Levelling up

The government should move on from lockdown to levelling up.

The response to CV 19 has accelerated trends to more on line shopping, more homeworking and more remote delivery of services and entertainment.

This will require a renewal and revision to the policy of levelling up.

The great towns and cities outside London and the south east will need more help in rebuilding and transforming against the background of the damage done by lockdowns and closures.

The government needs to think about how it can assist the Councils and encourage the private sector to undertake the transformational work needed in town and city centres.

It is working on ways of making it easier for building owners to change the use of their property or to knock down and rebuild something better geared to the new circumstances.

It could propose partnerships with developers and property owners to remodel areas of towns and cities scarred by past and recent events, and to utilise any planning gain for the betterment of the area and the success of the project.

It is also going to take a better package to encourage self employment and the growth of small business. The Treasury’s instinct to tax them too much should be restrained.

It also needs more roll out of the government’s training and educational offers. The UK above all needs to encourage a new generation of technology specialists and entrepreneurs, as the future is digital.


  1. Mark B
    November 11, 2020

    Good morning

    Levelling up is just Socialism. Period !

    It masks its real intentions of extracting as much wealth from the Middle Classes, government taking its large share and giving crumbs to the less well off. It is wealth redistribution.

    And people think they voted Conservative at the last GE ?

  2. Peter Wood
    November 11, 2020

    Good morning,

    If UK government really made the effort to understand the benefits of 5G, and higher, connectivity, by which I mean leaving it to qualified national champions in the private sector, the whole world of work, commerce and the need for commuting would be turned upside down. At the very least HS2 would be seen as completely unnecessary. we’re talking VR and holographic interactions, not video calls.

    1. Mark B
      November 12, 2020

      Meeting are being held via video conferencing. Saves time and money. HS2 is just a corporate kickback by government. No economic benefit at all.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        November 12, 2020

        video conferencing is just a fancy phone call. There really is no substitute for physical contact.

        What we have learned from this “stay inside” shambles is that once the relationship is established it can be continued remotely easily. But this can be by phone, it really doesn’t need to be on a video call with “crazy” pictures and books in the background

  3. Oldwulf
    November 11, 2020

    “..more online shopping, more homeworking.. ”

    Presumably we need to ensure that the major digital international companies and also international sellers who sell into the UK do not avoid or evade paying taxes.

    If the “normal” economy is reduced then it’s important that money is properly obtained from elsewhere.

  4. Keep it simple
    November 11, 2020

    I got an idea. Let’s join a free trade area with no tariffs and no barriers to trade, what a boost that would give our economy. Funnily enough there’s one on our doorstep, we even have a land border with it

    1. Fred H
      November 11, 2020

      It could be a club where you pay loss of national industries, and then £15bn per year to join. And should you choose to resign it will take at least 4 years, and cost another £100bn or so in childish squabbles with other members.
      If only we had heeded ‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member’. -Groucho Marx.

    2. Mark B
      November 12, 2020

      Trouble is, it puts tariffs on good from the rest of the world from which we get a lot of goods from.

    3. Sea_Warrior
      November 12, 2020

      The EU has a great many ‘barriers to trade’.

    November 11, 2020

    We don’t need more help. We just need the British political, bureaucratic and governing class who appear intent on destroying the UK and our ancient freedoms to all climb aboard a ship and sail away, maybe to Tasmania or Greenland and stay there, forever before you drag us all into down to your level

    1. Mark B
      November 12, 2020


  6. Iain gill
    November 11, 2020

    The chancellor is passionate about taxing freelancers more, and giving large consultancies unfair advantages.

  7. Lifelogic
    November 11, 2020

    It is not just “the Treasury’s instinct to tax them too much” as local authorites also tax people, businesses and mug motorists far too much also. All this taxation and yet they cannot even keep public loos and libraries open. Tax complexity and endless compliance & reporting requirements is another tax in itself. Then we have endless red tape, restrictive employment laws, restrictive planning, expensive energy and endless green crap restrictions too. This all combines to render the UK far less competitive and exports jobs (and the CO2 production too).

    Sunaks first fiscal act was to cut entreprenuers relief for £10 million to £1 million. He has done nothing to cut the absurdly hight taxes of tax to death Osmonde & Hammond. Many taxes tax “profits” that have not even been made. CGT without indexation, double taxation of landlord interest, stamp duty at up to 15% these things are all absurdly damaging. He seems to be another tax to death chancellor at heart. We shall see once Covid is over as it very nearly is.

    So much fat in goverment that could easily be cut. Much of government does positive harm and much almost no net good. Borrowing is just deferred taxation so you can only cut taxes if you stop government waste. So far Boris will not even cull the absurd HS2 or the mad Net Carbon Neutral lunacy. So what hope is there?

  8. Sea_Warrior
    November 11, 2020

    An unemployment crisis is now arriving at Platform 1. The best policy response is to get us back to where we were rather than embarking on some long trek to a bright new future conjured up on the back of a fag-packet after ‘Blue Sky thinking’ by Boris, Dom and some Spad with ‘Communications’ in his/her title. In short, the likes of Grant Shapps need to be thinking about how to get people away to the ski-slopes at Christmas rather than thinking about electric planes. The long-term, strategic stuff can wait till the New Year – or later. The crisis is here, today.
    P.S. And you need to stop the likes of one well-known on-line retainer gobbling up the high street – Christmas season or not.

    1. dixie
      November 12, 2020

      “get people away to the ski-slopes” – Why should the priority be to encourage people to spend their money abroad?

  9. Andy
    November 11, 2020

    So President-elect Biden has told Boris Johnson to respect the Good Friday Agreement. The grown ups will soon be back in charge of the White House -and Tory MPs, who voted en masse to allow ministers to break international law, no longer have their toddler friend to run to. Hard rain is coming.

    1. beresford
      November 11, 2020

      Yes we need to protect the GFA by preventing the EU from imposing a food blockade on Northern Ireland. The GFA says the aspirations of BOTH communities must be respected.

    2. Sea_Warrior
      November 12, 2020

      Since when did Northern Ireland become a US Protectorate?

  10. Lifelogic
    November 11, 2020

    Some ex-Obama aid on Newsnight saying that Republicans might like Biden’s green measures – Battling climate change (nature) and thus creating green jobs.

    But every green job will destroy (or export) over two real jobs by pushing up energy costs and building costs and through the large extra taxation to provide the subsidies it needs.

    Needless to say the lefty Newsnight presenter (lefty art graduates with no grasp of science or economics- as they all are) said nothing sensible along these lines.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 11, 2020

      Biden felt he had to promise not to raise taxes on people earning less than $400,000 with Corbyn is was just £80,000 (not that either could be trusted) Quite some difference about 4 times higher in the US. IHT threshold in UK is about 1/20 of the US at the pathetic £325k (and at the absurdly high 40%) in the UK. Sunak is still ratting on the Osborn £1 million promise.

      The UK is hugely over taxed and yet Sunak is clearly going to go for even higher taxation. If he does it will raise less tax and diminish the wealth creating sector even more. Fairly dire public services too despite all this excessive taxation.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 11, 2020

        Sunak and the government need to grow the tax base not strangle it further. Especially from the current weak economic position that Covid and the dire misguided overreactions to it have created.

