

      None of my friends will download the app. We don’t want our data going anywhere near these dangerous people. And there is an online campaign to encourage as many others as possible not to do it either. With enough of us involved it won’t work. Still Mr Cummings can still keep an eye on the rest of you,

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I agree, me neither


      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        There are a lot of small IT companies from a certain country sniffing around the NHS at this time.


      • Richard1
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        I doubt that is the explanation

      • steve
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink


        Yep, have to agree with that.

    • IanT
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      I think Google know quite enough about me already thank you.

      Why tell them any more – that they can then sell to their Analytic clients? I do wonder about all these “privacy” concerns about UK Gov – when most people effectively freely give their ‘life’ data to Facebook, Twitter, Apple et al to use/sell in any way they decide…

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Personal choice and you can control privacy settings. I don’t have to have social media accounts.


        • IanT
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          No – but you probably do…

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          you can control privacy settings – well if you have loads of spate time on your hands perhaps!

          • hefner
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            With google, ‘Change your privacy settings’ available for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer. There are similar info available for Apple and Android phone systems.

            It takes less than 30mn to:
            – limit the cookies to only those coming from the website you want to read (and not get hundreds of cookies affecting the links to websites you have ever opened). Even so one can limit those to the ‘required’ and not the default ones.
            – prevent tracking;
            – activate private browsing;
            – limit the information on your location to a wide area instead of pinpoint coordinates;
            – set a pop-up blocker (either totally, to only general messages, or personalised messages);
            – protecting tracking (preventing your browsing info being sent to third-party content).

            Really it is not that difficult and by doing so one might realise how much information and to whom one’s information is sent by default.

            I would hope that the contributors on this blog who keep warning us of the dangers of Chinese interference (real ones without doubt) would all have taken the necessary measures to prevent their web/email system from being an open book to any commercial and/or political ‘operator’.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the NHS will find out much about how their app doesn’t really work by trialling it in the Isle of Wight which has the second lowest rate of infections of any local authority in England, and where the sporadic nature of the tew infections they have had suggests not have occurred in care homes, where the app is redundant.

      With a low population density and few cases (possibly none among app users) there will be no real data to tweak the definition of what might constitute an infectious contact, and no adequate testing of how people respond to being notified of a potential contact – the key being immediately going into proper quarantine until cleared in 14 days or perhaps sooner if testing shows negative.

      In short, the test looks like a sham.

      • Mark
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        “not have occurred ” = most have occurred

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, they are having another go now. They are much better at IT than at healthcare – just need a bit of time and a few hundred Billion.

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    According to Dr Richard North’s blog (remember he is trained in this subject which is his professional forte rather than Brexit) there have been several studies which seem to point to the fact that Corona virus is not very good at infecting and damaging people. It needs quite a lot of close physical contact. Both the hospitals and the Care Homes provide this as do shops (like our convenience store), close family members, the underground and any form of eating and drinking together round a table.(

    So far the general public have got it right. We prudently went out and bought provisions before the lock down (this was dismissed as panic buying), now we are slowly and sensibly socialising again (this is scorned as despising the NHS and not staying home and keeping safe). Also we are wary of hospitals, doctors and Care Homes. (This is what you mention).

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      We prudently went out and bought provisions . . .

      I know you won’t read this, you never do, but I will take issue with the above to prevent others being mislead. People were no more prudent than Gordon Brown. They were like locusts ! They absolutely stripped the shelves of just about everything. They panicked !

      People are going back to work because they are running out of money and are bored. It is as simple as that.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink


      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        The car washes are open, the pet parlours are working and a local carpet shop is doing a bespoke viewing. The guy who sells beds and mattresses has bought some household essentials and opens Monday with the councils permissoon.
        Your correct, no money, must work. The furlough package is too generous and some people will not return to work.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      when is a trolley load of toilet rolls — dozens of multiple-packs, NOT panicking?
      Oh – its for black market selling on! – -So Supermarkets did NOT stop it until shelves stripped daily. But then the Store managers and Supermarkets have made a fortune.

  14. Chris Dark
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Reducing the transmission rate is a joke while government does nothing at all to stop immigrants crossing the Channel from virus-infected France. We are at a total loss to understand the workings of the Home Office. Patel has achieved nothing, just like her predecessors, regarding illegal immigration control. Why should I take daily virus precautions while foreigners are permitted to roll up on the Kent beaches and just walk in? There is someone pulling the strings here behind every HO minister since I don’t know when. The British are being taken for fools. There will be a price to pay not far down the road.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      It maybe has to be about the Migrant Pact?
      Maybe govt is behaving like they did all those years with the EU…terrible legislation and then a shrug of the shoulders “Out of our hands!”
      In this case doing the bidding of the UN ( I believe).

    • jerry
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      @Chris Dark; “Reducing the transmission rate is a joke while government does nothing at all to stop immigrants crossing the Channel from virus-infected France. “

      Oh right so an illegal landing in Kent is going to infect someone out shopping in say Carlisle. Even more so if picked up by HOBF staff whilst crossing or on the beach, being then placed in effective lockdown at a immigration holding facility?

      A far more likely route of infection spread has been the returnee UK passport holding business or leisure traveller, [sarcasm warning] and they are still arriving, yet more repatriation flights to arrive from CV19 infected countries.

      • DaveM
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        I think, Jerry, the point here is that whilst our so-called Police force is busy harassing elderly folk in parks (who have been under house arrest for weeks) the government is using taxpayers’ money to finance a free taxi service for unknown illegal immigrants who – in turn – will then soak up more taxes while Patel bleats on about the NHS.

        Why should we obey the government when it’s aiding illegal activity at our cost?

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          @DavidM; A marvellous example of “whataboutery”, if I may say so…

          Such a comment, about alleged lockdown police harassment, is valid but could have been made without mentioning migrants (legal or illegal).

          • Ian Wragg
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            Why Andy. Illegal immigrants are a threat to our wellbeing.

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            Juxtapositions like this are valid when we’re talking about police time and taxpayers’ money being used for apparently political means .

          • jerry
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            @Ian Wragg; So are those on this site who think it would have been OK to rely on herd immunity to combat CV19…

            @SJS; “Juxtapositions”, more like a complex question, you know full well that it is not a UK govt competence to stop migrants leaving France, and how the UK deals with such migrants is down to international law – second thoughts – such details are probably are to nuanced for the average UKIP/TBP supporters to grasp! 🙁

          • NickC
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Well, it’s nice to know that you allow “valid” comments about over-zealous police. But by what logic do you think you’re entitled to wag your finger at DaveM making his excellent counter-point about the state failing to prevent illegal immigrants? Class monitors are so yesterday.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Theresa May MP signed the UK up to a UN agreement which basically made illegal immigration legal. All this government has to do is to say we no longer accept this and remove ourselves from it. But they won’t !

