Wednesday 25 March 2020

Open Thread

In a time of uncertainty, (and as the old one has reached an unprecedented 200 comments) here is a new open thread. Keep safe.


  1. The BBC's new-found confidence that the post election pressure upon them due to political bias and the licence fee to the extent that they can reverse their decision on job cuts:

    ... 'BBC News suspends 450 job cuts to ensure Covid-19 coverage' ...

    How convenient that is. Journalists enjoy key worker status enabling the likes of Mark Easton to go around casting aspersions upon anyone but him out and about. How about the sports reporters who have had nothing of substance to report recently?

    1. ... and the licence fee has been released to the extent that they can reverse their decision on job cuts: ...

    2. And how will those 450 add value to COVID reporting exactly when there are 2000 journalists and 1500 back office staff in the BBC News department?

    3. Someone has to track down the BAME transgender Muslim whose personal circumstances don't exactly match those covered in the PM's briefing!

    4. The BBC are really taking the piss! lol How exactly are these 450, mostly "working from home" (aka jogging in the park and catching up on DIY) going to enhance Covid19 coverage.

      The BBC must be punished severely at the first opportunity.

    5. I believe that the BBC have slipped through the net, and will never need to justify their anti Conservative anti Brexit pro XR PC ideology. They will emerge from this virus crisis fully intact, ready to push their worldview ever harder. After all the good work of this and other sites to pin down every falsehood or biased report, I suspect they will never face the questioning we have hoped for.

  2. We will all know in due course, with the benefit of hindsight, that mistakes, scientific, administrative and political, will have been made. I sense, judging by the massive number of NHS volunteers that have come forward, that much of the country sees the sense in working together and suspending judgement as we work to that end. Listening to journalists, it is clear that they don't see themselves as part of the community and are always looking negatively at whatever the Government proposes, seeking that 'Gotcha' moment that they value above everything else. It's really too polite to refer to them as a 5th column; they are the enemy within.

    1. Exactly Abendrot! Did you see Boris's briefing tonight? The press pack were utterly vile: it was a competition to see who could be the most abrasive & obnoxious. Beff was pretty bad, but upstaged by Laura and the man from the PA - I think he won by a whisker!

      It seems to me that the three of them made a major miscalculation, in that they were so over the top that they generated sympathy for Boris.

  3. I see Sweden is at it again...

    Sweden emerged from WW2 virtually unscathed by the death and destruction that cost the lives of some 50 million in nearby theatres of war.

    Now it seems determined to repeat the trick - while all around it are trashing their economies with super-lockdowns and saddling themselves with debt that will take decades to pay off, Sweden is maintaining a sensible and level-headed approach:

  4. We need to be open to the facts and not swept along by the hysteria-propaganda.

    ONS reports no excess mortality for Week 11 of the year (up to 19 March).

    Meanwhile, the Oxford Study I referred to earlier suggests half the population have already been infected.

    If you put those two pieces of information together they don't add up to any sort of justification for a total general lockdown (as opposed to sensible advice to the elderly and at risk to self-isolate).

    If we end up with excess mortality under 20,000 some big questions need to be asked about how we ended up smashing our democracy, our liberty and our economy.


    Maitlis spreading darkness wherever her gaze falls...

    On this occasion as she revved up for one of her emoting, grandstanding questions she thinks will earn her another RTS award it soon became apparent she didn't understand the importance of an approved antibody test. She seemed to be under the impression it had no relevance to NHS staff. Of course the polar opposite is true: such a test could revolutionise the situation, ensuring all staff would know whether they had or had not been infected by the virus.

    She effectively blocked every attempt by Zahawi to answer her questions, cutting him off before he could give a full answer. Don't expect another goverment minister on Newsnight for a long time...

    Zahawi, normally a more effective communicator wasn't much cop tonight but he did manage to deprecate her "sniping" - something she took great umbrage at (but Zahawi failed to double down, and so looked somewhat foolish, accepting her finger wagging telling off).

  6. I was highly suspicious of the Imperial College study with its huge projected death tolls. This author has looked at the statistical basis for the Imperial College projections and found them wanting, extremely so.

    Is this yet another occasion when we have damaged our society on the back of lunatic projections by academics who are basically guessing? I can't help thinking of the expert prediction that only 13,000 Poles and Romanians would come to work in the UK.

  7. Oh dear, oh dear. John Simpson is tweeting rubbish again. Perhaps he should to to Sweden with Greta where they are carrying on as normal.

    1. Says Simpson, the fat-gutted, meat-guzzling, frequent flying, job-blocker on the £200,000 salary for doing next to nothing. World Affairs Editor, my arse as Mr Royle used to say.

  8. I love it when a typo turns out to be just the ticket.
    From a commenter on Spiked:
    'If the state wants to deprive us of our liberties, surely you would agree that it’s not too much for citizens to expect that these measures will be coherent and proportionate? Surly citizens have every right to question these measure, the state is not omniscient and will not have anticipate all the possible consequences of its actions. Or possibly you believe in an infallible, all-knowing state? ...'

    Surly citizens do indeed have a part to play. However annoying they may be, in a way I am rather glad of them even as they disrupt and confound.

    1. If only we were a bit more surly. As it is, we seem to have given up our liberty without question or protest. Frightening.

      Government policy seems to be based on wonky stats - extrapolating from one cruise liner what will happen across the UK:

  9. Self-medication with vitamins and minerals is one of those things that the PC crowd don't like - it gives individuals way too much agency. All the fact checkers are trying to discredit the efficacy of Vitamin C even though some hospitals in China are using high doses of Vitamin C to treat patients with severe Covid-19 disease.

