Devolution and the virus

Devolution has provided the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland the opportunity to vary the response to the virus in their areas of the UK. Today I would be interested in your comments on how you think the different administrations have fared, and what if anything devolved power has brought to help us in this crisis.

If we start with the data we see that all four parts of the UK have suffered badly. Each had a bad attack in the spring, and each has seen a further flare up in the late autumn after a summer lull. The Scottish government’s slightly tougher approach earlier in the year was designed to eliminate the virus, but it did not do so. Wales taking a modestly tougher approach has ended up with the worst figures for cases and deaths.

Latest figures 17.12.20 from inception of pandemic

Cases by area per 100,000 people

Wales 3633

Northern Ireland 3183

England 2957

Scotland 2000

Certified deaths involving CV 19 per 100,000

Wales 123 (0.123%)

England 115.6 (0.115%)

Scotland 107.4 (0.107%)

Northern Ireland 78.2 (0.078%)

We also see that despite plenty of different rhetoric and some criticism of the UK/English approach by both Scotland and Wales, the policies followed throughout the UK have been remarkably similar. There have been minor differences played up by spinners over the timing and length of some lock down moves, and over the numbers of contacts or hours of opening permitted. These do not seem to have made much difference. The Welsh short circuit breaker was followed by a further surge and more extensive lockdowns. Rural areas seem to fare better than more densely populated urban areas.

There has been no devolved challenge to the general academic and policy framework provided by UK experts, and no attempt to define a very distinctive course to see if a different approach works better. The experts of the devolved administrations seem to have very similar views to the UK national experts.

The First Minister of Scotland has used the crisis to give herself a much greater media exposure on UK as well as Scottish programmes, choosing to front run some of the common working of the UK and devolved governments before the daily UK news conferences which have characterised a lot of this period. She has wanted to argue there is a distinctively Scottish approach which is better, but has found this more difficult to sustain as the Scottish numbers remain high and her country stays in lock downs. Each administration has had its share of embarrassments, with experts and advisers breaking their own rules and now Wales discovering a lot of lost data.

I think the overall results have been disappointing. I would have liked to have seen more collaboration from the devolved governments. Alternatively it would have been good to see more intelligent challenge and experiment with a different way of responding so we could learn from the differing approaches, By nature this is an experimental period faced with a new disease where no-one started with the answers. The main breakthrough that can save all the administrations is the vaccine invention by US companies so far, coupled with the foresight of the UK government to licence it quickly and order it in big quantities. No administration has made Test and Trace work well. None has tried isolation hospitals nor used much extra capacity created by the Nightingales. Let us hope UK science soon lands its own vaccines and treatments. UK scientists and medics are to be congratulated on discovering that steroids can cut the death rate from the disease and on their progress with other treatments.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Swden, no lockdown @ 75 per 100,000

    Germany late lockdown @ 28 per 100k

    S. Korea 1.2 per 100k

    Have we really saved anybody?

    • Peter Wood
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink


      Brexit negotiations:

      Until they know what they have lost and want back, it’s unlikely there’ll be any reasonable discussion.

      At least the preliminary work has now been done, so when they’re ready to resume next year it should be quicker.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Also if the SNP lost the last referendum why was devolution not scrapped?

        Where was the voice England in this devolved “partnership” as we pay for it! Why was only one party to this arrangement given a day?

        • Hope
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

          Given a vote.

      • dixie
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        No resumption, the table should be cleared, no ratcheting of current giveaways.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      I would aver that there has been some creative accounting in order to fit a particular narrative.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I think that the stark difference is now less between European countries and regions, and rather between Europe etc. and the Far East, Australia and so on, especially now that the colder weather is here.

      If you look at the street scenes then there might be a clue. In the latter countries, 100% are wearing masks.

      I think that the groundless claims that the virus is not very transmissible outdoors and that 2m is a safe separation will shortly be exposed.

      I see no reason at all why, like the common cold – another coronavirus – the infection cannot be carried airborne for hundreds of metres, especially in winter conditions.

      The vaccination programme must be given paramount consideration.

      But comparisons between different parts of the UK show that infection levels are of broadly similar orders in most parts, differences being within the ranges attributable to different counting methods and accuracy.

      You can take a cretinised, footballified view of some invented league table if you like. That would say plenty about you.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        One moment you castigate everyone on here for opinions not based in facts or science.
        Then now you give us your opinion not based on facts nor science.
        Hey, your the same as everyone else with just a view.

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        You just love slagging off your own country.

        NZ produce a mass murderer in a mosque and no vaccine.

        Go figure.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      It does seem to be a large multivariable problem e.g. luck, viral entry compared with season, underlying vitamin D serum levels, underlying population health, underlying age pyramid, recent years’ flu deaths, whether life expectancy gains have flattened, underlying partial immunity, lattitude. That said there are publications that indicate little/no positive effect of lockdowns, but positive effects of earlier infection identification and admission to hospital.

      (Mind you there are so many publications it might be possible to find almost any result).

      • hefner
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink


    • P Townsend
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      May I ask how you can prove these figures?

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      YES the politicians and scientists have saved face

    • James Bertram
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      No, nobody saved really – perhaps some deaths of the elderly just postponed. However, the arrogance of governments in thinking they can control Nature has, with Lockdowns, killed a lot of people unnecessarily – particularly the millions in the Third World, children particularly, who have been thrown into extreme poverty by this economic destruction.
      (“A study by Sheffield and Loughborough Universities, using ONS data, estimate there were 21,544 extra non-Covid [UK] deaths as a result of the [Spring] lockdown.” – taken from Back To Normal leaflet).

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Great Barrington Declaration is the way forward. Vaccines not proved to stop transmission.

      The worse health policy failing in our history. The worse economic policy in our history. No one sacked?

      Suggest several good articles in Con Woman yesterday. One author asking why Witty and Valance are Not (disciplined?ed)when they knew the information the SAGE was putting out was not factually accurate but designed to scare people into compliance. He argued they were acting against medical ethics, law and medical science which requires doctors to give true accurate information to citizens for them to make informed decisions irrespective if it is against the doctors wishes. He cites a case.

      Danish investigation in wearing masks not highlighted by Govt or its so called experts. It appears our original advice that masks do not provide significant benefit was right. But wearing masks to scare people into Govt. compliance is another matter and one which the Govt now needs to be held to account along with the other alleged experts.

      • Hope
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        The title of the article and body said struck off.

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      England now needs representation. It cannot be right Sturgeon or Drakeford can lockdown their parts of the country and England without any say picks up the massive bill for their decision! Drakeford lockdown shows it does not work. March lock down was meant to last three weeks, drunk Govt lasted it out four months, then another in November!

      SAGE personnel need changing, too many left wing behaviour gurus based on witchcraft rather than science. Nor should failed modellers be allowed to participate.

      • Multi-ID
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Only goes to show that different regions need to deal with this problem as they see it mainly because of the differences in population densities. Another thing NI and the ROI are talking about linking up their response to the Covid as an all island answer- makes sense

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        JR, time has come to get rid of Johnson for his own sake. Cancelling your plans and strat vision after four days shows how useless he is. All observers repeatedly asked about Christmas. Starmer on Wednesday. Johnson mocked him! Wibbly wobbly spineless Johnson cannot be believed at all.

        If you plan to fail it should be a surprise the plan failed. Lockdowns have failed, the evidence is conclusive by today’s briefing from Johnson. Did Johnson/govt think 18-30 year olds would stop having g sex, drug addicts stop taking drugs, drugs dealers stop dealing Etc etc.

        Some forces greater than rules guidance or law. Come on get him out, you know it is now inevitable.

        Great Barrington Declaration supported by thousands of experts is the only way forward. Johnathan Sumption correct, again, today in hismarticle. Left wing behavioral observersmin SAGE would be more,effective in witchcraft. They are no use to our nation.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      No, because this govt. is a purveyor of human misery.
      It joins the worst tyrants in history.

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Everhopeful, Covid19 first appeared in Wuhan, China. The Chinese marxist government reacted in a typically totalitarian way. Most governments around the world have copied that totalitarian mind set, if they could. Ours included.

        The government should shield the sick and vulnerable, and let everyone else get on with their lives. Instead we have the NCS (National Covid Service) where covid19 has been prioritised at the expense of the health problems of millions. And a level of cruelty and inhumanity as people are kept apart that I would not have believed possible in the UK. Not to mention the decimation of our economy.

        • Simeon
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          I agree almost entirely. Except the government doesn’t need to shield the sick and vulnerable, as they could, and I’m sure, would, take that decision for themselves to an appropriate extent. All the sick and vulnerable require is sound information – though again, that wouldn’t be provided by the government!

          • Mike Durrans
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            +1 are we adults? then treat us as such

          • Mark B
            Posted December 20, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink


            This is what my next door neighbours have done. Both are elderly and in poor health. One has just had a pacemaker fitted.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          +a few million.
          Oh..actually every member of some globalist body ( UN or WHO maybe) signed up to a “pandemic agreement”. UK included. And that meant following instructions …as you say.
          We even went further and banned international travel which the global body specifically said should continue for trade etc.
          And the lying bs promised 5 days for Christmas!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          There is nothing more to say about Boris is there. He just has to go. Lock, stock and barrel.

          • Hope
            Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            +1000 and Handcock from all public services forever.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      We really need the stats by age and how many had secondary conditions. Then we know it’s the elderly and everyone else should go about their lives with common sense precautions until the vaccine has been administered.

  2. Mark B
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I think the overall results have been disappointing.

    That’s putting it mildly. The whole thing has been a shambles from the start.

    The State, and that very much includes the devolved administrations, saw this drama as a way of puffing themselves up, getting more media attention and pushing their various political agendas. We have been their lab rats.

    I again say. It would have been better if we had acted sooner, stopped people coming in and let the virus take its course. It would have also helped had the government taken proper expert advice but, as stated above, they had their reasons for not doing so.

