The credibility of the science

I admire the work done by medics and scientists who study disease in getting to a much better understanding of this virus quickly, and in finding some treatments and some potential vaccines that can help tame it. These offer the establishment’s way out from lockdowns. I am urging the government to do more on treatments, as we are still due test results for various medicines which might help fight the disease.

I have been less impressed by the epidemiologists and modellers working for the government, who have produced high and worrying numbers which even they have had to amend or shade. They have had problems compiling and publishing reliable figures to plot the disease, had trouble designing reliable tests to see how much of the disease is around, and have chopped and changed definitions even for something as important as deaths. In the early months they delighted in publishing comparisons with other countries that seemed to exaggerate the UK figures in a negative direction as numbers were not calculated on the same basis for each country. There was also a time when there seemed to be facilitation to maximise the number of death certificates saying died “with CV 19” rather than died of CV 19. There have been big arguments amongst scientists over the speed and method of spread and the likely future course of transmission of the disease, with very different forecasts.

It is most important that the public have trust in the official scientists and advisers. This is more likely if they treat the public as adults, explain what they do not know as well as what they know, leave scope for individual risk assessment and judgement, and try not to change requirements or strong advice unless they find they were wrong and need to tell us that.

The advisers did change their stance on mask wearing, from telling us they did not do much or any good to saying we must wear them in enclosed public places. They shifted from emphasis on picking up the virus through your hands, with the need for hand washing and much sterilisation of surfaces, to emphasis on airborne virus picked up from sharing airspace with infected people. This is understandable as their knowledge improves or changes, but does lead more people to ask if the latest iteration of the advice is good advice. It is likely to be true you can catch the virus both ways and so need to be careful both ways.

Today these same scientific advisers have persuaded Ministers to back them again with recommendations for more severe lockdowns, maybe continuing all the way through to April next year. This is why their advice needs challenging, as the cost to livelihoods and businesses will be considerable if this is followed. What evidence do they have that the worst transmission now occurs through hospitality venues rather than through everyday social contact? There is much contact through schools and universities staying open, through family gatherings and through the many businesses that do need people to go to a place of work so our power stays on and our food is on the shelves. How much transmission is occurring through rule breaking with people holding unofficial parties, entertainments and events?

The government advisers have always seemed to want a vaccine and to want as many of us as possible out of circulation until a vaccine arrives. They need to help the government and the rest of us to live with this virus whilst various vaccines are rolled out in ways which minimise deaths and serious cases whilst allowing as much normal life as possible.

I am pressing again for the results of work the government has said it is doing on safer indoor environments through better air extraction systems, best practice on how to run shops, gyms, events in a socially distanced way, and recommended standards for protective clothing for different tasks. What is the latest thinking on the use of UV machines for removing the virus from places where people meet? I will look tomorrow at the big issue of NHS capacity.

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  1. Andy
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    What evidence do you have that Brexit makes our country better? Been asking for five years now and you’d not got beyond discount tampons. When we asked for the same sort of impact assessment tests you now ask for, your all poo-poo the impact assessment tests.

    Have scientists got everything right about this new disease? No. Have they correctly predicted the direction of travel? Yes.

    Meanwhile as you and your colleagues moan, in the coming few days the official death toll from those with Covid will pass 60,000 – whilst excess deaths total many thousands more on top of that.

    The lockdown is hard and it is painful. But the alternative of the whinging hard right of the Tory party is to let people die needlessly. The people who need to shut up are really not the scientists.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Have they correctly predicted the direction of travel?

      They suggested 4,000 death a day from Covid a few weeks back with their dodgy dossier of project fear. We had just 215 “Covid” deaths reported yesterday and many of these were just false positives wrongly labelled and not really Covid at all. Plus the death rate is now decling significantly not increasing.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      The people who need to shut up?

      I encourage you to look in a mirror and contemplate who those people might be.

    • Longinus
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      You’ve not been listening to the sensible replies for the past 5 years.

      Any excess deaths are due to lack of access to NHS treatment for people without covid-19.

      There is no hard right in the Tory party.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Really Andy.
      I wouldn’t worry if I were you.
      Johnson won’t leave as per his promises and he has signed us all up to what must be the most wonderful future for leftists.
      A global version of the EU..full of wokery and yummy greenness!
      You’ll own nothing, you’ll have no job but up in your high rise city cage and you’ll be sooooo happy!
      Composting loos, window boxes, meatless plant “meat”….let joy be unbounded.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I think you should cease your tireless drivel, nobody is impressed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      What evidence do you have that Brexit makes our country better?

      A country that governs itself is surely likely to become better off than one ruled by others who have little interest in it (other than taxing, exploiting and regulating it)?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      The problem is that we have Tory politicians pandering to the infantile amongst their voters.

      Scientists deal in probabilities and in relatives.

      These voters only allow themselves to consider absolutes and certainties – just read the inane comments here.

      Either try to enlighten them or ignore them, please John.

      Oh, sorry, you depend on their dysfunctional reasoning for their brexit support.

      • NickC
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Martin, Brexit reasoning would only be “dysfunctional” if the rest of the world was in the EU. It isn’t. Therefore it is perfectly functional and rational for the UK also to be outwith the EU.

        You confuse scientists with statisticians, modellers and epidemiologists, who do deal in probabilities all the time. But scientists deal in absolutes frequently. What is more they assume (perhaps without good grounds) that those absolutes extant here, work on the other side of the universe too. To the consternation of many, that implies a God.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      We will see in the coming years whether Brexit is a success or not. So far it hasn’t been given a chance. Evidence that it might be a success is that many of the worlds most prosperous economies are not members of the EU. We will see.

      You have been completely wrong on this covid crisis as on so much else. For months you have been shrilly forecasting multiples of the actual death rates and ranting about how much worse the U.K. is than anywhere else. In fact it’s about the same in many European countries. and in the U.K. the worst area is Scotland, led by the leftwing pro-EU separatist ‘government’ which you think is great.

      It is highly likely to turn out that the whole lockdown policy which leftists like you have been shrieking for, has been an error. Again we will see as analysis is produced over the coming months and years.

      So why don’t you shut up yourself, if you don’t mind me suggesting it.

    • Leonard Keith Battri
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      You need to open your eyes and stick to the facts,
      The Sage group have been wrong or overstating the facts for the last six months
      and the numbers of deaths still have not been confirmed whether they resulted from Covid 19 or were just Covid 19 related.

      But would expect nothing more from an EU lover and Remainer

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      1 I think you’ll find excess deaths for 2020 over those for 2019 will be close to none, and could be negative based on data to end November.

      2 Your Brexit evidence is in the 2016 vote. In the days before multi-party Marxism hit this country, many people used to set up their own businesses not because an impact assessment said they’d be better off materially, but because they recognise the importance of being independent of the employer.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Most of those dying are pensioners. This saves money in so many ways. No state pension to pay. No care home bills to pay. And no costs of imprisoning them for voting for Brexit – when you get into power and do the round up of Brexit voters.

    • matthu
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      You say that pretty confidently – in the absence of any evidence to back you up.

    • BJC
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      We were all predicting the direction of travel for the virus, Andy, but we weren’t drawing a salary for doing so.

      If the only way they can present the illusion of success in their chosen field is to base it on irrelevant fallacies and massaged figures, it’s quite likely people are going to believe they have nothing better to sell than snake oil.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Andy it was the Remain Pink Protest that got VAT removed from female products, they and the Woke MPs who forced the change were oblivious to the fact that the EU controls VAT, in spite of my telling them repeatedly. You have been told repeatedly of the tangible benefits of Brexit, not the least of which is that we can sack our lawmakers.
      You like the Pink Protest self-proclaimed ‘Champagne Socialists’, are incapable of grasping simple facts, so you will NEVER KNOW and will continue to publicly display your inability to learn.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink


    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      You need to make a big effort to stop your anti-Brexit rants infecting every last one of your posts.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      From the Guardian Andy; Fri 30 Nov 2018 07.39 EST … There were 50,100 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter, the Office for National Statistics said flu and the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine were key reasons for the rise of excess winter deaths in 2017-18.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Why Sir John continues to allow your insane ramblings is beyond me, unless it’s the comedy angle.

      Have scientists got everything right about this new disease? No. Have they correctly predicted the direction of travel? NO.

      They have faked graphs, re-defined the term exponential, failed to disseminate real data and potentially used a test which may be positive if you’ve had a virus but still have dead remnants in your system.

      Even now we don’t know how many of those currently succumbing have covid or influenza. Don’t you feel slightly wary that in flu season the stats are down? And if as some say, “but masks”, how come they stop flu but not covid or is flu the thick one of the family and only goes for mask wearers?

    • Hope
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      South Korea and other Asian countries closer to China not locked down and have fewer deaths etc. they stopped flights and had quarantine for those they let in. Valance and Witty claimed allowing flights in would not make a significant difference! This flies in the face of the current piss poor advice. Both should have resigned or be sacked. On 21 Sept TV appearance their figures have proved to be utter rubbish. Same for November! Why not try witchcraft or voodoo?

      Hancock and Johnson has presided over the biggest public health and economic catastrophe in history. Instead of apologising (Hancock resigning) and learning they carry on with the same! They are beyond help. Get rid of Johnson.

      Eustice today claims trade talks with EU could go into next year!

    • matthu
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Andy: You say “The lockdown is hard and it is painful. But the alternative… is to let people die needlessly. ”

      Experts have argued that a 6.4% drop in GDP as a result of lockdown causes more deaths than would be caused by Covid. Have you considered the downside of lockdown? Have you even considered the cost to our mental health of people who don’t die as a result of either Covid or lockdown?

    • villaking
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Andy, what evidence do you have that robbing people of their freedoms and livelihoods saves any lives at all? All international comparisons suggest no correlation at all between length and severity of lockdowns and deaths. There has been a ridiculous over reaction and we will be paying for this in many ways for a long, long time.
      As for Brexit, I am also Remain but I think your frequent jibes are a little tired now. Sir John has tried to explain many supposed benefits apart from cheaper tampons. I don’t see it either but we lost the referendum and then ended up with a dreadful PM who can choose whatever post transition relationship he wants as he has an 80 seat majority. Leavers will therefore 100% own whatever transpires. Let’s just see what happens, there is nothing more we can do and re-running our arguments seems a little futile now.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Did you actually read the article before you went off on your usual rant ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Thousands of people die needlessly every year. This as the NHS has such appalling outcomes when compared to sensible health care systems and structures. Such are state monopolies that freeze out nearly all the competition (by being free at the point of use). Then they often ration, delay or deny treatments for years unless you die first saving them the bother.

        For example – Covid deaths (per million population) Germany 199 UK 859. German healthcare might thus have saved about 46,000 needless UK covid deaths in the UK. Then on top of that we have the needless non Covid deaths in the UK these are increasing significantly now too.

      • Hope
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink


        Papers today report three hospitals have more patients than last year! Plus all the unused Nightingale hospitals!

        Powis today could not answer how many patients were actually in hospital because of Chinese flu rather than there for something else but had tested positive Chinese flu!

        The govt impact assessment not worth the paper it is written on. Based on fact, evidence and science MPs must vote against the measures. Your govt is more of a threat to our health and way of life than the Chinese virus!

