The lessons we learn

grocerydeliveries
Well it’s been confirmed. The UK government’s policy of herd immunity originated with Dominic Cummings, the Rasputin of the Conservative Party. According to the Sunday Time’s political editor Tim Shipman, who is extremely well connected with the uppermost levels of the Tories, the herd immunity strategy was first proposed by Cummings during a private meeting in Number 10 at the end of February. Shipman quotes those present as saying that the policy was, “herd immunity, protect the economy, and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.”

We are living with a British government which, as we feared and expected, wanted to prioritise the protection of financial interests before protecting the people. Many of us feared that the Tories would see the deaths of thousands of people as merely so much collateral damage in the real campaign this government is fighting, the campaign to ensure that the Richard Bransons, the Philip Greens, and the Jacob Rees Moggs of this world don’t see a dent in their bank accounts. We now know that those fears were not groundless. The virus doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, but the British government does. That would be those rich people who already have the resources, money, and space to save themselves.

A month ago, when the British government should have seen the writing on the covid virus wall and should have been laying the groundwork for the public health campaign to come, Number 10 hired a eugenicist – Andrew Sabisky. When Johnson said that there was a view that the UK should take it on the chin, he meant your chin and my chin, he meant your grandmother’s chin, the chin of your neighbour with COPD. He didn’t mean his own chin. He didn’t mean the chin of Jacob Rees Mogg’s financial interests.

This is the clearest evidence possible that Scotland desperately needs the ability to make its own choices and to have governments which are directly accountable to the people of Scotland. Right now there’s very little that Scotland can do to remove from power and influence a man who, as we now know, was prepared to oversee the deaths of untold numbers of people for ideological reasons. Well, I say “little”. What I really mean is bugger all. We are still hostages to half baked theories of Dominic Cummings, the non-scientist who in his arrogance thinks that he understands science better than actual scientists, and the bumbling mumbling arrogance of Boris Johnson. But hey, thank god we got rid of those unelected bureaucrats in Brussels eh eh.

The British government issued a statement today in which it denies Shipman’s report in the strongest terms. Equally anonymous sources within Number 10 are claiming that the Sunday Times report is defamatory and contains invented quotes, even though Shipman makes it clear that he’s paraphrasing certain conversations, presumably in order to protect the anonymity of his sources. The problem that the British government has is that we all saw and heard Boris Johnson talk about herd immunity. We all saw and heard the British government’s change of tack. We all see and hear the confusion and mixed messages coming from the British government and its intense reluctance to impose the kind of strategies which we see in other European nations, or even more so those in East Asia which have a proven effectiveness in preventing the spread of the infection.

It took weeks, during which the virus gained a foothold amongst the population, before the British government saw the error of Cummings’ ways. The herd immunity strategy has now been abandoned, but it may be too late. Untold thousands of people have been needlessly put at risk because a more sensible strategy was not adopted sooner. Yet the UK is still behind. This is a failure of government which is many many orders of magnitude greater than the who knew what and when gossiping about the Alex Salmond trial that consumes certain sections of Scottish politics. This isn’t just about reputations. This is about life and death.

We see how Scotland is regarded as a bolt hole for better off people to come and self isolate themselves for the duration of this crisis, without a care or a thought about their impact upon fragile local communities. The news that a property company was advertising expensive cottages on Skye, that 30 camper vans were turned away from a campsite near Fort William, or the feature article in the Daily Mail extolling the glorious isolation of Jura tell us all we need to know about Scotland’s role in the eyes of this so called United Kingdom. Scotland already has the greatest inequality in land ownership in Europe. Our land is hoarded by the rich like so much toilet paper. We’re a resource to be exploited for the benefit of people who know nothing about us and who care even less.

These developments have led to calls from some for the Scottish government to adopt the same measures adopted by certain other European nations, and to close the border to everyone except those who live here. Irrespective of whether that’s a good idea or not, the point is that the Scottish government doesn’t have the legal authority to do so. The Scottish government cannot prevent the English gutter press telling its readers to consider Scotland as a bolt holt. The Scottish government can’t prevent people driving over the border in camper vans, intent on sitting out the epidemic in a rural part of Scotland where the health service and local grocery shops are already overstretched. We are, whether we like it or not, subject to the overarching policies of the British government. The Scottish government could certainly do more, and I have no doubt that it will over the coming days and weeks, but it has limited freedom of action.

