Recovering from the virus

The ever tightening lockdowns increase the damage to businesses requiring social contact. They delay the start of recovery and make the loss of more small businesses and supply capacity more likely.

Yesterday’s statement from the Chancellor did not update the forecasts for the economy and did not answer the question of why some small businesses that have to shut are left out of the compensation or assistance schemes. Getting through one lock down by borrowing more or drawing down on savings or reserves may be possible but doing it all over again in a second lock down is more difficult. Setting up and running your own business is hard enough without successive bans on trading lasting for the best part of a year.

The government’s strategy to get out of this is heavily dependent on rapid roll outs of vaccines. It would also help to redouble efforts to reduce the spread of infection in health settings. The loss of staff from illness and the need to self isolate is adding to the strains. Redoubling efforts to find a wider range of treatments would help, as the treatments cut the time the serious illness lasts.

Today there is another debate on CV 19 in Parliament. It would be good to hear from Ministers progress on providing more support for closed small businesses, more news on infection control and treatments, and some report on how air flow and extraction can be improved to reduce infection spread. We need to get more back to work and more businesses trading as safely as possible.

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  1. Cynic
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    It seems that only a resurgent Reform/Brexit party will make this government see sence.

    • Peter
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I think it more likely that the government will carry on until it is too late.

      The Reform party might then sink them – permanently.

    • jerry
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      @Cynic; Indeed, a resurgent Brexit/Reform party will make the current govt see sense … that the majority of the British electorate want moderation!

      It is after all what got the Tory party elected in 2019 too, the electorate clearly wanted non of the ‘extremes’ that the Corbyn manifesto offered nor the “Trumpest” style nonsense that had been coming out of a now rudderless, rabble without a cause, Brexit Party since the referendum and split from UKIP. Remember none of the then top table of UKIP, before the referendum [1], actually wanted Brexit, it was akin to turkeys voting for Christmas. Brexit was won despite UKIPs best efforts to sabotage the Leave campaign…

      [1] remember how Farage claimed the referendum lost a mere hour or so after the polling stations closed?

      • Lynn
        Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes he also declared Brexit ‘won’ and ‘the war over’ before reading Boris’ disaster. Whoever makes statements first gets in TV. He just takes a punt – often loses.
        The U.K. has and deserves better (and Farage is of course an improvement on Boris who seems to be trying to live up to his Russian name!)

        • Hope
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          Brexit is not done. Negotiations have started with EU for services. No one knows as yet who represents the U.K.

          Perhaps the terms are being written by the EU again for Johnson just to accept, like fishing, ECHR, level playing field, non regression clauses, give away N. Ireland and Gibraltar. With border down the Irish Sea currently stopping English goods from being delivered! So RoI goods happen to have a better market!

          Get Johnson out we cannot afford him socially, democratically, way of life, health, wealth or in any way whatsoever.

          Will Johnson offer Scotland this time?

        • jerry
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          @Lynn; “Farage is of course an improvement on an improvement on Boris who seems to be trying to live up to his Russian name!”

          Whilst Farage is trying to live up to his French name too, which ever way the wind blows is the political direction you’ll find them facing.

          Give me a political signpost like Tony Benn, or Margaret Thatcher, before the weather vain that is Nigel Farage, I might not like nor agree with the the formers peoples views but at least I knew in which direction we would be headed!

  2. Nig l
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Despite the rubbish being printed in the papers desperate to find negative stories the roll out is going very well in my area, indeed bearing in mind the Pfizer storage requirements, it is remarkable and although the pressure on the system means the ‘non serious’ surgery etc is being put back, cancer referrals are holding up and heart treatments continue as ‘normal’.

    The mood in the vaccination centre is very positive with patients voicing their gratitude.

    One of your questions please. The improved data about the effectiveness of the first jab means it makes sense to delay the second one, thus getting the first to a wider group with the benefit of greater immunity.

    However there is a chance people will get a different second jab from the first. What clinical trials have been done to ensure this is safe?

    • jerry
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      @Nig 1; Sorry… Govt figures show less than 3m have had their first dose of any of the three vaccines to date, so only another 40m to go until the UK’s working age population has any kind of assured level of protection, this is a marathon, not sprint, there’s a long way to go yet. 🙁

      I heard a grandmother say to a reporter that she was happy to haven received her vaccine as she has missed seeing her grandchildren since March last year, that she was looking forward to hugging them, trouble is we still do not know is the vaccine prevents transmission, until we do many restrictions both in the home and at work will likely have to remain, otherwise vaccinated but still asymptomatic could well carry on infected the those as yet not vaccinated. The n of course the vaccines have not been past for use within the care within Prenatal/Paediatrics medicine.

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    given that fireman are being assigned to crew ambulances, due to shortages of ambulance crew, a reasonable question would be what will happen if there is a big fire…

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      shift patterns , which the unions say are necessary for health and safety and proper rest, allows this.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        its not good for my health if there are too few firemen because they are all in ambulances when I am stuck in a big fire

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          I think the Firemen’s shifts are all still covered. This is moonlighting for extra cash/

  4. formula57
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The deep economic damage suggests Ministers should be maximizing the use of freedoms available from Brexit. Will they explain why they are not?

    Can we abandon Evil Empire inspired sanctions against Russia now to enable British businesses to trade?

  5. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Recovery depends crucially on two things.

    The vaccination of most – near all – of the population.

    That vaccination being effective.

    Everything else is secondary.

  6. formula57
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Is there worry the public wrongly think vaccination provides instant protection and will behave accordingly? The Government encourages the assumption vaccination itself ends lockdown.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    There are around 7,000 patients in hospital with Covid-19 in London (many of these contracted it in the hospital having been admitted for something else) and this is blocking other treatments as London’s hospitals near their capacity

    The Nightingale hospital has 5,000 beds. Maybe you could ask why it is not being used not just as an isolation hospital as you have previously asked but to free up capacity for other procedures.

    Much is being made that 30 and 40 year olds are coming into hospitals, ’twas ever thus if you look at the data there have been many under 50s hospitalised with this disease but there are many more of this demographic so as a proportion the hospitalisations are lower, the risk is less.