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          Hope, I read it’s not the number of patients that is the problem it is that so many front line staff are isolating, many are not working because they have pre-existing conditions and would be at too great a risk from covid (no percentages are given of absent staff compared to last year) and that there are 100,000 vacancies, it was in a tweet shared by Claire Fox from an NHS Manager.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Just confirm, my comment of 1.28pm was aimed at young Andy.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think anyone has said let people die needlessly.

      What I have heard proposed, however, is:

      A) Focused Shielding

      B) Full assessments of deaths and ill health caused because of lockdown (which you do not propose at all.)

      Anyone with a different view to you either wants to ruin the children’s lives or kill granny. Such defamation is how you murder democracy and get your own way when you lose a vote.

    • ukretired123
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Andy it is you who never stops whinging! Esp on Brexit….

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      We voted for Brexit. We didn’t vote for lockdowns. That’s the difference.

    • steve
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


      “The people who need to shut up are really not the scientists.”


      Correct. It is van cars like you who need to shut up.

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        I broke your code. I’m off to apply for a job at GCHQ. 🙂

    • Alan Paul Joyce
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to publish a topic that is impossible to link to Brexit.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        That is impossible because Sovereignty is the foundation upon which everything stands or falls.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      It’s the continual delays and frustrations by remainer idiots like yourself that have led to us not being able to truly leave the shackles of being out of the €U earlier, and enjoy the benefits earlier.

      Bozo and HanCOCK are only listening to ICL. I guess that institution must have something ‘on’ them. Government is not listening to any experts in the field, from other medical institutions or organisations.

      The government have made some monumental errors based on the dubious advice of Ferguson, van Tam, Vallance and Whitty, and no doubt several others.

      The country is now in excess of Two TRILLION pounds in debt – that’s £2,000,000,000,000. If it makes it easier for you to visualise that sum, in £5 notes, the thickness of the paper would encircle the Earth via the poles. In length, they would stretch to the Moon and back SIXTY FIVE times. In £1 coins it would stretch halfway to the planet Mercury.

      Over £380,000,000 of that has been added due to COVID measures this year.

      The longer this goes on the harder it will be for any of them to call a halt and say “Hang on. Let’s stop, re-evaluate things and just CHECK that we ARE in fact doing the correct thing and that there is no better way. We should have input from ALL credible sources who have valid opinions and advice to offer”.

      That is going to take some courage, because that re-evaluation may well turn out to show that they HAVE got things wrongs and need to change tack. And in doing so, they leave themselves open to both severe criticism and to legal action.

      The courage will come from acknowledging that possibility and shouldering that responsibility.

      Carrying on as they are is not ‘bravery’. It as abject cowardice and they are heading for a ‘Ceaucesceau Balcony Moment’.

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        The Tory Green Policies will save us

    • NickC
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Never very rational, Andy, you are becoming increasingly incoherent is your desperation. You have been told extensively and frequently what the benefits of Leave are. From not having to pay “protection” money, to courts, to laws, to currency, to fish, to being able to dismiss our government – each and every one is beneficial, worth much more than a trade deal.

  2. SM
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Please forgive the cynicism, but it seems to me that – across the world – Covid is having a far more deleterious effect on people’s minds than on their bodies.

    And that includes both governments globally and us oiks.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      17 Oct 2020 Guardian — “In England, the Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be children and young people under 18.”

      • Mark B
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink


        They are taking the opportunity to get their begging bowl to the front of the queue You can tell this because they ALL give high numbers which are rounded and plucked from thin air.

        They are shameless.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          Instead of employing diversity Managers on £50,000 pa plus benefits, they need to perhaps train mental health workers to employ in these workplaces and just practice diversity without needing a Manager to make the right noises.

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      World control, by those in fear of the people

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        They need to be, they are sowing the wind.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink


  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    We are fed figures by bbc news on COVID patients needing treatment in hospitals.We are not told those who can return home.What I need to know is the net figure.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      There seems to be an hidden agenda here.
      Lots of these lefty types would love to destroy the economy to impose their socialist ways.
      Having a weak left wing tory party doesn’t help.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Bob, yes and we need to know what John is saying. How many died with Covid but not of Covid because they had other serious health problems which were exacerbated by Covid? We need to know ages and where they lived or worked. All these things should be factored in so we really know what is going on.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Since the start we were the only country that didn’t produce any Recovered Data (see worldometers) which made me suspicious of the motive.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Amazing isn’t it. Is it because they can’t count, don’t know, or don’t want to tell us?

    • Christine Elliott
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I wrote to my MP way back in April to ask for the figures of people discharged from hospital to be included at the briefings each day, my argument was “to give people hope”, he replied but nothing ever happened, because it does not fit in with “project fear” we can only be kept under control by fear, and it’s quite alarming when you see how effective this policy has been. What will the next national incident be to keep us all locked up for so long?

      • NickC
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Christine, That is a very good point. I will ask my MP for the recovered from covid19 figures, as well.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The BBC showed pictures every night of full covid wards in hospitals in Italy – but not in the UK because the wards where empty….they have a lot to answer for

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        About half of the 70k excess deaths in the spring died at home or in care homes. many given little or no medical treatment or even palliative care at all. Many were even given the infection in hospital and then dumped into a care home to infect other ones assumes before then dying.

        As one of my relatives was. One reason why they were not too crowded they just kicked many out and refused to take many people in.

        • glen cullen
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Yeah I also lost two relatives

        • NickC
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic, A friend of ours had to look after her very elderly mother after she had fallen badly at home. The ambulance crew refused to take her to hospital, explaining that pre-covid they would have done. She died at home shortly thereafter, a non-covid “excess” death.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink


  4. Lifelogic
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The scientists (the ones the government choose to use anyway) have become politicians just as they have in the climate alarmist industry. They have not even assessed the damage being done by this second lock down which is surely gross negligence. How can you choose a sensible direction of travel without considering both or all paths? Their scientists are so incompetent (or political) that they do not even seem to have worked out that in the vaccine priority list (when and if it is shown safe enough to use) men should clearly get it at a younger age than women due to their different risk profile.

    A good interview with Matt Ridley Working Class Sacrifice at the Alter of Green with Darren Grimes. Another area where political insanity, crony capitalism and vested interest take priority over sensible science, engineering, the laws of physics and rational energy economics.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Bent or deluded scientist saying what they think the client (the government or state sector) want to hear. Thus retaining their jobs or consultancies.

      Group think lunacy or vested interest corruption take your pick.

      • Wil Pretty
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Scientists are skilled at applying scientific laws to data.
        In the case of Covid (and Climate Science) there is poor data and the parameters of the laws are not known.
        No wonder they fail.
        The specialism that can handle poor data and unknown laws is Engineering.
        This consists of finding out what works and then extrapolating that scientifically. It includes the application of Common Sense.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Many scientist do have common sense and are honourable as well as having logic and reason. The problem is many suffer from “group think” and political influence. They know what the government wish to hear and how to get the next research grant.

      • oldtimer
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Both of these plus their pursuit of their own agendas. The latter was/is especially true of the demonisation of CO2 using project fear. The consequence was incentives for diesel passenger cars introduced at the urging of VW, VW’s corruption of its test data, and a screeching reversal of policy at the realisation that diesel particulates are a real problem in packed urban environments.

      • ian@Barkham
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink


      • glen cullen
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink


    • Richard1
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      There are many parallels between the approach in this crisis and environmental alarmism. Perhaps learning those lessons will be one of the good things to come out of it all.

    • TooleyStu
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      (The scientists (the ones the government choose to use anyway) have become politicians just as they have in the climate alarmist industry.)…

      Harsh.. but fair.
      In fact, probably the most important point to ‘try’ to get across.

      +1 from me.

      Tooley Stu

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Fairly idiotic interview with the new Vaccine Tzar on World at One. The rather daft interviewer failed to ask him why his experts still seem to have failed to notice that men are at much higher risk than women (and should clearly be vaccinated at a rather earlier age than women until vaccine is plentiful). Gross negligence by the experts in my view as more people are likely to die as a direct result.

      No serious questions on the very real risks of the vaccine and if these are higher than the benefits. No question about whether vaccines will be given to people who have had Covid (almost certainly pointless). Then we have the 70% need to vaccinated to get herd immunity garbage from the interviewer uncorrected by the Tzar! Many areas already have herd immunity that is why infections are falling you dopes.

      Then we have the discussion about fake anti-vax news. Funny coming from the BBC propaganda outfit full of fake news especially on Green Crap. It seems the government & BBC want a monopoly on fake news. So they can push their dodgy dossiers and 4000 deaths a day lies.

      See Jamie Whyte Leave fake news alone – Ted talk. The idea that the governments decide on what is true is very, very worrying indeed. They are the most dangerous purveyors of it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Purveyors of fake news that is.

  5. Oldwulf
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    So …… this morning a new study has appeared… in support of the most recent lockdown…… just in time for the vote tomorrow.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Indeed Covid infections in England fall by 30% over lockdown – React study Imperial College.

      The second lockdown was largely irrelevant to this fall. Even the scientists at Imperial surely must realise this?

    • Sharon
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink


      Not clear of your thoughts, but my cynicism tells me – that’s no coincidence. It’s done to steer MPs towards voting for the lockdown.

      Each time we went into a lockdown the figures were dropping. But that BBC headline certainly sway some to vote for the new lockdown. Funny it HAD to be the BBC!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      From Imperial College👏👏👏

    • ian@Barkham
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      And from the BBC – there’s a surprise

    • DaveK
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Even then they use a graphical trick by using total deaths (always positive) instead of daily deaths which would match the other two month falling trends. They are obviously hoping we don’t notice the latest intervention was yet again after the fact.

    • Hope
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Could you explain to all of us the science behind why Grouse shooting is an exemption to the rule of six under Johnson’s new plan?

      Is it to accommodate the Royal family shoot at Christmas? Charles and William caught the disease and out to know better.

      • JohnK
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Charles and William will not catch the disease when standing in the open air much more than six feet apart. There is no reason for an open air sport such as game shooting to pose any risk of catching covid.

      • Mary M.
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Grouse shooting takes place on the moors in wide open spaces.

        • glen cullen
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          but people got arrested for walking on those moors

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            They were moors they did not own!

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      It no longer about scientific or medic data, its now political

      Even the reported R number being 0.88 is meaningless if ignored

    • DennisA
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I thought the timing was impeccable and it comes of course from the Institution where the modelling comes from.

  6. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The data needs to be considered on a much more local level. It is absurd locking down whole counties because there are a few cases in one large town.

    That said, the government will damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. The Tories should have got Labour involved in this. Boris is a very divisive figure. Half the country (used to) think something of him, the other half think he’s a clown. Now, even diehard Tory supporters on this web site want to be rid of him. This is a national issue that needs the consent of the people. Starmer should have been involved.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Dear Mike–Letter in Sunday Telegraph yesterday (By me!) wondering whether people after a “more granular” approach (Not all that sure what that means though) think we should move from National through Region and Borough to a Parish approach. The Government cannot win whatever it does. A bit more consideration of what is feasible rather than what people think they want would be good.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Boris is “Speaker for the Labour Party”…didn’t you know?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      If we could get lockdowns down to post code level the support offered could be so much more generous and then therefore more likely to promote compliance.

      Then the rest of us could go abut our business and move on.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Flip flopping, knee bending Starmer is held in even lower regard.