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink


        Give it a rest.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          It’s a good point. One of the reasons why Australia and New Zealand is doing well is tight border control.

          Yet Remainers blame Leavers for all of this.

    • Andy
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      How would you stop them coming? It is all well and good to moan about it – you lot are all very good at moaning – but how do you stop it?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        us moaning? – – don’t you own a mirror?

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Returns at sea is the only way to stop this business model.


        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Apparently we can’t go into French waters and when they are in ours it’s not possible to return them. Well let’s do a bit of a mission into French waters on humanitarian grounds, and save them from themselves, return them to a lovely life in the EU.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink


      • Mark
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Tow their boats back to French territorial waters.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          correct – it would only take one boat returned for them to get the message

          Patrol the channel 24/7

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          correct….it would only take one boat returned for them to get the message

          Patrol the channel 24/7

        • Andy
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          If they are picked up in British waters that’s illegal under international law.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            No it isn’t.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            On what authority is international law made and how do we sack them? (Thanks to the quondam Viscount Standgate for that wisdom)

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink


        Then don’t expect COVID-19 to be brought under control if we don’t bother with border control.

      • steve
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


        Stop the french from dumping them on us, which they’ve been doing for decades.

    • Stred
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      May signed the UN Migration pact which commits the UK to assist migration and accepting that economic migration is the same status as refugees from war or persecution. It was signed without debate. The ministries have senior civil servants who are committed to support UN agendas and leading beyond authority.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink



      • margaret howard
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink


        The world speaks English. Why? Because we were the biggest migrant nation in modern history. Not a single continent or country escaped our forefathers’ drive for a better future or had the means to stop it.

        We divided and shared out continents like Africa to suit ourselves. We played havoc in countries where the local populations were unable to stop us.

        The least we can now do is to make amends and help those people seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Their numbers are tiny when compared to the masses of people from these islands taking over much of the planet.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Margaret the world speaks English because they wanted to trade with us, and grow rich. They did. They still do.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          What? We’re the most overcrowded country in Europe. Have you thought about why we have the highest virus transmission rate?

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          You clearly have no understanding of populations, MH. Please do a bit more basic research before posting such complete nonsense.

        • steve
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink


          “The world speaks English. Why? Because we were the biggest migrant nation in modern history.”

          You don’t suppose it was because the British empire spanned approx 2/3 of the globe ?

          I mean, why do former french colonies speak french, and so on ?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Agreed Chris. One of the slowest invasions in history. But that is what it is. Clearly our govt don’t see the world they are creating for ALL of us, or they think they will escape what is coming. Really REALLY glad I’m old.

    • MickN
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I think your comments have a lot of traction. Farage once again is being vilified for having the temerity to speak out on this. We will not stop this flood of illegal immigrants until we pick them up in the channel and drop them back off on a French beach and destroy their boats so that they cannot be re-used.
      I also had expected more from Ms Patel. Something about walking walks and talking talks springs to mind.
      It is also clear that the government has allowed itself to be browbeaten into submission to include figures other than that from hospitals to be included in the fatality rate. By adding these figures where this is not the system elsewhere they are now whipping them for having the highest total in Europe. The MSN are not interested in better informing the public, rather they are just laying a succession of elephant traps for the government to fall into.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        The government are so uselessly obliging too!


      • JoolsB
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Patel has been a huge disappointment no surprise. They’re all the same once in receipt of their chauffeur limousines and red boxes. This is the same Patel who was against the ridiculous amount we give away in foreign aid, until of course she was given the job that could have put a stop to it.

        • Zorro
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately she got caught out trying to give our aid to a foreign power!! I mean fortunately….


        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          In a peacetime democracy, you’re unlikely to get people vicious and brutal enough to satisfy the more fixated commenters here elected.

          You’ll have to stay disappointed, I think.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Exactly – and the ones that can’t quite make it are being escorted in to be put up in hotels and given food and pocket money. Instead of sending boats out into the Channel to escort them into our country why can’t they turn them around and take them back to France instead? The French are taking us for mugs especially as our idiot government are paying them to stop this sort of thing happening.

    • IanT
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I do wonder at the logic of paying a third country to police our borders for us – which clearly revolves around the fact that we are either unwilling or unable (maybe both?) to return these day-trippers back to their departure point in mainland Europe, which (as we were reminded yesterday) has not been a war-zone for some 75 years now.

      The only effective deterrent to people risking their lives in the Channel is to immediately return them to their point of departure, thus making their expenditure and risk pointless. I’ve never heard any coherent reason for not doing this – except that large parts of our political society seemed to be involved with (or married to) Human Rights Lawyers…

    • rose
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      The rule is that once they get into our waters we are lumbered. They cannot be taken back to France. If we patrolled French waters, picked them up, and took them back, what do you think the French would say, let alone the no borders extremists? Unlike some countries I won’t mention, we are a rigidly law abiding nation. No use blaming the Home Secretary till the rules are changed.

      • zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Well she needs to get off her backside and get the law changed. Do they have a majority????


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Whose ‘rule’?

        • rose
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          The Geneva Convention of 1951 which never foresaw this era of mass illegal immigration from other continents.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Build a large detention centre on a remote Scottish Island. Apprehend them and send them to said centre. Inform them that they ILLEGALLY entered UK sovereign territorial waters and will be considered as criminals, which they are, and will not be granted asylum. They will of course be free to leave said centre, but only to either return home or to another country that will accept them.

        Simple really. I mean, it is what Australia did, and it worked !!!

        • rose
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          Our politicians would never stand up to the abuse the Australians stood up to and ours wouldn’t want to anyway.

  15. George Brooks.
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    When, for heaven’s sake, are we going to stop blaming the government for absolutely everything. When you come into office you have to work with what you have got until you have assessed it and had time to change it/improve it.

    From July 2016 until December last year we did not have a proper government, only a parliament dominated by a bunch of disingenuous MPs trying thwart the will of the people. Running the country was a side issue.

