A pro-independence blog by James Kelly - voted one of Scotland's top 10 political websites.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Landmark Wings poll finds that the SNP's popularity is crucial to preserving the coalition of support for independence
Prematurely relaxing restrictions on so-called "low-risk" groups is an exceptionally high-risk thing to do - unless you can somehow totally segregate the generations, which you can't.
This is the sort of point that sounds sophisticated but is actually very silly. Allowing so-called 'low risk' people to be infected is in fact an extremely high risk thing to do unless you can keep them totally segregated from everyone else. And you can't.https://t.co/105uwSMsDz— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 13, 2020
It's not just that. The "low-risk" groups still die, just at a lower rate than the utter carnage among the elderly. If you infect all or nearly all of them you're again into a six-figure death toll.— Morag (@DrMoragKerr) May 13, 2020
I can't even begin to engage with that thread. England is doomed. I only hope we can avoid going down with it.— Morag (@DrMoragKerr) May 13, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: Preliminary results of Spain's seroprevalence study #ENECOVID.— Miguel Hernán (@_MiguelHernan) May 13, 2020
Antibodies for #SARSCoV2:
5% of Spanish population
11% in region with highest incidence (Madrid)
So far from herd immunity in country with 2nd largest number of cases after U.S. https://t.co/P8dpzaibuX
Bad news. Early results show only 5% of Spanish population exposed to virus so far, and already 27,100 COVID deaths. That huge iceberg we're all hoping for? Still no evidence that it's there. https://t.co/0zHkF7s4K6— Devi Sridhar (@devisridhar) May 13, 2020
Very similar to France. 5% overall but 11-12% in Paris and surrounding region according to Pasteur Institute.— Denis Coakley (@deniscoakley11) May 13, 2020
This is remarkable - Imperial College's central projection for Spain *a few weeks ago* was that 15% of the population had been infected. If that was a vast overestimate, it suggests that the mortality rate of this disease is pretty high.https://t.co/kNM20MDnLD— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 13, 2020
This surely must convince Govts that test,trace and isolate is the only way we have of controlling it's spread,otherwise we'll have more than the economy to worry about.— Colin Foy (@foy_foy29) May 13, 2020
This suggests just 5% of the Spanish population had antibodies— Fionna O'Leary, 🕯 (@fascinatorfun) May 13, 2020
Even in Madrid that was completely overtaken by COVID - just 11%.
Is the U.K. plan that we experience wave upon wave of this to *achieve* “community” immunity? Really?
With our eyes wide open? No anti virals? https://t.co/dt8BvX2PO2
@theSNPMedia— David Francis (@beith123) May 13, 2020
Please note the above.
To achieve "herd immunity" without a vaccine would mean UTTER CARNAGE in any country.
ANYONE who STILL believes that "herd immunity" GARBAGE should NOT be advising ANY Government.
What's the betting that Dr Jenny Harries will be a Tory peer within a couple of years? She's certainly put in the effort - it's nigh-on impossible to distinguish her from any other government propagandist.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 13, 2020
Extraordinary answer here.@CMonaghanSNP: "So, since there's a low degree of confidence, we are potentially putting together hundreds of potential vectors, that can then go and transmit. Is that correct?"— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) May 13, 2020
The DfE chief scientist: "Possibly, depending on school sizes."
.@CMonaghanSNP's face said it all after that answer. pic.twitter.com/n4PoQjUiKp— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) May 13, 2020
Here's the DfE's chief scientific adviser Osama Rahman telling MPs on the science committee that it's not clear whether children transmit the virus any less than adults pic.twitter.com/W5F6UM9KmB— Emily Ashton (@elashton) May 13, 2020
Nicola Sturgeon says her decisions during this crisis have been motivated by the saving of lives rather than by politics. But apparently the Times cartoonist knows better. Mate, you demeaned yourself with the cartoon itself, but the explanatory tweet is just embarrassing.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 13, 2020
I live in the Borders. I’m not in the least confused & I’m offended that anyone would assume that I might be. I know where I live, I live in Scotland, therefore the advice I follow is the advice for Scotland. It isn’t even faintly confusing. Borderers are not stupid. https://t.co/pJPdkVZhMe— alison 🏴 🇪🇺 😷stay@home (@wittertalk) May 13, 2020
Someone should take the BBC to the DMZ in Korea. The "confusion" there would blow their minds.https://t.co/HQdLKAoI9k— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 14, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
The BBC can't have it both ways: if they want to criticise the Scottish Government for not taking stronger action than Westminster, they can't simultaneously dismiss devolved laws as toytown rules that shouldn't be taken too seriously
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Simon McCoy: If you want to get in your car, you can, you can drive as far as you want, but you're not allowed to go into another nation.
