Saturday 14 March 2020

"Don't Panic" New Open Thread

New Open Thread.

At a time when new posts seem comparatively rare here's a clean sheet. Your comments are still very much appreciated.



    You did the business where the light's never shone -
    We took you for granted but - now you are gone.
    We used you so freely, not frugally then
    When will you return? - when, oh when?

    Orange, pink and blue in your youth
    Now almost always white to tell the truth,
    Whatever the colour we would not care.
    If only we could have one spare.

    Once again to caress your plump and fluffy self
    To see you standing proudly on the shelf,
    To know your sheets in countless number -
    Would aid our restless, sweaty slumber.

    If e'er to these shores you should return
    How then our cheeks would brightly burn
    With rare and sweet anticipation -
    What joy across a grateful nation!!

  2. Project fear in a different form this morning when I awoke to hear that there weren't sufficient trained people to plant the millions (or billions) of tress needed for the green revolution:

    ... 'Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet?' ...

    Partway down the article: 'She [Liz Boivin, whose company Tomorrow's Forests employs the team I visited, finds it is Canadians, Australians and eastern Europeans] doubts whether there are enough trained staff in Britain to support the government's plans for a huge increase in planting.'.

    Once again, the BBC are confusing London with the UK and the UK with London in the way that our friend Mark (there's bags of room) Easton does. There is a cultural difference between bubble-dwellers of London and the majority of the UK population. The latter have a love of the land and understand how farming, forestry and the countryside works. They've known it for generations. There's nothing new about tree planting.

    See some extracts from Thomas Hardy's book The Woodlanders:

    'The holes were already dug, and they set to work. Winterborne's
    fingers were endowed with a gentle conjuror's touch in spreading
    the roots of each little tree, resulting in a sort of caress,
    under which the delicate fibres all laid themselves out in their
    proper directions for growth. He put most of these roots towards
    the south-west; for, he said, in forty years' time, when some
    great gale is blowing from that quarter, the trees will require
    the strongest holdfast on that side to stand against it and not

    "How they sigh directly we put 'em upright, though while they are
    lying down they don't sigh at all," said Marty...

    ...She erected one of the young pines into its hole, and held up her
    finger; the soft musical breathing instantly set in, which was not
    to cease night or day till the grown tree should be felled--
    probably long after the two planters should be felled themselves.'

    1. Planting a tree is not rocket science! lol

      I am sure it could be taught via a You Tube video.

  3. The BBC are leading with a letter signed by 226 scientists saying the Coronavirus strategy is costing lives. It’s a strand of scientific thought, that’s all.

    Are these signatories as qualified the the CSA and CMO ? I don’t know? Is the strategy the right one? I don’t know?

    Instead of informing and reassuring, the current MSM hysteria seems to be a determined attempt to undermine the Government strategy and spread fear and panic.

    1. Outrageous - here is the list. Most are not are not even scientists let alone virologists. They are mostly students.
      And the BBC are giving credibility to the letter.

    2. All European surnames

    3. Someone should challenge them each to put up £10,000 that the UK will have more deaths per million population than Italy or France. Would be interesting to see how many took up the challenge.

    4. According to France 24, the French have a considerable lead over us: their number of confirmed cases has doubled in 72 hours. Equally alarming, more than 50% of those in resuscitation are UNDER the age of 60. This from straplines on Fr24 French edition (my upper case letters).

      It seems to me that, if this carries on, they're going to be having to make choices as to whom to try to save. Quite glad to be on this side of the Channel...for the moment!

    5. Re: MB's links to the story on Wuhan research facility, near the wet market, China has just sent a large team of doctors & medical supplies to Italy. Concern for their 100,000 nationals? Desire to make amends?

    6. From TCW COMMENTS
      It's odd how climate change science is allegedly settled, dissenters are deniers. Yet with Coronavirus the best scientific/medical advice in the UK is being contradicted left right and centre

    7. I didn't catch all of this a.m.'s 'Marr Show', but what an obnoxious man he is - had I been Hancock, I'd have struggled not to throttle him!

    8. I didn’t see that Sis, but Marr has plenty of form. As a Marxist his instinct is to get the Tories which he does through his interviewing techniques which are purely to hold the government to account ; )

    9. Most of these people seem to be mathematicians, not medical people at all, so basically they are laymen extrapolating numbers rather than having any knowledge of viruses.

  4. Tonight Anthony Zurcher is in deep mourning...

    The White House have announced that President Trump tested negative for Covid 19.

    Still, I am sure Zurcher and the Dems will bounce back, and hope that there is still time for someone to infect him and put him out of the race.

  5. A posting on a friends facebook comparing Coronovirus statistics with swine flu and crticising Obama was flagged as containing incorrect information and partially blocked so that it couldn't be read. However , the facts are correct. On further investigation facebook are using an anti conspiracy site run by a former CNN director of programming.

  6. Interesting to follow the discussion on the Biased BBC site about coronavirus. The virosceptics seem a little less sceptical now.

    It does have to be said that the Government's response has not been stellar. Only now have they realised they need more ventilators? FFS!! Why was that not clear to government after the Novichok attack by Russia?

