The economic damage of lock down

Whilst the official advisers seem to find forecasting the possible incidence of the virus and trends in future cases of the disease difficult, there is considerable agreement amongst economic forecasters that the anti virus measures are very damaging to jobs, output and incomes.

The latest proposed England lock down, allied to the lock downs already in force in other parts of the UK are particularly bad news for jobs and businesses in entertainment, hospitality, tourism, leisure, sport , travel and shop retail. Around one quarter of our economy will be subject to bans on trading altogether or will be trading in very restricted circumstances to comply with anti CV 19 requirements.

The damage will be mitigated by the extension of the Furlough scheme for another month, allowing 80% of the wages of people employed in affected sectors to be paid by taxpayers rather than by employers. There will also need to be more easy terms loans for struggling businesses losing some or all their cash flow owing to bans and controls.

The need for an Exit Plan is however paramount. We all need this to have something to look forward to. Businesses need it to know it is worthwhile borrowing, making do and bridging over a further period of lockdown. They need reasonable certainty that come next year they will be able to trade well, so keeping together expensive teams of people and maintaining plant and properties is worthwhile because they will trade again as they used to.

The immediate task is to seek to ameliorate the rules and controls, given the Opposition’s intention to support the lock down on any vote we might get. The questions include

Can outdoor sporting facilities be used rather than all closed? The changing rooms and club houses could be shut to avoid larger gatherings indoors.

Can pubs and bars run an off licence trade with home delivery so they have some drinks turnover, as well as being allowed to sell take away food?

Can specialist shops which sell home items be allowed to open to compete with the multi purpose food led supermarkets?

Can Garden Centres be allowed to keep open their outdoors areas with the sale of a range of items for growing food, food, home care and gardening with allowance of some trading under awnings or with plenty of through fresh air flow? Their stock is perishable.

When will the government press further with advice to allow adaptation of buildings to extract air rapidly to allow more indoor use with low risk of concentrated and infected stale air harming people?

The large increased costs to taxpayers of the railways and other public services, allied to the large subsidies needed for private sector business and individuals banned from working, cannot be sustained indefinitely. I am all for spending enough whilst the controls last, but there does have to be a recognition that we cannot go on like this through more cycles of relaxation and lockdown. It also needs to be understood that with this second national lock down we will lose more jobs and businesses permanently. In more cases their debts become too high and their owners will lose confidence in the longer term viability of businesses gravely damaged by these policies.

I remain critical of the wild ranges of the official forecasts and the highly selective and variable data being used to justify this policy.

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  1. Pominoz
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    An exit plan is not at all necessary – a majority of MPs simply need to use basic common sense and vote against the lockdown on Wednesday.

    I take it from your article today, however, that you do not believe there are sufficient members of the House with an IQ high enough to understand the folly of what is now proposed.

    I was a Boris enthusiast, but everything that is nowhappening suggests that he has lost the plot. He needs to grow a pair as failure to do so will see the Conservatives out of office for decades, particularly if Lawrence Fox and Nigel Farage collude to form a ‘proper’ conservative-thinking party to chalenge at the next election.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      This will be very soon.

      Forget about the next general election.

      Those to be made unemployed will make sure that this country is ungovernable.

      BLM will be a tea party by comparison.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        Boris will use the virus to renege on Brexit.
        Its god given for him to back track.
        There was always going to be a lockdown and he’s delayed it as long as possible so he can keep us indoors under control after 31st December.
        Heed my words.

        • Simeon
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          No excuse was needed. It was the plan all along, and it secured a democratic mandate at the last election when people voted Tory. It should be abundantly clear by now that Brexit and its handling is the least of this country’s problems, and that the solution is radical.

        • BOF
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink


        • Ian @Barkham
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Just hope we find a Tory party once more

        • Hope
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Ian, Sadly leaked reports say Frost has caved in on fishing allowing access for another year until it can be resolved!

          I think people will quite rightly take to the streets. And so they should.

          • Old Salt
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            “caved in” means we are not really leaving.
            Over four years and we are still in virtually the same situation minus our contributions with no representation which is a worse situation than we were before the referendum. The EU has us just where they want us along with all the uncertainty causing such further damage to our economy.

            ECHR -how many more years under the thumb – up to a decade? By then who knows what will have happened.

            Compromise – no compromises whatsoever thank you. What compromise on the way in?

            I hear plus five more years EU fishing our waters. Of course our fishing fleet now decimated to only a small fraction of our economy thanks to the EU.

            Did I hear the EU would not accept any of our fish there not being a deal. I say call their bluff. Where is our Donald or Nigel.

            Many are seeing the light and following another party whose leader won the last European election by an overwhelming margin and will do so again in the UK following such incompetent procrastination by the incumbent some say by intent.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Just been reading that we have caved in to fishing by letting the EU rape our waters indefinitely.
          I’ve just fired off £25 ,to Nigels new Reform Party.
          Enough is enough.

          • M Davis
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

            I’m convinced, I will do the same!

          • M Davis
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            Done and dusted! I’ve had enough!

        • Mitchel
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          A looming Biden victory,if the polls are correct,may also be influencing things.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            That would be very depressing. Trump policies (for all his faults) are far better for the USA, the UK and the World. He has at least seen through the climate alarmist lunacy, want cheap energy, tax cuts and deregulation..

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          He certainly should use the virus to renege on the insane HS2 project and the net zero carbon and renewable energy subsides.

          • JohnK
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            Mr Logic:

            I agree that is what the world king should do. But he won’t. He seems to be a paid up member of the Agenda 2030 world government mob. If he is not taking instructions from them, he is doing a very good impression of a man who is.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        yep I agree turning the wealth earners, the outstanding citizens, the people who make things work despite not because of the bureaucracy, the solid heart of decent society who generally tolerated but disliked the ruling classes… into people with nothing to lose, with time on their hands, its not going to be predictable or pretty but there are going to be some massive changes in society. people are simply not going to put up with the ruling public school oxbridge class, they are not going to put up with the rubbish public sector pushing them around. all bets are off. that there is no representation in parliament for many of the most common decent mainstream views has become a bigger problem than ever.

      • BOF
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink


    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Pom the idea of a new party emerging really excites me. It is sorely needed.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Yes. I’m afraid my vote is no longer available for the tory party which is now Labour lite.
        I really tbought Boris would do the necessary but utter disappointment.
        Welcome Nigel, let’s hope Trump succeeds.

        • Hope
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          Shame on all those who voted for this fake Tory party after four long years of betrayal and treachery by Mayhab.

          With five years of heir to Blair before this! How many times do you hit your head before you realise it hurts? Keep on convincing yourselves it will not be as bad as the last TEN years!FFS.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            You can only take the best option Hope. Are you suggesting Labour would have been better?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Dear Pom–Hathaway is or was great but I am not so sure about Fox

      • Pominoz
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink


        Hathaway was great support for Lewis. Laurence Fox could prove the same for Farage.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Dear Pom–I don’t think the logic is there to support what you say–I read Fox’s views on his new party but didn’t think much of it–After all he is just an actor, not even a football player

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            Fox has a very large following on Facebook. Don’t dismiss him.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          After 25 years an an open goal, and you still pin your hopes on Farage?

          • No Longer Anonymous
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            The next leader of the UK isn’t even in politics yet.

            Cometh the hour cometh the man.

            The hour is nearly upon us.

          • Hope
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            And you,pin yours on Johnson! You stated the other day he is ranked along Blair, Major and May! He is hated much earlier in his term of office than any of them and Brown!

            Wait until his capitulation in Brexit.

            For good measure his current action has, once again, bolstered the idea that Sturgeon is way ahead of the game compared to him! Johnson is incapable of thinking beyond his zipper.

            His exit strategy- hope the R rate comes down! Using his illogical unscientific view why not base it on snowing at Christmas?

          • Fred H
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            What else do we pin our hopes on?
            We’ve had it with Dave, Theresa and now Boris.