Daniel Sandford: (chuckles incredulously) Don't cross the border!
Simon McCoy: (incredulously) Don't cross the border!
Daniel Sandford: I think this goes to the heart of the problem that the Westminster government is having with trying to make sure that the other nations march alongside them a bit. Of course to a degree there's some politics going on, the other nations are flexing their muscles a bit, saying 'we're not going to take regulations from Westminster'...but it is a ridiculous situation where someone who lives in England on the Welsh border can drive all the way along to the coast of East Anglia to go to the coast but can't cross five miles across the border into Wales under these same rules, but to be honest with you, nobody's going to police that. That's just what they're asking people to do because of the different rules in the different countries.
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Crikey. If anyone doubted that Anglocentricity is alive and well at the BBC in London, this should put their minds to rest. Where to start?
* First of all, as I understand it, the Welsh police are in fact attempting to police the restrictions, but it obviously becomes considerably harder for them to do that if the state broadcaster is wrongly giving people the impression that the law is optional and will not be enforced. It's no exaggeration to say the BBC have undermined the law of Wales. That warrants a prominent correction and apology.
* Given that the law in Wales this week is essentially the same as the law in England last week, and given that the police in England were enforcing that law last week, why would it seem in any way strange or unthinkable that the Welsh police would be enforcing it this week? Unless of course Sandford thinks that laws passed in Cardiff are 'pretend' laws and only laws passed by Westminster are the real thing.
* Note the downright weird implication that the three nations that remain united in upholding the "stay at home" policy are the ones who are out of step, rather than the one nation that has actually decided to go off and do its own thing.
* Note the suggestion that the devolved administrations are a "problem" for the English authorities. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that England going rogue is a problem for the devolved administrations?
* Note the subtext in "trying to make sure that the other nations march alongside them a bit" that Westminster is the long-suffering 'parent' administration and the devolved administrations are stubborn children who aren't doing the very reasonable and modest things that are being asked of them. You'd think after more than twenty years of devolution, the BBC might by now have got their heads around the idea that the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have parity of esteem with Westminster on devolved matters, and that if the four governments are going to "march in step", that requires dialogue and compromise - not everyone just doing whatever Westminster decides is best.
* Note that Sandford thinks that the impact of "politics" has only been felt in the decision of the devolved nations to stick with the previous UK-wide policy. It seems far more likely that the devolved nations have actually been following scientific advice, and that the dog's breakfast of the new policy in England can be largely explained by political considerations (ie. splits within the Tory party).
* No, Daniel, it is not "ridiculous" that different laws are applied and enforced in different jurisdictions. It is, in fact, entirely routine and unremarkable. Look at it this way: people in Dover are twenty miles away from France and several hundred miles away from Newcastle. Is it "ridiculous" that the laws that apply in Dover also apply in Newcastle but not in France? No? In that case, why the incredulity about exactly the same principle applying to someone who lives five miles from the Welsh border? Could this betray a proprietorial attitude towards Wales in particular? Cardiff can play at law-making, but as soon as those laws interfere with the God-given right of an Englishman to do what he likes "in his own back yard", they must obviously be disregarded?