    They have sowed the wind. Soon, they shall reap the whirlwind.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Any benefits from stopping people ‘coming in’ would be undone by letting the virus ‘take its course’. I also would have favoured an immediate travel ban – subsidising airlines and airports is cheaper than subsidising an entire country. Take a look at those countries doing best at keeping COVID at bay and you’ll see that many of them are islands with strict quarantine measures. This government didn’t even try to keep COVID getting into the country.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        The Govt still do not isolate, test and trace anyone coming in. They can pay for their own tests! But lock everyone else up. It is in stark contrast to what they claim they want to achieve. Madness has infected the cabinet.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      First case – Chinese student and parent

      Second case – Skier returning from France

      Most subsequent early cases – Half term skiers returning from Italy.

      We should have taken over hotels and quarantined ALL arrivals for 14 days

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        This is a government that won’t even do a temperature check of all those passing through our airports.

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      “Shambles” was the word in my mind when reading the article; this was followed by “ineffective”, followed by “economic disaster”. It is not the first time the country has been led down such a path by “experts” – think BSE. The apparent failure to use the Nightingale hospitals for their intended purpose seems a scandal and the monster that is the NHS appears incapable of walking (carrying out its usual medical tasks) and chewing gum (dealing with the pandemic) at the same time. Finally the suppression of consideration of alternative approaches offered by reputable scientists display the signs against which we were warned by George Orwell.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        OT, the Nightingales were always going to fail due to the lack of available trained staff, even “normal” hospitals are running with 30% plus staff off sick. I say “running” when we all know that it’s more like “limping”

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          We were told they had the staff plus lots of volunteers and ex-NHS staff willing to work in them until sick patients required transferring to ICU wards for more serious care.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Although stopping people from entering the country would have had a negative effect on the economy, it would have been a defensible policy, at least early on. Allowing the virus to take its course was the only sensible policy, even when little was understood about it, because it was at least clear that it wasn’t the plague. (Though if if was the plague, government policy would have been unnecessary as people would voluntarily take the necessary steps.) Even a detailed cost-benefit analysis was unnecessary as a moment’s thought would lead one to recognise that interfering with the usual running of society and the economy would have profoundly negative effects, far outweighing those of not taking such disproportionate preventative action.

      I think the fundamental problem is that, long before Covid, people generally have abdicated personal responsibility, and the government has been only too happy to take on that responsibility, and the powers that come with it. This has altered the dynamic, meaning that in the event of a pandemic, or even a ‘pandemic’, the government feels obliged to protect life, and the people expect them to do it.

      This is of course bad enough, but the problem is exacerbated by short-termism; the government response may have saved a small number of lives initially, but a greater number of lives will be lost in the medium- to long- term, and a far, greater number of lives’ quality have, are, and will continue to be massively reduced.

      There are other contributory factors, perhaps the most obvious being our ridiculously wasteful, bureaucratic and therefore expensive healthcare model, which demanded protection from a health threat, thereby posing a series of far greater, if less immediate, health threats. This is surreal, absurd, nonsensical, etc. Spike Milligan would have been proud to conjure auch a scenario for comedic purposes. And yet, far, far too many people, rather than laughing at the government and making arrangements to dispense with them forthwith, are engaging with this nonsense – including, sad to say, our kind host.

      Perhaps the Brexit card being removed will bring the whole house tumbling down, a radical realignment of our politics will result, and the prospect of a government that treats people like grown-ups will emerge. Or am I clutching at a short, soggy straw?

      • Mark B
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink


        The low level interference in our lives, too much salt, sugar, sun and endless government health warnings, have desensitised people to thinking about said government interference. Only the truly absurdity of the current government policies are making people wake up.

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Mark, Disappointing, I nearly choked in my tea.

      Catastrophic stupidity. Listen to Hancock statement in parliament on 23/01/2020 and compare against his actions thereafter! Johnson was in the Caribbean ormsorting outmhis personal life or whatever. Not interested in NHS overwhelmed before he went, not interested in wide spread floods when he came back. He later put them into lockdown when the poor souls were still trying to sort out where to live!

      That would be like saying perhaps he got it all wrong. He should be gone, dust no coming back. He failed to plan, prepare and test as his legal duty to do so. Same for those leads in PHE and NHS. They should be gone. No more like the Monty python parrot.

  3. Martyn G
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Sir John, is it not the case that the vaccine has been approved for use but unlike all other vaccines, not yet licensed? If so, might that be a factor in encouraging the anti-vaxxer brigade?

    • Chris Dark
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It wouldn’t matter even if it was licensed, these vaccines have been rushed through mere months of testing instead of the usual five years or so. I won’t be taking it. I consider it to be unsafe. The Pfizer one is experimental, how many people seriously want to risk their health, of any age, with such a product? I am not an anti-vaxer but I am definitely anti politicised vaccines and experimentation, to save a cowardly government’s face.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I shall not be taking this concoction. But if you want to and those that feel they are at risk or need Big Nanny State to look after them want to, be my guest. That’s not anti anything, just common sense.

      • Paul Cuthbertson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        +1,000,000, but plenty will line up for it. FEAR & CONTROL.

    • Polly
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Why should the ”anti-vaxxer brigade” be vaccinated against a disease which can do them no serious harm and is far milder than flu?

      That was my experience. C-19 was nothing much. A slight headache, slight feelings of nausea, slight cough, a slightly raised temp, changes to flavors… and all gone in 4 days and back to normal.

      It would be insane to be vaccinated in those circumstances. Particularly as I now have antibodies and the long term effects are unknown.


      • glen cullen
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink


      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        so the 50,000 dead are making a fuss!

        • Hope
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          Not 50,000. Govt has failed to provide accurate figures to date. Speculative death certificates issued for the first time in history.

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      You say anti vaxxer brigade, but there are some good reasons to exercise great caution. For example my son cannot have egg based injections. Are people being told or asked about allergies before injection? We had a couple of reports of people reacting badly and a warning put out. Was that sufficient? Not in my book.

      Be careful of lumping everyone into one box.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        When about to be given the Flu vaccine you are asked about egg based allergy, and there has been publicity already about 2 cases of reaction to the new Covid allergy. I read you are expected to wait 15 minutes after the vaccination and staff with experience of treating anaphylactic shock will be there.
        Do your research before condemnation.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          There is conflicting advice Fred – in the WSJ Mr. Whitty said Wednesday.
          Sometimes the ingredient that triggered the reaction—the allergen—isn’t known, said the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. “That’s why, as a precautionary measure, our current advice is that any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” an MHRA spokeswoman said. “Further investigation into these cases is ongoing,” she added. I know three people that go into hospital if they are accidentally given penicillin, they have heart problems palpitations, their bloods go wrong and they have to be treated by steroids – should they just roll up their sleeve for this jab?

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        I had my jab yesterday, and I was asked about allergies. 300 other people had theirs at the same centre, and they were asked too. It may vary, but I found that those doing the vaccinations were very thorough.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          thank you for educating those that need it.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      +1 Perhaps the diifference between approved and licensed could be defined.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Licensed means it has been tested and found to be safe. Approved means not licensed (they have no idea whether it is safe, for whom, whether it will defend you from the disease – they have specifically not tested that aspect – whether it will stop you carrying the virus and passing it on to others – they have specifically not tested for that – and if you become sick, disabled or die they have removed your right sue the manufacturers, the person who gave you the vaccine, the NHS or the Govt.
        Witty says that having the vaccine will not stop lockdowns, because they can’t say whether you remain a carrier ….

    • Richard
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Correct. The animal testing phase was waived, the company reported trial results have yet to be peer reviewed & the vaccines are currently unlicensed.

      Their unprecedented swift approval has been justified due to the “emergency”.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        well you could wait the 7 years mentioned by the panic -ers.

        • glen cullen
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          7 years – only the brave will be going outside to cut the grass

    • NickC
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Martyn G, I am not an “anti-vaxxer”, I had a pneumonia jab a month ago. I will not be having the covid19 jabs, they may be very unsafe. My judgement for myself is that covid19 is a lower risk than the covid19 jab.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        oh dear. What do you plan for your tombstone ‘I told you Covid was a lower risk. Doh!’

    • Multi-ID
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Another pedantic- boring boring- what does it matter if only it works- jeez

  4. Sea_Warrior
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    As much as I detest Sturgeon, and her awful party, I’ll say this for her: her communications from the podium are good and regular. HMG seems to not bother these days – and Shapps’s habit of twittering changes to travel arrangements is appalling. So, with much of the population in Tier 3, this voter expects to see either a daily press briefing or a ministerial statement in the Commons. (And local leaders should be doing the same on radio/local TV.)
    As for Boris, I only want to hear from him when he’s reading off an autocue. When he’s cuffing-it, his efforts are as untidy, and as annoying, as his mop.

    • Lets Buy British
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Boris is not to blame.

      King Canute was not able to stop the incoming tide.

      Gandolf’s “thou shall not pass” was only partly successful.

      The virus is just plain mean and does not listen, finding devious ways to circumvent our efforts to curb it. Helped by copious amounts of non-compliance from the public.

      No one has come up with a better approach.

      Stop blaming Boris

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        No, I’ll keep it up. Boris, personally, is to blame for much of the shambles in government. His government! I want him gone in January and replaced by: (1) a Conservative; (2) someone who favours balanced budgets; (3) someone with an ounce of managerial skill.

        • Mike Durrans
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          when I said that as child ( many moons ago )my dad used say ” I want never gets” grow up everybody

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            Does the ‘grow up’ include Boris? ‘I want to bankrupt you all, destroy your lives, make you wish you were dead …’

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink


        A whole list of countries have come up with worlds better approaches, have suffered very few deaths, and sustained little economic damage.

        Do you never read the news?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

          And a whole list of countries have not.
          You use hindsight to criticise others.

      • Ed M
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 1:25 am | Permalink


        I LITERALLY experienced a miracle in London (High St Kensington) where my lower back was cured of ACUTE arthritis. It was cured because of prayer. LONDON not Lourdes. And I am NOT exaggerating or making up.

