Monday, April 20, 2020

The "British family coming together" has directly led to Scotland being part of (probably) the worst death toll in Europe - and that in itself makes a powerful new case for independence

In these difficult and strange times, we must find comfort in the little things that stay exactly the same as they've always been, and one of those is unionist journalists forever trying to convince both themselves and us that the case for independence has just been unexpectedly destroyed. Seemingly undeterred by the biggest international crisis since the Second World War, Chris Deerin has indulged himself yet again by penning his latest variant on "The Article", and this time his angle is that "the British family coming together" over the last few weeks will "force the SNP to entirely remake the case for Scottish independence". Here are a few reasons why he's barking up the wrong tree...

1) Part of the process of "the British family coming together" involved the three devolved administrations - ironically including nationalist parties in both Scotland and Northern Ireland - remaining in lockstep with London during the catastrophic 'herd immunity' episode. That meant, for example, that we totally disregarded WHO guidance by abandoning contact tracing at exactly the same time as England. We did, to our credit, stop large gatherings and announce the closure of schools slightly earlier than England, but nowhere near early enough, and of course we had the grotesque spectacle of Jason Leitch openly encouraging people to go to large concerts on the weekend of the 14/15th March, and saying that he would have gone himself. That was at a time when the UK epidemic was taking off in a really significant way.  People have almost certainly died in recent weeks as an indirect (and perhaps even direct) consequence of infections that occurred at mass gatherings that weekend.

When the crisis is finally over, there'll inevitably be a number of inquiries into the unmitigated disaster of Britain ending up with probably the worst death toll in Europe, and Scotland being part of that. One conclusion that will be absolutely inescapable is that Scotland would have suffered fewer deaths - and probably far fewer - if it had departed much earlier and more dramatically from the common UK position. The SNP's eventual justification for failing to protect lives during those crucial days in mid-March may be that it was never realistic for the Scottish strategy to differ significantly from the UK's, due to the structural limitations of devolution. If so, that in itself will make a compelling new case for Scotland becoming an independent country.

2) There has already been a full-scale Scottish opinion poll during the crisis, and it shows the Yes vote holding up remarkably well at just a smidgeon below 50%. OK, that was in late March when normal life was still a relatively recent memory, but nevertheless it's what we have to go on at the moment, and unionists would be foolish to lightly dismiss it.

3) Regardless of whether the effect of the crisis on support for independence is neutral or negative, there's pretty strong evidence that the 'rally round the flag' effect is in Scotland primarily benefiting the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon. We've seen very strong numbers for the SNP in both the full-scale Panelbase poll, and in Scottish subsamples of GB-wide polls. There was nothing inevitable about that, because in Wales the devolved Labour government is not the beneficiary - instead voters are flocking to the Tories. The bottom line is that to make independence go away, the unionists will have to get the SNP out of power or at least bring an end to the pro-indy majority at Holyrood - and at the moment it appears that the crisis has weakened their chances of doing that.

4) It may not be an exaggeration to say that the crisis has kept Nicola Sturgeon in office as First Minister and leader of the SNP. Some people genuinely think she'd have been forced to resign at the end of the Alex Salmond trial if coronavirus hadn't been preoccupying the nation. Now, I know there's a point of view that the chances of independence would actually have increased if Ms Sturgeon had departed, because she's failed to produce a credible roadmap for circumventing the Westminster veto of a Section 30. But the counterargument is that anyone who replaced her as leader would not be as charismatic or as effective a communicator as she is. In general the public will be more receptive to the message of independence if the messenger is convincing, and it does appear that the crisis has further increased the public's trust in Ms Sturgeon.

5) One of the weaknesses of the Yes movement over the last few years has been that the public simply haven't had a break from the constitutional debate since 2011. That's what has given the Tory line of "give it a rest Nicola" some traction. But a side-effect of the crisis is that the public won't be subjected to any talk about independence for a prolonged period (notwithstanding the odd spasm from the likes of Deerin), and that means they'll eventually be hearing the case with fresh ears.

