The long shadow of Project Fear

I am all in favour of experts. I read a lot of expert opinion. Daily I learn something new from reading someone’s research findings about issues of public interest.

Reading plenty of experts has taught me several things. It has taught me that some so called experts are not up to the title, producing ill thought through material with insufficient proof.  The BBC is specially good at mistaking establishment propagandists for experts. It has reminded me that in many difficult areas the experts disagree amongst themselves, which is often a welcome  way of moving towards a greater understanding of the issue. I have also discovered in fields I study that there can often develop an expert consensus, held by many for fear of getting out of line. This can result in a catastrophic establishment failure because most of the tenured individuals dare not disagree. In economics the Exchange Rate Mechanism  boom and bust  and the banking crash great recession are two  examples of groupthink gone wrong.

The worst feature of recent years has been when the establishment consensus allies itself with political forces and tries to dominate the democratic debate about a topic. The Treasury and Bank of England forecasts prior to the referendum we now know were wildly wrong and were clearly designed to help the Remain campaign. They forecast a fall in house prices, a fall in employment, a rise in interest rates and a fall in the pound if we left. Instead in the early months after we finally left the reverse of all those forecasts occurred. In the year immediately after the vote as well house prices rose, employment went up and interest rates went down. This poor forecasting undermines public confidence in official forecasts. It also angers the majority who disagreed with the establishment political view on the underlying question.

Today expert epidemiologists need to grasp that their forecasts will be carefully scrutinised  and subjected to commonsense checks because of past forecasting errors by government advisers. Net zero advisers keen to speed the transition will need to ask why the public does not rush to transform their lives in the recommended ways. They will find they need to overcome scepticism about some of their claims.

Democracy places non experts in positions of power to take advice, to consider conflicting expert claims and to apply some commonsense to recommendations. It remains the best way of proceeding in a world where the future is always uncertain. For a democracy to thrive we need to debate the cosy and sometimes horribly wrong consensus views of a self selecting group of experts in any given area. No one peddling views gets a ride free from criticism in a thriving democracy.

273 Comments

  1. Mark B
    December 22, 2021

    Good morning.

    If ever there was a body that has so tarnished the name ‘expert’ it is the BBC.

    People have placed their trust in their government and the so called ‘experts’ it employs to advise them, and have been thoroughly cheated. And to me, that is probably the best thing that has happened. Finally people now know that governments tell lies and that it is always wise to be very suspicious of their motives.

    I said previously that this mythical pandemic will not be repeated next year. The lid on it has been blown. Question is, what jolly caper will they come up next to cheat us out of more liberties and money.

    I did not see a penny of that furlough money or any of the other benefits being thrown around, yet I am expected to pay for other peoples largess. My spending power is going to take a little hit and that is going to ripple through the economy along with all the rest. How is that going to help growth ?

    What a shambles !

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Well, experts, those who devised our vaccines, have enabled the death rate from covid19 to fall from around 1,700 a day to about 50.

      However, Sir John and the Right generally are looking for anyone to blame for the dire consequences of their baleful policies, naturally.

      The scientists are quite clear – they cannot work miracles – and their forecasts e.g. over expected mortality and morbidity from the omicron variant come with express qualification that the uncertainty is so great as to make them of VERY limited use in planning quantified contingency.

      It’s up to politicians to decide whether they want to plan for the worst case or not.

      If they do not do this, and things turn bad, then it is in no way the scientists’ fault. Nor is it their fault if they do but things go well and money could have been saved etc.

      And if people have any memory, then they will realise that the forecasts were often unduly optimistic anyway. As the then medical director of the NHS said in March 2020:

      “…Keeping the number of coronavirus deaths below 20,000 will still be “a good result” for the UK, a health chief says, as he urged the public not to become “complacent”.

      Stephen Powis distanced the NHS from a new study predicting the UK is on course for 5,700 deaths…”

      How many have we actually had now?

    2. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2021

      One of my companies received a letter yesterday from a major building materials supplier, saying they had made a 15% price increase on all their products across the board. Sunak’s devaluation of sterling hits the fan. Has he lied to voters that “this will not affect the pound in your pocket”? In the dishonest Harold Wilson style yet? Will he be off ‘cap in hand’ like 98% income tax DennisHealey had to? Some of Sunak’s taxes are over 100%

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        It is brexit more than anything else which has devalued Sterling.

        Reply Pound up strongly against Euro and yen this year after leaving EU!

        1. Nottingham Lad Himself
          December 23, 2021

          The UK, as far as the markets were concerned, left the European Union in June 2016, and that is when the main reaction occurred.

          They were, however, mightily relieved, when it did not leave on the catastrophic No Deal terms for which you, Sir John, and the rest of the ERG pushed so hard, understandably.

          So, none of that stuff, Sherlock.

          1. Peter2
            December 23, 2021

            Remainers have made the most of any negative currency alteration since 2016 NHL, but with typical history revisionism you now say all the alteration took place in 2106.

            Everything that happens economically is either due to brexit or despite brexit according to you.

            Ridiculous

      2. Mark
        December 23, 2021

        Expect very big increases for kiln fired bricks and tiles. Gas prices have been soaring.

  2. lifelogic
    December 22, 2021

    The BBC is especially good at mistaking “establishment propagandists” for “experts”. The BBC and much of the media employ lefty art graduates in the main often are not up to the task of picking sensible and honest experts (say the Barrington declaration ones, ERM skeptics, big government economists or the climate realists) from establishment propagandists. They even support the moronic healthcare and energy policies we have in the UK. They even keep interviewing Neil Fergusson – has he ever got anything right?

    We know for example that the vaccine roll out would have saved more lives had they just vaccinated men about five years younger than women. This was blinding obvious to anyone numerate who can think yet it was not done (for political reasons one assumes). Where were the real experts pointing this out and saving the circa 1000 extra lives?

    The BBC and transport sec. even think electric cars save CO2 and are zero emission (all considered they are/do not). They even seem to support the insane policy importing wood on diesel ships and truck to burn at Drax.

    Take masks – the establishment experts first told us they do not work, then they enforced the wearing of them, then they told us they protected others not ourselves (if true clearly just turn them inside out then or wear two on inside out). All fairly obvious drivel. They are (appallingly in my opinion) now vaccinating children (using coercion) almost certainly doing rather more harm than good.

    1. Nig l
      December 22, 2021

      Almost certainly? Your epidemiology qualifications. None. I thought so.

      1. lifelogic
        December 22, 2021

        This is not about “epidemiology”, it is simply about the statistics the adverse effects and the benefits conferred. The statistics are really rather clear for children, even JCVI agreed with this. This even without considering any as yet unknown adverse effects. How many cases of serious myocarditis do you wish the young to suffer to prevent one hospitalisation of a child? Five, ten, fifteen?

        For young men and boys in particular it is even more clear cut.

      2. wanderer
        December 22, 2021

        One doesn’t need a qualification in a subject in order to take an informed view. Orwell said “all schools only serve to classify their members as failures”.

      3. matthu
        December 22, 2021

        When considering the harm done by forcing children to wear masks, you need more than epidemiology qualifications. Which anyone with common sense would realise after very short reflection. But some so-called often self-proclaimed experts prefer to focus on a very narrow brief that ignores e.g. physics or clinical psychology.

      4. a-tracy
        December 22, 2021

        Nig1, who said, “Almost certainly?”

      5. Hat man
        December 22, 2021

        Nig L, you don’t need ‘epidemiology qualifications’ to know where to look for the relevant information: the ONS has the statistics on child deaths. It shows that in the three weeks following Whitty’s announcment in week 38 that children were to be Covid-jabbed, there were 81 deaths among the age 10-19 categories in the ONS data, as compared with a 5-year average for the same weeks of 53 deaths. In the three weeks before Whitty’s announcement there were 57 deaths. Children’s risk of dying from Covid is statistically zero. Therefore the evidence so far is consistent with saying, as Lifelogic did, that Covid-jabbing children has done more harm than good. As the ONS updates its figures, no doubt we will get more information, but at the moment that looks like a reasonable conclusion to draw.

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          December 22, 2021

          And statistics show you’re a lot more likely as a child to be killed by a step parent in lockdown than by Covid.

    2. Peter
      December 22, 2021

      ‘BBC is specially good at mistaking establishment propagandists for experts. ’

      The BBC have just lost David Shukman, their ‘climate change’ man and replaced him with Justin Rowlatt. Apparently they live on the same London street – which is convenient. Mr. Shukman had a huge wardrobe of climate change clothing and would turn up suitably clad in Arctic conditions or the desert. I am not sure if he will pass his garments on to Mr. Rowlatt as I no longer have a TV licence.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2021

        Neither scientists needless to say Geography and PPE degrees I think.

        The types who often confuse energy with power and often do not understand positive feedback in the engineering sense. RATHER like energy ministers or energy editors of respected ? national newspapers.

    3. IanT
      December 22, 2021

      It’s when ‘incomplete’ facts are presented that I begin to worry that we are being manipulated.

      I’ve always been concerend that Covid deaths are reported as being “with” and not “of” Covid – there being a large difference. It now seems that about half the folk reported as “being in hospital with Covid” in London, didn’t get diagnosed until after they had been admitted. This suggests that (for instance) someone involved in a car accident that’s take to hospital (who then fails a Covid test) is being counted as a Covid admssion.