    Whilst this government was being elected Covid-19 was taking a hold on the world population and come early January it was faced with a pandemic and had no option other than to work with what the NHS, PHE, NHS Providers etc had to offer. So far they have done a fantastic job carving their way through a morass of bureaucracy within these organisations

    Around two weeks ago it was mentioned that the advice from 111 to a caller with symptoms, was that if they were not short of breath then keep isolated etc when in fact it appears people’s blood oxygen level was dropping to a dangerously and the person was only admitted to hospital, in many cases, when it was too late. A spokesman then added ”perhaps we should change to instruction to 111 staff”!

    No minister, a month into the job, would be able to detect a failure of communication between those investigating the virus and advice given out to the public. That is fault within the NHS, and now that it is known that is when the minister can make changes

    The stats’ we are getting are another example of muddled thinking and lack of communication which the NHS is being pushed to sort out.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      If the Government had not taken total power and authority over everything we would not blame it for all the disasters. It has so we do.

  16. Irene
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Dear Member of Parliament,

    Genuinely good news is always welcome. The bad news is that far too many people died when they need not have died because the NHS was not there for them. All those people living in care homes and the wider community who died won’t be able to applaud your good news. Social care was an afterthought as far as the government was concerned and only arrived in the protective thought processes once the oft-maligned media screamed from the rooftops about what was going on.

    The Nightingale hospitals could and should have been put to better use. They still can be put to good use.

    Don’t delay the investigation into why the UK failed so miserably. Start it now. Plan the future based on lessons learned today. Lessons that can only be learned by investigating, matter of urgency, the disgraceful mess of our recent past. Don’t procrastinate.

    BTW, please don’t allow ‘active transport’ to become the latest slogan. Otherwise Shapps may need to be reminded to get on his bike.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Great post !

    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The NHS narrative of an organisation that is underfunded, on the verge of collapse and primarily concerned with our health is total BS. Even this hopeless, unprincipled government rolls it out like some socialist lackey at a North Korean political rally.

    I maybe and naively thought the barbarity of MS would have exposed the NHS for what this organisation has become but still free healthcare always helps to divert the public’s attention away from the truth. Public statements and words can so be effective in massaging away unsightly historical inconveniences

    The public aren’t naive. We know we’re being deceived but we also know there’s little we can do about it except to stop voting for the two parties that have dragged this nation into the dirt since the early 1990’s and even before.

    The NHS is the EIGHT LARGEST EMPLOYER IN THE WORLD. Think about that for a moment and the dig down into how the useless NHS spends that cash.

    Why does the NHS need so many staff? What do they do?

    Why can’t people see the NHS is a huge political scam? It’s the product of cowardly politicians refusing to reform a now powerful leftist political organisation for fear of negative political consequences

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      You can be sure that in the inevitable public enquiry one conclusion won’t be that the reason the German health service did so much better in preventing deaths than the NHS is their public/private organisation and the market forces that introduces.

  18. jerry
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The govt (PM) needs to be pushed to give a better explanation as to the rational for a lockdown rather than the use of social distancing measures, why (it seems) the lockdown can not be eased by the use of such social distancing, why so much everyday economic and leisure activities can not resume.

    I read that the Transport Sec. is to ‘urge’ more people to cycle or walk to work, well yes if such people would have otherwise used unhealthy public transport but I hope this is not to become yet another front of the war against the (self-isolationist, socially distanced) private motor car user, no doubt to pacify the green blob.

    • jerry
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Sorry to follow up my own comment but I’ve just read about an open letter, from nine campaign groups, addressed to the Secretaries of State for Transport, Environment and the Chancellor pertinent to my other comment.

      If changes are made to the functioning of existing streets/roads, such as the widening of pedestrian areas, or the complete closure of roads to motor vehicles, so to assist in allowing people to maintain social distancing whilst walking/cycling (rather than use currently unhealthy public transport) these changes must be as temporary as the CV19 emergency legislation is its self, unless such measures are put before the usual detailed official planning procedures etc.

      The BoE has confirmed that the country has suffered the worst shock to the economy in 300 years, with UB/UC claims rising (with more to come if reports that some currently on furlough might not have a job to go back to are correct), we must not allow geopolitical groups such as Greenpeace to further damage the UK economy by hindering our economic recovery – many complain about the damage done after WW2 by way of Socialism, the current green blob will make such polices appear possessively free market by comparison given half a chance.

      • gregory martin
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Were this to be done, at least the trillions of pot holes could be filled. There is no evidence that any such essential maintenance has been attempted in the last 7 weeks, giving up a perfect opportunity. Careful planning would of course be necessary, as they generally are less than 2 metres apart.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Quite happy not to have lorries tearing up our country roads with piles of dirt taken from/to sites for building more incomers’ houses, thanks. Give me cyclable closed roads any day. HGVs apart from online delivery to existing houses can stick to main roads and let us cycle and walk the countryside. Permanently.

    • Otto
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Is the govt. going to give everyone bikes? Why has no minister promised this , yet?

      • Otto
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps they are waiting to promise to give everyone an electric car, to save the planet.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Don’t forget the electric water heaters and cookers we can’t be using that nasty gas

    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    The public sector unions across all the dependent professions will now use the next six months to hold the government and the people of this nation to ransom by exploiting the inflated risks of going back to work. They’ll use a return to work as a way of elevating the dangers of said return and then demand extensive safeguards and various governmental and union committees to produce new methods on how to police this return

    Of course the unions smell a massive opportunity to expand their grip, expand the funding to various areas in which they dominate and expand their influence and control. The parasitic nature of the public sector union movement are now ready for a return to the 1970’s and we, the private sector, will be forced to pay for their parasitism and the expansion of the new public-private apartheid

    This is the consequence of voting Tory and Labour. Either way, change is rejected and that means less freedom, higher taxes, more State control, more social conditioning

    People believe they’ve voted for a Tory government. How naive is that? They’ve voted for a party whose only concern is managing our decline and helping to promote socialism and progressive politics.

    The terms ‘Conservative’ and ‘Labour’ should be expunged from the English language. Today, they mean nothing and deceive people into making catastrophic voting mistakes

  20. Javelin
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I suppose the Conservative Party are lucky because the average person in this country can be distracted with clapping like small children and not be frozen with fear by the looking at the wider health and economic reality.

    The Purchase Managers Index has fallen to 12.5 from a healthy 55 a month ago. Even during the 2007 crash it fell to only 40.

    I remember sitting on the wall outside Lehman Brothers watching staff walk out the building carrying their magic mountain boxes wondering where this would lead. A few press tried to speak to me but as one of my roles was looking after Credit Derivatives at HSBC globally, and we had no defaults, expected no defaults and all our CDS trades were on A+ corporate bonds and booked back to back I said nothing.

