Covid-19: UK Withdrawal from the EU Single Market Must Be Postponed to 2023 584


The enormous economic impact of the reaction to Covid-19 is plain for all to see. The effect on economies – which had barely recovered to 2008 levels after the great Banker Theft crisis – is enormous. You cannot just close down businesses and expect them all to restart three months later. Plus the hit to personal finances is going to result in a huge and lasting reduction in consumer demand, exaggerated by what I predict will be a much higher propensity to save against future disaster. Even optimistic economists are expecting a 15% drop in GDP and slow recovery. At recent levels it is going to take some seven years of compound economic growth to recover that.

I always argued that England and Wales should leave the EU as had been democratically decided by the electorate, and an Independent Scotland should not as similarly decided. My personal enthusiasm for the EU’s political institutions disappeared after their enthusiastic backing for the repression in Catalonia. But I also always believed, and still believed, that a hard Brexit was madness and that a Norway or Switzerland style relationship made sense – which approximates fairly well to the position the UK currently is in until the transition period ends at the turn of the year.

To leave the EU customs union and single market will be a massive short term economic dislocation. Even to consider doing this on top of the economic crisis caused by the reaction to Covid-19 ought to be unthinkable and I suspect that it is. There is no way that the UK can crash out of the single market in January 2021 in these circumstances, and I suspect that even this Westminster government may be forced to admit that soon.

I might add that the government measures to alleviate the economic impact of covid-19 in the UK are going to run aground in a fog of inertia, largely as the result of the UK having crippled its own bureaucratic machine though a decade of extreme cuts to staffing and capabilities. I myself tried to organise a COVID business interruption loan for the music festivals, and after many hours of effort was finally told by Natwest Bank that the regulations state that:

1) If the bank would normally grant the loan on commercial terms, it must do so without the government COVID guarantee
2) The bank may not grant the loan unless it would normally do so on commercial terms

Which means it is impossible to get the government’s purported loan guarantee. I assumed this was just Natwest being obstructive, but then I discovered this is precisely what the government scheme says.

Not so much Covid 19 as Covid 22. The actual effect in practice will be that the only people able to access the billions in government guaranteed funds for business interruption will be very wealthy Tory businessmen who don’t actually need the money. The sad thing is, that is not in the least surprising.

One thing of which we can be certain is that the depression will be used by the Tories to bring in another decade of austerity, of further abandonment of the economic potential of the state actor, and of attacks on the living standards of the poorest in society. It is important now to start working on a counter-plan of economic planning and investment to build a fairer and greener economy, with much more localism and resilience, once the current crisis has passed. Here in Scotland, that can show the alternative path which Independence can bring; in the rest of the UK it can bring a new focus for societal resistance to the Tories. Empathy, solidarity, localism and resilience are all virtues that are not valued by neo-liberalism. That society is rediscovering them could yet open the way to a brighter future.

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584 thoughts on “Covid-19: UK Withdrawal from the EU Single Market Must Be Postponed to 2023

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  • Paul Barbara

    I know this issue has been raised a number of times in these comments, but so far one seems to have taken it up – just WHF is going on?
    ‘Coronavirus was declassified as a High Consequence Infectious Disease on March 19th in the UK’:
    http://tapnewswire.com/2020/03/coronavirus-was-declassified-as-a-high-consequence-infectious-disease-on-march-19th-in-the-uk/
    ‘High consequence infectious diseases (HCID)’:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid#status-of-covid-19
    The only sensible response was that if Covid – 19 kept that level of danger, certain issues such as protective gear would need to be adhered to, so the definition was dropped.
    I expected a higher level of interest in the news, given how draconian the governments’ diktats.

    • glenn_uk

      Yes it has been raised a number of times, doubtless it will be raised many more times.

      By itself, Covid-19 is not likely to be terribly fatal, if you were the only person who had it. But it will require a lot of medical attention.