    • Simeon
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      There can only be an exit plan if there are a majority of MPs to support it. In the previous Parliament, there was no majority for Brexit. So there was a General Election. Of course, the same old parties were on offer, which is why we have BRINO. An exit plan from the virus requires another General Election. This is necessary, though not sufficient, because there also needs to be a genuine alternative, and enough people then need to vote for it.

      The chances of this are virtually nil. However, these chances would be significantly improved if a decent chunk of Tory MPs left their old party and made it clear that the remaining Conservatives are part of the problem, not the solution. But again, the chances of this happening are virtually nil. The truth is simple and clear; to remain in the Conservative Party is to remain a part of the problem.

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        “remaining Conservatives are part of the problem, not the solution.“

        The problem is Simeon that not many of them were Conservatives to begin with. They masquerade as Conservatives to get our vote but are mostly socialists in reality.

        • Simeon
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          And it’s worse than that. Even those who might have sensible instincts are diluted in the pool of socialism, drops in the ocean. They do that rather than work for genuine change and to offer a genuine alternative.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Today’s Daily Telegraph article: “Exclusive: Nigel Farage to relaunch Brexit Party as Reform UK, a new anti-lockdown platform”.

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        We need to put our faith in him next time and vote for him. No more if we vote for Farage it will let Labour in. No difference between the two main parties now.

    • BOF
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Your lack of insight and very poor judgement are demonstrated by every post that you make.

      It’s hardly surprising that you regret your decisions then.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      “An exit plan is not at all necessary – a majority of MPs simply need to use basic common sense and vote against the lockdown on Wednesday.”

      It could happen If only MPs with English seats got to vote on it. There might be enough Tory MPs to overturn it. But unfortunately The SNP will almost certainly vote in favour as will the DUP. (More money for them if England goes into lockdown.) John and his fellow anti-lockdown colleagues will be fuming but as usual will not utter one word of protest if the lockdown in England only goes ahead thanks to 117 interfering MPs from outside England. Why the media don’t jump up and down over this is a disgrace.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        There are not.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        It is an English lockdown – there is no reason for any MP from outside England to vote. EVEL does not get much clearer.

    • Christine
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      A fantastic speech from Nigel Farage, as he launches his new Reform anti lockdown party. The Conservatives need to start worrying for their future.

      • Andy
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Why? Might Farage actually beat the dolphin next time around? No offence but a man who has failed to bell elected to Parliament on 7 occasions – despite the fact that he has his own private press fan club and he is probably the most interviewed politician on the BBC – isn’t really a threat to anyone.

        Sure – 20 to 25% of the electorate might love Farage but you underestimate how much the rest of us loathe him and all he stands for.
        And, frankly, there are many more of us than there are of you. So waste your money on him if you like – an eight time loser is even sadder than a seven time loser.

        • Christine
          Posted November 3, 2020 at 12:30 am | Permalink

          Someone who started a new party and within a few weeks won the European election has a pretty good track record. Also if you loath him he must be good for our country. The fear of Corbyn provided the Conservatives with their landslide victory. This won’t happen next time.

    • Pominoz
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      News now that sounds as though Boris is caving in on EU demands on fishing.

      God help the Conservatives if this proves to be correct!

    • Dan R
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I too, a Boris enthusiast. I too, think he has lost the plot. Government has never shown any grip on the virus. Like JR mentions, too much selective data. Maybe I’m too simplistic but the graph was relatively flat until the Uni students went back 3rd week of Sept. To me it’s the aerosols, ventilation and treatments. Not full lock down. Conservative voters will have also noticed the dire amounts of money into the failed test and trace. Farage et al will be onto that like a brick on mortar.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      A proper Conservatve party should be for far smaller goverment, far lower taxes, a bonfire or red tape, no HS2, a real brexit, no lockdowns, real freedom and choice, cheap energy, no war on plant food CO2, quality immigration only, no woke lunacy and law and order with real deterrents for real crimes.

      But it is the Conservative Party that needs to become this. A new party has zero chance with FPTHP voting as we saw with UKIP and The Brexit Party.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        First past the post rather FPTP.

    • J Bush
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Johnson who has been repeating the World Economic Forum sound bites for a global government, doesn’t believe there is any need to worry about the preservation of the conservative party, because, wouldn’t’ that be surplus to requirements?

      All a global government would need is a representative of the UK colony…

  2. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    But why aren’t you questioning the secrecy of the dossier which forced this decision ?

    This is a disease. Not an intelligent enemy with a secret service that we have to worry about walls with ears.

    Oh. I get it. It’s we who they’re worried about seeing the dossier.

    Is it acceptable in any way that four men should be making this decision in private ?

    Why do you seem to have accepted this lockdown and finally…

    “Very damaging to jobs…” has to be the underestimation of the century.

    This is civilisation threatening stuff and we have a buffoon in charge who (as emanated from a certain abode) is ‘spoilt’ can’t control how he spends his money, how he raises his kids, how he keeps his willy in his pants, what he puts in his mouth nor what comes out of it*.

    U turn after bloody U turn.

    *In his own words Boris said that a second lockdown would be economically catastrophic. That was only two weeks ago.

    Sweden and Japan have shown the way without lockdowns.

    • Nigl
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      The usual cliched response. Why pick on only two countries to make your point rather than the umpteen going the other way? I guess you think it proves your point because it doesn’t, as ever with so many of the contributions, too simplistic.

      Have you considered why, of course not easier to churn this stuff out.

      It could be cultural differences and social responsibility. Certainly Japan is a highly structured and disciplined community and to a lesser extent Sweden, a very mature country.

      Maybe you should look closer to home and instead of blaming your pet hates, blame the lack of personal responsibility in the U.K. people ignoring distancing and face mask rules?

      No one I know has had this thing because they have been careful. If everyone had done the same, we would not be in the mess we are in.

      • BW
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Absolutely correct.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        No-one I know has had this thing either. The whole thing has been a total and hysterical (media driven) overreaction. It makes one question having a free media when their insatiable demand for headlines and ‘news’ generates panic and fear. Look at them whenever there is an accident or natural catastrophe. They can’t get enough of it. Over and over again, the same hyped up and exaggerated response pumped out 24/7.

        I’m a lot calmer and happier since I got rid of my TV licence and stopped watching the news.

      • IanT
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Yes, I’m afraid we know of people giving wrong identities or phone numbers, working whilst on furlough, mixing in large family groups (“It won’t be a problem, it’s just this evening”). This is not hearsay but people we actually know, who in private freely admit to this.

        They don’t see the harm in “small” breaks in the rules – but if everyone is doing the same (and I suspect it’s widespread) then it all adds up. So whatever systems are put in place, if they are ignored or abused – then it’s hard to see how they can ever work.

        I think the only thing to do is let people choose their risk/exposure level (they seem to be doing this anyway) and get back to as much ‘normal’ as possible. The only certainty otherwise is that we are all going to hell in a bucket together.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Nigl, Agreed –

        “blame the lack of personal responsibility in the U.K.”

        700 people at a “rave” near Bristol over the weekend 🙁

        Should schools remain open?

        Track & Trace should be giving us this information and it’s not…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Sweden and Japan do not have significantly infantilised and cretinised populations.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        😂😂the reverse!

      • Richard1
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        A very revealing post. No wonder you lot keep losing.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Secrecy is necessary in order to protect the state from allegations of incompetence; it is also necessary so that all the Arts graduates that run the government and the civil service can create an artificial sense of superiority over oi poloi. What happened after Cynus? Nothing. Were we told? No, because of ‘national security’.

      In Germany, the Robert Koch website prints all the state secrets about their epidemic. Germany also introduced an Infection Protection Act (IfSG) in 2001 to address the need for a strategy to deal with potential communicable pathogens and the responsibilities of relevant stakeholders. What do we do in this country? Have yet another reorganisation of the NHS bureaucracy in 2013.