6) The crisis has resolved - at least temporarily - a strategic divide within the SNP between those of us who wanted the mandate for a pre-2021 indyref to be honoured, and those like Pete Wishart and Andrew Wilson who wanted a lengthy delay. The completely random factor of the worst pandemic for a century means that we're all now united in accepting that a referendum cannot realistically be held until 2022 at the earliest (unless a vaccine becomes available sooner than expected). Whatever the frustrations of a delay, the end of the arguments over timing may help the Yes movement to go forward with renewed purpose.

Just by chance, I've discussed some of these issues in my column for next month's edition of iScot - a terrific magazine that is well worth buying either digitally or by print subsciption.


  1. I want the border closed. I might trust Sturgeon more if she announces that it will be closed. Well closed to those carrying the Tory Plague.

    1. So what would happen if Holyrood voted for the temporary closure of certain roads just on its own side of the border and parked lorries &c there to enforce this?

  2. I would not dispute any of the points that James makes in this article. But I am pretty sure that there will some kind of fundamental shift of the structure of feeling in Scotland, by the time we return to anything resembing 'normal' life. Much has happened, that has required re-thinking taken for granted assumptions about how we live our lives. My own guess is that when we wake up, the need for independence will overwhelmingly just seem an obvious thing that needs to be taken care of and accomplished, to allow us all to move on to the more important stuff.

    1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed you’re correct John.
      I’ve been generally hoping for a miracle conversation of the rump Labour Party in Scotland to get us over the line in a 1999 style but I increasingly don’t think we need that.
      Yesterday’s headline here was a flight landing at Prestwick with PPE for Scotland; today’s Uk papers ( judging only from the bbc mobile website) is majoring on the UK ( England) failure to provide PPE.
      People will be adopting views on all of this without really realising it.
      And politicians like Monica Lennon will be welcomed into national ‘not the labour party’ thing, whatever that turns out to be.
      Possibly the Common Weal party?

    2. As we all driftoffinto the realm of the unreal, the funny thing about blogs like this is the take on WHO guidelines. At the time he is referring to WHO advice was not to have any lockdown, and not to ban international travel (for real - check it). I guess I am in the scant minority of people who read stuff like WHO health advice.

  3. It was the great British family that caused the virus to spread so rapidly across the UK from 'too late locking down' England to the rest of us.

    One people, one nation, one virus. Your gran needs to 'take it on the chin' in the morgue for Rees Mogg's share portfolio.

    If there had been border controls early on, including between nations, with ground zero London locked down like wuhan, the deaths would have been in the hundreds UK wide.

    Scotland locked down just after 10 deaths but London was already double that by the time of the campervan and holiday home English migrant flood. When the English Lombardy was eventually locked down there were 265 dead, and great British community transmission cases popping up all the way to campsites at John o' groats.

    1. If only Germany had not invaded Poland. You are the guy who wants free movement. All those tens of thousands of EU citizens who you claimed had left the UK would have compounded the problem if they had stayed.

    2. Despite what you say, the Scottish Government did NOTHING until Westminster acted. There is no evidence whatsoever it would have done anything differently if Scotland had been further along the infection curve so stop giving credit for the hand that was dealt by the grace of God. It only makes it even more infuriating that nothing was done earlier because there was a real chance we could have been in a New Zealand-like landscape instead of a London-like one.

      You can argue until you are blue in the face about powers but the truth is the limit of any powers were not even discussed far less tested.

      When lives are at stake you act first and seek permission later. If we were being invaded by a hostile army we would not wait for permission to defend our borders - we would just do it.

      As it is becoming clear how disastrous this inaction has been, there is a growing realisation that the 'I was only following scientific advice' defence is not going to cut it and the FM is now desperately talking up anything she can get her hands on to deceive us into thinking we were never in policy lockstep with Westminster.

