Borrowing and printing money

When the government decided on a lock down of the economy which was bound to produce the biggest fall in output and incomes any of us had seen, I argued that the government did need to take big and quick action to offset the worst consequences of the collapse in activity.

I argued here and elsewhere for generous furlough and income support schemes for those who were prevented from working by laws and guidance. I supported the idea of a big surge in public borrowing , and a further programme of Quantitative easing to make sure the government could borrow a large sum at low interest rates. These policies were adopted, unemployment stayed low, and many people got through lock down with help from government support schemes.

I also argued that you can only do this once, for a few months. There is no magic money tree to pay millions of people wages for doing nothing. There is no magic money tree to pay any losses any nationalised activity like railways runs up, year after year. The more features of economic life the government controls and interferes with, the more likely we are to suffer shortages, falling productivity, and financial problems.

If we look at an extreme example of Magic Money tree thinking we turn to modern Venezuela. Their resort to excessive and continuous printing of money has given them a massive inflation and chronic shortages of basics, with a domestic currency that has little value to buy imports. This country with the world’s largest oil reserves decided nationalising their golden goose would finance their governments wild excess. Instead under government control their output has slumped from a fairly poor 2.5 million barrels a day five years ago to a bare 400,000 barrels a day now. Their wells are run down or do not flow, and their oil transport system is in decay. Without the private sector to invest, produce and market they have almost lost their entire oil industry. The UK government understands western governments including itself need to stay well clear of such thinking and actions, as they wish to maintain the relatively high living standards people have worked hard to achieve.

From here the government is right to say we need to get back to work and avoid any further general lock down. They are right to ask the NHS to offer a full range of services, treatments and consultations again now the CV 19 numbers are much reduced. They are right to say we need all the schools back this September. They also need to start to rein in public spending and therefore borrowing. I have set out some of the ways of doing this, and will talk of others in the days ahead. The way to run a prosperous country is to allow people and companies the freedoms to make choices and supply needs given the demand and technology available.

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  1. Adam
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Govt should assist folk in times of difficulty and enable them to look after themselves when they are fit and well enough, not pay them merely to exist at others’ expense.

    Consumers and business can sort the rest out, and Govt can takes its moderate cut from those.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Somebody needs to ask the government why masks are mandatory in shops when all the mask packaging says: “The masks won’t protect you against Covid 19”

      Mask will mandatory for all schoolchildren over 6 in Italy when schools reopen. Even Mussolini didn’t go that far!!!

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        It’s worse than that, Stephen.

        I don’t even have to wear a face covering that has been assessed as a mask at any level of its production.

        This assault on liberty is to save the faces of politicians who have refused to face down Marxists.

        You can wear a mask you can see through for all they care – it really doesn’t have anything to do with stopping the virus.

        And believe me. If we were in the grip of a real plague I’d be the first wearing the best one I could get !

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          If you were in the grip of real tyranny, then you’d have got what you deserve in my opinion, for all your silly victimhood-pleading over nothing.

          It’s an insult to genuinely brutally-oppressed people all over the world.

      • Adam
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        A mask may not protect the wearer, but a wearer might protect others.

        Children wore gas masks here when deemed necessary.

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Stephen, Someone needs to ask the government why masks are mandatory in shops now, when they weren’t in February, March, and April.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          You don’t need to ask.

          It’s obvious.

          The “government” are all over the place.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            They made the mistake of following the experts.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

            Rubbish – they were begged by WHO and by those in Italy not to delay decisive action, as they had done.

            They ignored that with exactly the same results.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            They followed the advice of SAGE.
            We locked down the same time as many other nations did.
            An unprecedernted action by any government.

            Your desperate desire to blame the government is the rubbish on here.

            Two weeks earlier as you keep demanding would have meant a lockdown when there were hardly any cases in the UK.

          • hefner
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, I guess you must not be an expert in anything.

            Italy had entered an official lockdown on 10 March.

            Germany already started closing schools, shops, restaurants from 12 March 2020. Proper official lockdown started on 22 March.

            The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, announced the closure of all non-essential activities on 14 March. I came back from France on 19/03 ‘meeting‘ two cars on a 85 km trip to the airport (with a form giving me the authorisation to do the trip to the airport). Lockdown was announced on 21/03 and became officially effective on 23 March.

            The UK PM announced lockdown measures on 23.

            The Government might not be to blame for the date of the lockdown. It still carries responsibility for the mess in setting proper testing at the airports (still not carried out systematically even today 22/08), the ‘world beating’ test & tracking app, the far too slow provision of locally-relevant information to local councils and surgeries.

            You love to criticise the ‘public sector’. A number of these activities have/had been contracted out to various private companies (some with distinguished MPs as advisors) and the mess is still going on. Names of the failing private companies are available on the news, one of them having already poopooed at the time of the London Olympics.

            So can we agree that the situation is slightly more complex than the black and white rubbish
            you are pushing forward?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            Continuing your tradition of no comment on here without an insult hef
            So you agree Germany and France locked down around the same time

          • hefner
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            The difference, and it is a huge one, is that by 20 March there were already information on number of infections, of deaths, of estimated R at the level of French departments, simply because contrary to the UK an awful lot of the efforts at collecting data was done at a local level then passed to the regional then national level. A procedure that took more than three months to be initiated in the UK.
            So yes lockdown dates in Germany, France and the UK were very close to each other, but the way the pandemic was/is handled is rather different. But I see, you are so narrow-minded, you’ll never accept that. @#£&£%. .

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Now you agree we locked down at a similar time to major EU nations I see you have switched your attack to one of how the lockdowns were handled.
            And added your usual personal abusive comments.
            In the couple of weeks before the UK locked down , there were only a few cases in the UK.
            I feel a lockdown then would have resulted in great opposition from the public.

            I also think if we had locked down two weeks earlier then you would still be making the argument that we should have locked down even earlier.

      • rose
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        This kind of mask is worn to protect others, not the wearer. It is to prevent the wearer expressing germs towards other people, not to protect them from breathing them in.

        An authoritarian left wing headmaster in this country who has an obsessive hatred of the PM is making the wearing of masks obligatory at his school for all pupils over six. They are also obliged to change into a different type of mask during the day.

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

          Fortunately in this country we have smart people like you who can see through the fog of disinformation produced by the misting machines of the Establishment.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          The fog of disinformation….like the way the figures for deaths are calculated and the methodology behind their statistic of the R number I presume you are referring to.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Il Duce has nothing on Our Dear Leader Kim Jong Son!!


    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      “Govt should assist folk in times of difficulty and enable them to look after themselves when they are fit and well enough, not pay them merely to exist at others’ expense.”

      Nor just continually ferry in people who are clearly not penniless, living rough
      ( judged by how clean they are getting off the BF boats ) nor starving, as 6ft+ well built young males arrive for their share of our taxes keeping them in hotels.

    • Peter
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      “From here the government is right to say we need to get back to work and avoid any further general lock down.”

      Easier said than done. Give people a few months with a partial income and no need to do a stroke and it may seem a very nice lifestyle. Many will think ‘Go back to work? Blow that for a game of soldiers!’

      Leadership also works by settling an example. Unfortunately a gradual decline in standards over the decades means there is little to look up to these days.

      Greed and looking after number one are eclipsing a sense of duty or responsibility – or even a basic moral code or set of principles. Cynicism rules instead.

    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    ‘ask the NHS’?

    Is this where we’ve arrived when the elected government of the day has to ask a public service to perform its most basic duty rather than ordering the NHS to perform its basic duty?

    This does reveal the prevailing mindset of the contemporary Tory MP. It reeks of acquiescence to the socialist, unionised organisation that now controls the actions of a Tory government

    What we are seeing is a party that no longer is driven by principle and a desire to protect the UK’s most important social and cultural values but a party that is now openly abusive and contemptuous of the rights and freedoms of the majority population that they would go as far as to impose limitations on their ability to act as fully functioning British citizens

    You have taken our freedoms. You have set the State against us and imposed ever greater restrictions not just on our incomes but on our freedoms to express and to enjoy an environment in which we are not used as political capital in your party’s cultural war with the authoritarian, race obsessed Marxist thugs

    Thanks John for turning our nation into a Marxist dystopian cesspit. You were once the future, a true libertarian now sadly another giving way the new politics of propaganda immersion at every turn and the pernicious use of social conditioning to warp our world

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Sir John is polite. His turn of phrase is that of a powerful man man who asks – or else. He does not need to even say ‘or else’. He is our hope. Maybe our only one.

      • APL
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson: “He is our hope. Maybe our only one.”

        Then we’re lost!

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Have you asked yourself why – really why – John is not in the Cabinet?

        I don’t think that it is down to any lack of experience, nor of insights on his part into such positions, do you?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          He would be dangerous for the others. His light would reveal their darkness. We know that because we know the record of John Redwood. You know he got a real 1st and deserved it. From there it was all up.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

            How touching – some other Cabinet members might feel that way, but do you seriously think that it is their opinions which would matter?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Obviously they do, otherwise Sir John would be in the Cabinet.
            It is their loss.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful judgement. I bet you voted for Boris as well.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          I do have good judgement, thank you a Margaret. No Boris is not my MP so I did not vote for him.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          Like many who voted for Biris.
          That is why he has an 80 seat majority.
          Labour Lib Dems and the Greens did really badly.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Carrots, carrots, carrots, give me more carrots.

      More pay please to go back to work properly. Higher grades for our students. More money for our universities.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Reminds me of David Copperfield ‘Please, Sir, I Want Some More’.

        When is the Government going to insist on terms with the EU, ending HS2, repealing recent meddling laws, restructuring NHS and the dozens of health and Education organisations who demonstrate inability to succeed holding a booze up in brewery!
        When is waffle and sound bites going to be replaced with a PM who clearly states what needs to be done and insists! Boris is quietly claiming parental leave, or on permanent holiday at a time with multiple issues becoming crises.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Sadly I recognise all of that.

      The PM is a lunatic and it is frustrating in the extreme to see his ho-ho-ho act while Marxists run amok.

      I voted Johnson to avoid Corbynism. What we have got is ultra Corbynism.

      And I am fed up with not being able to do the simple things that I want to do (far less environmentally damaging than what Andy likes to do) and having to wear this soggy bloody mask for much of the day.

      As it looks like a vaccine is the only way out of this Tory mess this could be the ‘new normal’ forever. Smallpox is the only disease eradicated by mankind.

      “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” being the most terrifying words you can hear. Wasn’t Ronald Reagan right about that !

      Believe me. People don’t need to be told by the man from the government how to behave during a real plague and this disease certainly isn’t the Black Death.

      The most awful government and PM in our history.

    • NickC
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Dominic, You are right. Then there is the further dystopian vision where you won’t be able to leave your home, or partake in actions freely, unless you have an anti-Covid vaccine.

    • MG
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Strong points, well said, they do need to be said.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Exactly – no shortage of government waste and pointless expenditure that needs of culling. Yet no sign of this government starting to do it. They have not even culled HS2 yet. No shortage of pointless red tape which binds and strangles the wealth creators and damages their ability to compete either. They even tax people (then waste much of the money in collection and processing) then give it back to people – but only if they buy insulation or meals out (but only on Mon-Wed) with it!

    All this furlough cash, the grants, the covid loans will need to be repaid. The good businesses will repay their own loans and also have to pick up the bad loans of others in higher taxes and higher taxes again for all the new government debt.

    The appalling Philip Hamond was yet agains going on about low productivity and the “productivity problem” the other day. But the man is so stupid he cannot see the he (and too much government, too much taxation, the EU, too much red tape and the mad expensive energy agenda) are the main cause of it.

    The real productivity problem in the state sector what of any real value or quality do they actually produce or deliver? Very little given the huge amount they tax and borrow. They should deliver defence and law and order and not much more. 20% of GDP is plenty for this. It would of course be a far higher GDP of course as some many more people would be productive.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      +1 10% tax please – that is what SA levied and few of us were able to employ the masses so they did not starve. I understand Hong Kong levied 10% too.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        I think one major thing to study about Hong Kong is health care. HK has a system originating in the basic idea of the NHS but (together with about 10-15% private care) has produced holistic through life care and contributed to one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Much of this can be put down to the advantages flowing from compact city living, some from relatively homogeneous population and from these care and respect for the elderly. Although I would like to know what percentage of the success flows from some of the mentioned factors, I would also like to know what HK health care does differently to the NHS.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        I think that “the masses” might prefer it if their starving or not were not in the hands of “a few of us”, rather than in all of theirs.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          Their option was to eat or not. That has been proved as the ‘few of us’ have been driven out of Africa. The ‘masses’ are trying to follow the few of us so that we can continue feeding them in London!
          When you are hungry Martin, not too far off now, you will get the picture.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            Your last sentence sounds like wishful thinking, Lynn, which would say something about you.

            Sadly for them – and for the whole country – there are scores of millions of people, way ahead of me in the UK’s Let Me Find Out What Starvation Is Like queue.

            Most Leave voters are in that position too.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

            So now you are claiming scores of millions of people in the UK are starving !
            Is there no end to your ridiculous nonsense.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            No, Lynn implicitly claimed that they would be shortly.

            My response was my position if it came to that.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            “There are scores of millions …in the UK..Find out what starvation is Like”

            You said it Marty.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      ‘low productivity’ is often caused by government action and inaction.

