The Tory perversion of science costs lives

scienceasideology
The only good thing about the British Government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic is that at least we don’t have Donald Trump in charge. That’s how low the bar has to be set, and even then it’s debatable because Donald Trump at least turns up for government press conferences. Johnson is already the worst Prime Minister the UK has ever had and he’s only been in the job for a few months. We’ve got another four and a half years of his destructiveness to look forward to.

This week a major promise that Johnson had repeatedly made last year was exposed as a lie. Despite assurances to the contrary, there will after all be checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. There will indeed be that border in the Irish Sea which Theresa May and Johnson both swore blind to the DUP wasn’t going to happen. In normal circumstance that would be a major political crisis all by itself, right now it’s scarcely been noticed. When Boris Johnson is burning down the house you don’t really notice that his pants are on fire.

Ruth Davidson put in an appearance on Sky News on Wednesday, and even she studiously avoided giving an answer when asked whether it was the Scottish Government or the British Government which had handled the crisis better. She still managed to get some SNPbad in there, because this is the woman whose sole policy ever has been opposition to independence, but it was noticeable that she didn’t reflexively praise her Tory colleagues in Westminster. What people don’t say is often more revealing than what they do. When the cheerleaders of the Precioussss Union™ aren’t willing to get out the ra-ra skirts and pom-poms, Westminster has a very big problem. Their UK is not OK, and they suffer from an existential dread that it’s going to get a lot worse for them. They can see the writing on the wall, and it says Johnson is a bawbag. The British Government’s policy is now basically – Calm down everyone, it’s all going marvellously! Don’t blame us, that would be premature and unfair. But look over there – scientists!

And the death toll mounts. The real number of people who have died from the virus in the UK is now in excess of 54,500 according to the Office of National Statistics. This is the number of ‘excess deaths’ since the epidemic started. The figure is 20,000 higher than the total announced daily by the British Government, which only counts people who have had positive tests for the virus. Many of those who pass away from Covid-19 never receive a test.  Using a somewhat different model, the Financial Times estimates that the true number of those who have died from the virus in the UK now exceeds 60,000.  The only booming part of the British economy just now is the funeral industry.

Throughout most of this, the Prime Minister has been missing in action. On Wednesday we had a rare sighting on the lesser spotted Johnson as our part time Prime Minister put in a reluctant appearance in the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions. He only turns up for that because he’s contractually obliged, but it’s obvious from the face he wears like a burst balloon that his heart isn’t really in it. Deprived of the hoots, jeers, cheers, and brays from the serried ranks of incontinent monkeys on the Tory backbenches behind him, the experience no longer delivers the hit of adulation that the energy vampire Johnson requires. Since he’s already managed to suck even most of the British media dry of any enthusiasm for his government, that was pretty much all he had left to feed the desperate need for praise which fills the space where normal people have a soul. Without it he’s left like a crushed empty plastic bottle, fnaugh fnaughing its way along the gutter.

It was so bad that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had to perform an emergency heckle transfusion when Labour leader Keir Starmer pressed Johnson on when the long anticipated test and trace scheme will be operational. It wasn’t much. It was like a junkie in withdrawal finding a tiny trace of smack on the back of a spoon, not enough to take the edge off things, but it was all that Johnson had on offer to assuage the cold turkey of his ego. The reality is that the UK is coming out of lockdown exactly as it entered it. At the wrong time, unprepared, and in a confused and incoherent way.

Yesterday the British Government told us that there had been “a bit too much focus on the app”. Just like previously there had been too much focus on Dyson’s ventilators, on the PPE that was arriving from Turkey, the 100,000 daily tests, or the staying alert slogan. The signs are that the much vaunted app is going to go the same way. Developers are still trying to iron out problems in the test program being carried out in the Isle of Wight as the Director of Liberty warned that using the app would mean citizens turning over a vast amount of personal data to a government with an appalling track record on confidentiality and privacy. The app is central to the UK’s plans for contact tracing, but it seems that it won’t be ready until June at the earliest – after the date that the British Government announced that children in England should return to school. We’re in this mess now because the British Government made the wrong decision early on to abandon testing and tracing. Now we’re trying to play catch up as the death toll grows and the virus is established throughout the UK.