      If a great number of people have it at the same time, they cannot all receive the necessary attention, and people start to die.

      It’s very simple, but apparently confuses a lot of people. And gets the usual suspects all excited about conspiracies and hoaxes.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ glenn_uk March 28, 2020 at 18:28
        ‘..It’s very simple, but apparently confuses a lot of people. And gets the usual suspects all excited about conspiracies and hoaxes.’
        Not so simple as to be mentioned in the MSM.
        And of course, history has proven adequately that ‘conspiracies and hoaxes’ just don’t exist, and that no State actor would even dream of weaponising a virus – Moloch forbid! Never mind having a Coronavirus ‘drill’ in New York a few weeks before the first Wuhan reported cases.
        My question was a serious one, but ‘answered’ in all too spurious a way.

        • glenn_uk

          Paul, I answered your question absolutely clearly. Perhaps I shouldn’t have put in that part about conspiracies at the end, because it got the knee-jerk reaction you showed right above.

          It was not a “spurious” answer, but the correct one. If you get appendicitis it’s nasty, but no big deal – right? You can have the appendix removed, and get on with your life. What if thousands – maybe tens of thousands – of people all have appendicitis at the same time? How good would your chances be then?

          I’m sorry if the truth is not quite as colourful and excitingly devious as you might wish sometimes.

          • Rhys Jaggar

            You might profitably ask the question: ‘if a few people get laid off at work each week, nothing too terrible is likely to happen. But if 5 million get laid off in six months, what chances does the economy have of surviving?’

            There is ultimately a trade off to be made here between saving absolutely everyone vs totally crashing the economy.

            You are happy to totally crash the economy so it is reasonable to ask you:

            What is your profession? How much do you earn? Is your income stream being interrupted currently?

            If you do not care about five million people being sent to the economic knackers yard, you are a very, very callous individual.

        • SA

          Paul
          It was declassified for the reason that Glenn-uk gave but also for the more practical reason. The HCID such as Ebola and Lasa fever have a very high mortality and therefore those infected from a patient are more likely to die. There are very few units in the country that can deal with these patients. With the number of patients expected, and the mortality rate that is probably below 1% in younger people as most NHS staff would be, it would be impossible to deal with the epidemic at all.

  • Mr Shigemitsu

    If the UK is to emerge from the crisis, and avoid the Tory Government using it as an excuse to double down on austerity, post-Covid-19, then it’s imperative that people wise up to MMT – Modern Monetary Theory, and pretty fast.

    If there was ever a demonstration that its interpretation of the money creation process in the UK is correct, this crisis has proved it. Sunak was able to promise billions upon billions of pounds of extra-ordinary public spending, without even the pretence of needing to raise taxes from the population in advance. Yet this is the deceit that they maintain at all other times.

    Mutterings have been made about how this sudden and incredible government largesse would be “paid for”, and the supposed answer, “borrowing”, was seen to be half-heartedly mooted by commentators, both on TV and in print. But it was never quite explained precisely who it was who would be doing the lending! The private sector is in tatters as a result of this crisis; they’re pleading with the government for massive bailouts themselves! And are certainly not in any position whatsoever to lend money to anyone!

    Fortunately, the reality is that they don’t need to. HM Government is the monopoly creator of the currency, and does not need to “borrow” a single penny in order to spend. Why would it? It’s easy for the govt-owned BoE to create money, it does it every day whenever the government spends into the economy – a simple keyboard stroke that adds pounds to the BoE reserve account of Dyson’s bank, and all those ventilators are paid for. Another to buy a further £200bn of Gilts on the secondary market. A third to provision the contents of the converted Excel “hospital”, a fourth to pay the 80% of furloughed workers’ salaries that Sunak promised… it’s so easy, its almost obscene!