        I also saved huge medical bills as a result.

        NOTHING more or less important than me – just pray (please!)

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      ” changes to travel arrangements ” – certainly no travel changes for those in rubber dinghies – -just keep coming, taxpayer funded NHS vehicles and staff waiting for them to arrive and give them instant NHS access, while people who were born here have their treatment delayed. Delayed to the point where “There is nothing we can do”. The govt’s priorities are clear. Non-English speaking, uneducated unemployable foreign arrivals who have contributed nothing – -come first, wether they are rapists, murderers or whatever.

      • Paul Cuthbertson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Newercomp – +5,000,000. Succinctly summed up

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 1:11 am | Permalink


        Too scared to challenge them.

        Tories are shit scared of standing up for the people that voted for them and everyone can see it.

        Your voice is the one I’m hearing EVERYWHERE despite what the BBC says and is evident in the 80 seat majority that the pathetic Tory Party was given.

        It is now obvious that these were the ****s causing the problems.

        I relish the first opportunity to vote them out.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        +1 the Government is a liability to the native British in every way.

    • RichardP
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I’d rather not have a daily press briefing, they are becoming monotonous.
      Perhaps if the Government could decide on a policy once a month, rather than changing it twice a week, we would all have a clearer idea of what is going on.

  5. GilesB
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Devolution has failed because authority and accountability are not aligned.

    In particular the SNP are not taking any responsibility for the economic consequences of their public health policy decisions.

    When Covid is under control (hurrah) we should look again at the whole concept of devolution. Starting with a blank sheet of paper. Given the potential options, such as a separate Authority for England, or removing Scottish MPs from Westminster it probably needs a Royal Commission

    • Andy
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      It won’t need a Royal Commission. Scotland will shortly vote for independence and Northern Ireland for reunification.

      Little England can start with a blank sheet of paper if you like.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        How is it little England?
        85% of the population and gdp and tax revenues.
        No EU billions in fees to pay
        Loads of tariff and VAT revenues to keep.
        No sending Scotland and NI billions too.
        Sounds great.

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Andy, In your dreams. Why do you hate England so very much – is it just because you can’t get your own way? Is that it – just a childish temper tantrum? Anyway you are factually incorrect (again) – in GDP terms England by itself is 12 times bigger than Scotland and 6 times bigger than Eire – hardly “little” then.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Who are “we”?

      I think that we know, don’t we?

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Who are you?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          He’s ‘not one of us’!

  6. BW
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Does Boris know the damage he is causing by this silly brinkmanship. Walk away. For gods sake walk away. Anything else and the Tories are history. Remember what got his 80 seat majority for. “Let’s get Brexit done” that means get out. No deal. Or treaty No ECJ No nothing, just get us out or you are toast.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      You left. You are still moaning. Enjoy your traffic jams, masses of extra red tape and higher prices. BUT cheap tampons! Yay.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Best get off to Scotland Andy where you can get your free tampons. A nice Christmas present.

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        No, Andy, we have not left yet. Unless you can prove that the UK controls its fishing rather than the EU, of course. Can you get anything right?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Of a pie chart, of the different reasons for which people changed to vote Tory, that is but one slice.

      If you removed any of the others then they would likely not have had that majority either, and quite likely lost.

      And brexit was done last January. It’s over. This is about post-exit relations, and you have not had a vote on those.

      You brexit extremists are a MINORITY even amongst Leave voters.

      It would be disgusting and preposterous if your views were imposed on the whole country.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        There are no extremists. Stop using silly language to smear people into thinking a particular way.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          That’s what religious fundamentalist fanatics say about themselves too.

          The similarities are uncanny.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            Your lack of self awareness is remarkable Martin.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        extremists by definition will always be a minority. Else not extreme but mainstream. You really take the biscuit.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        No Remain Extremists are the minority.

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Of course Brexit was not “done” last January. The EU remains in control of the UK as much as it did in 2016. Unless you can prove otherwise. Can you? Thought not. And no one (of any note) said – before the vote – that Leave meant remaining controlled by the EU. It would have been absurd. Even your Remain campaign didn’t. Though it’s no wonder you voted Remain, with your tenuous grasp on reality.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Maybe Boris is working on the assumption that the Tories are finished either way, but hey ho, he was PM and thats all he really wanted….I get the impression he’s not bothered which way the deal falls, he’s looking ahead to his next job

      • Mark B
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


        Yeah. That’s modern politics. It’s all about getting the top job, looking after your mates or, in Johnson’s case, mates and siblings, and looking for the next gravy train to board.

      • Paul Cuthbertson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Boris ALWAYS wanted to be Prime Minister but he is a puppet, like all previous PMs of the UK Establishment who REALLY run the show.
        Looking forward to Donald Trump being inaugurated as President of the United States on 20 January 2021.
        Nothing can stop what is coming, NOTHING.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        A book or two, speeches tour, maybe back to a newspaper column, another book.
        Live on £millions like Blur.

    • Garland
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      In 2016 Vote Leave said there would certainly be a deal – they said Art 50 wouldn’t be triggered until a deal was clear. In last year’s election Boris said of course there would be a deal. As for the ECJ, well that is locked in forever as the supreme authority in Northern Ireland. So BW, I am afraid life is a bit more complicated than you wish. I think a lot of Brexiters are discovering that

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        ‘Vote Leave’ wasn’t a political party it was a lobby group and most certaintly didn’t represent the reasons why people voted leave….your generalisation is weak

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Garland, Life is a bit more complicated being free rather than a well kept slave. You can always beg the EU to let you back in, if you want. As for your claim that VoteLeave said “there would certainly be a deal”, bear in mind that once Art50 was invoked, some sort of deal – not necessarily a trade deal – was inevitable. And can you cite the evidence, or are you just making it up?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      I laughed at Barniers latest offer, the EU would let us have 23% of our fish and have the first year with the status quo and7 years for a phased increase.
      They are in no position to offer us anything. It is we that should control access and quotas.
      They really are a bunch of chances.
      Also they want to impose lightening tariffs if we stray from their rules but they are exempt.
      Do they really think even Boris is that stupid.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


        We do not know what the ‘deal’ really is. Part of this is that they will make out that it is far, far worse than it will turn out to be. That way people will be fooled into believing that it was not so bad and will more readily accept it.

        It’s an old trick often played by our CS.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        (I think Boris is that stupid)

      • Old Salt
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Ian W
        + 1
        The EU has already had 4.5 years access to our waters and we pay them. The bloody cheek of it.

        Tell them in no uncertain terms to sling their hooks pronto.

        It has already been said “We cannot be the only country in the world that doesn’t control its own waters…”

        Also Michel Barnier in 2016 as quoted in the French magazine Le Point. “I shall have succeeded in my task if the final deal is so hard on the British that they’ll end up preferring to stay.”

    • Old Salt
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      + 1

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed BW.

  7. Roger Phillips
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It has been a disaster with devolved administrations simply using the crisis to score political points. There are mounting calls in Wales for a referendum on the future of the Welsh Government. Please grant us the right to choose.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


      17.5 million people voted to Leave the EU. Still paying in, still accepting their rules.

      People in the North of England did not want City Mayor’s. London was not even consulted. What did we get – City Mayor’s.

      The Scottish Referendum was suppose to be once in a generation decision. Now the SNP want another indy’ ref’ 2.0

      There is a pattern here mate, so don’t hold out for any change soon in Wales. Unless that is, they go pitch folk crazy.

    • Paul Cuthbertson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Who was the architect of devolved government – BLAIR along with EU . Say no more.

      • Old Salt
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Paul C
        I would suggest the EU being the main architect with poodle Blair in the break up of the UK.

        Divide and rule.

  8. gyges
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    It’s not possible to know. Cases only tell us about +ve tests results from a flawed test. Excess deaths no longer discriminate between covid, flu, or a myriad of other causes (eg heart disease / cancer) that would’ve ordinarily been treated by a compassionate functioning health service. The latter role is no longer being performed in the UK.

    • hat man
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, Gyges. Why would a Conservative government want this to happen? Do they want people to go for private medicine instead? No, once the lockdown reckoning arrives, we won’t be able to afford to do that.

      For a minute I thought there was a plan behind all this.

  9. Enigma
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    At the risk of repeating myself, lockdowns and masks do not work!
    The PCR test is not fit for purpose and is producing highly inaccurate and alarming ‘case’ numbers which simply are not true.
    The lack of evidence in support of asymptomatic transmission is woeful.
    It is completely normal for new variants of viruses to emerge, dominate for a while and then recede. Stop fear mongering.
    Infection control in hospitals needs to be vastly improved as this is where the virus is being transmitted.
    Shield the vulnerable.
    Change the experts.
    Stop reporting inaccurate daily death figures, or at the very least put them into context with all other deaths, and compare them and hospital admissions with the same time last year.
    The PM could take control and end these disastrous policies for the whole of the UK, along with getting Brexit done as promised by the end of the year, and start 2021 with ALL of our freedoms restored.

  10. Nigl
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Overall it just seems to be a question of timing of different leads and lags, indeed that seems to be the story across the world with the much vaunted Germany and Sweden struggling.

    You are a person beloved of questions to ministers so:-

    As we move to yet another lock down please tell us the reduction in infections that the billions invested in our world class test and trace scheme has achieved?

    What is this telling us about how and where people are catching the virus.

    On the basis, little no evidence that hospitality is compounding.creating the problem, indeed they have invested millions in creating a safe environment with only 1-2% of infections caused by them, why have you trashed them and our quality of life.

    If in level 2/3 there is a high infection rate, so supermarkets especially with tight confines, why am I stopped from travelling abroad to countries with similar or less infection rates. Why do I not have to quarantine when coming back from the shops?

    What is the difference, except politically, between Christmas and rest of the year if risk is the same?

    Why aren’t nightingales being used?

    If this lockdown doesn’t work, how many more and why not let it rip and put people in above mentioned isolation units. Wont matter to me/my friends, we are being very careful and being punished for it?

