Dear Constituent

         Writing this letter is overshadowed  by more sadness as we grieve the loss of life in Reading this week-end. We wish the police well with discovering who was involved and why, so prosecution can follow.

                 There is some good news about the pandemic. In the last week the latest chart I have been sent shows there were no new cases of the disease reported in Wokingham Borough and only one in West Berkshire. The pressures on the Royal Berks have abated, and I had no more complaints about the supplies of protective clothing or the availability of tests. NHS supplies are working well and testing capacity is greatly increased.

             The government has given priority in all its decisions to getting the virus under better control and bringing down the death rate. It now is turning to its second important aim, saving livelihoods and allowing some recovery in business to save jobs. I have worked closely with Ministers on safe ways of working to get more people into work and more businesses trading, whilst encouraging more homeworking and remote working through internet technology wherever possible. I also urged the government at the start to provide financial assistance to people and businesses who temporarily were told not to work. The government came up with the  furlough and small business schemes, which have helped many during a difficult time.

             We are but part of the way through relaxations to allow more people to work and earn money for their businesses. It is good news that shops can now reopen, and many factories have returned to manufacture. We are  now in the run up to two crucial dates. The first is July 4th, when it is likely hotels, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues will be able to re-open, subject to social distancing rules. The second is the new school year starting in September, when we hope the schools will return for all pupils.

              Shortening the social distance from 2 metres to 1 is important to both these areas of life for re opening to have chance of some success. 1 metre is the required minimum recommended by the World Health Organisation. It can be made safer by the use of screens, air flow management, use of masks and other protective clothing, and one way systems for people where corridors and passages are narrow.  Business and schools are currently working on  getting the right configuration within their premises and thinking through how to operate safely.

             I would like to thank all those teachers and school support and management staff who have provided an educational service for a limited number of pupils on the school site and a digital service for pupils at home during the crisis. I wish all well in planning the right approach to a return to full time education for all, which may continue to need more digital input than before and some reorganisation of the physical space.

             I and many of you have thanked the NHS  staff many times for coping with the seriously ill during the height of the pandemic, and I do so again. The task now for all the NHS is to get the rest of the service back to normal. As the Health Secretary frequently reminds us, the NHS is open again for all those with serious conditions like cancer who must  not be put off going for care in hospitals. The NHS also needs to set out a plan for tackling the backlog of non  urgent surgery which has built up during the intense period of the virus.

                 Much now rests on the consumer. The majority have kept their jobs and have often spent less over the lock down, saving money on travel,  leisure and a variety of services they were not allowed to use. We now  need the Town Centres to be attractive and easy to reach to give the shops, cafes, restaurants and service providers every chance to rebuild their businesses and to tempt customers. I hope Councils will work with business to create a warm welcome in shopping areas, allowing good access.

                  In the days ahead we need both to avoid a major upsurge in the disease and to open up much more of our economy to save jobs. The financial support put in was necessary and has helped, but it is not an affordable answer for the future. It can only be a temporary measure, as it is all  being borrowed. The future must rest on good co-operation over testing and tracing to keep the virus down, allied to safe rebuilding of as much of our former goods and services trade  as possible so people can earn a living again.

                I would also like to thank my office staff for helping cope with an unprecedented volume of emails and cases brought on by these extraordinary times and by the enforced temporary extension of government  into so much of our lives.

Yours sincerely

John Redwood


  1. oldtimer
    June 22, 2020

    I wish I got a very helpful, informative letter like that from my MP.

  2. Lynn Atkinson
    June 22, 2020

    When will the emergency powers be repealed please?

    1. glen cullen
      June 22, 2020

      There was suppose to be a 3 week review ?

    2. APL
      June 22, 2020

      Lynn Atkinson: “When will the emergency powers be repealed please?”

      Lynn that is an excellent question.

      Comparing the UK mortality rate ( with full lockdown and state of Emergency – that doesn’t apply to left wing demonstrations, oddly ) for COVID-19 with for example, Sweden ( entirely voluntary lockdown, no state of Emergency ), and taking into account the experience of New York, where Cuomo was surprised that many people contracting COVID-19 were ‘sheltering at home’.

      From this web site, we can see that Sweden mortality rate is 500 per million of the population.

      Where as the UK is 620 per million of population, which has cost us 20% of our economy.

      Seems Sweden got a bargain.

    3. Mark B
      June 22, 2020

      I’ve given up asking that question. It seems once a freedom is lost we shall never have it back.

  3. Ian @Barkham
    June 22, 2020

    Thank you for the update Sir John

    (recent events ed) again call into question successive Governments handling of ‘illegal’ immigrants. They break our law by the very nature of forcing their way into the country ahead of those we would choose to welcome. So they start out criminals, criminals that are another nations problem. Yet they finish up with more rights and protection than our own citizens.

    Our thoughts should be also with the family, staff and pupils at the Holt School with the loss of one of their teachers James Furlong.

  4. Mark B
    June 22, 2020

    Good morning.

    We are but part of the way through relaxations . . .

    What a bleak message to start a Monday morning.

    The events recently are indeed a sad and terrible thing. When more details emerge and the media feeding frenzy has died down I may comment. But I will just wish to express my condolences to those affected.

    I have not changed, as far as possible given government restrictions on my freedom of movement, how I wish to live. My spending is a little more but that is due to the fact that I am buying fresh produce and other items I would not normally buy. I refuse to let this drama, manufactured into a crisis by deranged media and a craven government, to affect me.

