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Everything posted by IanD

  1. Usual comment -- yes people have been predicting *a* pandemic could happen for years, but preparing for it without knowing what it will be is difficult. We could have spent a fortune on millions of ventilators and then been hit by a viral immune system disease or a haemorragic fever, or spent a fortune on anti-flu medication for an epidemic which didn't happen. Oh wait, that's exactly what we did with Tamiflu, for which everyone (especially the tabloid press) blamed the government for wasting money on this instead of spending it on things the NHS really needed. Isn't it easy to be wise after the event? So can I politely request that people stop playing the blame game with this, even if bashing the Tories (yes, I hate them too...) makes you feel good? The same can be said for blaming them for "not doing enough early enough" -- given the whinging of some people about restrictions (and ignoring them) even faced with imminent catastrophic death rates, can you imagine the flak they'd have got if they "did a China" a month ago when hardly anyone had died here or in Italy? I'm sure after this crisis has died down there will be a lot of analysis about what the best action turned out to be *with the benefit of hindsight* which will hopefully prevent the same mistakes being made again. The world simply hasn't seen a pandemic like this since the flu of 1918, and many Western governments assumed (like Ebola) that if it happened it would largely hit other countries and they'd hardly be affected, hence the initial "we'll be fine" complacency -- for which the US was *far* worse than the UK. Now they know better...
  2. Then you just have to stand it upright for a day or so and it'll be fine, the anticipation will make it taste better...
  3. Given the selfish and inconsiderate behaviour being shown by many people and the obstacles the law places in the way of the government doing anything to stop this in our (relatively) free society, it's obvious that some of the freedoms we take for granted have to be taken away for the period of the Covid-19 crisis simply to minimise death rates, and inevitably this means "civil freedoms" will be restricted. It's also obvious that the "12-week" figure being bandied around is -- according to the science -- simply wrong, Boris is saying it because it's what people want to hear -- having just broken the news about how restricted our lives are going to be, he's probably saving the bad news about the likely real duration (at least 12 months) until the shock has worn off and people have got used to it. So it makes sense that any emergency control laws should be for at least 12 months, though 2 years seems too long right now. If anyone's interested the Observer published the report from Imperial College which triggered the Govenment's change of approach in today's paper (but I can't find it online), it makes sobering reading...
  4. IanD


    Or have a few gins first, it means you're less picky about the beers πŸ˜‰
  5. IanD


    For those who haven't tried it, Zealots Heart from Brewdog is the best gin we've found, in a different league from most of the other posh gins which aren't worth the money πŸ˜‰
  6. Key workers are anyone involved in supplying the essentials of life without which society breaks down, the country stops functioning, or people die -- food, healthcare, power, water, transport, police, firefighters, social care, sanitation, post and delivery services to name just a few. These are the people who the country and society *needs* to be working, so they're the ones whose kids are going to be looked after in schools so they can carry on doing this. Industries which make or sell "stuff" or provide nice-to-have services we can do without for a few months (fashion, many manufactured goods, cars, nail bars, bookies, charity shops, pubs and restaurants, sports events, festivals, kitchen suppliers, antique shops, insurance salesmen...) are by definition not essential, they're optional things that make life nicer or more interesting but nobody will die if they have to make do without them for a few months. The country and society doesn't *need* these people to be working, so they can stay at home and look after their own kids instead of sending them to school to carry on spreading the virus. Complaining "but my job is essential, my kids should go to school" is pointless -- if it is you're a key worker (see above), if it isn't you're not no matter how valuable you think what you do is. Employment in the UK has moved over the years towards services and nice-to-have fripperies which is why so many people are going to be out of work. Please don't think I'm saying that the "non-essential" people aren't doing things which society finds valuable, what they do makes people feel better or provide recreation and this is a valuable part of UK society -- but when the sh*t hits the fan and we're in a crisis and have to isolate people, these are the optional things we can do without if we have to. It might make life less pleasant but deaths are less pleasant still... You can invite them round virtually... πŸ˜‰
  7. You mean like Alan "Rubber Neck" de Enfield? πŸ˜‰
  8. I'm not sure what your point about socialists and minorities is -- are you suggesting that because tax evaders are a minority, a socialist viewpoint means they should be treated more leniently than they deserve? If so I think you misunderstand what socialism means...