    I have paid very high taxes all my working life, a large proportion of which went to the NHS. The protected behemoth needs to be overhauled and our money needs to be much better spent in the future. Lifestyle and cosmetic surgeries must be excluded from provision and a small refundable charge for appointments should be introduced.

    I would favour the provision to become private but funded, as now, through taxation with top ups required through insurance.

    Separately, as private medical insurance has also been decimated by the response to Covid this should not be subject to IPT and should not be taxed this year.

    The above is relevant to today’s topic as lockdown is to “protect” the NHS so it is the NHS that is causing small business collpase.

  8. Newmania
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    You might hope that given the spectacular political dividends to be gained form getting the vaccine out quickly , just for once the Brexit State and the ordinary people would be pushing in the same direction.
    There is one way to save business and it is not inviting higher death rates – the vaccine must be got out quick quick quick.
    One Job to do
    One thing to get right
    Stop wasting time and see what you can do to help

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      The “Brexit state” is getting the vaccine out quicker than the EU empire is doing, Newmania.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Some estimates of the economic damage done by the governments over reaction to Covid are that it will be about 10 times more damaging than the bank crash of 2008. I suspect they are about right.

    Plus this government wants to load expensive renewable energy and net zero carbon lunacy on top of this economic burden which will cost even more. Meanwhile Prince Charles says “50 years ago, people thought I was ‘potty’ to care so much about the environment” – the ones that are sensible still do mate. Hugely hypocritical with it given that your CO2 output is probably about 1000 times more than the average. Best to get out of politics before you become King. Your two poor A levels (History and French) rather suggest you do not have a clue about energy, economics, climate, the environment, physics or energy engineering.

    Excellent piece by Lord Matt Ridley “The Folly of Renewable Energy.”

  10. None of the Above
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    There is little to disagree with in your blog this morning.
    My Daughter, who is a NHS frontline worker, has had both her vaccinations and it would seem likely that the vast majority in the frontline are now protected and this should reduce Staff absences. NHS workers are also being tested weekly (sometimes twice weekly) and this should provide data to help decision making around infectivity and the need for self isolation if vaccinated.
    Our only way out of this is to maximise the vaccination rate and make a sensible judgement on reduction of restrictions as soon as there are consistent signs that pressure on hospitals is easing.
    We must not forget that the whole reason for these restrictions was to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, it was not to kill off the virus. This virus is unlikely to be killed off but it’s effects can be nullified with a vaccine. It may take many months, if not years, to develop a satisfactory level of immunity.

  11. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    O/T I see that pesticides that harm bees are going to be allowed this year. Very disappointing. We had rape seed planted in the fields around us last summer. Not only were there no bees in these fields, there were no bees in my garden either. i wonder why.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    So what is the plan when the vaccines cease to provide protection as the Corona virus mutates in such a way that it out flanks the vaccine’s defenses? Or starts to kill younger age groups? In those circumstances current measures will not work. It needs a Plan B.

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    More and more people are wondering if there will ever be a recovery.

    There seems to be little point in talking about the virus without there being a change of, or even new thinking —- where are the brilliant minds that are supposed to be serving us? Why are we stuck in Groundhog Day lock-downs that will eventually destroy us as a nation?

    We can expect the virus deaths to ease off as summer approaches, but where will the thinking go after that when they start up again as autumn approaches.? Let me guess – No plan-B and back to Groundhog Day to totally wipe out the economy.

  14. Nig l
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Ps note to A Tracey etc stirring up the question of musicians visas. Fake news started by a speculative article based on unquoted EU sources. Not helpful.

    The so called Independent is not.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    On yer bike! As they say!🚲…seven miles from home too!!
    Small businesses for the accidentally on purpose chop!
    All in tune with the agenda.
    Swords to ploughshares…shops to population explosion homes.

  16. Mike Durrans
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I fear that our “leaders” have run out of ideas, they now, in my opinion cannot see any way out. They have been relying on a few professors who really do not have any original thinking between them. The Ministers are not governing but just doing as the PHE And NHS managers tell them. We know a lot of them are incompetent. No actions were organised or plans made during the quiet spell in the summer.

    We have spent a lot of money for nothing. Nightingale hospitals were made in double quick time by our brilliant troops ( they are so adaptable) but the upper managers did nothing about manning them. I am aware of the long and arduous training needed for that specialised nursing but no move was made to advance normal nurses upward and fill behind by less skilled.
    I think the NHS gets money far too easily and again top management think they can spend their way out of any difficulty. They must change that attitude.

    I very sorry to moan and I could go on more, I am a retired civil servant ( a MOD estate manager) soI know what happens behind closed doors but one must fight ones corner.
    NHS upper management have performed poorly

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      The ONLY solution to the ‘attitude’ problem is competition. As you quite rightly point out, the NHS management (sic) get money all too easily. When things go wrong all they have to do is complain about lack of funding. Perhaps it is time to reverse things. Perhaps it is time to put out to tender patient operations and treatment ? Pay the NHS for the work they do, and make the NHS compete against private health providers for the service.

  17. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Local reports suggest 300 hospital staff with the virus or self isolating because of it in one hospital in Berkshire, and a number of Police Stations also have officers away, either with the virus or self isolating because of it.

    The simple solution to try and help businesses and families which are struggling would be for the banks and building societies to allow payment holidays for any loans and mortgages, yes it will affect the cash flow in Banks, although they will still charge interest, so no overall loss for them, but for those people or businesses with mortgages and loans, it would certainly help with their cash flow, as at the moment it is only going one way, which is out.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:42 am | Permalink

      The virus only goes after those who mostly work in the State sector. Private sector employees and the self employed seem to be made form special virus resistant material 😉

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Public sector is now seizing up those private sector businesses trying to muddle on. Not testing and inspecting things that need certification. Closed from March 2020 until last week, too big a backlog now. If government wants on-site inspections to export under licence then they have to have the people fit and willing to go out to inspect. I’ve heard off people thinking they’ve got to start redundancies soon.

  18. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Lockdown isn’t working, people are fed up with it, many of the rules are nonesense, ie can’t play golf or tennis.
    Walking in the countryside has plod going berserk.
    There is no evidence that more extreme lockdown will have any effect but to bankrupt the country.
    Over the past 10 years, hospital beds down 59,000 and population up 17%.
    No wonder they’re in crisis.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:44 am | Permalink

      Exactly ! They don’t have the beds. This despite being the largest employer and costing the country a fortune. This is all to hide their embarrassment.

