Friday, April 10, 2020

91% of the British public say the lockdown should be extended, according to YouGov poll

One of the really odd things about the last couple of days is that the daily death toll in the UK is now roughly the same as it was in Italy at the peak (both in absolute terms and per capita terms), and yet the media have been downplaying that and trying to move the narrative on to "can we all get back to normal now?"  Which is, obviously, a bit nuts.  Ending the lockdown in the near future would be the rough equivalent of telling everyone to come out of their bomb shelters at the exact moment the bombs are dropping.  Things are worse in the UK right now than just about anywhere else in the world (with one or two obvious exceptions like New York) and the real question journalists should be asking is what more the government plan to do to suppress transmission and protect the public.  A cynic might wonder if the media's bizarre narrative is driven largely by self-interest - after all, sales of print editions of newspapers are thought to have plummeted to record lows due to the lockdown.

The good news, though, is that the public haven't been hoodwinked - or not yet, anyway.  A new YouGov poll finds voters are practically unanimous in their support for extending the lockdown - a total of 91% approve of the idea, and 69% "strongly" support it.  A mere 5% are opposed.  I'm struggling to think of any other subject on which you'd get such a lopsided result.

Professor Anthony Costello, a former director of the WHO and one of the voices of sanity on Twitter, has suggested that the government's scientific advisers are split between "hardliners" who still hanker after the crazy and immoral herd immunity policy that Matt Hancock pretends was never the policy, and "moderates" who understand that a full-on suppression strategy is absolutely essential for preventing a biblical death toll and the total collapse of the NHS.  That would explain why we periodically see articles suggesting that herd immunity is still the covert strategy - that may at least be half-true.  The hope must be that the inevitable extension of the lockdown will buy the moderates more time to win the argument.  The promised boost in testing capacity (if it actually materialises) should help to make the case that the mass testing and contact tracing recommended by the WHO is actually feasible and can help to keep the number of new cases persistently low even without a full lockdown, as has already been demonstrated in both South Korea and China.  There's simply no need to destroy the economy by letting the virus spread freely - and destroying the economy would be precisely the effect, because NHS collapse would inevitably lead to a much longer and harsher lockdown further down the track.

The Scottish government may have a crucial role to play in this, because it's been suggested that Boris Johnson is extremely keen to maintain a UK-wide united front - which if true gives Nicola Sturgeon some leverage in private discussions.  With a bit of luck she's learned from the mistake of remaining in lockstep with London a few weeks ago when Whitty and Vallance were openly talking about herd immunity.  This time she must make abundantly clear that she won't sign off on a lifting of the lockdown in Scotland until a credible alternative strategy for suppressing transmission of the virus is in place - one that at the very least ensures that the average number of people infected by 1 person is below 1, thus keeping the epidemic in retreat indefinitely.


  1. Oh dear! How dare the public refuse to swallow the Brit Nasty Press and Media BS and Brit Tory propaganda narrative.

    To quote you James.

    "A cynic might wonder if the media's bizarre narrative is driven largely by self-interest - after all, sales of print editions of newspapers are thought to have plummeted to record lows due to the lockdown."

    I am a cynic. A plague on all their houses.

  2. Covid is dreadful and communities must do all that can be done to protect themselves.

    It's been fascinating to watch the the less restrained advocates of market forces at 'work' in this context.

    Only the interests of the 1% really matter. All others exist only as producers/consumers for the generation of profit or are surplus population and just a drag on profit taking.

    The task is to make people want to produce and consume in times when they have to directly risk their lives to do it.

    Strategy is to create false consciousness i.e. get people to want things that are not in their own best interests but which serve the needs of the profit takers. Method, get your propaganda hacks in the press to generate anxiety about an early return to 'normal'. Add the idea that it is 'well hard' to not lockdown - those that do are wimps, wets, blah blah blah.

    Result, profits protected and casualties resulting are concentrated among the readily expendable.

    'Simples'. It really is as simple as that. To hell with them. Learn the lesson and build for a reckoning with the Johnsons, Trumps and their minions advocating "herd immunity".

    Stick with it James !