    My own view, for what it's worth, is that the Government is right to be cautious about shutting down the whole economy. Is that going to help anyone? Think of all the deaths that will follow from suicide, from social isolation and from illnesses caused by sofa-dwelling for months on end.

    On the other hand the real impact of coronavirus is its ability to overwhelm our health services. So we do need to flatten the peak.

    The Government has got a lot wrong: failing to have an adequate supply of ventilators, inadequate testing, failure to screen or quarantine people coming from other countries and poor performance on the information front. However, I think the Government has got it about right in terms of the containment-delay response. We don't need to do further economic damage to ourselves by shutting everything down.

    BTW the EU is going to be teetering on the brink after this crisis. Countries like Greece, Malta, Spain and Cyprus depend hugely on tourism which is grinding to a complete halt. They were already in a bad way economically. Surely they must be facing a banking collapse now.

    My last point...I have long thought, since in fact the first London Bridge terror attacks, we need to revive the Civil Defence Force, no doubt to be renamed - maybe Civil Support. We need an organisation involving tens of thousands around the country who could be trained to help in emergencies e.g. terror attacks, motorway shutdowns, airport shutdowns, pandemics, case of war or any other extreme incidents of disruption.

    They could apply first aid, direct crowds, deliver food and other essentials, take samples for bio-testing, act as auxillar police officers where necessary and possibly act as nursing assistants in extremis.

  7. Sarah AB at Harry's Place has written an article about the Moral Maze Islamophobia/Trevor Philips discussion (I have yet to hear the programme itself).

    Couple of things struck me. Firstly, Sarah AB seems not to be able to think coherently about the subject. Secondly, that all the witnesses in the prorgamme appear to have been Muslims...doesn't that strike you as odd? I mean, they might have been Muslims in favour or against Trevor Philips but there were no stern critics of Islam allowed on.

    Seems to me people are over-complicating the matter.
    We should look at what Islam teaches in the contemporary era. This can easily be found by looking at the four great universities of Islam and examining what they teach. For instance: do they teach that Sharia law should be universally applied across the globe? Answer: yes. Does Sharia law allow for second class citizenship for Jews and Christians? Answer: yes. Do women have equal rights under Sharia law? No.

    Just work your way through. A similar exercise can be conducted with Shia Islam and the rulings of Ayatollahs.

    Then you can work through the events of Mo's life as set out in the well accredited Hadiths and his early biography and ask yourself: "Do I approve of this or not?"

    The truth is that hardly anything in Islam is acceptable to the liberal democratic tradition in the West and there is much in it for non-believers (gays, lesbians, women, artists, atheists, democrats, secularists, musicians and so on) to be genuinely fearful of.

    It is therefore Islamorational to fear the ideology and, not just the ideology in the abstract, but those people who actively seek to implement the ideology - just as a member of the bourgeoisie had every right to be fearful not just of Communism in the abstract but also of committed Bolsheviks seeking to implement Communism.

    1. Ah! Have you softened your opinion of HP? My (long) memory tells me that you once stated that it wasn’t your cup of tea (probably due to its intrinsically left-wing approach and militant-ish trade-union stuff.) I said I thought the commentariat had matured, and was much more politically diverse these days.

      I agree that Sarah AB’s extreme fence-sitting is exasperating and can be incoherent. It’s almost a kind of extremism in itself.

      You really must give the programme a listen just to hear Myriam F. She’s an attention-seeking controversialist, a bit like a ‘reverse’ Katie Hopkins. One wonders which mischief-maker thought it was a good idea to invite her.

    2. Melanie Phillips mentioned a bit about it in a blog post:

    3. What was clear about "Islamophobia" is that no other irrational fear/phobia is attached to antipathy towards Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. Using the word "phobia" indicates a medical/mental condition rather than mere hatred or antipathy.

      Plus the programme never tackled the reasons behind antipathy towards Islam as all the Muslims just banged on about verbal and physical attacks on Muslims being awful without any explanation that Muslims being attacked come in three types: the innocent, the provocateurs (like in your face LGBT folk) and the wicked not so innocent Muslims who exploit white girls, illegal immigrants in their businesses and benefit fraudsters. None of the Muslims wanted to acknowledge that the majority of sexual exploitation in Muslim enclaves was done by men of Pakistani heritage... saying this was Islamophobic in their eyes even when it was simply a fact. Factual mentions of the nastiness of the founder of Islam is also deemed to be Islamophobia while vilification of Jesus or leaders of other religions is something that is not deemed hateful or distressing to their adherents by Muslims.

    4. Sue, my objection to Harry's Place is not that they come at issues from the left - so do Spiked Online - but that they fly under a false flag, pretending to be in favour of free speech when they are most definitely not. They promote a kind of Blairite understanding of free speech: we can all speak freely just so long as we are nice to each other and don't say anything that will offend anyone, unless they are the sorts of people we feel safe in offending.

      There is no suggestion anywhere, for instance, that Sarah AB wants an open discussion about the nature of Islam, its history and its founder.