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Why is anything dependent on a vaccine?
    They tell us that even vaccinated there will be no return to normal.
    So why take the risk of a rushed jab from a catastrophic, lying, cheating government?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      1) Agenda

      2) It is the only chance of digging the government out of a hole it has made for itself and coming out as saviour of the nation.

      3) A nice little earner for someone in government when he/she retires and takes up a position in a large Pharmaceutical Corp’ – Perhaps ? 😉

  20. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    This the third lockdown, not the second. And Christmas was cancelled.

    Over 2 million vaccinations done. So, every NHS and care home worker and care home resident has been done? Apparently not.

    I know some healthy, active people in their 80s – who live in a very low COVID-19 area – who are being very careful to avoid the virus – who have been vaccinated. And, a 51 year old neighbour who works in a care home who has not been vaccinated.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      Mike, Christmas was not cancelled in my house. And neither will Easter or anything else I choose to celebrate.

      They only win if you let them.

      I was told by someone that, if you really want to demoralise someone, all you had to do was stop them from doing ‘anything’ that they wanted. Think on that ? If you wanted to demoralise a nation you take away all the things they want to do, and you do it at the last minute for effect. 😉

  21. agricola
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    All credit to the Chancellor for staying away from Mystic Meg forecasts. Forecasts are a political tool with little mathematical foundation.
    Yesterday I suggested whst you could do for the self employed/small businesses but it fell on stoney ground. I have yet to check whether you bothered to moderate it, or did so, so late. Lets see how this fares.

    • agricola
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Have just ckecked, it still awaits moderation, so it looks like it does not agree with your agenda.

  22. ian@Barkham
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    There have been a lot of miss-steps along the way and it isn’t much of a guess to suggest there are more to come.

    The Virus is a movable feast that is caused by our own personal attitudes and not Government. The curve balls thrown at Government is of our own personal attitudes on the one hand and nowadays a distrust that the Government represent the People of the UK or even know what they are talking about.

    The PR the Government pushes out using negative down trodden individuals as some sort of experts when coupled with the Governments over desire to suggest that only they and their State Controlled Empire has the answers works against us moving forward.

    Does anyone actually believe any of what is said. The Great Reset conspiracy is more valid than the Government working with us all to solve the situation.

    The cant get out of their head the ‘Them’ and ‘Us’ attitude – the burden an battle is not carried equally.

  23. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Why are we almost world beating when it comes to the production of plastic waste but almost the world’s worst when it comes to the virus?

    Why is the export of plastic waste to developing nations allowed? Most of it is burnt on farmland.

    Why doesn’t the government – which, let’s face it, is ver quick at knocking laws out – pass laws banning the use of one use plastics?

    The amount of plastic waste we produce is a national and international disgrace.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Stop buying bottled water at large expense with much wasted plastic and fuel used in large delivery miles. I never do. What on earth is wrong with taps and fountains?

      The Drinking Fountain Association is a charity sensibly promoting more fountains and the likes.

      • dixie
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        Actually, PET-G used in most water bottles is one of the more easily reusable-recyclable thermoplastics. You are likely wearing some recycled water bottles now – polyester fibre.

        In our household we buy very few water/juice/carbonated drinks bottles, mostly as a backup supply, and re-use them many (50+) times and/or re-purpose them for the garden etc before recycling.

        PET-G is also a popular material for 3D printing as it has superior mechanical properties to PLA and has largely replaced ABS – I use recycled industrial PET-G.

    • dixie
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      The UK has a growing fleet of waste gasification plants to generate electricity and/or heat from such waste.

      I have a small investment in Hooton Bio, the first non-subsidised facility in the UK at Birkenhead which can process 25 tons of waste into 24MWe per hour.

      We can individually support more responsible material production, use, re-use and disposal, we are not limited to simply complaining on blogs.

  24. Mary M.
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Good to see you are still with us, Sir John. Your diary entry was later than usual.

    Perhaps you were drafting your contribution to the debate today? I look forward to reading it. You often express the views of the silent majority, giving us a sense that we have a voice in Parliament.

    (However, I am still reeling from the fact that you seemed to Abstain from voting at all on the latest lockdown. From what you said on January 7th, one would have imagined – and hoped – that you would have voted Against, even though it was a fait accomplis by the Government.)


  25. Sakara Gold
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    How refreshing to read this morning that the police will not follow the serially incompetent “health” secretary Matt Hancock’s instruction to “enforce the rules”. The police are obviously as frustrated at the mixed messaging and lack of a government co-ordinated and pro-active response to the Chinese plague virus crisis as is the rest of the public – and will not impose curfews or mask-wearing in supermarkets.

    Hackock’s assertion that the current explosion of infection with the virus is the public’s fault for “failing to follow the rules” is a blatant and cynical attempt to deflect the blame for his mismanagement of the NHS and PHE. His failure to learn obvious lessons from the so called “first wave” in the spring and establish procedures to prevent spread of the virus in our hospitals and his failure to prioritise vaccination of front-line staff amounts to dereliction of duty and it is now time for him to resign. If he won’t, then Johnson should sack him and put someone with experience in his place – Jeremy Hunt could make a good interim health secretary. Clearly, the vast majority of the public are in fact staying at home, following the rules and blaming them for the consequences of the governments prevarication and mixed messaging over Christmas is a disgraceful and shameless political ploy by Hancock.

    As predicted here last year the NHS is now overwhelmed, there are reports of mortuaries overflowing, in at least two areas of the south east councils are searching for suitable areas to dig mass graves. Enough is enough – there are now nearly 100,000 fatalities. If Johnson won’t do it, then the party must find someone else to lead it – and before the virus mutates into the next, possibly much more morbid strain.

  26. ian@Barkham
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The next big failure of Government will be on ‘Tax’. You cannot and no one ever has raise the tax intake by increasing tax.

    We need to increase income into the exchequer, to pay for all the debts this government is creating for the taxpayer. The Chancellor has the choice of lowering taxes so as to make it less viable to avoid them, there fore increase the inflow. Or increase tax and ensure the re-location tool that commerce deploys is enacted on so reducing tax intake.