      For example:

      Not repairing roads quickly and when they do respray roads windscreens get cracked all the time causing off-work time and cost for replacements,
      Endless roadworks (two-three whole junction stretches on key motorways) for months with no-one working on coned off sections at all,
      Bad junctions not fixed nor good engineering used to fix bottlenecks,
      Speeds reduced unnecessarily on empty motorways travelling slowly endlessly,
      Unpaid waiting time delays in most government functions,
      Unpaid administration for government even though they get the information requested automatically monthly now,

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      According to the 2019 OECD figures, the most productive countries in the world were Luxembourg, followed by Ireland, then Switzerland and Norway.

      Perhaps the reason for the UK’s productivity levels lies somewhere other than where you suggest it does.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Depends on the type of economy and the population levels.
        Productivity per person is a tricky statistic to measure.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Luxembourg figs as distorted hugely as loads of people work there but do not live there.

  4. formula57
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Quite right. And lest we forget (from ): –

    “It is not right to waste public money or add to the burden of the debt with marginal or unwise spending.

    So I renew my list of spending reductions that are even more needed now, given the state of public finances.

    1. Reduce overseas aid spending. It will exceed the 0.7% of GDP legal requirement this year given the fall in GDP unless it is reduced. Start by taking £1bn off plans.
    2. Improve collection of the charges for use of the NHS by overseas visitors. It is a National, not a Global Health Service. Possible £400 million extra.
    3. Cancel HS2 saving up to £100 bn over a period of years
    4. Toughen enforcement against people trafficking to cut the costs of illegal migrants.
    5. Insist on leaving the EU at the end of the year with no further payments to them. Savings of £1bn a month thereafter.
    6. Stop Councils building property asset portfolios based on low cost public borrowing.”

    The Government has had this advice for three months and is doing a fair job of sucking its thumb.

    • Andy
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      In terms of government spending:
      1. Overseas aid is a negligible amount.
      2. Health tourism is an even more negligible amount.
      3. HS2 is a capital project. Cancelling it is a bit like cancelling your mortgage to pay for your weekly groceries.
      4. The costs of illegal migration is negligible. Asylum seekers are not illegal. Nor are dinghys.
      5. The Tory party has already signed the UK up to the withdrawal agreement. A legally binding international treaty which sees payments to the EU continue until 2064.

      Meanwhile not a word from you about pensioners – who account for fully half of all government spending.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Add together all these negligible amounts and you finish up with some pretty serious money.
        The government is A star in the wasting stakes. A knife needs taking to wasteful public spending.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Is it true John that next year pupils will be marking their own papers.

          • hefner
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Are you related to David Gascoyne, the famous 20th c. British surrealist?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            No! Next years student will not know how to hold a pen!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            What a really clever post hef.

          • Fred H
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            no – of course they won’t – their best friend might though!

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          +1 Well said Ian. I love the Andy types who always go on about the small amounts. Obviously Andy’s abacus isn’t working today.

        • JoolsB
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink


      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        1) How many people would you allow to move to this country.

        2) Your statement that pensioners account for half of government spending is nonsense.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          and should pensioners stop spending their lifetime pension savings the economy would collapse beyond your wildest dreams, Andy.

        • bigneil(newercomp)
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Mike – have you EVER had a sensible reply to asking your No 1) question? I haven’t, because I ask people the same.

          Where are they all going to live?
          Who is paying for their housing?
          Who is paying for their NHS?
          Who is paying for their translators?
          Who is paying for their kids schooling?
          etc etc

          They are rewarded with much better free lives, just for getting here, so there is no reason for them to work and contribute. They are known as gimmegrants for one very apt reason. So long as they don’t live next to MPs they will continue to be waved in, to be paid for by the rest of us.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          Andy probably doesn’t pay National Insurance, or if he does he doesn’t know what it is for.

        • Andy
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          1) I don’t believe in arbitrary limits. Free movement theoretically allowed 450m people to come here without any hindrance should they have wanted to. And we know as a fact that well over 99% of them didn’t come. The one thing we can say with certainty about immigration is that if there were no controls at all, the vast majority of people still wouldn’t want to come.

          2) It really isn’t. Close to 20% of UK government spending goes on state pensions. Another 20% goes on the NHS – and more than half of the NHS budget is spent on the over 65s. Social care is extra – and most of the adult social care budget is spent on the elderly. An additional 5% of our budget is spent on debt interest – the debt having been built up by the baby boomer generation. You expect us to pay your bills for you. Just taking into account pensions, social care, the NHS and debt we are up to around 40% of government spending on the elderly – without factoring in anything else.

          Isn’t it awkward to know that you are a far bigger financial burden on me than any migrant will ever be?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            It costs £180,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. How much do these migrants cost you? At 4% return work out how much money must be invested to raise each ‘child migrant’. All of that money is removed from the ‘Investment money of British people’.
            It’s an independent fortune – in fact each migrant effectively becomes a millionaire as they walk up the beach.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            You forget new young arrivals get old too.

          • NickC
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            1. But it’s not the 450m Europeans is it? It’s the hundreds of millions of North and sub-Saharan Africans wanting to get to Europe, and who are then hastily passed on by Italy and France only too eager to shove their problem onto us. Any country that, in extremis, cannot feed itself is overcrowded. We are too much overcrowded already.

            2. Every UK born person costs “us” at both ends of his life. It is only in the middle years that a person contributes to society. Part of those middle years used to involve caring for both your children and your parents. That involves rolling back the welfare state, and hence a greater burden for middle aged people like you, not less. I’m quite happy for you, your wife and children not to get state pensions.

      • Stred
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Andy speaks for the civil service and all of the other guardian reading incompetents who run everything that tax payers pay for. We need to get rid of them.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Andy Pensioners have paid for all of this. When you have paid your share, then you have the right to speak.
        However I’m happy for those who want to pay all the ‘negligible’ amounts to opt into a special tax.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        To achieve significant budget costs requires many measures, small well targeted amounts with minimal impact on the UK populace which in the aggregate add up to the total to be saved. So your “they are small amounts” whine is naïve at best.

        £13 billion is not a negligible amount, it would pay the furlough costs (that many want extended) for a month and a half.

        Your repeated pleas for action to be taken on pensioners are as valid as anyone else calling for education or health to be scrapped as they have not functioned over the last five months.

        Taxpayers are fleeced by the government and expect some return, defence, law and order, health, education and payment of (paid for in advance) pensions are among those areas expected to be delivered in return.

        A good troll doesn’t come across as a fool.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        “The costs of illegal migration is negligible. Asylum seekers are not illegal. Nor are dinghys.”

        They are illegal if they’re queue jumping from a safe country. There is a process to go through.

        You make up crimes as you go along, Andy.

        Racism is a crime. You call old people racists all the time.

        Yet the French somehow aren’t racists and they put up refugees in muddy forests.

        Today the eviction ban ends. We are about to see English taxpayers turned out on the streets while queue jumpers are put up in *** hotels.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Wrong as usual on almost all the point you make.
        1 No not negligible and much is wasted too.
        2 No
        3. “HS2 is a capital project. Cancelling it is a bit like cancelling your mortgage to pay for your weekly groceries”.

        Except you are not buying a house just an expensive white elephant and giving the money back as tax cut would be a hugely better investment.
        4 Not negligible
        5. Not as high as you suggest well under 50% and much of this is pensions they have bought with a lifetimes NI contributions and taxes. Most are still paying taxes in too and will pay 40% IHT on death on top.

        • DennisA
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          “Asylum seekers”

          Even the BBC now describes them as migrants and they are mostly young males. They are coming in illegally therefore they are illegal immigrants.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Anyone counts except voters who hold a conservative opinion and who are older than Andy – like a mortgage tracker rate. 4.5 years older than Andy (whatever his age happens to be at the time) is the cut-0ff for enfranchisement.

        It was rather silly of your crowd to have been throwing its weight around *before* disenfranchising the population.

        What did you expect would happen ?

      • NigelE
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Well, Andy, what percentage of govt spending have pensioners paid in their lifetimes?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Well I usually disagree with Andy, sometimes I laugh, but on the rare occasion I agree. Today I support his point (3) and point (4) has some merit.

        HS2 is a good (though initially badly run) project. It is eminently sensible to improve capacity and city connectivity in a country whose population will continue to expand at pace. Whilst one can suggest stopping the population increase, we all know the reality that this will not occur. Interconnected, vertical, dense cities drive innovation (hence GDP per capita) and reduce costs (infrastructure, emergency services, medical care etc are more efficiently delivered). Those supporting liberal economics would appreciate the rationale that the heavy lifting is done by the state which then enables entrepreneurship, effectiveness and efficiency. The problem is that this Govt is not pro-city, it wants suburban sprawl and home ownership at the cost of innovation and efficiency (and some would add natural environment). There is inconsistency – one could be a small c conservative, target population reduction and then one could run with a home-ownership and more liberal planning; the invisible hand (not all land would be scarce and rent earning) would then effectively choose between a low GDP per capita dispersed population or natural agglomeration into high GDP per capita cities. Alternatively, one can run with the population increasing policy that both major parties have, in which case we will get sprawl and low income for the many unless we actively target a vertical, interconnected city model.

        (Either way, a second point on HS2 is that it is not obvious that it is in anyway economic resource constrained. The financial system is not reflecting real opportunity costs, it is just reflecting that it is a bad financial system made worse by Mr Sunak’s policies).

        On (4), I think there are very real issues with both illegal immigration and false asylum seeking. There are also local difficulties for councils who suddenly receive another batch of unplanned asylum seekers. Nonetheless, I think Andy is correct in that the direct costs are relatively small (though everything is relatively small compared with what Mr Sunak has done in response to what Mr Hancock has done) the big issue remains legal immigration and thus population increase. Policies need to be consistent and they are not.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        HS2 barely passed its investment appraisal when the cost was projected around £40 bn. It will now cost at least twice that – and I can’t believe that business travellers, newly expert in VTC, will be hitting the rails as much as they once did.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        HS2 is a capital project. Cancelling it is a bit like cancelling your mortgage to pay for your weekly groceries.

        You do write some nonsense. A capital project is only of use if it serves a purpose and pays for itself. I mean, we could build a tunnel from London to Edinburgh and put nothing in it. It would be a capital project but there would be no point. Just like the biggest white elephant in our history, HS2

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Curious how he didn’t mention crime, which costs more than that lot added together according to reputable analysis.

      One diligent, well-grounded study puts the cost of UK fraud alone at £193 billion a year, and crime overall at 7% of GDP.

      The UK’s pro-rata rate is about twice that of the European Union’s twenty-seven nations on average.

      If it could only be reduced to the same rate, then that would save more than all of that. It doesn’t whistle the dogs though, does it?

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        changing the subject again, Martin?

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        MiC, please provide a link to the crime study that you mention.

        • miami.mode
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          MiC, I’ve found it, so ignore the request for a link.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Which “diligent, well-grounded study” is that?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Tell people to be good then Martin.
        I’m sure they will listen to you and become honest citizens.
        You could stop crime in its tracks like some superhero.

        Your diligent well grounded study is just a wild guess and is 4 times what the Government estimated figure is.
        And that figure is reviewed by the Office for National Statistics

        Comparing a densely populated and industrialised nation like the UK to the average of all the EU is a poor comparison.
        How about versus USA, Germany or other nations similar to the UK.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        “One diligent, well-grounded study puts the cost of UK fraud alone at £193 billion a year, and crime overall at 7% of GDP.”

        But is that fraud and crime on private institutions and individuals or against the government? I suggest it is mostly the former and although cutting crime is an excellent aim, I doubt it woould contribute much to the GNP.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          Well, do bear in mind that the UK spends a billion a year just on clearing up litter and dog muck – they’re crimes, as is tradesmen charging for aspects of work that they didn’t actually do, and their subsequent cash-in hand tax evasion.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            And your point is?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

            It costs vastly more than overseas aid or contributions to the European Union – since you need it repeating mere seconds later.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            The UK doesn’t spend more money picking up litter and dog muck that the total we give to the EU and spend on Overseas Aid.
            You are being ridiculous.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            That’s ridiculous if true Martin, it should be done by Community Punishment workers for free. They must pay back properly for their crimes.

            Do a bad job, get a longer sentence the day is only cleared if their patch is cleared on time. We are too weak and wishy washy on punishment for crime especially community orders and I’m getting sick of reading of people stealing thousands and thousands of pounds they dont have to pay back and getting away with it especially on Merseyside who has a very lackadaisy attitude to fraudulent benefit claims to their subsequent crime payback when a few do get tripped up and a litter and grafitti everywhere same with Glasgow.

            Shame, Shame, Shame.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Dog Whistle.

        Well actually it’s been The People blowing it.

        The Tories had to be dragged to the Brexit position.

        Leading Remainers caused Brexit. They lied about the direction of the EU. They lied about what was responsible for mass immigration and crime, as it happens (ruling Remainers were responsible, not the EU.)

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Fraud in the public sector is worth £193 billion annually Marty?

        I know the wages paid are significantly over market value but 1/4 of the whole budget? Unlikely that we can make that much saving out of the public sector budget.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          No, it includes pubs selling slightly larger chicken nuggets stuffed with minced grass cuttings, garlic powder and vegetable oil as “chicken Kiev”.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Are you OK?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

            Perfectly – some people – like you – clearly don’t realise how wide the compass of fraud in the UK is.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

            You are referring to that report again with its odd guesses being 5 times the government figures peer reviewed by the Office for national statistics.

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

            We were discussing public sector cost reductions and you said it was easy and there was £193 billion of fraud.

            So addressing minced grass would not cut public sector costs.