      If he/she then dies of their injuries (within 28 days of that test) it’s presumably counted as a Covid “death” – which is clearly complete nonsense!

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2021

        Indeed but better for the NHS that they can blame Covid rather than what is often second rate health care or often no care at all.

      2. glen cullen
        December 22, 2021

        Its been 2 years and this government still can’t give us a clear definition of ‘with’ or ‘of’ or ‘case’ nor an explanation as to why ’28 days’…..or why it projects a ‘positive test’ as more important data than ‘hospitalisation’ or ‘death’ rates

        1. Ian Wragg
          December 22, 2021

          I think k it’s time wehad the statistics for how many have died within 28 days of having a Covid jab

          1. lifelogic
            December 23, 2021

            Rough estimate it will be about 250,000 (not usually from the virus but within 28 days of a jab).

      3. Your comment is awaiting moderation
        December 22, 2021

        Anyone with a functioning brain cell can see that the bat flu is being used as a Trojan Horse to get the population to accept digital ID. The scheme has however served to expose the rarity of functioning brain cells among the world’s population.

    4. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      Don’t forget the millions upon million spent on new cycle lanes that the expert said we’d all be enjoying….all empty

    5. Nigel Paterson
      December 23, 2021

      Studying for a doctorate brought home to me that the frontiers of knowledge are surprisingly vague territory, and it is all too common to find a bunch of arguing people there. This can be rather discouraging, but it means that we often have to listen well and choose very carefully from the conflicting opinions being expressed there. John is an outstanding exemplar of how to do all this graciously and intelligently.

  3. lifelogic
    December 22, 2021

    Allison Pearson in the Telegraph today
    “It’s time for humanity to prevail over scientists”

    She is (unusually for her) largely wrong. We just need sensible, competent & honest scientists not these selected & bought ones. It is the scientists these dire art grad ministers are choosing to follow that is the problem. Worse still the government are telling the scientists what they want to hear and they are pathetically complying.

    1. Nig l
      December 22, 2021

      Easy from your arm chair.

      1. acorn
        December 22, 2021

        Have a read of “The Wasting of the Evangelical Mind” The peculiarities of how American Christianity took shape help explain believers’ vulnerability to conspiratorial thinking and misinformation. (Michael Luo: The New Yorker March 4, 2021) Particularly the reference to the Capitol invasion of Jan 6th.

        Also, in “The Rise Of Anti-Intellectualism And The End Of Progress” Tim O’Reilly wrote:-
        “For so many in the techno-elite, even those who don’t entirely subscribe to the unlimited optimism of the Singularity, the notion of perpetual progress and economic growth is somehow taken for granted. As a former classicist turned technologist, I’ve always lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, the failure of its intellectual culture, and the stasis that gripped the Western world for the better part of a thousand years. What I fear most is that we will lack the will and the foresight to face the world’s problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance.”

        1. Nottingham Lad Himself
          December 22, 2021

          Yes, there’s cause for some pretty solemn reflection there, sure enough.

        2. formula57
          December 22, 2021

          @ acorn quoting Tom O’Reilly as saying “What I fear most is that we will lack the will and the foresight to face the world’s problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance.” – perhaps he has just summed-up Generation Z!

      2. Lester_Cynic
        December 22, 2021

        Nig l

        Equally easy from YOUR armchair?

        1. glen cullen
          December 22, 2021

          +1

        2. Lifelogic
          December 22, 2021

          No the Ski Lift.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      You don’t want scientists.

      You want people from a scientific background, but who have sold out to vested interest and who pose in their qualifications as authority.

      You want, quite simply, frauds.

      1. Bill B.
        December 22, 2021

        No, lad, those who you describe are precisely the people Lifelogic DOESN’T want : the bought-and-paid-for charlatans on SAGE.

      2. lifelogic
        December 23, 2021

        +1

    3. BOF
      December 22, 2021

      LL. I must agree with AP today. I think you have given the reasons she is correct.

  4. Oldtimer
    December 22, 2021

    I agree with every word you say. Philip E Tetlock’s book, Expert Political Judgment, demonstrated that experts turn out to be no better than the public at large in predicting the outcome of a course of action. What is sinister is the adoption of behavioural science and the selective use of data to influence opinion and behaviour. We see it being used in the current covid pandemic to control behaviour and to introduce extreme controls on what people can and cannot do. It has been in play for at least the last thirty years to promote the global warming/climate crisis agenda. Fear is the tool of choice to control populations, what they are permitted to do and to think.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      OK – let’s have a referendum, on vaccine “passports” – NOW.

      Surely you won’t defy the “will of the people”?

      I’m fed up of lockdowns, caused by the recklessness of the irresponsible.

      1. Bill B.
        December 22, 2021

        Fed up *with*, lad, not fed up ‘of’. Anyway, the people have spoken, in an opinion poll on Good Morning Britain the other day. Majority against vaccine passports.

        So be careful what you wish for, and don’t trust Yougov polling before a referendum vote: look what happened last time!

        1. Wonky Moral Compass
          December 22, 2021

          Chapeau, Bill B.

        2. Nottingham Lad Himself
          December 22, 2021

          Well experts – real ones – at Cambridge University and elsewhere report that their studies show the omicron variant to be about-two thirds less likely to cause severe illness than others typically circulating.

          Whatever, Sir John has found a rich vein indeed to quarry among those who think that we do not need such people, and that they themselves would be just as useful.

          Reply More silly lies.do read my blogs before condemning them.

          1. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            Less posts might result in more accuracy NHL
            You are shooting from the hip, what is it 30 posts daily from you?
            Concentrate and perhaps stop quoting from the Guardian and Independent would be an advantage.

          2. Nottingham Lad Himself
            December 22, 2021

            Sir John, I am remarking on the effect of what you write on your followers here.

            I personally agree with much of what you say here, but it probably means very different things to me from what it does to them.

          3. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            Oh gosh NHL what a remarkable interpretation and superior intellect you apparently have.

      2. matthu
        December 22, 2021

        Lockdowns are the result of a reaction (or overreaction) by government.
        There is no evidence that hospitalisation rates of patients infected with Omicron are predominantly inflated by unvaccinated people. That is what the media would LIKE you to believe.

        1. Paul Cuthberson
          December 23, 2021

          Fear is the plan-demic and the media is the virus and unfortunately so many have fallen for the BS pumped out daily by the globalist machine.

      3. Donna
        December 22, 2021

        Yes, all those lardar$e$ who have eaten themselves to metabolic disorder: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancers have a great deal to answer for.

        How reckless and irresponsible they have been ….. ignoring all the dietary advice and the evidence of their tightening clothes, beer bellies and the scales.

  5. DOM
    December 22, 2021

    They are experts in selling their souls for a few shekels and doing the bidding of authoritarian minded western governments who are conspiring to take us down a road that will end in the destruction of democracy and civil society

    We don’t need Nero Johnson’s permission to celebrate and enjoy Xmas. The fact that he knows this and yet still publicly states such a thing is evidence of a man and an international political class to which he belongs that have now embraced a politics in which freedom has become a gift of the State and compliance is demanded.

    We have gone beyond the normal and entered into unknown territory.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 22, 2021

      With the BBC lapping up every word of the possible gifts and restrictions of freedom as though they were written on tablets of stone.

    2. Micky Taking
      December 22, 2021

      Most media justify their opinions adding ‘expert’ which has become as discredited as ‘celebrity’.

      Expert usually just an opinion, and celebrity used for friend of a relative who might have been on the arm of someone you might have heard of.

    3. No Longer Anonymous
      December 22, 2021

      +1

      This is not war time.

      In fact pandemics took place in war time and wars didn’t stop to notice. They are an obscure footnote in history.

      But here we have wartime measures against our freedom.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        No, as far as quite a few wars go, it’s far more serious than that.

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          December 22, 2021

          What WW 1 ?

          What are you talking about ?

          1. Nottingham Lad Himself
            December 22, 2021

            Things like the Falklands.

          2. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            Ridiculous comparison.
            How did the Falklands stop me going to a football match or force me to wear a mask.

        2. No Longer Anonymous
          December 23, 2021

          NLH

          So they would have called back the task force if omicron had appeared then ?

          Don’t be pathetic !

          So why are we taking on wartime debts and restrictions over this ?

    4. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      but they only want ‘experts’ that are selling doom & gloom…and every ‘expert’ has to up-the-ante to promote themselves and to get air-time

    5. a-tracy
      December 22, 2021

      Dom, “We don’t need Nero Johnson’s permission to celebrate and enjoy Xmas.” but we’ll need it to enjoy the week off work and New Year and you can tell they’re going to shut the place down to protect A&E.

  6. Bryan Harris
    December 22, 2021

    Another excellent article on what is going wrong with our democracy, and why our leaders are failing us all too often.

    I’ve said many of the things noted, but in less a penetrating way – Coming from a long term pro-democracy MP of great experience, I hope this sends a shockwave through the o called ‘expert’ community.