    If I were now looking after that CDS desk I would be reporting to the board that I expected the likes of Ford and Boeing to be at risk.

    I would also worry that the 10 point drop in the PMI led to 120,000 excess deaths in the UK over the next 10 years and would expect the excess deaths today to be close or above to the 500,000 predicted by Prof Ferguson.

    You can only distract the public with saluting the NHS, or indeed saluting promises of a thousand year empire, for so long before reality hits.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I find the clapping thingy a tad North Korean. What next? Will we have to wear rainbow-coloured neckerchiefs?

      • zorro
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        How dare you insult the great helmsman, our Dear Leader Kim Jong Al!


      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Do not give these people ideas !!! 🙁

        • Zorro
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink


          I beseech you to follow government instructions and wear your rainbow coloured neckerchief (which we are sourcing directly from Turkey) and your obligatory Costa Coffee ‘recycling’ cup to CONTROL the virus. Only by doing thus will we return to our glorious ‘new normal’

          PM King Jong Al

          My sources are beginning to leak stuff 😉


      • glen cullen
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        They have symbols, followers, contributors, gowns and their own language and now they have a Thursday evening glorification service where the meek can witness their heroic status….its almost blasphemy to question their greatness

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Is reality hitting the Cabinet yet? The Covid issue is small fry. It’s going to take a real man to face up to the critical decisions that need to be taken post haste. Once the spiral starts unwinding, nothing will stop it. The only consolation will be that even the ‘key workers’ will understand that the Golden Goose is the single most important sector of the whole system. Maybe this generation need to feel hunger to ground them a bit.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        . . . even the ‘key workers’ will understand that the Golden Goose is the single most important sector . . .

        Oh Lynn I absolutely love you 🙂 Well said. And so, so true !

  21. a-tracy
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    A nice positive post John thank you for this.

    I’ve been amazed at just how much we collectively can do without haven’t you?

    It’s also been surprising which services we pay for with no choice are so easily mothballed for nearly three months and have gone without realising and are thus unnecessary.

  22. John E
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    What news is there regarding dentists starting up again please?

    • ZZZZZ ouch
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Dentists are on the back tooth at the moment

  23. Steven
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    If you want to cut the death rates further stop the NHS listing every single death as Covid caused and restart treating people for actual illnesses. Empty hospitals and propaganda do not improve public health. A closed economy will cause a chain reaction that will destroy public health if it hasn’t already.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      The ONS has been reporting that deaths are being belatedly reallocated from non virus causes to being caused by the virus. This emerges when you compare their weekly releases, though the full extent is unknown. I ran a comparison in this chart

      • Stred
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        That is a staggering chart Mark. I don’t think it will be used during the PR presentations. If the ONS re classifies all of the excess deaths from the start of the epidemic then we are already about 12,000 under from the charts shown above the average.

  24. Everhopeful
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    So when will we be released then?

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      If he doesn’t release us this Sunday evening then I’ll predict an economic disaster in the making

      • Fred H
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        it is well underway already.
        People don’t seem to be clamouring for return to work, only the comfortable capitalists who see their cash cow under threat. The workers think about 80% pay, add back in what was Income Tax, add in saved travel costs, zero coffee take-aways, expensive lunch sandwiches etc.
        No pubs, no restaurants, probably saved holiday costs, reduced fuel bills, children’s entertainments off.
        Suddenly they are no worse off – and the sun has been shining for ages….
        What not to like – – just deal with the boredom? Get the jobs done that have been put off.

  25. majorfrustration
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    There is bound to be a fudge around the numbers – its the spin Dear Boy. One day a Government will have the courage to tell the truth – dream on. Having now saved the NHS its time to save the economy assuming it not too late.

  26. gyges01
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “Government did respond when I passed on – as others doubtless did – the danger of letting elderly patients out of hospital and back to care homes without checking they no longer had the virus.”

    Who did the risk assessments for transferring the patients to the care homes?

  27. a-tracy
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    ‘Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “We do know that Londoners are still catching the virus, being hospitalised and dying from COVID-19.’

    We don’t know anything at all that’s the point! Which Londoners are still catching the virus now? What have they been doing in the last seven weeks? Did they or a close contact return to the U.K. from abroad during this time? What age are they? Did they have carers going into their home, or are they carers or nursing staff and their families? What area of London do they live in? It’s amazing in England that even though Scotland has its own BBC channel and news we get to see Nicola Sturgeon all the time, yet we never hear from our regions representatives giving us our local information? London has more people than Scotland- they have a right to know who is still arriving in hospital right now and from where! You have imprisoned people in London, taken away their work and some have been told it’s cancelled until October at least.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      He is making it up 😉

    • anon
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Well over in NY.


      • a-tracy
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Wow, thank you Anon 66% not working claiming they stayed at home – this just simply won’t be true that all their family stayed in and they didn’t break the rules.

        Cuomo said “the information shows that those who are hospitalized are predominantly from the downstate area in or around New York City, are not working or traveling and are not essential employees. He also said a majority of the cases in New York City are minorities, with nearly half being African American or Hispanic.”

        Now can Mr Khan tell us who is being admitted in London? If they’re from a certain peak area people have probably got photos of their teenagers meeting up in gangs at dusk! Now if our Media had anything about them this is the reporting we need if you ever want the 90% of the public keeping inside to go out and the police really do need to clamp down on this, they know the streets new Covid 19 patients live in, they know the age group, proper tracing needs to be done, what’s the use of tests if the positive cases aren’t acted on!

  28. ChrisS
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Once again we are not being given all the information.

    The R number in cities, hospitals and care homes must be far higher than in rural areas including the vast majority of small towns across England, yet we are all having to suffer a far more severe lockdown as a result of the average R number across the country being too high.

    If the government wants to get the economy back up and running again, it needs to take note of this and release areas where the risk is lowest from the worst effects of the lockdown while keeping it fully in force in those areas where there are a large numbers of new cases.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I think this data has been given. R in the general community is 0.3-0.5 but in hospitals and care homes is 0.9-1.0.

  29. Caterpillar
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I think your call for improved statistics is of course welcome, but I believe the Govt can go much further with this in terms of overall transparency. If the UK is to exit the coronophobia + furloughphilia trap then a rationality rather than behavioural control approach might be beneficial.