For the time being the priority is to stay at home, to shop responsibly, to wash your hands, to think about the needs of others. This storm will pass. This trial will end. These tribulations will calm down. And when they do, that is the time for debating what sort of country we want this to be. Do we want this to be a country which cares for its citizens equally and without favour, or a country which prioritises the interests of the wealthy. Do we want to remain under the control of a government in Westminster which we cannot hold to account, or does a major health crisis teach us that the need for accountable government is the only way in which democracy can be defended. Scotland can only be safe, can only be a place which prioritises the needs of its citizens over the greed of the rich, when it has the full powers of an independent state. Sadly, this is a lesson that we’re learning the hard way.


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108 comments on “The lessons we learn

  1. Ex Pat says:

    “HELLO FROM HEREFORD !” PART DEUX

    Overlooking a terrace at Schloss Chillingham, Northumberland, somewhere in Englandshire.
    “Target acquired. Permission to take the shot?”
    “Negative, I say again negative. Abort. There are now several targets; the Principals, not Bozo and his catamite.”
    “Roger that.”
    “Er, Preferably not !”

    – ‘Rogue Whale (Er, Male. Bozo, geddit? Ed.) –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zt8mT4K2zU

    Meanwhile, back at HQ: “Forget the UK’s Brexcretins. The principals – high party members of the (US Republicans Overseas) Reich – have returned to the Homeland. Your revised targets are those Principals – the ones behind the errand boy and the fat one !”

    …Three days later: On a (US Neo-Con) Nazi Empire military base – “If you try any preversions in there I’ll blow your head off !” / “You’ll have to answer to the Coca Cola company for that.” @ 3:22 – ‘Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to love the US Neo-Con Nazi Empire (Er, Bomb? Ed.) –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAK7t3Lf8s

    Because… Real life is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense. ; )

    Incidentally you may have noticed some mice of the UK’s _entirely_controlled_ UK Muppet Stream Media have finally had a very tiny go at some of the Tory Rats ™. A bit late you might think. Especially after three years of the UK’s Brexit Tufton Street US Neo-Con-led destruction of the UK. And you’ld be right.

    SO. Do they deserve any credit? Er, NO !! TOO LATE. Or hard luck, “£$ Off !

    • Ex Pat says:

      JOHN PILGER

      UK’S _ENTIRELY_CONTROLLED_ MUPPET STREAM MEDIA

      “Compliant journalists in the UK, US, Australia suppressed the significance of the outrage of the #Assange trial: the obscene bias, the studied cruelty. Is this the press freedom we are fighting for? The Guardian’s deceit about its role in unredacted cables shames real journalism.”

      Where is Julian Assange when you need him? Oh yes, banged up for journalism – real journalism. Memo to self – should have given a damn while still had the chance. TOO LATE NOW. Or ‘hard luck “£$ Off !’ ?

      NHS

      ‘The NHS crisis is the product of a political and media construct known as “austerity”, with its deceitful, weasel language of “efficiency savings” (the BBC term for slashing public expenditure) and “hard choices” (the wilful destruction of the premises of civilised life in modern Britain).’

      ‘”Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a rich country with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its people. The resources that would comfortably fund the National Health Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to avoid and evade billions in taxes.’

      MEDIA LENS

      ‘In Britain, just one website offers consistently independent media criticism. This is the remarkable Media Lens – remarkable partly because its founders and editors as well as its only writers, David Edwards and David Cromwell, since 2001 have concentrated their gaze not on the usual suspects, the Tory press, but the paragons of reputable liberal journalism: the BBC, the Guardian, Channel 4 News.

      ‘Their method is simple. Meticulous in their research, they are respectful and polite when they ask why a journalist why he or she produced such a one-sided report, or failed to disclose essential facts or promoted discredited myths.’

      _All_ from _one_ article – ‘Hold the Front Page. The Reporters are Missing’, by John Pilger, 20th September 2018 – John Pilger.com

      http://johnpilger.com/

      John Pilger twitter –

      https://twitter.com/johnpilger

      Media Lens –

      https://www.medialens.org/

      • ArtyHetty says:

        Thing is, ‘Britain’ is not a country. This is where thing get really weird and dystopian. Scotland is a prisoner, has been for 300+ years, it’s tragic.
        Pilger is an excellent journalist, puts others who tow dodgy regimes’ lines ( incldg UK) to shame.

  2. grizebard says:

    Hmmm. Remember when one of the big scare issues we were going to have to deal with in indyref2 was the question of a “hard border”?

    How times have changed…

  3. Stuart MacKay says:

    Excellent stuff thuogh

  4. Stuart MacKay says:

    .. fat fingers on the keyboard, oops

    > It took weeks, during which the virus gained a foothold amongst the population, before the British government saw the error of Cummings’ ways.