    The UK is on of the most over taxed and over regulated domains on the planet. Some of the tax take is backdoor pointless regulations that burden People when the Government should be releasing their spirit and drive.

    Slightly at a tangent but a typical illustration, Car Sales are down. The fall in demand for Cars coincided with government decreeing that safety features added to a car where a luxury item therefore needed to be treated to additional road tax each year. The Government is the one responsible for the fall in demand no one else.

    Then of course there is the BoJo ‘me-too’ on green issues. Being part of the nutty collective today is more important than creating an income for the future. Not thinking it through, you cant join the nutters unless you have first figured out how to pay for it.

  27. Mark B
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    As commented on by others on this site, the situation regarding the numbers of people observing this lock down compared to the first is startling. Going into London (I am classed as an essential worker) the buses are nearly packed and the trains, although not full, are no where as empty as before. So what has changed ?

    Before we ask ourselves the question(s) on how do we get business back to work I think it reasonable to ask, does the government want SME’s ? I ask because its basic plan for many a decade now seems to be anti-SME. It seems to prefer the Corporate’s and it is this attitude that will come back to bite it.

    We hear that the May elections may be postponed. If this is so, then it is a supreme act of cowardice and blatant self-interest on the part of the government, the PM and the Tory Party. They are clearly running scared of what could well be a bloodbath. We shall see.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Shame the covid vaccine couldn’t be in a nasal spray like the flu vaccine for children.

  29. Stephen Priest
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    There is now “left lockdownsceptics”

    From their website:

    “We are a group of socialists in the UK who oppose lockdown policy on the basis that it doesn’t work, is based on bad science and causes unnecessary harm and deaths to society. The impact of lockdown is most severe on the working class and vulnerable people, including children.”

  30. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    While the govt think of harsher lockdown ( Tier 6? ) for the people I assume the rules will have an exemption – allowing all travel for All MPs, ALL rich and all their friends. The lower classes must be ground down even further – NO mixing with any family. While, at the same time, the 150 ( very expensive to the taxpayer ) new arrivals, over the weekend, will NOT be mixing in their taxpayer funded hotels – – will they?

  31. Qubus
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:04 am | Permalink


    I read in to this morning’s Daily Telegraph that British lorry drivers are being stopped on the other side of the Channel and having their ham sandwiches confiscated: apparently importing unscrutinised meat into the EU is prohibited.

    • Peter
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      The EU are far better at impromptu delays and irritations plus assorted non-tariff barriers to entry.

      Of course, two can play at that game and it should cause more damage to the EU.

      Unfortunately, the U.K. does not have the enthusiasm for retaliatory or pre-emptive measures. Many of the civil servants at the sharp end would actively discourage them anyway. So you would need someone – like Cummins possibly – to kick their backsides.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s not that uncommon, several countries do it, Australia from what I recall.

  32. James Bertram
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Excellent commentary by David Warburton MP:

  33. beresford
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Point of order, Mr Speaker. This is the THIRD full lockdown (not to mention intervening Tier restrictions which closed many businesses). A lot of pubs in Birmingham have been closed since March. Clearly the entire population cannot be continually vaccinated, if only from a logistical point of view. The key to lifting restrictions (assuming the Establishment WANT restrictions lifted) will be development of medication which alleviates symptoms once you present yourself with covid symptoms, since the virus has no ‘incentive’ to mutate to kill its hosts.

  34. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Hopefully the ballot box will offer retribution.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:30 am | Permalink

      If allowed ?

    • dixie
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      And how exactly will that address the problem in SAGE, the NHS, the establishment?

      Do you really think there will be a sudden attack of competence because you vote Labour or some other flavour of politico in?

  35. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Irrelevant. SAGE decides what happens and they won’t lift the lockdown any time soon irrespective of vaccination, it’s them you need to debate with.

    • Fred H
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      There saw the 15 minutes of fame, and are going to make it 15 months.

  36. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I understand that lockdowns are not a permanent solution and we all dislike them intensely but as I see it the way our hospitals are becoming more busy it is the best solution until we get the vaccine. I was speaking to a friend from Worthing yesterday who is a receptionist for the NHS and she said the virus has gone from being virtually non existent at Christmas to being rife now. There are ambulances queuing outside A&E both at Worthing hospital and Brighton too. It is frightening to think that if the numbers go up, which they are expected to do, people who need emergency treatment may not get it in time.

    We now have two friends who have had a few members of the family coming and going and now both have Covid. One isn’t too bad but the other is very unwell. They now realise that inviting family in was the wrong thing to do.
    Some good suggestions in your post John.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      You won’t wear masks and keep your distance, so you’ll have to be locked down.

      It’s a pity, but there we are.

  37. BJC
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The government’s “eggs in one basket” strategy is destined to fail. The Health Secretary is aiming for everyone to be vaccinated by the Autumn, by which time the virus will have mutated many times over and his medical intervention solution will no longer be viable and we’ll be back to square one. In addition, it’s clear that no matter what progress is made, the unions/management controlling the State sector are determined that only their idea of “perfection” is good enough to protect their work-shy heroes and ensures the State sector remains wholly unproductive. Why is a doctor who’s tested negative and vaccinated, stuck at home in isolation; one of a massive 46k? Why was my energetic retired friend (midwife) refused a place on the vaccination rollout due to her age?

    Is there anyone in power proposing an alternative smarter, common sense way to manage this thing, because the risk-averse control freaks we have micro-managing the minutiae of our lives are downright dangerous. Contrary to their ever-narrowing vision, the repetitive response of doubling-down until a single solution might be realised, has created a risk of gargantuan proportions for economic and social decimation when it fails. The solution will be one where many small pieces can be placed safely until the whole is achieved, à la a jigsaw puzzle, i.e. small parts can be wrong and reworked without destroying the whole picture! This strategy points to opening up small businesses, not State support to keep them closed, but the fundamental problem for any progress is still the perfection politics of the State sector, which holds us all to ransom. Good luck with that one!