    I was wondering about vitamin sales in the UK compared with elsewhere. We are the top consumer of vitamins and minerals in Europe. Our sales are 8 times those of Italy's and nearly three times those of Spain.

    Could that explain why despite all our risk factors we have not experienced a huge impact yet? I see Poland, second highest consumer in Europe (and maybe first on a per capita basis) has only had 14 deaths.

    The real puzzle for me is Greece: only 23 deaths despite all their risk factors and their similar culture and location to Italy and Spain.

    The approved PC media narrative is: All countries are equally susceptible to Coronavirus and the only way to avoid disaster is through mass lockdown.

    [It's a bit like their migration narrative: all countries benefit from migration and more migration always strengthens an economy!]

    The reality - the true story - is that there appears to be wide variation between countries and scant evidence of the effectiveness of mass lockdowns.

    Countries like Taiwan, Sweden and Japan that have not had mass lockdowns but have taken good targeted measures seem to be doing well. Japan, for instance, despite its contacts with China, and population of over 100 million, has had only 45 deaths.

    1. Here's a link to vitamin sales:

      The Coronavirus stats are from:

      I would encourage everyone to look at the stats themselves and not be swayed by the media narrative.

    2. No need, MB - just guzzled a jumbo-sized multivitamin! Seriously, though, could it not simply be that we're 10-14 days behind the rest of Italy? (And, yes, the illegal Chinese immigrant population must have supercharged the Italian figures).

    3. Who knows, but see below...

      I read elsewhere that the Covid-19 death toll in Italy had not yet reached the seasonal flu total.

  10. We keep being told we are two weeks behind Italy. Why we, with our international airports, aged population, huge tourism trade and extensive contacts with China should be two weeks BEHIND Italy is not explained.

    But taking it at face value I have looked at the graphs for Italy and the UK and it appears that at the stage of 20 days since the first death our fatalities were about 50% lower than Italy's or more like 55% if you take into account our higher population. It was the same after 10 days. So looks like we will have a far less severe experience of coronavirus than Italy overall.

    We mustn't be carried away by the media hysteria.

    1. Agreed.
      From the BBC website - The national health institute in Italy said the average age of those who have died was 81, with the majority suffering from underlying health problems. An estimated 72% of all those who have died were men.

    2. MB You ask why we should be two weeks behind Italy, but surely you've already answered that question yourself: N.Italy is home to 100,000 illegal immigrants, brought in by the Mafia to work in the leather industry - the bulk of them are from the Wuhan area.

      Charlie: As you say, the average age of those who have died was 81 - the majority men. Maybe the Italian statistics have fallen foul of the Mediterranean diet. How so? Well, because of the healthy diet, many more people live to a ripe old age - when fruit is ripe, it only takes a gentle nudge to make it drop off the branch...& the Chinese virus is anything but gentle.

    3. Well quite, Sis - but have you heard anyone on BBC, Sky or ITV address that possibility? - as opposed to trotting out the "UK two weeks behind Italy" line. This has been going on for a month now. I haven't heard a single reference to the "Chinese connection".

      Do you think that's accidental? No it's a shared editorial choice, similar to the playing down of the grooming gang scandal.

      If they ever do get round to mentioning the matter you can be sure it will be presented as a human rights issue (modern slavery in Western countries) not a migration/border control issue.

      Good point about there being more older people in Italy thanks to the good diet. Could well be the case as North Europe tends to cull people through over-indulgence in the calorie-heavy fatty foods and strong (or large quantities of) alcohol that see us through our often rather joyless seasons.

    4. MB Calling it the 'Chinese Virus' seems to upset all the right people - think I'll make a point of doing it!

    5. Charlie - it might be my Beebophobia at work, but I am sure when they announce the "majority of the dead are men" there is a somewhat pejorative tone to the "men" as in "What do you expect? You know they are useless about everything but particularly health matters...hardly a surprise really..."

      Were it women in the majority I think the tone might be somewhat more concerned.

    6. Just listening to an item on Fox News's Ingram Angle about the very large Chinese presence in Northern Italy. Linking the outbreak to workers returning after Chinese New Year. You'll never hear it mentioned on the BBC of course.

  11. Question Time sets the tone with the first question criticising the chancellors announcement on the self employed. Fiona getting aggressive early on with Robert Jenrick.

    The combative approach and continual sniping by the BBC will hardly do them any favours. Once again they are misjudging the mood.

    1. I'm sorry HMG didn 't put up anyone more robust that Jenrick; he's rather wet. Moreover, the BBC need to be challenged about including nutcase Richard Horton on the show. He's dangerously wrong on some medical matters, (vaccination) and off his trolley with support for XR. Fgs, The Lancet used to be a serious publication; perhaps it tells us something about where the medical profession is going.

    2. Charlie: Ever since the Referendum & election, the BBC has been licking its wounds and lying in wait, ready to pounce on Boris & the Government at the earliest opportunity.

      The BBC clearly has a check-list of dos and don'ts & they've spent today working through it - for example "Do not allow any good news, which reflects well on the UK and its government, to be broadcast by BBC News. If it is broadcast, it must be diluted or, preferably, nullified." Thus Joanna Gosling (9 am BBC 2 News) announced that the Government has ordered 10,000 Dyson ventilators (Hurrah!) but that they would have to undergo clinical trials and then it would take several weeks to set up a production line, so that they would not reach hospitals until mid-April (Boo!)

      The above drivel was repeated on subsequent editions of the News, at least until Carrie Gracie took over, at about lunchtime. Now, clearly, this is nonsense: no government is going to place a substantial order until the equipment has been tried & tested. Tonight, various sources were denying that the order had been placed.

      Gracie appeared to be working her way through a list: Ventilators, Testing and,"The other key controversy, did they (the Govt) make any progress on PPE?" - Patchy, apparently.