    You’re being way too generous Paul. Clearly the British Government saw the “herd immunity” position as the best option and a defensible one too until they were forced to see the error of their ways. It’s the same debate that’s being held in America right now: the economy vs the old, except it’s not phrased as exactly that choice.

    The only surprising thing is that suddenly there is so much concern for low wage earners and those with precarious employment options where none was visible before.

    The only unsurprising thing however were that captains of industry and promoters of that entrepreneurial spirit such as Richard Branson were lightning quick in putting their hands out when there was the possibility of government handouts – funny that.

    With plenty of time at home, with little distraction, now is the best time to be thinking about the world you want once this is all over.

  5. Paul Martin says:

    Population immunity is not a new idea. It is essentially a flu. Albeit a new version but as flu goes, you catch it, you get over it, unless you die. That’s flu.
    I’m not making excuses but fur fucksake, be realistic.

  6. Paul Martin says:

    Italy had it bad during the Black Plague five hunner odd year ago. We need docs with beaks.

  7. Ken2 says:

    The Times. Falling out with Johnston. Murdoch already sacked him for telling lies.

    The 80+ year old Barclay brothers getting worried. The Telegraph. Self isolating on their island. Stock, shares going down. Businesses going down.

    The Tories turning socialist, or a catch to it. Another agenda.

  8. Ken2 says:

    Pneumonia

  9. Wee Chid says:

    Maybe this would be the time for local shopkeepers to say, when handed English notes, “Sorry mate, can’t take that – it’s not legal tender here.”

  10. Ken2 says:

    There is a flu vaccine

    • lexi says:

      There is also a pneumonia vaccine. . I’ve had 2 over 5 years now. . Supposed to be good for 5 years

      • Skintybroko says:

        Hi Lexi the vaccine is for Bacterial Pneumonia not Viral Pneumonia which is what we appear to be getting from COVID-19 so heed advice, and stay safe

  11. Ex Pat says:

    TORY POLICY OUTED

    With the successful example of China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and with the rest of Europe following the WHO’s ‘Suppression’ guidelines, the UK’s policy was untenable and became more so by the day, as these countries’s successes were more and more visible. Especially when compared to the apocalyptic death toll in Italy, with Spain following.

    The reason the British government changed tack was that their policy was outed, and nothing else.

    Not because ‘the science changed’. It didn’t. Not because ‘they realised their error’. We know they knew exactly what would happen because they told us! With an expected 480,000 possible deaths – 1% of 80% of 66 million.They, or, we hope, just some of them, didn’t care. It suited them. These are the liars and shysters of Brexit. How stupid do they think we a… Wait, we resemble that remark.

    Were it not for the success of China, followed by the Korea, Singaport and Hong Kong, we would not be having this discussion. We would undoubtedly be ‘taking it on the chin’. We still will, to some extent, because of the unconscionable delay.

    See John Pilger for details of the failings of the US Muppet Stream Media mice – so-called reporters. He also covers Covid19 on his website.

    – ‘Hold the front page. The reporters are missing’, by John Pilger, 20th September 2018 – John Pilger.com –

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/hold-the-front-page-the-reporters-are-missing

    • Petra says:

      As usual a brilliant article from Pilger. I see that he recommends the book “Propaganda Blitz”. I checked it out and it includes a section on Indyref1 and the NHS. Now on my list of ‘have to get my hands’ books.

  12. James Mills says:

    While I agree , Paul , about the source of this ‘solution ‘ to the virus ( herd immunity ) I am also concerned that our so called top medical people seemed complicit in pushing this message for so long . Did they really believe in this course of action – or were they more concerned with maintaining their positions within Government ?

  13. Hamish100 says:

    Now that Island communities will be protected by incomers coming over by ferry I will need to fly to Cumbrae—— what no airfield? Can we expect a baby boom?

  14. Mark Russell says:

    Spent my one-hour-per-day online allocation with Politics Scotland. Fiona Hyslop and Brew Dog were discussing the plight of most people now who find themselves unemployed and without ay money. It was suggested that Universal Credit was the way forward, possibly supplemented by the SG’s welfare hardship fund, but no one was sure how accessible welfare was and how quickly it could be distributed….

    Ms Hyslop and Brew Dog may have their salary paid for another month or two, but by then it won’t mean anything anyway. Money can’t by you anything if there’s nothing on the shelves and nobody making anything to sell. I wish they had kept the old notes instead of the new shiny ones. At least they were absorbent.

    And poor little Dougas Ross. A plea to many survivors of this….if in future, there is an adolescent little scroat who behaves like this idiot once did, a Solds Bridle welded in place, should be the first consideration. It was a waste of an hour. Or however long it ran – but then it always was.