    Overall why is HMGs approach lacking in common sense and seemingly no overarching joined up, strategy. Frankly not fit for purpose.

  11. John Robertson
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Sir John, there is a statistical discrepancy with the data around per 100,000 cases in low population areas.

    In parts of Wales the population is under 100,000 and so the rates used multiply up the rates in order to reach 100,000. For example an area with a population of 20,000 with say 2 deaths is multiplied by 5 to get the 100,000 figure.

    In Wales as at 18th December the deaths are 489. The population in 2019 was 3,136,000 making a death rate circa 15 per 100,000. Better stats from the agencies and authorities is needed.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

  12. Maylor
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I still do not understand why the government’s policy is driven by case numbers when the main method of testing, the PCR test has been so widely discredited.

    Unless we can be sure that the very basics are correct, how can we begin to deal with the problem correctly ?

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Who says they want to deal with the problem at all ? They have moved the goal posts so many times its becoming embarrassing. Even those who were very pro-lockdown are now mocking the government.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      You’ve hit the nail on the head – the only important stat is the number of deaths (direct deaths due to and only because of covid-19)

  13. Sakara Gold
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    We may shortly be forced to open the Nightingale hospitals due to the rapidly rising Chinese plague virus caseload in the hospitals; the NHS reported yesterday (18th Dec) hospitals in the south-east were at 90% capacity. The situation is worse in Ulster, where queues of ambulances with their engines running have been reported outside A&E departments, with patients being triaged and treated in the ambulances.

    It seems that yet another blunder has been made by prioritising the vaccination of the elderly before NHS staff. Freely available NHS data show that ~ 25% of all virus cases are actually caught in the hospitals – despite this problem being identified in the spring, Hancock and his flunkeys have failed to prevent noscomial infection. It seems that at the end of last week about 35% of NHS staff were off sick or forced to self-isolate, who has made the decision not to prioritise vaccination of the very people fighting this epidemic in the front line?

    Additionally, last night it was reported (Sky News) that Johnson had convened a late emergency COBR meeting in the light of highly disturbing evidence that – as predicted here on this blog three weeks ago – a new, mutated strain of the virus with enhanced transmissibility is rapidly spreading across SE England. At the meeting, travel curbs aimed at stopping the variant from spreading further across the country were reportedly discussed, it was suggested movement to and from London and the SE should be “paused”. As usual when confronted with unpalatable advice from his scientific “experts” Johnson prevaricated and failed to take a decision in favour – apparently as it would “effectively cancel Christmas”

    It is also noticeable that the government has launched a campaign to undermine, discredit and insult anyone who is critical of their virus response – how long will it be before Johnson, like Trump, dismisses those in government who criticise his decisions? The people who need sacking are Hancock, Harding and the Directors of PHE

    Our enemy the virus has shown a remarkable ability to adapt and mutate as it passes through the population. How long do we have before the next mutation turns it into a more dangerous variant with higher morbidity? Why have we heard absolutely nothing from Porton Down, which is alleged to be Britain’s centre of excellence for biological warfare? Cannot their specialists help in fighting this virus? Time may be short.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Disappointing to see you too have been brain washed into accepting government ‘data’. Another success for the behavioural scientists advising the governemnt.
    ‘Cases’ are based on using a PCR test that wasn’t designed for nor is capable of accurately diagnosing CV19. Deaths ‘involving CV19’ are deaths for whatever reason if the deceased was tested positive for CV19 within 28 days of death. Clearly the government has manipulated the ‘data’ deliberately to create a climate of fear, accrue powers to itself and take away our personal liberty and freedom. In the process they have caused premature deaths, delayed diagnoses and treatment of serious illnesses, increased mental health problems and suicides, destroyed jobs, business and the economy. I do not know the true motive behind all this devastation but do not accept it is to respond to a virus which has a very low mortality rate.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Statistics and figures.
    Assuming a virus …a bit of timely nursing might have come in useful. But NHS was too busy with diversity and such like. No forward/emergency planning/capacity.
    I don’t understand who wants what anymore.
    The death figures are roughly the same as for seasonal flu everyone keeps pointing out.
    The more you test..with a dodgy test..the more cases you find..AND THE MORE WORKERS ARE LAID OFF! As we see now…post up the creek etc.
    In any case you don’t purposely destroy the world even for The Black Death…it takes care of that itself!!
    Cui Bono?? Surely the tories are finished by all this? And so are we all!!

  16. Martin in Manchester
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Great minds think alike. Fools seldom differ

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like tautology to me.

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Northern Ireland 78.2 (0.078%) has done very well in stopping people dying – What are their methods? They should be made use of.
    Even so, we are still talking of deaths involving CV, not ‘of CV’ Time the real numbers were better defined.

    Actually none of these participants come out of this looking good, especially the UK medical experts that have offered a blinkered view on treatments, ignoring totally other options, while putting all their eggs in 1 basket, the vaccine, which as we all know now, by admission, that symptoms/deaths may be reduced but it will not cure those that have the virus nor stop it being spread. Lockdowns are part of the new normal, as are masks.

    I also have no faith in the assessment that all will be well after Easter — Which Easter we may well ask.

  18. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    What the crisis has shown me at any rate is that the left are in total disarray.
    The Corbynites are still at it as if nothing has happened.
    The Labour Party has backed the wrong horse: it has gone further than anyone else on the lock-downs when, in my opinion, it should have pointed out the crazy discrepancies which are all over the internet. (Why has our Church, for instance, been forbidden heating? Why have children in prison been locked up 23.5 hours a day? Why this vast attack on pubs and restaurants?)
    The behaviour of the First Ministers of both Scotland and Wales has been disappointing too. I think, from their determined little faces, that they thoroughly enjoy the power covid has lavished on them for their separate “nations”.

  19. Pete
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Absolute total disaster just as almost all government policy is. Assuming you actually believe there is a virus- and that is highly questionable- then by their own figures government has utterly failed to stop the spread of it. In the process it has ruined the economy, destroyed any trace of freedom, wrecked the futures of millions of people and caused the death of hundreds of thousands by lack of medical treatment and suicide.
    On the plus side it has greatly enriched politicians and their friends (£8bn so far).
    This record of absolute failure from the people’s point of view has encouraged them to continue on the path to ruin for almost everyone who isn’t politically connected.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Quite right. But there are more of us hen them. They are so accustomed to unquestioning for-operation, over and above what the law requires, that they have not thought of that.

  20. glen cullen
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    So a bit like the flu epidemic of 2014/15 with 44.000 excess deaths

  21. Nigl
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Ps. Re test and trace. If you look at the maths of pyramid selling you will see that starting with one person recruiting two people and they in turn recruit tow people and so on, in 24 weeks theoretically 16 million people will be signed up.

    On the basis that test and trace should not only catch direct possible exposure but then who those people might have infected, how many people theoretically should be in quarantine?

    My guess is millions and why on the maths alone it was doomed to fail?

  22. NigelE
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Firstly, your claim that “ all four parts of the UK have suffered badly” is nonsense. Approximately 1 in a 1000 (over counted) deaths is not suffering badly.

    Secondly, allowing for the errors within the official data, all four countries have done equally well or badly if you prefer. Which proves that whatever actions governments have taken, the end result is the same – the virus will spread, will infect and will eventually lose potency and fade away.

    And of course, given the opportunity, the four leaders will play their favourite game of politics.

    • zorro
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      So so true…..


    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink


  23. Peter R
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The vaccine(s) is/are being touted as the the only way out of this morass. However, no vaccine that I am aware of is guaranteed 100% free of all side effects. One examines what is known of a vaccine and makes a judgement on ones own vulnerability to determine whether or not to accept the risk.

    In the case of these new vaccines there is, as yet, no history so we are dependent on the predictions of the manufacturers, and big companies have a history of hiding problems that could damage sales (smoking good for the health?). When I learn that the manufacturers are being indemnified against claims then I start to worry. After all if Big Pharma considers these drugs too risky for their money why should I be expected to risk my health/life?

    I am not averse to running reasonable risks (I celebrated my 70th snowmobiling on an arctic glacier) but I like to make in informed choice. At the moment I feel we have not been given enough clear and unbiased information and the way people raising questions get shut down only reinforces that concern.

  24. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The only success from the multi headed quango led NHS has been the silent recognition by the UK Government that herd immunity is the only solution by nature or vaccine. The blank cheque given to drug companies to develop the vaccine could be their salvation. Apart from that all leaders have made irrational mistake after mistake and it continues.

    Loopholes, anomalies and unfairness are rampant. The ignorance of opposing views and the removal of civil liberties combined with financial incompetence, complexity and misdirection are leaving major legacies.

    The only reason for any lockdown is if hospitals cannot cope, otherwise most resource should have gone to the most vulnerable of any age group. Furlough continues to be a political face saving decision without long term benefit. A larger base increase in Universal Credit would have been fairer and reached more in real need. So much for levelling up.

  25. Everhopeful
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    If this has all been some sort of left wing lever…against populism maybe? To do with the US election possibly? Hedge funds…globalism..asset grabbing..nest feathering….nepotism…helping Big Pharma…Brexit? Whatever…
    If the govt is acting under coercion and pressure and blackmail…. ( but are they? Authoritarianism seems to come very easily to them…every one of them!).
    Mutation after mutation.
    Virus after virus. Weaponising of health.
    And there is no doubt that the entire situation is being used to increase the power of Sturgeon and the Welsh leader. Undeniably EU/left wing agendas.
    And just supposing there actually is a virus then the whole shebang has been a total shambles.
    And MSM has been allowed to drive policy.
    Disaster of mismanagement, failure of communication, stupidity, inefficiency etc.
    No excuse and no escape!

  26. Andy
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Sturgeon has been very impressive during this crisis. She has been upfront and honest with the Scottish people. She has admitted mistakes. She has been clear there are no good choices. She has demonstrated gravity, compassion and class.

    Compare it to the bluster from the idiot in Number 10 and the useless mob of chancers which surround him. He thinks he can get away with jokes and guffawing. It is painful. And national – and international- humiliation. What were the Conservative Party thinking, inflicting such a useless fool on the country.