  38. Caterpillar
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Do MPs have a sense of scale of the epidemic?

    For example in Eng&Wales the crude death rate for the 1/7/19 to 30/6/20 was about 10K per 1M. It seems that all mid year to mid year data working back from 30/6/04 was higher than this (I went back as far as 1971). Admittedly these numbers flattened to about 9K per 1M (per year from about 1/7/08), nonetheless this includes the particularly low years of 7/13 to 6/14 and 7/18 to 6/19 at 8.5 K per 1M. Delayed deaths from the latter of which may well have contributed to last year’s increase. The ongoing scale of the Govt and international response does not appear proportionate to death rates that not long ago would have appeared normal or even low.

    [Disclaimer:- I took ONS data at face value to make calculation. I used a mixture of daily and weekly data so there could be some slight errors. The rates are crude not age adjusted.]

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Having just read MSM ‘reporting’ on similar numbers I would add;

      (i) media ought to consider reporting mid-year to mid-year data as viruses tend to be seasonal in U.K.
      (ii) although the 1/7/19 to 30/6/20 death rate is similar to mid 200os it is not safe to interpret this as losing a decade of progress. When the data is smoothed to estimate an expected value then 1/7/19 to 30/6/20 is pretty much the same above expected value as 7/18 to 6/19 is below expected value. (The smoothed data is upward sloping from 7/11-6/12 so there is an increase in expected mortality together with the low mortality from the from the previous year).
      (iii) the questions are (a) how much above expected will 1/7/20 to 30/6/21 and, most importantly (b) what effect will be the long term damage of the Govt/advisor/expert policies on the expected curve – will it get steeper over the coming years due to what has been inflicted on society?

  39. Hope
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    JR, Are you sure you are allowed to question the govt. on anything? Perhaps you need to run it by big tech first to see if it fits their narrative or group think. Perhaps O’Brian would prefer he is consulted to see if would allow you to speak at all? Dangerous concept and way of thinking in your party. Suggest you call it out and oust it now.

    I say this following the irrational and foolish left wing pro censorship article by Neil O’Brian Tory MP yesterday in Con Home. Toby Young gives a mild reply today. The article deserves far better rubuke after the the most disastrous public health failing in history by your Fake Tory Govt. Presumably O’Brian would prefer any such view to be censored if it does not fit the Govt. spin or official line. I would suggest he reflect whether he has the values of a Conservative? Is he in the right party? Who on earth votes for him?

  40. Christine
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    We hear that the vaccine program is being hit by staff shortages because people are either off with Covid or self-isolating. It should be a priority that key workers receive the vaccine. As they say on aeroplanes, always fit your air mask first before helping others. We know the NHS already has a huge problem with sick leave. Take away this temptation.

  41. L Jones
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    We have already ‘recovered from the virus’ – which anyone who does any research of their own can see very clearly. We know a few people suffer WITH it and even die WITH it. Well over 99 per cent of people are healthy, will remain healthy, and this will have nothing to do with any pointless vaccine.

    What we haven’t ‘recovered from’ and probably never will, is the government’s abysmal handling of this situation – turning (as they say) a drama into a crisis. A crisis that will last for years – and one which the individuals who voted FOR the continuation of these ineffective and ruinous ”lockdowns” won’t suffer personally from, in the least.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      Never let a ‘good crisis’ (sic) go to waste 😉

    • J Bush
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:41 am | Permalink


      I find it frustrating the government is focussing only on ‘cases’, which are just tests, whether you feel ill, or have had and got over it.

      As mentioned above, NHS staff are getting tested weekly. Are these added to the ‘cases’ totals every week? If so, why? Multiple testing on the same person, does not prove a prolific virus, it only proves lies are being told to cower the public into submission. But why?

  42. NickC
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    JR, Please look at the death toll graphs

    These show quite clearly that there was a massive increase last year around April, but only a marginal increase this autumn/winter. You would never guess this from the hysteria from the government, the MSM, and other lockdown fanatics. Lockdowns don’t work, and ruin the health of the majority who need the NHS, and decimate the UK economy, and destroy our civil rights.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      I will wager another bulge for January 2021 Nick

      • NickC
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Narrow, You would have to be a lot more precise and specific about your wager. If you mean a bulge as big as last April’s during January, you’re on.

    • villaking
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear

    • villaking
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Well said

    • J Bush
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Totally agree.

  43. Nig l
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    It should be noted that the U.K. has vaccinated a higher percentage that the rest of the G20 countries, close to 4%.

    Germany is 15th at .9% and that is even after ignoring EUs collective approach, don’t they always when it suits them

    And in the meantime the Dutch (doing Macrons and Merkels’ bidding?) are reduced to confiscating ham sandwiches.

  44. Everhopeful
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Businesses and schools keep testing healthy people and laying them off if they “test positive”.
    Still..never mind the BBC has now taken over education.
    (Tell us this isn’t Agenda 20/30).
    Oh..BTW BBC says the children’s food parcels are totally inadequate!

    And when, pray, was there ever a year in Jan/Feb when the NHS has not been at “breaking point”. Look at old newspaper headlines!

    • Fred H
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      they have said ‘ at breaking point’ every month since March.

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Maybe in the debate Matt Hancock will repeat his message from Sunday:

    “Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged people to “act like you have the virus” to lower coronavirus rates.

    Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hancock urged the public to go further than the rules and to “resist temptation”.”

    And make sure that the Covidiot in No 10 understands that unnecessarily cycling through the streets of London, without even wearing a mask, is setting a very bad example which is likely to add to the pressure on the NHS and lead to more illness and death.

    Or perhaps you could mention it yourself.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      7 miles for an experienced cyclist is barely exercise and I hope you are not advocating the wearing of masks outdoors when not close to anyone.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        How can you cycle around the streets of London without the chance of coming close to somebody at some point? It is simply selfish to do it. Or jog around, for that matter, another part of his vaunted exercise regime, puffing and panting over other users of the pavement. From the start he has been sending out the wrong messages, too little too late and then in the summer too much too soon, and people have died as a result.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Nice to read your comments again Denis.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Dennis but it is entirely possible to jog and cycle while staying clear of people.

          Criticise him for real things not opportunistic baiting. I run and cycle every day and do not need people mithering about the prime minister doing it making it more likely to be banned.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            It is certainly possible, but it is not what is being done around here. I would actually prefer it if joggers drove into the country to do their exercise rather than making it unsafe for other people to use the pavements in the town.