Without a proper system in place for testing, tracking, and isolation, experts have warned that the UK is at a very high risk of having to go into a second lockdown in order to bring a fresh outbreak of the virus under control. Writing in the Guardian a few days ago, public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar warned that the UK is facing a high risk of a second wave of infections. Experts at University College Dublin have also warned that the UK is coming out of lockdown prematurely. Sean L’Estrange, a social scientist who has specialised in the study of tracing, said that it was “recklessly premature” for the UK to loosen its lockdown restrictions, adding “I honestly fear [the level of cases in the UK] will go up fast in the coming weeks.” See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/19/recklessly-premature-experts-fear-johnson-jumped-gun-by-easing-coronavirus-lockdown-rules-before-varadkar

Unlike the UK, Ireland is loosening its lockdown restrictions when new cases of the virus have declined to just 11% of the peak in late April. In England, new infections are running at an approximate 75% of the peak rate in late April/early May. Meanwhile in Ireland the systems for tracing and contacting are in a much better state of readiness than those in the UK.

Meanwhile Professor John Edmunds, a specialist in infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told the House of Lords science committee on Tuesday that the British Government’s decision to reopen schools in England was not a scientific decision, but rather a political one.

Perhaps the most damning assessement comes from the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal.  (See https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1932) It says that the UK’s response to the biggest public health crisis since the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 has been too little, too late, and too flawed. In an editorial the respected medical journal slates a the British Government which ignored warnings and did not take the necessary remedial steps. The Government abandoned the World Health Organisation’s standard containment approach of find, test, treat, and isolate, which has worked well in countries that have successfully suppressed viral spread. Unlike almost every other state, the UK continued to permit unrestricted entry via ports and airports. At the same time, the UK permitted what the BMJ calls “a reckless policy of discharging older patients from hospitals to care homes without testing” which allowed the virus to spread and kick start a second epidemic of community infection. It adds that the delay in implementing lockdown measures looks likely to have cost many lives, all the more so because of ” UK government’s decimation of public health during years of austerity.”

The BMJ points out that although the British Government claims to have followed the science, none of the advisors upon whom the British Government relied were experts in public health while experts on communicable disease were under represented. It adds that the involvement of Dominic Cummings and Ben Warner, Cummings’ data advisor in the Vote Leave campaign, makes a mockery of SAGE’s claim to provide independent scientific advice to the British Government.

The British Government is now trying to hide behind “the science”, when “the science” that it relied upon was hopelessly compromised by the Conservatives’ ideological and political prejudices. Tens of thousands of British citizens have died because the British Government has had enough of experts. No amount of empty fnaughing from Boris Johnson, no amount of oleaginous politesse from Michael Gove, no amount of 18th century mannered posing from Jacob Rees Mogg, can hide the blood on the British Government’s hands.  When not even Ruth Davidson can find it within herself to defend Westminster, it’s all but over for British rule in Scotland.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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49 comments on “The Tory perversion of science costs lives

  1. Welsh Sion says:

    Date: 20 May 2020

    BBC Welsh Correspondent, Vaughan Roderick (in translation)

    What is the Z Score?

    Well, it’s a way of measuring the effects of the current pandemic in different countries. It compares the number of deaths occurring over a period of time with the number that would be expected to die if there were no pandemic.

    According to research** by Oxford University, Z Scores in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are close to the European average. That is, the impact of the pandemic on the devolved nations is much smaller than, say, Italy or Spain.

    So why is the United Kingdom with the highest Z Score in the whole of Europe? The answer is one word – England.

    While Z Scores in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are close to the average the one England has gone through the roof.

    Now, the Z Score is only one measure, but how significant it would be to our politics if the measurements showed that the governments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast had done dealt with the disease better than the one in London?

    “We kept you safe” is a heck of an election slogan quote.

    The most likely explanation for the difference according to academics is that the lock-down period started just in time for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but too late for England. The disease was rife in London by then.

    And that’s perhaps the biggest irony. If the United Kingdom was late to start the lock-down period, it was because it had ignored what was happening in its own capital city.

    And who was in charge?

    The former Mayor of London, of course.

    __________

    ** https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/files/6-May-20-Muellbauer-Aron-Excess-mortality-in-England-vs.-Europe-and-the-COVID-pandemic.pdf

    Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/52543246

    Translation: Google Translate and WS

    • Thepnr says:

      Graphs of the z scores for the 24 countries of the EU that are participating can be seen here:

      https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

      Englands graph is horrendous compared to every other EU country. Note that you can see the effects of flu over the winter period in previous years, Covid-19 even with the lockdown is well in excess of anything in recent years by a long way.