  3. Andy
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    The same economic forecasters who predict severe long term problems from Covid have – and still do – also predict severe long term problems from your Brexit.

    Why are you all so bothered about what they are saying now when you have spent the last four years insulting their expertise and insisting they are wrong?

    • BW
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Because they have been wrong. All the predictions following the vote by the doom mongers have been wrong. I am sure you will find one to throw in my face but in general from the Bank of England to the IMF they were wrong.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink


    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Economists! The ultimate snake oil salesmen. Why are economic forecasts invariably wrong! Have you forgotten the predictions of immediate recession, nay depression, before the referendum by ‘respected’ economists?

    • agricola
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Brexit of itself offers a multitude of options to expand our footprint in world trade. It also puts us in absolute democratic control of our own destiny. Covid offers only two options. Deal with it by preventive measures as now and vaccinate in the near future or carry on as if it did not exist and take the consequences. The economists on Brexit have a political axe to grind like you, whereas those on Covid tend to look at the effect of ceasing productive activity or what happens when you turn the tap off. A very big difference I would submit.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      There are different forecasts for the effects of Brexit. Unsurprisingly they tend to correlate with whether the author was or wasn’t in favour of Brexit.

      I agree with Merryn king – Brexit on its own won’t make mush difference either way economically. What will matter is policy followed as a result.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink


    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Inclined to agree.

      I voted Brexit with hardship in mind but with faith in a confident and energetic nation.

      The situation has changed markedly.

      I might even get to bloody like you, Andy.

    • ukretired123
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Andy You have identified yourself “for years insulting” ad nauseum.
      What a joke you are enjoying other people’s misfortunes to boost you self-ego tripping shallow life. Pathetic indeed.

    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    This is nothing less than Marxism writ large. A huge expansion of State control over all life both public and private.

    I suspect there are more laws to come in England targeting freedom of expression as we now see in Scotland and no doubt a national basic income to generate state dependency and control

    There is a huge opportunity here for a libertarian party to come to the fore and build for the next GE and expose the Tory-Labour-union authoritarian construct that is now taking full control of our lives

    The English are yearning to be free of the fascist left and the cultural Marxist attacks on this nation using their various odious abuse of human and religious identity

    • BeebTax
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink


      A libertarian party could hoover up the Red Wall as well as many classically liberal Tories. The authoritarian/libertarian spectrum is becoming more important than the left/right paradigm.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      True. But it is necessary to ‘replace’ a dead party as Labour replaced the Liberals (in essence). Don’t you know that yet? We need a viable option, not bandwagon one issue (it’s now lockdown) Farage. Fox had a better strategy. But until JR and his like join them. No chance.
      PS for this to work, it is imperative that we have FPTP.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      It’ll be us eating dogs and bats… if we can find any.

      That’s what Marxism always leads to.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink


    • Old person
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      If you are waiting for a Libertarian party to be elected to give you back your illusions of freedom, you will be in for a very long wait. What share of the votes did Mr Farage gain in the past, and how many MPs were elected?
      The flaw in your argument seems to suggest that you want a new party to govern you.
      When your parents registered your birth you became a serf. They consented for you to be governed – nobody ever asked you when you were older for this consent.
      What is this freedom? You need to work to feed yourself and family and provide shelter. That is all you need. The rest, holidays, going to restaurants, buying a new car, having more than one car, enjoying a hobby, maxing credit cards is icing on the cake. You effectively enslave yourself. Burden yourself with a mortgage, student loan, etc..
      Ten years ago if someone said “Smoking in pubs and restaurants are to be banned”, you would have laughed. One year ago if “Pubs and restaurants are to be closed and no football”, you would have said never, ever possible.
      Any system of government can be tolerated if it does not oppress the individual.
      The handling of Brexit has been mediocre to abysmal. The handling of the SARS-COV-2 has been mediocre to abysmal. The statistics presented to the public and the secret SAGE reports are a disgrace.
      The government no longer counts each individual as one, but as a fractional financial worth/liability like cattle.
      What annoys me is that, if someone down my road gets into financial difficulties, the rest of the road is not expected to bail them out. The government certainly does not have my consent to borrow money or devalue the pound with their actions.
      How long before we need a passport and internal visa to visit London – just like visiting Moscow in the Soviet Union.
      If you want your freedom, just say you are free and withdraw your implied consent to be governed and muddle through using your own common sense.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      I doubt Unite would have screwed Corbyn into doing what the TWITTY scientists have done with Boris & co.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        It wouldn’t have been necessary.

        Labour would have acted immediately on the advice of WHO and warnings from Italy – but even with mere hundreds of dead instead of scores of thousands they would still have been excoriated by the Tory press.

        But speed is everything.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          So you are claiming Labour would have locked down the UK at a time when there were hardly any deaths.
          Before UK scientist advisors advised lockdown.

          Even a few weeks later the Government came under great criticism for locking down.

        • Fred H
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Advising Corbyn on his memoirs are you?

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    You have cavved.

    Conservatives are toast now, it’s a zombie government.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      The numbers, Starmer + eccentric ‘Tories’ are impossible to overcome. Parliament is all about numbers, not wishful thinking.
      Have you delivered your MP btw? Or have you ‘caved’?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        sure they will get it through on Wednesday

        but they wont be able to win another election

        and many decent people will be actively scheming to bring them down using any means possible

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      deranged scientists who present fixed graphs of doom are not zombies – far from it.

  6. Mark B
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The need for an Exit Plan is however paramount.

    You would have thought that they would have had one by now ? But I seriously doubt it and I am not going to hold out for one.

    It is becoming more and more obvious that someone else is pulling the strings, otherwise, why just blindly follow the same policy that clearly does not work ?

    If someone else is pulling the strings, who and why ? Alexander Johnson MP does not seem capable of holding the ‘thin red line’ as he clearly lacks both nerve and conviction. He’s all over the place on everything and simply cannot be relied upon. Clearly not a man you need by your side in a crisis. I think the time has come to look for a successor.

    I am amazed that the government is prepared to go to such length to fight a virus (its Falklands), yet is not prepared to fight the common cold, flu, cancer and even homelessness. Indebt a nation. Destroy businesses and lives. I seriously cannot believe what I am both seeing and hearing. The world has gone mad.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      You have said it all. No more to say.
      I won’t be bothering JR with more posts.
      One a day me now!

    • Hope
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink


      Johnson has showed time and again he breaks his own deadlines! Does anyone seriously believe him?

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink


    • Mitchel
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      “Destroy businesses…”

      They are only kulaks to be stripped of their wealth and then eliminated.

  7. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The public are totally demoralised with your party John and Boris has been a terrible let down. We desperately need a better test and trace system so that we can get on with living our lives. The future looks grim for all. All ages of the population will feel the brunt of these measures but isn’t it time the public sector bore some of the pain too? Many are doing virtually nothing while on full pay and with no concerns whilst the private sector gets decimated.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Test and Trace is working very well. We are leading the world in testing numbers and currently the Trace part is working much better than Germany’s albeit less effectively than when it started. We are also leading Europe in the number of people using the app, about double the German rate. So why is it not working ? because the Isolate bit doesn’t work – only 18% of people told to isolate bother to do so. You need to improve that bit. One good idea is to reduce the 14 days to 7 days – you miss some cases but maybe gain more compliance.

    • Sharon
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink


      Partly it all this testing that’s to blame for all the false positives, double counting and counting of no actual test done; that’s causing the high figures. That’s what is giving the government the ammunition to justify a lockdown!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Agree too many false positives.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      We need no attempt to test or trace! If you are sick, isolate and call the Dr.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Who probably will not come or offer much service (often will not even answer the phone).

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          You are probably better off with bed and an aspirin! Boris says no second ‘lockdown’ poses and existential threat to the NHS.
          If it can’t deal with 1 disease after all this years sacrifice, and I don’t doubt it, it really needs to go the same way as Boris – down the drain.