      So, how do we compare with France, which has an excellent health service? Well, French hospital doctors have complained that they are having to use masks like a sieve; today RTL reported that nurses in Maubeuge had had to resort to buying gardeners' overalls to wear on the wards. The BBC dismisses the Nightingale hospital as 'makeshift', but how much more 'makeshift' are thinks in France? - They are using Army tent hospitals.

      I think, Charlie, that no matter what the Government does, it will not be good enough for the BBC, & you are right to say they are doing themselves no favours: an ex-colleague, staunch, not to say, rabid, Guardian-reading Labour supporter says he thinks Boris is doing an excellent job - if people like him think that, the BBC has failed.

    3. I completely agree Sis. The BBC just played a clip on the 10pm news from the Mayor of Bergamo who said Boris had wasted 2 weeks and that delay will cost many lives. The report was meant to be about the crisis and suffering in Italy but with a deft piece of slight of hand it was transformed into a straightforward political attack.

    4. Yes, I saw that, Charlie - definitely a diversionary tactic! A few days ago, Macron was quoted as having threatened to close the border with the UK, if Boris didn't move to lockdown - the same thing again!

    5. The first words in this evening's BBC 6 o'clock 'news' were "The Chancellor at last has announced help for self-employed ..."

      At last!

  12. Found this reference to excess mortality in Italy of almost 10% between 2014 and 2015. That would be something like 60,000 excess deaths, mostly among the elderly population, mostly caused by influenza but other causes as well.

    60,000 is a lot!

    Current deaths from Covid-19 are 8215.

    It will be interesting to see what the excess mortality rate actually is this year. It's suspicious that the media aren't quoting a figure.

    Of course, there is another aspect to all this - when doctors in Israel went on strike, many years ago, the death rate went DOWN.

  13. I think we are seeing the Government and advisors conducting what is sometimes known as a ‘reverse ferret’ before our very eyes today.

    My understanding is that the strategy is to the flatten the curve to protect then NHS from overloading and collapse from too many cases.

    Neil Ferguson, the Imperial college expert is now saying that the NHS will cope and deaths will be significantly below 20,000.

    Not hearing much about this on the BBC or MSM, hence them being participants in the reverse ferret.

    1. Spiffing! So either Imperial & the BBC must admit they got it very badly wrong, or they will have to credit Boris and Co. with getting it right and navigating us through a potentially catastrophic storm...

    2. So we've gone from 250,000, to 100,000 to 20,000 to well under 20,000, probably less than 10,000, maybe even less than 5,000! And the deaths are mostly of people who were very close to the end of life and may have been killed by the general virus load in their bodies. And remember a bad flu season can result in 17,000 deaths in the UK in one year.

      Meanwhile we have wrecked millions of lives. Just think of the thousands of weddings postponed, the new successful small business destroyed overnight, the children who have lost interest in schoolwork, the hundreds of thousands who will have lost jobs that will not now return...

      It's an absolute scandal...but there are so many guilty hands in the pot: the Government, the Opposition, the devolved governments, local government, the NHS, Imperial College, scientific experts, the medical profession, the BBC, the wider MSM, the CBI, the BRC, the Remainiacs, globalist opponents of effective migrant control, enablers of modern will all be covered up and declared a huge victory for everyone.

      No one will care about the thousands of deaths that have resulted and will result from the lockdown itself: the unidentified cancers, the suicides, the debilitating effects of social isolation, the lack of exercise and the delayed operations.

      And now of course we have allowed to enter into the body politic hugely dangerous "pathogenic precedents" regarding loss of liberty, enforced participation in mass medicine, mass texting of citizens by government, closing down of Parliament, putting millions on the government payroll etc. By the way, where was Gina Miller when they closed down Parliament?

  14. I think the government may well need to go down the D-notice route with the BBC soon, whilst there is the cuddly public service slop like the "one show" there is also a defiant and hostile tone to all reporting of the government response to the issue especially on it's online offerings. The BBC is also allowing its website comments section to be hijacked by momentum / antifa types with shocking comments about the elderly and incitement to civil insurrection against the authorities moderation is sporadic at best.
    The BBC seem to have been able to self declared all their staff (whatever their function) as key workers, entitled to move around freely and get childcare in the otherwise closed schools, in fact they have overwhelmed the supply of places in Cardiff.
    Boris need to bring the BBC in to line sharply, otherwise they will go (even further) out of control.

  15. Where once the "BBC Bias" community (on here, Biased BBC and elswhere, eg Guido) was fairly united on their loathing of BBC bias, PC ideology more generally and the anti-democratic antics of the Remainers, the Coronavirus Crisis has split opinion. There seem to be a number of tendencies:

    1. The "Strong Government" squad. They rather relish the idea of martial law and wouldn't mind it being extended to rounding up anyone who they don't like for any reason!

    2. The "This Really Is a Crisis" group...who are prepared to give the authorities the benefit of the doubt and call for national unity. They accept the advice of the experts. They dislike the BBC's aggressive questioning of Government competence as it undermines national unity.

    3. A sub-group of 2: "Real Crisis But Government Incompetent". They think it's perfectly valid to point up failings. They don't consider the NHS a sacred cow.

    4. "Sceptical Contingent". They don't accept all the expert advice. They accept that there is a challenge to be addressed but consider it likely that the challenge has been grossly overstated by the experts. They don't accept that mass lockdown is necessarily the right policy. They also see dangers in the precedents being set on deprivation of liberty.

    5. The Paranoid Club. They think the government is up to something...the reasons for the virus's spread are sinister. It's being used by govenrment for various purposes.

    I think I'm in 4 more than anything else. I wasn't sure to begin with, but scepticism has grown and grown, and in the light of that Jeremy Vine tweet I think it's justified.