  11. Ian Wragg
    November 11, 2020

    The government should get out of the way but it won’t.
    Now it has these extraordinary powers of control it will be slow reliing them.
    You can see the delighting the faces of Hancock, the Welsh man and wee krankie.
    We need a good clearout of the stables.

    November 11, 2020

    We don’t more help from government which usually means more oppressive intervention, more invasion of our private space, more racial and gender laws imposed on the private sector, more strangulation of our liberties

    There’s always a price to pay for the non-Tory-Labour Socialist State’s free lunch politics of dependency and coercion

    Please, just go away and leave us all alone before you do real damage to our families, children and our culture

  13. Roy Grainger
    November 11, 2020

    Change of use from commercial to affordable residential is a good move though of course you’ll come up against middle-class NIMBYs like Andy who don’t want any poor people moving into his part of the Home Counties. I doubt the government will be brave enough to force the policy through and it will meet resistance and delay from local politicians.

  14. Margaret brandreth-j
    November 11, 2020

    Things have to evolve and they will. It is the very basic dynamic of living things to adapt and change according to their environment( if you accord with Darwin’s theory of evolution )

    A lot of the future, as is already happening will be a back to basics programme with home produce and interest in the basics for survival. Gardeners will be growing the products for survival and the more interested in flavouring for food will use their greenhouses. The losers may be those who don’t have the very historically prized land areas. Wars are fought over land yet these days it has seen as unimportant as produce can easily be picked up from the local supermarket. We in the UK are still a fertile land and is one of the main reasons Europe is sought for a home . Levelling up here may be achieved with improved fertility in the 3rd world and a more evening of population.

    Technology is available to aid these things and not to replace .

  15. Roy Grainger
    November 11, 2020

    Oh, and does the Government’s educational offer involve cancelling all exams for two years in a row ? So, already two years behind Germany who didn’t cancel any exams at all.

    1. a-tracy
      November 12, 2020

      When children enter secondary school they take tests, no pre-swatting like sats and those results are used to set the children in core subjects.

      When people graduate and go into graduate jobs the best of them do online testing to ensure a well rounded general knowledge and core competencies, can’t pass them you don’t get an interview. It’s not difficult to do this.

      If the Welsh Labour government want to trial this on their children and they have the devolved power so be it. But the English Tories – we are watching you to see if you, the people we elected allow the unions to decide whether they allow outside testing or not? It is going to be interesting, personally I would put all my children through private tests if the State stopped them to ensure they were up to scratch, internal teacher tests are not as reliable.

  16. Newmania
    November 11, 2020

    There is no money for your Brexit booster fund
    We all have to concentrate on staying safe until the vaccine gets here . There is more good news on vaccines coming soon as well .
    What needs to happen now is for the bloviating Bluster blimp to take whatever deal the EU offers , everyone stay steady and next year we can start putting the world back together
    Science is in and Trump is out – two blows for the purveyors of irrational superstitious nonsense , next is Brexit.

  17. Everhopeful
    November 11, 2020

    But the govt has just spent 9 months demolishing the self-employed.
    Where is the hope and enthusiasm going to come from?
    Must they chant “Build Back Better” x 100 before going to bed each night?
    And who would want any more “transforming”?
    We are still HUMANS. We can’t be treated like toy soldiers and survive.
    You need AI for that!

  18. Colin B
    November 11, 2020

    I would like to add another category of skill based training for the construction industry. Since the Great Financial crash of 2008 there appears to be a shortage of good quality tradesmen, many being of an age close to retirement who decided to finish work shortly after 2008.

  19. they live
    November 11, 2020

    Thats a good plan
    What could we call it ?
    I know Build back better
    I just realised only this morning the thinking behind all of it.
    WEF WHO the lot.

    Peace and Love

    1. Mark B
      November 12, 2020

      They live. Great film 😉

  20. James Bertram
    November 11, 2020

    Only 23 comments to your vaccine article – surely not?
    Overwhelmed? (very understandable)
    Knobbled? (I would not be surprised)
    Whatever, thank you for raising the questions.

    1. Everhopeful
      November 11, 2020


    2. Martin in Cardiff
      November 12, 2020

      Yesterday was PMQs.

  21. Bryan Harris
    November 11, 2020

    It also needs to tell us what kind of future it is plotting for us…

    We are being pushed into a distinctly different future, but who or what is at the helm?

  22. Sharon
    November 11, 2020

    “The response to CV 19 has accelerated trends to more on line shopping, more homeworking and more remote delivery of services and entertainment.”

    And for some this will continue. I know numerous people who don’t use cash, and order online because it’s convenient, with no thought of the consequences.

    Lack of parking and high parking costs needs to be reversed or at least revised.

    I don’t really know how shop rents work, but it always seems to me that shop owners would rather have an empty shop than keep the rent down and have a business paying rent.

    Somebody in government is going to have to have some ingenious ideas to get things moving again. That somebody needs to be creative and then let businesses develop and grow. All that depends on who gets the job, conservatives or globalists,

    Once we’re out of the EU, hopefully 100%, somebody needs to challenge the government on this climate change scam. It’s easy to determine if it’s a scam – are opposing views allowed? No! Are people sacked or discredited for holding those opposing views? Yes!

    As with Covid… same answers, no dissenting views allowed.

  23. Sharon
    November 11, 2020

    Ps I still have 2 posts awaiting moderation from yesterday.

  24. Sir Joe Soap
    November 11, 2020

    Actions speak louder than words.
    Unfortunately your government pays 100% to public sector employees and struggles to help the self-employed to maintain their jobs during times of crisis.

  25. GilesB
    November 11, 2020

    More help is needed OUTSIDE the cities.

    Covid has shown that the tide of workers moving to the cities can be reversed.

    Single workers leaving their families to go the cities has caused alienation, the emergence of citizens of nowhere, the destruction of rural and village communities, and the conversion of once thriving towns into dull dormitories. And the decline of Conservatism.

    Government should be leading the way in showing how dispersed workforce’s can be led and managed successfully. And investing in infrastructure such as broadband and shared workspaces in the small towns and villages not the cities.

  26. Ian @Barkham
    November 11, 2020

    Sir John

    Everything you say is correct. The problem is unless you are an eco terrorist, part of the cancel culture or an advocate of WOKE, this government is not listening and cant hear you.
    The irony is they(The Government) buy into things that are beyond logic, have no actual proof to support and are set to do irreparable damage to the UK economy, yet wont support the known. They wont support growth in the communities, they don’t support the people that after all on a local basis have better judgement than them.

    You could sum up this Government as buying into to control at the expense of freedoms and prosperity. The only conclusion must be they fear the People.

  27. poppy
    November 11, 2020

    I never wear one but I think of those who died in the wars every single day.

    1. Fred H
      November 11, 2020

      and the ones struggling to cope who didn’t pay the ultimate price, but whose loved ones did, or had grievous injuries never to be recovered from.

    2. steve
      November 11, 2020


      I used to wear one but stopped when the Royal British Legion accepted money from Blair.