      • cornishstu
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


      • Fred H
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        good luck with that.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      You do not speak for me or my Household.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Regarding your last sentence. Do you have any factual evidence that many are doing virtually nothing – or is it just a nice soundbite to make.? .

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          Cheshire girl. Yes I do actually.

    • Christine
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I agree. Any public sector worker not working should be put on the furlough scheme. This should include teachers if they decide to stop work.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        all public sector employees should be put on 80% pay immediately……feel the pain the rest of the country has much worse than that!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Including the military?

          • Fred H
            Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            of course! Your point is?

  8. DaveM
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    It seems to me that the PM is caving in on this lockdown in order to preserve every ounce of political capital in order to prevent a final anti-Brexit cross-party coalition from forcing some sort of no-confidence vote at the 11th hour. If that’s the case he’s playing a very risky game and I assume we could therefore expect a serious reshuffle in January.

    Anyone with an iota of emotional intelligence could see that Boris’ announcement was against his wishes and better judgement and that he was under pressure to do this. Unfortunately it looks like he’s playing into the hands of the Labour leader’s plan to bugger the economy completely.

    The above is speculation of course, but if any of it’s correct it means the 80 seat majority is a lot less solid than it seems – given the fixed term parliament act, what can he do to make sure his majority means something? Thatcher kept her troops in line until the end – you need to help the PM in my opinion but this lockdown is going to create serious social problems as well as economic and health-related.

    • ukretired123
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Very valid concerns indeed DaveM thanks for your heads up!
      Outrageous indeed in every direction.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Dave M,

      Allegedly, it was a leak that forced the lockdown announcement. If this approach were against the PM’s better judgement he could have used is as a test of SAGE’s forecasts, and stated that we will see over the next days if they are correct. By today the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine has shown some of the SAGE forecasts used for the lockdown decision are wrong when compared with actual data. The PM could have put the SAGE models front and centre for the decision; even with the mistake of continuing to ignore all the other consequences of the decision, the modelling would have been rejected by today.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      The Labour Party are playing the Ace-in-their-sleeve.

      They are in-favour of these measures for two reasons :-

      1) They know that they (the measures) will be unpopular and are almost certain to lead to the Tories losing the next election.

      2) They also know that the Fib-Dims are a spent force in British Politics and so Labour are next best-placed to come to power. When they do, the Governmental powers that are already in-place (that they didn’t propose or implement, so they are off-the-hook) will allow them total control to implement any policies that they choose.

      If the Tories wish to avoid a Labour Government come next General Election then there are two choices :-

      1) Vote for these measures and turn the UK into an autocratic dictatorial police state with no further elections, or
      2) VOTE AGAINST these measures, dispense with the ‘services’ of Neil Ferguson, Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, listen to advice from the wider scientific community and take steps to return the country to some semblence of normality sooner rather than later.

      (1) is fraught with many dangers, including strict night-time curfews, armed police and the army on the street, civilians being shot in the back for taking the dog for a walk at 10pm, and all leading (eventually) to civil rebellion. Fanciful? Not really. Who would have believed you if you’d told them on 2nd November 2019 that one year from that date, we would all be in the position that we currently find ourselves?

      (2) is the only logical option for any sane, normal person, and that is the option that MPs should take.

      I make an impassioned plea to ALL MPs – put aside your party loyalty and do the right thing by the people who elected you – please vote AGAINST these measures on Wednesday. If you do not, then you will be complicit in further destroying both the economy and the social fabric of this country.


  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    498 responses to yesterday’s post. That surely must be a record. It shows how strongly people feel about this John. Your government must listen to the people whose lives are being ruined. Something is terribly wrong here.

    Reply It shows concern but it also shows a few people are sending in far too many contributions to the same post making my job of moderating increasingly difficult. If you want me to keep accepting comments please show some restraint and just send in your best one.

    • peter
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Well said Sir John and many thanks for running this. As one of your constituents I will continue to vote for you whilst you continue, but Reform party after that. All posts on here point to what little meaningful data is made public, but whilst I agree I have very serious doubts over the ability of the current structures to obtain this. The ONS still has some credibility but their results are historic and not forecasts.
      The main problem now is that we are never going to be given an exit strategy. Kier Starmer had three different ones within 30 seconds when interviewed yesterday. This will drag on with stop start until Spring when we will get some relief.
      Between now and then the balance will be between civil unrest, redundancies and scare stories, with the media firmly on the latter. Not a logical way to run a country!!

      • Peter
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        For transparency, not posted by me.

        A little longer than other ‘Peter’ posts. As this one is peter (lowercase) perhaps there are more than one.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Polls show that about 60% are in favour of whatever measures science suggests are appropriate, including these. (20% against, 20% don’t know).

      The media are devoting disproportionate time to the angrily fixated, as they did in the run-up to the referendum. It’s the same people too.

      Something needs to be done about this. It is wrecking the democratic world.

      • Bill B.
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        ‘Science’ doesn’t suggest anything, scientists do. Then what they suggest has to be weighed up taking into account the bigger picture of people’s lives and livelihoods. The government is failing to do that. They have admitted there was no risk assessment for the first lockdown. And for this one?

        Claiming that polls tell you the true picture, and mentioning the referendum – what about that for an own goal!

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        ….and you believe everything you hear in the Press?

        Electors are also well-known for trolling the Pollsters – the Brexit referendum and Hillary Clinton’s occupancy of theWhite House (oh…er…. wait a minute….) should have told you something.

    • Peter
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Too many contributions seems to be an incurable condition. Sufferers, although readily identifiable, seem incapable of self restraint.

      Rawmaish will always be here.

      We have to learn to live with it.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I was only trying to say how passionate people are over this subject John.

  10. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–At first I thought that Sir Graham Brady should put a sock in it but having read that two neighbours are not allowed to meet in one or other of their private gardens maybe he has the right of it. Way OTT. Thought the consensus was that (absent truly daft behaviour) almost impossible to pick up the virus out of doors.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Postscript–But the two meeting in a public place is OK??? More people in public place than in otherwise empty private garden???–Does anybody understand this???

      • Stred
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        It’s because the covid marshals can’t keep an eye on distancing and mask wearing in private gardens. The police have drones to check that guests are complying with orders of the Ministry of Sage. Obey or else.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      rather depends on what the neighbours are doing outdoors!

  11. BW
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I do understand that the figures given to Boris are terrifying. I don’t understand this one size fits all attitude which looks like panic. I am going to do Remembrance on Tuesday this week. After we will be going to a country pub that has done so much to be covid compliant. They have removed tables, screens put in disinfecting the tables hand gel everywhere, track and trace as you enter etc. They will now be closed. Throughout their closure the will watch the news reporting mass gatherings, demonstrations, illegal raves etc so to me it appears pointless. It’s like being back in the army,(when we had one) if one person screws up, punish the whole troop, that will sort the problem.

    The other thing I don’t understand is that there appears to be so much opposition to this lockdown from members of Parliament it is difficult to see how it can get through on Wednesday. Unless of course they say one thing to the public and vote differently.

    Stop punishing those that are covid compliant and get a grip of those that are not.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      I have sent Boris some pretty terrifying figures myself: businesses destroyed and Tory seats lost. Seem he is a 1 trick pony.

  12. Sharon
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Bizarrely- the government appear not to care a flying fig about the economy or anything much else for that matter, such is their insane obsession with this flipping virus!

    They have a one track mind – I despair!

    I’ve written to my MP till I’m sick of it, I’ve written to Boris himself (bet he didn’t even see the emails!), signed petitions…..and I know of others doing the same….

    What kind of ‘bomb up their backsides’ will it take before any notice is taken?

    I agree with you, SJR, that an exit strategy needs to be in place… but what will it take for the government to start listening to the silent majority?

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Occam’s razor: The reason the government won’t let us scrutinise the report on which all this is based is that it won’t stand up to scrutiny.