  3. Some promising signs that the curve in the daily new cases is starting to flatten out

    1. We should hopefully see the same in the death rate within a week.

  4. ''With a bit of luck she's (Nicola Sturgeon) learned from the mistake of remaining in lockstep with London a few weeks ago when Whitty and Vallance were openly talking about herd immunity.''

    Nicola Sturgeon led the way and in fact probably forced Boris Johnson to change tack. She limited numbers in relation to gatherings, closed schools and ensured that the construction industry came to a halt other than work being carried out on essential projects, such as hospital construction. Please give credit where it's due especially as her actions have probably saved many Scottish lives. I also doubt that she or Mark Drakeford will consider, for one minute, lifting the lockdown restrictions prematurely.

    1. Scotland fully locked down around 9 days earlier than the UK.

      This is very evident in the infection rate data.

    2. This is typical of the Nicola can do no wrong brigade and utter drivel.

      She stopped large gatherings did she? So, how come there was a concert with an audience of 11,000 people in Aberdeen?

      How come she didn't seem to know the police and local authorities have always been able to close hospitality premises on public health grounds?

      She closed schools only once it was clear they were about to collapse under the weight of staff absence and only once she knew the UK government was going to do it too.

      Building continues on the new HMRC building in Edinburgh to this day, to name but one site.

      If Nicola is leading this then she is responsible for what is an utter disaster across the UK. The best case scenario is that she has been found completely wanting in terms of political will and courage in maximising the use of her powers and resources to protect Scotland from Westminster complacency, evil, incompetence - call it what you will.

      There are more than enough trained personnel across Scotland to be doing full contact testing and tracing and the estimated cost of this comes in at £1.5bn. That is about 3% of the Scottish Government annual budget. Environmental Health officers the length and breadth of Scotland are scratching their heads wondering why they are not doing full time testing and tracing in their communities. This is the very reason such people are employed in the first place.

      Road checks to prevent unnecessary travel across the border and into more northerly cold spots could have and SHOULD STILL be set up.

      No screening / segregation at airports to prevent the spread of transmission from known infection centres such as London and Italy.

      Don't give me 'doesn't have the powers'. Doesn't have the political courage, imagination or will more like.

      None of the above needs any transfer of power, it just requires the courage to do something different from the utterly flawed response of the UK Government.

      It is a slam dunk fail and all the slick press conferences and media appearances in the world don't change the reality of this for a single person.

    3. Erm, Scotland locked down fully 9 day ahead of the rUK.

      As a result, Scotland has an order of magnitude less deaths for the same point in the timeline. The first 10 deaths (representing say 1000 infections 3+ weeks before) had become 447 in Scotland yesterday, but had ballooned to 1789 by the same point in the rUK. This can only be attributed to a much earlier lockdown; something Holyrood did as soon as it started to have the powers to do so.

    4. Scotland's obviously not South Korea (who have learned the hard way how to deal with such things, so are impressively geared up), but it's way ahead of the UK curve. Impressively so given it is just a devolved administration with very limited powers. Even testing at up to 50% greater levels.

      9 days earlier is huge in terms of limiting virus spread, given the exponential nature of this.

    5. quick note the lockdown in Scotland started on the 16th March, although it was announced before that (so five days before rUK) as has been mentioned above on the 15th March thousands were going to a concert.

      But as you say a welcome intervention.

    6. Just for clarity / so there's no confusion.... I personally am talking about position on the infection curve in my posts, rather than a specific calendar date. This is the only way to compare different nations in terms of seeing the effects of different approaches etc on infection rate.

      Scotland locked down at 14 deaths, which is the result of say 1400 infections 3+ weeks earlier (assuming a 1% fatality rate). By contrast, the UK locked down at 335 deaths, which would be 33.5k infections 3 weeks+ before. Scotland didn't reach 335 deaths for another 9 days.

      If Scotland had followed the UK and not locked down until our initial 10 deaths had ballooned to over 300, we'd have still been at work possibly up until Wed 8th.

    7. re, anonymous at 10.18am

      I should iamgine the new HMRC building in Edinburgh is a UK EngGov matter, far as I know the ScotGov are not responsible for that construction. It's being built to house the 2000 English civil servants being transferred to Scotland who will follow orders of the London government. Hopefully they will stay away for now though we have enough trouble with people driving INTO Scotland and spreading the Covid19 virus as it is.