            So while interesting (and predictable) it does not help this discussion Marty.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink


    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Cancelling HS2 would save a bit, the rest hardly anything.
      Here’s another idea – decide how much you need to spend on law and order, education, health and capital projects, put some by for debt repayments above the interest that has to be paid, then ration pensions and benefits out of what’s left.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Concur with your assessment and all points

  5. Richard1
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Indeed all good points. But there’s very little sign this is the way the govt are thinking. We are being warned of tax rises – attempts to extract even more money from a sharply shrunken economy in order to shore up enormously wasteful extravagances such as HS2. An exceptionally foolish suggestion, at a time when we desperately need innovation and investment, is a hike in capital gains tax. There is a fatuous proposal to put a tax on online sales to try to force people to go to physical shops, which they’d rather not do. There are absurd quarantine rules for travellers, which have very little capability of being enforced.

    On top of the official confirmation that the death rates from the Covid 19 have been exaggerated in the U.K., which has been clear to many experts for months, we now have it announced that hospital admissions from the condition have also been exaggerated. And the average person believes the actual death rate from the virus is 100x what it is. The baleful role played in all this by shrieking leftists, and unfortunately by the BBC, is some explanation. But it shows profound failings by state entities and by ministers.

    We really need Boris to get a grip and start governing in the way he said he would when we chose him as leader of the Party and elected him PM. Otherwise we will have to conclude that Gove’s 2016 reservations were right all along.

    • Peter
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      “We really need Boris to get a grip and start governing in the way he said he would when we chose him as leader of the Party and elected him PM. Otherwise we will have to conclude that Gove’s 2016 reservations were right all along.”

      Indeed. It was not just Gove’s reservations either. There were others who expressed misgivings too. I gave Boris the benefit of the doubt and dismissed these statements as the words of rivals or enemies. Gove did make Boris look like a victim undone by treachery though.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Gove’s reservations have been amply justified already. Personally, I am fed up to the back teeth with people saying that “Boris” should “get a grip”. He never has and he never will. Even the election was won for him, by a combination of Levido and Corbyn.

    • Zorro
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      No chance of our Dear Leader extracting a digit to do something useful!


    • Zorro
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Gove has been conspicuously quiet over the last few weeks. Expect some fireworks….


  6. Lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    We need a movement to cull parasitic jobs which are everwhere – both the state sector and the private sector (in complience with the endless red tape, employment laws, complex tax lars, OTT health and safety, OOT building and planning regs, landfill rules etc, etc.).

    I hesitage to suggest a department for the Destruction of Parasitic Jobs, given how totally ineffective (indeed very anti-effective) Osborne’s Office for Tax Simplification has been over the past ten years.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      “compliance” and “I hesitate” and “tax laws”.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      According to Winston Churchill in 1909, the most parasitic of them all was that of landlord.

      I’m in agreement with him there.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Does that include landlords like many housing associations and Labour Councils providing affordable housing.
        Oh no?
        Just private landlords?
        Why the discrimination?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          You’d have to ask Winston.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            “A council estate is a building complex containing a number of council houses and other amenities like schools and shops. Construction took place mainly from 1919 after the Housing Act 1919 to the 1980s, with much less council housing built since then” wiki doesn’t sound like much social housing owned by councils/housing associations was around in Winstons’ day.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            I am unable to do that.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

            Add it to the long list, Ed.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            No just specifically asking a person who is no longer alive a question as you stupidly asked me to do.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            Why should I know any better than you what he would say were he here?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            Instead of making a reply to my original question you deflected and demanded I asked Sir Winston Churchill for his views.
            Which I cannot do because is dead.

            I realise you hate private landlords.
            I asked if that hatred also applied to charities and housing associations or is it only the State that can be a nice landlord in your socialist mind?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            I don’t hate many people Ed, I just wish that many were different in some ways.

            We’re not all like you.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            You express a hatred of private landlords and you used a quote from 1909 to try to make your point.
            I don’t hate private landlords.

            I don’t suppose you might answer the original question I posed….do you also hate housing charities and housing associations.
            Because they are also private sector landlords.

  7. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    We need to end the lockdown immediately.

    Covid 19 is over. It was always overrated.

    Repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020.

    No HS2 or any other pointless grandiose schemes

    Scrap the Climate Change Act. This non pandemic has proved how “the Science” is not settled and so often gets it wrong. We can’t keep crashing the economy based on “the Science”.

    Give us back our freedoms, and enhance them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink


      Lockdown kills too – as we shall see.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        So will a mandatory vaccine jab for all people over 55 as was mentioned recently. It would free up a lot of houses – needed for the continued flood being put up in hotels. Foreigners treated better than the people whose taxes they are living on. What a country this has become.

    • jerry
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      @Stephen Priest; Covid 19 is over. It was always overrated.

      Tell that to the USA, Brazil, India, or to the 40k odd families here in the UK who have lost relatives to the virus. The only thing overrated is the hard rights opinion that they always know more than science.

      • James Bertram
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        The ‘science’ is not a unitary opinion, Jerry – perhaps inconvenient to your view?
        Many respected scientists regard the virus as pretty much over; and that it is of less threat than the flu (currently 6 times the number of people are dying in the UK from flu, than Covid).
        Regards India – a recommended authority is Prof Raj Bhopal from Edindurgh Univ. who says India’s only option is to go for herd immunity.
        ‘In an interview that many will consider controversial because of the firm and outspoken stand he has taken, one of Britain’s top epidemiologists and an acknowledged expert on public health, Raj Bhopal, who last month published a paper in the journal ‘Public Health in Practice’ where he said until a reliable vaccine is produced herd immunity “is the only long term solution” to the Covid-19 pandemic, has unequivocally said this strategy applies to India.’

        Regards Brazil – see article yesterday on Lockdown Sceptics – extract:
        ‘Pandemic panic promoters have been quick to criticize neighboring Brazil for its leadership’s more relaxed policies towards the virus, but they’ve been noticeably absent in discussing Peru. That’s because Peru implemented arguably the earliest (for their region) and strictest lockdowns in the entire world, along with several attempted suppression measures with the hopes to contain the virus, and none of it worked.’

      • DennisA
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        You should speak to those who have lost relatives due to the dispersion of elderly patients to nursing homes as a policy.

        More people died from flu just 3 years ago and the hospitals were overwhelmed. This time there was something like 35-50% occupancy, the “Nightingales” were barely used.

        The constant fear propaganda disseminated from the government and the media was very effective. We now have Stockholm Syndrome without the benefits of the Swedish policy on Covid-19.

        • Zorro
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          So true DennisA


        • jerry
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          @DennisA; Your first and last paragraphs are surely oxymoron’s of each other, nice rant!

          That said I agree, the govts policy with regards sending (likely Covid infected) patients back to nursing homes was poorly thought out, it’s indicative of just how ineffective this govts health polices has been, trapped as it is between those who understand economic and thus favour herd immunity and those who understand the science and thus what needs to be done.

          Regarding Sweden, those who advocate such a “Swedish policy on Covid-19” should note their national daily death rate -all causes- was at around 100% to 150% higher (so more than double) than normal during April and part of May.

          As for the “Nightingales”, surely the fact that they were barely used is a sign that the restrictions and lock-down policies the UK govt eventually put in place were correct?

          Reply The policy of early discharges was I think the policy of NHS management, not a request from Ministers. Ministers did intervene to stop early exit.

          • jerry
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

            @JR reply; PHE/NHS policy is born from Govt policy, and when intervention did come it was weeks to late.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        the scientists presented to us have shown what an inconsistant lot of ‘facts’ can be given from national experts.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Haven’t you heard?

        The Covid deaths in anyone who die “with ” Covid 19 not from “Covid 19” . Anyone with “Covid” on their death certificates.

        Over 28,000 people died of flu in the winter of 2014/2015.

        Lockdowns don’t stop viruses. If the lockdowns work they’d be no Covid about about 2 weeks

        The debts over £2 trillion now. What part of catastrophe don’t you understand?

        • jerry
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

          @Stephen Priest; Haven’t you heard?

          More people have now died in the USA from Covid-19 than US service personal died in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars put together.

          As for official death figures, they are far to low, they only note those who have died following a positive test, how many have died but never had a test nor post-partum, prove me wrong…

          As for removing previously counted fatalities, how can the govt be sure that someone was not suffering from complications caused by CV19, the medical profession acknowledges this, the govt apparently not, why.

          Over 28,000 people died of flu in the winter of 2014/2015.

          How many people died of flu from late 2019 to late Feb 2020 here in the UK, in addition to those who have died since from Covid-19, but even without the usual Flu twice as many have died this year. I seem to recall back in 2015 questions were ‘asked on the floor’, many MPs believing that years flu death-toll was unacceptably high, yet you appear to want twice as many causalities swept under the carpet whilst muttering things like move along now, nothing to see here, back to work now….

          “The debts over £2 trillion now. What part of catastrophe don’t you understand?”

          Remind us what the UK war-debt was in 1945, now that is what I call a catastrophe, yet the 1950s were some of the best economic years the UK ever had.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        There is a lot of cynicism about the way governments are dealing with the pandemic on the extreme left too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        It was worth taking measures to restrict the spreed of the virus in the early days so the NHS was not overwhelmed. They did this about ten days too late as I said at the time. The dopes kept saying they were three to four weeks behind Italy when the figures said 113-14 days!

        They are rather better now at keeping people alive and I suspect the virus is now less deadly. Only about 10 deaths a day now. All very sad but we have about 1,500 every day from all causes. Get back to work otherwise more lives with be lost from the economic damage.

        • Zorro
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, as viruses always do. Not difficult to forecast either, why are our governments so hopeless, maybe the wages from their masters (not us) grease their palms….


      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Jerry, Since when did “science” claim that it always gets it right? The idea that today’s science is 100% true and complete is peddled only by people who don’t understand that science is a process, and never settled.

        • jerry
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Indeed…

          Since when did “economics” claim that it always gets it right? The idea that today’s economics is 100% true and complete is peddled only by people who don’t understand that economics is a process, and never settled.

          After all economics is often described to as a “science”, along with its cousin, Politics – nice own goal their Nick!

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

            Jerry, Pay attention – I did not claim that either politics or economics were science. But you claimed that the “hard right … always know more than science”, so I was warning you that current “science” is not as secure as you believe.

          • jerry
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

            @NickC; Oh do pay attention to what I actually said – I was agreeing with you, but also pointing out that what you say is also true of all sciences.

            What you think is irrelevant, the FACTS are, both politics and economics are sciences, and just like other sciences both are fluid, if not then how come ‘Thatcherism’ replaced the political theory that had become known as “the post war consensus” here in the UK, whilst Monetarism replaced Keynesian economics?!

      • dixie
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Give it a rest with the “hard” right Jerry, haven’t you noticed that modern “progress” is according to the “hard” left gospel of opinion over fact, science and evidence. How could you have possibly missed it with such an active priesthood on the streets and the BBC.

        As we’ve seen over the last 5 years, left wing and right wing do not address the real needs and aspirations of people in this country. They are diversionary tactics, simply labels for lazy people preoccupied with tribalism and power.

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

          @dixie; I’ll give it a rest with the “Hard right” when others give it a rest with their Marxist, Socialist, far-left, when discussing anything or anyone they dislike. For those who dislike others descriptions then perhaps they should not be throwing stones whilst residing in a glasshouses?

          I actually agree with much of what you say in your second paragraph (although I would dispute it goes back much further than 5 years, more like 40 to 50), just a pity so many others don’t.

      • cornishstu
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Just because a large number have died does not make it any more virulent than say previous sars or flu viruses indeed there are a growing number of doctors, immunologists and the like starting to speak out to this effect whilst at the start it was somewhat of an unknown entity and the steps taken necessary, some that should have been taken such as face coverings and the quarantining all arrivals and shutting the borders to the non indigenous did not happen, which is what makes a mockery of what is happening now. Those professionals speaking out have more to lose by doing so than not IMHO.

        • Zorro
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          You can smell the fear in their desperation. The lampposts in Westminster are lonely….


          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            Your dearest fantasies seem to me to involve killing people.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            Your own words Martin.
            Too late to try to reflect it onto others.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        40,000 families – stop talking nonsense – nowhere near that amount as we know from the real statistics.


        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          I was recently informed that a fourth person known to me has died, directly from covid19.

          The Chinese – a rather materialist nation in the philosophical sense – spent rather a lot of effort in combatting something unreal then, zorro.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            How old and what co morbidities did these persons already have?

          • Fred H
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

            You mix in a surprisingly vulnerable community.

          • zorro
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:34 am | Permalink

            Is that what I said? No…


          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

            One of them was a heart specialist at a hospital, of working age, Ed.

            I don’t see why we should callously accept that old people enjoying their lives should have them cut short, merely to excuse the cynicism of such people as elected this party to office either.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

            I know, or know of, a lot of people, Fred.

          • jerry
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; …and to think you criticise Andy for his attitude towards the elderly.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            I asked if any of the four people Martin knew who had died had co morbiditie and how old they were.

            It is a huge factor in the deaths from Covid.

            I get two responses
            One where Jerry thinks it isn’t even polite to ask as it creates a negative effect towards the elderly and Martin just says one of the four was a doctor.
            And adds in effect that it isn’t relevant.
            Two quite ridiculous replies.

          • jerry
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            @Edwards2; Most pre-existing conditions are irrelevant to the debate, people live many years even with cancers, but many have died because they became infected with Covid-19.

