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JoshD

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About JoshD

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  1. Despite my post above, Sturgeon is right on this one. Opening pubs with a bang on a Saturday is a stupid move. Far better to open them on a Monday and let those desperate to return do so when they are naturally quieter. This is a bigger difference than you give credit for (admittedly one of pretty few!)
  2. I give Sturgeon a lot of credit for being a good communicator and it’s clearly good political strategy to appear more careful than Johnson. But I don’t think you can fit a fag paper between the two policies in actuality. Remember all the derision at changes to the two metre rule, which Sturgeon ended up abolishing entirely for schools in Scotland when it met with reality. At the very least, the areas where Scotland is being more cautious are pretty marginal. Eg many people already wearing masks indoors in England, lock-down easing in both England and Scotland has been reactive to the public mood not leading it, etc. I do agree that there’s a little more caution but I think there’s a lot more presentation of caution. That in itself might mean Scots are being more vigilant, though my instinct is that other factors like demographics outweigh all of this.
  3. If Cummings destroyed faith in lockdown, then I’d expect to see significantly greater compliance in Scotland than in the U.K. I know we’re not comparing apples with apples but even so, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’d suggest that Cummings was an excuse for people who wanted to break it anyway.
  4. I take it you don’t have many right wing friends! Starmer was quick enough to jump on the bandwagon in supporting the protests unequivocally. That’s admirable but now ugly elements have surfaced he’s suddenly nowhere to be seen - and others he has aligned himself with are actively defending it. I can assure you people have noticed that. Weren’t you arguing only a few weeks ago that personal value judgments have no place in deciding whether or not to comply with a lock-down? As it happens, I agree with you now - just a shame you didn’t agree with me then 🙂
  5. The point of protests is not to convince people who are already convinced (and who rightly view these incidents as isolated), but to convince people who need to change their view. The reason this is important is that - if the population don’t change their view on racism - then progressive parties has have choice of trying not to be a turnoff to racists, or not getting elected. We’ve gone from a point where everyone - even the far right - would have to agree that significant elements of policing are racist and rotten, to undoing much of that progress in the space of a couple of days. So yes, it annoys me when elements of these protests don’t behave peacefully. But that will always happen - if they were shunned by other activists it wouldn’t detract; the real issue is when people in the media or politicians try to defend it or are conspicuously silent on criticising it, which does real damage.
  6. I read that in terms of supporting a voluntary lock-down rather than having rules imposed. Remember that the argument of many lock-downers is the authoritarian line that the population is stupid and can't be trusted to behave sensibly unless rules are in place. Individuals bragging about "breaking lock-down" because Cummings is perceived to have done so are either doing safe things, or they're doing reckless things, that they wouldn't have done before. Either way, it speaks to a mindset that places rule from authority above common sense and that's not a mindset I have ever understood.
  7. I saw that, along with the increasing note that there is not enough COVID out there to make vaccine trials reliable. Also: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/23/lockdown-saved-no-lives-may-have-cost-nobel-prize-winner-believes/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_androidshare_AvW7Wqq7Hb2M I guess the real proof will be when we compare countries that didn’t lock down to those that did in the event of a second wave.
  8. As I said above, 100% compliance isn’t necessary. ICL suggested 70% but I think there’s reason to assume it’s quite a bit lower. For example, by the start of March, even if volume of public transport hadn’t decreased, people were distributing themselves to try and avoid sitting near other people. By the 7th March tube ridership was significantly down. There were instances of people crowding onto tubes (as there still are) but they were and are the minority. Remember that one person distancing is by definition making that decision for at least one other person. As for the lockdown having popular support, the key was the media highlighting the (exceptional) examples. Doing so preemptively would have led to accusations of a police state.
  9. By the point some of public were agitating for lock-down, many people were distancing voluntarily. (Distancing by definition doesn’t require 100% compliance). Restaurants that should have been full were half empty, people were working from home well before the government instruction, people were uneasy about attending events, etc. I’m not sure I’d agree 1/10 deaths because that assumes lockdown was flicking a switch from “normal” to “locked”. I’d speculate that to really make a difference we’d have had to lock down in February. Do you think the public would have stood for that?