      Coming from the woman who believes it is 'an achievement' to announce a Climate Change Emergency it is perhaps no surprise she is shameless enough to try and portray announcing school closures a few hours before Westminster as a point of differentiation.

      We all know she only made this announcement because she had been told that the entire system was about to collapse under the weight of teacher absences and because she already knew Westminster was going to do it too.

      And this talk of BANNING large scale events first is palpable nonsense too. The day after the cancelled and much less risky Wales v Scotland rugby match was due to be played, we saw an 11,000 strong indoor concert go ahead in Aberdeen. Doesn't sound like a ban to me.

      Talk is cheap but it is what the FM is good at, amplified by the total inability of the Scottish media and political opposition to rise above the constitutional imperative of 'Britain as One'.

      Leadership? That's quite a different thing.

      Taking people down a path of least resistance which has already been established by someone else is what we might call 'following the herd' (whether it is immune or not).

      The question for me is, would a Tory Secretary of State have done anything differently if we were still being run by the old Scottish Office? The answer is, I am afraid, a resounding NO.

      Any SNP FM should be utterly ashamed of that. She needs to change course as soon as possible.

    3. You can only act if you have the legal power to do so.

      If Scotland had done what Westminster had done, it would have waited another 8 days or so until deaths had reached over 300 in Scotland before locking down. That's what the rUK did and why it's got 16k deaths rather than a similar level to Scotland.

      Scotland locked down as soon as it had the powers (at just over 10 deaths) and, crucially, the UK government wage support. Locking down without these was impossible.

      Holyrood had to wait for this because Scotland isn't independent.

      Just as it can't close the border and do an efficient test and trace for the same reason.

      We are part of the UK containment zone because people voted no in 2014.

      Do you really think London will let Scotland have more powers over borders and immigration? No, it would rather thousands die than allow Scotland to be a bit more independent.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Open borders is fine GWC, even during an epidemic. It's just you should stay at home in your own country unless you have very important reasons for moving around. The virus spreads by people moving around from group to group; hence social distancing.

      People in England were told to stay at home in England to stop the spread, but in response to rumours of lockdown, they flooded into Scotland/Wales to their holiday homes and in their campervans as if these were their country.

      No other people in Europe did that to another, particularly a huge country to a little one.

      That's why the news wasn't filled with stories of Italians flooding into France or the French streaming en masse into England to get away from the virus. Nope, just a mass migration from England into Scotland and Wales.

      One nation.

    6. Just to add that suddenly closing all schools without offering people a way to legally stay off work to look after their children - such as general lockdown with wage support package - is how you get them fired or grandparents killed by coronavirus.

    7. There's no point in trying to explain this stuff to Covidia. Its blinkered British nationalist rage rejects reasonable discourse. It prefers to obsess over the Second World War in accordance with the teachings of the Dreary Heil.

    8. Anon: Let's keep things accurate. Scotland did put a stop to mass gatherings slightly earlier than England. But the de facto Scottish ban didn't take effect until Monday the 16th, and the Lewis Capaldi concert was on Sunday the 15th. The reason the Wales v Scotland match didn't take place on the 14th was because the WRU called it off voluntarily - they weren't forced to by the UK or Welsh government.

    9. The date for school closures had already been decided upon, on a UK wide basis many days before the announcement, it had become common knowledge in Wales. Who announced it first on the day is an irrelevance.

      People should be very careful using New Zealand as an exemplar for comparison. If NZ had a large number of tourists heading to the alpine regions for Skiing holidays in January/February, I suspect they would be in a very different situation to the one they are now in. The virus was circulating much earlier than previously believed.

      NZ is not in Europe and is shielded by its Geographical location and it had the benefit of hindsight as foresight. All the data that emerged out Italy was of a significantly different degree to that which was collated from China.

      The fundamental point though, that a Scottish secretary of state wouldn't have acted any differently stands, they wouldn't have.