    And, as each of those initial and subsequent transactions circulates around the economy, they will be taxed, in the normal way (VAT, Income Tax, NI, Duties, etc) until, at any positive tax rate, in an ever-declining geometric regression, every single penny of that extra spending that Sunak carried out will be returned to the Exchequer – where, in an opposite, reserve-drain operation at the BoE, it’s removed from circulation, and effectively destroyed. That’s almost obscene too, and yet that’s exactly what happens – each and every day.

    The only currency that won’t be subject to taxation will be any that is saved – and that will show up as ‘The Deficit’!!! Shock horror! But so, what? It’s the people’s savings. So, the only budget deficit that will result from all of Sunak’s ‘generosity’ will be our savings. No big deal, once they get spent, they’ll be taxed in the normal way, and “The Deficit” (= our savings) will subside accordingly.

    Importantly, the only reason that any *extra* taxation, or cuts in public spending, might need to occur, post-Covid-19 crisis, is if there are too few goods and services in the economy to absorb the extra spending that has occured – leading to inflation and overheating of the economy. Because this crisis has effected the supply side as well as the demand side, the situation is potentially more complex than in 2008, and temporary shortages *could* lead to some price increases, but as there is a demand side recession too, this could equally well balance out. Time will tell, but I wouldn’t exactly anticipate a boom, especially if people net save – there’s more likely to be a recession, requiring further increases in spending or tax cuts as a stimulus.

    In the meantime, it’s essential that we all understand this whole government spending process properly, in order to robustly counter the inevitable calls for post crisis-austerity that the Tories will subject us to. Only a true knowledge of the money creation process in the UK will allow us to resist their wheedling calls to “pay for” what has just been spent, when the reality is, it doesn’t need to be “paid for” at all.

    We will have already, automatically, paid any taxes incurred as a result of the extra transactions that take place, and some of us will have paid with our lives for the decade of Tory neglect to the NHS, that will result in higher casualties than necessary. We must certainly not be made to pay twice!

    #LearnMMT

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      Re: EU and extending the transition period, on the contrary, I think this crisis has actually highlighted the necessity for *greater* national self-sufficiency, encouraging a far higher level of UK domestic industry, shortening supply chains, increasing redundancy in systems, and reducing the reliance on “just in time” supply lines from faraway countries.

      When push came to shove, national borders between many countries in the EU have closed, Shengen has been suspended and barriers thrown up, medical equipment is not so readily shared, and it has been incredibly instructive to see that it’s China, Russia and Cuba, and not the EU, who have come to Italy’s aid.

      From the Express, Mar 14th: “Responding to criticism that the EU has been slow to help, president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen made a speech… claiming Brussels will stand with Italy. However, in the midst of what has been dubbed the worst health and economic crisis of our generation, the European Court of Justice… fined [Italy] £6.8million for not having fully recovered the state aid granted to the Sardinian hotel sector in 2008.” Charming!

      And as for “Freedom of Movement”, and the effect of its removal on the NHS – precisely which EU country’s doctors and nurses should we advocate poaching right now – as opposed to training our own, and in far greater numbers?

      • Billy Brexit !

        I agree with you. This pandemic has not only hit people in their purse but more importantly killed many and affected many families. It would be churlish to think we can pick up where we were in January and carry on as before. In the UK, the NHS came to our aid in our hour of need and the chronic starvation of funding has been revealed in all its raw nakedness. Now that Johnson and others including royalty have succumbed and got a taste of the medicine, there will be an outcry and massive demonstration that we cannot carry on as before, cutting corners and boosting profits for a few. This time lessons WILL be learned.

        • AliB

          Sadly none of our “leaders” appear to be getting a severe dose of Covid 19 which might help to adjust their mindsets. I wish I could be optimistic but it seems to me this is proving the greatest excuse to abandon all that “useless” red tape and to give Tory donors even more largess- which no doubt they will donate back to the Tory party for the next election – by which time the idiot public will vote them in again.