  9. Rocket science is easy. Rocket engineering is difficult... πŸ˜‰
  10. Just like it would be fairer if HMRC jumped on all the tax evaders and offshore trusters and non-residents. The government will have to find a way to pay for all this eventually as well as running up the national debt (which is the right thing to do today) but right now they should rightfully be concentrating on trying to do their best to solve the crisis the country is in. Chasing down the tax dodgers -- personal and business -- can wait until the worst of the crisis is past and there's some spare time and effort again -- and then they should come down on them like a ton of bricks. If higher top tax rates are also needed then that's a price the well-off (me included) will have to pay.
  11. What I suggest you do is stop cluttering up this thread with posts saying how much better the government could have done if only they'd had a crystal ball or you were in charge πŸ˜‰
  12. Yes, but to what? The idea that we could "stock up" on vast quantities of hardware (because that's what is needed) "just in case" is bonkers -- stock up millions of ventilators and then the disease that turns up needs something else like transfusion equipment? Or a threatened pandemic never happens -- remember Tamiflu, and how the government got blamed for "wasting taxpayer's money"? Given an unknown threat, the best that "Emergency Response Meetings" can do is plan who will do what when the (unknown) shi*t hits the fan, how to mobilise resources (health care, army, police), and what legal changes may be needed to protect the stability of society. The government did react slowly and delay some decisions, just like almost every democratic government who would otherwise be castigated for putting severe restrictions on their citizens "without justification" or "spaffing money up the wall" by some sections of the press -- as somebody said, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. Whinging about this with the benefit of hindsight is just another sign of the "it must be somebody's fault, let's blame them" syndrome. Everyone's energy would be much better used in getting us out of the mess we're in.
  13. The problem is that armed forces planning doesn't cost trillions of pounds, any planning for a pandemic immediately throws up the problem that apart from producing nice documents *effective* countermeasures (even in advance) take an awful lot of money, which is them completely wasted if what comes along isn't what you planned for. Yes the NHS could have spent [insert sum here] stockpiling millions of ventilators, only to find that the pandemic that hit wasn't a respiratory disease (AIDS, Ebola, Nile fever, haemorrhagic fever...) -- and money spent on this would be money not spent on real current NHS needs. It always annoys me when people say "this should have been done" (usually, spending a lot of somebody else's money) as if there is a bottomless money pit to spend on precautions for something which might or might not happen -- any government (and the NHS) has a given budget which they should spend in the best way possible given the information they have at the time. I'm not saying ours did this, but given that nobody has a crystal ball it's impossible to prepare for all eventualities -- and anyway any investigation rapidly comes to the conclusion that fixing the problem when it hits is going to involve spending a sh*tload of money, but you can't do this until you know what the threat actually is -- then they'd be accused of "spaffing money up the wall" (Tamiflu, anyone?). If governments could take cheap effective measures to head off all possible pandemics then they'd do so, but they can't 😞
  14. Like the honeysuckle and the bindweed, politics and coronavirus are inextricably entwined, because how well or badly this turns out is largely due to the actions taken (or not taken) by governments, and this by definition is politics. So long as the discussion is about how governments have (or should have) responded and doesn't descend back into the kind of partisan sh*it-flinging monkey-fest that the House of Commons was before coronavirus came along, I think this is the right place for it. So please, could people stop blaming the PM and government just because they're Boris and the Tories (no matter how tempting that might be) and stick to judging them on what they do or don't do?
  15. No government anywhere in the world had a plan for this -- you can't plan for all possible emergencies and disasters, not even a pandemic when there are so many possible diseases with different effects and methods of transmission. Putting in plans for a disease spread rapidly by coughing which doesn't kill many people would be pointless if the pandemic turned out to be a disease with a long incubation time spread by sexual contact or one with a short incubation time spread by insects -- and one thing that history shows is that diseases which do turn out to be a huge worldwide problem are often new and unexpected. Planning for the last war doesn't help you fight the next one if it's different...
  16. Do you really think the government isn't aware of this? What you wrote just came over as another "they haven't fixed everything instantly" moan, even if that's not what you intended -- take a step back and go and read it again as if you hadn't written it πŸ˜‰
  17. And it's 100% in China's economic and political interest to stop something like this ever happening again, so I expect they will make it so even if it means taking measures (like closing wild animal markets, or putting up taxes to pay for precautions) that the people won't like. It'll actually be harder for democratic governments to do this...