      Also, yes things should have been acted on earlier in Scotland but when the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attempted to take matters into her own hands, all hell let loose and the Britnat government in England basically told her to shut up and do as and when told! The media piled in on top of that bullying episode of course!

      It also seems that at times N. Sturgeon has lost her nerve,
      lost some confidence even when talking about independence before all of this. I wonder if someone has had a quiet word in her ear, or more(!) and made some threats about Scotland's parliament, and how that can be removed at whim by the English government in fact! A coup.

      Hands tied behind our backs, Scotland is not autonomous and has few powers to enact anything important, look at the WMD's held at Coulport and Trident parked a few miles from our largest city, not to mention the restarting of the delapidated Hunterston nuclear power plant. All at the hands of the English government, imposed on Scotland, like it or not.

      Suck it up Scotland or it could get nasty for you!

      Nicola Sturgeon is doing an amazing job really, and possibly dealing with some dodgy plants in the party, and I don't mean Aspadistras, though they do make good listening devices I hear!

      So we could slag off the FM to the hilt, and help reduce her confidence, ( it's been chipped away at already) or we could support her in what is now a crucial time for Scotland in dealing with a dangerous government who certainly do not have Scotland's best interests at heart, quite the opposite in fact!

  5. Seems it was right to have suspicion of herd immunity still being touted

    1. As of yesterday, it's projected that around 9% of Scots have been infected. If you go to the supermarket, chances are you will walk past someone with it. However, unless they are coughing and sneezing, and you go give them a big hug, keeping your distance means you shouldn't catch it.

    2. If 9 percent of Scots really are infected then it is truly shocking the epidemic was allowed to get so out of control here, assuming a death rate of around 0.5 percent would suggest we will see over 2000 deaths over coming week, shocking we compare it to what's happening in Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, Germany etc.

    3. It does highlight the need for Scotland to be independent yes.

      However, Scotland has a notably lower infection rate than e.g. Germany and many other EU countries due to the earlier lockdown.

    4. I think you're wrong there. The only big study that's going on at the moment in Europe is a German study in the area of Heinsberg.

      Heinsberg was the coronavirus epicentre in Germany and had the highest rates of the confirmed cases in the country. The study's still ongoing, but the first findings are that 15 per cent of the population has had coronavirus (and is now supposedly immune - this is however questionable). This figure's higher than what researchers expected it to be. Mortality rate in Heinsberg was 0.37 (this is lower than what they expected it to be).
      There's absolutely no way that at the moment 9 per cent of Scottish population is positive. That would suggest ludicrously high figure for London or West Midlands then which are the epicentres in GB.

    5. For what it's worth, Professor Neil Ferguson referred to the Heinsberg study on the Today programme this morning, and said the results were in line with what he would have expected and indicate that this is a serious infection with no huge hidden epidemic of asymptomatic cases.

    6. Just for clarity, I'm not wrong as I didn't come up with the 9% figure. It's from here:

      I was just quoting it. I understand it's a government CMO estimate(?).

      0.37% dead would mean 1850 / 500k.

      Scotland is on 495 and still most likely on the wrong side of the peak.

    7. Scottish skier I am not sure where you get your figures for, but Germany has had much few deaths per head of population when compared to Scotland. Due to its amazing testing and forward planning it is recording a much higher amount of positive cases, but all what matters when looking at the virus spread is number of days it takes for deaths to double and in this it is doing better than Scotland. My girlfriend is from Saxony a state with similar population to Scotland, but with only 59 deaths there so far, shows you what could have been in the Scottish government had followed the Saxony government with an early lock down. Lydia home city of Leipzig has been flying in ill Italian residents into the state as a good will gesture as the local government has the virus spread so well under control here.

    8. Well - the thing is that we don't have reliable data for GB (and Scotland). The lack of testing is the most important thing here. Then also UK government is only reporting hospital deaths. We have no idea how many deaths there have been in care homes or at home. Also because of the lack of testing many deaths that happened in care home or home setting won't be reported as coronavirus deaths. As far as I understand now Scotland's adding care home deaths to the death toll? England isn't. UK (English) CMO said yesterday that only 9 per cent of care homes are affected by coronavirus. Care home associations are saying more than half.
      It's a mess really and everything's unreliable. I always thought that the UK (with all its deficiencies) was technologically and scientifically in line with Germany and other most advanced European countries - but - this has shown that I was very wrong.