            The only co-morbidities that might be mistaken for death by CV19 are very specific lung conditions, but even then if prior to the CV19 virus their condition was being controlled and their life expectancy was long…

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            People who are old and have pre existing poor health have been the vast majority of the deaths during this pandemic.
            You think that fact is irrelevant?

            PS There is a long list of co-morbidities on the .Gov and NHS sites.
            Saying there is only one, is wrong.

          • jerry
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; You seem to have real problems, just as the govt does, in accepting that Covid-19 can cause on-going problems.

            Someone living an otherwise normal health & productive life before catching Covid-19 could go on to die of renal failure weeks, even months, after their CV19 test, yet under the daft govt statistical counting method that death would not be counted as a CV19 casualty.

            Nor the person with a befuddle mind, due to low blood-oxygen levels, who 30 days after their positive CV19 test, steps out in front of the non-stopping No.7 bus, or crashes their car into a concrete bridge support. The fact that they suffered from a (managed) long term co-morbidity, bladder cancer, is irrelevant to the actual cause of death and reason for their ‘misadventure’. Obviously if they suffered from COPD that co-morbidity could well have played a part.

            “Saying there is only one, is wrong.”

            What I said was;

            The only co-morbidities that might be mistaken for death by CV19 are very specific lung conditions ..//..

            Note the use of Plurals, try actually reading what I say in future…

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            But the vast majority don’t die after catching Covid.
            Unless they are seriously ill before and/or they are very old.
            As usual you are completely wrong.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            And your last paragraph has to be the most pedantic excuse for what you plainly said and meant.
            Just own it Jerry
            Stop wriggling.

          • jerry
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Your continual focus on pensioners has something very “Andy” about it. Tell be And… sorry, Eddward2, just how many people (of what ever age group) need to needlessly die, or be incapacitated long-term (as many have, more than those who have died), before you start to take Covid-19 seriously?

            Also, Mr Pot, stop calling the kettle dusty, you accused me of saying something I did not say, clearly visible in the comment you failed to read properly, if at all, “own it Eddie”…

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            Pensioners…when did I say that?
            Need to die…when did I say that?
            When did I say…I dont take Covid and its dreadful effects seriously?

            More made up nonsense again from you.
            Look at the data.
            Older people and those with serious health issues are the major risk groups.
            All over the world.

        • jerry
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          Zorro, that is the (rounded-down) official ONS figures, as adjusted by HMG, so if you have a problem I suggest you take it up with Boris, not me…

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink


    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Covid is indeed largely over – circa 10 death a day now so well under 1% of daily deaths and under 1% of new cases too. Far more lives could be saved through people eating, drinking, smoking and drug taking rather less. Perhaps 10 times as many QALYs. could be saved in this way. Saves money too and improves the quality of life.

    • BOF
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      The freedom to be treated exactly as an equal, in the twenty-seven most cultured and civilised countries on Earth?

      Yes, that would be a most welcome return.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        many of whom closed borders to the wet, hungry, dirty, poor thousands who had been told the promised land was ‘in that direction’. Finally borders were opened as long as they all made haste to the next border.
        Compassion without end.
        Many found Dante just outside Calais – with love, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          “Told” by whom?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            Criminal organised people trafficking gangs.
            Who force these poor people into modern slavery.

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Martin, “the twenty-seven most cultured and civilised countries on Earth”? Oh oh hahahaha . . .

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          Nicky, so where would you prefer then?

          China? Africa? The ex-USSR? The Middle East? Asia? Latin America? The gun-crazed US, with six times the pro-rata homicide rate of Europe?

          So besides the European Union, that leaves Aus, NZ, Canada and Japan, pretty well. Oh, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland, closely woven into the first too.

          The first three have about the population of Italy between them.

    • Original Chris
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink


    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink


      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        My +1 is in agreement with Stephen Priest , in case there was ambiguity

    • Zorro
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      ‘Stand up, stand up, stand up for your Rights’ – We always have to fight for our liberty.


  8. Andy
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    There are appears to be a magic money tree to pay for your Brexit.

    All those lorry parks, pen pushers, extra forms and replicated regulations don’t pay for themselves.

    As for unemployment staying low, let’s see what happens over the next year.

    Suffice to say they this Tory Brexit recession is likely to be the worst of our lifetimes.

    And the bottom line is that we need the tax dodging billionaires and multi-millionaires and the big corporations to dig deep to help us out. And if they don’t we should dig deeper and just take it anyway.

    • agricola
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Under the regime I have suggested, this contribution earns a holiday in The Isle of Man of 1939 vintage.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Agricola, I think that your post must be a record, for the greatest number of embarrassing admissions about oneself implied by the fewest words.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Yes I see that’s it’s conclusively proven now that the Wuhan plague – the cause of the global recession everywhere – wasn’t caused by leaks out of a Chinese virus lab or by a wet market in Wuhan offering bat’n dog stew for lunch but was in fact caused by Brexit. If only people had your understanding of the world.

      • Andy
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        I remember how Europhobes blame the 2008 Great Recession – which started in the US – on the EU. It was all Brussels fault they said. They also said the migration crisis was the EU’s fault.

        Fast forward to 2020. We have left the EU. We have had the biggest downturn ever and Channel migration has skyrocketed. Now you deny Brexit is to blame for these woes.

        Of course COVID has had an effect. But economically we are worse than just about everyone else because of Brexit.

        And the brilliant thing is this. We get to blame Brexit for everything which goes wrong in future. Literally all of our ills for years to come will be fully, or partly, Brexit’s fault.

        Believe me – and I speak from experience here – you will quickly find this tiresome. We found it tiresome over the 40 years you all blamed the EU and its predecessors for everything. But the important point is that each claim of Brexit blame – frankly whether it is true or not – will undermine your project further until it is eventually undone.

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Andy, The UK has not left the EU yet. We abrogated the TEU and TFEU, but signed up immediately to the WA treaty which put us back under the control of the EU. Read it.

          I know you find facts literally tiresome, but the majority of the planet is not in the EU. There is no reason why the UK should be either. In fact our exports to the EU are only just over a tenth of UK GDP, so EU membership is far from critical to us.

          Further it is simply a lie to state that “over the 40 years you all blamed the EU and its predecessors for everything“. It was neither “all”, nor “40 years”, nor “everything”. It was a gradual realisation for most us, based on the evidence, that EU control was a Faustian bargain.

          Your predictions are based on falsehoods so will fail.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        The deluded fools at the BBC would probably put it down to Brexit, Trump, the far right, white hetrosexual men and the Climate Emergency (& probably all landlords too & Murdock/Boris/Farage or Thatcher).

        They are always blamed for everything bad!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          I do hope that Trump wins, he is far preferable to the two lefty lawyers, purveyors and identity politics and the evil politics of envy. Trump is at least sound on climate alarmism and not a lawyer – a shame that Boris a climate realist.

          Though Claire Perry did say “he did not get it”.

          Boris Johnson has shown a “huge lack of leadership and engagement” over the UK’s hosting of the COP 26 global climate change conference and admitted he does not understand the issue, according to Claire O’Neill (Perry), the sacked head of the summit.

          Claire was on the BBC again yesterday with her usual unscientific drivel and climate alarmism. Another Oxford Geography dope like the appalling Theresa May. At least Boris sacked her I suppose.

          • Zorro
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Our Dear Leader still needs to shine. He is a mere shadow of Kim Jong Un…


          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            Oh, you follow leaders, do you?

    • jerry
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “Suffice to say they this Tory Brexit recession is likely to be the worst of our lifetimes.”

      Well that might be the case for you Andy, after all there has only been one, that which followed the banking crash of 2007. On the other hand some still remember the “EEC joining recession” of 1974…

      Actually the ’74 recession was cause by the OPEC “oil shock”, whilst the current and on going recession is caused by the global pandemic, not Brexit.

      “And if they don’t we should dig deeper and just take it anyway.”

      Something EU law would prevent, should your wish come true, the cancellation of Brexit!

      • Andy
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        You forget the Thatcher recession of the early 80s. And the Major recession of the 1990s. Now we have the Johnson recession of 2020. Three out of the last Tory PMs have delivered significant recessions. Maybe they are not as good at economics as they think they are?

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          The big two were Labour recessions.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Sleepy Joe will be out for the count….


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

          @Zorro, Indeed, whilst Uncle Joe sleeps Russia etc, gets ever stronger, as indeed does the EU.

          Mr Trump has had his four years to prove himself, time for a change, just a pity the GOP are still asleep…

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Nothing to do with CV19 then.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      There has been no recession and no Brexit Andy, so you are running entirely true to form.
      A recession is an economic event. We have had a Cessation of economic activity by Order of the Remainer Boris.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


        “UK falls into recession as GDP tumbles 20.4% in April-June – as it happened
        Britain’s economy shrank by a fifth in the last quarter, much worse than the US or the eurozone”
        12 Aug

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Yet only 9% for all of 2020
          And a predicted 9% rise in 2021

          • hefner
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, again at it, comparing forecasts (that I thought you did not trust) with actual AMJ impact on GDP.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            Not at it again.
            Ridiculous comment.

            I quoted the usually pessimistic Bank of England economic report.
            But it plainly isn’t good enough to suit your political bias.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh, so when’s Farage making his next insulting speech in the European Union’s Parliament then, Lynn?

        • Fred H
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          ASAP I hope (in case Lynn can’t be arsed to reply).

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          He can do more from outside whilst they carry on reducing the standards of living of European citizens in the EU in the future with their protectionist high tax policies.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

            No one except his silly sycophants here is listening to a single word that he says, Ed.

            Fred, so where is he going to make it then? How will the MEPs be made to hear it?

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink


            As I have asked a few times before, why do these ‘suffering’ EU countries keep voting for pro EU governments? Even Greece?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            Wrong Martin he has quite a following.
            Without him Cameron would never have given us our Referendum
            So I understand why you hate him.

            Because of the free money they get.
            28 members, 9 paying in the rest living off the others money.

          • hefner
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            So Edward2 is at it again. I hope he knows the difference but I am not even sure…

            The EU budget (about €150bn in 2019) was indeed paid by 9 countries, the other 19 ‘living off the others’ money’.
            As some people might know the EU budget is primarily an investment budget representing about 2% of all the public spending of the various EU countries.

            What dear Edward2 seems to ignore (or does not understand, more likely) is that the budget of the individual EU countries are different ‘thingies’: (all figures in US$ for 2019) Germany 1.7tn, France 1.4tn, (UK 1.1tn), Italy 0.9tn, Spain 0.5tn, NL 0.34tn, Sweden 0.27tn, Belgium 0.25tn, Osterreich 0.2tn, Danmark 0.17tn, … So the €250bn given the EU represent about 2% of the total of those.

            So a sentence saying ‘the rest living off the others’ money’ is to say the least misleading. But that, Mesdames et Messieurs, is the b***s**t produced by our tabloids and repeated asininely by …

            Fortunately from 01/01/2021 the continentals will not have to listen to this type of c**p. I can’t tell you how much I’ll love this idea (maybe as much as Joris Luyendijk does).

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            You are very busy typing hef.
            But facts are facts as bill often says.
            28 members
            9 pay in
            The other members justt take money out.

            It is the fundamental weakness of the EU
            Even more so after the UK stops paying in.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Brexit is a huge economic and democratic advantage to the UK it will pay back many times over if done properly. GDP per cap Switzerland is double the UK’s and we have the advantages of being larger, having sea ports and not being surrounded by the EU. Also we have the disadvantages of far, far too high taxes and a bloated, misdirected and largely inept government.

      But we can hopefully sort these issues out in time.

      • agricola
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        As you imply, private enterprise will thrive post Brexit. How well it thrives and provides for the economic future of the UK is directly proportional to the extent to which government shrinks. Shrinks back in terms or it’s virtue seeking projects which have a big minus bottom line, and of it’s tax demands to run an ersatz socialist state. Whatever way it might seem to portray itself for the purpose of getting elected.

        While I agree with the morality of the NHS, and have no serious doubts about the sincerity of what the medical employees try to achieve with great compassion. I do have very strong doubts about the way it is administered. Too much ineffective management at far too great a cost. I would like this aspect of it audited by a team from Toyota.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


        ” GDP per cap Switzerland is double the UK’s and we have the advantages of not being surrounded by the EU.”

        Seeing that Switzerland IS surrounded by EU countries surely your argument that non EU membership is to its advantage doesn’t hold water.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          How did you work that one out does not follow at all! But even more to the UK’s advantage.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      I always try to read pro remain diatribes with an open mind, I do expect some thoughts put forward that make me think carefully of all the benefits I see in leaving the eurocracy. I only got to the bits about more pen pushers, extra forms and replicated regulations when I realised there was no substance to your comment. Why anyone can pretend that the pen pushers in the eurocracy are a positive aspect when all they actually do is produce mountains of regulations to justify their existence and their enormous salaries plus expenses, plus down time moving offices between Brussels and Strasbourg every month of course (120 million a year that costs, plus of course lost pen pushing time and more pen needed to catch up on their lost time). No wonder our civil service is having heart attacks at leaving, they were used to watching a bureaucracy in full stop and talk flow and want to keep on the same band wagon.
      Then I read the bit about stealing money from the more successful people who had made their money by hard work, because they have it and the writer doesn’t. That’s socialism for you, clearly you are someone who dreams of Venezuela being the pinnacle of Marxist achievements.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I’ve said it before and urge again, please don’t respond to Andy. He is encouraged to submit more. Ignore him.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Andy, these fat cats at the top (and Universities, NHS and qangos are just as guilty) are the people who gave us the web and its user friendly interface, the advances in transport (electric and self-drive cars) now, the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the delivery of the same.
      Hit them and they simple move.
      And you are going to be very hungry, cold and unsmart when you go out for entertainment of one sort or another…

  9. agricola
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    The problem is that the means of supplying what people want has changed markedly, and has accelerated during the Covid crisis. The changes will involve fewer people doing different work. The way some of the suppliers are structured will involve government getting less in taxes and unfair competition for those left in the high street even when their services are still required. Government will need to apply it’s mind to this inbalance of tax income. Morally you cannot increase taxes on the individual which are already far too high and complex. How do governments control for tax purposes companies with such worldwide activities, and with incomes that exceed the national incomes of many members of the United Nations.