The BBC’s Home Affairs correspondent has said that non-essential travel between England and Wales won’t be policed. This is dangerous fake news that @BBCNews needs to urgently retract pic.twitter.com/eS5P1GHD14— Adam Price (@Adamprice) May 11, 2020
It's started. Today a couple from Liverpool arrived at their holiday home in Llandegfan. Anglesey. Elderly people next door have been self isolating for 8 weeks. "Boris told us we could" was the reason. (This was on Facebook this evening with pic of car).— Richard Evans (@rich_wynne2020) May 11, 2020
Of course also potentially responsible for an upsurge in the Welsh epidemic is @BBCDanielS , who presented the laws of Wales as toytown rules that no-one could seriously expect to be enforced on English people (and he had a little chuckle as he said it).https://t.co/YxHFkHUIRg— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 12, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Dr Mike Ryan of the WHO ferociously denounces UK-style herd immunity strategies: "Humans are not herds", "No-one is safe until everyone is safe"
"Herd immunity, a term taken from veterinary epidemiology, where people are concerned in animal husbandry with the overall health of the herd. An individual animal in that sense doesn't matter from the perspective of the brutal economics of that decision-making. Humans are not herds, and as such the concept of herd immunity is generally reserved for calculating how many people would need to be vaccinated in a population in order to generate that same effect. So I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infections in humans, because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the centre of that equation.
What also does concern me in this narrative is that there was an assumption as this disease spread around the world that we're really just seeing the severe cases and the difficult cases, and when the seroepidemiology comes, it will demonstrate that most of the people have been infected, and this will all be over and we'll go back to normal business. Well, the preliminary results from the seroepidemiologic studies is showing the opposite. It's showing the proportion of people with significant clinical illness is actually a higher proportion of all those who've been infected, because the number of people infected in the total population is probably much lower than we expected. And as Maria has said, that means we have a long way to go, and it means, as the Director-General has been saying for months, this is a serious disease, this is Public Enemy No. 1. We have been saying it over and over and over and over again. We really do need to now step back and sort of recalculate this as a 'mild illness' and effectively make the same mistakes we made the first time round in terms of not taking this seriously, and not putting in place the necessary measures.
We have a second chance now, as a society, to put in place the necessary public health interventions, to put in place the necessary community support, to support our vulnerable populations, be they in long-term care facilities, or be they in refugee camps. No-one is safe until everyone is safe.
So I do think this idea that, well, maybe countries that have had lax measures and haven't done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some "herd immunity", and so what if we lose a few old people along the way, I mean this is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation, and not one that I believe most member states are willing to make. Member states, responsible member states, will look at all their population, they'll value every member of their society, and they'll try to do everything possible to protect health, while at the same time obviously protecting society, protecting the economy and other things. We need to get our priorities right as we enter the next phase of this fight."
The quoted section can be viewed below from approximately 47:52.
The BBC's criticism of Scotland's slowness to react to the crisis is *partly* justified - but the BBC itself has questions to answer about its own failings in March
It was the collective 4 Nations approach that failed, and Scotland's role in that was quite complex - it would have been realistic for us to go our own way in some respects but not in others. There are four mistakes for which I think the Scottish Government can be legitimately criticised -
1) Not stopping large public gatherings earlier. They eventually took that step a few days earlier than England, so there's no question that they could and should have done it even earlier. The Lewis Capaldi concert should not have gone ahead, and neither should the Rangers v Leverkusen match or the Scotland v France Six Nations fixture.
2) Not closing schools earlier. Again, this is undoubtedly a devolved power and there was no good reason for remaining in lockstep with England for so long.
3) Abandoning testing and contact tracing at the same time as the UK government. Whatever the capacity issues, it should have been continued to the maximum extent possible.
4) Not issuing strong social distancing advice earlier. You don't need to have or use draconian powers to get people to listen to your advice when you suggest that they should stay away from each other as much as possible. That could really have made a telling difference, but instead, in those crucial days of mid-March, the leading Scottish Government spokesman was ludicrously advising people to increase their contact with vulnerable relatives, to go to mass gatherings, and boasting that he would do so himself.