  8. As we know all too well on this blog, what make it as ‘news’ is very odd sometimes.

    The BBC website rightly seems to have dropped the bogus story about the letter from 226 scientists/students who weren’t qualified to comment.

    Whereas the radio bulletins continue to push the story hard today broadcasting comments from some of the signatories.

    One might be drawn to the conclusion that the radio editors have a particular political agenda or narrative to maintain in perpetuating a story from a discredited group of non experts.

    1. I know I’m banging on a bit about this but it is because I am concerned that this crisis is generating a lot of fake news.

      The BBC/MSM are falling for it without doing due diligence to check the source and validating what has been written.

      Peston is a serial offender - here he is tweeting an alternative theory from a random account with 1000 followers. Peston has one million followers so fake or unverified stories from him can be dangerous.

    2. Most are mathematicians not experts on viruses. Their opinion is worthless and is just an attack on the Government who pay their salaries through our taxes which fund universities. Professors of mathematics are not qualified medical men and we may as well ask professors of history, astronomy and physics to guide us on a medical matter... they're just laymen who believe they know better than the Government's own scientists. Invariably people like them are the experts who get things wrong and whose opinions on matters outside their field are not worth paying much attention to.

    3. I think there has been a lot of fake news about the virus:

      1. That the severity of the Italian outbreak was due to administrative shortcomings, rather than the fact they have some 100,000 Chinese migrant workers, many from the Wuhan area, working with semi-legal gangs in factories, on farms, throughout the economy.

      2. The symptoms of the virus have been narrowly defined. The truth is some people have no symptoms and - what has not been featured - not everyone is experiencing it as a respitory illness.

      3. "It is wrong to blame China". Of course, when it comes to another issue where scientists predict negative consequences, climate change, it is perfectly OK to blame governments, but in this case is wrong to blame the government of the country that gave rise to this virus.

      This virus did not arise by some freak accident. It's either a case of a species crossing virus at one of the eclectic "wet markets" where live produce is on sale in China or it's a case of a researcher infected at their Wuhan Biological Research Centre run by the PLA. I totally blame China. Were it not for their Communist Government, which instils fear at provincial level about admitting to disease problems, this outbreak might have been contained. But the Chinese government is more generally culpable in my view. They want to play in the economic premier league of the world (and are well capable of doing so) but at the same time allow primitive food processing practices, more typical of the Third World. They are also guilty of using their PLA spies around the world to gather biological samples being secretly returned to China (this is all documented).

      That said, the Government has clearly been completely negligent in not having an emergency supply of respirators (what else don't they have emergency supplies of, one wonders?).

    4. Spain is suffering a huge outbreak as well. There are well over 200,000 Chinese nationals in Spain, a tenfold increase over the last couple of decades.

      This is globalism in action and we now see the consequences of following the PC Globalist diktats and engaging with a dictatorial Communist dictatorship that keeps half its population in abject poverty.

    5. MB: Last para, agreed. But why on earth is the government 'asking' manufacturers to produce respirators? They should be taking powers to INSTRUCT them to switch to producing them; rather as, in WW2, car and even furniture manufacturers found themselves producing aeroplanes.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. My comment,above, refers to MB's of 21:24!

    8. Just been watching France 24 News - the French have a healthy disrespect for authority, but on this occasion, they are being downright stupid: having been deprived of their cafés and restaurants, many Parisians spent the day picnicking together in large groups on the banks of the Canal St Martin or crammed into crowded suburban markets. The police, or possibly army to be used to break up mass get-togethers.

  9. Many commentators have made the analogy between our Coronavirus crisis and a war. I think that is reasonable enough, given the scale of the crisis. It's obviously a war of attrition that we cannot "win" in any meaningful sense.

    This war will empower collectivism and collectivist thinking, as most wars do.

    This war has already exposed the dangers of Globalism - entrusting vital supply lines to others who do not have your best interests at heart and consorting with a cruel and immoral Communist dictatorship that allowed this virus to emerge in the first place.

    Maybe the virus crisis will encourage a return to sanity. How absurd already it has made the PC obsessions with trans folk, with fine racial distinctions and with sexual etiquette look.

    1. Yes I noticed a certain pervishness amongst the Beeboids in tv evearlt days that their standard identity politic narratives were being disrupted by the virus . Silver linings eh?
      Another such lining may occur. BBCs continual sniping at Government policy and recommendations over the virus is a real danger to public health and so I can see it being taken into direct Government control as we approach a war footing.

    2. Oz: Your 6th word - freudian slip or typo?:) -'pervish' could describe much of their output!

      BBC 1, 9.10 Interviewer asks factory manager what he thinks of measures taken by the Government - he approves. Interviewer's face falls - that was the 'wrong' answer, "ok," she says and asks another question; after a further two 'wrong' answers, also dismissed with a peevish OK, she moves on to someone else. Clearly the Beeb's interviewee screening procedures need tightening .

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Sisyphus, yes a useful typo!
      (It was meant to read "... a certain peevishness amongst the Beeboids in the early days").