    As for more people keeping their jobs, let us wait and see until Autumn.

    1. a-tracy
      June 22, 2020

      MarkB you won’t have to wait for Autumn – it will start in August, whilst those in safe protected full paid jobs will be on their sunny holidays without a care.

  5. agricola
    June 22, 2020

    Relevant to every constituency. I hope the emergence goes without any major problems. Mostly it is in the hands of people behaving sensibly. The stabbing crime is just pointless insanity, a very strange way to behave towards a nation that has offered asylum to the perpetrator. How do such individuals get past a vetting system, if any exists.

    1. Peter
      June 22, 2020

      We have a ‘vetting system’?

      Who knew?

    2. Anonymous
      June 22, 2020

      We wrecked his country. Our then Prime Minister did it in a bout of sixth form hubris.

      That’s not to say he should have been allowed in.

      1. Mark B
        June 24, 2020

        The DO A has a term for this – Blow back

        1. Mark B
          June 24, 2020

          CIA not DO. Why does my phone do this ? It is not even close to what I wrote.

  6. davews
    June 22, 2020

    Since you are involved with ministers regarding the relaxations I have a plea to make. I see in the press that you are talking about a strange 1 metre + system where 1m will be allowed inside only if masks are worn. I strongly oppose any compulsion to wear masks, they do not work well with glasses and hearing aids and the restriction to normal breathing frightens me with the associated problems from re-inhalation. The 2m rule was never justified on scientific grounds and WHO recommend 1m with no further restrictions. PLEASE no compulsory face masks. The virus is no longer in general circulation, confirmed by your Wokingham figures, and we should be properly removing restrictions not adding more ones.

    1. Mike Wilson
      June 22, 2020

      We bought some home made masks from a local woman. I sewed a bit of plastic covered wire into it so I can shape it over my nose. I wear glasses and have no problem. I used to work in construction and have at times worn masks for many hours continuously. I never any problems with ‘reinhalation’. Nor did any of the hundreds of blokes I worked with. You can get a bit sweaty under an industrial mask but not under one made from a few layers of cotton.

    2. jerry
      June 22, 2020

      @davews; The WHO states 1m as a minimum. There is justification on scientific grounds for a wider gap, tell me how far can unintentional spitting travel, how far can a sneeze travel, the 1m WHO guidance was set quite early in what became the pandemic, when it was already the social norm in many Far Eastern countries such as Japan and S.Korea to ware masks anyway.

      Keep the general 2m guidance, but relax it in defined situations such as pubs and restaurants (were masks are impossible anyway, unless the menu is kept to drinks, soup and non plastic disposable straws…) etc, but then mitigate risk by effective record keeping of clientèle to assist with T&T should the need arise.

  7. Sakara Gold
    June 22, 2020

    The problem with further relaxation of the lockdown rules, or reduction in the social distance from 2m to 1m, is the undeniable fact that the government has repeatedly been caught out lying and manipulating the figures.

    An analysis of official figures – published this weekend – shows that 1,445 people died on 8 April, almost three times more than reported during the press conference that evening. In fact the number of fatalities was over 1000 for 22 consecutive days in April. So why should you believe the charts that you are being supplied with? Because you want to?

    Scanning the world’s press over the weekend reveals the start of the “second wave” in many countries that have relaxed their lockdowns to support their economies. In Germany the “R” figure has risen to 2.88 due to a large number of localised outbreaks. Two months since Israel lifted restrictions, there are hundreds of people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus each day and an increasing number of those patients are in a serious condition. Japan has had to re-impose full lockdown measures, as has S Korea. Numerous states in America have announced record daily cases, notably Florida and California.

    Much as I would like to see the millions of hospitality industry jobs saved, it is worth pointing out that we only have few precious months before winter. The lockdown successfully reduced the amount of virus circulating in the nation. We know from bitter experience how quickly it could spread again if we allow it to. Caution is required.

    1. Anonymous
      June 22, 2020

      Either die by disease (probably not in most cases) or die by starvation – because that’s what’s coming if we don’t emerge from our caves.

      Then there are the millions of backed up cancer patients.

    2. a-tracy
      June 22, 2020

      “Caution is required.” Tell that to BLM peaceful protestors; Beach visitors especially Brighton; Ravers in Manchester; Police Officers who don’t wear masks and get up close and personal with a large number of people; THEY PUT US ALL AT MORE RISK! Especially if their relatives work in our supermarkets, on our public transport or in our care homes and hospitals – IDIOTS.

    3. James Bertram
      June 22, 2020

      Sakara, to counterbalance the fearmongering of the World’s Press I suggest that readers have a look at a factual website such as
      You will note that Japan, like Sweden, never had a stringent lockdown. Both countries have been as, or more, successful in reducing fatalities from the virus. (UK about 500 deaths per million; Japan 4 deaths per million). It seems the more stringent the lockdown, the more deaths a country suffers.
      I would recommend that every reader has a look at their ‘Six key charts that can help us get Covid in proportion’ which is in a sidebar at the right of their main screen.

    4. DennisA
      June 22, 2020

      The lockdown successfully reduced the amount of virus circulating in the nation.

      Viewing the figures you mention, it shows the lockdown had little effect on the progress of the disease, which has followed the same profile in every country, regardless of lockdown. The R number is a mathematical construct. There have been no spikes as a result of Bank Holiday excursions and more recently the unofficially approved BLM demonstrations. The local spikes in Germany can be dealt with locally.