    Our leaders rely on and hide behind so called experts, often excluding those with views that do not fit a narrative – We need a better of reaching conclusions in government that totally excludes personal bias.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Ah, “narratives” eh?

      Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to discuss fact or fiction.

      1. matthu
        December 22, 2021

        Did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning?

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 23, 2021

        NLH If you want to discuss facts then look at real omicron data.

        If you want to discuss fiction then look at Sage forecasts.

        You choose to believe the latter to enforce masks and restrictions.

    2. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      If you’re against the government plan or its expert views you’re portrayed as stupid, anti science and unpatriotic …that’s why the opposition are supporting everything the government does – fear

      1. Bryan Harris
        December 22, 2021

        +1 Indeed
        They aren’t known for being smart.

  7. lifelogic
    December 22, 2021

    Any sensible expert (on organising an efficient health care system that produces good outcomes) would never support an appalling system like the communist disaster that is the NHS. A get what you are given (when and if it is given) and like it system – one that kills most innovation and any real competition, fails millions and kills thousands every year. Yet almost all the political parties support it.

    Now it is holding the country to ransom. It has a new CEO (a modern history graduate) who has already shown herself to be either totally innumerate )or perhaps just a liar). I suspect the former.

    1. Nig l
      December 22, 2021

      Any ‘sensible’? You mean that you agree with.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2021

        Of course – if sensible, numerate, honest, independent, understand physic and science, logical, not bought & rational they almost certainly will do.

        1. Nig l
          December 22, 2021

          Obviously lifted straight from a CV. Having read umpteen I guess it was Aesop or Hans Cristian Anderson that helped you write it.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            December 22, 2021

            Nig1. Is it get at LL day today? It’s becoming tiresome.

      2. Lester_Cynic
        December 22, 2021

        Nig l

        Or what you agree with?

        There’s a pattern developing here!

        1. Peter
          December 22, 2021

          Lester_Cynic,

          Yes an entertaining bout and all before 9am too!

          LL having far more ring time than any other contestants and Nigel Benn hitting back with accurate jabs.

          Lennox Lewis has his work cut out in this catch weight contest.

    2. Everhopeful
      December 22, 2021

      +many
      And I the latter, they all are!
      Basically, the extreme left just intend to bring the whole thing down.
      Our lives, jobs, economy…everything.
      And the virtue signalling, what-passes-for-right-wing ….has just let them!

  8. Shirley M
    December 22, 2021

    There lies the problem. Democracy in the UK is being destroyed by the Remainers and others. Too many politicians (and not just in the UK) do not respect democracy and do their best to undermine, or completely ignore it. All political parties are guilty, but surely the biggest and best example was Heath and his deceit upon the public, now revealed in FCO30/1048. How did he get away with it and why did our politicians allow it to happen?

    1. Everhopeful
      December 22, 2021

      +1
      Fear.
      Look what they let him do to dissenters.
      Dissent that would not have sat well with the European project.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        The only mass expulsion by a UK party in recent times has been by the Tories, of anyone who did not share their brexit mania.

        1. a-tracy
          December 22, 2021

          NLH, that is not true, many pro-EU MPs are still in the party – about half of the cabinet if not more were pro-EU. Several that left did so thinking they and their views were more popular than they were i.e. Sandbach, Soubrey.

          The truth is the electorate got rid of Sandbach and Soubrey not the Tories.

        2. matthu
          December 22, 2021

          Still sore about losing?

        3. glen cullen
          December 22, 2021

          Thought the Tories where pro EU with a party leadership of remain

        4. Micky Taking
          December 22, 2021

          the Corbyn Labour purge? Short memory – take a trip to the local ‘Memory Clinic’.

        5. Everhopeful
          December 22, 2021

          Nope.
          I wasn’t talking about Brexit.
          Have another guess.

    2. Nota#
      December 22, 2021

      @Shirley M +1 well said

    3. Mark B
      December 22, 2021

      Shirley

      We have never lived in a true democracy. We live in what our Civil Service call, “A managed democracy.” Managed very discreetly, by them !

      The CS is the unbroken threat of our government. Unfortunately it is an organisation that sees itself equal to ot above that of the nation and its people. No longer there to serve, but to be served.

  9. Everhopeful
    December 22, 2021

    It is very easy to be an expert in anything….
    If you know that you will never be held accountable.

    1. Bryan Harris
      December 22, 2021

      +1

      Yes but we should have to take his commentary at face value – Experts iMVHO have too narrow a consideration with too much personal bias.

      Should there be a special qualification to become an expert (:

      Perhaps not – that would certainly ensure that everyone thought the same.

      1. Everhopeful
        December 22, 2021

        +1

  10. Everhopeful
    December 22, 2021

    Once an “expert” has been proven wrong.
    Then that person is no longer an expert and should be demoted.
    Anybody else would be.

    1. matthu
      December 22, 2021

      Any expert who fails to put a confidence interval around an estimate, or fails to consider all likely outcomes, should like be ignored.

      1. Everhopeful
        December 22, 2021

        +1

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Einstein was “wrong” about quantum physics.

      Read up on the Scientific Method.

      1. Micky Taking
        December 22, 2021

        But what he said and wrote was a THEORY – -NEVER claimed as a SCIENCE.
        Others have tried to state his opinions as a science.
        You should know that being such an expert.

        1. glen cullen
          December 22, 2021

          Is that why they call it ”The theory of relativity” perhaps

        2. Everhopeful
          December 22, 2021

          +1

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        NLH = MiC squared.

        1. Micky Taking
          December 22, 2021

          Origin of the species? Can’t be him, that was Darwin.

    3. a-tracy
      December 22, 2021

      Everhopeful, they always write could, may be, potentially. Then where their wild assertions don’t pan out it is because of ‘other factors they couldn’t possibly have anticipated’.

      1. BOF
        December 22, 2021

        +1. A-TRACY. This is exactly what I said to my wife in 1st lockdown. Generate fear with big numbers but not a single prediction has been close.

      2. Everhopeful
        December 22, 2021

        +1
        Prediction is a dicey business.

  11. Ian Wragg
    December 22, 2021

    The public will rightly scrutinies the expert forecasts especially the net zero nonsense.
    The zealots in government must pay a huge price for their wish to return us to cavemen living whilst the rest of the world laughs.
    People like Carrie Antoinette must be removed from the levers of power, that means Bozo must go.

    1. Mitchel
      December 22, 2021

      I think a quote from an earlier French royal paramour(Madame de Pompadour to Louis XIV) is quite appropriate:

      “There is no need to grieve;you’ll make yourself ill.After us,the deluge.”

      1. hefner
        December 22, 2021

        L14 dies in 1715. This saying is from 1757 to L15.

      2. rose
        December 23, 2021

        Mme de Pompadour belonged to Louis XV. It was “apres nous…”

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Most of the responsible world are not laughing, but appalled, by the dilatory approach of this “government” to the pandemic.

      1. matthu
        December 22, 2021

        Responsible countries? Like Austria, Germany, Belgium …

      2. Micky Taking
        December 22, 2021

        define ‘responsible world’ and that assumes the rest are laughing?

  12. Sea_Warrior
    December 22, 2021

    And told that trade agreements took decades to negotiate.. Australia negotiated its FTA with Uncle Sam in about seven years – and with us in just under two. Nimbleness in trade negotiations should be the hallmark of Whitehall in the years ahead.

    1. Peter Parsons
      December 22, 2021

      That same nimbleness that it was reported yesterday will cost farming, fishing and food processing hundreds of millions of pounds.

      I expect those industries would have preferred the UK government to be a little more cautious and considered in their approach. Being quick is no use if you are careless with others paying the price (which is what will happen).

  13. Sir Joe Soap
    December 22, 2021

    Most of all we need politicians in power with sufficient maturity and wisdom to distinguish the what from the chaff

    1. Micky Taking
      December 22, 2021

      could be a very long wait.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2021

      Alas so few can do so. Energy and business headed up by two deluded history grads who do not know the difference a MWHour from a Joule, carnot efficiency or entropy and even think importing wood (young coal) on diesel ships is sensible. SIMILAR state at the moronic Independent Comittee for climate change.

    3. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      I’d be happy with politicians doing a proper ‘cost benefit analysis’ rather than ‘benefit benefit analysis’

  14. alan jutson
    December 22, 2021

    Who funds the so called experts ?
    Government (in many ways), Universities, Commercial Business, Political Parties, etc.
    That should be the first question.
    Find this out and you go a long way to understanding their arguments.

    1. Everhopeful
      December 22, 2021

      +1
      Exactly!
      And what “interest” do they have in the subject/project in hand?

    2. Sharon
      December 22, 2021

      Alan

      You ask who is funding these so called experts.
      It would seem a lot of the funding of these organisations and thus the experts are being unearthed as grants etc from either China or Gates.

    3. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2021

      Indeed and “group think” at these institutions often takes over too.

    4. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      Correct – and who promoted these ‘experts’ to a position of authority…our own government. SAGE on the same stage as the PM on covid daily briefs, SAGE members allowed to express their own views to the media and on TV, and publically funded university and medical doctors/professors expressing expert views
      There still isn’t a clear message from this government

      1. Paul Cuthberson
        December 23, 2021

        GC – It happens in all walks of life, promote the useless and ineffective as they can be controlled.