    • NickC
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Mike Wilson, Locking down 67 million mostly healthy and uninfected people for 104,000 “cases” is lunacy. The diseased and the vulnerable should be isolated, no more. And going by the traffic on the roads the majority of people (whatever they say to the pollsters) this time agree, and are ignoring the lockdown anyway.

  7. Simeon
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    It is clear from what you write that you do not see the danger of governments desparate for a vaccine working hand in glove with pharmaceutical companies only too happy to provide a vaccine that will make them rich. And you are apparently unconcerned by the pharmaceutical companies being freed from any liability in the event a vaccine is harmful. Why is this?

    PS My initial post of yesterday morning is still held up in moderation. It was substantial, but not overly so. It also directly addressed a number of your points. Can I look forward to you responding to my criticisms? After all, they offer a great opportunity for you to clarify and strengthen your own argument…

    • Simeon
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      The post I referred to you have now published, but no reply.

      You haven’t been able to get a handle on what is really going on, despite the best efforts of many posters with good points well made. Perhaps you deserve credit for reaching out from the Westminster Bubble, but if doing so has no effect on your thinking, then what is the point? The dynamic at play appears to be that of a missionary journeying out to convert, or at least proselytize, the great unwashed, rather than an explorer seeking to expand their store of knowledge and understanding.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      A whole load of people are probably/possibly 🤫 raking it in re this um virus…not just Big Pharma.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Dear Simeon–That is a gratuitous, scurrilous and totally unjustified slur on Pharmaceutical companies, who have performed miracles. How far would the research have gone without them? Are you one of these crazy anti-vaxxers one reads about?

      • Simeon
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        Firstly, I am not an anti-vaxxer. I am not against vaccines in principle. There are vaccines in existence with proven track records of doing good rather than harm. But I am cautious, knowing that in the past that vaccines and other treatments that have been rolled out have proved harmful.

        As for my comment on pharmaceutical companies, it is patently not a slur, and I wonder why you charcterise it as such. Talk of miracles is hyperbolic- even if the vaccines are sound. This is science after all.

        You may be happy to trust the government and big business. That is absolutely your prerogative. As is your willingness to be vaccinated. It is my prerogative to be sceptical.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          And mine. Big Pharma does a lot more harm than good. The USA which spends more money on medication that any in history is the most sick.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      The NHS is also indemnified against and claims.
      Obviously they have great confidence in the vaccine.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        How is it possible to have such confidence in vaccines developed at unprecedented speed, especially when at least one of them is the first of its kind. So it’s not just a novel virus but a novel vaccine. The only rational reason to have confidence that the vaccine won’t do any harm is because it is inherently innocuous. But then what is the point? If an innocous vaccine is effective against a virus, then that would indicate the virus isn’t itself serious. So then why take the vaccine at all? The whole thing stinks.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          I will NEVER accept the vaccine. I see MPs are saying the Government and their ‘scientists’ should be first in line. I agree.
          Why have any medication for something you have been surrounded by for a year and not caught? I’m immune, I don’t need medication.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink


      This virus has now largely finished doing it worse, it is not very serious for most of the population anyway and we have or are very close to herd immunity anyway (in most places in the UK anyway. Given this it is rather hard for the vaccine to show that it is a new benefit at all. It need to be very safe indeed as well as effective. This as so many vaccinations are needed just to save one single death perhaps as many 10,000. Are we sure 10,000 vaccinations will not be worse? It also needs to be effective in elderly and very elderly people and this is not at all clear yet at all.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Liability should not be bypassed however quickly we need a vaccine.

      Confidence in the vaccine is key so protocols need to be followed, if protocols are followed then no reason why the manufacturers shouldn’t be liable for fallout. There is massive profit to be made from this they can take the bad with the good.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        I agree NS they should be forced to set aside a % of the profits into a claimant account.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          The NHS has not ‘profit’. It’s a financial one way street. It shows a net loss of £170 billion pa. that’s why it can NEVER be sold. Who would take on that liability?

          • a-tracy
            Posted December 3, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            I was talking about a % of the vaccine makers profits set aside for claims.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Corona, False Alarm?:
      by Karina Reiss Ph.D. (Author), Sucharit Bhakdi MD (Author) is excellent and suggest that a vaccine is perhaps not appropriate as:

      Covid does not cause serious illness and or sequelae in health individuals, a large proportion of the population is already sufficiently protected anyway from it and the problems of mutations going forward – as we have seen with the Mink mean vaccination will probably not work anyway or work for long.

      In the authors view a global caccination programme thus makes no sense. I tend to agree other than perhaps in some special cases or areas where the virus has not yet reached.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


      When your post is finally put up, let me know 😉

      • Simeon
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Put up at about 7am this morning, but no reply from Sir John. Thanks for your concern!

        • Mark B
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

          I had a good read and reread of all your posts 🙂

          Keep up the good work.

          • Simeon
            Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            Kind of you to say. I enjoy your posts also. Always encouraging to know there are others with some good sense.

  8. Mark B
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The problem with government advisors is that, they are, surprise, surprise, in the pay of the government. They are therefore, in my opinion, tainted by government politics and what government wants to be told. This is not right. They are there to provide government with the best possible advice, irrespective if that advice conflicts with what the government might want to hear. So if the official advice is that going Green is not as environmentally viable as made out, then the government has to accept the advice. Trouble is, because these ‘advisors’ (sic) feel the need to tell their masters what they want to hear, or push their own narrow agenda, they and their advice is fundamentally compromised. Good governance recognises this as will, privately, seek alternative views. It will balance any advice given against other factors, such as the economy, and make policy decisions based on this. Saying that the government will be led by the science (government advisors) is folly and shows that those who govern for and on our behalf are not fit for office. This must change ! Alas we are no where near being able to and must therefore seek other remedies such as demonstrations and MP’s pressuring the government to listen. If none of these work, what course of action do we have etc ed ? This game has been played out as recently as Venezuela, hardly good company for our government to be seen in.

    • Hope
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink


      come on Johnson and co hiding behind science advice. The science in SAGE is mainly behavioural science! Nothing scientific about it it it is guessing.

      Hence why the true experts being no platformed or shut down by social media. Stasi police also help govt control. We read Steve Baker MP at last taking up the cause of local authorities spying on us. Snooper charter needs to be scrapped or radically changed as David Davis MP stated at the outset.

      Dom is actually correct in a lot of what he says. I am not sure if it is the conniving civil service persuading useless govt ministers or by themselves. Either way Fake Tories have not achieved any of their chief policy issues in ten years. Therefore they are not up to the job. I believe Tory govt is totally dishonest on all key policies : economy, immigration etc. it’s actions in stark contrast to promises to get elected. Not a coincidence after ten years and three PMs!

      • Mark B
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        I was trying to be kind 😉

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      University and NHS scientists are not independent and will always project the outcome there paymaster wants

      • Timaction
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Same as climate change!!!

    • DaveK
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink


  9. DOM
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    This article perfectly exhibits why when opposition to destructive and oppressive State policy such as what we are seeing regarding CV19 is left to Tory or Labour MPs the State will always succeed in its game plan.

    Mr Redwood and his twee Oxbridge crew are part of the problem not the solution

    For example, without Farage we would never have been given the choice of Leave or Remain. Left to Mr Redwood and his colleagues the UK would now be subsumed.

    Vacuous Tory and duplicitous Labour MPs do what’s best for their party and for themselves.They have been doing since 1990 and sometimes before that

    True opposition rarely comes from within. If it did this Socialist PM with his Marxist tendencies would now have been brought to his knees and despatched

    We really are ‘having our noses rubbed in diversity’ each and every night

    Your party, its leaders and the Brexit hating political class appear intent on destroying our identity, our freedoms and our world

    Sinister. What we are seeing is sinister as hell

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      If any MP is in doubt as to what the man in the street thinks of this govt. they should hold their noses and read the comments in the Daily Mail today.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      The government has always been out of touch and sometimes more so than others. The Corn Laws? The peasants’ revolt? The Pilgrimage of Grace?

      What matters is talking it through – which is not happening at the moment, because parliament just isn’t there. And also having an opposition which is saying something diametrically opposed to the government. That isn’t happening because the public payroll is almost entirely Labour and on the whole they are thoroughly enjoying the lock-down.

    • steve
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


      “What we are seeing is sinister as hell”

      Isn’t it just !

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink


  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Still some good new news, positive tests this last week was just 105k down 27% on the week earlier (both not really due to this lock down at all). At this rate they would be down to just 32 a day in just eight weeks, even without any lock down. Deaths would be expected to follow this curve so down to perhaps 20 a day or so. Just 1/800 of the daily deaths and perhaps only 1/20,000 of the quality life years lost due to the age profile of covid deaths. The vaccine, for most people and areas, is largely irrelevant. This even if it is safe enough to use and does work. This as most areas will have clear herd immunity now or very shortly anyway.

    It is surely overwhelming that the lockdown is doing far more harm than good.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Plus even these deaths are hugely overstated due to the large false positive rate of the test and deaths from other causes being recorded as covid deaths.

      • DaveK
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        If only an MP would stand up and say these things, at least it would be preserved in hansard (till Winston and the re-write anyway).

        • Fred H
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          some should be preserved in aspic.

      • DennisA
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        A very extensive description of the problems with the PCR test and the lack of scientific rigour at some of the testing laboratories, is provided today by Dr Mike Yeadon, an expert that the government should have listened to some time ago.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Yeadon seems spot on to me.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          The excellent Yeadon piece is on

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Only according to you!

      You state your opinions as ‘fact’. They aren’t, they’re just your opinions.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        No he’s stating the facts and drawing conclusions from them. There is no other way. Facts first Boris!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I struggle to see where you get the idea that most of us will have herd immunity. Most of us have not been exposed to the virus yet. Anyone living in the vast number of villages and small towns will probably not have been exposed yet.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      “Nothing to do with lockdown”

      Care to expand? If people don’t go out then the only people they can catch it off are those that share their houses (infection at present is highest among Asian, the poor and those living in the largest households) but the rest of people who stay in must surely have their chances of infection reduced.

      Lockdowns are a blunt instrument that have other consequences, but they are an instrument.

      • NickC
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Narrow Shoulders, But the majority of people do go out.

  11. Cynic
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I can see parallels between this government’s policies on Covid and those of John Major on the ERM, and Ted Heath’s 4day week. The latter two resulted in the Conservatives losing their reputation for good governance and economic competence; leading to loss of voter support.
    The local government elections will be interesting.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Total economic incompetence in imposing this second lockdown that will certainly causes more more health problems than not locking down and the economic misery (nearly all suffered by the private sector) on top of this damage to people’s health. Total economic and energy incompetence too with the net zero war on plant food agenda and the mad ten point plan from Boris and Queen Carrie too.
      They lost their reputation for “relative” economic competence and did not gain a full majority (after John Major predictable and predicted ERM disaster) for 4 terms (18 years).

      True Lobour would be (and will be if they get it) even worse and even more fully green crap, socialist lunacy, ever higher taxes and an ever bigger parasitic sector.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Reality will constrain Labour. Stop being afraid of them, that’s the Tory argument.

        • Hope
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          +1 Lynne. They got Miliband elected last year after previously scaring people about him!

      • DavidJ
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


        • JoolsB
          Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink


    • Richard1
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      3 day week

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      It was a 3 day week.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I wonder if the Tories will go below 9%? I think the will.