  28. agricola
    November 11, 2020

    Your post today, and a TV programme I watched recently on Cornwall, made me consider a possible solution for Devon and Cornwall. In the past both counties were a holiday destination and a take off point for sailing holidays all over Europe including the Channel Islands. They have two main problems. Lack of all year round employment and a lack of affordable housing particularly for the young. After Brexit , fishing employment might gradually increase, but it requires government effort to expand industry in all other directions. How about Plymouth as a Freeport for instance. The housing market is skewed because both are beautiful counties and outsiders see them as ideal for a second home. The owners of same only spend a limited time in these homes, no doubt spending while they do. I see no virtue in banning second homes. My solution is to create a two tier market such as they operate in Guernsey. Simplistically the locals buy houses on the local market up to say £250,000, and they are the only ones who can do so. The second home buyers operate in the second home market only, lets say from £500,000 upwards. It works in Guernsey so transplant it to Devon and Cornwall, but always remember that the main priority is creating jobs particularly for the young.

    1. Stred
      November 12, 2020

      The young entrepreneurs with the takeaway van on the beach made a big profit because of the number of people who went to Cornwall instead of abroad. They have opened a restaurant in Exeter selling the same line of food. Unfortunately, the government has locked down Devon and the rest of the country despite the hospitals being nowhere near overrun and they can’t serve meals inside. It could be called levelling down.

    2. Hope
      November 12, 2020

      No need. Planners already have powers to have local clauses added to any planning permission. Alternatively, planners could place a tie to the house similar to an agricultural tie. Most councils have pan social housing policy based on a points system.

      Therefore anyone coming from abroad who has more points would be head of any local person, look at Fake Tory councils with urban ghettos. You would think creating a city to adjoin a city would provide enough housing. However if your mass immigration policy creates more people than houses can be built it is a continuing problem that will never be solved. Cut immigration is the key for urban areas and in addition local priority clauses for rural and coastal areas.

      It is not a problem the Fake Tories want to solve, they see mass immigration as increasing GDP to keep spending more than they take. Despite numerous blogs by JR.

      1. Hope
        November 12, 2020

        a bit like the BBC, govt makes fake criticism of it to be liked by public knowing it has the power and means to change it. It does not want to. It serves as a means to deflect criticism. A bit like a czar or task force or new policy all to,deceive the public and blame from Govt.

  29. Iain Moore
    November 11, 2020

    Levelling up agenda suggests the Government by decree can bestow economic growth on an area . It seems the Conservatives have decided that the Socialist planned economies are the way to go. It looks like Boris Johnson is going to add a large chunk of client state onto the backs of the shrinking number of taxpayers, for that is how these grand planned Government interventions end up.

    1. Mark B
      November 12, 2020


  30. David L
    November 11, 2020

    It now seems this current lockdown was premised on faulty data and most hospitals are not overloaded with virus cases. In November 2019 there were 11,000 deaths from flu, but I don’t recall any lockdown then. Can sanity prevail and this one be cancelled before more lasting damage is done?

  31. No Longer Anonymous
    November 11, 2020

    Sneakily introduced cycling lanes and concrete planters are killing our high streets where CV-19 didn’t.

    We can’t travel on trains and instead sit in standing traffic. The shops are closed and now vans on home delivery can’t get through.

    Nobody gave the Tories an 80 seat majority to deliver the ultra Leftism that has come our way.

    Just get local and national government out of the way and we’ll do fine.

  32. None of the Above
    November 11, 2020

    The Country has an adequate supply of supermarkets many of whom can deliver to peoples Homes. Town centres should be attractive places of entertainment and specialist retail. Above all, access should be easy and parking should be free.

    We have an out of town retail and entertainment centre with plenty of restaurants with free parking and it is, in normal times, thriving.

  33. You ruined me
    November 11, 2020

    I agree help for self employed, sadly MPs chose in March to put all self employed out of business who were one day late putting in their tax this year. An act of monumental spite they seem to have gotten completely away with. Of course those struggling the most were most likely to be paying the accountant bill slightly late this year, not knowing when the next pay check would come in due to MPs suddenly destroying their business, like mine. Freelancer, self employed 15 years lost all my contracts with retailers in March and due to having a choice between feeding family or paying accountant I put my tax in late this year. What is going on John?

  34. Everyone knows
    November 11, 2020

    I agree help for self employed, sadly MPs chose in March to put all self employed out of business who were one day late putting in their tax this year. An act of monumental spite they seem to have gotten completely away with?

    Of course those struggling the most were most likely to be paying the accountant bill slightly late this year, not knowing when the next pay check would come in due to MPs suddenly destroying their business, like mine. Freelancer, self employed 15 years lost all my contracts with retailers in March and due to having a choice between feeding family or paying accountant I put my tax in late this year. What is going on John?

  35. FedvUp 2
    November 11, 2020

    Would you close down Amazon for being one day late putting in tax this year or is it only small business you hate? Not you John, the others.

    People need to know a condition was added to prevent self employed getting ANY help for MPs destroying them…. one day late putting in tax this year and you get nothing. Biggest tax fine ever?

  36. Richard1
    November 11, 2020

    Not that I think its remotely relevant or important, I see that Boris has been first in the queue to speak to President-Elect Biden.

    Could those leftists who wrote in here to assure us he would be behind other more left-liberal inclined leaders whom they imagine are more to their taste (wrongly in most cases) kindly send in a little note of acknowledgment and apology?

  37. No Longer Anonymous
    November 11, 2020

    Doubtless the Mad Men will want to keep us locked down because of the vaccine on a *dangerously* distanced horizon.

    “One last big push !”

    (My region did everything right and had the R rate low. What have we done to deserve this ?)

  38. Mike Wilson
    November 11, 2020

    The basic requirements of life – food, clothes, a home and energy are not particularly digital. Why is the future digital?

    1. steve
      November 11, 2020

      “Why is the future digital?”

      For Orwellian – like control.

      Answer…..don’t buy into digital, live an analogue (and self sufficient) lifestyle where ever you can.

  39. ukretired123
    November 11, 2020

    Although these are great ideas the emphasis on build implies bricks and mortar not digital infrastructure compared with say Japan which in the late 1980s targeted full fibre optic by year 2000 across the whole country!
    It is also woeful that STEM subjects in children’s education has taken so long against the blob powerful resistance.
    As for the SMEs the whole attitude towards enterprise and the spirit of adventures, risk taking has been negative and profit regarded as a dirty word by financially ignorant luddites.

    There needs to be a total renaissance that we have to work to earn a living and financial training encouraged in the public sector. Years ago when a public utility was privatised I was shocked to hear their engineers were not allowed or trained in financial decision making except for top executives!!!

  40. Richard1
    November 11, 2020

    One year of this govt has gone. I think we all understand that Covid has knocked them sideways, as it has other govts. Also that the constraints put on by the last parliament have made a Brexit deal harder to strike than it need have been.

    We now need action early in 2021 to make the UK the stand-out competitive economy, at least in Europe. The key metric, like it or not, will be has the UK out-performed the eurozone in the opinion of the public by the next election. If the answer is a clear No, if I was Starmer, I’d stand on a platform of Rejoin the EU including joining the euro , no opt-outs, rebates etc, and change our voting system to PR. all with no referendum. And get the lib dems and the Scots separatists to do an electoral pact to win a majority for that.