    You will also need to apply your minds as to how people get back to work and how government can assist in facilitating it. Thinking specifically of home working, how will it affect the design of homes, the transport network, and the future for vast prestige buildings and service businesses in city centres. We have already experienced local government deliberately making city centres alien expensive places. I find it ironic that Covid19 should come along to emphasise this situation and kill off town halls fatted calves in its progress.

    As a nation we will be judged by how fast we can duck and dive in response to this rapidly changing post Covid19 world we find ourselves in. Do you identify the level of talent in government, elected and employed, to respond with speed and imagination to this new situation. We need a war cabinet of Churchillian talents and action today resolve.

  10. Tabulazero
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I guess being able to trade hassle-free and seamlessly across a 400mm market which happens also to be the biggest consumer market in the world could also help.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      If the 400m are bankrupt how does that help? You measure a market by turnover not participants, if participants counted the African Union would be the one to join – do you fancy holding all you assets in the Afro (their mooted single currency)?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        But they, the people, the customers, are not bankrupt in the European Union.

        Now, in the UK as things are going…

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Martin, You seriously think many Eurozone banks aren’t basket cases?? Amazing!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Nick, don’t look down, old thing.

            And if you have a mortgage, then read all the small print very carefully, and understand what it means if your lender went bust.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      It isn’t hassle free and seamless now Tab.
      I found very little difference in buying and selling in Europe to non EU countries.
      The amount of paperwork required was almost the same.
      I lost count the number of times goods were delayed by industrial action in Europe, especially in France.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Especially if you didn’t have to pay £billions for the privelege, Tabu.

    • NickC
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Tabulazero, Wrong. The economy of the EU empire (ie considered as one state economy), ex-UK, is smaller than the economy of the USA. And, no, it was far from “hassle-free” – it required a huge amount of bureaucratic compliance which was often either irrelevant or counterproductive, and cost us a lot of money. Above all the EU stole our sovereignty.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      1. It’s not hassle free
      2. It’s not seamless
      3. It’s not a 400 m market, you have to sell to each country separately unless you are selling to the EU itself
      4. It’s not the biggest consumer market in the world – not even close, and besides, it’s not one market
      Otherwise, your comments would seem to be spot on

  11. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    ‘ They also need to start to rein in public spending …’ Indeed. The deficit this year, according to the Beeb, will be somewhere north of £350 bn. That’s a lot, but given very low gilt rates the cost of servicing that is no drama. But Sunak needs to cut wasteful and unpopular spending before he even thinks about increasing taxes – he already takes more than enough – or cutting things like the Defence budget. It’s time for him to live up to all of the hype. Pension contributions relief for the rich has to go. HS2 has to go. Foreign aid has to be substantially cut. Financial support for asylum-seekers has to go – and they have to leave their 4* hotels. I could go on, but you get the picture. You do, don’t you?

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Sea Warrior – I suspect you write this as someone with a public sector guaranteed pension pot and a guaranteed pension income. If the government take more off private pension savers then we will expect them to end public sector pensions and put extra employers contributions should they want to (at least 25% to keep the basic earners in the pension they’ve become accustomed to) into Nest type pensions so that workers in the public sector are at the whim of the market and government decision such as you suggest.

      5 Apr 2020 – By the way the annual allowance for pension contributions is £40,000.

      £100,000 pension savings in the UK buys you an annuity of about £4000 pa often less if you want spousal transfer on death.

  12. Sakara Gold
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    In the past 15 years the national debt has risen from 35% of GDP to 80% in 2018 and due to Sunak’s recent lockdown largesse and the current recession GDP must now be 100% and currently stands at just over £2 trillion!

    Like other sovereign debt, the UK national debt is rated by various ratings agencies. In this time the ratings agencies have downgraded our credit worthiness from AAA to AA+ – this has the effect of increasing the government’s cost of borrowing. Were interest rates revert to the historical average of ~5% our current national debt would be costing the taxpayer £100 billion a year, which would mean hard choices would have to be made again about income tax and government expenditure on the NHS, quangos, defence, pensions, social security, the police etc etc.

    Whilst sterling still retains some value, in my view buying hard assets such as gold and silver will offer some protection from the coming inflation. Paying down debt before the inevitable rise in interest rates would also be a sound strategy – hard times will shortly visit us here in the UK.

  13. BOF
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Judging by the letter I had from a local hospital to cancel my appointment, I am left with the impression that the NHS has no intension of getting back to normal any time soon.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      If they relied on you to pay their bills I bet they wouldn’t cancel your appointment ? And that is the problem with the State Sector – the government, and not the individual is writing the cheque. So all they have to do, is ignore you and pressure the government via the MSM and the Labour Party, for more cash. Simple !

    • John E
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed the NHS shows no signs of returning to the previous service. When will patients ever stop hearing “We’re not doing that due to Covid”? It will take a little more than “encouragement” from the Government.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      NHS always randomly cancelled appointments. Whats new?
      Well GPs used to provide appointments, with some difficulty and persistence required.
      They gradually stopped and A&E became the ‘go to ‘.
      Now the Government frightened their serfs into submission, even A& E has become quiet.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I have had just the opposite experience. I was seen and examined and today am off today for a pre-assessment.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      My husband had to go yesterday and said the hospital was like a ghost town. Nurses and staff just sitting around chatting.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Not even training for a TikTok video? Outrageous…..


  14. MPC
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    You are surely far too generous about this government intentions in your penultimate paragraph. Government control is increasing towards Venezuelan levels what with Net Zero etc gradually killing off a flourishing car and other industries and creating the very warehouse economy that Nel Kinnock warned against.

  15. James Bertram
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The Venezuela example is not useful – I’m sure you can find better.
    Venezuela, like Cuba previously, has suffered an American embargo – particularly the sale of oil.
    This skews your comparative example too drastically to make it a useful one; and its inclusion here might be regarded as propaganda.
    Nonetheless, your essential point, that furlough should be limited to a few months is good, though limited.
    I take a more radical view – that there should never have been a lockdown in the first place, that all furlough is a waste of money, and something that should never have been introduced; it is just there to lessen the effect of a bad decision by the government to lockdown the country (due to them panicking from having received and not thoroughly questioned the alarmist and wrong report from Imperial College) .
    The immediate unemployment, and likely destruction of our health services, from adopting a lockdown policy should have been very apparent, and sharpened the minds of government, and their supporting media and public, to have first made a proper cost/benefit analysis of what I regard as an insane decision to lockdown the country.

    A judicial review is being brought against the government, the acting solicitor Robin Tilbrook; Here is a report on their case:

    ‘In passing the Act complained of, the Government has failed to have any or any adequate regard for the Department of Health’s own report “UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011“.

    This report made it clear that the Rule of Law should be upheld and life should carry on as normal for the healthy.

    Further, the ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ were measures that were forced upon us and were based upon advice by Government ‘advisors’, from ‘modeling’ estimates and reports not even peer reviewed. These ‘advisors’ included Professor Neil Ferguson Etc ed

    The World Health Organisation themselves in their report ‘Nonpharmaceutical Interventions for Pandemic Influenza, National and Community Measures’ from 2006, the writers of which include current members of SAGE, criticises forced isolation and quarantine branding these measures “ineffective and impractical”. It also states that “Legal authority and procedures for implementing interventions should be understood in advance and should respect cultural differences and human rights.”

    Crucially, the report states that at Phase 6 of a Pandemic, when it is officially declared, measures such as tracing and quarantine should not be attempted. It states “Patient isolation and tracing and quarantine of contacts should cease, as such measures will no longer be feasible or useful.”

    For these reasons, the Act is irrational.’

  16. jerry
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    “now the CV 19 numbers are much reduced.”

    Except they are raising again, due -no doubt- to unlocking to fast. No we do not need high risk pubs and bars open, no we do not need to holiday, no we do not actually need the schools to be physically reopened for all come September, other measures could and should be put in place. The physical school being a safety net, as it was back in March.

    When will this Monetarist nonsense end, suggesting the situation in the UK is anything close to that of Venezuela – for one thing we do not have economic sanctions placed against us (yet, those might yet still come via the EU 😮 ). Has the govt even considered increasing income or wealth taxes, as happened within 24 days of WW2 beginning, has the govt considered raising money via savings bonds akin to war bonds. Nor have the the govt really gone in the opposite direction either, lowering purchase taxes for example, to boost the economy. Surely if we leave the EU’s WA without a deal in place the full Brexit dividend is available, or has that already been spent, promised, or perhaps it never existed.

    No one is suggesting the country stops, grinds to a halt, the country didn’t do that even at the hight of the first lock-down, some did loose the ability to work but many others simply worked from home or in a modified workplace, the way some on the political right talk anyone might be mistaken, was it a lock-down or a general strike?!

    Within the last couple of weeks the number of children testing positive for Covid-19 in Scotland has risen since their schools went back full time, there are many significant areas of concern here in England, and now NI, requiring local and geographical controls or lock-downs. The way some on the right are speaking and acting today must be similar to those who in late 1939, there being a lull on the western front, and few air raids over the UK, went on a late summer holiday to perhaps sit on a prom over-looking the barbed-wire and mined beaches, believing it would all be over by Christmas…

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Gosh you are going off on a 1939 re run Jerry.
      The extreme right again?
      You are getting further away from reality.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Your first para appears quite alarmist full of doom and gloom

      How does that fit with the past weeks deaths figures?

      Deaths UK 3, 5, 3, 12, 16, 6, & 2

      • jerry
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        @glen cullen; I was talking about infection rates, and yes I am alarmed at the rise, as indeed the govt is, hence why they keep adjusting local or national restrictions.

        For there to be a CV19 death there first needs to be a CV19 infection, and the more infections the more likelihood of a death.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          But if all those thousands of infections (reported in most cases like cold/flu) only result in 2 deaths out of a pop. of 68 million…is it a good measure ?

          Traditionally this country has hundreds of thousands with colds and flu every year – but no lockdown so why now?

          • jerry
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

            @glen cullen; Now you’re trying to compare Covid-19 to the common cold, what a vacuous argument you use.

            Even then you are wrong, back in the days when drugs were not so advances when (what we now regard as common) aliments were circulating in a locality indeed there were often local lock-downs, unnecessary gatherings stopped, schools shut etc. Covid-19 has thrown the world back to those times, get used to it, for now anyway until effective drugs are found or developed..

  17. Keith
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    We are strolling unconcerned into the greatest depression in British history and letting politicians claim it was because of a virus. A virus that is less deadly than flu. Mr Redwood, you and your colleagues have removed freedom, ruined millions of businesses, wrecked lives, caused more death through lockdown than have died (even with the faked figures) of the virus, threatened us with being tracked like slaves, threatened to force us to take untested vaccines made by companies with records that would make serial killers green with envy, divided friends and caused untold fear in the simple minded.
    They are many people that see through the constant brainwashing and recognise the ruling class for what they are – exploiters, charlatans and enemies of the people.
    The day you start forcing vaccinations there are those that will refuse and will come looking for the guilty. If you take away everything then they will have nothing to lose. I wonder if the enablers of this evil are ready for that.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      I believe that there are those with funds and access to power that will be quite happy to see a lot of private property come onto the market at very low prices. All the better to put illegal immigrants in and get a nice wedge from the government.


      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        According to one migrant speaking on video from a very nice hotel in the midlands, he is “waiting for his house.”
        As you say!

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Top comment, Keith.

    • DennisA
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Next month, the emergency powers are up for review, for a 2 year extension. How will Tory MP’s vote?

      I see little difference between ourselves and Belarus at the moment, except that large numbers of their citizens are protesting about the dictatorial government, unlike the currently Covid-cowed population of the UK. It was amusing to see the BBC reporter in the crowds in Minsk. He was the only one wearing a mask.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Yes I saw that too…. We will be looking at how you vote JR. Will you do what is right?


    • The other Christine
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      You are absolutely right, Keith. The way this pandemic has been politicised is an absolute scandal. This is part of a long term plan to control the populace with the ultimate goal of restoring socialism and perhaps ultimately communism. The work starts within the education system by brainwashing children and teenagers (tick), restrict people’s ability to move around (tick), put SMEs out of business by strangling them with red tape that global companies can absorb and now lockdown (tick), undermine our culture by destroying symbols e.g. statues and decolonising our history (tick) restrict people’s freedom to meet in groups (tick), imposing a green agenda that takes away people’s choice of transport, heating etc (tick), no platform anybody who doesn’t accept the ‘agenda’ (tick) and finally brainwash into thinking that this virus is dangerous and that vaccines are safe(tick).
      Job done!
      Except those of us who have eyes to see and ears to hear know exactly what’s going on and will not allow these shadowy and less shadowy figures to succeed. We may be silent but we are the majority.
      President Trump in his speech to the United Nations when he was elected spelled this out very clearly, which is why he has been attacked and vilified every day of his Presidency. Disgraceful. We can only hope that he wins another term.
      PS I strongly advise anyone who intends to be vaccinated against Covid 19 to first read up about 3rd generation vaccines, which is what some of these vaccines are.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I think the peak time for this chaos to start is November, the furlough will stop, sme companies will liquidate taking other good companies with them. Landlords will start to fail and need to sell properties quickly especially the little independents who are letting their owned home in order to rent elsewhere for a short term contract. My husband said from the start it is coming out of this that will be the problem. All due to coincide with Brexit.