    We should have turned them off years ago…

  15. Petra says:

    I see that Calmac won’t be taking anyone to the Scottish islands other than residents. Good for them.

  16. Welsh Sion says:

    Translations courtesy of Google Translate and WS:

    Coronavirus: Scottish police can force locations to close

    22 March 2020 at 16:51

    Police Scotland will be able to force pubs and any other licensed premises to close their doors from today (Sunday, March 22).

    It is part of a series of measures being introduced in response to the coronavirus.

    On Friday (March 20), licensed entertainment venues were urged to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    Police are applauding the large number of licensed premises that have complied with the advice to close so far, but a small minority have refused to do so until they are legally required to.

    These licensed venues include pubs, clubs, restaurants and gyms.

    Authorities say failure to comply puts the lives of customers and the wider community at risk.

    With the new powers, Police Scotland will be able to force locations to close for 24 hours if they refuse to comply with the advice given.

    There is no limit to how many times the police can order venues to close their doors if they continue to ignore the order, and any location that breaches the order will be referred to the Licensing Board.

    416 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, and ten people have died.

    Source: https://golwg360.cymru/newyddion/prydain/565294-coronafeirws-gall-heddlur-alban-orfodi-lleoliadau

    _____________________

    Extension of ‘eviction’ legislation to homes in Wales

    22 March 2020 at 16:39 Updated at 16:39

    British legislation to prevent evictions from social or privately rented properties will be extended to Wales.

    The announcement comes from Housing Minister Julie James.

    In order to avoid worries among tenants, landlords will not be allowed to sue for eviction for at least three months.

    And a three month grace period to pay off a mortgage will be extended to landlords whose tenants are facing financial difficulties due to the virus.

    ‘Protecting tenants and landlords’

    “We are taking action to protect tenants and landlords affected by the coronavirus,” said Julie James.
    .
    “While it is right that tenants in Wales are benefiting from this measure, we need to do more to address the background issue of possession notices being issued in the first place.

    “We will continue to do all we can to support tenants in Wales.

    “It is vital that no one who rents in Wales is forced out of their home during these difficult and unprecedented times.

    “These measures will ease the pressure on landlords to meet mortgage payments and further reduce the pressure on tenants as a result.”

    Source: https://golwg360.cymru/newyddion/cymru/565291-ymestyn-deddfwriaeth-troi-allan-gartrefi-gymru

  17. Cubby says:

    An excellent presentation today by Nicola Sturgeon, Jeanne Freeman and Catherine Calderwood. A strong and clear message delivered by all three.

  18. Thepnr says:

    Paul all your recent articles on this have been very good and for me at least have struck the right note. Some commenters, thankfully few in number haven’t really grasped yet how serious this really is.

    Thanks for the informative posts and I can only hope that some of the message will get through to those most hard of hearing or just pig-ignorant. We’ve never had a situation that was more serious to the lives of people in the world since the 2nd world war.

    Those ignoring the message are endangering their parents and grandparents. Idiots.

  19. Ex Pat says:

    JOHN PILGER

    ‘A pandemic is declared, but not for the starving, the preventable sick, the blockaded, the bombed’, by John Pilger, 12th March 2020 – John Pilger.com –

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/a-pandemic-is-declared-but-not-for-the-starving-the-preventable-sick-the-blockaded-the-bombed

    SOCIOPATHIC LEADERS

    The reason you don’t pick the sociopath to lead you is not because government may not have to make terrible choices. Life-or-death choices. They may. That is their job. It is because a normal person will agonise over those choices and will consider them extremely carefully; they will consult, will listen to advice, will try every alternative first and they will lose a lot of sleep. They care. Even if they are a surgeon who has to utterly suppress their feelings in the operating theatre. Which you want.

    The sociopath, or the psychopath, on the other hand, doesn’t care. They do not have feelings. They cannot feel; that is the problem. That is why they are best kept in Broadmoor and not in Number 10.

    There are numerous people to share the blame in Whitehall; those who proposed the UK’s policy, those who proselytized for it, those who kept quiet, those who were aware of the implications but did not feel the need to share them with the UK peasants (us). And the gutless mice of the UK Muppet Stream Media who have been too busy taking their paychecks and expenses to ever actually do the job of a journalist; to speak truth to power, or even to (ever) query, the politicians.

    God forbid they should be a relentless rabble-rousing muckraker like the admirable and redoubtable John Pilger – a vital asset of _ours_ at times like these, forcing accountability on our leaders.