    Wake up Conservative MPs – the monkey is on your back!

  41. Ed M
    November 11, 2020

    ‘The UK above all needs to encourage a new generation of technology specialists and entrepreneurs, as the future is digital.’

    – Hear, hear.

    Services obviously still really key. But building on this with tech / digital and integrating closely with services too.

    1. steve
      November 11, 2020

      Ed M

      “and entrepreneurs”

      The very class of people who industrialised China, causing global disease, global environment damage, and flooded markets with cheap to make plastic crap that doesn’t last five minutes.

      Go to any council tip…..and the mountains of wastage you see is because of entrepreneur’s trade with China.

      1. Ed M
        November 12, 2020


        I’m talking about high quality tech goods.

        Also, we should be using science to control the ill effects of technology.

        Science is an amazing thing. Who would have thought 200 years ago, we’d send a man to the moon.

        I strongly believe there are enough material resources for the population of this world to live comfortably. But having faith in science – what it can do is key (above all, in The Traditional Christian God).

        The great crime isn’t that people are comfortable in their wealth (as long as it is earned honesty etc) but that people aren’t grateful for it and don’t believe that we can enjoy the material gifts of this world but that we have to work hard through science and faith to ensure we look after the world properly – like the good stewards in The Gospels.

        People with any faith have to speak up. Our world is absolutely crumbling in to disorder. It’s not just traditional Christians who think this – but agnostics and atheists as well. But it doesn’t have to crumble in to disorder. As long as keep our faith in science, and above all our faith in God, then this world – and The UK! – has an AMAZING FUTURE!

  42. Norman
    November 11, 2020

    The Covid Recovery Group – at last a sign of realism, not just supine submission to a plethora of destructive forces. Implications for the current leadership – sharpen up or pay the price!

  43. Vernon Wright
    November 11, 2020

    SARS-CoV-2 and CoViD-19

    It would be encouraging if any-one arguing for any action in connexion with the pandemic — especially politicians, media presenters and, above all, the so called scientists — could be bothered to learn and to use the correct terminology relating to the virus (and viruses generally) and the disease. If a blind lead the blind …


  44. Ginty
    November 11, 2020

    You can just guarantee that Boris, Whitty and Vallance will make the vaccine the worst thing to ever happen to us.

    Lock down until June at least.

    Why ?

    Because then they can claim that their decision for all previous lock downs were right and that the vaccine saved us. How do the rest of us prove otherwise ?

    The country is finished.

  45. Lifelogic
    November 11, 2020

    UK says YES to jab… but you go first Boris! says the Daily Mail today. What are these dopes on about? He has already had it and will almost certainly therefore not need a vaccine. Furthermore as he reacted badly to Covid so he might well be rather safer not having it.

    1. Hope
      November 11, 2020

      LL, Perhaps you missed their real intent, in which case you might be that dope?

    2. Paul Cuthbertson
      November 12, 2020

      How do we know he had covid???

  46. glen cullen
    November 11, 2020

    Online shopping on the increase and high street shopping on the decline – well it isn’t rocket science to explain why…..I’m sure that academics and politicians would like to say its complex – no it isn’t; there are only three factors that influence the shopping split and they are all controlled by this government
    1. Lockdown
    2. Car Parking Fines
    3. Business Rates
    Do not try to say its due to shoppers behavioural changes – it due to tax and social engineering

  47. bigneil(newercomp)
    November 11, 2020

    About 300 ( that we are told about ), have landed here in a week. When their families arrive with smiles on their faces and hands/pockets outstretched for our freebies, nearer 3000. An endless govt approved invasion which can only end badly. The end result is SOOOOO clear that it can only mean you all WANT it to happen

    What is being done? Well, from the BBC news – ” Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said the criminals behind the crossings were breaking the law. – – UK authorities were “relentlessly” going after those responsible, he said.

    If this is the success rate of being “relentless” then God help us if he was bad at his job. I cannot actually believe he is getting paid. “Relentless” can’t even stop foreigners in rubber dinghies.

    Brian Rix wouldn’t even star in this ongoing farce. He’d be too ashamed.

  48. Peter
    November 11, 2020

    ‘Levelling up’ suggests further government interference.

    Or worse still, a chance to get away with things that they could not do before( in tandem with the dreaded ‘property developers’).

    Stepping back might be better.

  49. James Simister
    November 11, 2020

    All very sensible, and yes: change of use & low taxes are vital. It’s medium-sized industrial towns that need help most – Walsall, West Bromwich, and Crawley , for example., and some larger ones like Portsmouth – many such places are in the south and especially the south-west, not only in Midland / northern England.

  50. ChrisS
    November 11, 2020

    At its roots, leveling up has everything to do with parenting.

    We have heard in the media this week that some very young children have returned to school in nappies when they were previously potty trained while teachers and politicians are complaining that the “most deprived” children of all ages have lost a lot of ground in their education compared with their peers. There is not a single parent in the UK who could not find the time to help their child to read, write and do a little arithmetic if they have any interest in doing so.

    This really has very little to do with money. In fact, some of the best parents I have known have been poor. They all had one trait in common : they were all extremely caring and centred their lives around bringing up their children. What we have read this week is proof of the extraordinary incompetence of some parents and their complete lack of interest in their children.

    Left leaning politicians only ever refer to deprivation as if lack of money is the sole cause of the problem and that higher benefits would be the universal panacea. They never mention that one of the biggest influences on success in life (and poor health in older age) is the lack of intelligence of some irresponsible people who become parents.

    Short of offering boarding school places for those unfortunate children who have hopeless parents, I cannot offer any form of solution. We can help out with free school meals etc, but what can society do to counteract incompetent and thoroughly bad parenting ?

  51. John Halom
    November 11, 2020

    Yes make the disaster government has created by some good old socialistic interference. After all look how well that went in the Eastern Bloc. If you want to make things better stop government doing anything except removing rules and taxes and stop promoting the covid fraud.

  52. JohnE
    November 11, 2020

    This is all based on the touchingly naive belief that this government is capable of doing anything positive. Surely it would be best for them to just stop interfering.
    Some money for transport infrastructure would be good – pothole free roads would be a welcome start for all of us, north, south, east or west. But while that seems a crazy fantasy don’t waste our time with all the other fluff.

  53. freedom
    November 11, 2020

    Piers Morgan runs the country.
    I opt out of the NHS then John.

  54. DaveK
    November 11, 2020

    Sir John,

    May I ask whether it is government policy to transfer to an online economy? I read that, although not highlighted in the announcements, shopping for non-essential items is now discouraged. I can see you want to avoid Christmas and all it’s glitter increased footfall, but to replace my broken kettle now gives Mr Bezos even more profit. I am also very concerned by the eagerness to move to remote working as that depends on where the remote is. For example is a UK office worker’s home fully compliant with HSE requirents such as trip hazards, DSE, PAT testing and all other such requirements? This at present is being overlooked, but I imagine when lawsuits start emerging that will change and to avoid these pesky standards I suspect the “even more remote” will be ever more enticing. As to transforming our towns and buildings outside the metropolis sounds great, however a cynical mind might suggest that when all the small shops are gone the owners will want to change them to accomodation so then the actual workers in town can walk to work (no need for personal transport). As to remote entertainment, you’ll have Amazon Prime (him again), Netflix et al. All that’s missing is the two minute hate, which I call the BBC News.