        • NickC
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Rubbish, Denis, the majority of people continue to die if they are diseased or elderly, as normal. The level of deaths may be above average for this time of year, but not by much. There is no massive peak, only an indication that covid19 is seasonal and endemic. Certainly not worth ruining the health of the majority or their civil rights. Moreover, the peaks bear no relation to the lockdowns. And even the ONS only reports the deaths as “involving” covid19 not from it.

    • Iago
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      He’s had the disease, hasn’t he? What’s the point of wearing a mask?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        How about, to set a good example?

    • ChrisS
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back Denis : You have been greatly missed !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      This afternoon the Medical Director for London restated the same message:

      “Act like you have Covid”

      And that was repeated by Priti Patel, not once but twice.

      So why has that message not got through to Boris Johnson?

      Because he’s special in some way?

    • J Bush
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      If 3 years ago I had claimed I had flu, but had no symptoms, people would have thought, quite rightly, I had ‘fallen out my tree’ and the NHS would have diagnosed the mental disorder called Munchausen syndrome and referred me for psychological treatment.

      How far down the rabbit hole must we be dragged before common sense returns?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:47 pm | Permalink


  46. hefner
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    An interesting take by Suzanne Moore in the DT (12/01/2021): ‘I am in the privileged position of being able to work at home. As, it must be said, many lockdown sceptics are, too. Most of them have no real knowledge of science. They are often as much use as a homeopath in a car accident. Rub some arnica on it. ‘

    And her next paragraph on conspiracy theorists ‘they find power in the secret knowledge that is hidden from the rest of us – because clearly none of us have ever heard of YouTube. ‘

    Raise your hand if you recognise yourselves in these two sentences. Thanks for your help.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      @hef – there are many in the tin foil hat brigade but there are also some compelling arguments and statistic that argue against the mainstream.

      They won’t all be wrong so it pays everyone to listen and to judge fairly.

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Hefner, I don’t think the postman I talked to last week worked at home. Do you? You need to look at the ONS death toll graphs and stop peddling anti-science hysteria.

  47. Alan Paul Joyce
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Tougher punishments on the way for those who violate coronavirus rules as the police crackdown on an already punch-drunk population?

    What a pity this government (and those before it) cannot summon up the same courage when faced with vandals, thieves and burglars, rapists, murderers and terrorists, not to mention illegal immigrants.

  48. Ian
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Can we make this Government honest,
    It seems they have lied, and have let everyone down again, we have to face up to the reality that there is no party in Westminster worth the time of day, so. Do not vote for more of the same?

  49. Ian
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Seems like the establishment has let the Nation down again.
    Non of the three parties in Westminster are worth the time of day.
    It seems after all that they have dumped this Nation again
    This is no more than Brexit lite .
    So do not vote for there Treachery any more,
    Go and vote for the one man above all others with the only credentials that matter,
    Be strong , do not give in , vot for Farage in the Spring

  50. London Nick
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Your (throwaway?) comment about air flow is spot on. The government has, literally, spent hundreds of billions (not millions, but billions!) of pounds in their chaotic response to Covid19, but NONE of their actions will do anything to prevent the next similar crisis caused by the next infection – which scientists say is inevitable. So next time round we will be back to square one, doing all this madness yet again. This is so stupid it verges on the criminally irresponsible.

    What the government SHOULD be doing is making UV air sterilisers mandatory in ALL public buildings (shops, pubs, restaurants, offices, cinemas, museums, etc) and public transport (buses, trains, planes, etc). There are a number of UK manufacturers (eg. Medixair and Ilinex) and in order to promote British industry the government should make the use of British-built air sterilisers the legal requirement. Once UV air sterilisers are installed we can open up all public venues and throw away our muzzles!

    An obligation to install air sterilisers could be introduced in the building regulations for all new-build, while existing buildings should be offered government grants to install these. Yes, it would cost the government several billion pounds, but (i) the money would all go to help British manufacturing industry and businesses, and (ii) it will prevent not just future pandemics like Covid19, but also reduce normal, seasonal infections, and (iii) it will cost less than destroying our economy with unnecessary lockdowns!

    What say you? Will you press the government to introduce this policy?

    All the best, Nick

    PS. Did you look into my proposal the other day to use the Synairgen Interferon treatment on all patients? Covid19 works by blocking the body’s natural interferon response, so boosting it with Synairgen’s new inhaler is the best solution. This must be rushed into general use.

    Posted January 12, 2021 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, it’s not just businesses that suffer from current restrictions.
    If you get time, have a read of Dr. Ari Joffe’s cost/benefit analysis of lockdowns –
    ‘Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink’.
    And this Q&A.

    He’s Canadian, so no UK party politic-ing going on.

  52. London Nick
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Apologies for going off topic, but this is important: the government has announced it will be buying 1.3 MILLION laptops and tablets to dish out to schoolchildren. This could be a fabulous opportunity to create a BRITISH manufacturer of these devices, to compete with the US, Chinese and South Korean giants. Will you press the government to do this?

    One of the main reasons for supporting Brexit was to give the British government an opporunity to put British interests first, and supporting, creating, promoting and defending British technology and manufacturing industry is the prime example. We really should not be spending hundreds of millions of pounds supporting foreign companies, foreign workers and foreign governments’ tax receipts. Let’s support BRITISH companies instead!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      Name one British Laptop manufacturer that makes them here ? Sinclair did and ICM only did mainframes from what I remember.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        But all (well almost) use parts from lots of specialist manufacturers and countries in their assembly operation. Think back to Amstrad, Apricot, Walters.

    • ChrisS
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Only someone like Alan Sugar could organise this and I guess, even with an order in his pocket for 1.5m units it would not be enough to achieve the economies of scale that would be necessary to compete on price.
      It’s also impractical : There is almost certainly not a single component in a laptop that is currently made in the UK and probably not made anywhere in Europe either.

      Even the old fashioned desktop PCs that are “made” in the UK are no more than a kit of parts manufactured in the Far East and assembled here. I built my current PC to my own specification from a menu of parts bought from a specialist supplier here. You can’t do that with a laptop.

  53. jerry
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    “Setting up and running your own business is hard enough without successive bans on trading lasting for the best part of a year.”