    1. I can't decide between 2 and 4. Whilst I appreciate all those who work in the NHS, most of whom are good at what they do, I was unable to join in the minute of applause guff. Do we applaud for firemen putting out burning stolen cars, police arresting drugged up violent loons, binmen emptying overflowing bins, lavatory cleaners mopping up a drunkards puke etc. All essential jobs which most of us would not like to do...

    2. Quite. There are millions of people in the public and private sector soldiering on at the moment.

      The NHS Cult, a kind of secular religion, is encouraged by politicians, the Left especially but not exclusively and by the media. Other countries don't have a national health service necessarily but front line staff respond in the same manner as we see in Italy and France.

      Our NHS seems to have been woefully ill prepared for this pandemic, so doesn't really deserve a pat on the back from that point of view, though the staff clearly do deserve our support and admiration.

    3. Yes - I'm mainly 2, with some 4 (fear of loss of liberty) plus a modified version of 5:
      I suspect that A government is up to something, but not the British one!
      (I keep having to substitute capitals for Bold & Italic because I can't find out how to do them on Android tablet - does anyone know how?)

    4. MB Yes, I'm tired of the 'envy of the world' nonsense. Having been in hospital in the UK and both France and Spain, I know where I would prefer to be treated. The NHS is not the envy of the world, it is the envy of the Third World - hence the 'Lagos Express' etc.

    5. I don't know if this will work but I've seen it suggested: place an asterisk before and after the words you want in bold; underscore before and after the words you want in italic script.

    6. Thanks Anon I *will* try it! Alas, I don't _think_ it works!

  16. From the opening sentence you can see where Katya Adler’s loyalties lie.

    The EU is finished, gloat the nay-sayers. Writes Katya. Gloat is a carefully chosen word to convey something only Brexiteers do.

    The early paragraphs are just the preface to a summary of all the good things the EU are doing to support members during the crisis.

    Katya obviously received the fax to pro EU journalists to turn up the propaganda following some unhelpful headlines.

    1. "All the things the EU are doing to support members..." Oh yeah, Katya? Last week, French radio was lamenting the fact that Merkel had prevented the export of PPE to other EU member countries! (RTL radio.)

    2. I've no doubt that The EU intends to develop this into another one of their "Beneficial Crises". It has been keeping a very low profile as the pandemic develops, so everyone can point the finger at the failures of national governments. Eventually, once the dust has setlled, the Commission will unveil plans to deal with future crises, but will insist that they need additional powers and resources. Making health strategy an EU competence, perhaps? (In this context, it's important for them not to have a proper hands-on responsibility, so the power of strategic oversight would be ideal for them.)

  17. A new narrative has emerged on the BBC today. They are quoting scientists who say 40 million deaths have been saved by the action around the world.

    They are also referencing Imperial College professor Tom Pike who is predicting a low UK coronavirus death toll of just 5,700 - *BUT ONLY* if we maintain the lockdown and social distancing.

    1. Here is Andrew Neil asking the questions Monkey Brains has already asked on this blog.

    2. He obviously reads this blog! lol

      That link was v. slow (Twitter may be in overdrive) so I have copied the text
      of Andrew Neil's tweet:

      "Guidance, please. Is Imperial’s Neil Ferguson, whose modelling gave us the 250,000 deaths projection and led to lockdown, now saying UK deaths 'could be substantially lower' than 20,000 -- and two thirds would have died in the next 6 months anyway?"

    3. And is the 'two thirds would have died in the next 6 months anyway' another product of sticking finger in the air and plucking something out from the passing breeze?.

  18. 10 a.m. News Channel- Anita McVeigh tells us China says there have been 48 new cases in Wuhan province, but that they were all brought in by foreigners. This is reported as fact, without comment or question.

    I've just realised that the Joanna Gosling I referred to yesterday was, in fact, Anita McVeigh.

    1. Hmmm, The BBC mindset at work. EU and China always taken as fact and at face value. Our Government are always lying toe-rags.

  19. I have a problem understanding the BBC News website's reporting of deaths due to coronavirus. I'm sure all of us make a mental note of the numbers as we attempt to understand when we arrive at the peak of the curve. This story does nothing to clarify the issue:

    ... 'Coronavirus: UK deaths rise by more than 100 in a day.' ...

    Comparison of the daily figure is essential, and it is something that we should be able to rely upon from the BBC. But, alas no:

    ... 'Thursday saw a change in the way NHS England and the Department of Health are reporting deaths.

    The latest figures are for a 24-hour period, but Wednesday's were not - they were only for eight hours - from 0900 to 1700 on Tuesday 24 March.

    Thursday's figures are for a full 24-hour period, from 1700 on Tuesday 24 March to 1700 on Wednesday 25 March.

    So Wednesday's rise of 28 reported deaths and the 107 reported deaths on Thursday cannot be directly compared.' ...

    This from the BBC is as clear as mud. Where is the number of deaths in the remaining 16 hours of Tuesday - reported overnight of
    Tuesday/Wednesday? Surely the obvious way to present the figure would be to add up 28 and 107, and divide by two.

    In spite of all the BBC's resources, their reporting is downright sloppy. The headline 'Coronavirus: UK deaths rise by more than 100 in a day' is alarmist, and IMO not strictly true.

    1. Some very good points Arthur. I don’t think it is sloppy, I think it is carefully orchestrated to muddy the waters. They could provide graphs or a simple daily count like other sites but have deliberately decided not to. The ONS should be providing info on a daily basis to the public but have also chosen not to.

      It’s an establishment stitch up.