    5. oldtimer
      December 22, 2021

      So called experts have a job to do. That is to focus on a specific issue or problem. That also usually means wearing blinkers. The results of their investigation needs to be scrutinised by people not wearing blinkers, who take a wider view and take wider considerations into account before reaching a judgment or decision on what to do. So far as government is concerned one would hope that first Ministers and then Parliament does the due diligence scrutiny and is not rushed or railroaded into decisions. That has not been the case on too many issues which are claimed to be “emergencies” or have been captured by special interest groups.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        I take it that you have never been consulted as an expert on anything?

        1. oldtimer
          December 22, 2021

          I have been on both sides of that fence at one time or another in a business environment and also in providing advice to government ministers from outside government.

          1. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            Whilst NHL sits on his sofa retired on a fat pension.
            Criticising others who still earn a living.

    6. Nota#
      December 22, 2021

      @alan jutson, As Governments only have the money they take from you pocket and being pedantic it is wrong to suggest Governments are funding anything. That’s Government ego speak. Mind you they love personally to take exclusively all the credit when our taxpayer pound produces a result

    7. Donna
      December 22, 2021

      Not only who funds them ….. but what Investments they hold.

  15. Everhopeful
    December 22, 2021

    Project fear was probably trawled out of history.
    The similarities between Defoe’s ( probably fictional) account of The Plague in London and the “expert” response to covid are startling.
    Why would “experts” need to do that?
    We supposed that we lived in a time when infection had been largely contained, although we are now largely denied antibiotics.
    What use are “experts” who seek primitive solutions from the distant past?

    1. Everhopeful
      December 22, 2021

      “Journal of the Plague Year” Daniel Defoe.

      1. Mitchel
        December 22, 2021

        “A feast in the time of plague”. Pushkin

        “And so,O plague,we hail thy reign.”

        (for the select few at the feast,anyway!).

        1. Everhopeful
          December 22, 2021

          +1
          Brilliant! Grange Park Opera looks wonderful.
          I reckon Sage filched a few ideas from Pushkin.
          All that guilt!
          “Now the church deserted stands,
          School is locked and dark,
          Overgrown are all our lands,
          Empty groves are stark.”

          BUT we have not had cholera…nothing like!

      2. Donna
        December 22, 2021

        Thanks for pointing us towards this. I’ve just ordered a copy. 🙂

        1. Everhopeful
          December 22, 2021

          +1
          Great!
          Hope you enjoy it.🌸

    2. Paul Cuthberson
      December 23, 2021

      Everhopeful – look up Event 201.

  16. Nig l
    December 22, 2021

    This makes a lot of sense but so what? If you are saying there is not a robust questioning process in Whitehall, that is unacceptable. However the good thing is that people like you and the information available to us all means that there is greater than ever scrutiny.

    Surely the question is about risk and this never/rarely discussed. Cavalier or Roundhead. Mandarins have chosen the easy certainty of life in the Public Sector eschewing the entrepreneurial life for a safe income.

    With that risk averse life, allied to mainly socialist sympathies why would they opt for anything other than a centralised economy both here and in the left of centre EU?

    Add in politicians of various strengths, mostly not strong enough, in a dammed if they do, damned if they don’t, prey to a gotcha media frenzy plus all the armchair experts and I would suggest the situation is far removed from the simplistic way we discuss it,

  17. turboterrier
    December 22, 2021

    Everyday and in every situation we seem to get a reenactment of the Emperor’s New Clothes children story.
    Politcians in positions where they do not understand the subject matter or area of expertise of their departments let alone the country’s needs being sold ideas from iffy snake oil experts with dodgy computer programmes.
    All sucked in by the Black Dog Syndrome. Others have a black dog, they have got to have a blacker one.
    All common sense and purpose flies out of the window and another batch of project fear seeds starts to germinate.

  18. Donna
    December 22, 2021

    The reason we have had a serious of these Expert Consensual Disasters, with another one underway and the Net Zero one still to come, is because we don’t have a thriving democracy.

    We have an Establishment stitch-up, which is a pretend democracy. The Party System ensures that only candidates approved by the Politburos of the two main parties are selected to “represent” a Constituency. With a few exceptions they represent the Party in the Constituency, not their Constituents in Parliament.

    The FPTP electoral system protects the two Establishment Parties from serious challenge by those who don’t conform to the consensus (apart from Scotland, where it protects the SNP) which means that sub-standard, nodding dog MPs are continually elected/returned to Parliament.

    The Upper Chamber has been stuffed with Party Cronies and Donors, who reinforce the consensus. And the mainstream media, particularly the BBC, do not report the news and are not impartial: they are dogmatic propagandists who suppress alternative views.

    This country is not a democracy in any meaningful way.

    The Covid catastrophe has been caused by the suppression of Expert Opinion which did not conform to the Government’s AMENDED policy of lockdown, when they ditched the Pandemic Plan in favour of the WHO/WEF/Fauci lockdown-and-destroy-the-economy policy.

    1. NotA#
      December 22, 2021

      @Donna. +1. The establishment as they call themselves fights democracy.

      I personally don’t see FPTP as the problem as much as the candidate selection and election financing. In practice party leaders select who stand in constituencies, not the constituents. Funding for election’s is not from those in a constituency but by those who are external wishing to sway the outcome. Those things logically mean the people do not get government by the people for the people – therefore no democracy. Then of course the taxpayer gets to fund the establishment to ensure an imbalance so they are not challenged. It’s the Party system that is against democracy.

      1. formula57
        December 22, 2021

        @ NotA# “..don’t see FPTP as the problem as much as the candidate selection …” – +1

        Although when D. Cameron once tried to let the people choose the party’s candidate Sarah Wollaston was picked, a woman whose democratic credentials ended-up being badly tarnished by her selfish antics.

    2. Paul Cuthberson
      December 23, 2021

      Donna – Fully agree. The UK Establishment have controlled the system for centuries but thankfully not for much longer. At present we are all subjects……..

  19. Dave Andrews
    December 22, 2021

    Perhaps the experts could answer the following questions:

    Of those in the figures for Covid deaths, how many were fit and healthy beforehand rather than already quite sick?
    Of the numbers of patients in hospital with Covid, how many were admitted because of the disease rather than contracted the illness as a hospital infection?

    Their avoidance of these questions makes me suspicious about the motivation for releasing the figures they do.

    1. R.Grange
      December 22, 2021

      Doctors in Italy tackled your first question in spring last year, Dave. They found only 12% of the ‘Covid deaths’ had no serious co-morbidities. This fact did not interest the UK media or health authorities, of course. I believe some information about your second question was quietly released by the NHS some time back, but I don’t have the numbers to hand. From what I recall, I’m sure your suspicion is not unjustified. That is of course why the health authorities don’t want the position to be better known.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        Oh, that’s just then fine eh?

        We’d be well rid of all the diabetics, hypertensives, heart attack survivors and the rest, wouldn’t we?

        1. Peter2
          December 22, 2021

          That isn’t what he said NHL
          Stop making things up eh?

        2. No Longer Anonymous
          December 23, 2021

          NLH Surely focused sheilding and the issue of FFP3 masks to vulnerable groups would have been better.

          And government messaging to lose weight and avoid those conditions in the first place.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        We still no NOTHING of the single omicron death in the UK.

        Why is this a state secret ? Will we be told in 50 years ?

        1. Paul Cuthberson
          December 23, 2021

          NLA- you can answer that question so easily by yourself.

  20. wanderer
    December 22, 2021

    Very well said.

    I might add that it is fundamental that all of us can easily access a broad range of information so that – like you – we can form our own opinions on matters, and not rely solely on the likes of the BBC. In this regard having an open internet is vital. Sadly the censorship and curating which the tech giants practice means we are increasingly only fed the narrative they approve.

  21. Denis Cooper
    December 22, 2021

    There must be a reason why foreign assessments of alternative trade arrangements with the UK generally produce much lower economic impacts for the UK than the assessments produced and promoted by the UK government and most other UK based bodies.

    Just as one example, this was published in June 2017:

    https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-even-worst-case-brexit-will-be-bearable-for-eu/

    and although the purpose of the article was summed up in the headline:

    “Germany: Even worst-case Brexit will be bearable for EU”

    the numbers offered to support that conclusion also supported the conclusion that the UK Treasury was vastly exaggerating the economic consequences of leaving the EU with or without a special trade deal.

    “In the most positive scenario with a comprehensive free trade deal between the EU and the U.K., the study predicts a long-term output loss from a pre-Brexit trajectory of 0.1 percent for the EU and 0.6 percent for the U.K.

    In the scenario where the U.K. and the EU fail to strike a trade deal and fall back on World Trade Organization rules, the study predicts the U.K. economy would lose 1.7 percent of economic output over the long-term …”

    Taking the predicted 1.7 per cent loss for the WTO scenario and adjusting for the predicted 0.6 per cent loss even with a comprehensive free trade deal leads to the conclusion that on the Ifo model agreeing a special trade deal would be worth only 1.1 per cent of GDP to the UK, and is it not shocking that the “passionate Unionist” Boris Johnson should agree to leave Northern Ireland under the economic thumb of the EU as part of the price for securing such a paltry economic benefit, equivalent to less than six months’ natural growth of the UK economy at the long term trend rate?