    This is undoubtedly a battle within Whitehall between the ‘normals’ and the ‘sociopaths’. Or perhaps between the ‘more normal’ versus the ‘more sociopath’, since, we all have a shadow side, says psychiatrist C.G. Jung; better to recognise it; best not give in to it completely!?

    It was not just one Spad, however much you are encouraged to see him as hate figure. A nice man? Probably not. But not the arch-fiend he’s painted either. It was a collective action. Just like the Germans 1933-1945.

    As psychiatrist C.G. Jung tells us in ‘The Postwar Psychic Problems of the Germans’ in Jung Speaking. “If you think that it was just a couple of bad actors in the Party, and that the Wehrmacht had nothing to do with it, then I can’t help you. They (the German people) _all_ knew what was going on at some level.”

    As did the British people about the up to 3m dead Iraqis from Gulf War 1 – Kuwait followed by the murderous USUK sanctions and then Gulf War 2. Plus the tens or hundreds of thousands more, in Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, and on and on. Why else would the UK collectively elect the shysters of Brexit? They knew what was going on. At some level.

    “Only if they admit their guilt can they be cured. ‘Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa’ and the grace of divine forgiveness is not only on a spiritual truth, but also a pschological truth.” Paraphrased.

    SO. Maybe don’t vote for Bozo the Clown and the “That’s enough about Me, what can you do for Me?” sociopathic Tory party next time, eh?

  20. Bob Lamont says:

    Good summary, spot on conclusion….
    “Herd-Immunity” may no longer be the official policy “title” but minimal and delayed action has accomplished the first objective of it, widespread infection. Whether it was Cummings brainchild or not is now superfluous, this has been deliberately done to the British people by it’s own Government.
    It’s about to go from Oh to Shit very quickly… Stay safe all…

  21. I Wright says:

    “The Scottish government can’t prevent people driving over the border in camper vans, intent on sitting out the epidemic in a rural part of Scotland where the health service and local grocery shops are already overstretched.”

    It seems to me Schedules 18, 20 and 21 of the Coronavirus Bill will give the Scottish Government powers to, amongst other things, control movement of people for the purpose of health protection.

  22. eullie says:

    Scottish government doesn’t have the legal authority to do so.

    THEN JUST BLOODY TAKE AUTHORITY. FOR GOODNESS SAKE STAND UP FOR US. I can’t take any mote of this constant humiliation.

  23. Chicmac says:

    Having just heard that, in England, they are planning to send letters to the identified vulnerable I felt duty bound to post the following thoughts for consideration.

    If they are going to send the vulnerable a letter, I hope they have appropriate mail handling instructions in red on the cover. Disclaimer, I am not an expert in virus avoidance but I am an ex semiconductor engineer and have over that career often had to carefully specify procedures for cleanliness.

    So here is what I am doing.

    If the mail is not urgent put it aside unopened for at least 24 hours. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Covid 2 is claimed to be dead on paper after 24 hours. If there is plastic wrapping or contents it should be quarantined for 72 hours.

    If, like the NHS England letter, you need to open it immediately use scissors rather than ripping it. Remove contents gently and do not wave them about. You are trying not to dislodge any covid viruses and render them airborn. After reading the contents put it aside with the other quarantined mail and then wash your hands thoroughly.

    Even after opening quarantined mail, still observe handling precautions and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.

    Same goes for parcels, if not urgent, quarantine. If they need to be opened, do so with care. Quarantine wrapping, disinfect retained contents before further handling. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

    Delivery people visit many doors with letterboxes and stairwells with bannisters and the contents themselves may have been handled less than 72 hours before arrival.

    It is up to you reading this if it seems sensible or not, just trying to help.

  24. deelsdugs says:

    Let me just say…I think this has been around a wee bit longer than the ‘first-tested positive case’. My 89 year old mum was admitted to hospital on Hogmanay, she had been unwell since the middle of December. Asthma was then turned into COPD (mum was a smoker, stopped when she was fifty), according to the medical profession. A test was done, she had a ‘flu-virus’. She could not breathe. After ten days in hospital, she was sent home, but went to my sister’s, as she has a downstairs loo and bedroom, so no stairs to struggle with.
    At this point, I will add, my mum was a fit 89 year old who could still drive and was helping her older, 93 year old sister with her early dementia and rectal prolapse.
    My mum however, still struggled to breathe, although she started to regain a bit of her normal strength and looked more like herself. She returned to her own home after a doctor’s appointment on the Monday, February 3rd. Other sister lives next door and niece lives in with her granny.
    Friday, February 7th, my mum died, in her chair, at home.