          • Laguerre

            “Sadly none of our “leaders” appear to be getting a severe dose of Covid 19 ”

            Don’t you believe it, they’re not going to tell the truth. Johnson looked quite ill in the video. In any case, covid 19 can carry you off quite suddenly – one day you’re fine, two days later you’re dead. A French former minister, Patrick Devedjian, died last night like that.

    • Loony

      Was it not Orwell who opined that “some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them”

      Money creation of the type advocated by MMT has never worked anywhere ever. The Roman Empire collapsed in large part due to currency debasement and this trend has been maintained throughout history up to and including the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy. A modified form of MMT has been in play since 2008 and this has resulted in asset price inflation and growing wealth inequality.

      Even if all of history is ignored it remains the case that the actual economy has little to do with money and everything to do with energy. Take the example of ventilators. They may be paid for with money but they are manufactured with energy. No energy equals no ventilators. It is that simple.

      However I agree that those with power are now determined to launch some form of MMT. This will result in the complete and total destruction of both the economy and society.

      • pete

        Is it just the spending of the newly printed money that you object to or how it’s doled out? Fiat money (valueless money, money guaranteed by the government and not backed up by gold or some other asset) is the most common form in use. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_money
        So what Mr Shigetmitsu says is correct, as far as his assertions go.
        How this will affect Brexit negotiations is anybody’s guess and how the virus spread will play out is unknown territory, Craig is urging caution, it seems a sensible suggestion.
        Energy economics is a neglected subsection in the field of economic theory. How this relates to MMT and how MMT type practices led to the collapse of the Roman Empire is a mystery to me, but does sounds like the creation of a fevered imagination, I look forward to the exposition of this argument with bated breath.

        • Loony

          I object to both.

          If you are going to print money then it is inconceivable that those closest to the money printing will not gain first access to the money. This is exactly what has been happening in a clear and obvious fashion since 2008. It is the classic Wall Street Vs Main Street argument – whereby Wall Street wins every single time.

          Money printing leads to hyperinflation. This has been seen in increased asset prices ranging from real estate to stock markets to art. Because the money has been channeled into specific asset classes and a small. section of the population real estate only needs to rise such that it becomes unaffordable for the mass of the population. This has been achieved.

          Direct holders of stocks have benefitted from price appreciation – indirect holders of stocks and bonds (i.e. pension funds ad pensioners) have been crushed by zero interest rates. Much of the free money has been used to fund stock buybacks which disproportionately reward executive management and creates a false picture as to the health of the economy.

          Material inflation has been seen in higher education. It is not uncommon for certain degrees at certain institutions to cost upward of $80,000 per year in fees. Contemporaneously with rising costs has been a decline in the intellectual capacity needed to be awarded a qualification.

          Energy economics may be a neglected subsection of economic theory – but that does not make it irrelevant. The entire economy is based on energy. In the beginning human energy, then human plus animal energy and then fossil fuels. Energy usage and economic growth track with a correlation of 1. How much money you have is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how much energy you have. In the UK most energy is imported. If you destroy your currency who will sell you energy?

          This is well understood and explains exactly why the. US agrees to support the Saudi regime in exchange for the Saudi’s only selling oil in $’s. The petro $ is the reason behind so many wars and so many barbarous regimes. It is the necessary exchange for maintaining faith in the $.

          All fiat currencies everywhere have always collapsed. The only fiat currencies that have not collapsed are the ones waiting to collapse.

          • David

            Currency is not wealth and this distinction between real wealth and currency is cruclal to keep in mind.

            Wealth is real goods whether that is cars, houses, furniture, oil, cattle, agricultural land, hospitals, factories, statues, software etc. We use currency as a mechanism to allow us to efficiently exchange our labour and goods for the labour and goods of others.

            If government (or anyone else for that matter) creates new currency out of thin air whether that is through the process of quantitative easing as today, or MMT if it comes about, they are not creating additional wealth. Instead they are simply redistributing it from the majority to the people who get the new money first. Hint – this is NOT you today, and it’s not going to be you if and when MMT is adopted either.