    Everybody wanted our leaders to do well through this. In England they have failed spectacularly. And the same charlatans who have given us just about the worst performance of any government in the developed world are the same ones in charge of the Brexit mess. I think we can safely predict that the end of the transition will not go well either.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Covid figures are little different between the 4 parts of the UK so your delight at the performance of the SNP and Sturgeon is misguided andy.

    • NickC
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      And yet, Andy, all three nations on Great Britain produced roughly the same results. So does that make the SNP a “useless mob of chancers” as you have it? Or has Boris “demonstrated gravity, compassion and class”? You can’t have it both ways. Though you do usually try.

  27. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The problem is devolution with no financial responsibility.

    Mistakes are paid for by Uk taxpayers who cough up more due to the Barnet Formula in Scotland, and the Northern Irish levering their special case area claims.

    Certainly Sturgeon has manipulated the press better than Boris, but given its lower population density this should have been an advantage.
    All European Countries seem to have adopted a similar strategy, with minor differences, so why expect different results !

    Why no use of the Nightingale wards, clearly the governments thinking and the NHS working practices seem to be miles apart, but hospitals with their more varied facilities can experiment better than any standard treatment ward..

    The Nightingales should come into their own once the best form of treatment is found, then perhaps the hospitals can return to more normal service for their patients.

  28. Nigl
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Ps ps and now we are told by Lord Bethell that the much vaunted moonshot test regime is not the way forward. The Grand Old Duke of York springs to mind.

    Mushroom management. Keep us in the dark and throw shit at us.

  29. John E
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t think any politicians have the first idea what they are doing when it comes to this virus.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Which is why it is important to have ‘real experts’ in their field advise the government. Sadly this is not happened or is happening.

  30. glen cullen
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    A friend who is a senior policeman told me yesterday that the first 3 months of covid and the first lockdown showed crime and traffic incidences massively reduced. He put this down to neighbourhood watch, more people at home throughout the day and no one using cars.

    The criminals soon caught on – due to covid the police force was limited in their response to low-level crime like burglary, drugs, robbery and theft etc and with extra risk-assessments slow to react on the streets. He also mentioned that his force has about 20% of force personnel self-isolating.

    Sadly my friend told me that crime is believed to be worst now than prior to covid

    He wasn’t surprised by the results in Manchester Police Force and fears its just the tip of the iceberg

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      In March we filmed criminals destroying property, who were so confident that they gave their names! The police told us ‘in our best interests, to delete the film and forget it. Just pay for the damage’. We did, the criminals come and destroyed the repaired property last week.
      The State, in every respect, has abdicated. It is of no use to us whatsoever.
      But there is an embryo Mafia which will protect your property for a small fee.

  31. Tabulazero
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Have you sent your open letter to President Elect Joe Biden as you said you would?

    • Fred H
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink


    • NickC
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, There is considerable disquiet in the USA about the safety of the election. Some vote irregularities have already surfaced, and many more are alleged. One poll suggested that 47% of Americans thought the result was unsafe. Joe Biden’s family (not just Hunter Biden) have many questions to answer about their involvements in Ukraine and China. And Joe Biden himself has questions to answer about allegations of pressure exerted on Ukraine when he was VP.

      • Multi-ID
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        You won’t be saying that when he comes over to go horse riding with the Queen

        • Mike Durrans
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          he would need his COWBOY boots

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Imagine, devoting hours every day of your life, as Nick does here, to repeating the lies, distortions, conspiracy theories, and myths, which are supplied to him through whatever network of similar types?

        He doesn’t even have the creative scope to invent his own, the poor dear.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          Look in a mirror Martin.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Imagine, devoting hours every day of your life, as Nick does here,

          Imagine doing that to spout endless nonsense about the fabulous EU.

      • Timaction
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. There is a video of him saying the same stuff. Lots of dodgy goings on but like here, their MSM is fake news anti Trump.

    • Paul Cuthbertson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I am also waiting to see the letter. Extremely bad judgement by JR however Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States on 20 January 2021. Nothing can stop what is coming, NOTHING.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Want to take a wager on this one, Paul ?

  32. Christine
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    What this pandemic has shown me is the control the media has had on the information being given to people. Why are they slavishly following the WHO and censoring information from other eminent sources? It was the WHO that failed to stop the pandemic in the first place. It was the WHO that said not to wear masks. It was the WHO that said the virus couldn’t be transmitted human to human. It was the WHO that advised travel out of China was OK. History will not look kindly on the performance of our institutions, media and politicians but then again, as we now see, history can just be amended to suit the agenda.

    • Paul Cuthbertson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Christine spot on – just look at who is involved with the WHO and what their agenda is. Similar faces are involved with the World Economic Forum a further tyrannical body. So many people are clueless as to what is really going on.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        They are begining to cotton on though aren’t they?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink


  33. Lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Indeed. It is also very clear from the figures that very many thousands of people are dying from lack of normal treatments for other conditions due to the NHS shutdowns in many other areas and delays in geting consultations and routine operations and treatments.

    Congratulations to David Lammy (for once he has got something almost right). Yes the vaccine priority order is very wrong and will kill more people and put more pressure on the NHS (assuming the vaccine works and is safe enough that is).

    Being Lammy he says it should have advance BAME people in the priority order. In fact it should advance all men (first) who are nearly twice as likely to get it badly and certain vulnerable jobs, blood group A and BAME people too where the stats support this. You should adjust the age qualification up or down a little to balance the real risk of getting it badly.

    So we are clearly getting duff advice on this from the “experts” or it is just not being followed by Hancock.

  34. Mark
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The SNP response has led the majority of Scots to believe they have done well. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    Mistakes all round for sure ….

    The constant litany that we must “protect the NHS” is wearing thin – isn’t the NHS supposed to protect us?

    They need to start publishing NHS capacity graphs to provide context tonthe Covid graphs.

  35. Hope
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Scotland made it law for govt targets. It failed Year on year without any sanction or mention. Add Chinese virus and it should show Scott’s how dire SNP has managed its health service.

    Welsh targets always abysmal. Why has U.K. Govt not exposed this on the same fear level as they are with Chinese virus? Might pick up a few votes exposing the NHS target scandals which evidences people waiting and dying as a consequence.

    Welsh lock down shows lockdowns do not work the same as the U.K. Govt claimed stopping planes would not change anything! So why not try the Great Barrington Declaration. Current plan has only been successful in destroying the econo, which cuts funding in the future! Good plan.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      It is ironic that the EU sets targets for budget responsibility for Euro members with fines for non-compliance. The same EU that the SNP want to join.

  36. Christine
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    You can’t put “collaboration” and “devolved governments” in the same sentence as they don’t know the meaning of the word. All they know is hate and bile and using this pandemic to get more money for their cause. They don’t care about their people it’s just another opportunity to spread their propaganda.

    One thing is clear; lockdowns don’t work so why persist with them?

    Allow people to make their own judgement on handling the risk of the virus. Everyone I know has stopped following Government guidance as they see it for the fraud it is. Never has the quote “Do as I say, not as I do” been so apt.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

  37. Everhopeful
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Godfrey Bloom thinks we are entitled to an explanation for all this.
    And so do I!

  38. Peter from Leeds
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    If we look across other western democracies we can see that we are all suffering in this current wave. Indeed many of the countries that did well in spring, such as Germany, Czechia, Poland etc.. are now suffering at least as badly as the UK. Germany with its high testing rate and excellent track and trace – not doing too well and having to resort to Draconian lockdowns. Italy now has a higher number of deaths than the UK (despite a smaller population) – hit hard first time – little benefit from any “herd” immunity. Sweden – the poster child of the anti-lockdown brigade now going the same way and being criticised by their own king.

    So who has done well? China – an authoritarian single party state eradicated the virus and comes down hard on any flare up. Australia – currently battling a tiny flare up. New Zealand a very strict lockdown initially – eradicated the virus and able to enforce a very strict border policy.

    The virus thrives on our relaxed attitudes to any rules governments make on social interactions. If I was a conspiracy theorist (which I am not) I might think that the Chinese had engineered it to destroy the economies of the democratic free world countries.

    We have a vaccine on the way – but that is going to take months. One area where we have yet to see significant progress is on medication which can be taken early after a positive test to prevent the disease from progressing to require hospitalisation.

    On a positive note it is clear from the UK graphs that despite the hospitals being almost as full (in some areas more full) the number of patients on ventilators and the number of daily deaths is lower than spring (though obviously still far too high). Statistical analysis from Spain suggests 1% mortality which is 10 times flu and without lockdowns would result in millions of deaths rather than 10s of thousands just in the UK.

    Sir John – you seem to feel that not enough use is being made of the Nightingale hospitals – however my understanding is that the real constraint on the NHS is staffing (getting them all vaccinated should help).

    Hopefully we will have time next year to review what we did well and what we did wrong. But after over 100 years we still don’t really understand why the second wave of the Spanish Flu was so much worse than the first!

  39. acorn
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The government’s science office current estimate for the R number across the whole of the UK is 1.1 to 1.2. The estimate +/- 0.1 for England is 1.2, Scotland is 1.0, Wales is 1.05 and in Northern Ireland 1.1. England just short of the Bronze medal position.

    For some reason the cases and deaths never get quoted as a percentage of the population of a region or state to which they apply. For instance in the UK total deaths so far attributed to C19 is 0.1 % of the UK population. In much smaller Sweden it is 0.08 %.

    Anyway, according to Smarkets the probability of a EU-UK deal in 2020 is now 67% Yes and 34% No. It appears the EU Parliament has decided that the latest deadline is now tomorrow evening. So we must expect that that deadline will change … errrr … tomorow evening.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Ask 3 different politicians and scientists what is the formula for the ‘R’ number and how the ‘Tier’ system is calculated and you’ll get 3+ different answers

      The ‘R’ number and the ‘Tier’ systems are formulised by abstract accounting from a number of various sources with dubious modelling by biased people and organisations

  40. a-tracy
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    We are told this virus is affecting the BAME communities most, so when comparing the UK Administrations it is not an even field statistically is it?