    My point is, was this covid 19 and nobody knew? A flu-virus was confirmed but not a named strain. This all came about at the same time as the Wuhan story broke, although there had been a small inclusion in some rag in December, maybe the Guardian? It may well be coincidental, and it could be my dear mum had another flu- virus, either way, her lungs were seriously damaged and this killed her. So, get a grip with the glib comment that ‘people die from flu’ silly Paul Martin. People live, people die, that is a fact of life. But, to witness reasonably healthy, much loved elders struggling to breathe because a flu virus has taken over their lungs is not something to be turned into personal point scoring.

    A generation of a family is nearly extinct. Dear auntie, last one from five, is coming up ninety four and is behind locked doors in a care home. Which, is good, believe me.

    Is this a ‘natural selection?’ Who knows. I am asthmatic, reasonably active, non-smoker and under 60, just, but nevertheless it’s a worry of a time.

    I also wish selfish gits would stop the stockpiling, it’s a frenzy of greed. And the campervans, quite simply, need to piss off back to their own driveways.

    Thank you for being you Paul. Having dogs makes us better people for sure.

  25. Legerwood says:

    This is for anyone with teenage children or grandchildren.

    On Friday my husband and I went for our usual afternoon walk – keeping our 2 metre or more distance from anyone we met. In the local park we noticed a group of about 10-15 High School pupils with more joining them. No doubt arranging the get together via social media but completely ignoring the social distancing instructions.

    When we got home I turned on the TV and cought part of the press briefing delivered by the Director General of WHO. The section I caught is copied below. It was even more forceful seeing it ‘live’.

    From the Statement given by the Director-General on 20th March 2020.
    “”One of the things we are learning is that although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.
    Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

    Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.

    Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.
    I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.

    As I keep saying, solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19 – solidarity between countries, but also between age groups.
    Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity.””

    https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—20-march-2020

    I suspect it may have been this statement that informed to a greater or lesser extent Ms Sturgeon’s announcement today that senior pupils should not go into school on Monday to complete assignments etc.

    Early data from Italy has shown that the majority of people in ICU beds, just shy of two-thirds, are UNDER 70 years old of those 12% are in the 19-50 age group and often present with more complex cases. See link below:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/16/resume-covid-19-testing-protect-frontline-nhs-staff

    So people of all ages should start getting serious about distancing themselves especially the ones cramming in to supermarkets.

    • Chicmac says:

      Unfortunately, Italy has ran out of ICU capacity and has invoked a policy of not assigning ICU beds to over 70s. I think that is the more likely explanation for more under 70 folk being in ICU than the inference that over 70s are not the major death risk problem.

      The discussion documents seen from the UK Government are talking about a triage split at the age of 65 if ICU capacity is exceeded.

      This virus has been remarkable in that unlike previous epidemics the very young have not also been susceptible. Last time I checked, no child under 10 has died, which is a great relief to parents.

      However the other anomaly for this virus is that it has mutated from a less aggressive strain to a more aggressive strain (L and S strains) which is counter to the normal progression where viruses usually evolve to less aggressive strains.

      Also, we have the recent examples of an 18 year old with no known health issues dying in England and a 16 year old fighting for his life in the Netherlands.

      • Chicmac says:

        Let me rewrite that third last paragraph.

        This virus has been remarkable in that unlike previous epidemics the very young have been less susceptible. Last time I checked, no child under 10 has died, which is a great relief to parents.

      • Legerwood says:

        Chicmac,
        The data was taken from the early days of the outbreak in Italy before the system was totally overwhelmed. The outcome for the over 70s is more severe but the illness in those under 70 is no less serious requiring as it does an extended period in hospital and who knows what lingering after effects on their health.

        The warning to young people from the DG of WHO comes from someone who has an overview of all the outbreaks.

        Yes the very, very young seem to be affected in smaller numbers but people should guard against complacency.

        The evidence for the two strains, one agressive and one less so, is questionable.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/2236544-coronavirus-are-there-two-strains-and-is-one-more-deadly/

        From the article:
        “”The differences between the two identified strains are tiny. In fact, they can’t really be considered to be separate “strains”, says Jones. And many of the genetic differences won’t affect the production of proteins, and so won’t change the way the virus works, or the symptoms it causes, he says. One is not more deadly than the other.

        “In all practical terms, the virus is as it was when it originally emerged,” says Jones. “There’s no evidence it is getting any worse.” The sentiment is echoed by the World Health Organization. The study by Tang and colleagues only suggests there is some genetic diversity of the virus – it doesn’t mean it is changing, a representative told New Scientist.””

        • Chicmac says:

          You are right, positive cases have been fairly evenly spread but even back then mortalities were nearly 90% over the age of 70.