  2. Dr Jim says:

    Boris Johnson was only crowned king to be the Brexit salesman, he wasn’t supposed to do anything else, because he can’t, he doesn’t know how, Johnson has been brought up to exercise ruling power over the masses not to design policy or make actual decisions on anything, that’s why they have Dominic Cummings who’s the real Prime Minister, which is really amusing in a twisted kind of way when the big selling point of Brexit was the notion there were people in the EU who were unelected yet running things

    The biggest winner at this moment of Corona virus crisis is her Maj the Queen because she doesn’t have to give a bugger about the plebs anymore by turning up to open stuff, she can just carry on her life as she normally did before without the bloody nuisance of having to go anywhere and smile and wave at the public

    As for Ruth Davidson, I saw her appearance on Sky news having a lovely chat with Adam Boulton, a man who wouldn’t know or care where Scotland was or if it even existed as he manfully suppresses his last garlic filled meals eruptions back down his gullet looking forward to the next meal in the restaurant where that came from, is the House of commons bar still open, in Scotland we have Alan Cochrane for that but you won’t see him in Holyrood right now, Bar’s Closed

      • Dr Jim says:

        Maybe Adam Boulton has forgotten although in England they mostly think they speak English, they really don’t, there are umpteen different versions of English spoken about every twenty miles and each version belittles the other as though they’re different languages

        Anyway in Scotland we speak around three, Belgium speaks around four, Germany at least two, Spain has two main languages and not forgetting if you’ve even been to Seville where nobody understands anything they say because they don’t move their lips when they speak

        They’re such a bunch of Numpties the English, what do they have against speaking different languages anyway

        Oooh I know, they cannae learn them

  3. jim says:

    ‘London has recorded no new cases over a 24 hour period’

    This is the root of the problem. The Westminster Government and all the media are far too “London Centric” so they expect the rest of the UK to follow suit because London has reached a stage in the virus ( they think) that they can ease the lockdown.

    The Devolved Nations and regions of the north of England started getting cases way after London, but hey, London’s fine now so the rest of you have to slavishly follow suit or you’re just being awkward for political reasons.

    It’s this attitude that sticks in the gullet of normal people.

    I know this sounds trivial but remember years ago they’re was a big hoo-hah in London about rich people dropping their kids off at private schools in their ‘Chelsea Tractors’ where the residents of those streets complained about gridlock for half an hour twice a day. I mean it was in the national news FFS.

    The Government response was to hugely increase road tax for all 4 wheel drive vehicles across the whole of the UK. As if a bit more road tax would burden people that can afford a £50,000 SUV. But for ordinary people who lived in rural areas and were subject to harsh winters where a 4 wheel drive vehicle is essential for getting to work it was “FU”

    Not every 4 wheel drive vehicle is a ‘Chelsea Tractor’.

    Sorry for the ramble but to me it points out that if even the most trivial thing imaginable affects London then the whole of the UK has to change accordingly.
    You just have to look at the amount of infrastructure spending in London compared to anywhere else which gets added to the Devolved Nations budgets because it’s classed as ‘National Infrastructure’.

    Well the clean up to the governments mess of Covid 19 crisis isn’t retained and by god the devolved nations will ease lockdown when they think they are good and ready.

    Be warned Bawjaws, if there’s a second spike in England because of you’re ‘Lassais Faire’
    attitude to easing lockdown then all the other nations in this so called union will close their borders.
    What are ye gonnae dae aboot it, ‘Phone the Polis’

  4. Welsh Sion says:

    Stay alert for new slogans. (England Only. Not available to viewers in other outposts of the Empire):

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/keep-distance-new-coronavirus-slogan-quietly-pushed-out-to-replace-stay-alert/ar-BB14kqxe?ocid=spartanntp

    Now – Keep you distance, or I’ll give you the taste of the old cold steel. And you will not like it.

  5. Hamish100 says:

    Nike.

    So the bbc anonymise the individual who alleges they felt unwell, change the voice, Change their Image. Irony is the bbc want openness. Oh, the person didn’t report being unwell to he GP or NHS. She contacted the only labour MP in Scotland.

    Smells – or have I a fever coming on due to the hypocrisy.