      China locked down just 4% of its population.

    5. Narrow Shoulders
      June 22, 2020

      @SG – much of what you write above merely confirms that we can not hide from this virus.

      It is here and it is present. We have to get used to it and further decimating our economy will only bring misery to untold hundreds of thousands

    6. Chris Dark
      June 22, 2020

      Lockdown also weakens people’s immune systems and they run the risk of catching other bugs when the winter period begins, simply because they have been prevented from moving amongst their fellow humans and being exposed to the normal environment….which contains microbes of all kinds.
      Advocating one lockdown after another is a surefire way to drive the population to suicide, depression, financial heartache. Don;t you think enough damage has already been done? People will absolutely not tolerate being banged up month after month, especially while our country is invaded daily by foreigners who seem to have full freedom to roam where they like; aided and abetted by the Border Farce and Home Office.
      Life has risks. Get over it. Or else you won’t have a country left at all.

    7. Martin in Cardiff
      June 22, 2020

      I can’t fault that.

      Just one observation – I think that people might find some of the measures easier to contemplate if we simply called them what they are. “Social distancing” means nothing intelligible but sounds very unpleasant. What we are actually doing is encroachment avoidance. That sounds like a Good Thing – avoiding something nasty.

      1. Fred H
        June 23, 2020

        Wales is advising, nay insisting, that we do not visit -so you are safe.

  8. James Bertram
    June 22, 2020

    ‘It can be made safer by the use of screens, air flow management, use of masks and other protective clothing, and one way systems for people where corridors and passages are narrow. Business and schools are currently working on getting the right configuration within their premises and thinking through how to operate safely.’
    Ridiculous nonsense. Canute and the sea. (Worth listening to Dr John Lee; or reading Will Jones in Conservative Woman) Please can we just all grow up, accept that life has risks, and just get back to normal straight away. No more government interference, please. Far too much damage done already.

    1. Original Chris
      June 22, 2020

      JB, it is indeed ridiculous nonsense, and yes we do all have to grow up, particularly the politicians, who are adopting this nanny state, remove all risk attitude to life.

      This situation provides a field day for those on the Left who see the situation as an excuse to impose ever more legislation or “guidance” on us in order to take away risk.

      Yes, we must all grow up and wake up, particularly those politicians connected with this government, as they seem to be unaware of the insurrection by the Left that is taking place under their noses, and which is actually aided and abetted by government politicians indulging in this “legislate for risk” atmosphere.

    2. M Hopkins
      June 22, 2020

      Totally agree James Bertram and davews.

    3. Martin in Cardiff
      June 22, 2020

      You can be as reckless as you like with your own safety.

      However, surveys show that well over half of former customers will not be returning to pubs, to restaurants, to air travel, to shopping etc. until this country has achieved levels of safety comparable with those in New Zealand, in China, in Greece, etc., whatever restrictions are lifted.

      So the Government has a choice, and I don’t think that your views will inform that.

      1. NickC
        June 23, 2020

        Martin, If we wanted New Zealand levels of safety we should have locked down our borders in March when New Zealand did. As I advocated, and you opposed.

  9. Alec
    June 22, 2020

    The terror attack in Reading is yet another failure from the security services and court system and most of all from government. etc ed
    The massive destruction of the economy caused by a frightened and badly advised cabinet and parliament is going to need a lot more than local councils making shopping areas better. What every politician, councilor and bureaucrat should be doing is working to reduce regulation and taxation and staying out of economic life because they are the problem not the solution.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 22, 2020

      “What every politician, councilor and bureaucrat should be doing is working to reduce regulation and taxation and staying out of economic life because they are the problem not the solution.”

      Exactly that are indeed largely the problem. Taking not far short of 50% of GDP to deliver very little of real value indeed. Plus they make the other half of the economy far less efficient too. Endlessly wasting their time and costing them money for no benefit to anyone but perhaps a few people in largley parasitic jobs.

    2. Mike Wilson
      June 22, 2020

      When you are determined to allow a net 300,000 people into the country each year, (300,000 NET! That’s probably 500,000 new people) you’re bound to get a few people determined to randomly kill people.

    3. jerry
      June 22, 2020

      @Alec; You mean the appallingly funded UK’s mental health service plays no part in these failures, after all the security forces do flag many of these people – perhaps had we not closed and sold off so many secure mental health hospitals, ‘care in the community’ only works once diagnosis is made and the patient takes their medication…

  10. Roy Grainger
    June 22, 2020

    John – Are you not annoyed that the government choose to communicate information on the lockdown (eg. relaxing the 2m rule) by leaking it in advance to the newspapers rather than telling MPs or announcing it at the daily press briefing ? Your letter to your constituents contains far less information that they can obtain simply by reading the papers.

    1. acorn
      June 22, 2020

      Roy, that’s what elected dictatorships do, particular ones that contain a large far-right caucus. The UK prime minister has far more executive power than a US president who is constrained by a congress with a proper constitution.

      The UK executive doesn’t put anything serious to a vote in parliament unless it knows it can win it. The UK parliament is fairly useless at holding the executive to account, as amply demonstrated during this decade of austerity; brexit and a virus.

      1. NickC
        June 23, 2020

        Acorn, We have a far-left government. It has taken over great swathes of the economy, it genuflects to far-left rioters, it is as authoritarian as only socialist politicians can be, it has to be dragged kicking and screaming to actually implement the majority Referendum vote, it overturns the devolved parliaments to impose extreme abortion, it imposes cultural marxist anti-family laws, and on, and on.