      If cards are played right and Europe continues with their threats to cease trading sensibly with the UK and the threat to not British trucks on their roads we will need to create an awful lot of manufacturing jobs in the UK and start to support ourselves better and the SME’s the government will want to do this should start to be supported now, free trainees of those people losing jobs, supplementary apprentice (for all ages no discrimination) training one day a week in technical colleges or two evenings. We should be encouraging the people who make Kia vehicles into the UK, start up and encourage better van manufacturing specifically for our market, stop buying buses from other Countries and make them in the UK, same with ships.

      If Boris continues to keep his head down his record in the history books won’t be what he wished it to be, he needs to come back from his holiday refreshed and firing on all cylinders, surround himself with can do people instead of can’t do and stop filling up the Lords with remainers. He also needs to sort out the Lords, our asylum system and the financial support for legal aid lawyers (if they are required they come out of the International aid fund as should all accommodation for international assylum seekers currently supported in the UK).

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      +1, and heartfelt

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. 100%!

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I’m just not certain how your wish will be achieved when all the talk is of more spending.

    Grade inflation will increase spending, not decrease it.
    NHS pay rises including those who shied away from the front line.
    Your call yesterday for more investment in the railways when the revenues are pitiful.
    Furlough scheme – talk of extending it.
    Probably incentives to work along the lines of Work out to help out?
    Immigration increases requiring more infrastructure

    This is going to run and run.
    Your government works with carrots not sticks and carrots have to be paid for.

    Every special interest group will demand special treatment. Starting with students and teachers who couldn’t work out how to sit exams.

    The big question is how Sunak taxes businesses. If all the nasties return – business rates, corp tax increases, high NICs, NEST, then businesses will leave never to return. The only hope is a moratorium on all of these and associated regulations, the 2 year rule etc., to massively incentivise employment.

  19. Edward2
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Just take it anyway” say the person who recently defined his politics as a liberal conservative.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      That was meant to appear under Andy’s post.

    • NickC
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Edward2, Did Andy truly attempt to describe himself as a “liberal conservative”? Incredible! Just shows I only glance at his stuff. He actually comes across as a hard left bully who cares for neither the rule of law, nor democracy, but is besotted with a fear of growing old.

  20. Stred
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The furlough scheme was wide open to fraud. Many laid of workers who are able to home work have been paid at public expense and been preparing to return with projects finished or quietly sorting out administration or legal machinations for their employers. Other businesses have benefitted by taking over work from those forced to close. Home workers have saved money and would save even more if allowed to avoid paying for next year’s season ticket. The UK will lose productivity by going back to commuting and expensive offices in the dump. Capital gains tax without inflation relief is already so high that it prevents sales. It’s the highest in Europe. Tory politicians work for the treasury and the banks.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Other businesses have benefitted by taking over work from those forced to close.

      This is happening a lot in my industry. And as for fraud well, I know a few people who claimed Furlough money whilst still working. And for the record I have not claimed a penny from this government and wouldn’t.

  21. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Your tweet referencing reining in public spending was, predictably, attacked as a return to austerity (which never existed other than tax increases).

    I assume that you still support the infrastructure and spending budget that you exhorted earlier in the year so you must be referring to the additional public spending necessitated by your government’s shutting down of the economy to save the NHS.

    To be heard you need to be clear about this otherwise all we will hear from opponents is “austerity, austerity, austerity”

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      As an aside, I see no reason why we can not just print the Covid money. Demand has stalled so there will be no inflationary pressure especially if we remove that money again when the economy picks up again by reducing banks’ options to lend or calling in CCFF debts (there are companies using CCFF who are still paying dividends and bonuses).

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    JR: “The way to run a prosperous country is to allow people and companies the freedoms to make choices and supply needs given the demand and technology available.”
    Your colleagues in government have taken away our freedom and choice in many areas based on computer models and statistical manipulation which have exaggerated the direct effects on public health of CV19. This was either done deliberately to take more power to the state or in error which won’t be admitted and more harm will be done to cover the jobs and reputations of those concerned.
    This quote from George Orwell’s 1984 is again prescient:
    “There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler.”

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Should be compulsory reading for all schoolchildren.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      +1 Nicely put

  23. Mark B
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Whilst I do not disagree with our kind hosts view on Venezuela I think it is important to remember that the fall in oil prices did not help them, especially as that is there main export market.

    I am of the view that sound money is the key to a strong and prosperous economy. Sterling has over many years been falling against the US Dollar, the international reserve currency, and that has driven up the price of oil and gas and so, making things more expensive to produce. Borrowing, even with low interest rate, can be quite expensive and, our ability to service such debt affects Sterling and intern the economy.

    Norway has been a model example of how a country with such assets should be run. Others, notably the Gulf States, created Sovereign Wealth Funds whilst we, well we just spent it on creating an ever larger State. A State that has proven itself to be of poor value for our investment.

    The more features of economic life the government controls and interferes with, the more likely we are to suffer shortages, falling productivity, and financial problems.

    True. But alas this government seems very happy to do just that with gender quotas, minimum wage, diversity and so on. It tells us what to eat, drink, go, wear and do. And it is inconsistent about it. It is becoming increasingly desperate and authoritarian. It has given itself, and local authorities, unprecedented powers over us. Powers that might not ever be rescinded.

    We have witnessed the dark face of authoritarianism and what it must have been like living in the former East Germany. My view of my country, its administrators, people and institutions has changed, and not for the better.

  24. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, the country needs to get back to work….. SO, Let’s:
    – stop prioritising medical decisions that will ruin the economy;
    – stop the drivel and the constant PR we get on TV, from adverts to news that just emphasises this terrible thing that is attacking us – Time it was more realistic;
    – roll back those decisions that are harming the country.

    With the 2nd wave predicted/scheduled to kick in shortly, to make lockdown permanant, we have to make up our minds if we are going to die as a country, forever living in the shadows — OR truly confront the evil behind this virus.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      We need to confront the fact that the threat from this virus has been grossly overstated – that is where (and why) the ‘evil’ will be found.

    • DennisA
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      It seems they want a second wave, yet there is no evidence for it. The current rise in cases is the result of increased testing, seek and ye shall find.

      Hospitalisations and mortality are going in the opposite direction, demonstrating that there is far more immunity in the population than is acknowledged. I hate the term “herd immunity”. We are not cattle, although we have been treated as such.

      The disease is not spreading, it is where it has been for months, in population centres, possibly even before Christmas. The peak was the first week in April, yet here we are in August, still locking down.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink


    • forthurst
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      There is likely to be a resurgence of Covid-19 in the Autumn as the colder weather arrives; unfortunately, the person who has been put in charge of the Institute for Health Protection to mitigate this is someone with a PPE degree which is simply a highfalutin Politics degree. Why does the government believe that people like themselves will be successful at anything never mind something way outside their sphere of competence.

      • Zorro
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Show me the evidence that there will be a second wave anywhere near the first one….


        • Fred H
          Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Boris’ Government might be doing a second wave – – a Goodbye.

  25. villaking
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, the government’s continuing lockdown threats and continued lockdowns in certain areas maintains the unjustified fear amongst the populace and that is also a major factor behind the lack of productivity in both the private and public sectors. This is the true scandal of the past few months

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Villaking. Absolutley right. I am frightened to plan and pay for anything at the moment for fear of it being cancelled and monies lost. I despair.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink


      I believe the London centric Govt will continue to pursue and indeed enjoy random lockdowns of other parts of the country that may be recovering. This is another clear indication that it does not support levelling up. It will happen until the Govt has London looking like its old self.

  26. Nigl
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    We now read that COVID data re hospital admissions is corrupt. So presumably your governments actions are based on flawed information making their decisions wrong/unnecessary etc .

    Equally in the DT there is a well resourced informative piece on the exam saga making it quite clear the incompetence all round, Ofqual have put up a ‘Berlin wall’ to evade answering any questions.

    I have never heard so many people I know as normally reasonable, seething at the incompetence shown and the limpet like way ministers and quangocrats are clinging to their jobs when any one with an ounce of decency would have held their hands up and moved on.

    From inside knowledge, there is a clear view that PHE knowing their game was up, were determined to make life as difficult for Boris as possible with the wider civil service making him pay for Brexit. The deeply unimpressive Secretary of State is in total thrall to big pharma and the triumvirate led by Oxford University etc making the whole process ‘corrupt’ to the detriment of smaller, faster moving laboratories etc who have/might have game changing technologies.

    I look forward to your suggestions as to how to get out if this mess. As ever you will talk about rehabilitation but to do that, the ‘cancer’ needs to be expunged first.

  27. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    If the government/BoE has the ability to print money, because of high debt and so on — Shouldn’t I have that ability also to compensate for the ever increasing costs of just staying alive.

    Many basic supermarket items are rising in cost — but what really hacks me off is the unjustified price rises in everything from garage servicing, ETC, to every possible insurance product. Insurance companies always did take the pee annually by adding an extra £10 for no extra benefit ………. but now with CV as an excuse, they are really able to shaft us with excessive price rises.

    Shouldn’t the government be doing something to stop us being ripped off so badly!

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought that the genuinely Conservative response to your insurance conundrum would be to start your own insurance company, no? Wasn’t that what all the “entrepreneurial, self-reliant, independent” brexit stuff was all about?

      • NickC
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Will, That’s your feeble attempt at a strawman. Brexit means sovereignty, not isolation.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we need to invite foreign insurers in to our market to sell us their best cover Will.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Haven’t really used my car during the past 5mths (like most of the UK) but just had to pay an increased car insurance

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        @Glen ++

  28. ukretired123
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Tough times ahead and now we need to get work done come rain or shine before we all go to hell in a handcart!
    Tough love after a summer of loving the NHS and before folks take unfair advantage of the free handouts.
    Time to give back to the country who desperately needs you working to payback.
    There’s no free lunch and no money trees.
    Sorry “No money left” to quote New Labour’s Liam Burn 2010 / Boris 2020 to the EU.

  29. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I see the country going down the same path as Venezuala, with the electorate habitually voting for borrow and spend governments. The Labour government lost control of public finances in 2008 and the coalition and Tory government since has failed to close the deficit.
    Ancient Israel had a good way to deal with the debt. They had a Jubilee year every 50 years when all debts were cancelled by statute.

  30. Philip P.
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John

    You wrote on this blog on 25th March that ‘The only justification for the economic misery is that the measures save lives’.

    Well, now we know. We’ve had proportionally almost the highest death count in Europe and pretty much the worst ‘economic misery’.

    You are now able to say that lockdown measures are not justified.

  31. DennisA
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    “Build Back Better” is a UN mantra, being used all around the world. Boris has been spouting it even though he has little idea of its ramifications. Even Joe Biden is now using it for the multi trillion disaster that would be the the New Green Deal.

    As an aside, why is Boris always on a building site, wearing a hard hat for his interviews? Is he building back better?

  32. George Brooks.
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Your aims and ambition are absolutely right Sir John, but you need to stop wasting money and rid the Civil Service of it’s second rate inhouse technical departments. We have had two glaring examples in the last 3 months which have cost a lot of money and been acutely embarrassing to the government.

    The first was the Test & Trace app which quite rightly was scrapped. Google and Apple have now got their app being rolled for testing and it will work as they have all the knowledge in developing apps. Surprise, surprise it is multi lingual and these two organisations will make a lot of money selling it to other countries around the world and good luck to them.

    The second was the algorithm and Ofqual blocked the Satistical Society checking it when it would appear they thought it was flawed. If you are a top mathematician you would not be seeking a position in a quango but would be either in industry or at university.

    Reduce these inhouse departments down to the level of providing maintenance and when the need arises for innovation and development seek the best form the private sector. It will save tax payers money and the government a lot of flack from the media

  33. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I write this as a lifelong Conservative (with a couple of short breaks) from a deeply Conservative background.
    Is Boris fully recovered? He is not doing the things which he is extraordinarily good at: being optimistic, appearing on t.v. effectively, handling the press, choosing excellent people to work with.
    And he has not been doing it for a very long time.

    I realise that Q Fabius Cunctator (to a classicist like Boris) and his absence during the 2011 rioting are decent precedents for inaction.

    I guess, however, that Covid floored him and he has not yet got over it.
    Please do tell me I am wrong.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      floored him? – -I think you can’t bring yourself to write ‘Boris is not capable of making decisions or running the country’.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      If Boris did a Trump, give out optimistic noises he’d be flamed by the media just like Trump is on a daily basis.
      Put scientific advice into layman’s terms – slayed and falsely accused of saying he’d told people to ingest bleach – he NEVER said that the media did.
      Put out the advice scientists are giving you again in layman none political carefully scripted sound bites – slayed, to such a degree the drug he quoted is now off the table for discussion.
      Boris – Damned if he doesn’t, damned more if he does.
      It’s so bad I just don’t watch C4 News, BBC news, Newsnight, Question Time anymore. I can’t stand it.
      The media has its agenda, Boris blinked with the EU, he needs to be careful not to poke his own eye out next.