  10. Can I recommend the Worldometer site for tracking Coronavirus.

    Someone over on "the other channel" was referencing it - think that's where I first came across it. It's really helpful in understanding what's going on.

    You can click on the column headings to bring up the order for that particular category.

    Italy has by far the largest no. of cases per million population and also the largest no. of deaths per million population. Frankly, I don't believe the figures for China - looks like a complete lie to me. We know they lie about everything, so why wouldn't they lie about this?

  11. Interesting video on manufacture of mechanical ventilators:

    Looking at that, I would say even our best manufacturers would need months to set up a production line. Sounds like Boris told Hancock "We've got brilliant engineers, just ask them to knock up a few..."

    It doesn't work like that. Being able to produce a high quality ventilator must depend on many years of experience.

    If the UK Government are serious about us producing our own ventilators here, then they need to bribe one of the manufacturers to come here and set up a production line - offer them £1 billion or whatever it takes and guarantee them sales for the next 20 years. That's the only solution. They will have all the plans that our engineers can then work to.

    There is no way in my view that any of our brilliant engineers in car companies, JCB or wherever could get this sorted by themselves in a few weeks.

    1. No, but James Dyson might, air-flow being his speciality.

    2. That's way too obvious Sis. The solution will be shown to have been found by a BAME schoolgirl using recycled single use plastic bottles and vessels borrowed from a shisha shop.

    3. Yes, Arthur, she'll probably knock one up for the Queen, and no one will dare say it's crap. :)

  12. I've tried to re-wire our vacuum cleaner so that it blows instead of sucking. Its not that easy Sis :-).

    1. Hope you emptied it first! ;-)

    2. You won't have been the first young man to try adapting the vaccuum cleaner to other uses, with potentially disastrous results. :)

  13. You couldn’t make it up - part 1

    The BBC website have just published ‘Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health’.

    They quote the WHO in advising:
    Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed.

    Perfectly sound advise from the BBC about the BBC in my opinion.

  14. On Radio 4 Today John McDonnell was interviewed and was asked if over 70s should self isolate. He agreed. A pity then that he wasn't asked why Corbyn hadn't done so.

  15. If everyone spaces out 2 metres will Mark Easton still think there is plenty of space in the UK to bring in the whole of Africa and the Indian sub-continent?

    1. Yes! He can put us underground in disused coal mines.

  16. This is relevant to repeat on this site- An extract below from an article by Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon in the the Bush administration.

    Some in the news industry have played a large role in destabilizing our world. The industry now needs to come together as one to undo some of the damage inflicted by some in their business.


    Simply by reporting the positive aspects of the current pandemic. Stories that speak of the tens of thousands who have already recovered, such as the infected passengers on two cruise ships who survived the infection and are now back home. Stories explaining that this virus will run its course and that, as deadly or as infectious or as fast-moving as this coronavirus may be, it still pales in comparison to the yearly deaths around the world from flu.

    They don’t need to downplay or dismiss the dangers and the legitimate concerns, or ignore the disruptions occurring all around us as a result of this pandemic. They simply need to provide some balance.

    Positive stories such as these would go a long way toward calming people and stopping the panic.

    The “adults in the room” who work for the media need to step up immediately to calm those troubled waters by speaking as one and emphasizing not just the frightening but also the positive and the hopeful aspects of this crisis.

    1. I'm surprised by how little we have heard about high-tech methods to kill off the virus such as UV light treatments. The principles are accepted, so why not set up UV light tunnels, or a more advanced hand drier with sufficient power (existing types that project a blue light don't look powerful enough to me). UV light is more or less equally effective on wet or dry surfaces.

    2. Lynette, the scale of the danger is not measured by deaths so far but the mortality rate. That is because before it stops the majority of folk on the planet will have been infected. The mortality rate is an order of magnitude higher than seasonal flu. Positive reporting - yes, less knocking copy - yes but hiding the truth - no.

    3. Anonymous - but is it? Why have the Chinese only had 3300 deaths so far if it so lethal?

    4. _"I'm surprised by how little we have heard about high-tech methods to kill off the virus such as UV light treatments."_

      Thought you might be interested in this:-

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      • Tests to date indicate the resulting antigens trigger the body’s immune response**

      Public Health England - at their Porton Down laboratories, have validated the test results - confirming both protection and the initiation of an immune response.** ProtectivAir® is now fully developed, and could be in production in weeks, providing protection and saving lives long before production and deployment of a vaccine. Medi-Immune believe that with appropriate resources, ProtectivAir® could be in full production within weeks.

      ProtectivAir® offers superior operator protection over N95/99 and FFP3 face masks as well as much improved
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    5. Infectious diseases emerge at a frequency of one every 8 months of which a proportion are pathogens, transmitted as aerosols. Emerging respiratory diseases do, and will, continue to cause havoc within the world’s population, as is
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      UVc has long been known and used as a way to sterilise surfaces and instruments but this novel
      application harnesses this technology to sterilise breathing air to protect users/wearers of the device.