      2. Mark B
        June 24, 2020

        So you agree with me that we need to move to Direct Democracy ?

  11. Adam
    June 22, 2020

    The first duty of Govt is to protect the Realm, but ours overshadows itself.

    Govt acts not to return offenders to the unsafe country they came here from, but helps them in making our own country dangerous instead.

    Allowing such risks to within 1 metre of our citizens is recklessly close.

    1. Dave Andrews
      June 22, 2020

      It should be a condition of any country with a diplomatic presence in the UK, to accept responsibility for repatriating any of its citizens arriving or remaining here illegally.

  12. New England
    June 22, 2020

    Strategy of tension

  13. Lifelogic
    June 22, 2020

    It was quite odd listening to the police releases telling it was too early to “speculate” but they then speculated immediately that it was “nothing to do with the BLM protest held just before the attacks” and that it was “not a terrorist inncindent”.

    Too early to “speculate” other than in the direction they wanted it to go it seems!
    How did they know what his motivations were so quickly to issue these statements?

    Someone explain to the senior police officers it is never too early to “speculate” as “speculation” is what you do before you have all the facts. Once you have the fact you have no need to speculate.

  14. Iain Moore
    June 22, 2020

    The killings in Reading highlights to me what a poorly run country we have, not just from our politicians and government but the whole rotten establishment . It not just their hopeless administration of our borders, where they have let the human rights industry and asylum act as a trump card to our national interest, its basically become a free for all, but we also see it in the administration, or rather lack of, with Covid. The NHS app is an example, who thought it would be a really good idea having an ex ambasador with a degree in the classics run the technology arm of the NHS? One of the boys perhaps? And the BLM matter, where our decedent lot are rushing headlong to put their heads on the Marxist chopping block without a whimper of protest, and its left to people like Lawrence Fox, the actor, to offer a different opinion, who fears he might be frozen out of work because of it. This is Marxist Mccarthyism, but hey you lot in Parliament have got yourselves a quiet life even though you are pid to represent us

  15. Mike Wilson
    June 22, 2020

    My wife has a condition which causes constant pain. It is not one of the many apparently psychosomatic illnesses like, for example, fibromyalgia or ME. She sees a consultant neurologist every 3 months for treatment. Since the lockdown her appointment in May was cancelled. She was last treated in February. She is now in constant agony and is very distressed. She is at the end of her tether. The NHS has just abandoned people like her. You can clap if you want to. I’d say ‘test her if you must and treat her before she loses it’.

    1. Mark B
      June 24, 2020

      I am very sorry to hear this. Hope things improve soon.

  16. Bob
    June 22, 2020

    I presume a candle lit vigil is out of the question due to social distancing, but will the govt be lighting up some national monuments (assuming they’re not all boarded up with plywood)?

  17. Everhopeful
    June 22, 2020

    Who brought them in?
    Who allowed it? Who is STILL allowing it?
    Who signed up to the Refugee Compact and who thought they knew best?

    Mind you…I have a teeny spark of love for the 50 Tory MPs who are opposing the final destruction of Sunday. Well done to them and for ONCE they should stick to their guns!
    If Boris had not wanted to destroy the economy he should not have imprisoned us.
    He needs to deal with it WITHOUT further destroying our culture.

  18. Everhopeful
    June 22, 2020

    A friend, lifelong UK taxpayer, graduate, talented artist etc was unceremoniously dumped out of mental hospital due to lack of Covid prep. (Give us the beds, clap, clap.).
    He lost income, jobs(s) and home and now lives with a relative.
    He actually said yesterday how he would LOVE to live in Reading but must choose cheaper.
    He can’t afford a flat in Reading!

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      June 23, 2020

      He can’t afford a flat in Reading!

      And here is the problem with the welfare state. It makes us all compete against those who we are paying for.

  19. Polly
    June 22, 2020

    Nick Timothy writing in the ”Telegraph” tells us that………

    ”Conservatives can’t win the culture wars while Blair and Brown’s legacy remains intact”…….

    So why doesn’t the Conservative Party reverse Blair and Brown’s legacy instead of meekly accepting everything and so becoming Nu Labor themselves ? It seems so obvious to undo all the disastrous Tony Blair policies, and anyone would expect the Conservative Party to be full of enthusiasm and racing to do just that while they have the opportunity… yet they’re not even moving.

    Why is it that UK prime ministers since 1997 look so interchangeable with virtually identical policies no matter which party is in power ?

    I can think of an explanation, but, much more importantly, can you ?


  20. A.Sedgwick
    June 22, 2020

    A very supportive letter, having lived in Reading I feel especially sad for the victims, their relatives and friends. It is alarming for all residents and yet again the questions are: why was this person in the country and why was he not locked up or deported given he was a known threat. Yet we still have hundreds of illegals crossing the straits of Dover.

    This social distancing rule has become a nonsense, people are rubbing shoulders already in shops and outside. Enough Police time has been wasted on enforcing lock down rules.

  21. Christine
    June 22, 2020

    British Lives Matter

  22. Nivek
    June 22, 2020

    “We wish the police well with discovering who was involved and why”

    Commenting on this on Saturday, the Conservative Party leader made the following remarks (among others):

    “It would be difficult, really, to comment in detail, except to say this: that if there are lessons that we need to learn about how we handle such cases,…we will not hesitate to take action where necessary.”