Is it unfair of me to compare Leo Varadkar's brilliant line about "coming together as a nation by staying away from each other" with Jason Leitch touring the TV studios to say that schools should definitely stay open and that mass gatherings at the weekend were totally fine?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 18, 2020
Yes. It is.— Jason Leitch (@jasonleitch) March 18, 2020
And make no mistake - Leitch didn't issue that irresponsible advice because he was unaware of how bad the situation was. He was quite open in a number of interviews that his objective was for the vast majority of the population to be infected (albeit in a managed way) to achieve population-wide immunity. That was unforgivably reckless, given how little was known about the virus at the time - not least how deadly it is and how long any immunity actually lasts after infection.
The Scottish epidemic was partly fuelled by a Nike conference on the 26th/27th February. Rather puts in perspective Jason Leitch irresponsibly advising people to go to mass gatherings as late as *mid-March*.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 11, 2020
"But...but...my Masters degree, Piers..."https://t.co/5pfD5Pu8MU
So, yes, the BBC had a point tonight - albeit only partly. But the BBC itself should be answering questions about one of its biggest-ever failures as a public service broadcaster. During the herd immunity episode, it wasn't probing the UK government about the plans to expose the bulk of the population to a deadly pathogen, it wasn't asking the obvious question: "you're going to do WHAT?" Instead, it merely acted as a dutiful relayer of the state's messaging, "explaining" to viewers what was going to happen to them - exactly as a state broadcaster would do in an authoritarian country.
Monday, May 11, 2020
As predicted, Stuart Campbell performs *another* 180 degree turn: his new case for a list-only party flatly contradicts the one he was making only a few months ago
Sunday, May 10, 2020
If Britain has ceased to look like "one United Kingdom" tonight, it's because Boris Johnson has insisted upon a go-it-alone English-only policy change, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain united around "stay at home"
If the Tories respect devolution as much as they say, can we look forward to Johnson stressing for clarity tonight that his announcements (apart maybe from any references to border controls) do not apply beyond England?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 10, 2020
Jeez. This is really not the time for a "back to work" message.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 10, 2020
If Boris Johnson wants to go out of his way to remind viewers he's Prime Minister of the UK, specifying all four nations, that's fine, but it's then incumbent on him to make clear which announcements apply to the whole UK, and which don't. He failed to do so. He sowed confusion.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 10, 2020
Just a reminder. This statement from the PM is England only. He’s just not telling you that.— Rhun ap Iorwerth (@RhunapIorwerth) May 10, 2020
Reason there's so much constitutional illiteracy is due to nonsense like that. Boris Johnson acts like he sets COVID health rules & school return dates in England, Wales, Scotland, NI - when he only has power in England. Confusion comes when those in power don't tell the truth.— Michael Gray (@GrayInGlasgow) May 10, 2020
Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC: "With the exception of Boris Johnson's comments about border control, pretty much everything he said in his statement applied to England."— Andrew Learmonth (@andrewlearmonth) May 10, 2020
At some point it'll occur to thoughtful unionists that the easiest way to keep the UK looking like "one United Kingdom" was for England to avoid embarking on a go-it-alone policy change. Bit difficult to blame Nicola Sturgeon when only England has departed from "stay at home".— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 10, 2020
Boris Johnson said tonight he was speaking as Prime Minister of a United Kingdom of four nations, but he acted as the PM of one nation - and he was even bad at that.— Adam Price (@Adamprice) May 10, 2020
The problem with tonight's address from the PM, using my wife as an example.— Dan Vevers (@DanVevers) May 10, 2020
Not to be mean, but the finer points of devolution wouldn't be her Mastermind subject.
She watched the PM and assumed all of what he was saying applied in Scotland. How many more will think the same?
Anyone with any experience of #HealthandSafetyatWork couldn’t fail to be shocked by the insouciance with which the British PM is sending people back to work. The unions in England will be busy. Thank God for a more careful approach in Scotland #COVID19 https://t.co/PAzAcEGLCc— Joanna Cherry QC (@joannaccherry) May 10, 2020
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The latest film from Phantom Power...