    • Andy
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Not a fair comparison. At the election after the ERM mess the Tories lost and were out of power for 13 years. The next time you lose power you will never get it back – because we’ll change the electoral system to make sure you don’t. No more will the Tory minority impose its will on the majority.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        At the last election Lib Dems and Greens failed to gain any ground and the Labour Party had their worst result since 1935.
        Your boasting of what you are going to do is a fantasy.
        You have 4 years before you get another vote.

      • NickC
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        ERM was supported by both Labour and the LibDems, Andy.

  12. JayGee
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “It is most important that the public have trust in the official scientists and advisers. This is more likely if they treat the public as adults, explain what they do not know as well as what they know”.

    The same applies to members of parliament and to what you call “the establishment” many of whom have treated the public with contempt for years now, long before the arrival of Covid-19 in our lives. That’s why nobody trusts you any longer.

    Many of us had questions to ask about the wisdom of ‘eat out to help out’ – but the ‘establishment’ thought it knew best. I am longing for the day when members of parliament put their collective hands up and admit they got it wrong. Just once in my lifetime. Not too much to ask, is it?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      I’m longing for the day when they line up ( not JR), roll up their silken shirt sleeves and get the jab! First, before anyone else. And Johnson the very first …after all his “bursting with antibodies” did not preclude him from very convenient isolation so he must need the jab.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      After the 4000 deaths a day “Dodgy Dossier of Fear” performance (clearly wrong even at the time if was dilivered) and the failure to even recognise the need to give the vaccine to men at an earlier age then women (due to due gender risk profile) then how on earth can we have trust in them? They are now planning to ram the vaccine into people’s arms before they even know if it will do more harm than good. In most cases it will not as we will be past herd immunity levels in most aready anyway. Plus so many will need to be give the vaccine for each life year saved.

      I have trust in sensible, honest and independent scientists Yeadon, Gupta, Claire Craig, Livermore. Sucharit Bhakdi, Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer types.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        And with the vaccine companies and NHS protected from litigation from the inevitable adverse any effects.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      ‘eat out to help out’ at other tax payers expense and only go to a pub if you have a “substantial meal”

      I though we had an obesity and diabetic problem and one had a better chance of suviving Covid (and many other things) if you were not over weight! I do with they would make up their minds (such as they have them).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        I do wish ..

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      The R rate remained below 1 until schools and universities went back.

      I don’t think eating and drinking in hygienic surroundings contributed much to the growth in infection.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink


    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      ” I am longing for the day when members of parliament put their collective hands up and admit they got it wrong ” – That day will be February the 31st. – -and as for admitting they got it wrong – – The only thing you will hear is the musch -used “Lessons have been learned” – – which they never are.

  13. Nivek
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “the cost to livelihoods and businesses will be considerable if this is followed”

    In 2016, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published its conclusions on the 2011 military intervention in Libya, in which the UK had been involved. (The report is titled, Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options.) The Committee found, with reference to the city of Benghazi, that the UK government could not substantiate the claim of many Western policymakers that civilians there were in danger of being massacred by the Gaddafi regime. Furthermore, the report’s summary states that the initial intention to protect civilians had morphed into an opportunistic policy of regime change that resulted in, among other things, economic collapse.

    I believe that the history of Mr. Johnson’s “lockdown” policy is mirroring that of Mr. Cameron’s 2011 Libya policy, with climate change perhaps substituting for regime change as an “opportunistic policy drift”.

  14. Nigl
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Yes all excellent points. My overarching concern is how Hancock and by definition the rest of the cabinet did not similarly challenge the science from day 1.

    Anyone who studies Quality Management will go back to Japan post war and Demming when it was always said they asked the question ‘Why’ five times before accepting the answer.

    I know the reason and it is not just limited to the Covid issue, they are just not fit to manage challenges of this nature which has truly exposed their limited ability, getting their jobs for other reasons than operational competence.

    Can you imagine Neutron Jack of G.E putting up with this rubbish? Me neither.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Actually..they could have saved themselves soooooooo much hard work had the dear “scientists” looked online at the details of the 2003 SARS outbreak in Singapore (22 regrettable deaths). Still, luckily, our brave boys came to the very same conclusions, reactions and “solutions”of those Singapore drs etc in 2003. Even as far as developing a PCR test!! So not a lot of progress in “scientific” thought then but what’s a lockdown or three ( or four, five, six) among friends?
    A kind of “Pick n Mix” sweet shop of symptoms, treatments and draconian responses with which to threaten and bully gullible, weak MPs.

  16. Nigl
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Ps. Talking about talent I see James Wolfensohn has died. An extraordinary man.

  17. Fred H
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The so-called top scientists selectively choose, or are encouraged to choose, those data presented to ensure they are deemed to be the authority.
    In reality they are guessing and trying to hold on to very dubious information which changes regularly but is said to be the FACTS.
    In league with a disgraceful PM, advisers and NHS.
    Time to stop this outrageous deceit.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      another delay of factual criticism Sir John – this will not do.

  18. formula57
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “It is most important that the public have trust in the official scientists and advisers.” – agreed, and maybe the next pandemic will provide such?

  19. Horatio
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The issue John, is that Sage ade not the best epidemiologists in tje country and most arent even epidemiologists. 2 there has been no ompact analysis by this useless, socialist govt on the economic and social impact of lockdown.

    We know Ferguson’s model is wrong because we have a control in Sweden with 85k deaths predicted, c5k deaths now. Ferguson was also massively wrong on foot and nouth abd SARs.

    Meanwhile the govt locksdown the first time when deaths are already falling and the second time when infections are already falling. The new Tier system coming in on 3rd Dec is based on data from 19 Nov. You would run a private business like this. Utterly pathetic.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      You make the usual infantile confusion between relatives and absolutes.

      There is the world of difference between a scientist’s correctly saying that there is a possibility of something very bad happening – and so measures must be taken – and his saying that it will happen.

      You, like woefully too many others, cannot or will not grasp this.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s why there is so much derision poured on the Swedes, there was not supposed to be a control.

  20. Sharon
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    1) Great piece JR!

    2) keeping us locked until a vaccine is ready seems to have been a goal of govt scientists
    ( Gates and international health passports?)

    3) even now the ONS figures show that each time Covid death figures rise, all other deaths reduce. Dr Clare Craig spotted this conundrum.

    4) it would appear most or a lot of Covid cases are being caught in hospital, if readers reports on lockdown Sceptics is any indication.

    5) You can see why people think it’s a scam for something bigger!

  21. Enigma
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    We are in a false positive pseudo epidemic. We just need to stop PCR mass testing and return to normal. Dr Mike Yeadon.

  22. RichardM
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    It’s not epidemiologists who have got it wrong, it’s the governments poor pandemic management that has been so wrong. The wrong notes were set right from the start. When Italy went into lock down, Johnson was still saying hand shaking was OK.
    Advice on wearing masks was poor from the start, possibly due to lack of PPE preparedness due to 10 years of Tory cuts. There was a lack of emphasis on why they are necessary – to protect others, not yourself. A sensible epidemiologists view here :

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Richard the advice on mask-wearing was from the Head of the WHO! “Don’t wear face masks to fend off the coronavirus, the World Health Organization says.

      “There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” WHO executive director of health emergencies Mike Ryan said Monday.

      The WHO says the only people who need masks are those who are already sick and those who are caring for the sick. ”

      Our government changed direction on masks when the WHO changed direction and we are so well stocked up now it is causing storage problems!

  23. Richard1
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The important lessons to draw from this whole episode are:-

    1. A projection based on a computer model, even if produced by a scientist, is not ‘the science’, it’s just the projected output for a particular set of inputs;
    2. On many major scientific questions, especially difficult ones with major public policy implications, there is usually disagreement amongst scientists. There is also a need for consideration of wider aspects of the question which requires expertise in other fields such as economics;
    3. There is an urgent need for the government to insist on rigorous, perhaps even public, scrutiny of expert advice when it has important public policy implications. Dominic Cummings was supposed to be introducing US-style red team-blue team exercises, but he never seemed to have got round to it.

    Let’s learn from these mistakes and apply a calmer and more rigorous and rational approach in future crises.

  24. Nigl
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Off topic. Talking about credibility. Excellent article in the DT about a latest hydrogen fuel cell driven car suggesting it has a real future, not the least because a hydrogen car can fill up in 5 minutes and with a range of 300 miles and increasing, it overcomes the objections of many re electric cars.

    Unfortunately there seems to be a conspiracy in our government to cover it up. Please write on of your famous letters to suggest they open their minds. There is clear evidence that investment will bring reward.

  25. Pete
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    2020 has done more to discredit government, science, doctors, the main stream media and big business than any year in history. The unbroken stream of bad advice, appalling decisions, propaganda and lies has convinced millions of what some of us have known for a long time. Everything any of those groups say is a lie. There are, I admit, some doctors and scientists that aren’t in the pay of Big Pharma but they are muzzled and threatened by the NHS and government. For anyone that retains the use of more than a few hundred brain cells it is obvious that reality is always 180 degress from almost anything spouted by the establishment. I hope I live to see those responsible for the current state of this world brought to justice but it won’t happen whilst this ruling class still has power. Lets hope that changes soon.

  26. Sakara Gold
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    David Davis, the Conservative member for Haltemprice, has now expressed serious concerns over Michael Gove’s constant attempts to centralise the release of “sensitive” information in response to Freedom of Information requests from journalists, researchers and members of the public.

    Gove’s “Clearing House” operation is now being subjected to a legal bid from Leigh Day to establish exactly how this secretive unit operates.

    Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are supposed to be ‘applicant-blind’ – meaning who makes the request should not matter. But it now emerges that government departments and quangos (PHE) have been referring ‘sensitive’ FOI requests from journalists and researchers to the “Clearing House” in Gove’s department, in a move described by shadow Cabinet Office minister Helen Hayes as “blacklisting”

    This secretive FOI unit gives advice to other departments “to protect sensitive information”, and collates lists of journalists with details about their work (including personal details such as where they live, mobile numbers, details of partners etc). These lists have included journalists from openDemocracy, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and many more members of the public researching aspects of government, as well as researchers from Privacy International, Big Brother Watch and elsewhere.

    Gove’s operation may be in breach of Data Protection laws. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said last week – “The existence of this clearing house in the Cabinet Office is positively Orwellian. It poses serious questions about the government’s approach to access to information, it’s attitude to the public’s right to know and the collation of journalists’ personal information.”

    Doubtless, Gove’s operation has been established to protect those in government who have placed contracts for PPE etc without following tendering procedures, care home companies who do not want their fatality rates published and those who made panic-stricken and incompetent decisions at the begining of the crisis. In view of a fatality rate now approaching 75,000 the public does have a right to know.

  27. James Bertram
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    In my world the useless government advisers should be sacked and replaced by Gupta, Yeadon, Heneghan, Lee et al.
    An excellent piece today by Dr Mike Yeadon which is essential reading:
    ‘…The entire ‘second wave’ is supported solely on the back of a flawed mass PCR test, which at industrialized scale was never, in my view and the views of others skilled in PCR, capable of delivering trustworthy results….Until we end the use of PCR mass testing, there is no chance that “cases” will reduce to very low levels. Lateral flow tests must become the gold standard test for COVID with PCR only used for confirmatory diagnosis. …So, just one wave, as expected. The ‘secondwave’ of “cases” and even “COVID-19 deaths” are an artefact of flawed testing.’