    1. NotA#
      December 22, 2021

      @Dennis C – the WA was an agreement on what the EU sells to the UK. The main UK trade to the EU has been excluded. Although Barnier did state at the outset there is no deal until until everything is agreed.

    2. acorn
      December 22, 2021

      Brexit was advertised as turning the UK into Singapore-on-Thames. There was no reason that couldn’t have happened in the last four decades. But it didn’t and it won’t post Brexit. Joining the EU was a lifebelt for the UK back in the seventies. Mistakenly, we threw the lifebelt back onto the shores of the EU with the referendum.

      The good news is Northern Ireland (NI) is now the Singapore-on-Bann. The Protocol stasis is allowing NI near unregulated trade with GB and the EU. “Between 2015 and February this year, Northern Ireland’s share of Ireland’s UK imports has increased more than sixfold, while it has almost doubled its share of total Irish exports to the wider UK. Northern Ireland has more than trebled its share of total Irish imports since 2015, from 1.5pc to 5pc, driven largely by food and beverages.” (Independent.ie)

      Lizzy will go in guns blazing at the EU. She may come out in a political coffin, just before the replacement Tory Prime Minister is selected and enthroned for the next election.

      1. Peter2
        December 22, 2021

        Was it acorn?
        Who actually said that?
        Was that a major reason people voted to leave the EU
        I think you are making things up again.

      2. Denis Cooper
        December 23, 2021

        Diversion of trade, acorn, strengthening the UK case for invoking Article 16

      3. Paul Cuthberson
        December 23, 2021

        Acorn – The globalist UK Establishment never wanted and do not want Brexit to proceed. It does not suit them as the people are irrelevant .

  22. Richard II
    December 22, 2021

    Perhaps the way to go would be to have a wwidely-based panel of experts formed of a ‘blue team’ and a ‘red team’, as the military do when doing their planning. One team puts forward one set of proposals, the other team a different set, and they debate the issue under discussion bringing all the relevant facts to bear. The government accepts the proposals of the team that wins the argument. That would surely be better than the one-sided situation we have at the moment, where only a very limited set of data (often questionable) are allowed to influence the decision.

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      Use everyday in business called – ‘cost benefit analysis’

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        Yes. No worst case outcome of lockdown given.

    2. Paul Cuthberson
      December 23, 2021

      Richard II – You take the Blue Pill, the story ends, you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
      You take the Red Pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
      And the rabbit hole goes VERY VERY DEEP.
      Wake up people you have been fooled for so long.

  23. The Prangwizard
    December 22, 2021

    Odd story – many years ago when I was working I was regarded as an ‘expert’ on Landlord and Tenant Act matters, but I said please call or label me a specialist, but not an expert!

  24. Dorothy Johnston
    December 22, 2021

    I am shocked at how quickly elected leaders in Western democracies became dictaters. They are all following the same path. I wonder who is giving them orders. England is lagging behind and I expect in the New Year we will see an escalation to catch up.

    1. Philip P.
      December 22, 2021

      What most people probably didn’t realise, Dorothy, when they elected those politicians is how many of them were from the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders programme. They included Merkel (Germany), Kurz (Austria), Macron (France), Ardern (New Zealand), and Trudeau (Canada). You don’t have to wonder who was giving them orders. The WEF’s Great Reset website sets out the agenda quite openly. This isn’t a conspiracy or anything like that, as we can see. Can’t we?

      1. hefner
        December 22, 2021

        PP, as you say (if it is a conspiracy), it is not particularly secretive
        weforum.org ‘Meet our Young Global Leaders for 2020’.

        truth11.com and survivaldan101.com are (obviously) very well known for their openness regarding who are financing them, aren’t they?

    2. NotA#
      December 22, 2021

      @DT +1

  25. Roy Grainger
    December 22, 2021

    “Today expert epidemiologists need to grasp that their forecasts will be carefully scrutinised and subjected to commonsense checks because of past forecasting errors by government advisers”

    It should not have taken past forecasting errors for this to happen.

    I am an expert in the field of modelling and forecasting actually, a background very similar to one of SAGE’s main advisers. What has been clear to me from the start is that the lack of any scientific background in members of the government and civil service rendered them wholly incapable of challenging SAGE models.

    For the first 18 months of the crisis SAGE only ever offered up model forecasts of scenarios that didn’t happen. They would say “If you don’t lock down now there will be 500,000 deaths” so there was a lockdown and we never knew if they were right. This meant their model could never be validated – it might have been right or wrong. The Government never asked them to produce a parallel forecast of what would happen if there *was* a lockdown so they could compare the predictions against reality.

    As a modeller this is perfect – you can never be shown to be wrong, your model cannot be falsified.

    This also introduces a bias towards pessimism. If my model says “If you don’t lock down there will be 50,000 deaths” and you lock down and there are still 100,000 deaths then it is plain the model was no good and wrong and the modellers would get criticised and even blamed for those “excess” deaths. If instead you substitute 500,000 for 50,000 there’s no way of knowing if the model is right or wrong so no criticism.

    After a while the modellers made the mistake of predicting scenarios that actually happened. The first I recall was related to the Welsh 2-week firebreak, the next was the July unlocking where the government toughed it out and lifted restrictions when SAGE had generated a scary forecast of what would happen (I suppose they expected restrictions to be maintained). In both cases the models were shown to be massively hopelessly pessimistic when compared with reality.

    My point is that this model validation was easy to do and should have been done right from the start.

  26. No Longer Anonymous
    December 22, 2021

    We’ve just had one NHS ‘expert’ terrifying us on BBC this morning. He would have been a comedy Leftist in the 80’s. He looked like Ben Elton.

    I don’t wear a mask. Yet I seem to get looked down upon by morbidly overweight people and those who smoke.

    With or without Covid those are more likely to end up overwhelming the NHS with cardio/respiratory illness.

    Both smoking and obesity put people in the at risk category for Covid – yet people have got fatter during this pandemic and smokers probably smoke more.

    There is no messaging from the Government nor the NHS about stopping smoking nor losing weight during this pandemic to “save the NHS”

    Those two measures both now or during ‘peacetime’ would do more to save the NHS than anything.

    Also “If you’re old and able then do these simple strength and balance exercises to help save the NHS.” Zero cost.

    These simple and costless measures would mitigate the covid crisis by a very large degree. The Left will bang on about Trump or Boris all day long without mention that they both have the fattest nations on earth to manage.

    Instead we’ve gone down the route “I can stay fat, I can carry on smoking, I can stay unfit – the NHS will give me a jab to make everything alright.”

    And so the NHS is throwing us into reverse Darwinism. It is forcing us to sacrifice the well being of the young and the healthy to keep the deliberately unhealthy alive.

    1. Roy Grainger
      December 22, 2021

      Not true interestingly enough. Several studies have shown smokers to be at much lower risk of dying of Covid. Strange but true.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 22, 2021

        I’m not sure where we’re at with those studies TBH.

        My understanding was that there was some evidence that smokers were less likely to catch the virus, but that if they did then they were more likely to be seriously ill.

        It all seems to have gone quiet on the topic ATM.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        Roy Grainger

        It is a near certainty that you are going to end up on treatment or an NHS respirator if you smoke. Have they stopped taking up critical care beds unnecessarily in this crisis ? In any case. If they catch Covid in hospital while dying of cancer they go down as a Covid death so what’s the difference ?

      3. Micky Taking
        December 22, 2021

        Not so strange – smokers often suffer from colds less than those with clearer respiratory function.
        The effect on the throat and lungs of regular smoking may well kill off the particles inhaled.

  27. Bill brown
    December 22, 2021

    Sir JR

    You are absolutely right the experts have been wrong a lot of the time.
    Just like the ERG and their forecast on sugar, honey and big trade agreements after Brexit.
    Look where we are now falling living standards and less purchasing power

    Reply All lies. ERG made no such forecasts. Did say existing trade deals would be rolled over as happened.

    1. Bill brown
      December 22, 2021

      Sir JR

      I will publish a list of the publications and associated publications and we’ll see who’s lying
      Thanks and merry Christmas

      1. Peter2
        December 22, 2021

        Dig up all the remainers Project Fear predictions that didn’t come true whilst you are at it billy.

        1. Bill Smith
          December 22, 2021

          Peter 2

          out on a wild goose chase this was not what the argument was about, so read it up again.

          1. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            Is that you billy under another name?
            Even your new name refuses to answer a simple challenge.

    2. Bill Smith
      December 22, 2021

      Sir Jr,

      Let us just take one example of the ERG forecasts.
      18 September 2018, Jacob Rees-Mogg “The UK economy will be a trillion pounds better off within 15 years without a deal with the EU”
      “Since UK and EU standards are identical and will remain identical as part of the departure, determining equivalence after Brexit could be straightforward”
      Which of course now is utter rubbish.

      There are many other examples, but I was just trying to show nobody here is lying , unless of course it is you? ?

      Reply Both those propositions are plausible. try reading them again.