    Setting up and running ones own business, or simply working for someone else, is even more difficult should you or a member of your family be incapacitated from (even worst, died from) Covid/Long-Covid, and then what of your customers suffering from or dead from Covid, they are unlikely to want your products.

    Can some people please try to remember we have a public health emergency here, that should have (had) a war-time style response, not a Govt response, more often off the back foot, more typical of a TUC ‘winter of discontent’…

    • jerry
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      The Home Office, and now unfortunately the Police [1], response is typical of this govt, with their vague and confusing dicta.

      On the one hand we are told that we should all stay at home, yet we can still go to work if we can not work from home (so no pressure for companies to set up their VPNs, or to moth-ball projects, like there was back in March last year), meaning a group of three people, say, can be required to sit in an enclosed non-essential but supposedly Covid secure office for up to 8 hours each weekday, yet should those same three people dare to walk to the local park at lunchtime -to get some much needed fresh air- and sit, stand or walk in a socially distanced group chatting about work or leisure, whilst eating their take-out sandwichs and coffee, they can each be issued with a £200 FPN…

      The London Met chief has suggested we should all know the rules by now. Indeed we do, what we do not know though is what our local police chiefs, and their individual officers, interpretation of those rules are!

      I fear Joe Public are being lined up to be the fall guys for the indecision of our govt(s), it is becoming obvious there was much differing once again, the science was calling for a retail, if not full social/economic, lockdown before Christmas and the full revocation of the of the Christmas visiting relaxation, for which the higher infection rates are yet to fully feed into an already close to capacity health service but will be blamed on people not following the post Christmas lockdown.

      [1] who are in danger of again becoming politicised, as they were in the mid 1980s and early 2000s

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense, Jerry, there was a spike around last April (2020) of deaths involving covid19 (not deaths from covid19), but now the death rate is only slightly greater than normal for this time of year (see the ONS graphs of deaths per week in England).

      • jerry
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        @NickC; The ONS figures say nothing of the sort, excess deaths from seasonal aliments are far higher than they normally are! None so blind as those who choose not to see.

        Only yesterday, government figures (that tend to be lower than those collated and eventually reported by the ONS) reported over 1500 excess deaths attributed to Covid-19 in a single mid week 24 hour period, these deaths are in addition to those who are still dying from other preventable aliments having tested negative for the Covid-19 virus.

        The fact that people are not dying from seasonal Flu is an irrelevance, past figures for preventable deaths from seasonal Flu were also far to high in the UK.

  54. David Brown
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree.
    I often hear the vaccine roll out is determined by 2 factors namely:
    1. Sufficient numbers of people trained to administer injections
    2. The supply of the vaccines
    It occurs to me the Gov needs a complete audit of ALL categories (health, Army, Dentists etc) with numbers of people who can administer vaccine. Also include returning volunteers inc retirees who can administer vaccine – may be with a bit of update training. So there is a full picture of how many capable people. Daft as it may seem even Vets could be update trained to administer human injections.
    The supply chain for the vaccines needs to be mico managed so there is no delays.
    Overall the target needs to be close to 1 million people a day
    Right now there is a slow start and this must be ramped up massively and urgently

  55. Iago
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Alas, looks like our ineffable government has given Gibraltar to the EU, Falklands next? Johnson sent a video to the Falklanders just before Christmas, a sign of sinister interest.

  56. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    There is one small glimmer of hope. The daily number of new cases appears to have peaked. It will be some time before the daily number of deaths follows suit. The time lag appears to be roughly 28 days.

    I have had 5 letters in the last six months telling me how vulnerable I am and telling me how to behave. This borders on harassment. They are headed jointly by the Department of Health & Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, WITH NO RETURN ADDRESS.

    Government officials who write such unnecessary letters should be sent out into the field to take part in the vaccination programme. Your move, Mr Hancock.

    One way communications by letter or by e-mail are rife, the main culprits being institutions of Central Government and large corporations (who fawn on Central Government). I have a simple suggestion, that Sir John introduces a private member’s bill to make it mandatory that all communications from government and businesses have a full return address – name, number and street, town, county/city, post code – or e-mail address.

    Better still, all such communications should be signed by an individual identifying himself/herself and giving rank and position within the organisation.

    I am not a constituent of Sir John’s, so urge all of his constituents who agree with me to take up the matter with him.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      what a very good idea

    • cornishstu
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Daily c19 deaths have already peaked around 6/7 Jan and have been declining since. . See Ivor Cummins for a good explanation on all the data.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        So lockdowns work in that regard.

        • NickC
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          No, Martin, lockdowns don’t work. You are forgetting the 4 week delay due to the cycle: infection, symptoms, ICU, death. So the the death reduction after the peak of 6/7 Jan 2021 will have been people infected in the first and second weeks of Dec 2020.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        That post didn’t age well

    • Lynn
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Each letter needs to be signed off in the traditional way ‘I am Sir, your obedient servant’. The Civil Service need constant reminders of their station in the order of things.

  57. DaveM
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t pubs sell alcohol? People were trying to support their locals even though they didn’t have to – what’s the reasoning behind it? It’s almost as if the govt wants to destroy everything.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Because the globalists want to do away with alcohol. Or at least restrict our access to it.
      It is all on the internet. For all to see.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:59 am | Permalink

        I don’t understand why ? All what will happen is, people will create their own ‘hooch’ for personal consumption and / or sale. This could, in fact would, lead to some liquor of dubious quality. Have they learnt nothing from USA Prohibition ?

  58. steve
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Agree with what you say, JR.

    However I’m beginning to suspect Boris has lost control.

    Reasons –

    1) Not closing all airports when the pandemic first broke, thus allowing infections to rapidly climb above a manageable level.
    2) Allowing Universities to open.
    3) Schools.
    4) Pubs.

    In respect of 2, 3, & 4, anyone with half a brain would have known CV19 was going to mutate, all viruses mutate. Stupid therefore to not shut down the UNI’s & pubs.

    This is all a result of Boris Johnson’s indecisiveness and pandering to big business.

    Quite how he gets us out of the hole he’s dug remains a mystery.