      This episode has huge implications for independence going forward, slight deviations from a UK plan is merely tinkering around the edges and would have had little or no effect.

      Without the powers, authority and confidence that derive from being the government or scientific community of an independent nation, Scotland simply cannot defend itself from a threat of this kind. Schengen borders were closed for instance.

  4. Just read this message:

    Not sure if this is Ben Wray writing or someone else but thank god for small shifts in tone, if this is pointing to us taking control.

    Fingers crossed. I’ll be out banging the pans as loud as Nic wants if we are supporting better differences.

  5. Now is exactly the right time to force the issue of Scotland's independence.

  6. Absolutely spot on. The most accurate, articulate and insightful analysis I have read. I’ve tried to look at as many independence bloggers and tweeters as I can in recent weeks. Looking for hope, I suppose. Your work is radically different from most in that you focus on the issues. It’s never about you. So many others seem greedy and narcissistic. I hope that you can continue this work and that it can sustain you.

  7. In defense of the FM. She knows only the Bank of England can sustain the country. She followed medical advise and did not listen to Nat si armchair experts and for this she has my respect.
    On another planet we have been giving billions to the EU which would be better spent on our own at this time. The anti democratic anti brexit forces of reaction are totally to blame for the billions given to the EU pariahs.

    1. If Sturgeon had copied the rUK strategy, we'd have locked down a couple of weeks later than was the case at 300+ fatalities instead of just over 10, and we'd now be looking at 16k dead here.

      All we can say is thank f'n god the devolved nations didn't copy England.

      By not doing so, they've managed an order of magnitude less deaths even with the English migrant refugee infection flood ahead of lockdown.

      Here's it straight from the BBC's mouth:

  8. The Isle of Man closed the borders and anyone that is let is has to spend two weeks in quarantine.

    1. The Isle of Man is a dependency. Not at all like Scotland. It is not hampered by Westminster.

  9. On the testing front I understand that the Roslin Institute (for Animal Health) could do maybe over a thousand test per day, but has not bees asked because 'it is for animals, stupid'. I have family in Africa so South Africa is doing 30,000 tests per day while Zimbabwe expects 15,000 per day by next week. So what is wrong with us? Surely Scotland could do more than Zimbabwe?

    So far a Jason Leitch is concerned then I am still not sure how being a Prof of Dentistry and Oral Surgery qualifies you for a virus pandemic. But be that as it may, being 'a fantastic communicator' us not a good thing if you communicate garbage, such as his views in Feb / early March.

    In a way Nicola reminds me of the Afrikaner Nationalists in 1970s South Africa when I was at school / Uni in Cape Town. They hated anything to do with the Empire / UK down to abolishing Mrs Windsor, making Afrikaans compulsory and making it illegal to even write out 'foot', 'pound' or 'pint' in a newspaper, and a criminal offence to display the union jack. However, it stood to reason that any South African literature, music, science, film, theatre show, etc was 'clearly second rate' and you really had to see whatever was on in London or what somebody from Oxbridge said. Oh yes - the 'cringe' was and to an extent still is thriving in South Africa. Maybe Nicola was just dazzled by being asked to attend a COBRA meeting, but it would have been good to have told them they were saying the opposite to the WHO advice.

    1. How can Sturgeon both hate anything to do with the UK, and at the same time be lavishly following it's advice / copying it's coronavirus strategy, including being 'dazzled by being asked to attend Cobra meetings'?

      Your post makes the sum total of zero sense.

    2. It exactly makes sense and see the comments about South Africa. I would refer you to Tom Sharpe's novels Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure, both about the Afrikaner Chief of Police in Piemburg (a lightly disguised Pietermaritzburg) who 'wanted the heart of an Englishman', literally by a transplant.