            Fiat money is essentially unlimited power. It is, I think, inherently evil because it corrupts first governments and then entire societies. In societies with fiat money you see decline and decay as more and more of the brightest people spend their lives working in finance (think the City or Wall Street) instead of inventing and building and creating. They do this because the rewards to be gained from stealing the wealth created by others through money printing are much larger than the rewards to be gained by creating real wealth and having it stolen – and this activity has been made socially acceptable. In addition governments grow to enormous size as they are able to spend without limit. They hire armies of bureaucrats who create no wealth themselves, but instead spend their lives regulatuing those who do. “Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians” is the expression that springs to mind. Over time fewer and fewer people create wealth and more and more live off the fiat money spigot. The decay can continue for generations in societies that started with a lot of wealth, but eventually the end result of this process is that the currency collapses, but only when the wealth is all gone. The further along in the process you go, the less real wealth is created and the more people are attempting to live off the claim check printing business. At some point it becomes fairly obvious that there are more claim checks than wealth and that’s when shit happens.

            Our current system is bad enough. It is fiat money, but the government is supposed to borrow it instead of print it outright and that acts as a brake in two ways. Firstly the government should only be able to create money by borrowing it from prudent lenders who believe they will be paid back. This should prevent the government from expanding to the point where society collapses because nobody is doing anything productive any more. Secondly the government has to produce accounts which show a large and growing debt. Taxpayers can see the amount of the debt and understand that on some level they or their children will have to pay it back. This causes difficulties for the propaganda department.

            MMT would “solve” both these problems. But not in a good way. Instead it would grant even more power to governments, and further penalize the people who create wealth, replacing them with people who receive funny money. Of course the government will be the decider of who gets the funny money and the most of it will continue to flow to the same corrupt cronies who get it today, just in even greater amounts. If you think the bailouts were corrupt in 2008 and today, wait until you see MMT. It will be one long bailout until there is nothing left at all.

          • Leonard Young

            David’s point about “clever” people ending up in non-productive but lucrative jobs is well made. During the last ten years, enormous amounts of cash have been made by people who simply sit in their houses and wait for them to inflate in notional value. They have suffered no austerity at all, and the very slight increase they’ve paid in tax has been vastly offset by the gains they made in the value of a static asset.

            Meanwhile those without house ownership are paying far greater taxes but at the same time are paying ever higher rents. They are paying directly for the increased wealth of those who are “clever” but do the least productive jobs. In past periods of history this should have led to some kind of revolution, either through protests or other direct action. But what we have now is an almost entirely supine population who complain about the need for food banks, even though food is in fact cheaper in real terms than it ever was. There are food banks not because food is expensive, but because shelter for many is taking up far more than half of average disposable income, and even more when you add council tax and other fixed costs.

            This supine stance is largely because those who in earlier times had the energy and youth to object, are now utterly Thatcherised even though many of them weren’t even born at the time! Huge student fees, tiny bedsits that are now described as studio apartments, and other austerity factors are now regarded as perfectly normal by an enormous number of people under 35-40 years old.

            Rather than fighting these inequalities, they have adopted the “if I can’t beat them I’ll join them” attitude, and instead of challenging gross distortions in wealth distribution, their concentration has been diverted to subjects like climate change, “green” energy and threats to nature, all of which are now partial substitutes for an even more pressing set of problems, nearly all of them related to the most unequal wealth distribution since the early industrial revolution.

            Meanwhile the most useless in society (those who produce absolutely nothing but issue orders to those that do) are getting richer and richer. They largely get by only the myth that society requires “leaders” (the most popular TED talk subject of the last decade). We have too many “leaders” who are vastly over-rewarded. As a previous post said, we are a nation of too many self-regarding chiefs, and insufficiently rewarded indians. Who is keeping the country running right now? People who grow, process and distribute food, delivery drivers, garbage collectors, medical staff, and others who produce goods and services we need. None of them are pen pushers and none of them are “leaders”.