  14. Harry
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Official advisors have got every single forecast wrong. They couldn’t predict that Christmas comes in December-although not this year thanks to the Conservative party. It’s about time that people get angry. I really hope the anger boils over and it is directed at all those responsible for this appalling crime and fraud. Retribution is coming.

  15. BeebTax
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good work!

  16. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    It is just not fair. Shops, cafes and pubs have done everything asked of them. They have put in one way systems, put up screens at the tills, put hand sanitizers by the door, limited the number of people in the premises, made their staff and customers wear masks, taken the contact details of customers and still they are being forced to close with NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that the virus is being spread in their premises.

    • Stred
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      And pubs can sell crisps outside but are going to be fined if they sell beer.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        it is well known that the virus incubates in beer, but can’t live on crisp packets.

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Sorry but you’re tying yourself to an infected and sick patient in this government.
    It’s sucking blood from the economy and lashing out at the very people it should be supporting. In its phony libertarian way it allows mass gatherings of demonstrators, mass arrivals by boat, mass arrivals of untested people through airports, takes cash from students to keep its public sector lecturers happy, props up stupidities in the NHS, then clamps down on the small people-the plumbers, electricians, small shopkeepers and private industry workers.
    It is closing down democracy and we will need to fight with a new system and party to revive the country.

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The Cambridge projection suggesting the daily death toll could reach 4,000 is not being published and being kept a secret. This is the information that was supposed to have swung Boris to call his bonkers lockdown, yet we are not allowed to see it.

    Sorry not good enough, this addiction to secrecy has to end.

  19. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Businesses can’t be expected to ‘borrow’, no matter the terms. They must get grants! The PM needs to know that there is a cost and he has to pay it.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Trumps last words before his landslide election victory “Ignore Covid’. Boris needs to take a close look at Biden, and I mean in the mirror!

  20. Jack Falstaff
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I think most of us agree with our host on the point he makes today and it may be a case of preaching to the converted.
    The problem here would appear to lie in the apparent discord at the highest level of the governing Conservative party if the story being run in a well-known broadsheet today is true.
    But then we don’t know whether it was planted there to cover somebody’s back or if the “rotten apple” in it really is the untrustworthy “piece of work” described.

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Furlough does not mitigate the damage to the economy. It defines resources as immobile, locked in to parts of the economy that the Govt repeatedly shuts down as negative externality producing. It does this whilst other parts of the economy (e.g. protecting the vulnerable) remain resource constrained.

  22. ukretired123
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    How outrageous can one get?
    This is beyond reason or parody now.
    Livelihoods are being decimated for what?
    Isolate us oldies and todies but don’t shut everyone down to catch a flea.
    Nonsense on Steriods.
    No Brexit next?

  23. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    “highly selective and variable data being used to justify this policy” says it all

    Using the same data Cambridge and Kings College come up with figures that are half the Governments approved source for estimates – Imperial College. That to most suggests either the government is totally in inept or this whole bizarre episode is just about control of the people out of fear of the people

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Just as importantly the period after lock down is it going to be another free for all. Or are we going to be fully open to re-import Corvid through not apply controls that others place on the UK.

      Don’t forget the methods, as in virtually instant testing now exists and is the default for those leaving Heathrow for Hong Kong.

      Why is South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand faring better than the UK – they control the import of the virus and the UK just doesn’t care because the MsM makes up ridiculous stories about people needing foreign holidays.

    • Qubus
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      ¿Isn’t it time that we got rid of the misleading and inaccurate predictions Imperial College.

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Exactly but you say “the damage will be mitigated by the extension of the Furlough scheme for another month”. Well perhaps in a short term, but this help will all have to be paid back in higher taxes by the private sector.

    It may also just delay permanent adjustment that are needed to businesses models. It is not the government that will help in the end unless they slim down hugely, cut the expensive energy lunacy, tax and regulate less and get out of their damn way. Little sign of this currently.

  25. Fred H
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The graphs present low infections in early months due to hardly any testing, and the inaccuracy now understood. So, the seemingly high current rate is almost certainly similar to what is was months ago. The early death numbers were due to ignorance of rules of behaviour, and the shocking transfer of infected people back and forth to care homes etc.
    Now the rates are quite low compared to infections, and very small compared to other death causes – cancers being the glaringly ignored.
    Its mostly an economic armageddon for little justification.

    • Stred
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The rate of infections in the early peak was more accurate because the smaller number – about one tenth – was on people who had come in for treatment with the disease. The tests are now ten times as many but of these some scientists have calculated that only one in ten is true positive, the rest being non-infectious ‘infections’. Boris doesn’t seem to realise this.

  26. majorfrustration
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Lockdown certainly plays into the hands of the civil service. We are not all in this together are we.

  27. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    There is no point to this Lock-Down if we follow the pattern of the previous one. The lock down will temporarily pause things and reduce the spread. As soon as we open up again we get to import the virus once more. Meaning there will be an endless stream of follow up Lock-Down’s.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Christmas will be enjoyed in a subdued fashion. The scalded cat scientists will show Boris ‘compute error’ EXCEL to make his blown locks stand on end – and another month lockdown will arrive Feb 1st.
      deja vu.

  28. Richard1
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I forced my self to listen to the whole of Andrew marr’s programme yesterday. In 1 1/4 hours there wasn’t a single question to anyone about the fundamentals of lockdown. Is it true 90% of the population are vulnerable to infection or only c 30% as other scientists say? Is the death rate 1% as assumed or 0.2% as other scientists say? Have only 7% been infected so far or more like 30% as suggested by the global death rate, as many scientists say? The BBC is simply refusing to give voice to the sceptical side of the argument. As on other topics, the BBC has taken a view and assists with promulgating it.

    • Stred
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      The regulator OFCOM has ruled that broadcasters must no broadcast any views which differ from the policy of the NHS and civil service, possibly because OFCOM is the civil service. Thank goodness we don’t have a state regulator for the Internet. Yet.

  29. Pin high
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I see Mr Farage is going to change the name of his Party.

  30. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Another Mortgage payment holiday, well not so much a holiday as interest is still charged on it, so the owner still pays it all back in the end, but at least let those who cannot pay at the moment because they have no income, keep a roof over their heads !

    Said most of whatl I needed to say yesterday.

  31. Everhopeful
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    When will Johnson either declare himself a dyed in the wool socialist and join Labour or else stand up to them?
    When will he confess what the true agenda is?

  32. The other Christine
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John
    You are clearly aware of the strength of feeling against the planned lockdown on Thursday, certainly amongst constituents posting here. We are all aghast as we witness the destruction of the economy and of our society, and the criminal neglect of those needing medical and dental care. If we were not a divided country before this fiasco, we certainly are now. I am sure there is nothing special about my family but with one adult unemployed (no prospect of Government support for reasons I need not go into), one pensioner totally reliant on a SIPP for income, a daughter on maternity benefit and a son who has had to return to the family home, as rent is unaffordable, how do you think we view the fat cat ‘experts’ in their London ivory towers who are advising the PM? On six figure salaries and gold plated pensions they have no care for the citizens of this country. They present faulty data and along with others in Government pursue their goal of the Great Re-set, or, as this Government like so many around Europe prefers to say, Build Back Better.
    We aren’t fooled and we will neither forget or forgive.

  33. turboterrier
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    My best and one and only comment……..when dealing withh problem solving teams and their training the most important task was the data collection and was the data collected the data necessary to identify and resolve the problem if the data collection process for the pandamicis and hoc affair and not purposely designed the whole data collection process is pointless. It is akin to the first computer when people did not trust them. Crap in crap out. It all depending what is being entered as data. Seems some of our very learned consultants and high paid quangos maybe are still not operating from a sound base.

    Please next time you see Mr Gove to stop off the cuff knee jerk comments no matter how well intentioned the first one hammered the car industry and his most recent about possible end of this lockdown is creating panic buying of christmas presents and goods. Not helping controlled shopping atmosphere to help every retailer small or large.