  17. I've just started to receive adverts for low-cost funeral plans on my Android tablet - wonder if they have inside information!

  18. Here is the modelling informing the UK and other EU governments, most notably France.You will hear a lot more about this COVID modelling in the coming days. Pages 15 and 16 are especially sobering. Worth a read. If it is too heavy going, just those two pages.

    1. Thanks Charlie - very interesting!

      I did a search on the words "migration" and "immigration". There was nothing. I find that quite incredible.

      It seems obvious to me that there is a reason that Lombardy has suffered such a devastating spread - and that is the presence of 100,000 Chinese nationals (many from the Wuhan region) working in gangs. Their status is of dubious legality - I think we can assume they enjoy none of the benefits guaranteed to workers by the EU. For instance, I would be prepared to bet they get no sick pay and, being relatively young, healthy and used to oppressive work conditions, just plough on if they feel unwell.

      London is also a hotspot within the UK - which again I would associate with the high number of Chinese nationals in the capital.

      I heard today on TV an expert say that the South Koreans found the virus was spreading unknown to the authorities through young adults who experience few if any symptoms. I can well imagine in London that young professionals were coming from China and mixing with younger people in the capital and spreading the virus. In Lombardy there seems to be a particular connection with Chinese nationals from the Wuhan region which explains why the spread has been so dramatic there.

      Once you recognise that, it is also pretty obvious that the best way of suppressing and mitigating the spread would have been for all European nations to immediately return all Chinese nationals to China and break off all contacts with China.

      What stopped us doing that was PC Globalist ideology. The ideology is more important to its proponents than the safety of our citizens.

  19. Read between the lines in this story:

    ... 'Coronavirus spreading more rapidly in London, PM says'. ...

    ... ' Boris Johnson said London is weeks ahead of other regions in terms of the virus curve, meaning transmission is happening more rapidly.' ...

    Could poor housing and overcrowding in London be contributory factors? Also, will workers in the Gig economy stay at home and self-isolate? I have no doubt that visitor numbers will be down, but I suspect that won't make much difference to the spread of the virus in London.

    1. There are Chinese gangs working in London, but far less than in Lombardy I think. I suspect the London spread relates more to Chinese nationals who buy up riverside properties in London. They are less likely to be from the Wuhan region, more likely from the areas like Shanghai but they will still have been a potent source of the virus.

      Of course, all such discussion is "strictly verboten" in our free society. Apparently, according to the mainstream media, the virus travels of its own accord from one place to another.

  20. Re the Imperial College modelling...

    No one can be sure of course, but I think we need to maintain a bit of scepticism about the modelling figures for deaths.

    China has had the virus in its population of 1.2 billion for the last three and a half months at least. They have had 3,300 deaths so far (assuming their figure is to be believed). Translate that to the UK population level and that is a figure of 165 nowhere near 250,000.

    You might say oh well that's because the wonderful Chinese had such an effective lockdown. Well it wasn't a lockdown of the whole population, but the Imperial College figure of 250,000 deaths for the UK relates to "the most effective mitigation strategy" ie a virtual lockdown.

    So something is seriously wrong here. The Chinese might be lying. They lie about everything else so why not this? We might proportionally have a more vulnerable population - probably true but not enough to explain a disparity between 165 and the 250,000 figure. A final explanation is that Imperial College have produced a load of academic bollocks, on the lines of Jonathan Portes et al's prediction that "only 13,000" Poles would seek to migrate to the UK in search of work...

    If it emerges we laid waste to our economy, caused huge emotional suffering to tens of millions of people and pauperised millions for no good reason, then someone will have to answer for it.

    Dominic Cummings has been very quiet. I wonder whether he told Boris "I don't believe it!".

    1. Here is an interesting examination of the cruise ship "Diamond Princess" that ended up in quarantine for a number of weeks after a number of people tested positive for the coronavirus. The conclusions are thought-provoking; especially compared with car-accident deaths.

    2. MB - You might want to check again the statement
      "but the Imperial College figure of 250,000 deaths for the UK relates to "the most effective mitigation strategy" ie a virtual lockdown."

      The way I read it the mitigation had Social Distancing of the over 70s whilst suppression also has Social Distancing for the whole population. The latter is what makes it a never-ending crisis and closes pubs, cinemas etc. It is that latter course of suppression to which we have changed overnight from the previous mitigation. The whole population of china started transmission after the Wuhan area so follow a later growth curve which makes proportional comparison unrealistic. The government were serious spooked yesterday so we should all just co-operate as best as the morons in banks and shops let us!

  21. France is about to go into complete lockdown. No one allowed out without a certificate and enforced by police. Most EU countries have shut their borders. Governments have said economies will be protected and companies saved - by printing money presumably. £300 billion for the UK predicts George Osborne.

    So what becomes of the Euro when it’s already on life support - will the ECB print endless billions? And what about the EU project once the dust has settled? And globalism?

    It’s difficult to see that things will ever be the same once it’s over and done.