  55. bigneil(newercomp)
    November 11, 2020

    Yesterday I read a post on another site which told of a couple in their 80s moving to a smaller house. Very quickly a letter arrived at their new address telling them to get a tv license.

    And in barracks and hotels all over the country, thousands of non-contributing foreign arrivals are watching free tv with free electricity, water, etc etc.

    We know whose side you are all on – SHAME ON YOU ALL.

    1. Al
      November 11, 2020

      “And in barracks and hotels all over the country, thousands of non-contributing foreign arrivals are watching free tv with free electricity, water, etc etc. ” – bigneil

      Let’s be accurate, the television, electricity, water, etc. is not free. The hotels and barracks provide them and then bill the government, a.k.a. the taxpayer.

      Of course, over 75’s didn’t used to pay at all, but the BBC agreed to bear the cost (“BBC to fund provision of free television licences for over-75s” 6 July 2015) and then changed their mind about covering it. If they really can’t afford the cost, then perhaps they should consider whether, as a publicly funded service, they really need employees (sorry, ‘contractors’) paid more than the Prime Minister.

  56. Rhoddas
    November 11, 2020

    Funding Levelling Up:
    * Redirect 80% of International Aid for remainder of parliament
    * Vat & net UK payments no longer going to EU
    * Cancel HS2 as public rail transport demand will not recover, probably for ever.

    Transformation Key Activities:
    * Repurpose underused office/business buildings for residential (method as you suggest)
    * Freeports strategy (already mentioned passim) with essential infrastructure / rollback red tape to make us more competitive essentially vs EU.
    * Construct regional plans (with budgets) for all that is required, jointly & with buy in from Mayors/Assemblies etc (lot of fun to be had there)…. and for new buildings/infra, lets have new signs showing funding by UK (not EU this time) 😀

  57. glen cullen
    November 11, 2020

    I see that there are still hundreds crossing the channel daily

  58. Caterpillar
    November 11, 2020

    The first seven words are key. The government should move on from lockdown. It hasn’t, it isn’t and it won’t. Moreover, within the context of Covid19 the Chancellor has not treated individuals equitably, so to think that he is in anyway appropriate for a levelling up agenda is, I think, misguided.

    In terms of attracting private investment capital into low income regions the approaches are tax breaks associated with capital investment, crowding-in public investment (transport connectivity, infrastructure, culture to attract internal migration), educated labour, healthy labour.

    To pull another generation through at higher levels of technical education will need sorting out the enabling English and Mathematics GCSE achievement in low income areas.

  59. Original Chris
    November 11, 2020

    Could you confirm if this is true, Sir John:

    “…we have legislation going through parliament right now giving the government the right to collect and keep DNA and fingerprint profiles of everyone”
    (The Coronavirus (Retention of Fingerprint and DNA Profiles in the interests of National Security) (No2) Regulations 2020)

  60. Micheal Diedan
    November 11, 2020

    “Level up” is a clarion call for leftists in the north and midlands to extort more money from southern taxpayers via central government. Level up is not about the private sector it’s about government intervention, increased fiscal transfers from the south and increased government borrowing.

  61. Ian @Barkham
    November 11, 2020

    The Extinction Rebellion a political movement this government supports shows what they think of the people of the UK at the Cenotaph today.

    Will they be fined for criminal damage – NO. Have they paid for there previous acts of vandalism – NO. Are they being fined for abusing Lock-Down rules – NO

    But if a nurse removes her Mother from an old peoples home the police descend and respond disproportionately. Areas of the UK with little or no Covid Locked Down.

    XT is just another religion, belief set, that BoJo won’t challenge. Keeping non-believers under ‘House Arrest’ destroying their livelihoods to maintain control is a more important direction for the Government. A Government that is carrying out XT’s project for them, destroy society and reverse history

  62. Cynic
    November 11, 2020

    If Boris sticks to HS2, Green agenda and lockdown policies, he will be destroying jobs as quickly as the private sector can create them.

    1. glen cullen
      November 11, 2020

      Under this government there isn’t any chance of any private business creating jobs

    2. steve
      November 11, 2020


      Fear not, the conservatives will destroy themselves first. The game is up already…..people are more astute than the alleged conservatives like to think. There is going to be a reckoning.

  63. a-tracy
    November 11, 2020

    “It also needs more roll out of the government’s training and educational offers.”

    This is mainly aimed and sorted for large companies. SMEs apply for Kickstarter for a trainee you don’t hear anything for weeks, you have to sort out recruitment yourselves because the private sector can’t sit around for weeks and weeks sitting on their hands.

    Then the highest unemployment town nearby doesn’t even have a direct bus onto the business park 15 minutes drive away even at peak times – just no joined-up thinking, public transport takes 1 hour to do this 15-minute journey and is too highly-priced.

    As for encouraging self-employment – ha ha ha.

    What about the highly taxed PAYE worker starting with 20% income tax from £12,500, 25.8% National Insurance from £9500, 7% nest from £6240, [and for the English only 9% student tuition fee graduate tax plan 1 from £19380 or plan 2 from £26,568].

    You also need to look at grants and scholarships only available to the Welsh, the Northern Irish or the Scottish that English students can’t apply for and have no equivalence.

  64. DavidJ
    November 11, 2020

    Indeed taxation for the self employed and small businesses needs to be reduced. That and benefits for all would come from a drastic reduction in government squandering.

    This could be started by cancelling HS2 and other vanity projects along with the “Green” menace and eliminating support for illegal immigrants.

  65. XYXY
    November 11, 2020

    Yes, the Treasury have a lot to answer for. They seem to act on (misguided) instinct rather than knowledge and experience. Career civil servants are not best placed to make decisions on tax policy.

    However, there does seem to be an element of “the long march through the institutions” – as rather odd and long-winded phrase currently in vogue meaning that the left have got themselves in positions of influence throughout society (civil service, quangos etc) where people can wield great power without needing to suffer the inconvenience of being elected by the great unwashed.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      November 12, 2020

      Please explain how any group, which is not a government department nor an agency controlled by government, nor an entity with which you have a personal contract – such as a lender or an employer – “wields great power” over you?

      People are indeed bullied by their employers, but they keep voting for a party which promotes this very thing, it appears.

  66. Nannette
    November 11, 2020

    This is the beginning of the great reset!

    We’re being dictated to, and are now told only to shop in official online outlets, where I’ll bet ministers and Westminster civil serpents and their families have vested interests!

    Meanwhile high Street shops are going into bankruptcy while the government sit idly by and do nothing.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      November 11, 2020

      I own small high street shops, I have subdivided bigger premises into small units. I am preparing to drop rents to the point where I pay no taxes. I will buy and sell nothing. I will pay no CGT, no Income Tax, i will give away all my assets and hang on for 7 years to avoid Death duties.
      I will be damned if I fund the idiocy of this so-called Conservative Government.