  34. Jazz
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Parliament needs to be able to hold the Govt. to account. Why is Fergusson’s model accepted as the best model over other reputable scientists.

    Why the huge secrecy over the dossier on which these decisions are being based.

    Parliament must provide the sunlight.

  35. Philip P.
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I think you missed one point, JR. There MUST be a termination date written in to the measure adopted – 2nd December. No extension possible. This is supposed to be about ‘saving Christmas’, isn’t it?

  36. Edwardm
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    We have a problem turned into crisis by our government.
    Instead of taking a balanced view of the evidence and taking focused and moderate measures – such as the Barrington Declaration – the government are destroying the economy and the life of the nation and sacrificing those with non-Covid illnesses.
    They are fulfilling the destructive mission of XR.

    I share JR’s concerns, and thank him (and similar minded MPs) for persisting with rationale and balanced arguments, and constantly battling against the dumb group-think that infuses most MPs.

  37. ukretired123
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Boris was on borrowed time until this week.
    Brexit still on hold.
    Revolution is rumbling.
    Something is going to happen for sure once the invisible destruction manifests before people’s eyes with empty pockets.
    American revolution is on the cards either way too this week, followed by dawning here to wake up to nonsence.

    • BillM
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      And existing MPs should know that Nigel Farage has started a new political Party called “Reform UK”.
      Come 2024 I do not think this time around he will be so generous to the ‘Leave’ Conservatives by withdrawing his opposing candidates for the Brexit Party. And in 2024, with this disaster still clear in their minds, the electorate will thoroughly believe this country is in desperate need of Political change. Non too soon either.

  38. ChrisS
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Those blaming the government for a second national lockdown are looking in the wrong direction : The responsibility lies firmly on those who have not been following the rules.
    I don’t see that the government has any option while various sections of society are acting so stupidly.

    It was foolish in the extreme for the government to be bullied into allowing the universities to open. As students only get 6 or 7 hours of “contact time” each week and personal research and lectures are now online – even when the students are in halls of residence – this makes no sense.

    Am I the only person to suspect that the only valid reason in the 21st century for a physical university is networking so that students can drink and f*** to excess and at the same time spread the virus at a dangerous rate ?

    Apologies for the f word but it does seem the most appropriate !

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Surely we just have to accept that the British people are un-lock-down-able.

      For many reasons (not all of them bad) that’s just the way it is.

      Shield the vulnerable !

  39. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink


    Will we be asking the same questions when we reach the 4th full lock-down? or will it be too late to save anything by then?

    Until we confront the virus head on the virus will win — We have a dogmatic medical elite who are out of their depth, and a government with no plan-B

    In this our medical “experts” are failing us all and should get out of the way so that real practical polices can be introduced.

  40. Al
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This is ridiculous.

    Everyone has to wear a mask out of the house. Unless they don’t feel like it. Or are under sixteen. Or rarely are ill. Because the government thinks they magically can’t transmit it.

    People must work from home. Unless the government encouraged them back to offices, via public transport because the landlords complained they won’t get the rent.

    People can’t buy a kettle, but alcohol is a essential purchase – as long as it comes from a supermarket. In a baffling decision, women’s sanitary supplies weren’t considered essential either.

    The high street shops must be protected to save the economy – but not if it means allowing them to open to do takeaways or doorway sales with no one physically entering the shop.

    Children can go to school and sit in the classroom with their neighbour’s children for eight hours – but if they play with them at home after school, then that’s a fine dammit!

    Likewise teachers and workers can spend hours with ten, twenty or more others in close confines, but if the same people go round to each other’s houses after work, they can’t meet in groups of more than six because its illegal…unless it is a work meeting because viruses don’t spread through those.

    Either this virus is a deadly civilisation-destroyer, and a full lockdown with no exceptions is needed, or it is not and this pathetic half-way house is a waste of everyone’s time and pointless damage to the economy. Either do it properly or drop the lockdown.

  41. matthu
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    On talkRADIO this morning (available on youTube)
    Professor Carl Heneghan: Government Covid scenarios are ‘out by significant amount’

  42. JohnE
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    If lockdown was a new medicine it would never gain approval due to the terrible side effects.

    Yet we allow four men to take these decisions that affect millions of people. It’s an utterly unacceptable way to go about things. There’s no science behind things at all. At best it’s based on the opinions of scientists founded on little evidence. They should just admit they don’t know. The experience in Melbourne says this will last three or four months, not one.

    And I emphasise four men and no women involved because it is obvious it doesn’t even occur to them to think of the family and children impacts. It’s only when Nadine Dorries gets stuck in that they fix anything. Whatever we think of her she does live a bit closer to real people’s lives than these four men that you in Parliament are allowing to dictate to us.

  43. RichardM
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    For balance – YouGov snap poll :
    SNAP POLL: 72% of English adults support the new plans to return to lockdown. 23% are opposed, with opposition highest among 18-24 year olds (32%)

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Based on false data.

      • Bill B.
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        RichardM, you may want to consider whose payroll YouGov is on. Look at their web site, and how they answer this FAQ:

        ‘Who pays for these polls?

        YouGov conducts surveys for a diverse group of clients to help them better understand public views about current affairs, and consumer products and brands. YouGov is a non-partisan organisation. Many of our surveys have nothing to do with politics. We do also conduct political polls – some for clients and some on our own behalf to gauge the opinions of the British public. Our own polls are not written from any political viewpoint, but are meant to be social scientific efforts to read public opinion. Our clients may be from any political party with any particular social viewpoint. While these clients may in the end have their own partisan goals, the surveys we conduct are not intended to influence your opinions, but to measure them. Rest assured that when you answer a poll at YouGov, your privacy is secure, and your responses do make a difference.’

        Any the wiser now, about the answer to the actual question?

        • RichardM
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Bizarre response, and straw clutching Bill B. You are in the rather loud minority.
          The vast majority also agree we should have locked down over the school half term, before the body count started rising, but this government continues to go against the science until it is too late.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Those dead bodies are real enough, doubling in number every few days, Lynn.

        • Fred H
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          you might be correct with cancer deaths.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      “On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked upon the street to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague well about. Not a care had these rogues for the health of their elders!”

      Samuel Pepys Diaries – London 1664.
      As Shakespeare said: “There is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon.”

  44. RichardM
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    What we need is accountability for all the money paid to private companies to deliver the woeful test and trace system, and what is being done to improve it.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      only £12bn — – — rather cheap?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      ..and accountability for the £170 billion paid to the NHS which faces ‘an existential threat’ if we use it!

  45. Old Albion
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve said it before, I said it again and I’m going to say it once more.
    The only way to beat the virus Is herd immunity. The young, fit and healthy need to go back to their normal lives. Many will be infected, few will even realise it.
    Meanwhile the elderly and unwell must take responsibility for themselves and shield.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      So very much agreed.

      Once those that can withstand the virus build up an immunity the virus will not be able to spread. It is so simple even a child can understand it.

    • steve
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion

      That’s because it isn’t really a pandemic…’s a ‘syndemic’

      We’ve been had.

    • RichardM
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion. Why do you feel the need to repeat such nonsense ? Herd immunity can only exist once there is a vaccine and the vast majority have taken it.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Sadly this nonsense was fixated in people’s minds by the PM’s erroneous statements early in the year.

  46. Bill B.
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Too late, Sir John. Next time elections are allowed, the Reform Party gets my vote, even if they do let in Labour. The Conservative Party needs to be in opposition, to have any chance of regaining its soul.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      We tried that after the Treason at Maastricht, kept them put of power for a quarter of a century. They seemingly can’t learn.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Lynn as you well know the under 40s don’t vote Tory. Now the over 40s will possibly never vote Tory again. They learn by experience. Cameron, May, Johnson … more allowances made.
        Annihilation at the next GE – next year with luck.

      • steve
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Bill B

        “The Conservative Party needs to be in opposition, to have any chance of regaining its soul.”