  18. No doubt they're working on the details, I expect more will be released today. Things are changing so fast that you can't expect any government to come up with a fully-fleshed out detailed costed plan in a day, so I suggest you stop blaming them for being unable to do the impossible -- it seems that the government is doing a lot very quickly and at least doing the right things, but it all takes time. There's a human tendency to want to blame *somebody* for not fixing this all instantly, but it's not helpful here πŸ˜‰
  19. Kind of correct, but it's not the fact that the Chinese government is authoritarian (I say frog, you jump) that lead to the cover-up, it's the fact that people who tried to propagate bad news about the virus were shut down by their immediate superiors who didn't want to be the bearers of bad news to their superiors and ultimately to the government, combined with the attitude from the top of "China doesn't have a problem, our excellent system of government prevents such things" -- in other words, people at both the top and bottom of government sticking their fingers in their ears and going "la-la" in the hope that the virus would go away and not embarrass China. The fact that this behaviour is not specific to China or its government can be seen by the fact that exactly the same behaviour was seen in other countries with democratic governments, most obviously in the USA but also in many other places including the UK. The fault everywhere is the "cover it up and hope" approach instead of facing up to reality and taking politically unpleasant actions quickly enough, then panicking when the true extent of the problem can no longer be hidden. You would hope that all governments -- authoritarian, democratic or whatever -- should have learned a lesson from this, because their bad decision-making has been largely responsible for the severity of the outbreak, which has already caused massive economic impact everywhere which is still getting worse. I can't see Trump doing this, he'll just carry on blaming China or anybody else he can think of, it wasn't him that largely closed down the US centres for disease control, that's fake news. Boris has a tendency to wiffle waffle but unlike Trump he's at least listening to the experts and doing what they're suggesting. Merkel just made one of the best political addresses to the people ever, it's well worth a watch: Ironically the government that can fix this most easily -- if they choose to -- is probably China, because they're authoritarian and all they have to do is issue the orders "do whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again" -- if that involves spending vast sums on medical infrastructure or people or measures unpopular with the public like closing down wild animal markets, they can just do it if they want to. Not because they want to be nice to people or tell them what they want to hear, but because they don't want to risk their economy being trashed again. But you can bet that most politicians everywhere will instinctively try and deflect the finger of blame from themselves and point it elsewhere, because that's what politicians do 😞
  20. The problem is that China has temporarily stopped the spreading of the virus by total lockdown of the country, but it's unlikely that they've completely eliminated it and there is still no vaccine. As soon as they relax the lockdown and industry starts back up and people start meeting and moving around again, it's very likely that it will break out and start spreading again simply because people are infectious without symptoms, at least when first infected (and some people never have symptoms). It would be great if this doesn't happen, but the epidemiologists think it probably will and they're the experts. It's like in The Italian Job where they stop the gold sliding any further (and the coach falling off the cliff) by stopping moving; they haven't really solved the problem, it's just been paused...
  21. Kit-e-kat or kitty cat? There's a difference... πŸ˜‰
  22. Sheets of lasagne can substitute for bog roll. Adjust wiping times to suit.
  23. Which for the benefit of those who can't or won't follow links in case it shows that they were wrong, says: St George's NHS FT @StGeorgesTrust We’re aware of inaccurate advice circulating on #COVID19 claiming to be from β€œSt George’s Hospital” about detection and prevention of #coronavirus This is not accurate, nor official guidance from the Trust. For up to date, official advice please visit http://nhs.uk/coronavirus Indeed there are. Now read the post about what St Georges have officially said... πŸ˜‰
  24. Doesn't make it any less bollox -- most of what's in it is wrong or at best misleading, but this is concealed by having some truth in there too, which is why it "seems to make sense". The problem is that if people take notice of some of the wrong information they can conclude that they haven't got the virus when they have, or ignore real protective/preventative measures in favour of fake ones, and thus spread the virus to more people. The last thing we need at a time like this is fake news masquerading as advice being spread around, because people gullible enough to believe it will hurt themselves and others.
  25. Go ahead and block me if it makes you feel better, it still won't make you right πŸ˜‰ Doing a Donald Trump and believing in what you say when all the evidence and the grown-ups say you're wrong isn't going to convince anyone... By the way, do you know that since the coronavirus epidemic hit they've taken the word "gullible" out of the dictionary?
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