    We are not told how many of the deaths in the UK are from people arriving here to use of Health Service from other Countries, we took in early cruise returnees that were already sick, we took some people straight off planes into the hospital.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      40% of infections caught it in hospital.
      No Health Strategy bears much of the blame.
      I imagine German hospitals are generally cleaner/newer/less over-run.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        and with decentralised private Labs doing the testing I would expect attention and accuracy way beyond what was acheived in our monster centralised nonsense.

  41. a-tracy
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Controversially, because you can’t say anything about Trump without getting your head bitten off, drug treatments didn’t seem to get the emphasis they should have got early on because he promoted anti-malarial drugs and other treaments (and Trump bad!). I keep asking just how come these elderly political people like Trump got these drug treatments and made a remarkable recovery in a number of days? Pelosi said he was obese, actually he is overweight not obese so one of the dangerous categories. Are we treating people the most effectively in the UK and trying these drug plans or not?

    • NickC
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      A-tracy, You are right. Hydroxychloroquine facilitates the take up of zinc, and zinc is used as an antiviral by the human body. Therefore Hcq is only appropriate for covid19 (if at all) in low doses as a prophylactic or during the early stages. The trial of it in the UK, used to discredit its use, was for patients already ill from covid19, and in too high a dose – neither of which was appropriate.

    • hefner
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      What’s your point? PotUS got a cocktail of REGN10933 and REGN10987 from the US company Regeneron. What have these got to do with anti-malarial treatments?
      The only thing that can be said is that President Trump trusted his doctors and their prescription when he was found to be infected.
      Stop blattering about things you do not know about.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        You are so unnecessarily rude, hefner. As you seem know everything or think you do, are the treatments given to Trump and others in his team used in the UK or not at all?

  42. a-tracy
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Communication about this virus treatment in England is poor I’ve said it from the start. Hancock isn’t a good media operator, he should have used Nadine Dorries from his department.

    One more thing in the Newstatesman 23 Jun 2019 “— Scottish citizens of the United Kingdom can expect, on average, to die approximately two years younger than their English counterparts”. So what was the average age of death in the different administrations? Death rates are higher with men from Covid and men die younger in other administrations from multiple symptoms.

    This latest dig about Eid being cancelled, Easter was cancelled! Christmas has effectively been cancelled for all but the most daring. Plus the Christmas close down period doesn’t just celebrate Christianity just what % still go to Church, it was renamed Winterfestival by our children’s school fifteen years ago, it is a break from work and you shouldn’t presume the other religions don’t celebrate this break from work because when we’ve looked for volunteers to work over Christmas the people from other religions don’t jump in and say we’ll work them all and take our holidays at another time! We have been told clearly ‘meet up in a small clique no more than three households for five days but you are increasing your risk of dying as your younger relatives may be asymptomatic from college, school or university”. Most people I know are leaving elderly at risk parents and grandparents deserted because of the fear of infecting them.

  43. Barbara
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I feel it necessary to say again, ‘cases’ do not indicate illness.

    A ‘case’ is merely a positive test result, from a *very* inaccurate test.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink


    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      It gets quite tedious doesn’t it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


  44. DavidJ
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    “The First Minister of Scotland has used the crisis to give herself a much greater media exposure ”
    I’m fed up of her posturing. Time to realise that this is the United Kingdom with consistent policies and get rid of the devolved administrations.

  45. Andy
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    My favourite Brexit fact of the day:

    Lorry drivers won’t be able to take their sandwiches into the EU from January 1st because of new Brexit bio-security rules. Cheese (diary product) and ham (meat product) are now restricted. This will also apply to tourists.

    So when you fly to Benidorm with your grandkids – no packed lunches! Poor all of you.

    Did you vote to take back control of sandwiches?

    • Derek
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Don’t your realise just how pathetic and childish your comment is? Anything anti-Brexit and you believe it. Sucker.

      • hefner
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        ‘Don’t you realise just how pathetic and childish your comment is?’

        I have just come upon this bit of (oldish) news: the monitoring of fishing boats in UK waters had been given to Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) a French company, subsidiary of the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. DEFRA moved the contract from the UK Globavista to CLS in October 2019 (, 19/10/2019).

        You might not much like Andy’s comments but please accept that Brexit is ‘the gift that keeps on giving’. And this is not because of Andy (as infuriating it might be to your thin skin) but of a distinguished Conservative Minister.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          How does that essay of yours show any proof what Derek said was wrong?

          • hefner
            Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            And how does your subsequent comment add anything to either Andy’s, Derek’s or my comment. A bit a self-gratification, isn’t it?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          No just pointing out your failure.
          Now compounded by not answering the question I asked.

          • hefner
            Posted December 22, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            ‘essay’, what essay? If 11 lines, 105 words make an essay, I can imagine how much disappointed your past teachers must have been when you were giving them such ‘a poor gruel for a meal’.

        • Derek
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          I’m Anglo-Saxon English and voted to have this country taken away from the rule by unelected and unaccountable foreigners and back under the FULL control of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish. Yes I do have a thick skin (it goes with being a true Brit) and is a lot more preferable than having the thick head of one weakling who prefers subservience and one who would not be prepared to fight for and die for his country. Millions DIED in the WORLD WARS DOING JUST THAT. Agreed, I now ask, seeing the way we have been treated by those (aka the EU members) we saved from evil, “For what”?
          Under the new ‘laws’ forced upon us by the liberal left elites, ‘Patriotism’ is out and ‘xenophobia’ now replaces it. This is exactly the same tactics employed by the (dictators ed)to undermine the population by the deliberate distortion of the norm. Divide and rule. And that is precisely where the EU is headed (Again) IF a stand is not made against it.
          NB If this Government does not fulfil the end decision of the people of this country , they shall be no better than the LibDems and Labour and their perceived mentors in Brussels. They will have proven that ALL of our main Political Parties are no longer true representatives of the people and they will be toppled at the next available opportunity . That is how democracy works but, as we know, such democracy does not apply to the Brussels regime a good reason to leave anyway.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        did you mean sucker?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        It is simple fact.

      • Lensy
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        It’s what you voted for, yeah? To be FREE of the EU rules that make trade, umm, free?

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          It’s what you voted for, yeah? To be FREE of the EU rules that make trade, umm, free?

          This ‘free’ trade you mention – it costs us 12, thousand, million pounds a year for the privilege. Hardly ‘free’, eh?

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


      Love your posts. They show up the daily brexit farce – tampons and ham sandwiches.

      Judging by the angry and often nasty comments your postings receive you are certainly ruffling feathers.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        And giving us a good belly laugh with you.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear. You’re really scraping the barrel today for jokes Andy. What’s funny is how pathetic you are coming across now.

    • ukretired123
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      No problem And we won’t be going unlike you which is why you moan a lot….

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The Guardian article states:

      “The food ban applies to produce arriving in the EU from [all] non-EU countries and will come into force for UK drivers from 1 January, deal or no deal.”

      The same food ban applies if I travel to Canada from the UK.

      So this is nothing new, either for the EU or for other countries.

      It also works the other way round. I recently met a government phytosanitary inspector who was desperate for Brexit so they could halt the import of new pests and diseases coming into the UK, particularly from plants and trees coming from Eastern European countries. Some quite nasty. I was shown an enormous tree destroying beetle.

      Anyway, lorry drivers facing a ham and cheese sandwich ban is a price worth paying in order for UK voters to be able to retain the ability to influence their laws and policies (trade, fiscal, taxation, energy, environmental, foreign, military, immigration etc.) through retaining the right to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

      Whilst for those who remain in the EU will be governed by bureaucrats and politicians they do not know, did not elect and cannot remove and hence cannot influence.

      A journey into the unknown.

      Especially with continued enlargement to at least 34 nations and the increasing use of QMV.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha ha. The Remain equivalent of the bendy banana “fact”. You’ll believe any old rubbish won’t you ?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Let them eat lobster, Bovril, Marmite, peanut butter, fish paste, tuna, sardines, jam, chocolate spread and hummus!
      Why are you so full of admiration for the petty spite of the EU?

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never been to Benidorm, the pictures of all the common rabble is so off-putting !

    • gregory martin
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      How many sandwiches would you expect the driver to have remaining after the hours/days/weeks that you believe they will have been parked up in Kent?
      Your knowledge of truckies appears even less sound than the other nonsense you seem to believe in.
      Why don’t you question the next one you encounter. It may not just be your ego that is flattened.

  46. Derek
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Sorry SJ, these figures are meaningless. The case numbers may well be accurate but without a Post Mortem on each death, the cause cannot be properly certified. I believe over 90% of deaths ‘involving’ Covid 19 had an underlining illness or condition. Flu can do the same, for example like bring forward the termination of cancer patients. Anytime the human auto-immune system has been severely weakened.
    Furthermore, in the worst case, Wales, just 123 died in 100K (just 1.2 persons in 1,000), a figure that is far lower than other 1898/100K deaths with certified causes, according to the ONS 2019 data for Wales.
    With an abundance of new, scientifically proven data available on the Internet and papers and opinions raised by numerous epidemiologists, pathologists and virologists et al, why is the Government not seeking their alternative proposals but still blindly relying upon the tried, unproven and failed methods they persist with?
    Or put out a new Ad – Government warning “HM Government can damage your wealth” before they again roll out their number one virus block and failure – Lock-Down, which has already been denigrated by the WHO.

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      +1. Never have I k own death certificates issued in such a speculative unreliable way. Pathologists always write their conclusions in the inderterminite way unless absolutely sure. This is witchcraft notmscience.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      44,000 deaths due to flu in winter 2014/15 and the government/media did nothing……so whats so different now

      • steve
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink


        Difference is fear.

        Nobody would buy into the concept of a flu pandemic, but the masses can be fooled into believing a syndemic from China is going to kill everyone.