    At the moment I would also like to see:
    (i) full release of the papers discussed at SAGE without blanking
    (ii) data on nosocomial transmission of Covid19
    (iii) estimates of virus prevalence in UK based on the sample studies including the weeks of antibody test assisted by Porton Down, and also based on estimated fatality rates
    (iv) estimate of median age of those infected now that more tests are being done
    (v) robustness of proposed vaccines to virus evolution
    (vi) time series of case fatalities in the 20 to 65 age group in 5-10 year strata

    (i) To give confidence in Govt decision making
    (ii) To give confidence in hospitals for other treatments
    (iii) If there is more resistance in the community then fewer and less strict measures are needed to keep R(t) lower
    (iv) Countries with higher median age have more vulnerable elderly, there is a need to protect these and keep the virus away from them. This is reflected in the median age of the elderly. So far it seems that UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Hungary may have been less than successful in this – it could be bad luck, bad strategy, bad implementation – but it is part of transparency to give this.
    (v) The recent UCL led work shows that there are parts of the virus genome that seem to be evolving rapidly but there are also parts that are relatively invariant between strains. Have treatments and vaccines under R&D been held up against this work.
    (vi) Knowing whether there has been improvement in treatment in the main working age population is key to confidence. There are at least two aspects from this (i) comparison of case fatality rate between countries – i.e. what are other countries doing differently in treatment, (ii) improvements to treatment in England/U.K. e.g. earlier hospital admission and earlier CPAP/oxygen etc.

    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Will Johnson capitulate fully to the unionised hordes in the public sector now he’s sold all our souls to their collectivist, anti-private bigotry ?

    I bet he starts pandering to the TUC, Unite and NUT etc with announcements about joint taskforces between depts of State and the unions….it is then we will have seen the true nature of this Tory PM. Some call him a One-Nation Tory, most call it an unwillingness to take the necessary decisions to reform the Labour-union political web of parasitism financed by the taxpayer

    I believe this PM has an agenda and that agenda is to try and turn his party into a blue socialist party but in effect it’s waving the flag of surrender as socialism always leads to bankruptcy so disaster is inevitable. better to reform now and take the hit in widespread strikes from the collectivist bigots

    My cousin is now stretched out on his garden on full pay, early retirement and all the other goodies extracted from the taxpayer using union threats and pressure. He’s a State employee

    meanwhile, my sister is a private employee. her employer’s desperately struggling and may not survive

    the two examples above reveal what this Tory party’s become. they’ve simply given in to the left. No fight. No confrontation. Nothing. White flag raised

    Tories in government but the real power now lies with Labour and their unions and their Marxist allies spread right across the body politic

    This nation is DOOMED on the altar of an unprincipled Tory party

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I agree Dominic.

      If the public sector workers represented by their Unions against the service of their customers expect their customers just to pay up the same (if not more new taxes to come) to leave them on their sunbeds for another couple of months then there is a shock coming. Why weren’t they furloughed 80% max £2500 per month? Why are they getting special treatment, we’re being thwacked twice our private jobs are going, people just don’t realise it yet. Their bosses can’t take say a £50,000 personal loss per month for more than two months before they’ll pull the plug.

      You’re hearing from big whingers like Virgin, BA, even the Albert Hall all after a government handout now but who is listening to family and single SME entrepreneurial businesses? The leisure industry won’t recover margins aren’t big enough, the retailers next their rent is massive, let’s not forget landlords and if our private pensions are invested in what was once considered a safe haven of commercial rents then they’re going to take private pensions down with them, the whole house of cards is coming down while Boris is playing Daddy! He chose to go ahead with his political ambitions knowing Carrie was pregnant from about August, well now mate you need to get your act together.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      ‘This nation is DOOMED on the altar of an unprincipled Tory party’

      It is starting to look that way.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If everybody is to get back to work, we need to sort out the transport issue. Maintenance of the two metre social spacing rule will be extremely difficult. Buses, trains and tube can be no more than 20% full; some say as low as 10%. Walking to work will be limited by distance; I can’t envisage too many people being willing to walk more than 3 miles each way each day. Cycling is more practical but I doubt that many people will be willing to cycle more than one hour each way each day. There is also a safety issue; many of the erstwhile cyclists will be pretty incompetent.

    Public transport operations utilising 20% of capacity will require subsidies. I suggest that as public transport subsidies increase, the furloughing percentage paid is tapered off, starting with a reduction from 80% to 50%. It will be a question of timing.

    I don’t see any objection in principle to driving to work if you are the car’s sole occupant, other than the pollution and parking problems. The parking problem is likely to be severe in London but the city has to some extent coped during rail strikes, so a partial solution exists.

    Sir John’s solution of more people working from home will play its part. Another possibility is relaxing planning controls by allowing more rural buildings to be used as temporary office space, so that for example old barns could be converted.

    All in all, there will be both requirement and opportunity to ‘muddle through’. Even so, the economy will not fully recover until either Coronavirus is beaten or survivors are immune.

    • Mark
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      On trick to improve car occupancy is for people who work or live together to commute together. The risk will be little different, and they won’t be exposed to other random commuters, nor risk spreading to them. That all helps reduce transmission risk.

      However, it has been identified (and this should not be a surprise) that a lot of infection happens in the home where people are living in close proximity. Once someone infected comes into the house, spread is easy. The same is of course true of care homes.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      If the 2 metre rule has validity the Govt and advisers need to convert it to some other unit (e.g. probability of spreading in some time period) and then alternatives that give same effect can be proposed. Unfortunately the 2 metre guidance seems to be applied willy-nilly in all environments and for all people. The level of science, simulation or calculation in this seems very low.

      • Stred
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        A light breeze will bring the air across the two metres in s fifth of a second. Stood in a queue with the wind blowing along it must be useless.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The Spanish flu, sars, mars and even the annual winter flu all disappear with time and things return to normal

      There’s nothing to suggest anything different with covid-19

  32. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you Sir John, in keeping us up to date.

    “The estimates of the Transmission rate are very wide – 0.5 to 1.0.” You are correct, the rate means they have permitted 100% fluctuation, as in 0.5 to 1 is a 100% increase. Then relate that to source data, it begs the question how do they even know that. It is a guess, may be a best guess but still a guess.

    Look at the background of ‘the science’, the modeling’, rolling figures and the ONS – the only fact you can be sure of is they are guessing.

    Creating fear for the sake of fear, is not keeping the public informed, it is making those who perceive they are in charge feel good about themselves. To the rest of us they come over as frankly inept and stupid.