  28. Fred H
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The PM is expecting unity to hoodwink the country into accepting draconian restrictions based on inaccurate data. One woeful rule and lockdown after another. Stated only 30% drop in infections AFTER a lockdown shows it is not tackling the spread.
    Track and trace is so suspect -a neighbour is finishing 8 messaged (of 14?) isolation which must have been his visit to Sainsburys at 8am one morning – store almost empty. No date and time of Bluetooth match provided. Without that what are people to think? Faulty contact, hoax?, why 14 days – elderly, no symptoms – he thinks he might still get it at 12 days in – -its nonsense.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      why no publish? delay is not moderation.

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    One problem is the media always seize on worst-case scenarios and scaremonger because that sells more newspapers. Individual SAGE advisors have also been seduced by the lure of media fame and are happy to appear to present their own individual worst-case views and suggest policies to address them which are not endorsed by SAGE as whole. The result of all this is when their worst-case scenarios don’t happen it undermines *all* their science. Some ideas:

    1) SAGE should be bound by collective responsibility to support a consensus view and individuals on it should not be allowed to brief the media against that view as individuals. If they do they should be removed from SAGE.

    2) There is a lack of diversity on SAGE – there seems little diversity of opinion and they seem to come to unanimous views which is very odd given the vast uncertainties around the pandemic. Not one of them has a salary or job under threat from Covid so their personal interest is served by simply focussing on controlling the virus. SAGE should be expanded to include dissenting academic voices and additional expertise (economists for example) and some private sector experts. A Government and Civil Service filled with PPE and Arts graduates are simply unequipped to provide a challenge to SAGE currently.

    3) Models used by SAGE have been shown to be flawed. Instead of just showing us worst-case projections they should show us model projections of exactly what they expect to happen in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas over the next month so we can directly measure how good the models are. At the moment they just say “the model projection were without extra control measures so they were correct because the outcome was less than that”. This is literally pseudo-science because it is impossible to falsify their worst-case projections. The Welsh government did this for their circuit-breaker and it has turned out the actual death rate is much higher than even their base projection without a further lockdown – so that is useful data on the models they are using.

  30. Mike Durrans
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Sir, I agree with most of your article. The government advisors are totally ignorant about this virus and should have confessed that fact, and not try to get away with bluff.
    People are not daft and have seen through their lies. That has had the result of people doing what they think themselves as that is the nature of human survival.

  31. agricola
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I had lunch with four friends and inevitably Covid19 came up as a topic during pre lunch drinks. The four were successful business people with one having a degree in mathematics.

    They quite seriously theorised that Covid19 worldwide was being used in a sinister way by government to exert more control of people. Its gestation was Bielderberg, Davos G7, tech giants. The control would not go away when Covid19 was defeated. Put another way an Orwellian plot of 1984/Animal Farm dimensions. It has legs when you add up the level of electronic control in our lives and the insane dash to PC that is rife in our universities and now even Eton. They argued that the move away from cash , accelerated by Covid19 was an element in the conspiracy. The most outrageous suggestion was that the coming vaccination would contain an element of electronic identification, rather like your dogs passport.

    I argued that having experienced the UK’s handling of the virus by government, they were far short of the ability to pull such a programme off without it falling to pieces about their ears. I took my friends argument as frustration with the way in which Covid19 has been handled

    reply So you agree some of this is fake news

  32. Lifelogic
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Not really the credibility of “science” but rather the credibility of government experts and the scientists and economic experts that governments seem to choose of fund and consult. Most such economic “experts” thought that the ERM, the EU and the EURO were all a great plan. Look at the endless lies and drivel we see for experts at universities on climate alarmism and renewable energy. Look at climategate. Group think lunacy and corruption by vested interest and people telling the government what they know the government wish to hear.

    Then we have the sick jokes of the Climate Change Act (that only a handful of MPs did not vote for) and this appalling hugely net damaging lock down. Soon the appalling Boris ten point plan of green lunacy, freezing OAPs and job destruction/exportation.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I assume Denis Healey’s tax experts even thought a 98% income tax was a grand plan just before he went of the the IMF! Theresa 9% May ‘s clearly thought ratting on the Brexit referendum with Brino and gender pay gap reporting and ‘net zero carbon’ would go down well.

      We are governed by complete and utter plonkers & donkeys advised by similar people. None seem to have much or any grasp of science, logic, maths or sound economics.

  33. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    There is a common theme with what we were saying about the Brexit vote in 2016. We had so-called experts, paid by the government, who predicted that by now we would be broke if we voted Leave. We had careerist government ministers, MPs and advisors putting an emotive exaggerated edge onto the experts’ advice. Finally, we had the establishment lackeys and particularly the BBC warning us about all the international implications of leaving the EU. The public saw through this and voted Leave. Many more would have voted Leave had the government machine not been mobilised in this fight.

    Now we have the virus and it is a repeat show. Dodgy data exaggerated by commentators, establishment lackeys and so on. Unbelievably, more coverage was given to the disturbances in Paris than those in London on BBC News this weekend. Usually, of course, anything bad going on in Paris would be barred, but clearly this time it had to be used as a diversion from London. Nothing can be shown which adds to the anti-lockdown view. Just like leaving the EU. Keep Leave people off the screen. Any data has to support the government case. It’s unhealthy and it’s destroying our country.

    We need a party which addresses the bias, addresses the careerism, addresses the corruption.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      We need to outlaw professional politicians.

  34. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The simple advice is that an enclosed space will contain more risk from the virus than being outside, the further you distance yourself from other people the better, and the less time you spend in close proximity to other people the better.

    Thus the latest governments general advice is reasonable.

    If you fail to follow the above due to work or choice, then you are at a much higher risk of infection, and thus you need to try and take additional precautions to protect yourself and others.

    Simples really.

    • Syd
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Alan, you really must take 20 minutes off and read the document by Dr Mike Yeadon, mentioned in J Bertram’s post above.
      You will hopefully be able to conclude that your fears are groundless.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      But sometime, somewhere you will breath in a spore. Get you immune system in great shape, let you body deal with this virus as it does with many others and carry on.

      Simples really.

  35. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Lockdowns, Tiers etc seem to be to protect hospital capacity, not to prevent deaths.

    In the late 60s when Hong Kong flu came around how much capacity was used up with flu patients? How much capacity (per capita, growing population to drive GDP) has been cut.

    Is the issue that is driving all decisions, not the severity of the disease, but our ability to react to it? For the future, it seems it would be better economics to have isolation hospitals (with enough trained back up staff, much like the army reservists) so that we will never have to lock down like this again.

    All decisions have been taken based on how the media pictures of full hospitals will play out not on what is best for the county in the long term.

    The government and civil services must learn from this (and not about how easy it is to manipulate as a scared population). Preparation saves money in the long run

    Cutting the foreign aid budget 3 years ago would have paid for the preparation of isolation hospitals but your government would rather spend our money looking nice than looking after its taxpayers.

  36. a-tracy
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    This ‘evidence’, ‘proof’, ‘prove it’ demands of the left and the remain people in the UK and democrats in the States is going to play out very interestingly in the next term as people start to demand proof and evidence for every little political utterance that affects us that they make. The losers from four years ago have built up a nasty name-calling narrative on every post and in every tv news protest, what will the TV news stations and Twitter now do after all these years – stop the other side retaliating in the same way they tolerated recently all the unproven insults and demands to impeach and call people out for crimes they had ‘no proof’ about, well that would go down well!

    Cuomo politicised the vaccine and now that is backfiring as people don’t trust the vaccine and he did this just because he hates Trump and wants to pass the blame on. Then these same politicians say trust us now we’re telling the truth. The wounds our political class have caused are deep.

    All I know is that many people I know personally took advantage of the ‘eat out to help out scheme’ in August JayGee and not one of them caught covid from this activity, nor the people I work with, do you have personal evidence that this was the cause of hospital admissions in October because I can’t see any track and trace reports about it. John ask how many sick elderly inpatients have taken advantage of these offers and those transferring back into the hospital from nursing homes wouldn’t have taken advantage of these offers. If people are making claims that it was this scheme that caused it who has told them the numbers of patients in the hospitals that claimed this as the infection site and did Track and Trace not track this as a breakout restaurant? There would have been clusters around certain locations and restaurants surely as there was in Korea with their efficient tracking system and Germany with their efficient tracking system. If our system doesn’t track properly then Matt Hancock has failed.

  37. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I agree with the thrust of this article – Well said Sir.

    Trust in government and their advisors has evaporated due to the issues you mention. What is even worse is the 2 tier policing now in force, where anti-lockdown protesters are treated like criminals and terrorists…. compared to certain violent protesters who can get away with anything.

    The worst of all of this with CV-19 is that the establishment are not using every possible way to help victims – It’s more than just ignorance, logical and effective approaches to cures are being suppressed.

    This is all leading one way – a continuous lockdown, Health passports, forced vaccinations, the great RESET and then in comes the NWO

  38. Philip P.
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, we do need to keep up with scientific research. You say in connection with mask-wearing, Sir John, ‘it is likely to be true you can catch the virus both ways and so need to be careful both ways.’ That suggests you would benefit from reading the only published randomized control trial of mask-wearing, conducted earlier this year on around 6,000 people in Denmark. It showed that people wearing masks and those not wearing masks did *not differ significantly on whether they caught Covid 19. That deals with one of your ‘two ways’. There is no scientific trial evidence on whether masks significantly reduce the chance of catching the virus from an infected person, the other of your two ways.

  39. JimS
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Just wink once if you know it is all part of the globalist’s ‘great reset’, wink twice if you think it is.

    If you don’t think it is, open your eyes now.

  40. Chris Dark
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    We would not need air extraction systems if buildings were created with windows that actually open. Quite simple to do and far less cost.
    Same re vaccines; we already know that there are medications available to relieve covid symptoms, but no-one wants to make them available for some strange reason. Much more profit available in jabbing the population each year. Government and all advisers need to get out of the way and let Nature handle this virus. She’s been doing it for millennia and will continue to do so long after the current shower of Westminster occupants has faded away.

  41. Rachel Chandler
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Sir John, The problem starts at the top, with the WHO, who have ignored their own (2019) guidelines, perverted long-standing definitions and testing protocols. There is little governments can do to control the spread of these diseases and Patrick Vallance recognised this in March, discussing herd immunity at the time. Then they switched to fear-mongering, anti-scientific statements over-turning decades of research, immunity denying, blaming the public, etc. The statistics are far from perfect but look at them and you will see that lockdowns and coercive measures, including mask-wearing, make no difference to the outcomes. People will take what measures they can, especially if the facts are explained to them. Shutting people in their houses may reduce the load on hospitals but just kicks the can down the road, reducing the opportunity for healthy people to become immune and prolonging the risk to the vulnerable. The collateral damage of the lockdown is already huge, not only the massive debt but the untreated disease, domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicides, job losses, etc. We simply can’t afford to carry on like this. Look at the death statistics. They are not abnormal for this time of year. People who would normally die of other things are this year dying of Covid!

  42. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Are you another proponent of the fallacious stance of the government viz. everything must be secondary to dealing with CV19?
    Any government that has to manipulate and distort data so blatantly to substantiate its case and embark on a campaign of fear generation amongst the population cannot be trusted.
    There will be no end to this lockdown/tier approach – when the next virus appears (which it will), as long as the same people are in charge they will repeat the same catastrophic actions, because they have no other strategy – if they had, we would have seen it by now.
    There has been a massive shift away from democracy in this country and it is rapidly becoming an authoritarian police state.
    How have we come to this parlous state?
    More importantly, how can we extricate our country from this ominous situation?
    Certainly not by supporting Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

  43. Know-Dice
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Lets have some simple facts, like where are the majority of people picking up this virus?