    1. If your economic activity reduces by 50% and you print enough money to make up for the loss in terms of sales, you are - in simplest terms - going to get 100% inflation. OK, maybe that will be offset by people saving, but that private saving may become a habit. It may take a lot longer to lift ourselves out of the coming deep recession (probably deeper than the 1930s).

  22. This is well worth reading:

    It's a sickening thought that lab rats and monkeys might have been sold on as bushmeat.

    1. You're right, Arthur - it certainly is sickening.
      What clinches it for me is that the country's one biological research facility is in Wuhan.
      Shouldn't reparations payments be demanded?

  23. Agreed, Charlie. I, too, am concerned that things will never be the same & not just in the world of finance. This may seem a minor point but how many pubs will close, never to re-open? They are a major feature of our social fabric - and an hour spent in one of them, in good company does wonders for our mental health.

    1. Good point. The final nail in the coffin for the high street shops as well surely.

    2. Exactly, and I think there are lot of people who secretly will be pleased that they will not reopen. As you say, pubs are the beating heart of our culture.

      The way the Government has killed them off is totally unacceptable (by making it a recommendation to the public, rather than a legal closure) as it means they can't get insurance on the closure, despite having paid out premiums for such an eventuality.

    3. Today, I paid my last visit to the pub, for at least three months, and overheard this:

      "How come the virus only attacks men and women? - What about the other 56 genders?

      I am still chuckling! Perhaps Mr Khumar would like to add it to his repertoire...

  24. If there is any reason at all to have a national public broadcaster funded by a tax, then surely a national crisis is where they have to show their worth.

    In my opinion the BBC is already failing with that task.

    The website is a mishmash of opinion, advice and fear stories with no coherent navigation.

    BBC Radio continues to push alternative containment strategies and is stoking fear with sensationalist headlines, politically motivated opinion and sound bites from their regular guests.

    BBC TV is using news to ramp up the fear even further with the undercurrent of metro-liberal groupthink still to the fire of all reporting. There is very little fact based public information programming to reassure and inform the public.

    We deserve better than this.

    1. No coherent navigation. That's no surprise and it's not something peculiar to the virus information. I've found over and over that it's almost impossible to locate things on the BBC website. So much so that I rarely visit it now and if I did want a BBC item, I'd probably find it via a general internet search rather than a search on the BBC site. I don't know but I've often wondered if it's me or it.

  25. A re-run of my concerns:

    1. I fully accept this is a major crisis. We can't ignore it for the simple reason it has the ability to swamp and overwhelm our health services.

    2. Clearly our planning for this sort of emergency has been woefully inadequate. Why on Earth don't we have more than 5,000 ventilators in the UK? How could anyone think that number was adequate?

    3. We are committing an act of huge "self-harm" in closing down our economy(note: the Remainiacs who used to like to deploy this term in relation to Brexit are among those most enthusiastic for self-harm now - and on what a scale!). This closing down of the economy will cause thousands of deaths of people (who are not already close to end of life) and untold misery as people lose their livelihoods. There will be a huge rise in suicides and genuine mental ill health.

    4. The media are telling us we are going down the same path as Italy. But are we? Why is Italy ahead of us in this crisis. We have one of Europe's biggest airports - Heathrow - as well as several other major airports and we have a large Chinese community, also plenty of Chinese tourists. Why didn't we have the serious outbreak first?

    I think the answer is clear: the large concentration of Chinese gang workers in Northern Italy (working under conditions that fall far short of the EU's legal requirements - another load of baloney from the Remainiacs there about how the EU protects workers' rights). Many of these Chinese gang workers were from the Wuhan region.

    They are young enough to work through any illness and were probably acting like super-spreaders - in their hundreds.

    My concern is that there is no honest discussion about this in the media.

    5. China has had some 3,300 deaths since the outbreak began. That equates to a tiny 165 deaths in the UK, on a pro rata basis taking account of population levels. Bear in mind that non-seasonl flu can carry off 15,000 - 20,000 people in a year in the UK.

    So what is the true scale of the challenge? I've no idea. But as always some people have an interest in talking up a crisis.

    Another point to note: there might be 250,000 deaths from Coronavirus but that does not mean that the 250,000 victims of the disease would have lived for much longer. In probably the majority of cases the people concerned would sadly have died in any case within 12 months. So, it is wrong I think to talk in terms of the deaths as excess mortality rather than accelerated mortality.

    In these circumstances, I prefer honesty to sentimentality.

    1. MB Re: your second point, I caught a few minutes,today, of J Hunt chairing the Health & Social Care select Committee. When he was elected Chairman, the Guardian pointed out that, as a former Secretary of State, he'd be 'marking his own homework' - they needn't have worried, he gave the officials a good grilling (punishing Hancock for nicking 'his' job?). When one senior official tried to gloss over the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment, he was told, in no uncertain terms, that there was at least one hospital where front-line medics were having to treat infected patients, using inadequate paper masks. Shortage to be made good, pronto.

    2. To correct my own homework the number of available ventilators is apparently 7000. I think that's just for the NHS. Presumably the private sector have a few as well.