    Better no figures, made up stats or prophecies unless they are backed with real science and cleansed data. As yet there is no demonstration that any of the above takes place.

    What Government cant do is blame the public ‘for not listening’ when it is they that are forgetting who they serve.

    • hefner
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      OK, I will try to explain slowly.
      Assume one person already knowing they have Covid-19. Given the absence up to now of any meaningful tracking & tracing, that person may have contaminated all the people they have been in contact with during their incubation period. The length of the incubation period varies widely from 3-4 days to infinity (for people contaminated but not showing any symptoms).
      So how will R be defined for that person? Will it be after 3 days, 5, 10, more? Depending how long you wait, the R will vary. Now consider a sample of N people in multiple contacts with M people. How will an accurate R for this group de N-M people be defined?
      It is close to impossible, specially considering a large area like a country with some parts with close to zero infection meaning a local R close to zero and other areas with many infections with the local initially much bigger than 1.

      So, given the early absence of testing in the UK, and people showing signs of infection being required to stay home after possibly contacting their local surgery to declare their state but the surgery unable to carry out any tracking/tracing, it is not surprising that modelling had to be used. The modelling is just a program including as input data the limited local Covid-19-related data available from surgeries and hospitals plus a number of assumptions on how the contagious disease is spreading considering among other things: (that I would try to get if I had to carry out such a modelling job)
      – the distribution of population (/km^2),
      – possibly the typical age distribution in the area,
      – possibly the number of people in the NHS front-line and care homes,
      – the present number of cases at an instant t,
      – a typical length of the incubation period,
      – how much the ‘stay at home’ policy is respected,
      and providing out of those data a modelled local R.
      I would rerun the model for different lengths of incubation as this would look to me a very uncertain parameter.

      Then all these local Rs have to be integrated to give a national or England & Wales R.

      Given the number of uncertainties in both the input data and the underlying assumptions in the modelling, is it such a surprise that there is such a spread in the result?

      But to quote the Swedish mathematician Andrejs Dunkels ‘It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s hard to tell the truth without them’. I will be bold enough to rephrase it: It is so easy from one’s armchair to say ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ or ‘garbage in, garbage out’, but it’s hard to approach the truth without some statistical tools.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        So a guess is still a guess and as long as it creates fear and hysteria it is well worth it for the perceived control those in power believe they have.

        Doesn’t quite pull the Country together

      • Edward2
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Although you are obviously the most incredibly intelligent person on here Hefner, there is no need to start your post, “OK I will try to explain this slowly”
        What a dreadful teacher you would make.

        • hefner
          Posted May 11, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Yes and no. When trying to explain something relatively difficult it might be a good thing to warn one’s audience that one is not going to rush but will try to give a lot of details.
          Haven’t you ever been in a business meeting when a presentation is make too quickly and you come out of the room without being able to see the various steps from the stated premises to the derived conclusion?
          Lucky you if it has never happened to you.
          I guess you perfectly understand the ‘road map‘ that the PM presented yesterday evening, don’t you?

  33. Zorro
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I have not mentioned this before, but I am becoming increasingly worried about the PM’s wellbeing (not physical). I know think that he was ill in April but do not think that he has recovered from his affliction. This can be the only explanation for the increasingly erratic announcements such as quarantine of all travellers to the UK. It makes no medical sense at this point and will destroy our airline industry and any hope of recovery. A number of doctors and scientists have pointed out consistently the disastrous path this government has been charting. Dr jOHN lee is eminent amongst them and I recommend this article to all….


    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink


      Yes interesting opinion article, let’s hope PM reads it.
      Even the more pro-lockdown argument in Reuters that Stred references above ( has a quote from Professor Edmunds “Until you get to a vaccine, there is no way of getting out of this without certainly tens of thousands of deaths,” “And probably more than that.”

      Gambling more and more future staying in lockdown on the hope of a virus is irrational. The reality seems to be to protect the vulnerable as much as possible, don’t totally overwhelm your health service, use what has be learned about the most effective treatments but get the economy going because the virus is out there.

    • John E
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately I think this health issue could be a real concern.
      I have said here before that I think that I had the virus in early February but was never tested. Whatever it was, it messed with my thinking for a few weeks to an extent that was only really clear to me once my head cleared properly afterwards. I was struggling to concentrate, and feeling a little paranoid – though given the timing that wasn’t the worst approach as things have turned out.

      • Stred
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like it sends people batty.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        PARANOID…..did you think ‘everybody has it infamy’ ?

    • David Brown
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Overall I think the Gov has done a fair job in getting this virus under control. I believe 71 -75% of the British public agree with lock down to date.
      However the indications show the underlying infection rate is down and we know where its primarily located.
      It seems to me there is now justification for timely restarting the economy. Its good to see Garden Centers reopening accounting for approx 3 billion business, along with take – a – way food and coffee.
      I think the 14 day quarantine of travelers needs to be very strongly challenged, its unworkable and very damaging.
      It would be ( I feel) good if the Gov asked the general public for suggestions on restarting the economy.
      Eg Multi plex Cinemas could reopen and screen one major film in several auditoriums so ensure social distancing with seating arrangements etc.
      Why cannot pubs use the outdoor areas and frontage for drinks as we are heading into summer and I read the bar industry is in a serious decline.
      Daft as it may seem in many countries barbers are in the streets, why not allow some where practical to cut hair in the street under a patio umbrella ok sounds a bit loopy but it could work.
      My real point here is that British have always been good at adapting and coming up with creative ideas for business lets try and galvanise this more I feel we need lots of useful suggestions to reduce the furlough scheme quickly

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        That is apparently healthier than closing the Irish border.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        You mean the Capitalists are the source of innovation and the real creative industry. I’m with John Gault. Saving Socialism by working ourselves into the ground is no answer. Let these socialists test their politics to destruction. Save yourself and when everything is in tatters, pick it up and good prices and let the politicians beg us to provide for them.
        Time to reset the pecking order!

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:30 pm | Permalink


      He wanted the ‘Top Job’. If he cannot handle it, then that’s his lookout.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        He can’t, nobody in the Cabinet is fit for purpose. Time to call in the old guard until we can upgrade the ‘cattle on the premises’. Free Constituency Parties to freely select their candidates independent of the moribund Central Office, stacked as it is with wannabe MPs.

  34. rose
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    We also need to be given figures for who is dying – how old, which sex, how many and what comorbidities, geographical area, etc.

    If this had been done from the beginning the history of the country might be different.