    • Fred H
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Steve – – you are beginning to suspect Boris has lost control.
      Control of what?
      His party? – certainly not.
      His Remain views? -I doubt it.
      His partner’s ‘green ambitions’? – definitely.
      His authority over SAGE? – every sign he never had any control.
      His bullshiting ‘we’ve reached the end of the tunnel’? – he seems to be able to keep it going.
      His ability to form policy and decision making? – everything points to reacting 2 weeks late on every subject.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      What control / responsibility he may have had, he walked away from. Much like his previous marriages.

  59. ChrisS
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I have read in the Telegraph today that the government is considering restricting click and collect services just to supermarkets. All this will accomplish will be to hand over even more market share to the big operators. This will not return after the pandemic because even more smaller shops will have been put out of business.
    A ridiculous suggestion.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      That’s the idea!!!
      Big operators waiting with open, greedy jaws to swallow up all the purposely destroyed businesses.

    • Al
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      There is no point in tightening the controls when people don’t follow the existing rules, and they aren’t enforced. I was on public transport and watched the transport police walk down the train tapping each person not wearing a mask on the shoulder and telling them to “wear a mask next time”. No fines, no removal from the (still at the platform) train.

      Given the age of the people I see chatting in supermarkets does the government really expect police officers to arrest little old ladies for gossiping?

      Introducing rules that will neither be followed nor enforced will have only one effect: decreasing the government’s popularity further.

      People not following the rules won’t start.

  60. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Once again my posts disappear
    It’s not just big tech who censor comments

    You and the Tory party are bloody useless spineless individuals, you witter on about extra ventilation and other useless suggestions and continue to support the lockdown, you and your mates have blood on your hands
    Should we be making arrangements for resistance?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:12 am | Permalink


      Welcome to the club mate. Take some comfort that, when you get censored it is because you just hit that nail right on the head 😉

      When it happens I always post that it has and encourage others to do likewise. I also encourage you to continue and be positive about it.

      The TRUTH, one way or another, will out in the end.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        I can understand Sir John wanting to encourage reasonably different points of view, however, he appears to do so little in moderating childish repetitive tantrums , unless he is preventing dozens? What is clear is that he delays or instantly passes over many which directly challenge the ‘policies’ of this Government. The question remains does he believe in the measures, or avoiding criticism by way of loyalty.?

      • graham1946
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        If that was the case, why would you waste your time posting about it, knowing that your ‘truth’ will not be published. Makes no sense whatsoever. Try posting a bit less and maybe a bit more respectfully. You are not compelled to post here at all.

  61. Iago
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    A very strange disease, seems to be able to come back from very low levels. I ask that Johnson and the other members of his cabinet ask his dear friends in the Chinese Communist Party if they can provide any information or explanation about this. Have they ever been asked?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      Amazing that it only affects the Western countries.

      Amazing that State workers seem to suffer with it the most. Maybe it is because when they self isolate they can do so knowing that they are on full pay where as say, the self employed, get nothing !

      This must be the only virus that has inbuilt AI.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      There’s nothing strange about that whatsoever.

      Most diseases will do that.

  62. Hope
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Johnson first claimed mid zfebruary, then it changed to end of March!

    David Warburton gives a very good reasoned account why your govt has failed to provide benefit analysis of lockdown. It is estimated by ONS lockdowns have caused 200,000 deaths. Bristol University puts the figure higher.

    What are the lunatics in govt thinking? Act as if you have a disease! 99.6% of the population pretending!
    How about accurate testing! How about accurate figures and graphs and stop the fake scare mongering. It is a terrible disease for some, not the vast majority.
    Glad to see David BLUNKETT on TV saying All children should be in school.

  63. ChrisS
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Did No 10 really have to go to the expense of constructing a platform for 5ft 3″ Prity Patel to stand on at the 5pm briefing today ?

    • graham1946
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      It didn’t. That box has been used many times by mainly the ladies and I think by JVT. How petty can one get?

  64. Our Great Reset
    Posted January 12, 2021 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    John has no idea how close we are to a world without politicians, if he did he would be trying alot harder to end this nonsense.

  65. Pat
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You hit the nail on the head:

    “It would also help to redouble efforts to reduce the spread of infection in health settings”

    Our hospitals and vaccination centres currently require patients to enter their air conditioned premises for vaccination. Paradoxically, this exposes us all to the cross infection we are trying to avoid, during the period before vaccination has triggered the immune response.

    We must take practical measures to remove this infection pathway.

    Israeli specialists have emphasised the need to vaccinate in small local premises, the opposite of our approach with large vaccination hubs. They are already carrying out drive-through vaccination, which carries low cross infection risk.

    May I suggest ‘battle buses’ with all windows open, even open sided tents with well wrapped up staff.

    This needs to be implemented most urgently and if any readers of your column have better ideas than mine to reduce cross infection risk, they would be very welcome.

  66. Cheshire Girl
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    With respect, the Chancellor, once again, pointed out that he could not save every job, or every business, much as he would like to do so. No Government could, despite Labour saying they would do better.

    Personally, Im amazed that the Government has managed to do so much. Its a mammoth job, and it must be difficult to know where to turn.

  67. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    So we now have the final week of excess deaths up to 1st Jan England and Wales. If you omit weeks 12 to 22 (March to May) when we did have rather sigificant excess deaths then it is only 3.1 % up on the five year avergage so entirely normal.

    So why exactly is the country virtually shut down? This 3% is also with a rather higher population and the last five years have been historically low. Also 2019 was rather low leaving more vulnerable people around.
    Deaths in Sweden (per cap & with no enforced lock down) are entirely normal actually less than 2015, 2016 and 2017.

  68. Diane
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    As voices emerge again from Folkestone : Calling for freedom; Freedom and restriction on movement not denied providing it is within Covid regulations and guidelines. Accusation of, and likening to, a military set up; Well, perhaps many of us can identify with those two issues. A preference by some it seems, not to eat, and to sleep outside in the cold rather than acceptance of the warmth provided by the free heating which many in this country do not enjoy. A bed and basic support services provided, a luxury for many others elsewhere. The provision of three free meals daily, again, when many families elsewhere are struggling. Lack of soap ? Easily remedied, good housekeeping, which the taxpayer should demand as it is all costing a fortune. With approx 60.000 at the last count, if reports are accurate, housed & provided for in hotels throughout the country, though that may be a couple of hundred more since last weekend, I think we tax payers are not doing too bad a job overall.

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  • 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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