      1. Bill Smith
        December 22, 2021

        Sir Jr,

        Anything is plausible 15 years out but this is not what this discussion was about,

      2. Bill Smith
        December 22, 2021

        Sir JR,

        This was not about plausibility , this was you saying I was lying which was not the case. End of story

        1. Peter2
          December 23, 2021

          So no proof as you promised (“I will publish a list of the publications and associated publications”) on your claims that the ERG made false forecasts on trade deals, honey and sugar.
          Best to get your facts ready before you make yourself look silly billy
          Perhaps a lesson learned.

          1. Bill brown
            December 24, 2021

            I delivered

          2. Peter2
            December 24, 2021

            So where is the response you promised on trade deals, sugar and honey then bill?
            You have plainly not delivered anything on the three specific items you originally said the ERG had said.
            Run away, run away
            Lol

  28. Original Richard
    December 22, 2021

    The common thread running through the Covid Pandemic and the Climate Emergency is China, its 120,000 “students” at UK universities, coupled with the Marxist Britphobes who inhabit the educational establishment, the BBC and elsewhere and who pretend to be experts with no political motives.

    China’s goal is to destroy our economy through lockdowns and blackouts aided by social division through cancel anti-culture and identity politics.

    This is evidenced by the fact that we never hear from these “experts” any criticism of China, whether it be releasing a virus from either its unhygienic food markets or from a lab or the building hundreds of coal fired power stations whilst we are expected to save the planet by accepting lockdowns and blackouts.

    All done using Project Fear.

    1. Micky Taking
      December 22, 2021

      Thank you for this clarity. I’ve tried to put a balanced view of China which is very difficult given almost everything that we hear and read. Others on here try to sell the idea that China is the example to follow and is a near perfect state. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    2. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      I understand that Australia are getting very concerned by the involvement of China at its universities, in terms of influence, funding, cancel culture and student numbers

      1. Original Richard
        December 22, 2021

        glen cullen :

        And of course the theft of IP, research data, technology and new ideas.

        We shouldn’t allow them anywhere near stem subjects.

  29. Kenneth
    December 22, 2021

    I would say that listening to “experts” is much like consuming news media.

    You need to aggregate content from a wide range in order to get somewhere towards the truth.

    If you only consume BBC you will consume BBC-type experts and will be misinformed. Same for Fox News etc

    imho (I am no expert on this matter)

  30. agricola
    December 22, 2021

    Was devolution the work of experts or the ill informed action of democratically elected politicians. Whatevever, the fault lines are widening when we experience the Sturgeons ambitions and actions at the expense of the English tax payer. Perhaps that is her core policy, hope that we get so fed to the back teeth with her that we happily caste Scotland to perpetual darkness. Then there are the Welsh devolved government who wish to fine people for going to a place of work. How more socialist can you get, penalising people for wishing to work.

    I pray for a political party that will stop this nonesensical Orwellian nightmare.

    1. beresford
      December 22, 2021

      The tabloid press say that the new restrictions announced by Drakeford and Sturgeon are ‘turning the screw’ on Boris. Why would that be? ‘Cases’ and deaths have been very similar across the British Isles despite the regimes in the Celtic countries. And the signs are that Omicron is plateauing. Isn’t the smart course to let the Nats stew in their own juice and alienate their supporters?

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        +1

      2. rose
        December 22, 2021

        However badly the dictatorial devocrats behave, they always get a fantastic press, because to the MSM, they are “one of us”, including the one in London, who is also doing his damnedest to wreck his own economy.

    2. Shirley M
      December 22, 2021

      If Scotland became independent then England would still be throwing money at them, to try and prevent the SNP inviting other more hostile countries/benefactors onto our island. Scotland would become even more powerful blackmailers than they are already!

    3. rose
      December 22, 2021

      Blair’s Balkanisation of Britain was an EU policy to make it easier to rule us.

      1. Mitchel
        December 23, 2021

        Balkanisation is a globalist policy across the,er,globe!They tried and succeeded in Yugoslavia,failed in Russia (Chechnya,etc)and are failing in Syria,China(Xinjiang,HK,) and Ethiopia(Tigray).

  31. Nota#
    December 22, 2021

    Good morning Sir John

    Yes Experts, generally what are they and how do you become one. Science is only science when it is ‘peer’ reviewed. So one reading a scientific review that’s out for its ‘peer’ review and then having an opinion on it is not an expert.

    Someone having an opinion doesn’t make them and expert – just look at the variety of opinions you get to posted here. Nothing wrong with any of them, its a good way to reflect on the opinions of others. Get passed the ‘trolls’ and its good to see things from the point of view of others – then assess the probable fact from fiction while retaining an open mind.

    What is wrong is the MsM not being balanced, if they were honest and for the most part they are not (they are selling advertising space first) for every opinion of one expert they should also then report on someone’s opposing view. We used to call it balance.

    You mention the BBC like most media outlets they receive a PR release report it verbatim and is seen as fact. There appears to be no such thing as an investigative journalism nowadays, so-called looking for the truth. All we have is writers, readers and presenters that follow the gospel of the press release.

    The Government is at fault for nurturing this what after all is deception when the repeatedly wanting to suggest science and evidence created by opinion is behind their personal decision that affect the country.

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      December 22, 2021

      The BBC is a commercial organisation. It practices reverse advertising.

      It will get, say, Daniel Craig, Bruce Springsteen or Kate Winslet to ‘advertise’ their wares on Graham Norton and draw in an audience and indoctrinate them.

      Advertising and promotion of all the favoured BBC approved faces goes on all the time. Then there’s the (choice of contributors? Ed)that is rife in the organisation.

      It should lose it’s licence fee.

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        its

  32. glen cullen
    December 22, 2021

    Almost 2 years of isolation, circuit breakersl, lockdowns and restrictions ….has it achieved anything ?, its madness to continue on the same track, its time to open the doors to a new approach and allow natural herd immunity to develop

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      So why a lockdown with further restrictions when your goal is to give everyone covid antibodies

    2. NotA#
      December 22, 2021

      @GC. Control and manuipulation comes to mind – the anti democracy mindset

  33. Everhopeful
    December 22, 2021

    The twists and tortuous turns of this Project Fear.
    The ridiculous claims and contradictions.
    Which change by the second.
    The longer this pantomime continues the less likely it is to be anything to do with a disease.

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      Spot On Everhopeful….eloquently put, this pantomime has to end

      1. Everhopeful
        December 22, 2021

        +1

    2. Paul Cuthberson
      December 23, 2021

      Everhopeful – it was never anything to do with disease.

  34. miami.mode
    December 22, 2021

    Whenever a so-called expert appears on BBC the interview invariably ends with “thank you for your time” (and for telling us what we wanted to hear).

    On groupthink it must be realised that all too often the employment of the individual depends upon toeing a certain line – bit like a three line whip really.

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2021

      And due to the science on climate change and covid being ‘’settled’’ they don’t have to provide balance

  35. alastair harris
    December 22, 2021

    one of the problems “experts” face is in making predictions. A good example of this is weather forecasting. It is easy to understand why. Weather is a complex system and the models that predict it are unable to deal with future variability. So the further into the future the prediction, the less reliable it is. Even though the experts know a lot about weather.
    Statisticians understand this well, and a properly constituted prediction will offer a range of possible outcomes, along with a commentary on the probabilities. Unfortunately many experts are not that well versed in statistical methods, even if they are better at it than those reading forecasts.
    Another problem experts face is in how their audience interpret their statements. Politicians for example tend to deal in absolutes, and opinion polls! Some particularly “clever” politicians think the way around this is to get the experts to talk to the people!
    The final issue I think worth understanding is domain knowledge. Experts know what they know, and sometimes what they don’t know, but everyone else usually doesn’t. Just taking viral infection as an example, the mechanisms by which viruses propagate are not well known. If you consider the use of face coverings as an example, the arguments usually offered in favour boil down to “it stands to reason” or “they are used in some countries and it seems to work”. But the fact is if you study the various papers on this it becomes very clear that they scientific evidence is not so compelling. The original advice back when we had the “3 week” lockdown reflected this, and for many the u-turn was no more than a politician wanting to be seen to be doing something.

  36. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2021

    Indeed and “group think” at these institutions often takes over too.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      “Groupthink”, says member of mutually-reassured, isolationist, pro-brexit group.

      1. agricola
        December 22, 2021

        It is not isolationist to seek unfettered trade with the rest of the World when leaving a protectionist over regulated and fast failing EU.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        I didn’t think I was in any kind of group until the referendum result came in. I thought everyone was pro EU… at least from the gobby people around me. No Leaver stood out and it seems that the pollsters were seeing this too.

  37. Fedupsoutherner
    December 22, 2021

    Unfortunately any REAL and sensible experts tend to be shut down by the BBC. GB News is having some very informative guests on lately including someone (sorry can’t remember his name) who was talking about the lack of gas storage in the UK and what a mess governments have made of energy security. When I see Whitty and co I tend to go deaf.

  38. glen cullen
    December 22, 2021

    Why is this government, its experts and the news media so fixated by the infection/test case rates and NOT the hospitalisation or death rates

    1. BOF
      December 22, 2021

      g c. Not enough fear factor I guess.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Because hospitalisation typically occurs up to three weeks after infection, which is spreading very rapidly.