  10. So with community spread currently believed to be very low (nobody tested and found to be positive in London on Monday...), my understanding is that social distancing is not that important from the perspective of reducing immediate personal risks (which are very low) but from reducing the risks posed to society as a whole from infection which grows exponentially. That is a very important consideration for society but I don’t see how it is really the concern of teachers (or any other group of employees). I would genuinely like to see it from their perspective.
  11. Did you read the Dagens Nyheter article? It’s behind a paywall, so I couldn’t. I personally don’t like to rely on others’ interpretations. As for the overall death stats, I’m only really interested in Sweden as a comparative for whether lock-down was worth it (with all the caveats about hindsight etc - fully supported it at the time). There’s a tendency to merge the numbers together and many countries have had varyingly dismal situations in care homes. But it’s hard to see how those situations could have been significantly improved in Sweden by a more or less extreme attitude to lock-down on the general population unless it were implemented very early on (which has the same caveat about hindsight). Most of our deaths have been concentrated in healthcare settings too, so there’s a parallel there. I’m still not at the point of calling lock-down a mistake and freely admit that Sweden took a huge gamble I wouldn’t have been comfortable with the U.K. taking two months ago based on the modelling. But the more time that passes, the less extreme the gamble looks... and similarly, the more time that passes the more damaging lock-down becomes. The final comparatives need to be an order of magnitude worse for Sweden - as per the original modelling - for their approach to be a mistake surpassing all other considerations. Unless/until it is, the debate about other (non-death) effects of shutting down society - loss of freedom, unemployment, depression, decreased future tax revenue for healthcare, impact on the poorest people in the poorest countries through reduced western consumer demand - remains up for discussion and must be factored into the analysis. These things are hard to quantify. The question I can’t get out of my mind is - in a few months time - where would I rather be: the UK or Sweden?
  12. This. I have been amazed (or perhaps not...) at the speed with which the far-left and far-right - both very keen on oversimplification - have adopted polar opposite positions in relation to shutting down society (or more accurately, keeping society shut down). I honestly thought this would turn out to be another 'Brexit' (for which there is even less of a left-wing case!), and for some time near the start it actually seemed fairly split. A far-left case can easily be constructed to support reopening and a far-right case can easily be constructed to support shutting down through the cherry-picking of data. Many components of shutting down (such as anti-immigration or "police state" enforcement) have more in common with the far-right than the far-left. I don't remember hearing my left-wing friends loudly arguing for greater curbs on society back in February - when with hindsight it would have been the right move, but we were taking a calculated risk - but I do remember my right-wing friends asking why we haven't closed the borders already. When the likes of Momentum mysteriously find themselves on the same side as Piers Morgan, a person generally renowned for spouting populist drivel, you'd think it would be cause for reflection on the above point. I thought Simon Jenkins' article in the Guardian was fascinating - not because it said anything groundbreaking, but because it is a rare example of a left-of-centre publication questioning what has arguably become the rallying cry for the left. (For what it's worth, I have respect for LJS' and Neil's position - even though I am not sure I come to the same conclusion - because at least there is an articulation of what would be necessary to restore society; it's amazing how many people ranting on this topic (on either side!) refuse to do so).
  13. I think one factor here is that the damage done by putting society on hold increases dramatically with time passed. What that means is the risk on the other side (of people in permanent unemployment, deaths from despair, business collapse, etc) isn’t flat. As time passes, the amount of risk society is willing to tolerate should increase to compensate for this. I’ve seen a few people asking the question - what’s changed since 12 weeks ago to make it safe now. I think this is a (the?) key reason.
  14. Even looking solely at the UK, excess deaths don't tell you how many died as a result of COVID, vs. how many died (or will die) from the consequences of lock-down.
  15. It’s actually immaterial - when the lock-down is progressively lifted we will see for ourselves the impact on the rate of infection. The statistics may be inexact but they are at least comparatively useful as long as the criteria doesn’t change. The only “wrong” position is the indefinite continuation of lockdown, which I hear proposed by those who don’t want to make difficult choices. The purpose was to flatten the curve, we have excess healthcare capacity, so we should begin testing which controls can be lifted and which alternative (lighter) measures make a difference.
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