      That is what an advanced case of 'cringe' does. You don't really have confidence in yourself (fair enough as you are not a medic), but clearly all these high powered big wigs in London must know something, and they are bound to be more clued up than folk in Scotland surely? So best I do what they say, then … Not so? It is only once you finally realise they have led you up the creek that you change direction and finally see that actually our own folk know more than they do. Such as Prof Devi Sridkar (I think that is right) at Ed Uni. Called it all out in Jan, is actually an epidemiologist, but of course not on any of the London committees.

    3. Still making zero sense.

      Sturgeon can't be an 'everything English hating nat' and a major Scottish cringer dazzled by the amazing English all at the same time. She's one or the other.

      The basic situation is that because folk voted no in 2014, lots of Scots have died in addition to all the English Boris and his Brexiters have sacrificed for Mogg's share portfolio.

      Where possible, Holyrood has done stuff differently, saving 1000's of lives in the process.

      We can't say England was copied when the data says Scotland locked down a lot earlier and the results of that are even admitted by the BBC:

      If Sturgeon had done the same as England, we'd have 16k dead too.

      It's not a great situation, but the difference is stark.

    4. Most of the family are still in Cape Town. Everyone in SA instinctively looks at London. If it is in the West End it must be fantastic, if a Prof at Oxbridge said it then clearly the word of Einstein, etc. SA TV always reports what happens in London, the newspapers reprint articles from London, etc etc. I gather it is much the same in Australia. My mum thinks anything in the supermarket that is 'imported' has to taste better than the local stuff. One of the few exceptions would be Rugby and Cricket where SA is, of course, No 1.

      I agree we locked down at 10 deaths and thus much better than England, though I think that more a fortunate accident than a careful plan. I know you have explained it many times as I always read James' blog. We could have been more different. There was no reason to cancel test and trace just because London said so, but then our experts at the time (Leitch and Calderwood) were repeating whatever London told them (since one is a dentist and the other obstetrics and thus neither experts on epidemics). You could also have found an excuse to block the campervans coming over the boarder - surely 'health and safety mate, nothing I can do about it' would have worked? I think we could have been closer to Germany or NZ than we are, though it is also fortunate that we will not be anywhere near as band as England (or Trumpland).

      This is definitely a time for the SG to be more like the Isle of Man - just do it and wait for London to try and stop you. Most of the time you get away with stretching the envelope - occasionally you have to back off. Gradually you move the goalposts without London really noticing they have moved.

    5. The Isle of man can do this legally. It has more powers than Scotland's 'Most powerful devolved parliament in the known universe'.

      There's just no law that could have been used to lock down sooner*, and the same for stopping English folks at the border. We can use local laws to shut a few pubs, but not all of them.

      How would we even identify 'English' people? From their passports? Just let those with Scottish passports in under the 'Covid-19 international immigration control bill (Scotland) 2020 maybe?'.

      Unfortunately, it's fantasy to suggest that this was possible. The law is the law. We're not independent, so don't get to make our own in this way. Even those we do make can be overruled by London at a whim, e.g. during the recent brexit power grab by England.

      I'd be all over the Scottish government if they'd had the powers required and failed to use them.

      We could maybe complain about not continuing test and trace, but our infection rate would have soared anyway due to UK community transmission. It would not likely have made any real difference and it will only really work well here if it's done UK-wide, or if we get border controls. Test and trace would be better called 'trace and test', i.e. when you come across an infected case, you trace back, test and quarantine.

      If you have infected people just appearing in your country all the time from another 'out of the blue', there's nothing to trace. They're just generating infections left right and centre from nowhere and you might never know they exist if they're asymptomatic. If they are coming in from England and have to quarentine for 2 weeks while you keep tabs on them, you stop the disease in its tracks.

      You need to be able to quarantine those coming into the containment area. This is fundamental to epidemic control; geographical containment.

      One of the benefits if being part of the UK club is that we can't do this and so pool and share infections.


      *Given we are matching Ireland, which locked down earlier, it would not have made much difference.