      They are still talking about increasing the number without explaining how. What country is going to prioritise our supply over their own needs. Certainly not "America First". They really ought to be offering the manufacturers - based in US and NZ it seems to come to the UK and set up a production line and we will pay them a large commission on each one produced, with perhaps those companies retaining ownership of the ventilators (so that they will not feel they are compromising their market position). Ventilators seem key to winning this "virus war", or at least engaging in an orderly retreat as it takes its toll.

      Expecting Jaguar to switch to making ventilators more or less over night seems a little daft.

      If we can secure enough ventilators we can use hotels for hospital beds, as already suggested, and we can train medical staff in their operation (which doesn't seem too complicated).

      We also need to ensure we start trials with the drugs the Australian team found highly effective - a combination of HIV anti-virals and anti-malaria drugs. No indication that is happening yet.

  26. You may be right in what you say MB but the virus is here now irrespective of how it got here. It is highly contagious and is looking for new hosts. Until enough people have been infected or immunised and fresh meat/hosts are in short supply it won’t diminish.

    Irrespective of the science, I’m not sure the population will let any government allow people to die if the can be saved by suppression/ mitigation whatever the cost.

    1. Charlie, I think my point more was that if we are basing our modelling of trajectory on what happened in Italy (which really means Northern Italy), then that could be highly misleading.

      Furthermore I have heard no one explain adequately why the numbers of deaths in China are so low. Either they are lying or the modelling is way off mark. As I indicated their total of 3300 after 3 months equates to a mere 165 in the UK.

      Looking at both China and S Korea cases graph on the Worldometer site, both seem to level off after about one month.

      Perhaps the disease is far more infectious than we yet realise, and picks off vulnerable people very quickly? Just a guess on my part.
      If that is the pattern then Italy's caseload should start to level off about now - the next few days.

      I simply want people (the media, the experts, the government) to address these startling anomalies and for us to avoid any unnecessary traumatic damage to our economy and our society.

    2. ‘I think my point more was that if we are basing our modelling of trajectory on what happened in Italy (which really means Northern Italy), then that could be highly misleading.’

      Ok, thanks for the clarification MB. I understand now - I missed that important point.

  27. The Treasury has been scrambling to put this together - Laura Kuenssberg

    But these are ONLY loans - Clive Myrie incredulous at the €330 billion support

    There was NO mention of the gig economy - Clive with incredulous intonation again

    Is there ever an urgent reason to go to the pub? - Peston trying for a gotcha at the press conference

    They really are beneath contempt.

    1. Are you doing enough to stop the virus - shouted Laura to Liz Truss outside 10 Downing St.

    2. Yes, I'm pretty sure Laura started that uncouth practice, a few years ago - the London press corps now acts like a pack of baying hounds.

    3. Cont'd
      I remember her pursuing some hapless minister down a flight of stairs & sharp-elbowing one of her colleagues out of the way in the process.

    4. “Are you going to resign, minister?”

      They receive no response and they expect none.

      So why do it? It’s a sort of virtue signalling to show their own importance. Here I am on the steps of Downing Street fronting up a shifty politician and I am prepared to ask the burning question on our viewers minds.

    5. Exactly! It looks really bad to foreign eyes & can only lower the standing of the PM for putting up with it.

    6. It was someone from the Murdoch press who started it in the UK, if I recall correctly...the TV news used to feature the cries but eventually the TV guys and gals joined in.

      "Laura! Are you going to apologise to Jeremy Corbyn for losing him the election?"

    7. I don't think she started it. Ole Cricky Boy was notorious for shouting and running after people down the street. He looks far less anxious and haunted these days, in fact remarkably sleek and relaxed. Leaving the BBC for Channel 4 seems to have suited him.

  28. Here is an intelligent analysis of some of the puzzling aspects of this pandemic, including the low number of cases reported in Russia and Africa, despite extensive contacts with China.

    The key factor here may be contacts with the Wuhan district as opposed to other parts of China.

    I just wish our MSM could apply some analytical skill to these issues.

    1. I agree entirely MB. There was a time when TV did proper investigative journalism. Man Alive, World in Action, Panorama. Even the News did their bit.

      Sadly those days are long gone, its all about grabbing the audience quickly with sensationalist headlines then doing a two minute piece to camera complete with the inbuilt bias of the presenter or producer.

      Panorama is a travesty of its former self - evidence the Tommy Takedown or their continual baiting of Amazon.

  29. Great video by Tucker Carlson:

    Time to repatriate manufacturing to USA. :)

    He points out that lots of the media are taking the side of China and that the Communist Chinese regime is using the "racist" charge to gain political advantage.

    1. 'Your enemy is my friend' has never been a reliable strategy but it is pretty daft when the media uses it against people, like Donald Trump who is actually the president that the people voted for, and those of us, (the majority), that voted for 'Brexit'.

      William Joyce was hanged for less.

  30. The Irish Times reported, yesterday, that the Dutch are adopting the UK's 'herd immunity' strategy - so is Sweden. Somebody thinks we're getting it right, anyway.

    1. Yes, PM Rutte did a very good job in presenting the case according to Guido

  31. The BBC website ‘must see’ video this morning is how to paint your face so you can’t be detected by facial recognition cameras.