      1. Hope
        November 11, 2020


        Like JR you keep putting heart before head. There is no conservatism in your the Fake Tories.

        Johnson allowed his Extinction Rebellion friends to mock the Cenotaph fixing a wreath and banner on it while a van load of police officers stayed in their van within view!

        In the national papers a picture of 30 officers sent to shut down a gymn!

        JR, tell us the police are not being politicised which demonstrations to allow and which to use thuggery tactics and punitive fines by Patel at the helm?

        Barrier announces another extension beyond this week! Still talking about the same issues from years ago, Territorial waters, ECJ and level playing field. I thought Govt told the EU not to bother sending Barnier here a month ago for this reason!

        1. steve
          November 11, 2020


          “I thought Govt told the EU not to bother sending Barnier here a month ago for this reason!”

          Johnson lied, basically. He had neither the intention or the guts slam the door on the ungrateful french.

          For this reason, and despite what the alleged tories do now……the conservative party is dead.

          Let them do their worst, in four years time, maybe before, they’ll have to disband.

          Let’s get Brexit done – not honoured.
          Will decriminalise non payment of the TV licence fee – not honoured.

          We warned, we meant it.

      2. glen cullen
        November 11, 2020

        Agree – conservative government in name only CGINO

      3. Fred H
        November 11, 2020

        If you want advice on giving away your assets to good causes – just ask!

    2. steve
      November 11, 2020


      “Meanwhile high Street shops are going into bankruptcy while the government sit idly by and do nothing.”

      Yeah but to be completely fair it is not all the fault of government, most shops these days go out of their way to be as useless as possible.

      1. Martin in Cardiff
        November 12, 2020

        Is there anything about this country that you actually like?

        1. Fred H
          November 12, 2020

          that question I put to YOU!

  67. Stephen Priest
    November 11, 2020

    When does this end?

    Extinction Rebellion allowed to demonstrate at the Cenotaph this morning and the police do nothing. Every day the news gets worse.

    When does this end? How can a CONSERVATIVE Government let self employed and small businesses go out of business ? They just don’t seem to care.

    Currently I get no income but still have plenty of costs

    1. glen cullen
      November 11, 2020


      I have no words

    2. JayGee
      November 11, 2020

      Where can we read the detail of the government’s policy of levelling up? Do you have a link that we can follow? Otherwise it’s difficult to comment.

      1. Mark B
        November 12, 2020

        I have asked our kind host but he seems rather quiet on the details. Much like the government.

    3. Fred H
      November 11, 2020

      I have lots of words about it all – – but hardly any are admiration.

  68. Lifelogic
    November 11, 2020

    Laura Kuenssberg (on Politics Live) is now suggesting that Carrie Simmons is intervening in No. 10 Chief of Staff selection. Is Carrie also responsible for Boris now being so full of green crap? He used to be far more sensible on this issue?

    I suppose a Theatre Studies degree does give one a excellent grasp on energy engineering, physics, economics & climate physics.

    I do hope Mike Pompeo is right on having a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. However unlikely this currently looks. A climate realist, good for the economy, good for the UK & Brexit, full of energy, anti-war, tax cutting and so modest with it too.

    What is not to like compared to Biden and Harris?

    1. Sea_Warrior
      November 12, 2020

      And R5L have also just reported the Simmons intervention also. This is appalling: the appointment should have been run past a young footballer first.
      P.S. Perhaps, Sir John, you should ask the PM, at PMQs, to publish the job description/person specification of the No 10 ‘Chief of Staff’ – and then ask what on earth the Cabinet Secretary does these days.

    2. Martin in Cardiff
      November 12, 2020

      Johnson proposed London’s ULEZ long before he had anything to do with Symonds.

      I find him reprehensible in many ways, but he is not a crank.

  69. lojolondon
    November 11, 2020

    Two easy wins here John –
    1. Cancel HS2 immediately, saving £100 Billion
    2. Spend £1 Billion of the 100 saved on super-duper high speed broadband for the whole UK, so everyone can work really efficiently, from everywhere.

  70. Martin in Cardiff
    November 11, 2020

    Lockdowns may well soon be off the menu thanks to the marvellous progress in vaccine research.

    And of course, the fact that the vaccine was designed by the second generation from Turkish immigrants to Germany exposes the hateful nonsense claimed by many commenters here too.

    1. Edward2
      November 11, 2020

      Give examples of “hateful nonsense”

      I hope that will include the dreadful comments about old and poor pensioners by your pal Andy.

    2. agricola
      November 11, 2020

      The immigrant question is not about personalities, it has always been about numbers and in the UKs case what level of numbers are sustainable. You trying to turn it into a racist issue, within your hamper of multiple hates, is unacceptable.

      1. Edward
        November 11, 2020

        Totally agree agricola
        Well said.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      November 11, 2020

      Let’s see if it works.. of course they will have the money before that is known. It’s like taking candy from a baby!

    4. Fred H
      November 11, 2020

      Usual nonsense.
      Scientists are testing 50 candidate vaccines in clinical trials in people.
      At least 150 candidate vaccines are in preclinical development, including animal and laboratory testing (in many places across the world, involving scientists from many many countries). The present disclosure is about seizing me-first initiatives, even though almost no GP / Health centre organisations will have refrigeration and storage facilities for minus 80.
      Progress is still to be admired even if not remotely practical currently.

    5. No Longer Anonymous
      November 11, 2020

      “And of course, the fact that the vaccine was designed by the second generation from Turkish immigrants to Germany exposes the hateful nonsense claimed by many commenters here too.”

      That hateful nonsense is in your own fevered imagination. Why can’t we complain about boat loads of un-vetted blokes of fighting age turning up here ? (Not even the BBC cameras lie about that.) We have no issue at all with properly vetted ones who are useful to the economy.

      I wouldn’t bank of lockdowns being off the menu. In fact they could be worse because Vallance and Whitty will tell us that “one last push” should do it. The real reason being to vindicate their policies by avoiding any gap in lockdowns that could prove them to be false.

      The blonde chap (wossname ?) has already cleared the path for this by saying that the vaccine will not be the knockout blow.

  71. Everhopeful
    November 11, 2020

    What use will any of these plans be if Extinction Rebellion is allowed to do exactly as it pleases…rampaging, rioting and destroying in city centres.
    Police again stood by as Cenotaph wreaths ripped apart.
    Boris’ orders?

    1. Hope
      November 11, 2020

      I think the agenda is clear. Absolutely clear evidence double standards are being applied. Too many not to be a coincidence and over too large a geographic areas. Policy by Govt. led by Patel.
      Pity she could not find enough police to stop thousands of illegals, potentially some terrorists if Macron is correct in his view, landing on Kent beaches!

    2. glen cullen
      November 11, 2020

      Apparently a lot a regiments wanted to march on Sunday wearing masks and marching six feet apart but the politically minded chief of the defence staff said no – they wanted to support the government agenda to the letter

  72. beresford
    November 11, 2020

    We read today that it is a ‘good thing’ that Boris Johnson and Prince Charles will be well down the list of those to be vaccinated on the grounds of age. I disagree, it is far more important that the nation’s leader and the heir to the throne should be ‘protected’ than an inconsequential pensioner like me. Next in line should be Messrs Hancock, Whitty, Vallance and van Tam, in accordance with the old principle that an engineer is the first to cross his own bridge. If they decline, what does that say about the ‘armful of hope’?