    9. I'm a bit baffled by that 9% figure - it's not easily reconcilable with the estimates we've seen for the whole UK. I'm wondering if the BBC are just doing the crude "multiply the number of deaths by 1000" thing, which might have made sense earlier in the epidemic but not anymore. Something like 3-6% would seem more plausible.

    10. Iceland and Austria have done random survey testings - and their estimate is that at the moment about 1% of the population of both countries is infected. If you add those who've already had it you'd probably come to 2 or 3 per cent at the most. I'd say Scotland would be somewhere in line with those figures.

  6. As a non bias outsider I feel the Scottish government has done itself any credit, and was far too slow on initiating lockdown. While the Republic of Ireland closed all its bars, St Patrick's Day was carrying on as normal in Glasgow etc, the week of the phoney lockdown when everything stayed open has resulted in the mess we are in now. Scotland is worse performing small country in Europe when you look at daily death rates, how come it got the initial response so wrong, that what needs to be answered, allowing international rugby matches to continue, European football match and sport concerts will be seen as catalysts for allowing the virus to spread so quickly. And lack of pre planning was shocking, only just now establishing a new testing lab in Glasgow which could have been up and running, Glasgow university have volunteered the use of staff and equipment for testing weeks ago, and use of which won't start being implemented until next week.

    It looks like UK as whole will end up as worse country in Europe, but it's no consultation to say Scotland did better when we are still worse hit small country in Europe.

    1. Scotland isn't a European country, nor even a country. It's a devolved nation with limited powers. It's comparing apples and pears to try and say 'Country X has done a better job than Scotland'. In fact it's just an attempt at misleading people.

      We can compare numbers, but not pretend that e.g. Scotland had the same abilities as other countries to e.g. shut borders, close businesses and pay wages etc.

      We can compare Scotland only directly with other devolved nations with exactly the same constitutional situation. Or with countries which have full powers, but are doing worse than Scotland. Like England for example.

    2. It's true that the Scottish government were acting under constraints, but there are legitimate criticisms that can be made. The fact that they put an end to large public gatherings slightly earlier than the rest of the UK clearly suggests they could have done it even earlier if they had wanted to, and that would have prevented infections and saved lives. The Lewis Capaldi concert and the Scotland v France game shouldn't have gone ahead. To make matters worse, we had Jason Leitch touring the TV studios telling anyone who would listen that large gatherings were absolutely fine from a public health point of view, which was self-evidently nonsense.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Correcting my earlier post

      Ireland's earlier lockdown has so far saved around 14 extra lives. It is running 4 days or so behind Scotland on the timeline. It was on day 14 after first 10 deaths yesterday, and this has grown to 236 dead. Scotland was on 250 at the same point.

      You can see how it's a very fine balance. Scotland locking down earlier than the UK has saved nearly 2k so far (for the same number of initial infections), and will save thousands more. Ireland has made much smaller net gains for shutting down even earlier. It's lives saved will increase with time, but probably only a few hundred compared to Scotland. Lets hope anyway, as nobody wants more deaths!

  7. I don't agree at all, and I think the majority of people here think the same, the Scottish government did have powers and they were too slow to use them. Lets not congratulate them in anyway, as people are shamed from sitting in a park reading a book, in reality it's Scottish government who have blood on there hands for acting too slow, people in this country are not fools, and alot of SNP supports and independence supporters I speak to agree with me.

    1. Except they did, and so far they've saved nearly 2k lives compared to the rUK, with this growing rapidly. Ireland shut down much earlier for a net gain of 14 so far.

      What you think is irrelevant to the reality of the situation. It doesn't change how things actually are.

      And I'm of course not commenting on the rights and wrongs myself, just stating what is actually the case.

      Scotland shutting down at the same point as Ireland, if it had had the powers to do that, would so far have saved 14 extra lives.