      1. glen cullen
        December 22, 2021

        Thats what the media report…please provide govt source

      2. glen cullen
        December 22, 2021

        90,629 infection/ test positive cases yesterday – does your theory suggest that in 3 weeks we’ll have 90,629 new patients in hospital

        1. Nottingham Lad Himself
          December 22, 2021

          No, I was making no prediction.

          Latest information from Cambridge however is that omicron is perhaps only one third as virulent as other variants, and those would only have put a minority in hospital anyway.

          We’ll find out, won’t we?.

          1. glen cullen
            December 22, 2021

            So its alarmist to only highlight the infection/ positive test cases

          2. Peter2
            December 22, 2021

            You make predictions every day NHL
            Until you are challenged, then you immediately say “I was making no prediction”

          3. Nottingham Lad Himself
            December 23, 2021

            If the readership are incapable of the simplest reasoning then perhaps it is.

            I hadn’t thought of that.

            You don’t like to be patronised though, do you?

          4. Peter2
            December 23, 2021

            I dislike when people like you regularly make a claim, then when challenged suddenly say that’s not what I said.
            When the words are recorded just above.

        2. Paul Cuthberson
          December 23, 2021

          GC- or prescribing Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine?

      3. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        NLH You will be proven wrong. We are overreacting and this will become a seasonal event nevertheless.

        1. Nottingham Lad Himself
          December 23, 2021

          Proven wrong in what claim, exactly?

      4. Hat man
        December 22, 2021

        Looks like you’re wrong again, lad. According to this public health study of Covid, ‘75% of the hospitalizations occur within 8 days after symptom onset’.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589278/
        Up to three weeks isn’t typical. You’re probably getting confused with time up to decease.
        In any case, ‘Covid hospitalisations’ across the country remained flat three weeks after the Omicron variant produced the first ‘cases’, and below the level of six weeks go. Omicron is evidently super-mild, just as the doctor who discovered it said it was.

        1. No Longer Anonymous
          December 22, 2021

          +1

      5. Wonky Moral Compass
        December 22, 2021

        Why don’t you plot it against testing and get back to us?

    3. Everhopeful
      December 22, 2021

      +1
      Testdemic.
      How would they have destroyed the economy, shut down the country without the PCR test?
      What is a disease if you don’t know you are ill?

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        It is quite clear that many people are testing themselves like buggery to get time off before Christmas.

        Can they not see the incentives here ?

  39. BOF
    December 22, 2021

    Yet another hard hitting diary entry today Sir John and I am in full agreement. The question is, how to get leadership that leads, not leadership that will put an ‘espert’ forward to push an agenda, and then hide behind them because the leadership has absolutely no idea.

    How do we get independent experts to give their opinions? Experts without vested interests, as has been noted, in pharmaceutical companies? Whenever true independents give an opinion, every effort is made to trash their reputations while not a word of support comes from our elected MP’s, except very rarely.

  40. glen cullen
    December 22, 2021

    BBC reporting – Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his government will defy a European Union ruling and stick by its controversial immigration laws, that prevents people from applying for asylum if they arrived from a country where their life was not at risk

    1. The Prangwizard
      December 22, 2021

      If only we had a man with courage like that here.

      Dangerousky we have an appeaser of the EU and globalist demands.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      The European Union has no remit over such laws.

      They are national sovereign matters.

      However, member countries must adhere to ECHR and general UN undertakings, and if Hungary chooses to depart from those then it must leave the European Union.

      There does exist serious dispute over other matters, such as independence of the judiciary and free media.

      1. Peter2
        December 22, 2021

        Yet treaty obligations bond these nations to follow EU policy.
        Did you not know NHL?

        1. Bill Smith
          December 23, 2021

          Peter 2

          When you discuss stick to the subjects presented , instead of presenting non valid and irrelevant arguments. Thank you very much

          1. Peter2
            December 23, 2021

            bill
            Your childish trolling is unwelcome.
            My argument is a valid contradiction to what NHL claimed.
            And I note the point is not addressed by you.

      2. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 23, 2021

        If Hungary does not want to do what it solemnly promised to do in the Lisbon Treaty then it should sling it and join pariah nations on that basis like Tory UK.

        The world is changing, in some places, like Chile, far for the better.

        1. Mitchel
          December 23, 2021

          The US empire in Latin America is rapidly collapsing.Failed in Cuba;failed in Venezuela;failed in Nicaragua;failed in Bolivia;Failed in Honduras;governments that are not what the US would wish for in Mexico and Argentina,etc

          Interestingly,Nicaragua has just announced it will no longer recognise Taiwan as “China “,moving to the PRC’s One China position.The new Honduran govt has said it will do likewise.And Brazil’s Bolsonaro has just ostentatiously announced that he intends to visit Moscow early in 2022 to boost trade ties.

        2. Peter2
          December 23, 2021

          What a lovely friendly EU community spirit you display NHL
          In effect it’s a “do as you are told of clear off”

          Unless the EU central command starts to listen instead of ordering the member nations the future is bleak.

          1. Bill brown
            December 24, 2021

            Peter 2

            Considering you don’t even know what the council in the EU decides that one is a bit steep

          2. Peter2
            December 24, 2021

            A cheap shot of no real worth Bill.

            So do you agree or not?

            Does the EU need to kick out member nations like Hungary as NHL would like to happen, or do you think the EU leaders should listen more to its members and try to keep everyone together?

            Looking forward to your reply, seeing as you rate yourself as an EU expert.

  41. X-Tory
    December 22, 2021

    What I find most amazing is that, having successfully pulled together a vote-winning coalition of patriotic voters, Boris Johnson was too stupid to simply give them what they wanted and thus keep them on board. He didn’t need to try to win over the irreconcilable left-wing traitors – they will never vote Conservative. No, all he had to do was deliver a full Brexit, stop illegal immigrant invaders, cut taxes, and roll back the oppression of the politically-correct establishment. But instead he did NONE of those things. He betrayed Britain and the British people, and of course now his support among Leave voters has collapsed by some 20 percentage points.

    I suppose we will never know why he committed political suicide in this way. Incredible stupidity? Or arrogance, believing that he didn’t have to give his supporters anything and they would still vote for him? Or was he nobbled by Carrie, or the Civil Service, or someone else? Whatever the cause, he has now been exposed for the complete fraud and traitor that he is and he must go. Or the Conservatives themselves will be crushed at the next election. No change, no chance, to coin a phrase …

    1. Donna
      December 22, 2021

      Correct. I look forward to the book “How Johnson threw away an 80-seat majority in less than 2 years.

    2. DOM
      December 22, 2021

      He’s securing his future career beyond politics. Boris Johnson cares only about Boris Johnson. Al else is of zero significance including the UK, freedom, democracy and anything else that walks, crawls and breathes. That he is still the PM is an indictment of those who prop him up at party level

      Labour’s Socialist client State is taking control of all and everything and the Tory party and some Tory MPs are part of that agenda

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        December 22, 2021

        Unilateral Net Zero being the biggest betrayal.

  42. forthurst
    December 22, 2021

    Do we have the some of the worst educated politicians in the Western world? It is all very well blaming experts for when things go wrong but if we examine the response of the government to Covid, we find waste and failure on a gargantuan scale which could hardly be put to the door of experts.
    Test and Trace run by a Politics graduate appointed by the government with no medical or epidemiological knowledge costing £37 billion and achieving nothing. Nightingale hospitals
    set up at great expense but without any staff in central locations requiring the potential transportation of sick people, but not too sick, long distances for isolation. Now the government believes that the future is six monthly jabs of ‘vaccines’ whose long term safety data does not exist, vaccines whose efficacy or lack of it can be masked by the appearance of new variants.

    Politicians will continue to waste our money not just on health but also on other scientific issues because they can be easily sold a pup by people whose interests are primarily financial rather than humanitarian. Is there a scientific consensus behind the use of our farmland for capturing CO2 and our seas for capturing intermittent wind energy when more scientifically based regimes are doing the opposite? The performance of the government wreaks of a lack of scientific understanding and the inability to apply the scientific method.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      Not “politicians”.

      “Tories”.

    2. rose
      December 22, 2021

      There is also the expense of having to throw money at the dictatorial devocracies when they crash their local economies. Or, indeed, when the CMO, unbidden, crashes the hospitality economy throughout the Kingdom.

  43. Nota#
    December 22, 2021

    On reading other comments here, it would appear there is a strong case to suggest all ‘Experts’ should declare their full income sources and vested interests. We should also know whom and what cause they are promoting.

    Mind you, I also think that those in the MsM when they talk of the income of others should also be transparent about their own income stream.

    You clearly can have an opinion, but is it ‘just’ an opinion when its result is it enhances your personal wealth. Or is that ‘income’ promotion

    1. Micky Taking
      December 22, 2021

      That would be very embarrassing for the current experts wheeled out by the government.

      1. Paul Cuthberson
        December 23, 2021

        MT – and MPs.

  44. Everhopeful
    December 22, 2021

    Here’s a really good Project Fear.
    This government is now offering the homeless accommodation in return for having the jab.
    Why not offer them a home anyway?
    Beyond disgraceful.