        ……and therefore more readily accept authoritarian rule and the deliberate wrecking of the economy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink


  47. Jane Ashby
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The legislation governing the devolved administration’s powers such as The Scotland Act needs to be revisited. It is shocking that at a time of national crisis that it has been used by both Scotland snd Wales to pursue political ends. Circuit break in Wales has been unsuccessful and yet these administrators are making decisions based on England footing the bill. Why do we have so many MPs from the devolved administrations? We need legislation to say in the event of a future National Emergency, Westminster will be responsible for response and devolved powers suspended. Ms Sturgeon has deliberately deviated from agreed policy to fulfill her separatist agenda. She has been given a platform to do this by a public broadcaster too. It is embarrassing.

  48. GeorgeP
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Why do they insist on counting people who have died of [i]any reason[/i] as Covid deaths, just because they had a positive test 28 days ago?

    • steve
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      George P

      Because, Sir, they are using covid to wreck the economy, ultimately for some further agenda. My bet would be on overturning brexit.

      “Oh we’re in such a bad state we would be better off staying with our European
      friends “

      • beresford
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        If only it was just Brexit. This is the bid for the Great Reset, in lockstep with other western ‘leaders’. Open Borders, ban on travel (for the plebs), destroy national culture and heritage, restrict alcohol (for the plebs), trash the economy and create mass unemployment so that they can abolish property rights (for the plebs) in return for a universal income. ‘By 2030 you will own nothing and you will be happy’ (or else).

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          You know this sounds as ridiculous as the idea that all the countries of Europe would give themselves up to become a Region of a new entity with no democracy. When we said this in the ‘70s and ‘80 people laughed and asked if we thought the French would give up France 😂?
          I wonder whether they will read the words, listen to the words and believe the people saying them that that is their intention? Like Prince Charles?

  49. Jiminyjim
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    There are many international peer-reviewed papers and massive amounts of data showing that lockdowns don’t work.
    The devolved parts of the UK have merely added data to that irrefutable fact.
    Devolution has been corrupted so that it now means nothing more than ‘Whatever you do, we’ll do differently for the sake of it, and you will pay for the cost of our mistakes.’
    When the English public finally realises that lockdowns don’t work, aren’t scientific and have wrecked our economy, and understand the eyewatering cost of bailing out the devolved nations, there will be terrible revenge from the voters

  50. Freeborn John
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    My feeling is that it is not simply a matter of whether one part of the country has fared better than another or even how the country has fared relative to similar ones. It seems to me that the areas and countries that were applauded in March such as South Korea or Germany then had severe outbreaks later whereas places like New York City of London that had it bad in March had it less bad later. Unless contained initially the virus became and remains endemic everywhere and only a vaccine will change that. In the meantime only lockdowns have brought it under control. Everything except lockdown or vaccine is noise. Even testing is only really of importance when trying to contain the vaccine which is only possible when the number of cases has been brought down by effective lockdown as in China or vaccine.

    However the differing approaches in the home nations have I believe caused confusion and mixed messaging which had not been helpful at all. Frankly a lot of people simply stopped paying attention to what the rules are because they changed so frequently and varied between places. That mixed messaging probably contributed to the failure to eliminate the virus in the window of opportunity up to summer but the original sin was starting the lockdown too late back in March which was the case in all western countries. The Chinese should have barred international travel before the New Year and the U.K. from January. Simplicity has merit when it comes to getting people to comply and the cacophony of noise from Edinburgh and Cardiff has not helped but has been a small footnote in this sorry tale.

  51. Freeborn John
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    RTE’s reports of the U.K./EU negotiations indicates a terrible deal is under discussion that is not worth having. Negligible return of fish with the EU retaining the ability to inflict trade tariffs if the U.K. ever wants more of its own fish and EU owners of British boats retaining the small British quota. And a one-sided trade deal only covering food and goods in which the EU can inflicts trade tariffs across the board should the U.K. ever diverge on any regulation even minor ones such as parental leave. That is not a stable trade deal but merely the extension of the transition period with the EU retaining massive retaliatory power for use whenever the U.K. does try to transition away from any EU law. This is just another BINO that should lead to Boris being ousted for the same incompetent negotiating ability as May.

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      well they would say that! don’t forget RTE are just like the BBC. — EU payed lackeys

    • Lensy
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      It’s a dreadful deal. Cameron, May, Johnson, they have all failed to offer you anything better than EU membership. Because nothing is better than EU membership. Take it up with the Brexiters who promised you things that never were deliverable

      • Freeborn John
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        A WTO trade arrangement with the EU is deliverable. U.K. customs already operate that for the majority of our trade.

        EU membership is obviously unacceptable as the defeat of Remain in one referendum and two general elections shows. What Remain promised was a pack of lies about 18% fall in house prices, an immediate recession, the end of western civilisation and peace none of which happened. Y2K bug day for Project Fear is two weeks away now.

  52. Dee
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    John, in the 2 months of December 2017 to January 2018 there was 110,000 deaths from the flu. Then the NHS WAS overrun, yet, No mention of it on the radio? No mention of it on the TV? No mention of it in the newspapers? No mention of it in Parliament, No Outcry from the NHS or SAGE or WHO? No masking? No social distancing? No furlough? Absolutely nothing was mentioned about it. Why?

  53. Fred H
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Poor Boris trying to be Mr Nice Guy.
    Give the people a 5 day Christmas – make ’em eternally grateful to be remembered at the ballot box!

    2 days ago I wrote:
    most of the country goes into Tier 3 serious restrictions on 19th, 20th , 21st and 22nd – no indoor mixing.
    Then on 23rd,24th, 25th, 26th and 27th 3 family groups which may comprise 6 adults and many children from many schools, possibly miles apart, and which are open until 18th or even 22nd then mix in close proximity indoors in their homes.
    On 28th (onwards?) we switch back to Tier 3 restrictions.
    You couldn’t make it up!
    Anybody care to suggest the infection and death rates might go up?
    Now the fool has to pull back on that causing chaos in most of the country.
    Travel shambles, family gatherings off, millions of children in tears, lonely old people devastated, businesses up in the air yet again. Is there no end to the idiocy of this PM and his mates?
    Well Sir John good luck with defending this buffoon at the head of your party.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      held back again – but 4 others after mine published.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        plus lots of responses to existing comments.
        Unbiased Sir John?
        Its a sow’s ear – you can’t make a silk purse out of it!

  54. Mike Durrans
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink


    I would like to see the conservatives scrap and repeal Blairs trouble making act of Devolution, as it is dividing our nation and has no benifits.

    The two lefties of Sturgeon and Dripford have used every opportunity to whip up Nationalist fever against England. Their timing and announcements was stinking of one-up manship

    However, I also believe that politicians got involved too much in the management of the pandemic. A lot of the management incompetence in the NHS used our PM to hide from their responsibilities. It was obvious that pandemic planning was lying in the pending tray with no one driving the mamouth.

    It has also shown that Big is not Better. We need to retreat to local boards again, as they can be pressureiat by local politicians to PRODUCE the GOODS

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Sir, I also think that government should have learned from Brexit( oh! How I hate that eu label) that project fear does not work with the British public. They ahould have been kept fully informed for decision making- we know from past experience they ( including myself) cannot be driven, just encouraged.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Your last word should have been ‘informed’.

  55. Everhopeful
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    “We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Worth reading around that quote.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      +1. Europe is devastated by more than Covid, and the reality will have to be faced at some point. And yes they deserve it – because they went to extreme lengths to delude themselves. Do we deserve the same, or are we going to stir ourselves?

  56. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Full London and SE lockdown without a vote in Parliament. What exactly is the point of you lot ? He’s fooled you by calling it “Tier 4” ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink


    • Richard416
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      The government propaganda website does not list a tier 4. Where is he getting this from, by what authority?

      • Mark B
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Dictators authority.

  57. Everhopeful
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    This last minute withdrawal of Christmas parole isn’t just cruel it is terrifying!
    What is the matter with all you MPs who are supposed to be working for us?
    Sucked into the morass? Blinded in the headlights? Held hostage by aliens?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink


    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


      Something rotten in Westminister

      • Fred H
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        and Downing St.

  58. beresford
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    So Boris has stitched you and other Parliamentarians up like a kipper, sending you home and ensuring that you cannot oppose the latest ridiculous government edicts including putting Greater London in a state of siege. I expect it to be expanded to the Midlands, banning even the outside exercise class that I did last night in the rain. I respectfully suggest that if he drops the ball on Brexit as well it will be time for that letter to Sir Graham Brady.

    • steve
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink


      “I respectfully suggest that if he drops the ball on Brexit as well it will be time for that letter to Sir Graham Brady.”


      No need for such letters – actual defenestration would be quicker and serve as a warning.

      Besides many people remain unconvinced that in the case of Mrs May the threshold was adhered to.

      However as and when, not if, Boris tries to sell us BRINO dressed as BREXIT, I don’t think there will be any conservatives around to compose letters – they’ll all be running as fast as they can.

      • Al
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        “No need for such letters – actual defenestration would be quicker and serve as a warning.” – steve

        I would respectfully suggest Sectioning is quicker, requires less legal involvement post-action, and may give Mr Johnson a much needed break to recover the faculties he has so obviously lost following his covid infection earlier in the year.

        After all, wouldn’t you agree he looks tired?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      +1 and he is indeed almost certain to cave in on Brexit and deliver Brino.

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink


    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Supposing..just supposing that Boris is genuine re Brexit…
      What’s he going to do with post Brexit?
      There will be no functioning country.

      • steve
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 2:18 am | Permalink


        Even then, there’s still the green crap and battery powered car issues with him.

        For those reasons, even if he did deliver a no deal brexit, we’d still have to get him out.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        He personally is unemployable.

  59. Al
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    What do I think about devolution and the virus? I think that businesses anywhere need more than four hours’ warning that their suppliers are going to be shut right before Christmas!

    And yet the primary vector of the virus (shown at 40% last check, above offices at 17%) is schools, which Mr. Johnson refused to close.