    Is it in shops, restaurants, hair dressers, schools – surely after mass testing in Liverpool we should have more insight into where this is coming from and target those areas.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      excellent point

  44. a-tracy
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    John, have you been told how long patients stay in hospital, even if each MP is told only their closest hospital, how are they bein treated. The ones that need more than 48-hour care, what worsens their condition, what underlying symptoms do they have, how did they catch the virus, is there a local hot spot zone that they have in common when arriving at the same time in hospital. Instead of wide scatter gun profiling why don’t track and trace concentrate on hospitalised cases and work out from that small sample the source, the treatment successes, what causes the condition to worsen, what treatments are then started. Why are we being kept in the dark about this when they want to put 700,000 to 1m people into poverty, affect ten million peoples mental health with their worrying statements every day. This “if you hug a grandparent you will be burying them in January” really! Does that Sage chap know something we don’t know that the grandparents dying in hospital had grandchildren they’d been hugging in the previous month, if so lets hear the facts so that grandparents really can make their own fact based decision.

    Yesterday even during lockdown I walked past a couple stood on the pavement shouting to their elderly parents, the little child just ran straight up to Grandma and she picked him up, if Sage have the facts that this is where hospitalised elderly patients have contracted the virus then share it properly. When men share information it is different to how women would assimilate and share the information and the whole thing needs more heart to protect people’s mental as well as their physical health otherwise we will see suicides rising terribly this Christmas and I will hold Sage responsible.

  45. GeorgeP
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Every night the BBC solemnly intones the daily Covid death count, but underneath the headline figure the small print reads:- ‘People who have died for ANY reason within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.’ This is clearly nonsense and I would like to know how many have actually been killed by Covid, not all those who had or might have had it prior to their death. I guess the government have to justify these draconian infringements on our freedoms and the destruction of the economy though….

  46. miami.mode
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    As exemplified by some posters to this site, some people love a public platform to air their views.

    It’s obvious that many officials and advisers who spend years working in obscurity simply love the limelight, and the more extreme their views and predictions the more publicity they receive.

  47. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Is modeling science or just best guesses?

    Science in its proper form is a theory of something, that how the conclusion was arrived at is laid bare for a peer review. Only after the review by those not involved does it become proper science.

    What the Government is suggesting as science is nothing more than opinions by a closed circle of ‘friends’. As such from the get-go it has no credibility.

    Then look at the vaccine and the process of science becomes clearer. They are not guessing the vaccine works it has to be proven to work on a massive trial basis. After that the process of the trial and its findings has to be scrutinized by an independent body.

    This Government is not being honest about anything. They make pronouncements under the shield of science or fact, when all it is in reality it is nothing of the sort, at best it is a guess by their own close network looking for a way to sell a means of Political Control.

    The problem with this dishonest approach if something real and urgent needed addressing the Government wouldn’t find support from the People. The old saying ‘crying wolf’ comes to mind

  48. Caterpillar
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I have serious concerns (many mentioned over the past 9 months). But here are some simple general issues,

    No cost-benefit analysis has been fully explained to show that interventions are saving more life years than costing (it is as though the number of people on the tracks in ‘the trolley problem’ have been swapped, but the lever has been pulled anyway ).

    Ministers do not appreciate scale i.e. they might (though I am not convinced) appreciate the size of the economic hit compared with historic measures but I do not think they have an understanding of the mortality hit compared with historic measure. The differences in these should make them think. I suggest they look at flu in the 1970s and 1990s. I also suggest they look at cumulative standardised mortality rate of 2008 compared with its following decade, to compare with cumulative standardised mortality rate of 2020 compared with the preceding decade, although one is forward looking and one backward the point should be obvious (data can be found from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries).

    At the briefings advisers have made dubious comments , some do not match historical data, let alone the problems of forward projection. They have also declared some potential areas of intervention as impossible to act on, with very little evidence of effort or expertise. This should have set Ministers’ alarm bells ringing as to advisers’ narrowness / objectivity, and to the lack of consideration of alternative strategies .

    There has, to my knowledge, been no table issued showing a column of age groups, next to columns of infection fatality ratio with and without comorbidities, columns of risk measurement of each vaccine and efficacy of each vaccine. It should be clear to each age and health group the risk-return of each vaccine, it isn’t. I wonder whether the sample sizes are large enough to compare with the very low infection fatality ratios for the healthy young.

  49. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    From the ONS about the ONS
    We do not provide any guarantees, conditions or warranties that the information will be: current, secure, accurate, complete.

  50. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    More common sense being displayed by (most of) the contributors to your diary than by the majority of MPs, surely this makes a powerful case for role reversal and the return to sanity?

  51. glen cullen
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Heard Immunity is a vaccine in itself – fact in history

  52. Ian Wileon
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    There’s another excellent piece by Dr Mike Yeadon on Conservative Woman. Why do Dr Yeadon, Dr Clare Craig, Professors Gupta and Heneghan always seem so much more credible than the team around the government? If they are right there is absolutely no reason for the economy not to reopen fully immediately.

    • steve
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wilson

      “If they are right there is absolutely no reason for the economy not to reopen fully immediately.”


      Yes there is – a wrecked economy (and a country unable to feed itself) is the way to get BRINO.

      They are wrecking the economy on purpose.

    • Ian Wilson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, wrong reference, it is on Lockdown Sceptics, not CW.

  53. glen cullen
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The credibility of this Government
    The Department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy is sending the Chinese £478,906 to help them grow more rice – Guido Fawkes

    I’d like to see the data that tells us the success of foreign aid

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      And Dominic Raab insists aid to China will carry on. What planet are these idiots on?

      • Fred H
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        they need to learn how to grow rice!

  54. Stred
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Not long ago the track and trace figures showed that the largest source of infection is universities and schools (this has been known for years), public transport, the home and workplace. Pubs and restaurants were around 5%. Another risk is obesity and Boris told us all about dieting last month. The Sages therfore decided to close down pubs and allow drinking only with large meals while customers only wanting a quick drink will be barred. The large meals will be brought to a table from a kitchen where staff could breathe over the food and it may not even be piping hot, to be eaten slowly. The other half of the Sage committee is telling us that we should only go into shops for 15 minutes. Perhaps SAGE should have a new acronym – DAFT. Dunces Advisory Group for Tripe.

  55. Nordisch geo-climber
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    When doctors categorise heart attack and motorbike deaths as covid deaths following a positive test within four days of death, it is obvious the published death rate from the virus could be ten times actual.

    This government is using fraudulent data to ruin our lives and manipulate our freedoms.
    The virus is a minor cause of overall deaths.

    The NHS is a major source of virus infection.
    Pubs have several months track record of being proved innocuous in my rural area.

    Go to a pub – stay alive!
    Go to hospital – catch covid!

  56. Phil Gilbert
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The Goverment took a political decision to prioritise education and keep the schools and universities open. Since these are a likely source of infection it follows that other “less important ” opportunities for infection need to be restricted if we are to avoid an explosion in transmission. The endless disagreements with the governments policies among politicians and journalists undermine the publics trust and compliance. We therefore suffer the costs of the policy but without the full gains that could be made if we all got behind it. With such uncertainty at present anyone who is certain that another policy is better is deluded.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      ”the schools and universities open. Since these are a likely source of infection”

      Thats quite a generalisation considering that no one of school or university age has died or has been infected

      15,000 top shop people are about to lose their jobs because of lockdown and generalisations

      • Stred
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        The young spread infections, as found when schools closed due to a teacher strike in Israel, and infection then reduced in homes. The problem is that cases increase and infection spreads to the vulnerable leading to some genuine covid deaths. It is likely that 90% of the deaths put down to covid are primarily due to other diseases. In which case it is even less logical to close down pubs.

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          There is no evidence, no evidence at all that school children spread the infestion in UK- please show link

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      It’s all cock and bull ****.

      Were all these university students stopped shopping in the same supermarkets on the same day as all the elderly shielding patients? Yes.

      Was there a day or a morning set aside for people most at risk in supermarkets on those with GP shielding letters allowed in? No.

  57. hefner
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    An article worth a read by Chris Giles dated 29/11 on the FT website: ‘UK’s high Covid spending delivers worse results than peers’. Compared to other G7 countries,
    – the bad UK budgetary response is only surpassed by Canada,
    – largest contraction in GDP,
    – only Italy has a worse official coronavirus death rate.
    All due to repeated slow responses to the pandemic, and a Government continuing to do so.

    Ah, the UK leading the world, world-beating test and trace, and if one is to believe the papers today the UK to get the fastest deployment of Covid-19 vaccine in industrialised countries …

  58. cornishstu
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Another good piece by Mike Yeadon today on PCR testing over at Lockdown sceptics and also some good data showing the numbers reducing before the second lockdown

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      The ROI’s infections were on a marked downwards trajectory when it introduced its latest lockdown. I swear, politicians seem unable to interpret graphs these days.

  59. JohnK
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Sir John:

    You are a good man with decent instincts, but do you really think you will get anywhere?

    Boris Johnson used to be a libertarian figure, who made fun of green nonsense such as wind power. Now he seems to have been captured by the New World Order green blob.

    In the last general election, Labour stood on a platform of a Green New Deal and no sale of ICE cars after 2030. The Conservatives did not. The Conservatives won. What did we get? A Green New Deal and no sale of ICE cars after 2030. Why bother voting?

    Across the western world, including Britain, Canada and the USA, we see the same phrase being used: Build Back Better. It comes from the World Economic Forum in Davos. Who elected them?

    I fear that Boris Johnson is a lost cause. He has never been what you might call a conviction politician, but now he really is a broken reed, twisting in the wind.

    For any sort of Conservative government to survive, he needs to go. The Green New Deal needs to go. We did not vote for it. This will be a thousand time worse than the ERM debacle. It will end Conservatism. Boris is not worth it. He has never been loyal to anyone in his life. Do not be so naïve as to show any loyalty to him. He is a liability. Bet rid of him.

  60. beresford
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Just watched Drakeford announcing that pubs in Wales must shut at 6pm and are banned from serving alcohol. When asked why they were not shut altogether he said that he wanted young people to be able to meet socially. To a later question about why the hospitality industry was being targeted, he said that the virus spreads when people meet socially! So complete inconsistency.

  61. alastair harris
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I am not clear that anyone has established that there is any point in wearing a mask. To my mind the change in advice was done on the principle of being seen to do something.
    Your comments on how the advisers are urging lockdown is also interesting. Surely as advisors their role is to offer views on the implications of different policy options, rather than to make decisions on what policies should be adopted?

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Because if it weren’t for mask wearing, the vast majority of us could easily forget there is a ‘crisis’.

    • Philip P.
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Alastair, you could look up the Danish study that was finally published this month and draw your own conclusions. It’s online in Annals of Internal Medicine, 18 November 2020. It’s the only randomized control study so far of whether masks work against the SARS 2 virus.