    And why can’t we have the Valneva jab?

    1. Micky Taking
      December 22, 2021

      Javid cancelled the 100m units order.

      1. Paul Cuthberson
        December 23, 2021

        MT- have you checked Midazolam?

        1. Micky Taking
          December 23, 2021

          no – should I?
          Have you?

  45. glen cullen
    December 22, 2021

    If the covid scientific expert advise was accurate wouldn’t the restrictions in Wales, NI, Scotland & England all be the same

    1. Andy
      December 22, 2021

      Yes. But Scotland, Wales and NI are not run by the fact denying Brexitist little Englanders.

      1. Mark
        December 22, 2021

        Plenty of fact denying in Scotland and Wales that I am aware of. Probably a fair bit in Northern Ireland too. That’s why they have issued unnecessary measures that will do more damage than they prevent..

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        December 23, 2021

        Andy

        Antivaxxer Remain London being the epicenter of the UK omicron outbreak with an infection tate 3x rUK.

      3. Peter2
        December 23, 2021

        What on Eargh has Brexit got to do with the various UK nation’s decisions on Covid restrictions Andy?

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 22, 2021

      The respective behaviour of different peoples can be taken into account, and that depends on the trust that they have in their governments and so on.

      For instance, the Swedes in general could be trusted to behave more civically than could certain others, and therefore not require compulsion to control infection spread.

      That said, they still did markedly worse than comparable nations which did impose more stringent compulsory measures.

      1. Peter2
        December 22, 2021

        You are comparing apples and pears.
        Different population densities
        Different average ages
        Different obesity levels
        Different statistic definitions on with or from Covid.

      2. Micky Taking
        December 22, 2021

        and although it could be argued NZ accepts government authority well, the country is possibly one of the worst in the world whose people use ‘designer drugs’.

      3. rose
        December 22, 2021

        The Swedes did not lose a lot of people to flu the previous winter to the first wave, which the Danes and Germans did. We didn’t either, nor did Southern Europe. Losing a lot of people to flu beforehand, meant there were fewer frail old people to die of the Wuhan virus.

        1. rose
          December 22, 2021

          Tiny little Norway has tiny little nursing homes compared to Sweden and that helped too.

      4. No Longer Anonymous
        December 23, 2021

        Sure.

        London leading on bad behavior.

        Why ?

        Pro EU ???

        1. Micky Taking
          December 23, 2021

          no its the ‘me me me’ culture. Oh..and a fair helping of ignorance.

  46. agricola
    December 22, 2021

    For the moment infection rates are the more dramatic in terms of numbers and the media likes big numbers. However if you believe ICU consultants the majority of their patients are the unvaccinated. Some for very valid medical reasons, the majority in response to fantasy opinions on the internet and fellow anti vaxers. These refusniks in ICU should be made to realise that they are taking up places and medical attention from people with other life threatening conditions they have not necessarily acquired through any selfish self infliction. They are the ones with self inflicted shots through their feet. They put medical staff through unacceptable moral pressure, and the NHS through pressure of numbers to be treated.

    1. hefner
      December 22, 2021

      @agricola, +1

    2. Mark
      December 22, 2021

      Even in omicron central – London – “with covid” ICU numbers have been falling for the past few days and are now below 200 compared with the peak last January of over 1,200. We know from South Africa that omicron results in very few patients going to ICU – and those that do are almost certainly suffering from other dangerous conditions which would put them there anyway.

  47. outsider
    December 22, 2021

    Dear Sir John,
    Harold Macmillan was perhaps not one of your heroes but I guess you agree with his oft-quoted dictum : “We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down before the divine right of experts.”
    Personally, I rather hope that we shall be plunged into another near-lockdown after Christmas, only for it to be proved entirely unnecessary by the end of January. After that, no-one will dare to repeat the exercise because hardly anyone would obey it. Happy Christmas and thank you for keeping us sane.

  48. glen cullen
    December 22, 2021

    In our entire history we have never recorded the number of people with seasonal flu, we’ve just recorded the hospitalisation and death rates of people with flu….why is covid being treated differently, is it all part of project fear

  49. ukretired123
    December 22, 2021

    1950s “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff (journalist and keen life -long observer of the use and abuse of statistics by unscrupulous folk) became a must-have essential reading at university level in the 1960s and thereafter. Others have followed but it was a trailblazer.
    In a similar vein “Straight and crooked thinking” added to this growth industry plus ” Plausible denial ” Richard Nixon concepts, wartime propaganda and diversion aka modern Spin on steroids by New Labour.
    So it will continue mixing facts with fiction as it can be bent to whatever you want until you are found out.

  50. john waugh
    December 22, 2021

    “Galileo is back in the dock” – Ben Elton . -raging against the dying of the enlightenment .
    Thank you SJR for your efforts to shine a light on the issues and explain what is happening .
    Also thanks to IDS for his recent – “Where is the modelling for the societal consequences of lockdown ?
    Well it is uplifting to see that people have taken the trouble to look into issues ,think about it and try to find a way forward.

    Quotes from DT today and earlier.

  51. Mark
    December 22, 2021

    The energy crisis is now getting quite desperate. Prices for electricity are fast becoming unaffordable. UK baseload power has been trading at over £500/MWh in the first quarter, which would imply a retail price of over 60p/kWh. In France, prices have soared above €1,000/MWh. To add to the nuclear closures (many unforced by plant age) already looming we now have the Dutch government deciding that its coal fired power stations should only operate at a maximum of 35% of capacity with effect from 1st January – a self-inflicted injury that will hurt all of us. The BritNed interconnector is linked directly to the coal fired MPP3 power plant adjacent to the HVDC converter station on Maasvlakte – part of Rotterdam harbour. Availability of power from this source, and also from Belgium (which will be affected by the Dutch restrictions as well) on the NEMO link will become scarcer and more expensive. Energy intensive industries are shutting down all over Europe, and threatening to close permanently, which will once again severely disrupt supply chains in the New Year. We are also threatened with electricity rationing and power cuts.

    On top of this, gas markets have also been surging because low wind has meant a big upsurge in gas generation across Europe, depleting gas in storage at an alarming rate for so early in the winter. This has been added to by supply being cut on the Yamal pipeline across Belarus and Poland, losing some 400GWh/day. NBP gas prices reached 470p/therm yesterday, jumping above the previous high set by covering of margined out short positions some weeks ago around the 400p/therm level.

    There appears to be no sign of politicians and governments anywhere in Europe, including the UK even beginning to work out what to do. They need to tear up their plans – halt unnecessary nuclear and coal closures. Suspend carbon taxes. Burn maximum coal. Reduce subsidy payments to green generators (Renewables Obligations in the UK are an unwarranted bonus on top of sky high market prices). Stop playing with people’s lives and work out a deal with Russia for prompt supply via Nordstream 2 with an agreement over Ukraine. Learn the lesson that energy insecurity weakens your hand in international power politics. Push development of domestic energy sources, and fund development of supplies of fossil fuels in friendly countries.

    Failure to address this very soon will produce enormous energy poverty and wreak huge amounts of economic damage. Social unrest and toppled governments will soon follow. This has the potential to be far worse than anything thrown at us by the virus.

    1. Mitchel
      December 23, 2021

      If you think European energy supply is insecure now,wait till Russia builds the Power of Siberia II pipeline which will take gas from the fields currently supplying Europe to China and beyond.

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    December 23, 2021

    The real problem is that the PM seems to be to some extent in the grip of wrong ideas. The resignation of Lord Frost was significant. It won’t have escaped your notice that the Reform Party is picking up some votes in by-elections, as much as 6% when Richard Tice was their candidate. Liberal Democrat surges come and go (remember Eric Lubbock in 1962?) but this vote for Reform might be more durable.

  53. Andrew Hammond
    December 24, 2021

    The issue of expertise, its level of pertinence, the extent to which it is diluted by small changes in the problems being addressed, by the boundaries of that expertise, is one which I think could be very usefully expanded.

    You may have already written on this subject, but I would be interested to see you expand this piece significantly.

    History is replete with experts who end up looking hopeless, but the reasons for that are, I believe, critical to understanding the way in which all information is delivered with a supposed value, or otherwise.

    We do not inhabit a world where expertise is graduated. A person is presented as ‘an expert’, not ‘a person with some expertise’, ‘a person with very pertinent experience’, ‘an individual with a passing acquaintance regarding an aspect of the matter’, ‘someone who has been wrong with impressive consistency but would like another crack at convincing you’

    The admitted failure of SPI-M to factor agency care workers offers us a clear and unarguable case of unexpected boundary limitations. As Dr Ian Hall, of SPI-M admits


    “The failure of those models, I guess, was that we didn’t know how connected the social care settings were with the community,” he says.

    “As modellers we didn’t know – I’m sure there are lots of academics and policy-makers out there, that could have told us this, if we’d asked them.”

    If we simply assert ‘what a stupid error’ then we discard an opportunity to examine not only ‘Why did these people not know ?’ but, and I sense I am borrowing from Yes Minister, “How can we know what you don’t know”

    I feel you may have encountered many examples of expertise being contentious, limited, so uncertain as to be of negligible value, and this would be an interesting topic to expand.

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