    It appeared to be a different protocol from the one he adopted just a fortnight ago, regarding the death of George Floyd, when he permitted himself to analyse that ongoing case on the basis of Mr. Floyd’s ethnicity, describing it in these terms: “a black man losing his life at the hands of the police”.

  23. John E
    June 22, 2020

    My dentist in Winnersh is still unable to see any patients because they don’t have any PPE and don’t know when they will receive any.

    1. Sid
      June 22, 2020

      The dentist does not need PPE, no one does. End this nonsense now.

      1. jerry
        June 23, 2020

        @Sid; Dentists and others have needed PPE etc. since the advent of AIDS! End your nonsense now.

      2. Martin in Cardiff
        June 23, 2020

        Perhaps not, but his or her patients need them to wear it.

        This “thinking of others” business is a bit hard for you to grasp, isn’t it?

        1. NickC
          June 23, 2020

          It’s certainly hard for you to grasp, Martin. Your insistence that the Referendum vote should be ignored because you don’t like it is the height of selfishness.

      3. hefner
        June 23, 2020

        It is so good to have the advice of a distinguished odontologist / stomatologist / dentist . Where is your practice? I might need a consultation.

    2. Jasper
      June 22, 2020

      My dentist in Burnley has been open through out the pandemic- no shortage there. Maybe your dentist needs to change supplier. My son working as a porter at our local hospital has never complained about lack of PPE. The only thing staff complain about is the waste of it!

    3. rose
      June 23, 2020

      German doctors and dentists are buying their own. Some of ours are too.

      1. Fred H
        June 23, 2020

        At £20 for a 2 min check in my case – they can afford it.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    June 22, 2020

    Affording rights to those who would do you wrong is one of the costs of decency I am afraid.

    The death penalty would only have made a difference if the perpetrator had killed before and been executed, certainly to a prospective martyr it is no deterrent.

    Asylum, the process, appeals and who can apply – should be looked at as should the benefits given once granted asylum or while awaiting. There is a case where if your life was so bad before that you need to claim asylum then you can bear further hardship while you are processed.

  25. MickN
    June 22, 2020

    Can we also please say a big thank you to all of the legal services who after last week’s law to ban protest groups of more than 6 people, are no doubt rushed off their feet today processing all those lawbreakers on demonstrations over the weekend. I trust they were all arrested and going through the system as we speak.
    In other news I see that Avon and Somerset police have issued photographs of people they want to talk to in relation to the acts of criminal damage in Bristol the other day. Quick bit of free advice for you, the cheapest and best option would have been for you to have done your job and arrested them at the time.

  26. Ian
    June 22, 2020

    Alec + 1

    Adam + I

    Well said gentleman, we were of coarse warned about haveing those terrorises back just because they have a U.K. passport , when you try and add up just what has happened over the last ten years, just what have they done right for G B ?

  27. acorn
    June 22, 2020

    The ONS has reported that PSND (Public Sector Net Debt) has gone to 100.9% that is £1,950 billion. PSND is the main metric used to fool the populace into thinking that 10 Downing Street’s accounts are the same as a regular household. If you had household accounts like Downing Street, you would be in trouble.

    The latest UK IMF accounts show that at the end of 2019, the UK had a Net Worth of minus £1,616 billion. The UK Gross Debt, in IMF accounting terms (line 6M3D4), was £3,916 billion with assets of £2,300 billion. Net worth has been negative for decades, but the bailiffs have never been sent into Downing Street. Why is that do you think?

    Currently, we have a Chancellor who has read and understood the MMT manual; done some fiscal injection and knows he can wait for the rest of the century to get is money back in taxes. He might even come to realise that there is no requirement for him to sell debt (Gilts) to match his deficit (the full funding myth).

    Alas; we have a new BoE Governor who doesn’t appear to understand how a fiat currency system works. “… the central bank should start to sell government bonds back to the market before it raises interest rates”. The Chancellor is boosting his spending while the BoE wants to remove it, to stop it circulating in the economy.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      June 23, 2020

      @Acorn – hyperinflation

      Housing costs.

    2. NickC
      June 23, 2020

      Acorn, It is precisely because successive governments have been fooled into thinking the nation’s accounts are not the same as a household’s that we have got into this mess in the first place.

      And no one would touch MMT if we had high inflation – and the only reason “inflation” is so low is because China has injected massive deflation into the global economy.

  28. David Brown
    June 22, 2020

    Totally agree – the only topic I disagree with you on is the EU (we will not go there in my message lol)
    Many have written about lock down verses no lock down. I think on balance lock down has been necessary, if no lock down people would have self lock downed and that would been equally bad for the economy and more chaotic. Despite all the criticism overall the Gov got it right but its been a big learning curve.
    The economy must start moving again and its difficult to predict what lasting damage has been done to the retail and hospitality sector hopefully there will be a bounce back. (I also need a hair cut, not had hair this long since my student days and I will buy a drink at a pub)
    Business rates need to be cut and totally reviewed the current system is killing retail.
    The self isolation is damaging and not enforceable, so it needs to end very soon

  29. Oggy
    June 22, 2020

    EU withdrawal Extension bill second reading Friday the 10th July.

    The remainers never give up do they ?

    1. jerry
      June 23, 2020

      @Oggy; You mean the opposition never gives up opposing, well no, and I don’t remember the right wing not doing so either during the 13 years of the Blair/Brown govt.

