The three men leading the nation’s fight against coronavirus have all gone into self-isolation after the disease reached the heart of government.

Presumably therefore there will be less government about it and it’ll all be over sooner.

21 thoughts on “How excellent”

  1. It better be over very soon indeed Tim. Blojo unlikely to survive–unless he can make Ferguson the scapegoat.

    Most large shops have mugs queuing outside now–so massive delays to add to every other rage inducing factor. And no bog roll/milk/ and Christ know’s what all anyway.

    Once people realise it was all horseshit….

  2. When I say “survive” I mean politically. Although Blojo’s likely place in the history books might well make him wish he had croaked.

  3. In 1940 Beaverbrook, as minister of supply, organised the collection of domestic aluminium saucepans and iron railings, allegedly for the production of munitions and planes. From a supply point of view it was a waste of time, but it did reasure the public that the government was doing something and that they were contributing. And yes it was soon rumbled, once people saw aluminium saucepans were still in sale, but it did curtail panic.
    Right now the panic is being whipped up by the media and civil servants- Boris doesn’t even have a minister of information. But the principal is the same, show that the government is acting and get people involved.
    This is now mainly a panic management strategy, the disease management is secondary- indeed the genie has so far escaped the bottle that disease management is scarcely possible. Thank God the overall mortality rate is low, so the NHS isn’t overloaded.
    Get the testing done, declare victory, publicly thank Ferguson, privately neuter him. Done with a bit of charm Boris will have led us to victory and can go on to greater things. If the neutering is done right we get fewer HIV, Mad Cow, Foot and mouth etc. panics in the future.

  4. A few days ago, Hector Drummond poked around the stats and came up with a few graphs on how this year’s UK winter death rates compare to previous years. Now someone has done a similar thing for US and the results are very interesting and not exactly what one might expect.

    Pity the media isn’t really interested in this sort of comparison.

  5. Pat–you would be 100% right–except for the factor of smoothing over a collapsed economy–both ours and the world in general– will prove a tad difficult.

    But Theo might be right –there might be a boom stemming from “pent up demand”

    What about a poll amongst Tim’s readers

    Who is for boom and who for bust?

    Bust is mine–its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom,
    Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding , dying–sealed in a stone cold tomb.

    A few months late –but apt.

    A few words of explanation as to why your choice might also be educational.


  6. Neil Ferguson has form. He was, according to Wikipedia, “part of Roy Anderson’s group of infectious disease scientists who moved from the University of Oxford to Imperial College in November 2000, and started working on modelling the 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak a few months later.”

    That hardly inspires confidence. There were 2000 cases of foot-and-mouth in the 2001 outbreak; but the Imperial model resulted in six million cows and sheep being slaughtered – against the advice of veterinary scientists on the committee chaired by Sir David King. Catastrophe was baked into the model.

    If you Google ‘Veterinary Times Lessons to be learned from foot-and-mouth outbreaks’, you can download a pdf of an article (21 March 2016) by Alex Donaldson in which he explains what was wrong with the Imperial model and how the response to FMD became model-led rather than vet-led.

    Furthermore, this letter appeared in The Times on 18th March:

    Sir, My heart sank when I discovered that the epidemiological models, predictions and coronavirus control advice is being provided by the team at Imperial College (report, Mar 17). I tolerated the company of this team of doom-mongers on the foot and mouth disease committee under the chairmanship of Professor Sir David King, then the chief scientific adviser, in 2001. They provided the infamous A, B and C curves to Tony Blair during the FMD crisis that led to what I believe to be the unnecessary slaughter of millions of healthy cattle and sheep before the ever-wise Sir David saw sense and concentrated overstretched resources on those animals in infected herds rather than the healthy ones. I hope that Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance show similar wisdom. They must ensure that measures are proportionate, balanced and practical to maintain the buy-in from the public that was lost at the height of the FMD outbreak.
    R J Sibley, BVSc, HonFRCVS
    Former president, British Cattle Veterinary Association

  7. Boom Ecks – natural optimist / half full. Provided that Pat’s excellent scenario plays out, and Boris is smart enough to change tack as soon as it’s “sensible”… And not just pent up demand, although we will all need a haircut, simply that we’ll see that it was over-egged, yet again, and it’ll be our reaction to that which will be worth a pint or two (and more)…

  8. Boom, Ecksy. Because probably coro-deaths will peak about mid April (with overall deaths at below the 5-year seasonal average), restrictions will be lifted from end of April (possibly with local/regional exceptions), whole thing over by June…and people will want to treat themselves.

  9. If we get Gove running the show we can be sure of a lot of government for a long time. He’s effective but gets captured by the brief. Someone should make sure the twat gets put in sniffles isolation.

    I can’t see how we’re not looking at a three month nasty recession at minimum. Also a big problem with holes in the worldwide supply chains caused by many businesses simply not being there anymore.

    Which reminds me of a question by Scott Adams yesterday. The US is not borrowing the $2T for bailouts, it’s just printing it. The question was whether this was safe to do as a one-off in a sharp recession. If most cannot raise prices due a massive slump in demand (maybe even have to cut prices) does it matter if there is inflationary pressure from the extra dollars? In the context of this unique circumstance, is it “free money” as he wonders?