    1. DaveK
      November 13, 2020

      They’d just inject saline anyway. Although since the PM has “had it”, he shouldn’t need one.

  73. JohnE
    November 11, 2020

    I see in the Mail online that the dictatorship will prevent me from buying any vaccine with my own money?
    And I am banned from leaving the country.
    It’s a funny government we have isn’t it?

    1. Mark B
      November 12, 2020

      Just living behind the Iron Curtain.

  74. Paul Cuthbertson
    November 11, 2020

    We did not need the lockdown in the first place – CONTROL?

  75. Stred
    November 11, 2020

    The only way to get councils to make it easier to remodel properties is to take the power to interfere and make unreasonable demands away from them, as with permitted development.
    To give examples of how councils behave, in this year alone, I have let a small 3/4 bedroom house since 1994, firstly to four sharers, then three and now two, as HMO legislation became increasingly onerous. One tenant had the first floor bedrooms and a kitchenette and the other had the ground floor with a bedroom, small kitchen and lounge. They shared the garden, stairsand hall, bills and had a joint tenancy. No work to separate the floors was done.The council accused me of unauthorized development and demanded two council taxes as separate flats. It took three months and intervention of a councillor to help the tenant before they gave up .
    Then during the gales early this year the wind funnelled between the new roof extensions either side of my own house and the tiles blew off and crashed onto the garden table and gutter smashing them. I had to repair the roof myself and put a ladder on a paved lower roof to reach the the second floor and attic. The lockdown came with the better weather and, as one neighbour had two roof terraces and both had rooms in the roof built with no need for planning permission, I spent £120 making a four foot wide balustrade on my second floor roof and put the ladder up to mend the gutter safely. The council wrote to accuse me of unauthorized development and demanded to inspect, refusing to say who had informed them. As a planning application will cost about seven times as much a my smsll timber balustrade, I will unbolt it and put it up as a temporary safety barrier next year.

    Anyone trying to negotiate anything bigger will need a team of specialists to overcome the planners.

  76. Chezza
    November 11, 2020

    Perhaps this reaction to a virus has shown more people that meeting in real life for community events, entertainment, high street shopping, pubs and generally things that make life worth living will prove the future isn’t digital

    1. Alpipp
      November 11, 2020

      Yes indeed. My young adult children want face to face time with friends rather than zoom or FaceTime etc.

  77. Iago
    November 11, 2020

    Inheritance Tax is levied at 40%, so within a generation it can have been levied twice, i.e. 80% seized, in effect the wealth of the nation transferred to the state. Capital Gains Tax, I read today, may in future “be paid down the generations”.
    Also there is now to be a general discrimination against the present majority in favour of the various minorities, a general and presumably permanent subordination in all areas of life; we now see this in jobs and promotion being allocated by quotas to minorities and not by merit in the civil service and we see it in education with places at university. I think this government plans (actually it already does with government suppliers) to enforce this discrimination beyond the civil service and, as I have said, into all facets of life. I do not believe this nation state can remain viable for long, but the government seems to be indifferent to the independence of the country.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      November 12, 2020

      I’m currently doing the IHT paperwork for a family member’s estate. The paperwork is about a 1/3 of an inch thick. Can I do it online? No. How long will the process take? HMRC can’t say. Will there be any tax to pay? Actually, no, there won’t be. Will a house be standing empty until Grant of Probate is given? Yes. The efficiency with which government, in its broadest sense, manages this process is poor and deserves the attention of MPs and some good management consultants.
      P.S. The estate is probably bigger than average but, due to the introduction of the ‘Residence Nil Rate Band’, tax-free. (Well to that Chancellor!) Conservative me thinks that IHT is a pretty bad idea, amounting to doube-taxation.

  78. Bryan Harris
    November 11, 2020

    Just like the lock-down, government think they can impose their will and every thing will be fine, like any good socialist regime.

    This time with the proposals for putting in place advertising restrictions for products high in fat, sugar and salt:

    The government is going about this all wrong — Banning things never creates a suitable outcome — look at how they tried to ban alcohol in the USA.

    Advertising is too far down the chain in relation to making such changes.

    Just because a government has a power to ban things doesn’t make it right nor practical.

    If we were going to approach this subject analytically, we would take aim at the companies that produce the items concerned. Ultimate responsibility rests with the producers — HOW DARE they supply foods that are detrimental to our health!

    Why hasn’t the government done something about what goes into food, rather than attacking it at an obtuse angle.

    In a free society you don’t ban items because it harms some people, you educate and get companies / people to use their own responsibility to make things better.

    This government is too keen to impose it’s ideas on us – That’s what socialism does, and we do not need any more of that in any shape or form.

    1. Stred
      November 12, 2020

      It has the Nudge Unit’s fingerprint on it.

  79. Lynn Atkinson
    November 11, 2020

    If President Trump wind his second term (and he will) Boris must resign. His premature acceptance of Biden is unforgivable.

    1. Hope
      November 11, 2020

      Breath taking stupidity again. Sensible leaders are waiting for the result! Even Mexico. Did the U.K. wait for the result between Bush and Gore? I think so.

      As Dr Hanson indicates in his interview with Shapiro it looks like polling and pollsters were trying to interfere with the election to convince the public how to vote or not bother as it was a”lost cause” but the public did not believe them- just like Brexit!

      Same for Twitter and Facebook not allowing Biden scandal to come to light before election.

      I think the public take heart to vote with your beliefs not to listen to MSM and social media giants they are furthering what their interests and not what us good for the nation or the public.

      Johnson’s actions further demonstrates to me BBC is fully in line with his party’s culturally Marxist agenda. Fake criticism to con the public. He has all the power to get rid of it or its funding. He allowed it to charge over 75 s during his unwarranted lock down. Disgraceful.

  80. Fred H
    November 11, 2020

    Off topic.
    Have you joined the Covid Recovery Group?

    1. Mary M.
      November 12, 2020

      Sir John doesn’t need to join a group to spell out where he stands. He has made his views clear all along, with speeches in Parliament, with his voting against the latest lockdown, and indeed in this ‘Diary’ for those who care to read it.

      Another principled MP is Iain Duncan Smith. Notice he hasn’t felt he has to join this new group to make his views known.

      It’s bit late for Steve Baker and co. Some members of the RCG voted ‘Yes’ on 4th November, or abstained. Very puzzling. Or has Nigel Farage and his proposed Reform Party made them realise that their jobs may not be so safe?

    2. Fred H
      November 12, 2020

      I’m a constituent – why shouldn’t I ask? I was here before Sir John got lucky with this seat.

  81. Sea_Warrior
    November 11, 2020

    I gather that the Small Modular Reactor project has been given another big puff of wind into its sails today. The government is also chipping in £200m. I have been fiercely critical of the public spending decisions of Boris – but I’ll salute this one. I am old enough to remember a time when we had a thriving civil nuclear industry. Let’s build another one!