    • James Bertram
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Not only is there no point to wearing a mask, it is extremely harmful. The reduction of oxygen and build up of carbon dioxide in the mask can cause brain damage over time, slowing brain development in the young and, too, could lead to early onset dementia (Griez-Brisson). If you have high blood pressure it shortens your life (Dr Bhakdi). It will exacerbate any heart condition. There is a long list of both physical and mental conditions that wearing a mask may cause. We were given a mouth and nose for a purpose – to breath. To obstruct that natural process, is not only stupid, but dangerous. In effect, everyone is exempt from wearing a mask.

  62. ian
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Just a few more plebs falling out of the back of the lorry that all the science means with more to come, look out you might be next.

  63. Newmania
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Science solves the problem for humanity . John Redwood pursues his own petty little Brexit objective , rien ne change .Can remind everyone that this criticism of scientific accuracy comes from a Government who claimed 2 tests had been made when in fact it was one person tested in two places ( I could go on)
    Just ignore them

    • Edward2
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      The government got an 80 seat majority with the headline get brexit done.
      Hardly a petty little objective as far as the election result suggests.

  64. TooleyStu
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Not all scientist agree, but if they do not follow the ‘official script’ they are heavily censored.

    We have no investigative media any more, no Daily Blurb expose, no Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Watergate). Main stream news reporting is finished.

    As Dr Roger Hodkinson said last week…
    “There is utterly unfounded public hysteria driven by the media and politicians.”
    “This is not Ebola. It’s not SARS. It’s politics playing medicine and that’s a very dangerous game.”
    (Note: I have fact checked this, and listened to the podcast. It happened)

    Best regards, as always,
    Tooley Stu

  65. Ian
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Yes local GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN THE spring, bring it on

  66. DaveK
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Would it be strange to ask if there are any “real world” examples of assymptomatic transmission? This was the early days bogeyman fear factor which was very successful.

    I continue to be saddened by my prediction being realised, of the subjective R number being used as a dangerous tool to restrict lives. It still astounds me that most politicians argue over the “punishment” (Tiers} rather than start with “is there any evidence for this”.

    I am reminded of “Naval Justice – Wheel the guilty bstard in”.

    • James Bertram
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Dr Mike Yeadon mentioned asymptomatic transmission in his article today on Lockdown Sceptics:
      ‘Arguably, we would never have been short on capacity if we had limited the testing to those with symptoms. The only reason one might even consider mass testing of those without symptoms is if you were convinced that those without symptoms were significant sources of transmission. This has always seemed to me to be a very tenuous assumption. Specifically, respiratory viruses are spread by droplets of secretions and generally the expulsion of these is linked to the symptoms of infection – coughing in particular. Humans have evolved over millions of years to recognise threats to health by close observation of the health status of others. It works well. We’re familiar with avoiding those with flu-like symptoms in winter and behaving responsibly by staying away from work and vulnerable people when we are symptomatic. The burden of proof rests with those claiming something very different in the case of SARS-CoV-2 to show conclusively that asymptomatic people are indeed major sources of transmission. I don’t think that case has at all been made. The medical literature on this is contradictory but almost all the papers claiming such transmission originated in China.’ [In other words, Chinese data is not regarded as reliable].

  67. ukretired123
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The credibility of the Government is what many are concerned with Sir John.

  68. glen cullen
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Only fisheries to negotiate, so what did we agree/capitulate against ‘Level Playing Field’ and ‘ECJ’ ?

    • Timaction
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Tory’s will be toast if they have. In the age of the internet they cannot hide their lies any more.

    • steve
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink


      Today’s capitulation was farming.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        PART 1, CHAPTER 3, Section 18 Retained direct EU legislation of the Agriculture Act 2020 is problematic

        I’ve read and understand the Bill I however don’t understand its overall policy or long-term aims

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink



      • glen cullen
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        This government and all its MPs will in history been known as the party of the great surrender

        • Fred H
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          and A.Johnson as the Great Pretender.

  69. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I wrote to my MP Daniel Kawczynski on Friday asking him not to support the new lockdown restrictions and it would seem that according to the Shropshire newspapers he will be voting for the new measures. That’s my vote going elsewhere then.

    • hat man
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      James Sunderland had better think hard – he may have the same problem in Bracknell. A lot of people won’t forget what’s being done to them.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      No matter how much they huff and they puff about it Fedupsoutherner, when it comes to the vote tomorrow, they’ll put party before constituents every time. No matter how many Tory MPs are protesting about it, doubt many will vote against when it comes to the crunch. For all their talk, they’ll fall into line except for the usual bunch I suspect. Of course some may abstain, cowards that they are . Johnson will still get it through with Labour’s help along with all those interfering Scots, Welsh & NI MPs about whom John and his colleagues will say nothing as usual.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      And he is I think a rather “better than average” Tory MP too. But without Labour they can do nothing anyway.

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s hard to take a remark like this seriously with more than three years to go before the next General Election.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      FuS – if any one of these MPs voting for this today goes on holiday to Dubai (or similar) with their extended family or are caught breaking their own rules over Christmas they need to promise us this afternoon that they will resign as an MP and allow us to vote on their conduct.

  70. Donna
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    “It is most important that the public have trust in the official scientists and advisers.”

    It was. Unfortunately, decrepit mathematical models; a policy of deliberately aiming to terrify the public in order to gain compliance with the first lockdown and more recently a dodgy dossier of distorted data predicting 4000 deaths a day has destroyed any trust there may have once been.

  71. Dee
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    But that is the trouble John, SAGE have no epidemiologists or scientists, they are all statisticians and 12 of the 20 members have stakes in the big pharma companies so it is in their own interest to frighten everybody into having a vaccination. The best way to bring the numbers down is to sack SAGE as the Army showed in Liverpool, 65,000 tests, only 153 positives using the ‘flow’ test.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Using the ‘flow’ was almost certain to return lower positives. But if gets the message you need – why not!

  72. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    You have to Love some of the MsM headlines – “France promises to block Brexit deal if UK allowed to ‘lay down law’ on own fishing waters”

    Even if there is just an inkling of truth in the headline it outlines the real situation. Its not about ‘fish’, its not even about trade in general – its about who gets to rule the UK.

    While we in the UK have to endure the double, double removal of becoming a democracy with a Government itself wanting to rule and will get its way by ever increasing controls based on dubious ‘maths’. We are not all in this together, it is about control!

    The only reason anyone wants to control, the EU, the UK Government is out of fear that they get found out and a fear that let loose people as a whole get to do, organise and achieve things that rulers never can. The bully in the playground mentality.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, presumably, if they block it, then it will be a no-deal and off to WTO-land?

  73. acorn
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    “Tory MP Makes Jaws Drop With Tweet About NHS Nightingale Hospitals”. John Redwood doesn’t appear to be aware of the long-running NHS staffing crisis. (Huffpost)

    • Fred H
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      If you never intended to use them – ie a gimick to cool the people, then how can no staffing be a crisis?
      Q: What attempts were made to staff them, what took place?
      A: None. A diversion tried by suggesting much older retired staff could do it – but that kept discussion about the wisdom of it running.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      So the NHS problems will not be resolved with the extra £35 billion? Reclaim it!

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        It’s coming Lynn, they’re kidding themselves if they think there will be no repercussions from this with all the extra billions put into the service, the extra perks, pay.

        It is time, when salaries in the NHS are discussed that instead of the lowest grade basic for an auxiliary is talked about the full package for a fresh out of Uni nurse, is on, including enhanced pay for nights, weekends, the pension contribution to secure their defined benefit pension, their full sick pay, their enhanced holiday pay over the statutory 28 days, it is a fantastic job, very rewarding and well paid for those that are smart enough and take the time to study and get the extra qualifications as in any job.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Why did they “build” the mainly unused Nightingale Hospitals if they has no staff available? To waste more £ millions one assumes.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      NHS staffing crisis – a third are off due to covid and the other two thirds have had nothing to do for six months

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        And apparently a huge number suffer ‘underlying causes’ and can’t risk catching CV19. Huge disproportionate percentage are BAME and therefore at risk, because they don’t know that without sunshine they are VitD deficient.
        The NHS is sick as well as a sick-joke.

  74. james
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink


  75. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    The Government needs to get real. Using their own science and reporting they show there are less infections and deaths on weekends. In the Governments own super arts & crafts logic way of sticking to their thinking facts – a simple way out would be to ban weekdays and only permit weekends.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Sadly due to not all people working at weekends, this then leads to huge “catch up” figures on Tuesdays followed by BBC headlines worst death toll since May! If you use the worldometers site, they have a 7 day smoothing button which removes this hysteria.

  76. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    A direct question to you, as you have the experience and history to know. How many people from Tunbridge, Tunbridge Wells and even Westerham have ever been to Thanet or Swale? let along know were they are?

  77. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    How about government ministers, their advisers and MPs receive no salary at all until all tiers and restrictions are removed?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Or even at all. That would sort the men from the boys.

  78. L Jones
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    For the science, and from someone who knows of what he speaks, see Lockdownsceptics and the long and fascinating article by Dr Mike Yeadon.
    The flawed science of the risibly-named bunch, SAGE, seems to be running our country into the ground – and for unelected people to have so much power to influence our lives is outrageous.

  79. Sam
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Listening to Hancock same old same old thinks he is talking to stupidos.. tier 2 and tier 3 etc bollox..stand firm until the morning I don’t believe a word

  80. forthurst
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    It was the WHO tha originally opposed facemasks which the government then reiterated.
    The WHO does not appear to be able to attract the highest calibre of candidates and it might be safer to give its advice a pass in favour of that provided by local medically qualified people. Germany advisedly gives more credence to the Robert Koch Institute amongst other sources. Taking advice from those who cannot back up their assertions with scientific evidence is not sensible.
    Epidemiology may have a role in predicting the course of an epidemic in a third world country where neither the government nor the populus engage in any mitigation; however, in a first world country both the people and the government will attempt to intervene to attenuate the spread thereby rendering any mathematical prediction unrealistic.

  81. acorn
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    The question is, can JR and the ERG, pull-off a “no-deal” Brexit majority inside the Westminster Conservative Party? And simultaneously; have a “no-deal” Brexit majority, within the Conservative Party’s faithful members? My guess is they probably can.

    As far as I understand it, the legislation currently inforce, allows Downing Street to make the deal or no-deal final decision, without any further Parliamentary involvement that would allow the Labour Party an opportunity to stop Brexit getting done.

    If I were in Boris’s position and wanting my premiership to last beyond the next general election, I would go for “no-deal”. There will be ample opportunity to blame anything and everything for the collapse of the UK economy over the next five years. Naturally, that will have nothing to do with the continuation of the previous decade of laissez faire neoliberal austerity economic ideology.

  82. ian
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Never been a shortage of staff for the NHS people prefer to work for agencies rather than working directly for NHS and receive more money but go without holiday pay and a gov pension and work when they want, the story about shortage is made up like 60,000 nurses needed, what they mean is that they are 60,000 nurses short working directly for the NHS.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      They do the same with the military – against the organisation of battle (orbat) the military is short by 20 thousand personnel but are currently only recruiting approx 5 thousand with approx 4 thousand retiring so standing still

      They could only cope with approx 5 thousand against there current budget and commitments but the chief of staff will shout that he’s 20 thousand short and needs a bigger budget

      It’s a numbers game – like illegal immigration

  83. Helen Smith
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, I think Whitty just hates pubs, he has been itching to shut them for months.