          Worryingly there does seem to be a recent increase in younger folk dying. Hopefully that is just down to a more robust system for younger people holding out a bit longer and not indicative of a change in virus characteristics.

          As for L/S thing, I already read the quote above when I was reading up on it. There are several research articles on it, most of the ones I found accepted a difference and about half of them that L, the later one, was more aggressive than S the earlier one. This is unusual because usually later strains which let their hosts spread infection more before becoming immobile become predominant by infecting and immunizing more people to the more aggressive version.

          In the case of L&S there has been one man who was found to be infected by both, a worrying possibility being that infection by one does not immunize against the other. However, there is a good possibility he was infected by both at the same time, before his immune system got going.

  26. Petra says:

    The latest announcement from Nicola Sturgeon. Not the one that Legerwood has just mentioned I hasten to add, lol. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4izGLdBAeY

    • Legerwood says:

      LOL
      You so and so. I .clicked on that wondering what I had missed.

    • JoMax says:

      Well, Petra, if like me you have had to ‘desist’ from visiting certain other sites to keep your blood pressure in check, you might be interested to know that having broken my own rules and had a brief look in on one just now (not WoS), Ms Sturgeon is apparently now in step with Boris Johnson in creating a fascist state, that’s when she’s not busy working for MI5.

      My elderly mind, awash with concerns about viruses and trying to cope with self isolation while working out how to carry on with life’s normal issues which require my urgent attention and thus make not going out for many weeks a major problem, cannot now even visit blogs which were set up to discuss my country’s future without feeling I’ve gone to hell! Thank goodness for WGD.

      • Petra says:

        Snap JoMax. The online Unionists, some from Scotland and many no doubt from England and even further afield, are going hell for leather in trying to bring Nicola Sturgeon down. Sad thing about it is that I’ve followed a number of fairly intelligent, genuine independence supporters for years now who are being duped with the barrage of tommyrot that’s now flooding social media. Some key bloggers, in fact, are at the forefront of this attack on Nicola Sturgeon / the SNP and think that they can do and say what they like with impunity from prosecution, however they may be in for a shock when things settle down as she / they have 3 years to issue lawsuits.

        And you are right to say thank goodness for WGD. He’s proven to be the voice of reason, one of a diminishing number, in a world that seems to have gone mad. When we get over this crisis, I’m sure that support for Independence will rise and we’ll see ourselves living in an Independent Scotland with people like Paul taking over from erses like Toodleoothenoo. The sinister individuals who have been at the forefront of trying to destroy our cause will, in conjunction with our Independence, disappear like snaw aff a dyke. I was also talking to some colleagues recently, behavioural scientists, who reckon that a full case study of WoS would be of great interest. Say no more on that one for the time being. Anyway take care folks, follow the advice and don’t forget that by caring for ourselves and considering each other, especially the vulnerable, we’ll get through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel … called freedom.

      • Valkyrie says:

        This. Definitely this.

        A very good friend of mine used to be an every-day regular on Wings back in the campaigning days pre-2014. He’d taken a break for a while due to depression, but last year suggested I check it out for the current state of the campaign.
        Yeah, he was kind of shocked to see what had happened to it while he’d been away, to put it mildly. So he quickly amended his previous suggestion to “stay away from there. Try Wee Ginger Dug instead.”

        Liking it here so far. Seems much more open-minded and less… ‘ranty’. (Or at least the rants are amusing and don’t make me feel like I’m the only reader not wearing a tinfoil hat!)

  27. Petra says:

    Taken from WOS site. Audible are making hundreds of their books free to listen to during this crisis. It looks as though most of them are for children but there are some there for adults too. No signing in. Just click and listen.

    https://stories.audible.com/discovery

  28. Daisy Walker says:

    Really good article Paul. The general language and attitude from England towards Scotland is that of ownership and ‘leibensraum’ – in order to do that of course, it is in their interests to prevent Scotland’s economy doing well and Scottish people being around to profit and thrive in their own country.

    When it comes to self interest, it is amazing how unconscious and instinctive it can be on an individual and a collective level.

  29. Bill Dale says:

    Look up Professor Allyson Pollock on the Full Scottish. Broadcast on Sunday at noon. She gives a comprehensive review of the situation and what needs to be done. Note, she is a public health expert. Please listen to her and lobby your representatives for action.