    2. What you are asking for is probably this:
      The government is providing is but not the ONS.

    3. Very clear graphics, but it only takes us to 23rd March.

    4. Good point about graphs Charlie. They use them to dramatic effect for things like "Trump's" unemployment rise...but hardly use them at all in relation to UK figures.

      Yes, I hadn't noticed that. It allows them to stay fully in charge of the narrative doesn't it, using tone of voice and mind manipulation words like "jump" and so on.

      I too am very confused about the reporting of the figures. We also had the strange admission that Coronavirus is only being listed as cause of death if next of kin agree...surely this is a bit too important for that. There may be next of kin who want to transport the body out of the country and may not wish to admit to Coronavirus for that reason. Surely with emergency legislation, that rule can be overridden.

      If we had a proper news broadcaster I think they would: use visual aids to convey the information; contexualise the data (e.g. giving the average number of deaths per day in the UK - about 1,600); contextualise causality (many of these patients already have a high virus load and multiple health conditions); and use deaths per million when comparing with other countries.

    5. Good point in the penultimate para MB. I have heard that followers of certain religions have been known to fast track death certificates (possibly with less rigour than we might expect) in order to get the body on a flight out of the UK in the evening of the day of the death.

    6. After reading the, invariably, interesting contributions to this site I thought the following link would be of interest (if it hasn’t already been posted):

    7. Heard through Guido:

      ... ' Nic Watt said:

      “We need to be careful not to read too much into it because the Department of Health as we speak is changing the way that it is releasing and compiling these figures. Normally these figures would come out in the early afternoon. When I last looked they had still not come out.

      The reason for that is that it turns out that these figures may not actually be the deaths that have taken place over the last 24 hours, because the Department of Health, the NHS needs to have the consent of the families of people who’ve died to release their figures.' ...

      From this extract:

      Q. When is a death from Covid 19 not a death from Covid 19?
      A. When 'the family' say it isn't!

    8. That link from Anonymous is very helpful. The good doctor makes several points that I also make.

      In many countries mortality has been below average so far.

  20. You would think that the BBC might focus on the Netherlands a bit more - a near neighbour with similar history and culture. Their number of deaths per millino from Coronavirus is about three times our figure.

    The BBC is like a bad parent who can't help favouring one child over another. They have long loved all things Dutch, apart from Geert Wilders of course. So, it's not surprising they see nothing of concern in the Netherlands now. The EU, Netherlands, Macron, now Governor closely she presses her favourite children to her bosom! :)

    1. MB- The Beeb have missed a trick, haven't they? The Dutch decided to rely on the 'herd immunity' strategy, initially favoured by the UK - they could have done a bit more Boris-bashing there!

  21. Should we trust experts?

    The expert advice was that a persistent dry cough and a high temperature were the defining features of Coronavirus infection. (I believe that info is still being regularly shown by the TV channels). I didn't believe the experts.

    Listening to a Radio 5 Live discussion this morning hosted by Adrian Chiles, the man who could miss a dart board at 6 inches such are his unerring journalistic instincts...the two guest commentators just happened to have fallen ill with what they think is the virus and also have several relatives who have fallen ill. The symptoms they describe are in common with people who have tested positive whom I have heard talk about their symptoms e.g. migraine, extreme fatigue, dizziness, blocked sinuses...

    I think my scepticism about the official "symptoms" was fully justified. How many people have been infected because the Government experts have heavily publicised these two isolated symptoms as those ones indicating you have the virus. Millions will have gone into work to infect colleagues in the early stages thinking they couldn't possibly have it.

    It was only later that recommendations were adjusted to advise staying at home if you had cold-like symptoms.

    So, no, don't trust experts. Retain your common sense. Examine what they say. See if it accords with what you can see about you and your life experience.

    If you don't you might end up destroying your economy, your liberty and your democracy...all for no gain.

    1. You make a very important point MB. Look how many times have experts been proved wrong on key moments of our recent history. Iraq, Brexit vote, Carney, Trump election and now covid.

      I have a healthy scepticism but fell for these new Imperial College Covid maths modellers and those medical experts telling us about symptoms.

      Like many people I was carried along by the media hype and drama of it all. I should have looked up, took breath and remembered Michael Gove - "people in this country have had enough of experts" .

  22. The BBC are reporting that Humberside Police have set up a portal to report anyone not obeying the COVID19 government rules.
    Very sinister. Big brother is here. Snitch on your neighbour.

    1. From the Mail:
      The Met Police today fined a bakery boss £80 for criminal damage after she put temporary lines outside her shop to keep her customers safe from coronavirus.

      The extraordinary incident took place outside the Grodzinski bakery in Edgware, north-west London, this morning, when police spotted the owner using a can of non-permanent spray chalk to help maintain social distancing of two metres.

      The officer told the flabbergasted woman that she had graffitied the pavement and if police failed to punish crimes like these there would be 'anarchy', adding: 'I can't help the law. We're going to be ticketing soon to stop people congregating - is that wrong too?'.

      The woman, who gives her name as Gemma, confronts the officer and says: 'This is not graffiti, it's chalk, it washes off. So you would rather all my customers don't stand two metres apart? I'm doing it for people's safety - to stop the spread of coronavirus', to which the officer replies: 'It doesn't matter. It's criminal damage. It's the law'.

    2. Well, Charlie, you wouldn't expect Cressida's finest to soil their hands dealing with real criminals, would you?

  23. Another good data site:

  24. 5pm: Briefing: Not the BBC but...In the absence of Laura K, Beff Rigby took the crown as the most obnoxious reporter of the day - had the PM and Health Secretary been negligent in getting themselves infected? - It wasn't so much the words as the venom with which they were uttered.