        • Loony

          The part of the MMT analysis that describes current government spending and taxation is fine, and is largely non controversial although poorly understood by the general public.

          It is the second part of the analysis that fails on a number of counts. For example the assertion that all extra spending (with the exception of savings) will be returned to the treasury. This is manifestly false for a country (such as the UK) that runs habitual trade deficits. Necessarily money will leak outside of the borders. MMT will devalue the currency causing trading partners to demand more money for the same goods which in turn will require more money creation which in turn will devalue the currency.

          It is for this, and other reasons, that there appears to be a globally co-ordinated program to move to MMT in the hope that all currencies will lose value at the same rate and hence no one will notice. But people, most especially the poor will notice as indeed they have already noticed when it comes to the impossibility of acquiring needed assets such as somewhere to live.

          • David

            And note that it is manifestly impossible for the printing of fiat money to benefit society. All it can do is move wealth from one man to another. For every winner there must be a loser. And since some (much? most?) of the money inevitably disappears in corruption it is always a net loss.

          • AliB

            It will most likely leak out into the tax havens so beloved of our “leaders” and their friends eg Dyson.

          • pete

            Thank you for disambiguating and clarifying the economic argument against printing more money and for the crucial role of energy in the economic conundrum. Also for ignoring my more facetious question. Personally I have always had a deep suspicion of economists because much of it looks like mystification due to the jargon. I recall seeing an Australian economist explaining the neglected role of energy in the economics equation on the Max Kaiser show on RT, he was very persuasive.

            Unfortunately, in almost every election I have ever voted in, my one vote has made not a jot of difference. I am very much the atheist waiving my fist at the sky, so good luck on rebuking the sceptics.

          • np

            Loony – “MMT will devalue the currency”

            Again, you’re imagining that MMT is some sort of policy choice or manifesto. It’s not. It’s simply a way of describing and analysing how a modern capitalist economy works – and clearly a much better way of doing so than orthodox economics, mainly because it’s grounded in the real world.

            In a post-1971 world of floating exchange rates, nobody really knows what determines exchange rates. (The forex market is basically a casino). The normal laws of supply and demand don’t work in financial markets.

            However, I assume you meant to say that ‘inflation will devalue the currency’ and that huge government deficits will cause inflation. That’s true when the economy is operating at full capacity; in that case, MMT analysis would clearly recommend cutting government spending and/or increasing taxes (i.e. reducing the deficit or even running a surplus).

            But in the present circumstances, nobody could argue that the UK economy is operating at full capacity or likely to do so in the near future, so there is little or no prospect of general inflation.

            Huge government deficits today are not only not dangerous – they’re essential in order for businesses to continue earning profits and households to avoid going further into debt. Without profits, businesses won’t be able to repay their loans, which would cause another banking crisis, and without cash flow, households will be in trouble, as we’re already seeing.

            (You’re obviously someone interested in this stuff. I think if you read some serious MMT writings, you’d learn a lot and appreciate what it’s trying to do)

      • np

        Loony – “Money creation of the type advocated by MMT has never worked anywhere ever”

        You misunderstand. MMT doesn’t “advocate money creation”. It describes the process of government spending and taxing as it actually happens in countries which have their own sovereign currencies, like the UK.

        (Incidentally, this doesn’t include those EU countries which use the euro – in effect, a foreign currency).

        Everybody should learn more about this, as Mr. Shigemitsu says.

        • Mr Shigemitsu

          Thanks np- you’ve saved my the trouble of having to explain it.

          MMT is a *description* of what happens right now, not some *prescription* of how money creation should occur in the future.

          But some conservative commentators think the UK is still on the gold standard, or in a currency peg. Bless!

        • David

          “MMT doesn’t advocate money creation”. Yes it does. It describes a monetary system where the government directly creates money. Once provided with this power, no government has ever been able to resist the temptation to print until the currency collapses.