    I might have expected to see public information advice on coronavirus. But no, they have a far more important item on civil liberties.

    Oh, and their other important news item is about themselves - Eastenders has suspended filming.
    Why even waste resources publishing that?

  32. Reported on Guido - BBC News has been reduced to a Core News output -

    They now feel that they have won the battle to show us who is the more powerful - the government or the media.

    1. They lost the referendum and the election. But don't make them angry - they've just showed us how they can close down the economy.

    2. They would argue that they are just reporting the facts.

      But of course there is much more to it than that. The hysteria is driven by irresponsible reporting and the panic is a result of that.

      Our response to the crisis and the severe long term damage to our economy is likely to be far more destructive than the virus toll.

  33. Coronavirus has really hit home for the BBC this morning. The BBC summer outing has been cancelled . Over 300 of them are needed for the three days of broadcasts.

    Glastonbury has been cancelled. What a disaster for them.

  34. The BBC just announced this;

    Using The One Show as a consumer programme show for all aspects of the crisis. This will include health and well-being advice, keeping fit and healthy eating tips, as well as links to other BBC output that can help and support.
    In BBC One daytime, Health Check UK Live will directly address the concerns of viewers who are in isolation, offering tips on how to keep healthy and happy at home.
    Making BBC Homepage the BBC’s bulletin board supplying clear information - the answers to all the key questions, with public information, health advice and recipes.
    Launching a virtual church service on Sunday mornings across local radio in England, led initially by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    Subject to outside broadcast capacity and our partners, we will aim to broadcast a weekly Sunday morning church service on BBC One, and explore how to support other religions and denominations, including in the run-up to Ramadan.
    We will work with partners to get older age group exercise routines and other fitness programming into people's homes on TV or radio.
    We will retarget the BBC Food website around collections of recipes and advice on what can be made with essentials, especially for older people, and for low-income families.

    In the event that schools are shut down, and subject to further work and discussions with the Department for Education, devolved administrations and schools, we are exploring:

    A daily educational programme for different key stages or year groups - with a complementary self-learning programme for students to follow, broadcast on BBC Red Button and made available on demand on BBC iPlayer.
    Expanding BBC Bitesize content, with our social media running daily troubleshooting Q&As focusing on a different subject each day.
    Increasing our educational programming on BBC iPlayer, bringing together the best from BBC Bitesize, BBC Teach and the wider BBC portfolio where educationally appropriate.
    Creating two new daily educational podcasts for BBC Sounds, one for primary and one for secondary.
    BBC Four and BBC Red Button devoting a block of programming each weekday evening to show programmes that support the GCSE and A Level curriculum. In Scotland, the Scotland channel will support the Scottish NQs and Highers in daytime.

    1. Any ideas on how to watch the One Show & stay sane?

    2. Lol, they will Impart virus updates by chatting inane drivel to z list slebs

  35. French radio RTL at lunchtime: Shortages of essentials are not confined to the UK - pharmacists are putting up signs saying "No hand gel, no face masks" but people are still going in to demand them - sometimes quite nastily.
    In some areas, any stock is reserved for GPs because they are running out. One delivery driver emerged from a pharmacy to find people were about to make off with the contents of his van.

    Closing cafés and restaurants is not working because groups of residents of blocks of flats are gathering together in lobbies & basements to socialise.

    Paris and the Île de France area (essentially 'greater Paris') has the highest number of infected people. There is a growing sense of panic and many of those who can are retreating to rural areas, either to stay with relatives or in gîtes. This is not going down well with locals, who feel 1. that the incomers are likely to bring infection with them, putting a strain on services and 2.they are stripping their shops of supplies.

    Gives you some idea of how it must have been during the war.

    1. Update: France 24 reports that China is sending a million medical masks to France. How kind!

    2. Don't touch them!

  36. Interesting how, over at the other place, corporate distancing involving staying at home in PJs has seen the reappearance of certain blasts from the past, commenter-wise.

  37. I’m sure the school children will cope far better than Amol Rajan who just tweeted this. Delayed exams doesn’t mean they were robbed of their childhood. Of course the BBC were/are instrumental in burying a big story that really did rob children of their childhood.

    ‘Devastating for all the teenagers across the country who have worked so hard for so long under such stress to get ready for exams. They don't know when those exams will be. Part of their childhood has been robbed by this virus.’

    1. I wonder if my dad was 'devastated' when his college studies were interrupted by a little affair in Europe that lasted over five year?

    2. Spot on. These sort of emoting outbursts from the BBC will hardly improve morale or invoke the Dunkirk spirit.

      That wartime spirit is what we need from the BBC at the moment but patriotism of that kind is in short supply from the metro-liberal elite.

  38. from Sky news
    Chancellor Angela Merkel has addressed German citizens in a televised speech saying "since WWII there has never been a challenge for our country in which acting in solidarity was so very crucial" and called on people to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 by sticking to rules.

    'World war 2 and sticking to ze rules' - silly Mutti.


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