    Beff was wasting her breath: if Gove doesn't like a question he ignores it. What he might have pointed out was that all three have been into hospitals to see the situation for themselves & speak to staff. It is not possible to carry on a coherent conversation when swaddled like an Egyptian mummy in protective gear.

  25. Rigby was bad, but the guy from the Independent got the biscuit for briefing on behalf of the enemy.

  26. How would Team America deal with the Coronavirus crisis?

    Probably by blasting the CDC off the face of the Earth...

  27. Guido had a go at the editor of the Lancet's Question Time appearance on Thirsday night.

    This morning, Today reports that he's doubling down - looks like the BBC is trying to protect its 'reputation'.

    Also on Today there are reports that lots of high-profile sports people, including coaches and managers, are taking big pay cuts because of the virus. No mention that any BBC staff are doing the same :-).

  28. I undertook a survey for the BBC. Here they report the results ... All results are the diametric opposite to what I responded!

    Hi *****,
    We would like to say a massive thank you for taking the time answering our surveys and providing valuable feedback. Your thoughts are really appreciated and have helped the BBC in many ways.
    We recently asked about your thoughts on the BBC’s coverage of the Coronavirus and are thankful for your feedback even at these difficult times and would like to share with you some interesting responses to the pandemic from different parts of the world.
    In these challenging times, we hope for your well-being and safety. We value the time you have given us and will use the information to provide you with the best quality coverage we can.
    We ran a survey with Global Minds panelists to understand your thoughts on our coverage of the coronavirus. In only 3 days we had:
    • 4,130 people respond between 20-23 March
    • Across countries all over the world, from Serbia to Ghana to Colombia
    • From a mix of demographic backgrounds
    1. Audiences are most concerned about the impact on the global economy (74%).
    2. Younger people are significantly more likely to be concerned about the virus’s impact on mental health (35%), whilst our older viewers are more likely to be concerned about the impact on mortality rates (51%).
    3. Audiences in the US are most likely to be concerned about lack of medical resources (70%), whilst those in the Middle East are least worried about this aspect (49%).
    4. Audiences in Africa are most likely to be concerned about scarcity of food and essentials (48%), whilst Australians are most worried about the impact on their local economy (78%).
    5. Younger people are significantly more likely to want more coverage of positive community action (34% of 18-34's).
    1. Audiences are most interested in following global updates on statistics (74%), local updates (69%) and government advice and policies (67%).
    2. Those aged 65+ are more likely than others to be interested in following advice on how to stay well and safe (65%).
    3. Only half of the audience is interested in information about possible vaccine development (51%).
    4. Those in the US are more likely than others to be interested in knowing about the economic impact on business and trade (69%) whilst those in Africa are more likely to want advice on how to stay well and safe (70%).
    5. The majority would like to see the BBC doing more local updates about their part of the world (53%).
    1. 83% of BBC News consumers are visiting at least once a day for Coronavirus information, with 45% visiting multiple times per day.
    2. 95% of the global audience say having access to BBC News is important during situations like the Coronavirus outbreak, with 3 in 4 saying it is ‘very important’.
    3. BBC World News viewers give us a 9.0/10 satisfaction score for our TV coverage of Coronavirus, the highest score of all international news platforms.
    4. Our online users give us a 9.0/10 satisfaction score for our online coverage of Coronavirus, the highest score of all international news platforms.
    5. The top 3 attributes our viewers ascribe to us during this coverage are ‘Informative’ (73%), ‘Trustworthy’ (72%) and ‘Easy to Understand’ (65%).
    6. More than 1 in 3 of younger viewers say we are their ‘first point of access for news on the Coronavirus’.

    'The information is clear, objective and trustworthy. It makes me feel safe to have a credible source of information.’ [Male, 35-64, Europe]
    'At times like these it is important that we have a source of information that we can trust. A source that is not trying to sell something or promote political bias.’ [Male, 65+, APAC]
    'It gives me a sense of community. That we aren't alone in this. It helps me predict what could happen next in my home country.’ [Male, 16-34, Africa]
    'A source of trusted & wide-ranging info, no matter which country the reader is from’. [Male, 35-64, APAC]
    'Would like more detailed coverage of numbers of people who have contracted the disease, ages, sexes, and locations, and same info about deaths.’ [Male, 65+, USA]

    1. Yuk. That image of the BBC bathed in a halo of heavenly light is way too sweet for my taste.

    2. Very carefully selected quotes, it proves nothing except that it confirms how they manipulate what gets published.

    3. There are a number of actions the BBC could take, which might adjust the balance, and earn the BBC some respect:

      1. 'Furlough' Lineker and the whole host of sports reporters whilst there is nothing for them to report. They can have their jobs back after the Covid 19 crisis. Football managers have taken pay cuts to keep their clubs afloat.

      2. Shelve plans to bring back HIGNFY next week. Sack the whole shower of HIGNFY Slebs or should I say slobs. I can't believe that the BBC might think it appropriate to replay this tired old format at such a time.

      3. Cancel Noughts and Crosses, Race across the World and Top Gear.

      4. Agree across the board pay cuts, and offer a reduction in the licence fee.

      Then we might respect the BBC, but certainly not on the basis of the above survey.

    4. And who exactly is Bupo and what are his motives for the survey?

    5. I know not, but the opening paragraph suggests he is closer to your pov than the Beebs.

    6. Apologies, I misread it.

  30. There was a discussion earlier in the thread regarding what you might call "confusion-sowing" by the media - a kind of misdirection form of bias.

    There was a prime example on Sky News yesterday.

    Ostensibly the report was examining the high number of CV cases in the West Midlands and assessing possible reasons.

    The report flitted from one area of explanation to another, without properly analysing any of them.

    The Leader of Wolverhampton Council told us that "people get unhealthier the further North you go..." The reporter did not ask why there weren't more cases in Sunderland or Liverpool then.