          “Again, you’re imagining that MMT is some sort of policy choice or manifesto. It’s not.”
          Yes it is. It is a proposal to change the way our money works.

          “It’s simply a way of describing and analysing how a modern capitalist economy works”

          Let’s be clear, modern economies are capitalist, and they are also destructive to human happiness, but capitalism is not the problem. Capitalism simply refers to the ability of a man to own a hammer or other tool of his trade up to and including a factory. The problem with our current economy is that it is not free. Capitalism is essential to freedom – if a man may not keep what he builds then he is not free. But captalism is not sufficient to guarantee freedom in and of itself. Our modern economies have become cesspools of corruption where kleptocrats collude with oligarchs to protect them from competition by erecting massive barriers to entry, or simply by outright granting them monopolies. MMT will compound these problems by facilitating even more such activity, not ameliorate them.

      • Giyane

        Loony

        Bullseye! During this European lockdown lorries from Poland have been delayed by medical checks on the drivers cat boarders.. the newly colonised Eastern Europe depends on 2000 mile trips by lorry and of course tractor red diesel. Fortunately for the Colonisers of Eastern Europe this country also colonised Iraq and thus obtained the oil to run the scam.

        This modern day rape and pillage is exactly the same as the African Slave Trade because ordinary Bits did not see the plundering of Iraq, or the odometers of the lorries. It is a triangular slave trade. Oil comes cheap from trashed Iraq. That’s the slavery part, the enslavement of Uraq. The produce is grown out of sight out of mind on newly colonused land now controlled by the EU. The produce turns up in UK supermarkets cheaper than local farmers can grow it.

        Our darling host on this blog as ambassador to this recidivism Tory nation highlighted one of Britsin’s colonial habits, torture, but was stopped in his tracks before he could identify another of its crimes, triangular movement of stolen resources from one colony to another colony out of sight of ordinary Brits at home.

        Can somebody please tell me what political and financial forces are afoot that allow produce from Poland to get through 4 or 5 national borders, while I can’t even get to the council tip down the road?

        We are well shot of the EU but I’ve just munching my way through a 40 kilo bag of US rice which the EU guaranteed kept free from GM content. Boris Johnson’s not going to protect me from GM food, and Blair adores GM food….

        • Rhys Jaggar

          Giyane

          Whether I lived in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds or Oxford, I could always buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets at 25-33% of the prices charged in big supermarkets. Same with meat and fish from butchers and fishmongers. The meat was always local (i.e. within 30 miles), so was a lot of veg during growing seasons.

          Things can be grown cheaper here, but the biggest profits are made by supermarkets by not growing here.

          By disintermediating the supermarkets, UK growers would find profitable and secure markets.

          • Phil E

            In my small town in Lincolnshire our local market was closed on Friday. Many of our small food shops have closed but the supermarkets are still open. Whether it is an attempt to close down small business on purpose I don’t know but it certainly looks that way.

    • Andrew999

      As an economist, I can confirm that Mr Shigemitsu is absolutely correct.

      Money is an illusion and is essentially a measure of economic activity. If the activity falls, a Government can compensate for this by simply printing more money and giving it away in the way it thinks best – without fear of inflation. It’s where neo-Keynesian meets monetarism in a happy handshake.

      In the short term, it’s simply good enough to give this money to people so they can demand goods from businesses and services that already exist but are not operating at full speed. In the longer term, it might be better to direct money towards supply-side operations that will increase economic efficiency in the future – communications, infrastructure, education, innovation and so on

      If it were to do this when the economy is running at ‘normal’ pace, then of course, it would cause inflation – too much money chasing too few goods.

      MMT provides a strong argument in favour of a Universal Income. If a level of income for all is maintained by giving people money, then goods will be produced to match that income. Of course, this then enters the world of politics and arguments about who ‘deserves’ to have more money than others and thus gets to control the demand for goods.