    1. Alpipp
      November 11, 2020

      Well said Admiral

      1. Sea_Warrior
        November 12, 2020

        Admiral? I wish. 🙂

    2. glen cullen
      November 11, 2020

      It’s the only sensible option – should’ve been done 20 yrs ago

  82. Iain Gill
    November 11, 2020

    Manchester hospitals seem to be genuinely overwhelmed now, with Covid and not being setup to cope. I know directly from people there, but this also came out


    Is there nothing the rest of the country can do to help?

    1. rb
      November 11, 2020

      Don’t believe the scare stories about hospitals running out of ICU beds
      Even in Manchester, hospitals are faring far better than the headline statistics suggest


    2. Alpipp
      November 11, 2020

      Yes … Stop reading the Independent. It is a hysterical opinion news rag. Independent thought the world would literally end if Brexit went ahead.

    3. rb
      November 11, 2020

      Is there anything more guaranteed to stir public emotion than the prospect of the NHS running out of intensive care beds and Covid-19 victims being left to die in corridors? First, we were told, that beds in Liverpool were 95 per cent full, then we were told those in Manchester were 80 per cent full. Wow, it is easy to think: it will only take a few more people on the general ward to develop complications and the NHS will have to throw in the towel.

      No wonder a Downing Street briefing yesterday dangled the prediction that the North West would run out of ICU capacity by November 12. Who, hearing that, would not support the Government’s efforts to place Greater Manchester in Tier 3 of its Covid restrictions, forcing the closure of all pubs and banning household mixing?

      Except, that is, that the spectre of the NHS running out of intensive care beds isn’t quite all it seems. When The Manchester Evening News sought statistics on the occupancy of intensive care beds it was at first passed backwards and forwards between NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). Eventually, the newspaper obtained figures from No10 suggesting that Stockport NHS trust had 100 per cent of its beds full, Salford 91 per cent, Bolton 81 per cent and the Manchester Foundation Trust 70 per cent. A leaked document seen by The Observer suggested that on Friday 82 per cent of intensive care beds in Greater Manchester were occupied.

      However alarming that might sound, comparisons with recent years suggest this is perfectly normal for this time of year.

      1. Stred
        November 12, 2020

        And most of those beds are occupied by patients suffering from other diseases which were untreated for five months or more. They have tested covid positive after coming in and those that die are recorded as having died with Covid on the certificate.

      2. Iain gill
        November 12, 2020

        I know patients and staff in Manchester, if you check my track record I am not from the side of the fence that normally gets upset by NHS sob stories. There does appear to be genuine problems in Manchester. It’s a shame that the reporting mechanisms are so broken and mistrusted that we cannot identify real problems when they are there.

      3. DaveK
        November 12, 2020

        The NHS Report is now available, the Summary tab is a good place to start: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/11/Covid-Publication-12-11-2020_v4-CB.xlsx

      4. DaveK
        November 12, 2020

        Personally I am concerned about the figures for the South West.
        On 1st October Mechanical Ventilated beds: 207 Occupied, 2 with Covid.
        On 5th November Mechanical Ventilated beds: 230 Occupied, 67 with Covid.
        So did 44 patients recover/die to be replaced by 65 Covid patients or
        23 covid patients turned up and 42 previous patients caught it?
        Or are we talking false positives and they are in for other problems?

    4. Iain gill
      November 12, 2020

      Why are we not using the capacity in the private hospitals that the NHS has already pre booked?

      1. a-tracy
        November 12, 2020

        Two of the hospitals in question are the reason I took the decision to pay private medical insurance so that I never had to go in them again other than in an emergency A&E and I prayed every day I or my family didn’t need to use them.

    5. Alan Jutson
      November 12, 2020


      I would not believe a word in the so called Independent, but then not many media sources just report the facts any more, they all seem to want to put some of their own spin or views on articals.

      1. rb
        November 12, 2020

        People need to realize newspapers make stuff up

  83. JoolsB
    November 11, 2020

    Here’s a novel idea for Johnson and 550 UK MPs squatting in English seats. How about scrapping the Barnett Formula so more of English taxes are spent on the English for a change levelling them up to the spending levels of the devolved nations. It would also take away the excuse Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs use to meddle in matters that don’t affect them or their constituents, i.e. Barnett consequentials . WIN WIN

  84. SM
    November 11, 2020

    The article makes it quite clear who the medical staff are blaming. Take a look at the structure of the hospital grouping in that part of the country, and trace it up through the generous layers of Executives and Directors and non-Exec Directors.

    1. SM
      November 11, 2020

      Sorry, that is a reply to Iain Gill.

  85. Everhopeful
    November 11, 2020

    Actually, the whole idea is that we, the people, level DOWN to the carbon footprint of the third world.
    Well all except the “elite” that is, who will soon have all their trendy holiday destinations to themselves again.
    A power and wealth grab..no more no less.
    And who pays? As ever, ever, ever…WE DO!

  86. 666
    November 12, 2020

    The Army is bar coding kids up in Liverpool

  87. a prophecy
    November 12, 2020

    The future will not be digital.

  88. Al
    November 13, 2020

    If the future is digital, may I ask when the gtovernment is going to start supporting secure OSs? For example, our government website states in many places that it only supports four browsers, most of which are tailored to Windows 10 and Android, two of the least secure OSs on the market (and one for Apple, which means any government forms you fill out are recorded in their central repository). With server-side coding to bear the load and failbacks to basic layouts, there is no need for this, and it disenfranches anyone who can’t afford to regularly buy new computers/phones.

    Given the problems with Computer Science applicants now being unable to code, but believing they are tech-savvy because they can use apps specifically designed to be easy to use, (and the joys of having to explain to one of them that secure data does not go on Google drive or it isn’t secure any longer because Google is a third party that can read it) we are less equipped for a digital future than we were when the tech future of the UK depended on Acorn BBCs in schools.

  89. David Fellows
    November 15, 2020

    The way the PM has presented levelling up suggests to me a more ambitious programme than you present in your sighting shot. The need for renewal of the regions arises from decades of neglect. The Blair, Brown Government came to adopt the assumption that The City would provide the economic heft and a substantial contribution to tax revenues and those elsewhere that did not otherwise find a living would be recompensed by a generous benefits system. This attitude to the regions, particularly the North, was both callous and wasteful of talent. The Cameron Northern Powerhouse initiative and a similar approach in the Midlands recognised a problem in just two regions but the solution was under-powered for the purpose.

    The London-obsessed focus of decision-takers has made London too expensive for all but the most affluent to live in with any comfort, creating vast communing problems and leaving regional communities drained of young people who inevitably seek work in the South causing inevitable damage to social support systems.

    In the post Brexit, post Covid era I believe that the country is looking for a more diverse and well-distributed economy and a more caring society. It is a huge agenda, requiring enormous and cohesive Government effort. It seems to me that the Johnson Government could develop the levelling up concept to fill this need if it was actively supported by parliamentarians from a wide range of constituencies.

    As a follower of your blog I suggest that you could make a telling contribution to levelling up if you could spare the time to develop your thinking about it. ( reference to a blog which does not set out a programme to level up)

    Sorry for the length of this note. My very best wishes – David Fellows

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