        Once the soul is gone that’s it. I think the ‘alleged’ conservative party is toast.

        I will also vote for Farage even if it means Labour getting elected.

        • steve
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


          “They seemingly can’t learn.”

          That’s why they need to be flung out & killed off for good (electorally speaking) not just put in opposition.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        This referendum really has gone to your heads hasn’t it?

        Governments only had to take the UK out of the European Union – which this one has done – not every other silly little thing that you might happen to want.

        You won’t be asked anything else for a long, long time.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          We will be asked to return them in short order.

  47. glen cullen
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I believe it important to show that we’re all in it together and to exercise minds

    Every public servant and employee across the UK to receive only 80% of their salaries to assist the public purse and show solidarity with the private sector during this covid emergency – including MPs

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      And all state businesses – tfl etc to get £3k per month.

    • Sharon
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Toby Young on Lockdown Sceptics started a petition yesterday to reduce MPs by 20% during lockdown ‘

  48. agricola
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    If we are in conflict with current government strategy and restrictions on freedom then we need to outline a more positive strategy than “Lockdown”. Lockdown leaves so many dead and dying businesses in it’s wake.

    Who on getting Covid19 is likely to die, answer, those in care homes for the elderly, the elderly, and those with underlying health concerns and triggers to mortality. Action, a combination of isolation, testing , and risk assessment. In addition use the Nightingale Hospitals to allow the NHS hospitals to function approaching normally. There is no virtue in allowing people to die of heart disease and other terminal causes through neglect due to Covid19.

    For the vast majority of the general public it should be, effective masking, distancing where possible, and staying antiseptic through hand washing and the application of antiseptic gels. Continue working life as near normal as possible, work from home if practical, enjoy testing facilities wherever people gather to shop, to travel, to work. Partake of your leisure time with discretion. From what I have seen of the hospitality industry it is well organised to give a Covid free experience. The only thing I would prohibit are night clubs, raves, demos and other mass gatherings.

    If politicians , such as yourself, feel that the current lockdown causes more problems than it cures then it is in your hands to propose something more effective than just moaning about it. Whatever it is must see us through to an effective vaccine with a minimum of mortality.

    • agricola
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Why was this overlooked.

  49. Longinus
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Might be some justification for citizens to declare lawful rebellion under common law.

    Article 61 of the Magna Carta.

    Sovereignty lies with the people and the Monarch is bound by that oath to hold an out-of-control government to account.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Magna Carta was repealed.

      • Longinus
        Posted November 3, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink


        • Robin Smith
          Posted November 5, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          Yes he’s wrong – but the Magna Carta of 1216 is what stands. ‘Article’ 61 doesn’t exist in it, taken out of the 1215 one.

  50. Barbara
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    From Public Health England: No statistically-significant excess mortality

    The death rate is entirely normal

    Also, from today’s DT, it is clear well-meaning lockdowners have been duped by SAGE, who chose to use three week old data in preference to current data:

    “The modelling presented on Saturday night, which suggests deaths could reach 4,000 a day by December, is so out-of-date that it suggests daily deaths are now around 1,000 a day. In fact, the daily average for the last week is 260, with a figure of 162 yesterday. And the statistics unit at Cambridge University has produced far more up-to-date projections, with far lower figures […] These forecasts, dated October 28 – three days before the Downing Street announcement – far more closely track the current situation, forecasting 240 daily deaths by next week, and around 500 later this month…
    Prof Carl Heneghan, the director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, at Oxford University, said he was “deeply concerned” by the selection of data which were not based on the current reality. He said: “Our job as scientists is to reflect the evidence and the uncertainties and to provide the latest estimates.I cannot understand why they have used this data, when there are far more up-to-date forecasts from Cambridge that they could have accessed, which show something very different.”

    It seems economic damage is what they want. They are cherry-picking data to produce that result.

  51. MB
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi John.

    You write a great deal of common sense based on your strong economic experience.
    If only the Government could show the same common sense and sensible economics.

    Why are a team of Mathematical Modellers dictating government policy while highly trained Virologists, Epidemiologists and Immunologists are ignored?
    e.g. John Ioannidis, Ivan Roitt, Sunetra Gupta et al.

    Further, we know how the predictions from Imperial College were wildly exaggerated and caused unnecessary suffering in the past.

    Neil Ferguson was behind the disputed research that sparked the mass culling of eleven million sheep and cattle during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. He also predicted that up to 150,000 people could die. There were fewer than 200 deaths. . . .

    In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 50,000 people would likely die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease) in beef. In the U.K., there were only 177 deaths from BSE.

    In 2005, Ferguson predicted that up to 150 million people could be killed from bird flu. In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009.

    In 2009, a government estimate, based on Ferguson’s advice, said a “reasonable worst-case scenario” was that the swine flu would lead to 65,000 British deaths. In the end, swine flu killed 457 people in the U.K.

    Last March, Ferguson admitted that his Imperial College model of the COVID-19 disease was based on undocumented, 13-year-old computer code that was intended to be used for a feared influenza pandemic, rather than a coronavirus. Ferguson declined to release his original code so other scientists could check his results. He only released a heavily revised set of code last week, after a six-week delay.

    Why now do we have to have another lockdown, again to save the NHS? Haven’t they had enough time to prepare?

    SAGE’s florid, carefully cherry-picked, illegible graphs do not show the true state of the virus in the population.
    And this time it is different, because schools and colleges remain open, yet pubs will be barred(sic) from selling takeaway beer. My local has a fully stocked cellar and only 3 days to sell it or waste it.

    You couldn’t make it up. So there have to be some ulterior motives at work. Stupidity, ignorance, face-saving or something else?

    I am pleased that you disagree with the justification for the lockdown and hope you will be able to rally support from other backbenchers. I look forward to you voting down these ridiculous and ill-thought out measures.


  52. Ginty
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    In a proper pandemic (which kills everyone) you don’t need graphs to make people comply. Paramedics don’t go around in flimsy paper masks.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


  53. percy openshaw
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I sympathise with your reply to “Fedupsoutherner” and will confine myself to this brief summary of my understanding: a) Lockdowns are more costly than beneficial; b) this has been proved by the supposed necessity for more than one; c) Mr Johnson’s leadership has been exposed by the crisis and d) it was already under suspicion thanks to a slew of poor decisions earlier in the year. Conclusion: the parliamentary party must find a successor to the PM very quickly and remove him. A very large rebellion should be enough to cast doubt on his legitimacy. As a body of MPs, you hesitated over Mrs May; this, thanks to massive, unforced economic damage, is much more serious and urgent. Change leader and policy at once.

  54. Graham Wheatley
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve often said – this is NOTHING to with ‘containment’.
    It is all about coersive control.

    Jonathan Sumption is correct – we ARE now living in a Police State. MPs have the opportunity to react against that on Wednesday and vote against these measures.

    Any that vote in-favour of them will be complicit in any further restrictions on public freedom and that will NOT be forgotten by the Electorate come the next election (if in fact there ever is one).

    I hope that on Wednesday, many members of the Cabinet, and their (not so sagacious) S.A.G.E. advisors, will recognise that their ‘Ceaucesceau Moment’ is imminent.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink


      “…..Nothing to do with Covid………”

      Sorry, but I believe your so called theory is absolute nonsense.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


        Can you not even copy correctly?

        I said ‘containment’, not ‘Covid’.

    • L Jones
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree one hundred per cent, Mr Wheatley. I have made a comment here, in the same vein, but I’m afraid mine isn’t acceptable. So I hope my agreement with you is.

  55. formula57
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I offer you Sir John and readers here this positive plan amidst all the gloom and nonsense that likely yields something to which one can look forward: register now to sit a few “A” level exams next summer.