  10. I have just checked and Prof Devi Sridhar is on the new SG Advisory Group. So there is hope that the SG are getting better advice than they were from London.

  11. James, you are the gold standard for your commentary on the virus crisis but not so much on independence. A new leader is needed at the top of the SNP. The SNP is not yet a Nicola Sturgeon cult. We cannot have criminal conspiracies at the top of the SNP. Just not acceptable behaviour by anyone. People like Wishart and Wilson are just time wasters.

    A mandate for independence should be in the SNPs manifesto for 2021 Scot parliament election.

  12. Why should a plebiscite be delayed until 2022 ?. After Corona + Hard Brexit what is going to be left of the Scottish economy ?. Where do you think London will find the revenue and resources to reconstruct the SE and London economy?.
    Also there is likely to be large scale reconstruction and restructuring of the EU economy, an isolated Scotland will completely miss out.
    If London does not extend the transition period until 2023 then there must be a Holyrood election this year and it should be fought on a mandate for immediate independence.

  13. The Scottish Nat sis want brexit extended so that the British people keep paying our tax money into the corrupt EU coffers. The Nat sis are sinking into a lower level than the municipal drainpipes

    1. GWC you know all about drainpipes, gutters and sewers. Britnat turds like you always end up in the sewers.

  14. Hey Skier you are now on a major rant again. The British fight the virus standing together six feet apart. No more money for the EU Mafia.

    1. The home nations need to socially distance. Being one great British family just gets everyone infected.

    2. One of the obvious advantages of the EU over the UK union is that during times of national emergency, you can put limits on free movement and close your borders.

      Right now, Scotland and Wales are the only countries in Europe unable to shut their border to save lives during an epidemic. We have to leave these wide open to one of the worst affected countries.

      By contrast, if the outbreak had begun in Edinburgh or Cardiff instead of London, England would voted to close it's borders quick smart.

    3. We do not know who was infected first in the UK or where. Simply because some people did not know they were infected. Stick to your Nat si nonsense Skier and do not pretend to be a medical expert.

    4. You can tell from the number of dead the infection causes.

      The epicenter is London.

      Scotland locked down on 10 dead = 1000 infections 3+ weeks before.

      London locked down at 265 = 26,5000 infections 3+ weeks before.

      London should have locked down on the 13th of March to be like Scotland. Instead, it sent infections out to all the principalities for another 10 days and here we are.

      (assuming a 1% fatality rate)

    5. On lockdown day, 80% of deaths to date were in London. That means 80% of infections 3 weeks before were there.

      It was the f'n wuhan of Britain. Ground zero. Zombie apocalypse central.

      Do you not remember the rumours of it being locked down? People we talking about it because it's exactly what should have happened. The rest of the UK economy could be up and running right now with test and trace which the the main outbreak was contained in London.

      But no, lockdown London? Never...

  15. We will put some of our tax into the EU and get some back for different schemes if we put up half the money. WE get nowt from Westminster.

    1. Why give money and ask for a rebate. That is like putting money in the gas or leckie meter and waiting for the man coming round to empty it and giving you a pittance back.

    2. Erm GWC, what's what Scotland does as part of the UK.

      At least in the EU you just pay in a little bit; a small club membership fee. In the UK, England takes everything you earn. Every last farthing.

    3. Depends on who is spending the little bit that is paid in and on what. EU call girls and boys in nice hotels. Nepotism on a grand scale. Do you remember Kinnock investigating the Commission in which he was a member.

    4. Covidia knows its place. Tory bootlick.

  16. An nnmitigated disaster

    Potential initially for 500 000 deaths, but the UK could end up with circa 20 000, surely that's more than a degree of mitigation.

    Deaths have now peaked and have been falling for the best part of 10 days, when you look at the dates on which deaths have occurred.

    UK death toll is still lower per head of population than France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and in the same ball park as other nations such as Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland (notwithstsanding the jury still being out on like for like comparisons).