    • glen cullen
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Please check your data, as recent studies have shown also zero infection rates and no deaths at schools, colleges and universties

      BBC –

      This virus is a threat to the elderly and those with other medical conditions

  60. James Bertram
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    “… There has been no devolved challenge to the general academic and policy framework provided by UK experts, and no attempt to define a very distinctive course to see if a different approach works better …it would have been good to see more intelligent challenge and experiment with a different way of responding so we could learn from the differing approaches….”

    I think, and hope, you are referring to the Great Barrington Declaration.

    We need the SAGE advisers who recommended Lockdown replaced by those who advocate the Swedish approach. And it is long overdue that at least one administration in the UK acted independently of the discredited and economically unsustainable lockdown policy followed by Johnson’s government that kills far more people than it ‘saves’. If it needs Johnson removed to achieve this, then so be it – in which case, the sooner the better (the dissembling Hancock should have been got rid of back in the Spring).

    Too, we are now in a better position to shield/protect those most at risk (which was the main criticism levelled at the GBD approach). We now have a vaccine (though I have strong doubts as to its efficacy). More importantly, we now have some low cost treatments that seem to be very effective: Ivermectin, particularly, also hydroxychloroquine and zinc, vitamin D, steroids, and new interferon- based drugs. And we have far more experience of, and ability with, critical care for this virus.

    It is time to move on from this panicked, ill-thought through Lockdown disaster of 2020.
    A New Year – new advisers, and a new approach badly needed.

    • Richard
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      +1 Well said.
      52,000 public health scientists & doctors have now signed the Great Barrington Declaration.

  61. steve
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


    “I would have liked to have seen more collaboration from the devolved governments.”


    Offer more of our money. That should work.

    BTW I am not familiar with any permission given for these devolved regions to have their own ‘governments’ As far as I’m aware in order for there to be a government, there needs to be a president or Prime Minister. Great Britain does not have four Prime Ministers.

    They are ‘assemblies’, not governments. People only assume they are governments because the English-hating BBC keep peddling the seditious propaganda to help wee Krankie puff herself up.

  62. MikeP
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Sir John you’ve been an advocate of English representation for some time but having seen the continued push for independence in Wales & Scotland, the troubled history of the NI Assembly and disunited pandemic responses would you really want to risk even more of that with England? I’ve heard more than a handful of friends wishing Wales & Scotland would get on and leave for being so ungrateful for our support.

  63. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    My son went up to London yesterday. He described it as a madhouse. Traffic was insane and people everywhere – none with masks on.

    In my local, sizeable, town – I’d say half the people you see on the pavements are wearing masks. Maybe London has asked for it.

  64. steve
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    If this government was sincere, they would have –

    1) Closed all borders and airports tightly shut in the first instance, instead of allowing them to remain open.

    2) Shielded the vulnerable, instead of locking down everyone else and wrecking the economy.

    But then this is not a sincere government, it is a government devoid of any credibility. Nobody believes a word that comes out of Johnson’s mouth.

  65. Richard Lark
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Nobody should feel obliged to obey this latest edict until it has been approved by Parliament.

  66. JayGee
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    What on earth is going on with our MPs? Have you all been castrated and sent home to bed, so that Boris can continue in his madness. This is turning into a bad dream. No, a nightmare. The stuff that horror movies are made of.

  67. Iain gill
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    The political class really lost the plot now, even trump tweeting taking the Mickey out of Boris and tier four.

    The rules are clear nonsense as any six year old could tell.

    What a shambles. How much are McKinsey’s billing us for this crap?

  68. TooleyStu
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts on all this ever increasing pantomime.

    We are being coerced to take an experimental injection (not a vaccine)…
    Which has no liability for its manufacturer…
    For a ‘virus’ which has a 99.9% survival rate?

    ** calc below plus source **
    (99.9% calc from uk death figures 19-12-2020)
    (www. worldometers. info/coronavirus/)
    ((67075 / 68000000) x100) -100 = 99.901 %

    Personal note:
    Been doing a lot of reading recently, mainly on ‘human manipulation’.
    Incredible insights on mind manipulation and our expected reactions.
    I have almost become a voyeuristic observer watching a dystopian film.

    Best regards, as always,
    Tooley Stu

  69. Original Richard
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard that one major hospital is vaccinating NHS secretaries who are working from home because they are over 60 ahead of front line medical staff with health issues.

    I hope this is not true.

  70. beresford
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Apparently the roads and railways leaving London are packed with people fleeing Tier 4. Can anyone explain how this mass movement slows the spread of the alleged mutated virus from the southeast?

  71. Freeborn John
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Le Monde is reporting that only fishing remains an issue with “level playing field” and “governance” settled. They say the EU has been successful in refusing to see the emergence of a deregulated economy at its doorstep which would engage in unfair competition towards its companies by not respecting its environmental, social and fiscal standards or its very strict regime on public aid.

    Boris is toast if he has indeed given the EU permanent control over us in that way.

    • APL
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Freeborn john: “Boris is toast if he has indeed given the EU permanent control over us in that way.”

      Boris Johnson should be ‘toast’ just for the enabling acts rammed through parliament. The Tory party should be circling the plughole along with him.

      But for the bribes with their own money, and the extortion by the BBC ( scaring the population half to death ) he will be.

  72. alastair harris
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I would be really interested to find out if anyone has the power to close the internal borders of the UK. I’m not even sure that the Monarch or Parliament has those powers, much less the First Minister. Surely the Acts of Union preclude it?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      There are no internal borders! Most of London thinks the Scots border is Hadrian’s Wall – from Hadrian’s wall you have 70 miles to go! If the wee lassie put Coldstream Guards on the Wall, Boris would accept it. He needs to be sectioned.

  73. Ian Stafford
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    The virus has shown up the mistakes of devolution. There was very little consideration at the time of the devolution acts as to what powers should be devolved. Basically, in the case of Scotland, it was taken as read that anything which the Scottish Office had an oversight in, would be devolved. The problem of not considering the difference between the SO and the Scottish government. While the SO would follow the national government, except for perhaps education and Scots law matters, because the SoS Scotland was a member of the national cabinet. The virus has shown up why public health matters such as lockdowns and the categorisation of pathogens should be uniform across the whole state. It has lead to grandstanding by the devolved administrations to show that they are separate from HMG. Thus public health in this form is one of the candidates which should be reclaimed by the national government.

  74. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 20, 2020 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    My younger daughter lives in London and tier 4 status will ruin her Christmas. I might just about forgive the Government if it had got other decisions related to COVID-19 right but it hasn’t. The Conservative Party has behaved appallingly and the Left leaning opposition parties, the so called rainbow coalition, would be ten times worse.

    The entire political class appears to be in the grip of the sloppy, sentimental, maudlin mentality that we associate with the the City of Liverpool. Here’s how it can do better.

    The Government should give its Regulators a great big kick up the backside to approve the Moderna and Astra-Zeneca vaccines. These can be stored at room temperature and distributed much quicker than the Pfizer vaccine. The Army can help.

    Priorities are wrong. We should vaccinate hospital and nursing home staff and all workers over 50, which we should aim to achieve by the end of February, then remove all restrictions on the economy. After that, vaccination of care home residents, the old, the vulnerable and workers below age 50 can follow. The average care home resident is aged 85, has two years of life expectancy even without COVID-19; they have a rotten quality of life, many have dementia and they eat up their children’s inheritance at the rate of £50,000+ per annum.

    It is a scandal that religious gatherings are still permitted. They are major transmitters of the virus and are unnecessary. Religious services can be conducted using Zoom etc.

    It is a scandal that the Nightingale hospitals have not been utilised. Yes, it would have meant training nurses and paying them more so as to ensure adequate staffing. This could have been started in March instead of spending so much money on furloughing, trying to preserve jobs that are likely to disappear. Isolation wards in mainstream hospitals are not totally effective. A significant proportion of transmissions have taken place in hospitals.

    “We’re all in this together”. Oh, no we’re not. The private sector, especially the self employed, has suffered tremendously. Amazon, supermarkets, wealthy pensioners like me and above all highly paid public sector employees have not suffered at all but rather gained. The following have been neither furloughed nor experienced a salary reduction:
    – Judges who refuse to conduct trials without a jury
    – Teachers who refuse to use the internet
    – Members of Parliament unable to fulfill their duties in full
    – Civil servants asked to do reduced work from home
    Time, high time, to rectify this.

    Royalty, those unnecessary baubles, have not been locked down.

    We have allowed COVID-19 to delay the treatment of other diseases in our hospitals. The use and staffing of Nightingale hospitals would have avoided this and the introduction of modest charges for health care would ensure adequate finance.

    • Iain gill
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      And freelancers have suffered more than any, the whole thing has been a mass transfer of wealth from freelancers to permanent staff and long term benefits claimants. Many freelancers left with no help at all because in the chancellor’s words it would be too hard, well guess what hard stuff is what he gets paid for.

  75. Edwardm
    Posted December 20, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Pertinent points.
    Problem is we are living in an age of anti-reason and selective or non-evidence.
    It is very difficult for anyone who tries to use evidence, reason and logic to have any useful impact. I thank JR for his continued efforts to inject some sound reasoning into public debate – and on his Brexit stand.

  76. John McDonald
    Posted December 20, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John I appreciate you are not a fan of devolution, but to associate it with being a difficulty in combating the virus is perhaps not appropriate. To suggest that the UK government has done better, and by default England, because it does not have a devolved Government, is not particularly true. We are in this mess now because the UK government did not stop international passenger travel back in February this year, and continues to allow it even now. If anything, now we are in the mess, a focus at county level is better.
    We now how our own Kent Virus. Was it discovered amongst the hops, or another unchecked import ? It appears that the Kent virus was know about in September so why no action then ? The whole approach adopted by the UK Government , is based on models stats, and absolute proof , and not judgement and common sense, more motivated by politics rather than science and observing what is happening in the real world and taking quick action.

  • 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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