      But Boris has a 80 seat majority, with many new MPs willing to be whipped, so this Bill will be swatted like the summer fly.

  30. Open the pubs!
    June 22, 2020

    As soon as the pubs open I am going to walk into each one and shout “does anyone know anyone who died from (not with) COVID 19”, if (as I expect) no one replies, I am going to rally them all together and march them on Westminster. How do you feel about that?

  31. we may talk
    June 22, 2020

    Why do I get the impression the govt are terrified of churches and pubs?

    1. rose
      June 23, 2020

      It was the socialistic, bureaucratic, h and s minded, risk averse Church which shut the churches. The Government didn’t want to. Same with the schools.

    2. Fred H
      June 23, 2020

      could it be that in these places the truth is told without fear?

  32. ed2
    June 22, 2020

    I and many of you have thanked the NHS staff many times for coping with the seriously ill during the height of the pandemic

    There was no pandemic until the week the lock down started.
    The jury is still out on exactly what happened, quite frankly. It seems we had some sort of disaster on an international level, caused by the lockdown.

    1. jerry
      June 23, 2020

      @ed2; “There was no pandemic until the week the lock down started.”

      What utter nonsense, or do you think this virus is like a gunshot wound, kills instantly or within hours, clue, the virus incubates for up to 14 days before the person even starts to feel unwell, it can then be days or weeks before someone needs hospital intervention or dies at home. For the dearth rate to clime so quickly from day one of the UK lockdown means that CV19 was in general circulation for at least two weeks before.

      1. James Bertram
        June 23, 2020

        So, Jerry, do the maths. Peak Covid-deaths in the UK were on 8th April. Full lockdown was 23rd March.
        ‘the virus incubates for up to 14 days before the person even starts to feel unwell, it can then be days or weeks before someone needs hospital intervention or dies at home.’
        Thus, from your own logic, the virus (infection rate) was in decline long before the lockdown was introduced. Ergo: there was no need for a full lockdown; and the decline of the virus is not due to those lockdown measures introduced on the 23rd March.

        1. jerry
          June 24, 2020

          @JB; No you do the maths, peak was 8th April, not that CV19 attributable deaths started that day, meaning the virus was in general circulation by the 23rd March. If anything the fact that peak was 8th April confirms the need to lockdown!

          It is not a issue of dates, its an issue of the numbers of dead, by your own assertions had there not been a lockdown the number of dead on 8th could well (almost certainly would) have been much higher.

          1. James Bertram
            June 24, 2020

            Think about it, Jerry.
            Assume the higher the number infected = the higher number of deaths.
            After 8th April deaths decline.
            Perhaps there is one month or more between catching the virus and then dying of it (as you argue in your first post).
            Thus, if deaths decline after April 8th, then infections must have declined after March 8th.
            Thus they were in decline before March 23rd – the date of lockdown.
            Clearly they were not in decline as a result of lockdown.

          2. jerry
            June 24, 2020

            @JB; You fail to take into consideration many people and many companies had started to lock/close down much earlier than the 23rd March, moving staff out of offices into home-working or shutting down production lines.

            That said, because the virus by the 23rd was in free circulation, had for example pubs, clubs & general shops remained open, the infection rate and death would have carried on climbing after the 23rd March – thus the pandemic, relevant to here in the UK, was not in decline by the 23rd March.

            If there was any avoidable “disaster” (as ed2 called it) it was most likely not locking down much earlier, we lost a good two weeks whilst some within govt publicly touted the idea of allowing herd immunity and the hard right debated what would be an acceptable death toll from such a policy that kept the economy open for business.

          3. James Bertram
            June 26, 2020

            Jerry – thanks for taking the trouble to argue this.

            The main point though is that, given my argument above about one month on average between being infected and dying, it is fair to say that infections were in decline by March 8th, and probably earlier.

            We don’t know why – yet.

            We don’t know what part non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) played in this – it may have been sufficient to do no more than we normally do with the flu i.e. self-isolate, don’t go to the office, wash your hands, don’t sneeze, etcetera – traditional common sense.

            It may be the case the virus had a seasonal decline, or some kind of natural decline, combined with their being a much higher immunity in the population due to us having met other coronaviruses previously.

            This should all come out in the inquiry.
            But clearly, if the virus infection rate was in decline by 8th March or earlier, the government’s full lockdown of the 23rd March was a massive over-reaction.
            Norway’s PM has already apologised to its people for their lockdown policy.

          4. jerry
            June 28, 2020

            @JB; The virus was not in wide decline as you claim before the lock-down, otherwise the R# would have been close to zero since the 23rd, and no one would have been admitted to hospital after the 8th April…

            There might be some seasonal element, it might explain why both Australia and New Zeeland have had relatively low infections (although they also took lock-down measures early), but then why the current up-spikes in Florida and Texas – other than not locking down or not remaining locked-down for long enough, having started with a very low R#?

            I do not think some have grasped the importance of the R#, being overly obsessed with the already infected.

            As for apology’s, your point being what, considering people feel the need to apologise for doing the right thing [1], especially when such a decision impacts on daily life, as indeed Boris did in his broadcast to the nation on the 20th March.

            [1] just as much as they do for having done the wrong thing, which is your interpretation

    2. Mark B
      June 24, 2020


      The government lost its bottle. Gave in to threats from France and exposed itself to fake science.

      A price for which many will pay. Some with their lives.