    How many anonymous alleged, cough, cough, run to their MP rather than the NHS. For me for anyone to go to Murray must be ill in the head.

    For openness bbc is the person a supporter of the Labour Party?

  6. Bob Lamont says:

    A well timed and executed article…
    The greatest failure of the “UK” beyond the obvious has been their absolute belief public opinion was malleable, a spin here or there, a piece in the Mail, “it’s all under control..”, and frighteningly they are of the same mindset, it’s all about strategy, bugger the dead, they can no longer vote..
    What the Tories left behind in their blitzkreig of SG even before anti-lockdown is most of England from the Midlands north were still burying their dead. Myopic ?
    The Tory epitaph will probably read “Nothing to do with us, Dom said it would be fine…”, in Scotland Janey Godley could say it better…

  7. gavinochiltree says:

    Tut, tut, Wee Ginger.
    Dominic and his sidekick are expert Boris Lazybones syndrome meddlers.
    Indeed their expert meddling has got us to where we are right now. They see Coronavirus as a new opportunity to drive us all even deeper into the shit, while Boris is on permanent holiday.

    Panto Dame Ruthie is like the Toon clock—four different faces.
    The only face we get to see, is the one always facing the wind.
    But if you hang out near Boris’s rear end, that is what you get!

  8. Petra says:

    Thanks once again Paul for another brilliant piece of work.

    The article in the British Medical Journal says it all: ”Too little, too late, and too flawed” leading to countless deaths and a lifetime of adverse health conditions for many more who may actually survive this crisis. And that includes the King of the Clowns himself.

    It’s just absolutely horrific for those who have lost loved ones and for those who are now petrified and wondering ”who next?” Horrendous too that it’s taken this absolute catastrophe to highlight to the rest of the UK, the World in fact, what we independence supporters have known all along and that’s that the UK has been run for decades by a bunch of ignorant, callous, incompetent, braying buffoons. Always managing to cover up, from one year to the next, their manifold mistakes and myriad of pathological lies with the complicity of their MSM lackeys. Not now, as damn it for them, it’s pretty difficult to hide piles of dead bodies and more so to gag the bereft and concerned plebs and experts worldwide.

    I get phone calls, etc, just about every day now from relatives and friends living abroad who can’t believe what’s going on here. Contacting us constantly because they are terrified that they’ll never see any of us again. They can’t believe that we here in Scotland have to suffer, on top of all of this, people like Murray, Davidson, Smith etc, etc, etc, politicians and journalists, still carrying on with the Westminster whitewash act and worse still being absolutely determined to undermine the only person, Nicola Sturgeon, who’s standing between us and them. Our lives or our deaths.

    If we want to get through this, and ultimately dissolve the Union, we’ll need to start backing her ”BIG TIME”, if not doing so already, and cut out doing the BritNats job for them. You know who I’m talking about. Some in another place (s) who are every bit as bad, if not worse to my mind, as Ian Murray and Sarah Smith etc, etc.

  9. Welsh Sion says:

    First Minister Drakeford acts following direct plea from Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price and the Police forces and their Commissioners.

    Huge rise in fines for breaking lockdown rules in Wales to almost £2,000

  10. Macart says:

    The political class, the establishment, broke society. They broke politics. They undermined trust and faith in just about every public institution. All in pursuit of their… game. Well done them (VERY slow hand clap).

    This isn’t over, and the effects will be felt for many years to come.

    Be safe folks.

  11. velofello says:

    Determined to undermine Nicola Sturgeon?

    Just take a look at Carlaw today at FMQs reading from the script – in a style and vocabulary clearly not his, a script passed to him by his supervisors, clambering all over the Nike event held in Glasgow in February probing for a weakness in the Scottish government’s handling of this health crisis.

    Nicola Sturgeon, Jean Freeman, and Ivan McKee, are responding to the virus in a logical measured way seeking and acting on expert advice.I’m well satisfied with their efforts.

    And yet there will be punishment for their efforts if Scotland does not leave the lockdown in line with England, furlough payments to Scotland will cease.What a bullying bloody insult. from ‘Her Majesty’s” government.

  12. Arthur Thomson says:

    The behaviour of the various Scottish Tory parties and the “Scottish” media is simply despicable. These supposedly adult people are behaving like thirteen year olds. Immature and with no thought for anyone but themselves. It will be a while before I forget the smirk on the face of the moron on the nine tonight, as he described people ignoring government advice on the beach at Portobello.