  30. Bill Dale says:

    Thanks Petra, and here is the link to Professor Pollock’s letter to the Scottish Government.

    https://www.allysonpollock.com/?page_id=2906

    • Petra says:

      Thanks for that link to Allyson Pollock’s letter, Bill. Damning for the UK Government and I would say just highlights, once again, the lack of powers that our Government has to do it’s best to protect our people. For example, I doubt that we’ve got the numbers of personnel required to carry out extensive contact tracing and testing and unlike countries such as Singapore can’t recruit the army to do so, which would have been ideal, imo, and of course perfectly feasible to implement in an Independent Scotland. God if there was ever a time that demonstrated, that it’s not just crucial but an absolute life versus death imperative to get out of this bl**dy Union now, this must be it. However we know what will happen when it’s over. Westminster and it’s BBC lackeys (et al) will spread the word (instead of the virus) that it was English money that saved those Scots who didn’t succumb to the virus.

      ‘COVID-19 – letter to Scottish Government, 21 March 2020.’

      …It is important to note that many areas in Scotland and elsewhere have a low number of cases and so at this stage by taking an area approach to vigorous and meticulous contact tracing and testing it should be possible to contain the disease – in Singapore, the BBC reports that the army has been called in to help with this.”..

      ..”I urge the Scottish government immediately to institute a massive centrally-coordinated, locally-based contact tracing and testing programme; and to discuss with local authorities, health boards, trade unions, public health and communicable disease control experts, schools and colleges and universities how this tried-and-tested classic approach would, with other measures, enable the blanket school closure decision to be modified in favour of a locally-based strategy.

      Scotland has been a pioneer for public health measures – it is important to reassert its expertise.”

      ………………………….

      The latest links from indyref2 site.

      https://indyref2.space/forum/topic/links-monday-23-march-2020/

  31. Macart says:

    Another timely post Paul.

    Be safe folks and be sensible. We might have to self isolate, but we can still stay in touch online.

  32. Mark Russell says:

    At least Alex Salmond will be going home tonight, thankfully. It’s a crime that Julian Assange can’t do the same. Let’s hope those in power will have a little compassion in the next day or so.

  33. James Cheyne says:

    Has Alex salmond just been acquitted of all sexual charges, if correct this is very good news,

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Cut and paste from the Guardian – so I don’t have to tag the full article:

      “Alex Salmond acquitted of all charges in sexual assault trial

      Ex-first minister of Scotland cleared of 12 charges of attempted rape and sexual assaults, and not proven on one”

      • graemedbruce says:

        And from the BBC –

        Alex Salmond has been cleared of sexual assaulting nine women while he was Scotland’s first minister.
        A jury found the former SNP leader not guilty on 12 of the sexual assault charges facing him, while another was found not proven.
        A further charge of sexually assaulting a 10th woman had previously been dropped by prosecutors.
        Mr Salmond had said he was innocent of all the charges against him throughout the two-week trial.
        He told the court that the claims made about his alleged conduct were “deliberate fabrications for a political purpose” or “exaggerations”.
        The jury returned not guilty verdicts on 12 charges and returned a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape.

  34. Arthur Thomson says:

    A huge weight has been lifted off me with the acquittal of Alex. He and his family will sleep better tonight. Anyone who has been wrongfully accused knows the absolute horror of such an experience.

  35. An innocent man.
    “Speaking outside court after his acquittal, Mr Salmond told journalists: “As many of you will know, there is certain evidence I would have liked to have seen led in this trial but for a variety of reasons we were not able to do so.

    “At some point, that information, that facts and that evidence will see the light of day.”

    The worm has turned.
    ‘jounalists outside the court’, the ‘many’ who ‘know’, can now act like real journalists, and reveal the truth behind this extraordinary ‘smelly’ escapade.

    Do the witnesses for the prosecution retain their anonymity?

  36. Simon Taylor says:

    The Salmond trial is over.
    It’s now time to put the Scottish MSM on trial.
    I hope Alec Salmond sues The Herald for its borderline defamation of him via the infamous likening to Manson, Hitler et al. a few weeks back. Other publications and news outlets should also watch their backs

  37. Welsh Sion says:

    A big round of applause and claps on the back to us all on here for not saying anything prejudicial during the court case and leading to its collapse.

    Oh how the yoons wanted Alex’s scalp and/or the rest of us going off our heads and criticising legal procedures! He leaves the courtroom, is character untarnished – I can not say that for the rogues’ gallery that make up the mainstream media in Scotland.

  38. Hamish100 says:

    Tatu 3 – wings is as low as it has ever been recently. Wishes to split the SNP . All you have to do is look at the new wingers comments. Most folk I know just look at it and shake their head. I am glad AS is found not guilty. I am not happy that he behaved in the way he did behind his wife’s back. Sad to see that. The civil servant concerned must be sacked.

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