    • hefner
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Sorry, rose, but I have little patience with your kind of moaners, people who appear to spend their day on this site and unable to look for information themselves.
      Practically all the information you are requesting is available on
      You just have to go there and explore the various chapters.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Show me anything which covers the distribution of new infection sources. Root cause analysis in other words. Hundreds of thousands tested positive to trace back and find out where they became infected.
        The most important statistic of all.

        Are most transmitters doing their transmitting in care homes, hospitals, trains, buses, shops, or where?

        • hefner
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          The Government stopped its original track and trace policy on 12 March. The ONS cannot provide information that is unavailable.

        • Mark
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          According to the RAMP (run by the Royal Society) project there are legal difficulties with getting hold of data about individuals. I think this is because they want “big data” to feed their new epidemic models – a new one is being written by a team from Edinburgh apparently. I don’t see why a pollster can’t be commissioned to provide data on a sample basis while we still have enough cases to sample. After all, the app will essentially be collecting a lot of personal information.

          Voluntary sampling is surely a much better way to go. Those who want to keep their lives private won’t use the app anyway.

      • steve
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink


        Considering that you know very little about what the lady does with her time, your comments seem unreasonable.

      • rose
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        I am talking about what Sir John was talking about, not the ONS figures you mention, and I am not moaning but making a constructive suggestion. You have no idea how much time I spend here or what I do elsewhere. Let’s keep it that way.

        “I have been critical of the poor quality of the statistics Ministers and the public receive daily to monitor progress and to make decisions about future policy.”

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      And for those admitted, and far more detail on where they are from and how long retained before discharge if they don’t go to intensive care. Not regions but towns.

      Secrecy is the way this country is operated. People can’t be trusted with bare facts. Any number of excuses are given. Part of the authoritarian administration.

  35. Chris B
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Some good news today ….. the Kings College/Zoe app tracker (with millions of users) is currently estimating 230,000 people have Covid, compared to 255,000 yesterday and 2.1 million on 1 April.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      have the mobile networks been out?

    • John E
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes good news.
      Hopefully by the time the incompetent government get their app working there will be little or no Covid left to track.

      • Chris B
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        …and we’ll still be under lockdown and they still won’t have worked out how to calculate R.
        R its only of use to theoreticians outside a real life situation. Better look at the daily change in estimated infections. Below 0.975 relax restrictions, above 1.025 strengthen, 10 day reviews, start now.

      • Martyn G
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        That’s a little unfair, because it was/is the NHS standalone IT department that set off with their own software – at a cost to date, I believe of over £1.5 million – and not in any direct way the fault of government.

        • John E
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Are Ministers no longer responsible for the work of Civil Servants then?

          • Fred H
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

            not if the Civil Serpants are working against Government wishes/instructions.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          The NHS is overfunded by a factor of at least 3.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      So around the same level as when I started being extra careful (March 13) and less than when the government cottoned on. Time to just be a little careful in highly social situations.

  36. sok
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    We have fulfilled the objective of flattening the curve. Why are we still being held down?- Is it a case of moving the goalposts until the mandatory vaccine is here. Apparently it is not possible to vaccinate against a mutating RNA virus. There seems to be other forces at play here. We are not stupid and are being pushed to the limit economically. What the hell is going on?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      The choice is not binary.

      The third option is what Aus, NZ, S. Korea, Hong Kong, China etc. have done, and what most European Union countries are doing.

      That is, to eradicate the virus (for practical consideration).

      It can be done, these wonderful nations are the proof.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Like Belgium and Spain and Italy do you mean?

        If you have 160 plus nations you will get a hierarchy.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          Yes, you will, and I have been explaining that for some time.

          The UK and the US will be near the bottom without major changes too.

          Tough as it is those three countries are on the right track, and it is working.

          Italy now has about a quarter of the daily deaths that the UK does.

          • dixie
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            But Italy still has more deaths per million than the UK.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            And their epidemic commenced well before us.
            Your political bias blinds you to any possible variation involved between any other nation on the planet and the UK, other than Boris.
            Bit silly.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        a second wave starting to grow in S.Korea…..

    • steve
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


      “Another 140 plus illegals crossed the Channel into Dover”

      The answer is simple; give ’em food, water and access to a doctor, then send them back to France.

    • steve
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink


      Always err on the side of believing that your government is having you over. Because that’s usually what is happening.

      My guess is they’ll use the economic damage as an excuse to scupper brexit.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        They will if they want War.

    • Mr Data
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      “objective of flattening the curve”. You, not getting personal one bit, like so many others are unaware how completely insane is such a remark

  37. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Another 140 plus illegals crossed the Channel into Dover, helped along by our laughable named coastguard and what I call the Border Farce. Do they have a brief to defend our borders or defend tbe invaders. I think we know the answer to that.

    What would they do if these people were wearing uniforms. I dare say they’d help them across too.

    Our government is derelict in its duty. Hiding behind the Migrant Convention. What can we the people do. We didn’t throw our stock of bricks over Brexit but here’s another legitimate case.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t vote conservative for this.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Neither did I – – and I am convinced nobody listens to our host, and rational reasoning and common sense, assisted by reading the views in this diary are totally ignored.
        All hope is lost.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        No, and you didn’t vote Leave for what you’re going to get either.

        But you were warned.

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Martin, You can always go and live in the EU, and help pay for the consequences of its dire banks, bankrupt economies, dodgy currency, and woeful covid19 response.

  38. ian
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The weather is fantastic today.

    After reading your letter today I am glad to see that you will be writing about the economy next week, I am looking forward to views on this matter.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Christ I hope there is an economy next week. Sitting here in fear and trepidation in anticipation of a ‘speech by the PM’. Maybe he will tell us ‘the streets are not empty, they are filled with love’ 😂😂

  39. ian
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    After making some enquiries about the US stock market and why it is rising so fast, it seems that companies and investors are bullish on automation in factories and offices and that why they are cheering the unemployment rate as it goes up and investing more, I wonder how that will work out between the companies and the GOV with employment taxes not coming in as before and a much higher unemployment rate looking into the future 10% instead of 4%. Have you ant thought on that matter for the UK.

  40. ian
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I read that the GOV has been busy planning new bike lanes in and around London and want commutes into London to use them instead of public transport with the idea of keeping pollution levels down in future years. I am not sure about this idea BJ has come up with, we will see.