    Herd Immunity strategy

    The UK has been in lockdown for a month, millions invested in huge clinical trials program with efficacy trials beginning this week, probably thew most extensive program in the world with subjects being trialed all over the UK.

    Preliminary results on vaccine effectiveness expected by mid to late May, manufacturing already begun, with the potential for a mass rollout as early as August.

    The UK has the most comprehensive financial support package of any nation in the world to allow people to isolate.

    A volunteer army to support the most vulnerable as they shield themselves. Unprecedented levels of community spirit and social support.

    Huge increase in NHS capacity, more than doubling ITU capacity, with significant capacity available and surplus to requirements at every stage of the pandemic. Hugely committed and empowered NHS workforce providing outstanding levels of care.

    Draconian measures introduced with little or no enforcement needed from police forces. Huge levels of support from the public for all the measures introduced and compliance levels extremely high.

    Have there been issues, yes, PPE availability, a slow initial response, ventilator procurement, no quarantine period for those entering the UK (which would have been my own priority) and lack of transparency over a route out of lockdown.

    The transmission/reinfection rate has however been reduced below 1 and NHS capacity increased so that the worst excesses of an unmitigated epidemic i.e. the breach of NHS capacity haven't occurred, which along with shielding the vulnerable are the fundamental objectives of any mitigation strategy.

    So problems and issues yes, but an unmitigated disaster, and a let it rip herd immunity strategy, absolutely not.

    1. The data suggest are well over 20k dead already in the UK including those in care homes, and rising. It was 18.5k by the 10th April in England and Wales alone.

      As for per capita numbers; why don't you go to the families of the dead and tell them to stop complaining as 'per capita the UK looks better than other countries' that it's much further behind on the timeline than? It's death rate is worse than Italy, which had no warning.

      It's stupid comparison. Why didn't you say deaths in the UK were nearly twice as bad as the USA per capita? Has Trump done a better job?

      And why not tell the families of the dead that the UK's 16.5k death toll is hardly anything compared to San Marion's 39? That 39 is way worse than over 16 thousand?

      We are dealing with lives lost. Families bereaved. Absolute numbers matter right now, with per capita is meaningless for what are, thankfully, such small numbers relative to population sizes, at present. If we get to the point where most of the population is infected, they'll start to make sense for comparison. China looks god-like for deaths per capita due to its enormous population.

      The UK was very late in locking down when it had weeks of warning. This is what all the experts agree, including England's former CSA, who predicts 40k.

      London was 80% of cases by lockdown and if the UK government had acted sooner and locked it down like the Chinese did with Wuhan, the virus could likely have been contained, with the rest of the economy still ticking over somewhat. But London £'s were put before lives.

      The support package is ok, but I'd rather have e.g. Denmark's or Norway's.

    2. Apparently real deaths 40% higher, so already >23k and rising.

    3. We are indeed dealing with lives lost, yet your inferring UK lives matter more than those in other nations, everyone grieves and every family that has lost a member suffers tragedy and is bereaved. The more lives lost the more tragedy.,

      The UK is further along the timeline than your assuming, deaths and hospitalisations have been decreasing for a number of days now. We're now much more in line with Europe than you realise.
      There's been social unrest in Italy and France yet none here.

      ONS figures need to be compared to equivalent figures in other countries, not merely reported figures for deaths due to covid 19.

    4. "The more lives lost the more tragedy."

      Undeniably correct, Johnson, his cabinet and advisors have a lot to answer for over their failure to act in a timely manner.

  17. On testing, UK is miles behind other countries. Health minister promised 100,000 tests a day and it’s not even reached a quarter of that. On PPE, UK is desperately short and dependent on countries like Turkey to muster up a few supplies to stave off weekly crises. On deaths, no one knows because of the complete lack of transparency about what’s going on in care homes. On policy, again no one knows because it shifts and changes according to which minister is speaking. On preparation, UK had two or three weeks to get ready and spent it faffing about with weird Trump-like ideas that the the virus would cave in to good old bulldog/blitz spirit and maybe, if we are lucky, herd immunity. Somehow it managed to be less prepared than other countries despite having more time.