    I have no doubt that the Scots will look, shake their heads and log what they are seeing for future reference. The Brits have neither sense nor feeling.

  13. Pogmothon says:

    A quick heads up for all the friends here about.
    Remember when we are required to use the “trace app”.
    A cheep burn phone bought from a supermarket for cash. With no name, regestration, or loyalty card is perfectly legal.
    And will protect all the info/data on your personal phone.

  14. Thepnr says:

    It really is beginning to look like the decision has been made to go down the road of adopting the Swedish model of a “semi-lockdown” as the way out of this for the UK. get people back to work and get the economy going again. Never mind plans, you’ll get them at “the end of the month”.

    Though it’s not true to say that Sweden has not instituted a lockdown because it has, to a lesser extent sure but it still has an advisory social distancing rule and travel ban to foreign countries. They have managed to keep deaths/day more or less level now for the last 20 days or so but still at close to their peak. They fortunately haven’t overwhelmed their health service.

    There is an issue with this though, deaths in Sweden are in fact 3 times that of their nordic neighbours Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland added together. That is the price the Swedish government appears willing to pay, maybe in the hope that most Swedes will gain “herd immunity” though the government denies this is a goal.

    There is one massive hole in a strategy such as this and that is there is no knowledge yet if any immunity is gained by having had the virus and for how long that immunity may be effective for.

    I’ve seen graphs estimating immunity for the flu, for example, you are most immune about 4 weeks after catching it then your immunity level drops over the next 6 to 9 months when it is no longer effective. The antibodies have gone. There’s also the issue of new mutations of the virus spreading.

    That’s why vulnerable people have the option of a flu vaccine every year, to provide immunity for the coming winter for the virus most likely to be infectious that year.

    Herd immunity for Covid-19 is for now a fantasy as it is not necessarily immunity forever and in fact is much more likely to fade over time. So far it seems somewhere between 5% and 10% of people in the UK may have already been infected and may be immune.

    That’s so far resulted in 60,000 excess deaths over the 5 year average, it’s not unreasonable to assume that in order to obtain herd immunity with an estimated minimum of 60% infected of the population the number of deaths necessarily must increase by between 5 and 12 times more than have already died.

    So the price for economic recovery maybe somewhere between 300,000 and 720,000 excess deaths. Yeah, yeah I know. You see this as an exaggeration. Well some of the brainiest people in this field predicted 510,000 in the UK if the government chose to do nothing. I wouldn’t dispute that now given the evidence to date.

    As far as I’m concerned there are too many unknowns to be re-opening schools and things like that, that is Tory dogma, we should resist it. And anyway, sending pupils and teachers back into schools before every single school has done its own risk assessment based on guidance (not yet issued) from government is idiotic.

    Might be OK for those that thought Bawrash would make a good Prime Minister but it’s not OK for me.

    • Legerwood says:

      There is also another very real problem with the idea of letting people get the infection and most recovering and having immunity. Recovering from Covid-19 will for many people result in many, many people being in poor health perhaps for the rest of their lives.
      It will also place demands on the NHS, eg for rehab, that may be every bit as great as the demands placed on it by the original infection.

      Exposing the population to infection to build up immunity was never a viable, ethical or moral policy. In the case of an infection such as Covid-19 that comes with a sting in its tail it most definitely should never have been considered let alone implemented.

  15. Malky McBlain says:

    I really can’t understand why the UK gov are so behind in the app development. The one we use in Australia has been up and running for over a fortnight with at least 60% voluntary uptake which they say is the minimum for it to be effective. The question is why don’t the UK government borrow the tried and proven Australian one and be done with it or is this just more British exceptionalism.

    See here for details.

    https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app

  16. Robert Graham says:

    If anyone is still up any thoughts or comments about Herriot Watts University decision to remove the pledge set in Stone placed by Alex regarding tuition fees ,

    The last official act by him as far as I am aware when he was First Minister , the stone will be removed ok ,Does this include the pledge about these Fees or will that be under the radar ?

    Does the following Quote resonate with anyone ? ” I didn’t leave the party the party left me ” I believe this reflects the current rift that won’t be healed until serious questions are answered .

    Feel free to explain or defend the removal of any reference to Alex from the SNP website.