  10. “chaired by Sir David King. Catastrophe was baked into the model.” Baked into the bloody committee if King was in charge.

    As chance would have it I know someone who was once let down by King’s administrative and executive skills. ’nuff said. The bugger should have stuck to Surface Science.

  11. BinD–The “thread” seems to be a whinger who can’t understand why his clever schemes are upsetting folk by reason of destroying the economy and facilitating an authoritarian bean-fest.

    When he means so well and is just trying to save us all from the germy doom (I know its a virus ) his modelling predicts.

    In real world terms the various death figures being pushed don’t even say if they are part of or in addition to the normal daily death total of human life.

    Keep talking about “fog of war” is not a reason to keep on pulling the plug on everything else keeping us going as an economy worldwide

  12. Dearieme

    “I know someone who was once let down by King’s administrative and executive skills. ’nuff said. The bugger should have stuck to Surface Science.”

    He was full of climate change nonsense, too, as I recall. Nevertheless, during the FMD outbreak, he eventually lost faith in Imperial’s models and turned to the veterinary scientists.

  13. The FMD debacle was also characterised by an idiotic lockdown, that of footpaths universally even well outside areas of livestock. My town was very inconvenienced by the closure of the canal towpath for ages for no reason whatsoever.

    The state is such a twat.

  14. Scientists/doctors that the politicians have chosen to listen to have said, “If you don’t shut everything down, everyone will die.”

    Politicians, fearful that this might get out, and make them culpable if everyone dies, shut everything down. (Not concerned with everyone dying, just that they’d be blamed for it.) While the politicians implemented the shutdown, it is the scientist/doctors who are on the hook for this being correct.

    Lucky for them, the focus will be on the politicians.

    “Everyone will die” is an adequate motivator to get people to accept a general shutdown. BUT, a general shutdown cannot last for a few years. At some point, politicians will have to say, “Um’kay, we’ve kept everything down as long as we could. We have to resume business.”

    “Putting the dollar ahead of lives,” the Left will claim.

    Without dollars, there will be no lives. Trump/BoJo will eventually have to say, “Okay, everybody, back to work.” People will die. It can’t be helped. But the Left will use it as best they can.

    Was the shutdown beneficial? Yes, in terms of “did it save lives?” Was the economic damage greater? Probably. But remains to be seen. Given the nature of scientists and politicians, I have no doubt they messed it up. Time will tell how much. But, in fact, it is still unknown. Millions could die. They better, for what has been done to the economy.

  15. Hard to see where the pent up demand will come from, going to be a lot more debt when the dust settles. If you owe your landlord a Months rent that’s going to come before discretionary spending

  16. @Mr Ecks March 28, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Great: Supermarkets replenishing stock, then the fails:

    1. Limiting number in store (queues outside*)
    2. Rationing – only 2 or 3 of each item

    3. Peeps/families have to shop daily – longer queues
    4. Fresh produce at sell/use by date at 95% off in abundance: yesterday 1/2 hour before close 1 pallet of 2.5kg potatoes all at 7p – these won’t have been sold, but binned due to 1

    Gov’t & stores rules making situation worse

    * Plod ordering peeps queuing to go home or be fined as large gathering and out for over 1 hour illegal – yet supermarkets saying visit, not use deliver

    Logistics success nullified by HR & H&S. No logical, rational joined up thinking, only hysteria and “must be seen to do something”

    Jobsworths’ enjoying their new powers:
    Two store cleaners on door duty:

    Old Woman hobbles to entrance from disabled bay
    JobW: Go to other door
    W: Why, where?
    J: CV. See that fence? Walk to top of car park, round fence, back down, join queue, then come in through other door when we say
    W: I can’t, I’m disabled
    J: That’s rules

    Woman bursts into tears, hobbles back to car and leaves

  17. @Pat, Kevin B

    “Right now the panic is being whipped up by the media and civil servants”


    “Thank God the overall mortality rate is low, so the NHS isn’t overloaded”

    Not low, unchanged from normal ~1,680 pd – as I have long suspected. Media and Gov’t should be telling us this to reduce panic & hysteria

    In week 12 2020, no statistically significant excess all cause mortality by week of death was observed overall in England. In the devolved administrations, no statistically significant excess all-cause mortality for all ages was observed for Northern Ireland and Wales in week 12 and for Scotland in week 10 2020.
    England and Wales
    In week 11 2020, an estimated 11,019 all-cause deaths were registered in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics). This is an increase compared to the 10,895 estimated death registrations in week 10 2020

    Scotland: There were 4,715 deaths registered in February 2020, a decrease of 6.7% compared to the average of the previous five Februarys

    Media & Civil Service: Civil Service Prof Stephen Powis here, “A big Increase in Deaths” – why didn’t Business Secretary Alok Sharma shoot him down?
    – lots of Imperial College models references :facepalm

    @Theophrastus March 28, 2020 at 2:11 pm, dearieme


    iirc Ferguson was also involved BSE/CJD models forecasting millions of deaths

    How many times must he be wrong before discredited and sacked?

  18. The panic in Oz is unfortunately boosted by ScoMo’s presence in Hawaii during the great bushfire panic. He feels he has to clamp down hard and spend, spend, spend to show the media he’s taking this one seriously.

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