    2. Aye sure they do, the *majority of people* *SNP supporters think this or that*
      What a phone bill all these concerned citizens must have from all this talking to people

      The Scottish FM is head and shoulders above any politician in these islands, she communicates the facts clearly and without surrounding it with nonsense false hopes and yes the political bias that she has to deal with against her every minute of every day from journalists whose sole job is to discredit her in the minds of the Scottish public as directed from Westminster controlled media

      The constant carping by the Nicola Sturgeon haters is every bit as tedious as when they did it to Alex Salmond before her except for one noticable difference between both those leaders, Nicola Sturgeon is meticulous and positive without the bluff and bluster that typified the reign of Alex Salmond, FM Sturgeon has grown into a giant of a politician as shown clearly by her handling of this current pandemic and she has my total respect for her work ethic and dedication to her work

      What are the wonderful alternatives being presented by the haters then, well there's the bring back Alex Salmond team the guy who was presented with the opportunity to win a referendum and failed because he allowed Numpties like Alistair Darling and George Osborne to walk all over him thus losing in the grand illustrious but typical football style of Scotland, then came back as a MP only to be driven into even more insignificance at Westminster embarrassing the party, and if that wasn't enough he decides to become a journalist on RT which was another embarrassment that demeaned the party and opened it to ridicule, yeah that guy
      Why don't we bring back Dennis Law into the Scotland team surely there's another goal in him

      Joanna Cherry for FM they wail, well smart and clever though that lady is she's no First Minister that's for sure because there are a whole load of other qualities that QC Joanna Cherry doesn't possess that she would need to sell herself in the job as FM

      *Get us Independence* they shout, well again it's not up to the FM to get Independence that's a job for the people to show that they want the damn thing and so far it's not enough, Alex Salmond had the easy part by being a big blustering siren call for the rebellion, but that's all he had to do, Nicola Sturgeon has increased the numbers and maintained that increase by being who she is and what she does and her actions convert more every day because the folk who never wanted it before are now moving over bit by bit because she's made them see what can be by showing them, Alex Salmond just talked a lot while laying out nothing and that's what defeated him, get him back and you'll lose again and undermine the party in the process

      Of course we in the SNP would welcome Alex back, but not in Westminster and not in Holyrood, other work can be found for a man of his talents but not front line

      The folk who complain about the current FM are doing so because they have grudges and we know who they are, for Christs sake they've even got David Icke involved in calling Nicola Sturgeon on of his famous *lizard people*

      Have a think about what these people want you to believe and want you to behave like and what they ask of you and why

      ££££££££££££ and always to some bank in England, Aye they're all for Scottish Independence those guys

  8. At day 19 since first 10 deaths or identical number of initial infections spreading the virus:
    Scotland dead = 495
    rUK dead = 2392

    There is no doubt the spread has been much more contained here. At a crude estimate, Scotland has so far saved nearly 2k more lives and growing.

  9. Watched a short vid on twitter about the different approaches between S.Korea & the US, we can include the UK in that. Stark. S.Korea acted soon as it started to look bad, ie numbers of people with Covid19 spiked. They traced the first person(s) who had travelled into the country with the virus, and tested widely, even tracing contacts via credit card and satellite, ie mobile use, it was very intrusive, if it had been normal times, but 'people accepted it for the good of all'. They also disinfected all public areas, shops and markets etc, workers had real PPE, they quarentined, restricted travel, they pulled out all the stops, it worked to contain the virus.

    The U.S. and UK have done the opposite, though the woman from S.Korea who was interviewed said she thought the 'US people would not accept the intrusive' actions taken, or that tracing and questioned whether testing so widely in the U.S would even be possible. The UKUS have not even tried though. As you say James, herd immunity is immoral, but looks like that is the tactic.

    It's criminal, not just immoral, children are losing parents where they should not, people are losing family members prematurely where they should not. Peoples' lives are severely restricted, rightly so, but because of the neglect and criminal tactics by UKEng government, this could be very long and drawn out indeed.

    For Scotland to be prisoner to such an immoral, incompetent, cruel, selfish, greedy, destructive English government was scary before this, now, it's terrifying.

    Nicola Sturgeon certainly has a mountain to climb on this one, as if things were not bad enough in trying to mitigate disgusting Tory austerity, keep Scotland afloat and actually run a country well, against massive odds and massive 'budget' cuts from Westminster. How many of us could do that job and stay sane!

    Thanks for your articles on this James.