    • Thepnr says:

      ”I didn’t leave the party the party left me” is a quote generally attributed to Jimmy Reid on leaving the Labour party to join the SNP in 2004.

      Are you attributing it to Alex Salmond talking of leaving the SNP? If so, I would like to see some evidence.

    • Thepnr says:

      Do you have any?

    • Dr Jim says:

      Political parties of all colours don’t have to defend internal decisions made by the party for various reasons, confidentiality being one of those decisions, and are made to protect the individuals rights to privacy
      If an individual is unhappy with decisions made by political parties in this regard there is an appeals process that they can undertake if they so choose

      The internet will always be full of conspiracy theorists selling their wares under various guises to convince the public to buy their particular version of an event using that very confidentiality as the tool to do that

      Basically if people no matter who they are want the public to know something then they’ll say so, until that time or never it’s nobody’s business but their own

  17. Thepnr says:

    I’ve heard Tories say a maximum of 15 pupils per class, one way corridors in schools and maintain 2-meter social distancing in class and in the playground. How is any of that possible?

    How much time will it take to put these plans in place for every individual school and train teachers to manage the new rules?

    Sounds like a load of made up bullshit to me, every single school is different and every school will need time to plan the best way for them to manage pupils once they come back to school. Yet Doris wants them all back a week on Monday? It doesn’t matter because none of that is meant to happen anyway.

    This lot are seriously deranged, even more deranged are the arseholes that keep voting for them.

    • Petra says:

      And of course there’s the fact that the virus can remain on surfaces for days after. Are they going to get the kids / the teacher to constantly wipe every surface / material that they have come into contact with?

      • grafter says:

        ” the fact that the virus can remain on surfaces for days after”
        Petra can you provide a link to this statement ?

  18. Ken2 says:

    The stone is just being moved. The website was updated. Any false accusers will be found out. They already have been. Evans name is mud. Wasting £Millions of Scottish Gov money. The PR electoral system compromised. To let third rate losers in. First preference votes go in the bin. Quotas.

    Alex was found not guilty. He knows how to deal with it. Write a book. A best seller. Alex Salmond would never do anything to damage the Independence cause. His life work. Much appreciated. Alex could rejoin any time. He took a step back to let others shine. Support for SNP and Independence increasing.

    Vote Tory to die younger. The Tories cut NHS funding. They are now charging NHS workers to use the service. An absolute disgrace.

    The Tories unionists total mismanagement from start to finish. Westminster corruption. Contracts being awarded to Tories without any scrutiny, £Millions worth. £Billions being wasted on HS2 and Nuclear. For Tory contacts and associates. Essential services being cut.

    The Brexit mess. It will all end in tears. Thatcher had to go for closer ties with Europe. Deja Vu. The Tory scandal unfolding once again.

  19. Ken2 says:

    500,000 die in the UK a year. 1/2 a million. 100,000 a week.

    50,000 die in Scotland a year. 1000 a week.

    On average. More people die in the winter than the summer. Mostly elderly. Average life expectancy 79. Women outlive men on average. 5 years worldwide.

    Highest life expectancy Japan 85.

    European average 81. 83years for women. 78 for men. Higher Gov pensions. It saves monies on costly administration.

    Life expectancy going down in the rest of the UK because of Tory austerity policies. Cuts to NHS and social care. Cuts to essential services. Cuts to Scottish budget. The Scottish Gov has to mitigate the cuts.

    Scotland loses £20Billion on average for Westminster failed policies. Illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion. Paying off debt repayments not borrowed or spent in Scotland. Tax evasion. Paying for nuclear a total waste of money polluting Scotland. Scotland not allowed to borrow to improve Scottish economy. Growth.

    Scotland could be like Norway raise £80Billion in tax revenues. Scotland self sufficient in fuel and energy. Could sell it. £8Billion instead of losing it, to subside others. Scotland charged more because it is colder despite being nearer the source. It should be cheaper for parity.

  20. Brilliant piece Paul, thank you,

    Bob McKinney

    Sent from my iPad

  21. Mark Russell says:

    Sir Harry Burns’ letter in the Scotman today, is unequivocal:

    “Back in the 1980s, I was a surgeon in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. The staff in Sir Andrew Kays unit were friendly, hard-working and pretty smart. After work on Friday evenings we would usually retire to the Aragon in Byres Road and debate the issues of the day. David Hamilton, our transplant surgeon, was a supporter of Scottish independence.