      1. jerry
        June 24, 2020

        @Mark B; No, people paid with their lives because the govt inevitability bowed to the fake anti CV19 hard right,. just as the White House has done, fortunately Boris saw sense, unlike the POTUS – have to seen the latests figures for CV19 infections/deaths in the USA, never mind Brazil?…

  33. na
    June 22, 2020

    The information MPs are privy to keeps them in a false reality. This is the problem we have here.

  34. Elizabeth Grier
    June 22, 2020

    Dear John, I agree that the government financial support is not sustainable. However, businesses, especially those forced to shut overnight still face a serious cashflow crisis which will lead to mass unemployment and businesses folding unless more is done to help them. If there is no support system for the businesses and employees nearing the end of the furlough scheme, there will be a significant loss in tax revenues and spikes in unemployment benefit payments that the UK Government will face at a time when its finances are severely strained. These consequences will affect us for generations to come. I have not even touched upon the negative social and health consequences from long term unemployment.

    My Team and I have been promoting a scheme, a private sector solution, to the government that would release approximately between £86bn and £200bn in working capital for companies without adding further to the Government’s or the Companies’ debt, in essence a job retention working capital scheme which would encourage and get Britain back to Work. In fact, due to the innovative structure, it would be sovereign risk, not requiring the need to look at the credit rating of the businesses so any business can access the funding. It would help protect jobs and give businesses more critical breathing space as economic activity picks up in the transitional recovery phase. We have submitted proposals to HM Treasury and evidence to the Treasury Committee. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch, as we think that time is critical.

  35. SWP
    June 22, 2020

    Updated: June 2020; Share on: Twitter / Facebook
    Languages: CZ, DE, EN, EO, ES, FI, FR, GR, HBS, HE, HU, IT, JP, KO, NO, PL, PT, RO, RU, SE, SI, SK, TR

    Fully referenced facts about Covid-19, provided by experts in the field, to help our readers make a realistic risk assessment. (Regular updates below)

    “The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” (Albert Camus, 1947)

    According to the latest immunological and serological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a strong seasonal influenza (flu).
    In countries like the US, the UK, and also Sweden (without a lockdown), overall mortality since the beginning of the year is in the range of a strong influenza season; in countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland, overall mortality is in the range of a mild influenza season.

    Even in global “hotspots”, the risk of death for the general population of school and working age is typically in the range of a daily car ride to work. The risk was initially overestimated because many people with only mild or no symptoms were not taken into account.

    Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free. Even among 70-79 year olds, about 60% remain symptom-free. Over 95% of all persons develop at most moderate symptoms.

    Up to 60% of all persons may already have a certain cellular background immunity to Covid-19 due to contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. common cold viruses). The initial assumption that there was no immunity against Covid-19 was not correct.

    The median age of the deceased in most countries (including Italy) is over 80 years (e.g. 86 years in Sweden) and only about 4% of the deceased had no serious preconditions. The age and risk profile of deaths thus essentially corresponds to normal mortality.
    In many countries, up to two thirds of all extra deaths occurred in nursing homes, which do not benefit from a general lockdown. Moreover, in many cases it is not clear whether these people really died from Covid19 or from weeks of extreme stress and isolation.

    Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.

    Even in so-called “Covid19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.

    Many media reports of young and healthy people dying from Covid19 turned out to be false: many of these young people either did not die from Covid19, they had already been seriously ill (e.g. from undiagnosed leukaemia), or they were in fact 109 instead of 9 years old. The claimed increase in Kawasaki disease in children also turned out to be false.
    Strong increases in regional mortality can occur if there is a collapse in the care of the elderly and sick as a result of infection or panic, or if there are additional risk factors such as severe air pollution. Questionable regulations for dealing with the deceased sometimes led to additional bottlenecks in funeral or cremation services.

    In countries such as Italy and Spain, and to some extent the UK and the US, hospital overloads due to strong flu waves are not unusual. Moreover, this year up to 15% of health care workers were put into quarantine, even if they developed no symptoms.

    The often shown exponential curves of “corona cases” are misleading, as the number of tests also increased exponentially. In most countries, the ratio of positive tests to tests overall (i.e. the positive rate) remained constant at 5% to 25% or increased only slightly.
    In many countries, the peak of the spread was already reached well before the lockdown.
    Countries without curfews and contact bans, such as Japan, South Korea, Belarus or Sweden, have not experienced a more negative course of events than other countries. Sweden was even praised by the WHO and now benefits from higher immunity compared to lockdown countries.

    The fear of a shortage of ventilators was unjustified. According to lung specialists, the invasive ventilation (intubation) of Covid19 patients, which is partly done out of fear of spreading the virus, is in fact often counterproductive and damaging to the lungs.

    Contrary to original assumptions, various studies have shown that there is no evidence of the virus spreading through aerosols (i.e. tiny particles floating in the air) or through smear infections (e.g. on door handles or smartphones). The main modes of transmission are direct contact and droplets produced when coughing or sneezing.

    There is also no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of face masks in healthy or asymptomatic individuals. On the contrary, experts warn that such masks interfere with normal breathing and may become “germ carriers”. Leading doctors called them a “media hype” and “ridiculous”.

    Many clinics in Europe and the US remained strongly underutilized or almost empty during the Covid19 peak and in some cases had to send staff home. Millions of surgeries and therapies were cancelled, including many cancer screenings and organ transplants.
    Several media were caught trying to dramatize the situation in hospitals, sometimes even with manipulative images and videos. In general, the unprofessional reporting of many media maximized fear and panic in the population.