  10. The Scottish Government had no powers to enforce a lockdown in any shape or form until the Coronavirus Act 2020 was given Royal assent on the 25th March and those specific powers were transferred to the Scottish Government.

    Prior to that date, they could only advice against public gatherings and could not force private business such as pubs/clubs to close their doors, the First Minster asked pubs/clubs etc to close their doors on 20th March.

    It was a request and not an order as the law to order their doors closed was not yet in effect.

    "The UK Coronavirus Bill, introduced at Westminster this week, includes measures enabling Ministers to give directions relating to events, gatherings and premises if they have declared a specific threat to public health in Scotland due to coronavirus.

    This starts a “public health response period” during which the powers can be used.

    Subject to the legislation being passed, the directions could include imposing restrictions or closure where this is considered necessary to protect the public against the virus or to help ensure medical or emergency services are best deployed to do so. MSPs will be debating the details of the Bill next week, before voting on the legislative consent motion."

    1. My question for the Scottish government would bebwhy didn't they foresee having to gain and use these powers earlier. They had a three month plus warning from China, I am sure our lead scientific adviser would have confirmed a long time ago that the only way to suppress such an out break would be through a lockdown. They could have and should have asked for such powers to be granted earlier. And do you think if Scottish government requested the SRU and Six Nations to cancel the game at Murrayfield do you think they would have carried on regardless? Highly unlikely.

      Other failures which led to the virus spreading across the Highlands was likely allowing Scottish ski centres to stay open for an extra week, again the government could have led the way by closing down Cairngorm mountain a week early, where no doubt other ski centres would have followed suit, sadly that the one government run ski centre was the last to close, encouraging people to come and stay in Aviemore the final weekend, and it's not hard to imagine that last influx of people to Highlands had a role its spread here.


    2. Why didn't the UK pass the legislation earlier? It's a reserved area, not a devolved one. And Scotland asked for full powers numerous times but these were refused (no Section 30).

      Anyway, the evidence from Ireland is that shutting down notably earlier hasn't made any obvious difference. Timing here is key. Too early and it just won't have any real impact.

      Ireland has actually had more deaths than Scotland on the infection timeline at points. The latest data has only 14 extra lives saved there and that's not really statistically significant. Maybe in time Ireland might look better, but for now there's no clear difference from Scotland.

      Also, Scotland is comfortably behind china. For the same day 19 after the first 10 deaths (today in Scotland) we have:
      495 Scotland
      974 Hubei, China
      2352 UK

      It's the UK that's looking really bad.
      Scotland's lockdown has been earlier and harder than Hubei, so clearly Holyrood did take the warning.

    3. The only possible way to have gained these powers over lockdown earlier than when they were "gifted" from Westminster would be if Scotland was already an Independent country making it's own laws.

      The SG could have asked the SRU to cancel the game at Murrayfield against France, to what effect? The SRU could simply has said they were following UK government guidance. I'm pretty sure that the information that the Scottish government had to go on at that time would have been all provided by Westminster too. Who knows, maybe they had an agenda of their own that they weren't particularly keen on sharing with the devolved parliaments?

      You're arguement for an earlier shutdown must be with the Westminster government, that's the consequence of being a devolved government and not in sole charge of your laws or when to introduce them.

      You want to point a finger and to blame someone for not having a lockdown far earlier?

      Then point it where the blame lies, and that's Boris Johnson and his advisors, especially Dominic Cummings, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance who favoured the so called "herd immunity" strategy.

      Neither you nor I know what went on in these Cobra meetings, all I do know is that it was the Scottish government that forced Boris Johnson's hand by being the first to announce the banning of large gatherings, the closure of pubs and especially the closure of schools.

      If you're looking for a scapegoat, I suggest you have a ready made one in the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. He is in charge of the UK, it was also his government that chose to ignore the lack of preparedness for such a pandemic despite the warnings over the years.

      I know which of the two I'd prefer to be wholly in charge of governing Scotland, that would be the one that's not a clown.

    4. I blame both governments, I am angry and upset at both of them due to the obvious failures mentioned above.

    5. I blame those that voted No in 2014 to an Independent Scotland for denying our current and future Scottish governments the powers to make decisions and choices over the policies that will affect them.

      Instead, leaving the big decisions up to a Westminster government that the people of Scotland did not choose to govern them. You get what you asked for.