    Although billed as about the West Midlands, it seemed to zero in on Wolverhampton. There was a reference to Wolverhampton having a "younger population" (there's a clue there). But - hang on - this disease is supposed to target the elderly, not the why is this relevant? Ah, well, the reporter explained, Wolverhampton's young have one of the highest percentages of underlying medical conditions...(another clue perhaps).

    The item had the external appearances of being a news report (location shots, interview and pieces to camera) but it was really quite the opposite, an exericse in misdirection.

    So I looked up Wolverhampton's demographics. The official (probably underestimated) figure for the South Asian population was 17%, large enough to produce the younger population with lots of underlying health problems (owing to cousin marriage).

    I also noted that the "Chinese and other Asian" population stood at 2.5%.

    I wondered whether the area might have a problem with illegal Chinese migrant gangs. This came up immediately:

    Have Sky News never heard of Google?

    Not that difficult is it?

    More Googling revealed that the West Midlands is a centre for illegal Chinese gang activity - operating cannabis farms, passport fraud, illegal renting, benefit fraud...all the usual stuff. So it's very likely that the West Midlands (together with North London - explaining the Northwick Park Hospital blip) are centres for illegal Chinese work gangs.

  31. Seems to me pretty clear the mass lockdowns in Italy and Spain are not working and are very likely making things worse.

    From the few pictures I have seen of what is going on in Italy it looks like the hospitals have become breeding grounds for disease: old people with high viral loads parked up against each other (imagine what the toilet facilities are like).

    People are being spooked and panicked by the mass lockdown. The lockdown is probably having bad effects on people with asthma, diabetes and other conditions and adding high levels of stress to the population at large.

    It's got to stop before they kill many more tens of thousands. It can't be stressed enough that countries like Taiwan, Sweden and Japan who are all doing well have not had the same sort of draconian lockdowns as have taken place in Italy.

  32. Breaking lockdown rules? You are being watched

  33. The Chinese government is saying all is well in Wuhan. This video says otherwise.

  34. The truth about COVID-19
    This video is 8 minutes long and subtitled. It is an interview with a German Professor who is a leading infectious diseases specialist. He backs up most of what Monkey Brains has been saying on this blog. It’s interesting enough to be worth your time to view..

    1. Thanks for that video, Charlie. It was a wonderful breath of fresh air - real analysis and thinking.

      It's the second video by a German Prof with expertise in this area calling into question the mad orthodoxy being imposed on us.

      Begs the question - where are the British Profs who think like this? I am sure they exist but they are no doubt being effectively censored

      I was particularly impressed by the humanity of the Prof - his understanding of how the elderly need their social interaction to keep them alive. This lockdown is effectively killing people.

      One of the ironies of this crazy situation is that we are supposed to be in lockdown in order to prevent the collapse of our health service. But the reality is that the lockdown is causing the breakdown of our health service, particularly the alleged "jewel in the crown" - our GP service. GPs act as gatekeepers, allowing or preventing access to other NHS services. People are postponing contact with GPs. Serious illnesses are going undetected. Meanwhile, operations and clinic appointments are being cancelled.

    2. You are welcome MB.
      Meanwhile from The Telegraph

      Professor Neil Ferguson, of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London , the scientist whose calculations about the potentially devastating impact of the coronavirus directly led to the countrywide lockdown has been criticised in the past for flawed research.
      It has now emerged that Ferguson has been criticised in the past for making predictions based on allegedly faulty assumptions which nevertheless shaped government strategies and impacted the UK economy.

    3. At last - a hint of scepticism from our media...thanks be. Perhaps people are beginning to see how very serious, damaging and dangerous - not to say lethal - a mass lockdown can be.

      This is an absolute scandal...but of course as I said before virtually everyone is implicated in this scandal so everyone has an interest in not admitting to the catastrophic policy failure.

      Sadly, since I have been a strong supporter of him to date, Boris has to take a large share of the blame for this. I can understand he was probably bound hand and foot... but, still, he is the PM and has to take responsibility for the unnecessary plunging of this country into a state of miserable decline and confusion. That's not what Prime Ministers are supposed to do.

  35. This article has some very important information.

    It's quite remarkable that the BBC hasn't bothered (AFAIK) to cover the subject of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Trump's been mentioning it non-stop for 2 weeks, and here in France it's massive news.

    1. Anything that reflects badly on Macron or the EU will be studiously ignored by the BBC.

    2. Agreed Arthur and anything that reflects that Trump might be right will also be studiously ignored by the BBC.

    3. Arthur: Yes! - Such as the fact that French hospital Drs and GPs have been complaining of lack of adequate PPE for the last 10 days, at least.

    4. Anon: Not at all surprised if this is true - French governments usually have a corruption scandal on the go - the earliest I remember is the 'Emperor' Bokassa's alleged gift of diamonds to Giscard d'Estaing in the 70s. At the next election, the Left had pictures of two diamonds printed and fly posted one over each of Giscard's eyes on his election posters - he lost the election!

    5. They've mentioned it on BBC Reality Check - they used it as a stick to beat Trump, pretending he was claiming it was a miracle cure.

    6. There's been a lot of confusion about these drugs.
      So much confusion generated by media on both side of the Atlantic that I'm entering conspiracy country.

      This week, CNN tried to blame the death of somebody who self medicated with fish food (because it contained an ingredient that looks similar to hydroxychloroquine) on Trump's support for testing these drugs.

      The progressive media is going out of its way to not promote the possibilty that these drugs may be a benefit. Why ? If it can be proved that this cocktail can work in the early stages of Covid, what's the problem for those lovers of humanity ?
      (the same anon.)