  34. glen cullen
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Forget the magic money tree this government has found the mystical money forest

    Let face it, in these difficult times if we can still fund foreign aid, HS2 and unknown billions to the EU …we must be the richest nation on the planet

  35. Everhopeful
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “that you can only do this once”….
    Maybe that is why the economy has never before been shutdown by the perceived threat of an infection.
    Obviously judging by many other false alarms, computer modelling does not work. Why would it?
    How can anyone or any machine predict exactly what a virus/germ/foreign power/ rogue politician/mad bull etc etc might do??
    So to pre-empt disaster actually creates a disaster.
    Which is why it is better to carry on regardless and take one’s chance.
    No wonder many are beginning to suspect the govt.’s motives.
    In a real emergency situation those who can HAVE to keep things up and running.
    Or at the end of it all who would be left?

  36. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Fully agree: the greenery stuff is now sooooo last year. I do not think the planet is coming to an end, just that the climate (as it always does) is changing. We also get winter and summer…

  37. NigelE
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    “rom a fairly poor 2.5 million barrels a day five years ago to a bare 400,000 barrels a day now”

    But Greta says this is good.

    And p.s.: do not ask the NHS to produce a full range of services: TELL THEM! Just who is running this country? The Govt or the NHS?

  38. John E
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I see that Reuters are reporting that researchers in Singapore have identified a less severe mutation of the Covid virus that causes milder infections and triggers a strong immune response. It spread there from Wuhan in the Spring but was suppressed in Singapore by the local containment efforts.
    This is the first evidence I have seen to back the idea that the virus could also be mutating to be less severe here. In general viruses thrive best by infecting as many hosts as possible without killing them.

    The variant detected in Singapore has a large deletion in it’s genome. So maybe it could be viewed as a type of natural vaccine? But I can’t help reflecting on the coincidence that such a major change spread from Wuhan.

  39. glen cullen
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Have the goal-posts changed, have you noticed that the government and media are talking about infection not deaths anymore – maybe because the deaths recorded are now so low – yesterday deaths UK 6 , France 12, Spain 16, Netherlands 10, Germany 10 and Belgium 7

    Why are we still in lockdown ?

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Update – today deaths UK 2

  40. Mary M.
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    ‘The way to run a prosperous country is to allow people and companies the freedoms to make choices . . .’. Thank you, Sir John. A voice of reason in this dystopian world.
    If the Government wants to get the economy going again, it must allow us to take responsibility for our actions, and let us decide for ourselves whether or not to wear a mask in shops.
    I seldom shop now because the pleasure has gone out of it. There’s no time for browsing let alone impulse buying. Judging by the greatly reduced number of shoppers, I suspect a lot of people feel the same way. This was especially noticeable from 24th July when masks became mandatory in shops. Before that, and after Lockdown restrictions had been eased, our High Street was buzzing with happy people, mostly giving each other a little bit of a wide berth where possible as they briefly passed.
    When I do make a quick foray into the supermarket, I don’t wear a face-covering. I haven’t got a medical condition, but inhaling my exhaled breath through a mask makes me breathless. This is what I calmly (and with a visible smile) tell the few people who look askance at me.
    I do go in with my mask hanging from one ear so that I can pull it across my face if a passing fellow-shopper looks terrified. But it’s easy to keep a 2-metre distance in the nearly empty shop. (My mask is no less hygienic than the ones I see pulled out of a pocket by shoppers on their way in.)
    I also tell them that the Government has gone beyond the WHO’s advice on mask-wearing for ‘healthy people in a community setting’. (See WHO website, updated 5th June 2020.) The WHO advised that non-medical masks may be worn by some ‘where a physical distancing cannot be achieved . . . e.g. social workers, cashiers, servers . . .’ (The WHO did not mention shoppers.)
    Another good start would be to repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020. In September it’s coming up for its six-month parliamentary renewal. On 25th March the Coronavirus Act 2020 became law (without a vote in the House of Commons). In the light of all new evidence, and with Parliament back after the Summer Recess, a repeal should take place. Then we can go back to living as free men and women, and we can be released from what feels at the moment like a police state.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Good post, Anne.
      We must repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020.
      So how will Sir John vote in September?
      [I note that my post of 8am this morning has yet to pass moderation, a post that mentioned the case for the latest judicial review against the government on the Coronavirus Act 2020 (‘… For these reasons the act is irrational.’), led by ‘The People’s Brexit’, with the acting solicitor Robin Tilbrook. (That information is on the Lockdown Sceptics website in yesterday’s article).]

  41. George Brooks.
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    This is off topic but another good example of wasted money whilst pandering to the soft lefties in our midst. Earlier this week a French politician blamed the UK for the flood of migrants crossing from Calais to Dover and a south coast MP went ballistic in rebuffing the French. He was totally wrong and the French are right, so look at it from this angle.

    You are an African migrant and you have spent months trekking across Africa and Europe to the north coast of France. You then spend weeks/months living in makeshift camps being harassed by the police and scrounging for food. The winter must be dreadful but then comes the better weather and with it a number of windless days.

    Twenty two miles away across the water lies free hotel accommodation and full board plus £30 or so a week spending money all provided in a country that is pretty lax in keeping track of you and where it is easy to earn money in the gig economy. All you have to do is get across that water to within 12 miles of Dover when maritime law kicks in and you will picked up and life in utopia begins.

    Photographs and glowing reports of life in the UK encourage thousands to follow the same route. The French are right, we are to blame.

    These illegal migrants should be locked up in our mothballed army camps while their claims for asylum are properly examined. It should be a humane prison environment where the migrants do all the domestic work under supervision. If their claim fails they should be shipped right back to their country of origin. They have jumped the queue and come here illegally so it is not unreasonable to curtail their freedom until their case is proven

  42. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Good post Polly.

  43. Caterpillar
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Mr Sunak has run a large number of ineffective and unethical policies. In the case of furlough, it could be argued that this was reasonable for a few week period, due to ease of implementation, not for more than half a year. Once Mr Hancock and the Govt, incorrectly pursued lockdown beyonf the initial three week period then Mr Sunak should have swapped to UBI – treating people equitably, encouraging mobility of labour and allowing firms to offer alternative contracts and eventually allowing a reduction in minimum wage etc.

    I believe the Sir John of 6th April !!!! ( was correct in saying that a 3 week firebreak was sufficient to allow NHS to prepare and that those not under sheltering should return to work but with enhanced hygiene. This turns out to have been correct, with England and Wales hospital deaths peaking on 8th April indicating support for these view. The catastrophic economic and educational effect of not restoring more normality by mid-April looks to be playing out. This will impact through limiting life expectancy gains and quality life years in just the same way as recovery from the global financial crisis did – this will be more life years than the predicted reasonable worst case of the Imperial group.

    Recently Mr Hancock has led the way on something! He has announced the end of PHE, and defended doing this now as it would be unjustifiable to wait. Here the PM can learn, it is unjustifiable to wait to get rid of Mr Sunak, Mr Hancock and maybe Mr Jenrick, Mr Williamson, Ms Truss and Ms Patel. Hopefully when the PM recamps back to No 10 he will act now – if he doesn’t it sends a very clear message, that Mr Hancock and Mr Sunak have been kept for this long is shocking enough.

  44. Diane
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    BOF – Similar situation judging by the cancellation of my hospital appointment by letter well in advance stating no face to face appointments would be taking place until further notice, then being contacted by phone 2 weeks prior to the originally scheduled appointment date ( told I had been scheduled for a phone appointment for the original date…. ) to see if I would accept a telephone appointment but one week prior to the originally scheduled appointment date, ( agreed to ) and at a proposed time, ( agreed to ) then staying in all day on the agreed day with no communication whatsoever despite my having called the hospital after 2hrs & 10 minutes after the expected phone appointment time to see if I should stay in for the rest of the day & await the call / appointment or if it had been cancelled ( still don’t know ) / could I go out ( I didn’t ) …. I am assuming this is not unusual.

  45. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Sir John, nicely timed as always.

    Lots of interesting views by your contributors as always. But as you should well know by now we have a fully fledge Socialist Government in power, their idea of how a country should be organized is to wait for the next narrative to come out from the MsM and then bend to it.

    Everyone(Chattering Class, Woke Community the Cancel brigade) but Government or for that matter the People of this country, get to create the agenda we are governed by.

    The UK would be running and achieving more ‘IF’ only the Government trusted the People.

  46. NickC
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    JR, MMT is no more than a state run Ponzi scheme for the whole economy.

  47. Iain Gill
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    been to the phlebotomy clinic. Saturday appointments have been stopped “due to Covid” forcing any workers to take a day off work just to get a blood test. everyone being sent to a large general hospital where the clinic is situated, to walk through that general hospital which is a massive cross contamination risk. once you get to the clinic you are held outside the building outdoors, as there is “not sufficient space inside to socially distance”, in a large outdoors space with masses of people all similarly waiting to have their blood taken. wait outside for a long time in the stormy weather. if you were not ill before you went you sure will be after this experience. this sums up for me everything that is wrong with the NHS. even with Covid they still think the model of sending all the sick people in town to one place to mix and spread their germs is the best way of organising blood tests.

    it doesnt happen like this in any other developed country.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Iain write to your local health board, this should stop, we used to have to do this to support a small hospital nearby, all treated like cattle waiting to be milked, the nurses all took a tea break together at the same time causing a serious backlog, first to arrive got the first slot and on, people queued from 7am for an 8am opening some earlier than that if they were having a fasting bloods taken, if you got sent there at 10am expect the blood test around 2pm oh and pay for the car park whilst you wait.

      If you had your health money to spend yourself you wouldn’t let them treat you like this, so why do we allow certain nhs clinics, do you think they do this in posh areas – no they don’t, its always the most socially deprived areas that get treated like this because people just shut up and take it.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        pointless writing, its happening in many parts of the country I know. the CCG and hospital trust managers can see it happening out of their windows. despite the Chancellor writing off all NHS debt they are still penny pinching, when it is obvious taking blood less centrally would be far better for everyone, and its not even cheaper if the accounts were done properly.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          I managed to persuade our clinic and health board to change.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            I see from some social media posts that in some parts of the country routine blood tests have been stopped altogether. Could not make this stuff up.

  48. NickC
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Polly, Given the poor build quality of China’s dams – and many other goods – I suspect that Hinckley C is unsafe to run at all.

  49. acorn
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Venezuela’s prob­lem began with large trade deficits result­ing large debts owed in for­eign currencies. Those deficits are the prod­uct of fun­da­men­tal eco­nom­ic short­com­ings, caused by previous corrupt governments.

    Hence Venezuela’s economy is unable to pro­duce enough food and ener­gy to meet domes­tic need, and they face struc­tur­al indus­tri­al and tech­no­log­i­cal defi­cien­cies. Because of this, it must import food and ener­gy, along with essen­tial man­u­fac­tur­ing inputs. For exam­ple, Venezuela lacks refin­ing capac­i­ty, so while it exports crude oil, it must import more expen­sive refined oil, con­tribut­ing to trade deficits.

    As the UK is discovering. import­ing more than it exports over long periods caus­es sovereign cur­ren­cies to depre­ci­ate rel­a­tive to major cur­ren­cies. Imports like food, fuel and med­i­cine become rel­a­tive­ly more expen­sive. This imbal­ance is the real dri­ver of infla­tion, and often of social and polit­i­cal unrest.

    Then the IMF turns up with emer­gency loans, aus­ter­i­ty and demand the expansion of exports to acquire for­eign cur­ren­cy to pay off exter­nal debt. When it should have promoted indus­tries that would build self-suf­fi­cien­cy and thus fix the trade deficit. Particularly food crops for domes­tic con­sump­tion and energy systems.

    The lack of self-suf­fi­cien­cy in Venezuela and to a lesser extent in the UK post Brexit, rein­forces the depen­dence on for­eign goods that caused the foreign currency debt in the first place. (HT: Fadhel Kaboub at In-These-Times)

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Venezuela was ruined by Marxist policies.

  50. Lester the Cynic
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I’ve been invited to renew my Conservative Party membership, in my view the Tory Party no longer exists….. what should I do?
    Any advice would be appreciated!

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      You think you’ve got problems, I still trying to find the conservative government that won the last election

    • Zorro
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Keep your money.


    • Fred H
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      you need our help? Will this indecision last until the next GE?

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      While the Tories have a lot to answer for, they are still the only real force against the left — Time all Tory MP’s woke up to this and fulfilled their responsibility.

      Other than that, Start your own party Lester – If you can find enough decent people that will not get drowned out by the damned socialists in our midst.

  51. Ian Wilson
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Spot on, Polly. Does Boris (or is it Carrie?) want to go down in history as the only person to wreck our economy twice?

  52. APL
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    JR: “and a further programme of Quantitative easing to make sure the government could borrow a large sum at low interest rates.”

    You mean insane and rampant inflation.

    JR: “If we look at an extreme example of Magic Money tree thinking we turn to modern Venezuela. ”

    It’s too late, we already are if not Venezuela, then Italy before the Euro. Today, I bought a packet of crisps. One packet of crisps – for 100 pennies.

    A similar packet in my youth would have been perhaps 2 pennies and you could have bought half a hundredweight sack of Potatoes for £1.

    • Stred
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      They have to pay Gary Lineker.