      Maybe next time, eh?

  11. South Korea was prepared for the onslaught of any virus because of the last one they had so they styaed prepared
    The United Kingdom of England prepares for nothing, they never have, look how they prepared for WW2 the gave AA patrolmen 4 pennies for the phone if they saw anything wrong anywhere, they gave the Prime Ministers driver the same 4 pennies in case he had to stop in the car to make a phone call

    The UK of England has always been swamped by its own arrogance that no matter what occurs they can always deal with it by having a stiff upper lip, being *British* and sacrificing the lower orders of the population then they can get back to their cricket and Champers

  12. Johnson's illness is being used to cover up the dreadful mess that the UK is making of the pandemic. Once again the media rides to Johnsons rescue. Johnson is a moron.

  13. Latest data for Ireland in comparison with Scotland.

    For day 15 after the first 10 deaths (representing e.g. 1000 infections 3+ weeks previously) we have:

    Ireland 288 fatalities
    Scotland ~277

    Basically identical within error.

    We are tracking Ireland almost identically so far in terms of infection rate, but Scotland is running around 4 days ahead.

    The earlier lockdown in Ireland so far has not had an obvious benefit so far. Which is not a criticism; it's very hard to call as you don't really know exactly how many infections you are dealing with, and whether it's still under control, or starting to spread in the community widely.

    1. From memory, Ireland announced a full lockdown later than the UK, but they announced the closure of pubs and clubs quite a bit earlier. So it's difficult to make a direct comparison on dates.

    2. Sure james. They started the lockdown earlier with pubs etc, but hit full 'offices' lockdown at a similar point to Scotland as you note.

      Some were saying they're doing much better than Scotland because of this, but the trends are basically the same.

  14. Comparing Scotland to England & the three devolved nations you see some patterns emerge. Scotland and Wales were tracking each other for the first couple of weeks, there has been some divergence over the last week or so, with Scotland's deaths rate pulling ahead of Wales sadly.

    Northern Ireland is a little behind the curve compared to the other UK Nations, but deaths are lower than the other nations were at the same point. Against Ireland (its on roughly the same curve) Northern Ireland's deaths are noticeably lower. As mentioned above all UK Nations aside from England deaths are lower than Hubei at the same point. Hopefully we will see the curves of all the countries flattening sooner rather than latter.

    Chart here:

    1. Aye, difficult to tell if wales is just a bit behind behind Scotland, or there is a wee touch of a difference. It's within +/- 24 hr error as things stand.

      Both equal orders of magnitude, and one order lower than England for about the same position on the timeline.

      There's little doubt that the devolved nations were a bit further back on the curve compared to England, meaning their move to lockdown immediately on getting powers allowed them to lower the infection rate substantially.

    2. Yea Wales did change its reporting systems a couple of days ago so could be something to do with that. With the bank holidays/weekend coming effecting data from tomorrow do think we are going to get an accurate picture of were we are at until late next week.

  15. Compliance has as much to do with it as the maths, if people don't behave responsibly then the figures become FUBAR

  16. The usual fallback position is we Nat sis blame the English including the English living in Scotland. A witch hunt against the English is required. If we evict the English then things will improve.

  17. We could have UK type monopoly game. Throw the dice and see how many dies in each UK area.

  18. I am delighted at the trend started by prince Charles where well-off Londoners leave their city to come to beautiful rural parts of our country with restricted health services during the Covid19 emergency. This is in contravention of essential travel guidelines.
    Examples are Labour peer (yes, there are such socialist lordlings) Lord Haworth who recently popped up at his holiday home (yes, he's a socialist lord) in Avoch in the Black Isle.
    Another example is ex Tory MP and now M&S boss Archie Norman who has appeared with his family at their holiday home in Lismore. If this laddo brought his car to the island, he travelled from Oban on the CalMac car ferry which is surprising because CalMac claim to have an essential travel policy.
    Maybe it only applies to people who don't own holiday homes. Like most people.
    We then have stories of Colonel Windbag's jaunts around the country in her car so she could wave at her parents.
    Then Tory MSPs Murdo Fraser and the wife with dark hair whose name nobody knows go poncing around the Monadh Ruadh.
    It's good to know we're all taking this on the chin together.