    7. Anon. One major problem with Hydroxychloroquine: it's a known cause of irregular heartbeat and patients with 'ticker trouble' are in the most at risk category, along with those with lung problems, like asthma-sufferers.

    8. Noted, and I was aware that side effects exist, but my question still stands regarding lack of interest in media coverage.

  36. More protection of President Macron. It is not on the BBC website.

    French police unions threaten to stop enforcing lockdown as first gendarme dies from coronavirus

  37. Testing for CV: The Boris Bashing Corporation has spent the day comparing the performance of the Labour-run Welsh NHS with that of the incompetent, English, one. Population of Wales: 3.139 million (2018), population of England 55.98 million (2018)...

  38. I cannot recall in my lifetime a mass lockdown of a whole country to deal with a health emergency.

    We are being experimented on. There is no knowing what the results will be. A greater death toll than from the Coronavirus is one strong possiblity.

    Where did this idea of a mass nationwide lockdown covering just about all activity come from?

    In China the lockdown was not nationwide, it was focussed on Wuhan. There has been no mass lockdown in Japan or South Korea or Taiwan.

    It seems like Wuhan was taken as a model for virtually the whole of Europe. Why?

    It's insane. No one can point to a successful nationwide lockdown except in the sense of the old "elephant powder" joke ("Why are you putting that powder on the grass?" "To stop the elephants." "But there aren't any elephants around here!" "I know - good, isn't it?") . There's no arguing against elephant powder logic.

  39. More confuse-a-cat tactics from the BBC.

    Notice what's missing:

    - No explanation for why the huge death toll in North Italy but not Southern Italy.

    - No explanation for why so few people have been killed in Hong Kong.

    - Not mentioning that neither Japan nor South Korea were ever put in a mass nationwide lockdown.

    - No interest in why Greece has so few cases.

    Instead, just the usual orthodoxy: the virus affects all countries the same except insofar as they put in place effective counter-measures, principally mass lockdowns.

    The claim that "lockdowns are working" is without proof, since countries without total mass lockdowns e.g. South Korea and Japan have done much better than countries with total mass lockdowns.

    There is no evidence for this orthodoxy but it is the dogma that you are required to assent to.

  40. MB- "No explanation for why the huge death toll in N. Italy but not Southern Italy" - The BBC reported 3 days ago that there were fears over the rapid spread in Italy's South.

    1. The BBC has been reporting fears of a rapid spread to the South for three weeks not three days! - and it still hasn't happened anywhere near on the same scale. Calabria for instance has had 22 deaths compared with 5944 in Lombardy.

      Lombardy's death rate is, incidentally, incredibly high - 15%. Nowhere else in the world has experienced such a high death rate. Nothing in that BBC report explains these wild differences between countries and regions.

  41. Two sets of scientists and their views on Covid.
    Some have been mentioned here, some not.

    1. It looks to me as if there may be a battle of the educated middle classes regarding the narrative surrounding Covid 19. I believe the sceptic scientists will be ultimately proved right, and the 'models' wildly wrong. The hysterical section of the scientific community may well be accused of complicity in a world wide recession and politically convenient public repression.

      Until now, I've been open minded to the actions being taken by the powers that be, but as I learn more, I'm starting to see that those actions do not compute.

      Did anyone call Lofven?!

      The Overton Window of discussion in the media reveals a lack of desire to find solutions, or to question or explain the figures they're so keen on squirting into our brains.

      (the same anon.)


    beeb does not seem to know how to spin this one does it??

    1. From that article:

      ... ' In contrast to the multi-generational homes in Mediterranean countries, more than half of Swedish households are made up of one person,' ...

      Overcrowded housing in areas where coronavirus spreads easily such as north Italy, London and New York etc, which also have high levels of air pollution, might lead to a conclusion that lockdowns make matters worse. Clean air will help sunlight to do its work in destroying the virus. We associate Sweden with clean cities and clean air.

    2. The best they can do is: "Those whacky Swedes - what are they like? If not beating themselves with birch twigs and making Scandi Noir, they only go and ignore the common sense case for a total mass shutdown of every activity in their society...oh well, there you go...not relevant to us sensible British"

  43. A frequent flyer on Newsnight reveals himself....
    skip to 24'25" in this video.

  44. The resistance movement is growing. Peter Hitchens is courageously to the fore:

    Lord Sumption, late of the Supreme Court, has expressed grave reservations about the effects on our liberty and constitution, especially the blurring of lines between "advice", "direction" and "law". The Government has been acting as though its pronouncements automatically have the weight of law.
    They don't, not unless the law says they do.

    The resistance movement needs to grow quickly if we are to save our country from total disaster.

    It's remarkable isn't it that only a few months ago Boris was telling us not to listen to the gloomsters and doomsters. Now...he is the principal Gloomster and Doomster, dragging us all down with him!


    1. By and large, the measures have the consent of the people.

      So whether they are by law or instruction is immaterial. Society appears to accept they have to be implemented and are abiding by them.

    2. I'm not sure the people realise the implications yet. How until they do? Quite chilling for me to hear BBC R4 News this evening talk about our "new way of living".

  45. The people may, according to opinion polls, be trusting and law-abiding. But there are disturbing and increasing signs that we are being led by those who accept computer models developed by 'scientists' who are driven by politics and ideology rather than rigorous inquiry. These are the shamans of our age.

  46. Look who's being wheeled out on Feedback this evening:

    'Feedback devotes the whole programme to putting listeners’ questions and concerns to the BBC’s Director of Radio and Education James Purnell.

    He tells Roger Bolton how the Corporation is coping in the present crisis and what changes we can expect in the near future. And they go on to discuss the future strategic challenges facing the Corporation as its own financial problems increase and with the future of the licence fee itself under examination.'


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