    The virus test kits used internationally are prone to errors and can produce false positive and false negative results. Moreover, the official virus test was not clinically validated due to time pressure and may sometimes react positive to other coronaviruses.

    Numerous internationally renowned experts in the fields of virology, immunology and epidemiology consider the measures taken to be counterproductive and recommend rapid natural immunisation of the general population and protection of risk groups.
    At no time was there a medical reason for the closure of schools, as the risk of disease and transmission in children is extremely low. There is also no medical reason for small classes, masks or ‘social distancing’ rules in schools.

    The claim that only (severe) Covid-19 but not influenza may cause venous thrombosis and pulmonary (lung) embolism is not true, as it has been known for 50 years that severe influenza greatly increases the risk of thrombosis and embolism, too.

    Several medical experts described express coronavirus vaccines as unnecessary or even dangerous. Indeed, the vaccine against the so-called swine flu of 2009, for example, led to sometimes severe neurological damage and lawsuits in the millions. In the testing of new coronavirus vaccines, too, serious complications and failures have already occurred.
    A global influenza or corona pandemic can indeed extend over several seasons, but many studies of a “second wave” are based on very unrealistic assumptions, such as a constant risk of illness and death across all age groups.

    Several nurses, e.g. in New York City, described an oftentimes fatal medical mis­manage­ment of Covid patients due to questionable financial incentives or inappropriate medical protocols.

    The number of people suffering from unemployment, depressions and domestic violence as a result of the measures has reached historic record values. Several experts predict that the measures will claim far more lives than the virus itself. According to the UN 1.6 billion people around the world are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood.

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that the “corona crisis” will be used for the permanent expansion of global surveillance. Renowned virologist Pablo Goldschmidt spoke of a “global media terror” and “totalitarian measures”. Leading British virologist Professor John Oxford spoke of a “media epidemic”.

    More than 600 scientists have warned of an “unprecedented surveillance of society” through problematic apps for “contact tracing”. In some countries, such “contact tracing” is already carried out directly by the secret service. In several parts of the world, the population is already being monitored by drones and facing serious police overreach.
    A 2019 WHO study on public health measures against pandemic influenza found that from a medical perspective, “contact tracing” is “not recommended in any circumstances”. Nevertheless, contact tracing apps have already become partially mandatory in several countries.

    1. James Bertram
      June 23, 2020

      Good post, SWP.
      You won’t hear that on the BBC.

  36. beresford
    June 23, 2020

    Apparently Lancashire police are to pursue an individual for flying an aircraft with a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner on the grounds that some people were offended. When did it become a right in this country not to be offended? Should the Home Secretary not order them to catch and prosecute some of those who have been causing criminal damage across the country in the last few weeks instead?

    1. Fred H
      June 23, 2020

      What would have happened if the banner had said ‘Black Lives don’t matter more than other colours’?

  37. a-tracy
    June 23, 2020

    Andrew Sparrow in the Guardian :
    1. “He (Boris) has only attended the press conferences infrequently (unlike Nicola Sturgeon, who has fronted the Scottish government ones almost daily)”

    Implying Sturgeon is the equivalent in stature and responsibility to Johnson, isn’t it time England had its own England’s First Minister equivalent to Sturgeon (actually to be fair 7 English Regional First Ministers).

    2. “Only recently Johnson was facing questions about whether his decision to delay the lockdown by a week led to an extra 20,000 or more people dying unnecessarily.”

    I wonder about this query when Johnson locked down the big outbreak was in London, he announced a voluntary closure around the 15th, then the London Lockdown on the 20th March when schools, restaurants closed from midnight, but bars and restaurants were already complaining because in London effectively not many were attending from the week before. The outbreak at that time in the South West, Wales and Scotland was small so they effectively locked down a week before London anyway and it didn’t seem to stop its duration and losses running at a similar level there.

    3. “Increasingly coronavirus has turned Johnson into the prime minister of England. No such position actually exists in the British constitution, but all the measures announced by Johnson today applied just to England – and he even said so explicitly. (Earlier in the crisis, when announced England-only measures, UK ministers tended not to acknowledge this.)”

    How does this sit with you, John?

    1. Mark B
      June 24, 2020


      The last thing we want is 7× more bureaucracy. We need to get rid of the City Mayors.

      One England. One Parliament. Elected by, and for, the English.

      1. a-tracy
        June 28, 2020

        I used to agree MarkB but Sturgeon and the Welsh leader get so much more than say the North West region, for example we had Sturgeon on our tv everyday in the North West of England but no-one was telling us about our region in relation to covid 19, where the virus outbreaks were, who was spreading the virus, where to avoid, who was coming into Manchester Airport everyday with the virus, where were the security people who were the highest job type getting the virus locally, was the spread in the BAME community in the NW because the BAME community were putting up relatives from outside of the U.K. importing hospital problems, was it because their children continued to meet up throughout? We should be told now numbers are small, who is getting infected now, why, where, lockdown that area.

        Nor was the NW getting more money so people can stay in lockdown longer, or do we get free university education or free prescriptions with no extra taxes on the local population to pay for it!

        They Mayors are a complete and utter waste of time, not responsible for anything.

  38. Fred H
    June 23, 2020

    Sir John – – held back again!
    The problem we see is once again that in the UK we can longer have open discussion.
    What on earth is wrong with my questions? The public at large all want to know – why not publish the questions?

Comments are closed.