    There is surely a high chance of advantaging yourselves with awards of a least grade B passes in due course without troubling to do anything more. :nod:

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      But it will be a hugely devalued B or grade anyway rather like the £. Last year we had 50% more A and A* grades handed out. For someone who has an genuine interest in something and fancies doing a degree using the tax payer’s soft loans (often grants) why not go for it?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      I will demand at least an A*, after all I will have written my name to register.

  56. Nannette
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Covid cases are not spiralling out of control, says King’s College
    Figures contradict recent data from Imperial College, which showed nearly 100,000 new coronavirus infections a day in England

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      I became aware of friends of friends cases after early season skiing etc.
      Haven’t heard of ANY for months.
      You just have to wonder what sort of 1984 era we have entered.

  57. Nannette
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
    • Norman
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, all very ominous, with Prince Charles, Greta Thunberg and Boris all on board. And talk of a Covid-Health Passport App, without which, you won’t be able t go anywhere. Sounds very like Revelation 13. It’s very sad how easily many we may regard fondly are being seriously deceived.

      • L Jones
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but they’re all useful idiots! Only there to add respectability to this nefarious plan. This is like Prince A taking part in the shenanigans of his American friends. I’m not surprised they latched on to him.
        You’d really think that Prince C et al would not have been naive enough to join in with their self-congratulatory pantomime.

  58. Nannette
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Under article 61, of MAGNA CARTA 1215 the founding (document of our constitution) we have the right to enter into a lawful rebellion if we feel we are being governed unjustly.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The whole of the Magna Carta has been ignored by those that have grabbed power and will hold on to power at any cost. The irony the spot in Runnymede were it was said to have been signed is now considered US territory, they maintain and cherish the spot along with the ideals Magna Carta sets out.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        No it is not! Also it was signed on the island in the Thames, the table remains in what is now a private house. It was the American lawyers who erected the monument, on English soil. Pity the English did not cherish the document to the same degree.

    • steve
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


      Try having a lawful rebellion under Johnson’s illegal covid decrees…’ll find yourself clobbered into compliance and given a ruinous fine.

      Try a BLM demo instead, you’ll be totally unhindered.

  59. ian
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Lockdowns are great for China and US stocks, that why they won’t stop it’s making the rich richer.

  60. ian
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Three Blind Mice.

  61. Lifelogic
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Increase in new “cases” (actually just positive tests – many totally asymtomatic or false positives) over the last seven days/figures for the week before) is just 6% (the increase declining exactly as I prediced the other day). Excess deaths over 5 year average in week 42 just 6% and in a perfectly normal range for this time of year.

    The figures from Sage and NHE of 4000 deaths per day are patently absurd. So what on earth is this shutdown for? It will clearly do far more harm than good. Deaths are likely to peak at about 350 per day and to decline from this in about 3 weeks time – even without the lockdown.

  62. Mary M.
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    If you want to feel you’re doing something positive, go to Pro-Brexit Sign the letter, written to the Prime Minister from 16 pro-Brexit organisations.

    In the letter they ask Boris Johnson to rescind and void the Withdrawal Agreement, as he promised he would do in the Tory Party Manifesto of December 2019.

    You can print and send the letter to No.10 Downing Street.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you will do

    • Old Salt
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Mary M
      Excellent advice all leavers should follow and ASAP

  63. BillM
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to beguiled Boris and his inexperienced Cabinet, I look forward to our future with much foreboding. Why are none of them screaming for him to get a grip on reality and immediately drop the QUANGO pseudo-scientists and their dumb crystal ball modelling techniques?
    Absolutely no scientific data should be accepted without an independent verification of its figures. Especially when it is wreaking damage upon this Nation.
    In science, the classification of data is known as the “Hierarchy of Evidence” Of the seven levels, the bottom is Number 7 which is the data is based solely upon the mere opinion of “Authorities”. Alarmingly, SAFE come under this the lowest of classification and it is the least reliable form of evidence. We should worry more about that than the virus itself.
    We, or rather rather Boris, should insist on at least a level 2 classification, which is the result of testing in RCT Randomised Controlled Trials where a group of patients are tested and compared with a placebo.
    Without such a high level of classification applied we shall never be safe from the ravages of SAFE and PHE.

  64. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Another day nearly passed and this Government has still not come up with evidence to support the actions.

    All we are faced with is an estimate of what maybe could possibly happen, by the same people that have been wrong time and time again. The only fact to come out so far is every estimate has been wrong at every stage. There is no even an occasional balancing anecdote to suggest they have been right. Estimates are not science or proof of anything

    • Fred H
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t walk under ladders, nor step on cracks in pavements, pray if a black cat crosses your path, never pass anyone on stairs, never move a mirror…..
      If we do any of the above Covid will get you.

  65. JohnK
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Sir John:

    Boris Johnson reminds me of one of those unfortunate pensioners who falls victim to a scam.

    In the Spring, they told him his roof needed fixing, and he fell for it. Now, they have come back and told him his drive needs block paving, and he’s signed up for that too.

    Unlike the pensioner who falls for the same con trick twice, Boris is not losing his own money. It is our money he is spraying around like a drunken sailor. I cannot believe the world king has fallen for Imperial College’s rubbish yet again. I always knew he was a chancer and a bluffer, but I did not have him down as stupid.

    You live and learn. I suppose the Brexit betrayal is the next thing to look forward to.

    • steve
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      John K

      “I suppose the Brexit betrayal is the next thing to look forward to.”

      Yeah you can almost smell it. Something along the lines of; ‘Oh, the economy is in such bad shape that we’d be better off together with our european ‘friends’

  66. beresford
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    The only non-violent way of ending Lockdown Madness is a strong show of support for Farage’s new Reform Party. As before when the Brexit Party support took off, the Tory donors will start pulling their donations and the grandees will panic and tell Boris to pull his head in.

    • hat man
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Yup, the way to go. I’m in.

      Its the only language they understand. Reasoning with Tories is useless.

  67. Caterpillar
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Good news According to the coronavirus dashboard cases are falling in Nottingham, Liverpool, York, Newcastle.

    (Apologies for multiple postings, and links, but hopefully the dashboard is allowed.)

  68. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


    I want to say thanks for letting me have so much bandwidth on this blog and for letting me get a bit sweary.

    I don’t doubt I’ll end up paying for this in the end.

    I’ll try and cut back quite a bit.

    • clear
      Posted November 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink


  69. Richard Lark
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I have just seen that the number of cases in the week 24-30th October is down in Liverpool, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Sheffield, and even Manchester was slightly down.
    Bolton was only slightly up. It seems to me that the tier system is working . The government is far too hasty in abandoning it.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      How/where do you see that data? When I look, I enter my postcode and get results for the whole of Dorset. These are effectively meaningless.

      • Richard Lark
        Posted November 2, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        I look on the BBC site and where it asks ‘how many cases in your area’ I enter the name of the city.

  70. Iain Gill
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Manchester ambulance service declared a major incident as they don’t have enough ambulances to answer calls, too many drivers self isolating etc.

  71. Fred H
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Too many calls attending suicides, heart attacks and other illnesses untreated by GPs.

  72. Ginty
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Why are online deliveries of non essential items allowed ? Surely delivery drivers will be vectors.

  73. L Jones
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    We should make it clear once and for all – the figures do NOT show ”cases”. They show positive (and usually false) test results from overwhelmingly healthy people, who are stupid enough to allow themselves to be drawn into the ”testing” cycle.

  74. matthu
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    UK COVID cases not surging – Prof Tim Spector explains

    Professor Tim Spector from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app discusses the latest data which shows that cases are steadily rising in the UK, but that – contrary to some other sources – they are not surging and not out of control.

  75. Jon
    Posted November 2, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I stated that you were in the wrong party last year, my opinion has not changed.

  76. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 3, 2020 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Forecasts often depend on output from mathematical models. The more data that we have about where and when transmission took place – and by extension where and when transmission will take place – the better we are able to calibrate the models and narrow the range of forecasts.

    It’s data and mathematicians that you need, not madcap prophet-of-doom scientists.

  • 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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