    Quite right, it’s not an unmitigated disaster, it’s much worse than that.

    Now these very same people are ready not to request a Brexit extension. We will leave the EU willy-nilly because we are British and better than you. How that will happen with an economy ravaged by the effects of the virus, nobody knows.

    Scotland should request its own Brexit extension - for compassionate reasons, if nothing else. If Europe has a heart, it will grant it. If UK doesn’t like it, it can do what it needs to do anyway, hold a referendum. The Scottish government really needs to take control of Scotland’s destiny and realise the lunatics have taken over the asylum in the south. This disaster shows it’s time for independence, there can and should be no doubts.

  18. Apparently, over 200,000 people have died with the virus in Spain, etc, so on the death compo, the UK has a lot of catching up to do. The strange bit in the number soup is that Scotland seems to be a serious contender in the UK per capita compo. If only the virus death compo was transformed into international football results...

    1. The UK is already over 20,000. 23k at least based on the latest ONS figures.

      Scotland per capita is well behind the UK. ~50% behind as things stand. Even if you put them on the same timeline (days since first 10 deaths in Scotland vs days since first ~100 for the UK to make the starting point the same per capita), it's 20% less with the gap opening up quickly.

      But then per capita isn't really a fair comparison. Unless you think Trump is doing a better job than Boris.

    2. No you're wrong, and I am right.

      Scotland per capita is well ahead of the UK. ~50% ahead as things stand. Even if you put them on the same timeline (days since first 10 deaths in Scotland vs days since first ~100 for the UK to make the starting point the same per capita), it's 20% more or 50% or 1.73456% more with the gap opening up quickly by a rate of 3.

    3. As things stand:

      915 D / 5.44 m = 168 per million Scotland
      15594 D / 60 m = 256 per million rUK

      256 / 158 = 1.52, so 52% larger

    4. "Apparently, over 200,000 people have died with the virus in Spain, etc"

      Actually, over 200,000 known to be infected in Spain and around 21,000 deaths. Unless the "Etc" turns it into some sort of UK v Rest Of The World comparison.

    5. 29 days since first 10 deaths:
      915 D / 5.44 m = 168 per million Scotland

      29 days since first 110 deaths:
      12590 / 60 = 210 per million rUK

      210/168 = 1.25 or 25% larger

    6. Ok, some minor typos and depends on what you use as population numbers, but correct.

    7. Scotland locked down at just over 10 deaths while the UK locked down at 335. For identical conditions, that's going to give the UK a higher death rate per capita in the end.

      To have any chance of developing similar deaths per capita, the rUK would need to have locked down at 110.

    8. Skier loves writing about the English death toll. He is Irish and his Mrs a Frog. And he calls itself Scottish.

    9. Covidia does its very best to emulate its British nationalist Tory overlords.
      It's so servile.

  19. Or even, 'over 20,000', but it's a blog, so in that ethos - who the fuck cares.

  20. I think that the general train of thought espoused on Scottish political/epidemiology blogs is that only 600 have died of covid-19 in India, apparently, so we should do what they do.

    I, on the other hand, have been on on a tour of provincial town hospitals in India. Wards are unusual places to keep goats, but what the hell. If anyone wants cheering up, about 400,000 people will die of malaria this year. Many, if not the majority of them small children. And it is preventable. 'Oh dear - what a shame - never mind', 'Scottish nationalist civic nationalist lovely nice nationalism', etc.

    1. The Unionists love to boost about being the 5th largest economy in the world. A comparison with India is not appropriate, much fairer to compare it with say...Germany.

      Oh dear, doesn't look too good on that comparison does it?

  21. As far as public health and politicians go, even Gandhi has a lot to answer for, and I mean a lot, with his salt campaign even today.