    • John E
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      My daughter works in the City and lives near the A11. That has a major Boris cycle lane which is a complete death trap because there is no segregation at busy junctions. They aren’t proper Dutch style cycle lanes, they are just stretches of blue paint on the road.
      She usually walks in to work and/or home depending on the weather. Last year she saw three cyclists injured enough to need ambulances and one killed.

      • peter soakel
        Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        from now onwards any cyclist falling mortally foul of poor urban planning will be said to have succumbed to Covid)

    • If
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes , bike lanes, it could just as easily in the Governments mind be embroidery or starting a wild flower garden. We the People should understand the Establishment are in total panic. Their utterances are to be treated as the mark of village idiots here on in.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Yes. Blind panic. They need to be!

  41. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Still no data issued on how people are still catching the virus despite lockdown (still 4,600 yesterday with over 6,000 a couple of days ago).

    There will be a surge in cases from next Saturday onwards when the street parties show their effects. So the “caution” will be extended again.

    If the NHS was not such a political hot potato protecting it would not be an issue.

  42. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The teachers unions already gearing up to refuse to go back to work I see.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Back to work – have they really ever done a full days work

      • Fred H
        Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        ouch….Glen that really is insulting.
        One daughter spent a couple of years running a state Nursery class and Reception (she qualified as a teacher encouraged by the Government). Understaffed, neglected by the Head, the view being they could just play while attention spent on Years 5/6 for results of course. Worked her socks off with little staffing support, had wonderful acclaim from parents etc.
        Benefit from that age goes all the way up.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 11, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Many of my friends are teachers and I’ve been a college lecturer and head of training so I know the industry. Didn’t mean to insult the whole education sector but some teachers are very lazy and wouldn’t last a day in the private sector

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Then their pay needs stopping.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      And tube drivers to. When public transport capacity should be increased so that it is not overwhelmed, it seems Govt and unions together are going to ensure the opposite.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      They will have the same choice as all other workers. Get in and go to work in safe conditions or lose your job.

  43. glen cullen
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    If the rumours are true about incoming airline passengers self isolating for 14 days could I propose 3 words, barn and door and closed

    So when the covid-19 is in retreat and most countries are mapping out a return to normal all our government can come up with is a policy implemented by others 6 weeks ago…..madness pure madness

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Apparently the numbers were insignificant when Northern Italy was over run with it. Now they are below our rate, slap them in quarantine.

      This isn’t science. I have a feeling it has something to do with being frightened to close the Irish border, but I can’t be bothered to even work out that one.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink


      They are all over the place.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      The effects of such a policy as this rumoured one would be to speed up the destruction of the economy, to reduce build up of immunity to other new diseases to increase future risk(hazard) – earlier strains to the nasty ones often build some immunity in population.

      Yes, banning flights out of the source (China) may have helped at the beginning but a general quarantine policy is as moronic as one now expects from this inept Govt and advisory team. Still, it will appeal to the xenophobic vote.

  44. Fred H
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    A friend nearby, well into his 80s, would have still been playing golf, tells me a ‘ lady who does for him’ arrives masked, gloved up – works but never in the same room etc.
    She manages this because she was a friend of his late wife. Well the point of all this is that she works in a Wokingham area Care Home. Asked about being tested, she was told you can go to Oxford or Chessington, but a colleague warned her you turn up wait in a queue, no appointments possible – if they run out of whatever – thats it. Bye! And there will be no second test (unless you are taken off to hospital later of course).

    I hear 14 day quarantine will be in force for aircraft arrivals from 1st June. Isn’t that rather too late? Even more silly is that it will not apply from Ireland! I suppose anyone that has been there is cured.

    Plenty of material for Monty Python should it be resurrected.

  45. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m beginning to wonder if the national pandemic contingency plan even had a Care Homes annexe.

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

      They have a plan ? thats news to me I thought they just did what the media wanted

  46. ian
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the GOV is working on rolling out a full green agenda for the whole of the UK. It is the last labour leaders green agenda.

  47. Giles B
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Can we please either ban all tobacco products. or allow menthol cigarettes?

    This mawkish compliance with EU nannying is REALLY annoying

  48. steve
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Mr Shapps announces my and our money to be wasted on more cycle lanes. No mention of enforcement so the ‘cyclists’ will actually use them.

    In my opinion where there is a cycle lane but your typical lycra jockey is on the road, he should be arrested and have his cycle sent to the crusher.

    • Your God
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Shapps has lost it. Forget the eloquence of his speech. He’s lost it.Panic ridden . a victim of mass hysteria at the very top.

  49. ed2
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    This is a Left-wing coup, if you trace all the crisis actors, doctors reading scripts and look to see who promoted them in the MSM it is ALWAYS Left wing political PR people both here and in the US (everywhere). All the doctors moaning on channel 4 etc are anti Boris Left wing activists, it is the same everywhere. If backbenchers dont start pushing back hard its going to look like you were all secretly working for the Left.

  50. ed2
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    There has never been any independent verification Covid 19 exists. All the pontificating professors on SAGE and independent SAGE are pontificating on an argument of authority and not from peer-reviewed or even proper science. They are no better than blind faith religionists. Not that my faith is blind, but I am just using an atheist polemic on them.

  51. ed2
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    There has never been any independent verification Covid 19 exists. All the pontificating professors on SAGE and independent SAGE are pontificating on an argument of authority and not from peer-reviewed or even proper science. They are no better than blind faith religionists.

    They are the biblical false prophet. All their models are FALSE PROPHECIES, but the pope loves them and is praying for a vaccine.

  52. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just seen that 227 illegal migrants crossed the channel which is supposed to be a dangerous stretch of water. Totally ludicrous and shy isn’t this being reported more?

  53. Richard
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Official statistics say that the UK now has more Covid-19 deaths than Italy.

    Italian ex-secretary of state, Vittorio Sgarbi: It is a “lie” to speak of 25,000 corona deaths. In fact, 925 people died “of” Covid-19, 24,075 succumbed to other diseases. The number of the 25,000 Corona deaths is only said to “terrorize” people. (“Sgarbi scatenato ► “State mentendo sul numero dei morti per imporre una dittatura del consenso!” on eg Youtube.)

    As our American friends say: “Go figure!”

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      +1 – all a load of rubbish unless you are obese (which is an underlying cause in my book). Now Shapps wants us all walking or cycling, not for pleasure but to conduct business. That means it will take a week to achieve what we can do in a day with a car. great for productivity! But if One World Government is you ambition the western world has to be reduced to the level of ‘developing nations’ . . .

  • 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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