    Often, his solution to political silliness from Westminster was: “It’s time to shut the border.” Sam Galbraith, on the other hand, was fervently against the SNP and independence. Being politically disinterested, I found their arguments entertaining but pretty pointless.

    My experience of Covid-19 is, however, getting me rather agitated about politics. We are in the middle the most significant public health crisis in living memory and the UK is being led by incompetents.

    Early on, it was clear that this virus was highly infectious and had a significant mortality in older people and those with underlying illness. The countries that adopted a public health approach to controlling it have managed to suppress spread far more effectively than the UK.

    From the beginning of this outbreak, the World Health Organisation was telling countries to “test, trace and isolate”. Separating infected people from the uninfected is a critical part of suppressing any outbreak.

    In mid-March, the UK Government formally abandoned attempts to suppress transmission in favour of a “delay” phase. This was described as an effort to “flatten the curve” by encouraging herd immunity – let lots of people get infected in the hope that the survivors would be immune. In adopting this approach, Boris Johnson admitted that “many more families are going to lose loved ones”.

    That weekend, thousands of people attended Cheltenham Festival. A football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, involving many supporters travelling from Spain was allowed to go ahead. Was that wise, he was asked? “It is very important that we’re guided by the science,” Boris claimed. “There is very little epidemiological or medical reason at the moment to ban such events.”

    His Chief Scientist, Patrick Vallance, unsurprisingly supported him by claiming that canceling large events was “not a major way to tackle this epidemic”. A week later, lockdown had to be implemented when the modelling carried out at Imperial College showed that hundreds of thousands of people would die without lockdown.

    By then, it was too late. The virus was spreading and the Government had not implemented the steps necessary to identify and isolate those infected and liable to spread the virus.

    The promise of testing 100,000 people a day has not, despite Matt Hancock’s claim, been delivered. The tracing system, we are told by Hancock, is ready to go with 25,000 contact tracers having been recruited across England. “They have rigorous training with detailed procedures designed by our experts at Public Health England.” Some of these people are claiming their training involved three days being paid but very little information or training. For some of their training they were referred to YouTube videos.

    I now find myself wanting to throw things at the television when I watch UK Government ministers trying to defend the indefensible. I suspect the same frustration is felt by those trying to protect Scotland from Covid.

    The Scottish Government is absolutely correct to break ranks from England on lockdown policy. It is difficult for a devolved administration to move too distantly from Westminster but the First Minister is right to outline a distinct path for Scotland.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that my friend David Hamilton was correct. If we had shut the border years ago, we would have been able to protect ourselves from UK Government incompetence.”

    *Professor Sir Harry Burns is director of global public health at Strathclyde University

  22. bringiton says:

    Meantime,across the pond,Trump supporters are demanding the right to die.
    Trump has suggested a few ways in which that could be accommodated….bleach consumption
    and now an anti malarial drug,unlike quinine which can turn the skin yellow,appears to turn it orange instead.
    This is what happens when politics is allowed to Trump science.

  23. Ken2 says:

    Burger King drive through reopened. Massive queues. Aldi’s to deliver deliveroo. Markies changing policies. No dividends. People enjoying the weather. Children part-time schooling.

    Spain has four months holidays a year. They still live longer, on average, than here.

    Alex Salmond would be welcomed back with opened arms by the local branch and Independistas federation.

    According to reports any false accusers being named in the Press. Getting slagged off on the internet and scared to go out. Alex would not want that being a fair man. The best Statesman Scotland has ever had. Head and shoulders above the rest. The stinking gutter Press sinking even further,

    It needs another Advocate in general to stop wasting £Millions of taxpayers money. The legal evel vulture culture. Putting people in cells on charges that can never go to Court. They do not know the Law well enough. A waste of time, space and public money.

  24. Dave tewart says:

    Sky news this morning early reports a dis-agreement between Shapps and Cummings about the 14 day lockdown scheme for arrivals into the uk.
    Report says Cummings wants a robust scheme,Shapps wants airways open.
    Who is in charge?
    As you say it looks like cummings is the pm.
    Don’t bother to look now on Sky, it’s been removed,good job I copied it.
    You can trust the government’s media.