  53. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, it looks like the Brexit negotiations are going nowhere. Excellent. It will give this country the kick up the backside it desperately needs. But, before we get into a situation where the government needs to be on the ball and making quick, sensible decisions to keep everything going – can we have a new government please. The one we have is not fit for purpose with ‘incompetence’ at its core.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      While I agree with your general assessment I still believe this government will bottle it at the 11th hour and accept any deal with the EU….and report it as being the best deal ever for the UK

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        The EU and UK are locked in last-minute power play.
        A post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU “seems unlikely” at this stage, the bloc’s negotiator has said.
        Speaking after the latest round of talks, Michel Barnier said he was “disappointed” and “concerned”.(to use his words) at his conference once he’d finished his working breakfast.
        What he evidently found harder to digest was what he said was the British side’s ongoing disregard for the terms of the political declaration both sides agreed last year.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Whilst I agree with your description I believe this government has a history of caving in to the EU and will again in a dramatic fashion in December

          • NickC
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            Glen, I believe you are correct that Boris will cave in to the EU at the 11th hour.

    • turboterrier
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      Totally correct especially your last sentence. Like the previous parliament.
      Incompetence driven by ignorance which fuels arrogance because they believe they are above reproach

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      You voted for them I surmise, and any candidates which have to appeal to your kind will result in a similar mess, I think.

  54. Cuibono
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Worship of the NHS, almost as a national religion, blinds us to the failings of this Communist organisation. Its centralised command and control bureaucracy can never respond adequately to the needs of its captive “customers”, and its services will always be severely rationed. With the continuation of uncontrolled mass immigration, this rationing can only get worse. As Charles Moore recently pointed out in the Telegraph, the Germans do not feel the need to worship their health services, and as these are highly decentralised and feature mixed public and private provision, they are far more fleet of foot when it comes to responding to local needs and new health crises. Germans were not asked to “save” their health service (whatever that means), but conversely, they are expected to take personal responsibility for funding it through their taxes and health insurance contributions. This has to be the way forward for the UK – we all love “free” things, but look where “free” has got us.

  55. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  56. glen cullen
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    On the question of borrowing its being reported this morning that Liverpool City Council borrowed £25million to build nursing homes last year and engaged Shaw Healthcare under lease to operate the homes is set to shut after less than a year of operation, leaving 83 families scrambling to find homes. Shaw Healthcare told staff and families this week that it would be closing both homes due to an increasing number of vacancies since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

    Local councils shouldn’t be allowed to borrow money, the local tax-payers still having to repay £25m

  57. Otto
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    How far has US sanctions stymied Venezuela’s economy? The UK has sequestered its gold and is probably sanctioning it too. Some leaders don’t like a few individuals like Castro, Maduro, Saddam, Assad etc. but don’t mind crippling tens of thousands of innocents in their need for food and medicines, some to death. We are so wonderful.

    I have heard that in the past week Israel has bombed Gaza every night for that week. I have heard nothing of it in the media – so has that happened or not?

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Otto. Often a lot of nasty Western power-propaganda that shames our supposed Christian values to love thy neighbour and to help the world’s poor.
      Too, we don’t hear much in this country about how this ‘save the nice middle-classes’ lockdown is creating death and destitution in both this country, and more so in the Third World.

    • NickC
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Otto, Venezuela’s economy is a basket case because of socialism. It always happens. And when it does socialists always find excuses for it.

  58. JoolsB
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    No better place to start getting back to work than politicians cancelling their summer recess and returning to parliament immediately. Lead by example. Then do not ask but TELL the six or seven million who work for the state to get back to their offices. Of course they will carry on working and skiving from home on their full salaries and perks and pensions. As usual it is the wealth creating private sector who will be the net losers of the lockdown and this Government’s incompetence.

  59. Freeborn John
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s decision time for the U.K. EU negotiations. Boris previously said he didn’t want talks extending past June and then end of summer. Failure to walk away now will be interpreted in Brussels as a signal that the U.K. will always back down in the end and encourage their intransigence. British business needs certainty as to trading terms in January in order to make final preparations. That is infinitely more important than chasing a will of the wisp deal that the EU will enjoy pulling away at the last minute.

    • Harka
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      The final walk away will be 31st December. The EU know this and that after a few years UK will be back again knocking on the door- or the side window

      • Freeborn John
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Dream-on Harka ; the U.K. will NEVER rejoin the EU. No doubt you were one of those saying we would eventually join the euro after the initial decision not too. The pro-EU/€ causes are busted flushes never to rise again.

  60. David Brown
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Why keep on about railways ???. The vast majority of people want railways – the balance is how to mange. Your inference suggests rightly or wrongly you don’t like railways and would sooner cut the track capacity massively.
    Railways are part of the economic recovery solution and without them the economy will not fully recover. They are the life arteries of this country.
    Criticism of cars and traffic jams would be better.
    Cutting public expenditure is not a way to keep voters – especially those in working class area who elected the Conservative majority.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Where is your statistics that prove the vast majority want railways?

  61. mancunius
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, What this authoritarian socialist government needs is a *Tory opposition* energetically supporting the interests of the private sector.
    I (self-employed sole trader) have received not a penny from the government, and currently have no professional income: my clients have no work to offer me, as they are prevented by government legislation from operating.
    Outside in the gardens I see completely inactive, furloughed employees who’ve been happily sunbathing and playing badminton for several months, their salaries and mortgages covered, their limitless free time now taken for granted, their will to return to work zero.
    What is the point of private enterprise, when MPs throw it under a bus, while collecting a salary increase for yourselves as tax-funded state employees? Your government has merely taught the nation that any dead-end job in the non-productive unionised state or public sector is the only way to go.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      My sympathy to you Mancunius, we just moan on the sidelines and no attention is paid to our concerns. Anger is building over the inequality – serious inequality.

      Women working, earning and paying full tax and so called ‘national insurance’ for over thirty years told no universal credit for them because of their husbands furlough money, and savings for their retirement because private pensions cant be relied on, still the same outgoings as they had with two wages coming in.

      People working full time, pulling out all the stops listening to people whinging about being asked to go back to work, only getting 20% more pay during all of this.

      Full pay for none working public sector workers furloughed, not furlough pay with the max £2500 pm why? Why are they different?

  62. rose
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    The Government have caved in on
    1 Charging foreigners for the administration costs of processing their applications for permanent residence
    2 Charging foreigners a contribution towards their use of the NHS
    3 Free food for children in the school holidays
    4 Teachers’ assessments of their pupils’ work
    5 Banning evictions

    I have probably left out a few more. All these things add up to a large cost on the public purse, besides discrediting the Government in the eyes of responsible people. I don’t suppose any of the beneficiaries of this weakness will vote for the Conservatives as a consequence.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Will anybody who is actually a Tory in the conservative party please take one pace forward and identify yourself

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        a stunning silence?

      • turboterrier
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        glen cullen

        No worries there Glen over social distancing because you will definitely not have too many invading g your space.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      +1 – but they have little alternative but to vote Tory given the systems that pertains and the appalling vision of Labour/SNP. At best perhaps 100 Tory MP are fairly sensible. But then nearly all of these voted for the hugely damaging climate change act. They even support this lunacy: The UK’s 2050 net zero target — one of the most ambitious (damaging) in the world — as recommended by the unscientific idiots from the Committee on Climate Change.

  63. David Brown
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh and on a totally different subject, Ive been seeing press reports about the PM away on holiday during the current series of problems.
    The reports make it seem as if he has left the country for some hot climate and sipping Tequila under palm trees.
    The reality appears to be that he is sort of camping in Scotland and braving the elements, Im sure he is well aware of events and in daily contact, he has not even left Britain just London.
    Some times I don’t understand the press – there are more important stories than the PM camping with his family in Scotland

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      A bell tent isn’t my idea of camping. You can’t help but live in shit order in one of those.

      It may look fashionable but the practicalities don’t match a decent tunnel tent. Bad choice. BAAAD choice.

      Rant over.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        He had to leave as there was a security breech

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      They have been vile about this. It is dangerous to have a PM who never has a holiday and there is no good time to have a holiday, not even in mid August. That is why we have a Cabinet and a DPM, and telephones, and why the PM, as you say, has not left the country.

  64. XYXY
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    “I argued here and elsewhere for generous furlough and income support schemes for those who were prevented from working by laws and guidance.”

    Sadly, that doesn’t seem to have happened.

    The rules HMRC are applying originally said that you needed to be a member of a PAYE scheme prior to 19th march 2020.

    But now… they say that to qualify for furlough payments you had to make a RTI submission in the 2019-20 tax year prior to 19th March.

    This is actually unfair. There is a group who pay themselves annually, when they know what funds are available. The deadline for submission is the end of the tax year, 5/4/20.

    So anyone who submitted their RTI between 19/3 and 5/4 is now being told that they are not eligible for payment, even when they have been a member of their PAYE scheme for decades.

    In some cases, when they were not able to do it via the web site, people called the HMRC helpline and the agent submitted the claim. Different agents responded to this differently, some that were paid are now being clawed back by HMRC as “payments in error”.

    This is a disgrace. the self-employed are being treated abysmally, as ever.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget governments instruction to banks etc not to pay any dividends to shareholders

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Seems that you self-reliant types want a Nanny State after all.

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

        Martin, On the contrary, we don’t. But when we get the nanny state we oppose, the least it needs to be is fair to all.

  65. DrPeterVC
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I too wholeheartedly agree. It was Big Bang deregulation that transformed London into the financial powerhouse that helped to drag the country out of the doldrums of union power and strikes of the 70s and early 80s. We need similar blue sky thinking as we leave the EU to transform the country. Deregulation of many of the EU rules that specifically favour German manufacturers and French farmers could help to revitalise those businesses outside London and drive the level up agenda. Stop wasting money in the great infrastructure money pits in London. There is plenty of great talent in the country just waiting to be unleashed.

    Also don’t forget we need to fund a “fit for purpose” national education system to help develop young talent to achieve for themselves and the country!

  66. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I heard today that ,if you borrowed a million pounds every DAY – from the time the pyramids were built, you would now owe 2trillion pounds. I thought ‘that can’t be right’ – but it is. 2 trillion is 2 million,million. So, a million a day for 2 million days. And 2 million days is 5,479 years.

    So, our government has effectively been borrowing a million pounds a day for FIVE AND A HALF THOUSAND YEARS.

  67. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 21, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    More pissing borrowed money away. The A303 is going into a £300 million tunnel by Stonehenge. Why on Earth you don’t just make it dual carriageway baffles me. Are you drunk on borrowing?

    REply. I tried to get them to route the Road on the surface with a swerve away from close proximity to Stonehenge with compensation for the local farmers – a much cheaper option. This was rejected.

    • Stred
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      It will also require permanent lighting for ever, requiring energy which is increasingly scarce and expensive. English Heritage and the Druids have more influence on the Conservative government than costings. Presumably they are not planning to remove the pig farm as well as the road.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 22, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. It would be nice to see an MP such as yourself on the 6 o’clock news, at Stonehenge, pointing out that governments have been borrowing a million pounds a day since those lumps of rock were put there and it has to stop.

      Pick the rocks up with a crane and resite them half a mile further from the A303.

      Or, put a fence, or berm, next to the A303 so people can’t slow down to gawp at the stones and to cut down the noise.

      And we all know the 300 million estimate will be at least half a billion in reality.

      Reply No tv offers to do that!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        This poster is entirely serious.

        • NickC
          Posted August 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Martin, Unlike yourself, of course.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            Johns’ Frivolity Filter never sleeps, Nick.

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    We might do well to take another look at the benefit cap under Universal Credit, currently £20,000, or £23000 in London (unless it has gone up).

    If a person works 2000 hours per annum at the national minimum wage of £8.72 per hour, that’s an annual income of £17,440. To avoid moral hazard, the maximum income for not working at all should be substantially less than that and a person should be able to keep a fair proportion of that if he/she gets some part time work. The Government must make it pay to work.

    Women who have young children and whose husband walks out are in a very difficult position. The Government should chase down these men and make them pay towards the upkeep of their wives and children (incidentally, “First families come first” is a good motto). “What’s it got in its pocketses?” should be the question, asked relentlessly. It’s simpler in these days of genetic testing, when paternity can be proved.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      £20,962.50 Full Time London Living wage – £10.75 ph x 37.5 pw and that is gross, so someone on UC in London – not being required to work one hour gets so much more than a full time worker to pay for their accommodation, extras now for food for their children, more calls for free money, they got £1000 extra at the start of the lockdown – I’m surprised so many people are working, look at the areas in London before lockdown who weren’t working, many of these areas in zone 1 it is shameful we let people get away with this without expecting them to train, do community work whilst children are at school (minimum), look after others in their community instead of just selfishly expecting support for nothing – this sort of support should last six months only and that is if they have a contribution of national insurance behind them.

  69. Ian
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    We are lucky to have our host John Redwood, sadly he is kept away from positions in this broken Government , people like him are by design kept away from being able to help this Nation, with simple common sense.
    This Nation has been hi jacked by the Remainers who wield the power.
    They are working to crush this this G B .
    You only have to look at the mess they are creating systematically , in full view of all of us.
    Broken business broken lives, Liberty taken away deliberately still bringing in illegal migrants.
    As I said before no one is this incompetent , if they are not careful people will suddenly realise just what has been going on in the name of Democricy
    Our only hope is that the Brexit Party will be able to put things right .
    The Country and all it ever stood for will be no more if we do nothing, and it will be our fault for letting it happen ?
    Wack up England, start complaining to your MP

  • 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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