    I don’t drink, I’m not a pub goer, I have no skin in the game, but when I see the effort pubs in my village have made to be safe, even building shepherds huts in their grounds for diners to isolate I find it very upsetting that they are being pilloried by SAGE.

    I have no objection to closing at 10 or 11 rather than open to the early hours but let them open, people will drink anyway, better they do so in a pub than round their mates house.

  84. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Once again my comment is awaiting moderation, despite post following mine have been published.

    This corrupt government needs to go, my first opportunity will occur at the local elections as I’m voting for Reform U.K….. if we’re still having elections then?

    • steve
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink


      “Once again my comment is awaiting moderation, despite post following mine have been published.”


      Same here.

      Whether our host is busy, or posts just happen to be a bit too close to the truth about this corrupt government – is unclear.

      Although our host is known for banging away on his keyboard producing his next article before the previous has even run it’s course. I guess you could say he’s dedicated.

      But what I do notice is his moderating anger towards the establishment. It’s a shame JR can’t see that we didn’t start the extreme. Corrupt political classes started it. we’re just merely exercising our enshrined right to be angry.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Well said

      • Fred H
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Sir John works incredibly hard, all hours. I have urged him on here before to reduce daily blog to fewer. Easier for him – and his state of mind. It must be tough to watch this regime, holding on to loyalty, principles disappearing over the horizon, widespread anger pointed at inept ‘scientists’ and fearing disembowelment at the next GE.
        He is supported sufficiently to keep his seat by the wise folk of Wokingham – but I think he will be very lonely on the opposite bench.
        I often have differing views it seems, but that is the nature of commentary on politics…

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        If you want him to carry on Steve I suggest you hold your tongue, the extra and intense responses will be taking so much more time. Some threads generate over 300 responses that SJR has to read. Have more respect otherwise we could lose this platform and it feels the only safe place to be.

        This is one of the few political platforms where women come to speak out, there is a reason for that and it’s John’s moderation. I have many posts held up but never complain. Set up your own blog. Link it in your gravatar and if you want to say more, say less on here just a key titbit and more on your own blog.

  85. Sea_Warrior
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Is the government doing enough ‘operations analysis’? Is it doing any?

  86. Iain gill
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    A high proportion of people dying of covid caught it in hospitals, or care homes. Pubs are not the problem. Hospitals with communal facilities and beds too close together, no thought on how air pressure affects transmission around the hospital, are a problem. It’s a lot more the NHS’s failure than the public’s.

  87. M Davis
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend in the North whose partner died recently in Hospital with or of Covid. I know very well that this person had quite a few underlying health problems. I do not know for sure exactly what they were but he went into Hospital for a reason. I do know that he had suffered from heart problems as well as spinal problems in the past and possibly other problems too. So, I do not know if he died of or with Covid. There must be so many other people who have died either with or of Covid, according to – Who?

    • M Davis
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      He did not go into Hospital with Covid but contracted it IN Hospital. There should be an edit button!

  88. Margaret bj
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    There is such a thing as double masking and individual responsibility.There is such a thing as looking to experienced Nurses who have monitored cross infection and protection for decades.There is such a thing as respecting every profession with their expertise rather than the profession which ultimately leads to private care when something goes wrong
    There is such a thing as acknowledging all medical input and not simply by those who have only practiced twenty years or less.The obstinate lack of respect affects all in management of disease.I myself have experienced a blocking out of my learned information if others got it wrong. Remember Drs recommend Dettol!

  89. Bitterend
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Nonsense stuff – but don’t forget when the dust settles- JR and the well known ERG types will still be there- glad I still have another ten years

  90. Martin in Manchester
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Covid 19 has had an amazing side effect that all Conservative Party members should highlight. It has made all Labour MPs vote for the Conservative Government. Boris has had a stunning effect on Westminster such that those Labour MPs who previously disbelieved everything he said, so much so that they seemed to believe he was the Anti-Christ incarnate, now are prepared to rubber stamp his every whim. Wow. Just Wow. Real political skills there.
    The only downside is that now, none of the electorate, and few of the Conservative backbench MPs believe anything he says.

  91. Iain Gill
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Re “I will look tomorrow at the big issue of NHS capacity”

    if there are genuine capacity issues then the real question to ask is why the many recently retired doctors who offered to come back to the NHS to help have not been used? why we have not used to the capacity in private hospitals we bought?

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      NHS England nor hospital managers never tell us about staffing or beds capacity its always left to the doctors and nurses to vent their anger on TV interviews

      • Fred H
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        and BBC carefully chosen, as with teachers, union leaders, immigrants…

  92. dazed
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    How many people died ( in total all causes ) last year, the year before, the year before etc. ?
    How many died ( in total all causes ) this year ?
    The answer is very easily found.
    When you have had a look you can then say
    The governments are right or they are wrong.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      but the population changes and so does the social-economic pattern. Average age and of death will alter according to environment, work, leisure, health. It is not that simple.

  93. Graham Wheatley
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Might I suggest that you robustly press both the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary for the following information.

    1) The equation (i.e. publish it!) that SAGE are using to ‘calculate’ the ‘R’-Number, and for the source of the data which they are plugging into it. (Technical papers and research requires peer review for them to be validated. Measures that do not merely ask, but compel people to make huge sacrifices under threat of fines and the loss of their liberty should undergo similar checks and validation).

    2) As many other commenters have stated, ‘cases’ are simply ‘positive’ test results. Positive tests are just that – samples have shown a quantity of viral RNA, converted to DNA and then amplified by the Polymerase Chain Reaction to such a level as to be detectable. The PCR tests is a qualitative test, not a quantatative assay as to how much viral load an individual may be capable of shedding. My understanding is that the inventor of the rt-PCR process – Kary Mullis – has stated that more than 34 cycles of amplification led to erroneous results due to contaminants and sampling errors….. and yet the W.H.O.’s recommendation is for 50 cycles. There is thus a big question over whether the test we are relying on, is in fact ‘reliable’. There are going to be A LOT of false positives – some sources claim that 90% of positives may be false ones.
    Positive tests are NOT ‘cases’. Cases require medical intervention. Many (most?) of those positives seem to be asymptomatic and largely do not go on to later develop any symptoms, let alone require any treatment, either at home or in hospital. An extremely small number of people require admission to hospital, a tiny fraction of those require ICU and a statistically insignificant number of people die from this ‘extremely virulent disease’ – although I’m sure we all acknowledge that each death is a tragedy for the friends and family.

    I don’t hold out much hope for it, but can you please try ro impress upon the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary that we should move away from using the term ‘case’ to describe anybody who is NOT ill?

    3) The Government – under advice from SAGE et al – seemingly has clear criteria for deciding which levels of transmission are their triggers for enacting various measures including lockdowns and legislation. Presuming that these are in fact based on some logic, they will be documented (somewhere). By that same token, one might presume that the Government (and their advisors) have also considered the various scenarios which would enable those measures to be either relaxed, rescinded, or scrapped completely. Would you please ask all concerned, to get together and agree the format for publishing an EXHAUSTIVE list of what these criteria are, and that they WILL in fact relax, rescind or scrap, when those triggers are met?

    I would echo the words of Lord Jonathan Sumption in saying that we have now moved to an autocratic, totalitarian state, and that Parliament has had no say in the matter.

    That needs to be corrected ASAP. Thirty seven dissenting MP was a start. The projected 100 tomorrow is better, but I would hope that it will be much more than that.

    The increasingly reported demonstrations and protests that we now see on the streets can only worsen if the people feel that they are increasingly living under an East German STASI regulated régime. That idea is compounded when we see illogical measures then changed purely because there has been widespread dissent and complaint. Either the measures are logical and required, or they are not (… the recent development in Wales that Pubs can open, but only sell soft drinks, clearly falls into the latter category).

    The Government are now sitting on a powder keg and playing with a box of matches. The fact that Boris chose November 5th to enact the start of the 2nd lockdown inclines me to think that he knows it too. If oppressive measures are escalated in an attempt to quosh the dissent, then we are all in for ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese are wont to say.

    Temperatures are dropping and cold fingers are inclined to fumble and drop those matches.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      we have had millions of ‘cases’ every year, for as long as I can remember.
      Some really bad colds, sneezing, coughs, temperatures – really nasty.
      Other years its various levels of curious bugs going the rounds – little clear definition.
      A few awful years have had influenza descend on us – dreadful for thousands and the cause of death for those with poor conditions already.
      Back in time many of us can remember we had dirty fogs, named smog which was another killer in towns and cities, largely due to burning of fossil fuels smoke trapped at low level.
      Covid might be more contagious than common colds – I wouldn’t want to choose, but clearly colds causing death is very rare indeed.
      What still seems uncertain to me, is precisely how it is spread, how best to avoid that, and what medical or dietary intervention might benefit us.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink


      On question 1, I tend to ignore the stochastic models of infectious period, A fixed infectious period of T = 5 or 6 days is not too bad a fit to most Govt et al published doubling periods and R.

      For clarity,

      let k be growth rate e.g. locally fit natural log (cases) vs. time (days)


      doubling period, dp =natural log (2)/k


      R is about 2 raised to the power T/dp (T as above).

      I have no idea what SAGE actually do.

  94. glen cullen
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    If labour continue to abstain on every covid vote we don’t have an effective opposition – without an effective opposition we don’t have a working democratic parliament

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      We haven’t had one of those since late February.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      The Tories own brexit.

      They also own the débâcle over perhaps the developed world’s most shambolic response to covid19.

      If Labour vote for any of it, then “you voted for it” will haunt them for ever more.

      If they vote against, then they will be blamed by the media for any problems arising from that outcome too.

      The Tories have a majority of eighty. Let them fight it out themselves on these Tory messes.

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        I blame both sides of the house

        I also blame both parties for being cowards in the face of the media and public opinion

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        The Tories David Cameron and George Osborne’s government wanted to remain. The people own Brexit. We were told repeatedly no deal is better than a bad deal by May, her antics and those of Olly Robbins will go down in history.

        Labour abstaining is a cop-out and we the people will see that as such what is the point of an opposition that won’t vote – pathetic. If you and people like you think this will absolve them you are kidding yourself.

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink


      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink


        Labour know that the Tories will probably have a majority in-favour and so they don’t need to side with the Government, even though they WANT these measures in-place. (Ready for when they take over at the next G.E., because they will escape the blame from the electorate for having enacted the legislation and the measures. As sure as eggs is eggs though, they will NOT rescind or revoke any of the legislation – they need it in-place to further the Marxist state that Labour extremists so desperately crave).

    • Fred H
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      whats a democratic parliament?

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Some thing we had in distant past

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      They are allowing the rational Tories to take control. That’s good enough.

  95. rb
    Posted November 30, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Facemasks cause bacterial pneumonia

    • Fred H
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      yep – probably more than a hint of truth in that. If you are poorly already thats bad news.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink


      Any where do they go for help with all GPs effectively closed

  96. Julian Flood
    Posted December 1, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Sir John, the definition of death you mention as changing has actually now been standardised in accordance with an EU directive. This derives from a Norwegian study: there were three consultations carried out with the results presented in differently coloured folders, red, white and blue. The latter was the one selected.

    The UK now used the Norwegian Blue definition of death.

    All together now…

    Sorry, sorry. I think reading about the lockdown and their fiasco has mDe me light-headed

    • Julian Flood
      Posted December 1, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Really sorry…

  • 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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