  25. Petra says:

    ‘Hungarian MEP István Ujhelyi asks EU what the possibility was of Scotland “breaking free of the prison of Great Britain.” “Scotland cannot be held captive in the prison of Great Britain given results of SNP in the last elections #ScotRef2 could have an unequivocal result.” https://mobile.twitter.com/IndyLassie/status/1262927016904589312

    ……………………………………….

    ‘Heriot-Watt Alex Salmond stone has been removed today. This despite 60% of students voted for the stone to remain. Who took this decision? Alex Salmond is innocent it is simply outrageous from the University.’ https://mobile.twitter.com/80_mcswan/status/1263148465036627970

  26. Petra says:

    Amazing how this latest crisis and Westminster botch-up can wipe the last, Brexit, from minds. Still going on (or not) in the background.

    ”There will be huge frustration in Brussels now the UK has published its expectations of the requirements of the Irish protocol – remember the agreement signed as part of #Brexitdeal to replace Irish backstop? UK saying there is no international border down Irish Sea.” https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCkatyaadler/status/1263095629284343813

    ”Here’s a first reaction from the European Commission to the UK’s paper on implementing the NI Protocol.” https://mobile.twitter.com/tconnellyRTE/status/1263111749147996160

  27. Petra says:

    ‘Angry Lake District residents erect roadblocks and fake signs to deter tourists.’

    ”Some residents used traffic cones and barriers to erect fake road blocks, while others have put up “no entry” signs as a deterrent.”..

    ..”Last week, a retired teacher and former parish councillor were spoken to by police after they admitted building blockades to stop cyclists biking through a woodland during the lockdown.”..

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lake-district-roadblocks-fake-signs-visits-tourists-day-trip-a9524161.html

    ………………………………….

    Amazing to find out, online, what’s actually going on in my own country.

    ‘UK’s First Rocket Test in 50 Years Took Place at Kildemorie Estate Near Alness.’

    http://www.thehighlandtimes.com/news/2020/05/20/uks-first-rocket-test-in-50-years-took-place-at-kildemorie-estate-near-alness/

  28. Petra says:

    ‘Any reason BBC Scotland are using long lenses, which make scenes appear busier and people seem closer together than they actually are, here?’

    ..”They are trying to undermine the first minister and get our death rates up to English levels. It is an extremely dangerous path they are treading.” https://mobile.twitter.com/PhantomPower14/status/1263227457928396807

    ……………………….

    Last links taken from the indyref2 site. Check out on here for more of Ann’s links.

    https://indyref2.space/forum/topic/links-thursday-21-may-2020/

    • Legerwood says:

      I saw the Portobello item and did wonder if it was correct or doctored. When I was out for my walk yesterday I saw about a dozen or so people in total which is around the norm on any day no matter the weather.

      I don’t know if you saw the 6 o’clock news on BBC last night specifically the item on schools re-opening in England. The BBC reporter made absolutely no attempt to keep the social distance between her and the headmistress who was showing her around.

      Equally the headmistress was not telling her to move away. I would have, in no uncertain terms! That the headmistress did not say or do anything under those circumstances does not engender confidence that any rules put in place will be anything other than cosmetic.

  29. Ken2 says:

    Weird decision by Heriot Watt Uni Trying to encourage and get in students. Wasting public monies?

    Kent ‘visitors’ pooping all over the place. The toilets are closed. Residents telling people to stay away. Tory voters.

  30. Welsh Sion says:

    In other news, I’ve been bought by English gold and will have no more with this ‘independence’ malarkey.

    The hero of the hour is a Mr R. Sunak of 11 Downing Steet who has just credited my bank account with £2 530 by way of grant in order to help us small businesses from going to the wall.

    Three cheers for (Maha)Rishi! For he’s a jolly good fellow etc etc!

    (Normal service to be resumed when I learn the wife has maxed the credit card …)

  31. Welsh Sion says:

    Beyond words – though methinks Petra would have a few choice ones …

    https://nation.cymru/news/anti-welsh-coronavirus-graffiti-condemned/

  32. Connor McEwen says:

    TUPPENCE WORTH FROM INDY TRUCK DAVY ABOUT DOMINIC GOLLUM CUMMINGS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QiUaZfkCW8

  33. Steve says:

    And auntie beeb now reporting the “mastermind architect” of all this shit, Mr demonic Cummings his very own self…. Drove from London to Durham with coronavirus symptoms the same weekend Calderwood resigned! Ho hum!

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