      What we must resist is any notion that the current largesse on the part of governments needs to be paid for at a later date by increased taxes, reduced benefits, reduction in services and so on. In the current circumstances, that is simply untrue.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Andew999,

        ” Money is an illusion and is essentially a measure of economic activity.”

        In actuality – money is what money does.

        Well, as in the US running a massive and escalating deficit ( both budgetary and trade) – then the balancing of which you write by way of stimulating demand seems unattainable if the gap/deficit is already so large.

        Situation in the UK? Over to you.

      • David

        With all due respect, it must be paid for in one way or another.

        Money is indeed an illusion and MMT doesn’t change that in the slightest.

        If we all stop working for a couple of months and/or spend that time making ventilators then all the wealth that would have been created in that time won’t exist and we will all have to do without it. That wll be reality no matter how much money is, or isn’t, printed, nor the mechanism used to print it.

        The specific problem with MMT is its astonishing potential for corruption. Governments are corrupt, and the more power they obtain, the more corrupt they become. MMT or some similar scheme might be inevitable at this point as our morally bankrupt leaders deperately attempt to hang on to power. But its fruit will be almost universal poverty except for a very few party members and their friends.

        • Antonym

          Modern money (the US $) only became an illusion after August 15 1971 when Nixon abolished the gold standard for the FED’s currency. After, Arab oil and gas semi replaced gold for the dollar, with the “tiny” problems that these are located in the ME, about 6,500 miles away and dominated by Wahhabi Islam. The 2008-20 stopgap of endless QE (MMT) will soon be seen by all for what it is: an Emperor without cloths.

        • Mr Shigemitsu

          Dear David, please try to understand MMT is nothing more than the analysis of *what happens right now* in terms of sovereign currency creation – it’s not a “scheme” or system that can, or may, be implemented in some possible future.

          It’s a description, not a prescription. It really baffles me why some people have a problem understanding this. Maybe do some reading of the core litereature if you want an accurate insight into it, rather than repeat mainstream talking points.

          (The only actual policy that core MMT proposes is a voluntary, living wage, Job Guarantee, which is intended to replace unemployment (NAIRU) as the price anchor, as it is an alternative that is far more humane, and far less damaging to the economy, than cruelly running constant levels of +/-5% unemployment in order to control inflation.)

          There is no connection whatsoever between MMT and corruption! Corrupt governments will be corrupt, less corrupt or non-corrupt (yes, I know..) governments won’t be.

          The complete and utter dishonesty in *pretending* that the monopoly creator and issuer of the sovereign national non-convertible fiat currency is somehow *financially* constrained by how much currency it can create (rather than, in reality, constrained by the *capacity of the real economy* to absorb that spending), and that it needs to tax, or borrow from, previous users and recipients of its monopoly created currency is a supreme form of high corruption in itself.

          It is far more democratic that nationally elected governments are in control of national currency creation, than unelected bureaucrats, absolutely all of whom will be biased in favour of neo-liberal, austerity driven, balanced budget, “Treasury View” economics. There will never, ever, be an escape from these policies otherwise (see EU/ECB), because you can’t ever vote them out.

          • David

            Democracy is a false idol. The argument in favor of democracy is that it is a better protector of the rights of man than other systems of government. Democracy is not an end in and of itself, it is a means to an end. And it is clear from history that democracy decays and eventually fails to axchieve this end. That something is “democratic” does not prove it is virtuous; a lynch mob is democratic.

            And in any event “representative democracy” or “the parliamentary system” is not democracy or anything close to it. Democracy means people get to vote on everything – not choose between two power-mad corrupt lunatics, neither of whom have they ever met, to vote for them. Having a bunch of crooked shits print money and give it to their friends, whether it’s done as today via a (in some cases privately owned) central bank or printed directly by the government makes no difference.

        • nevermind

          Thanks for explaining Rishi Sunaks giveaway, David, which is in effect a grant system for the majority, with normal repayment rates attached.
          I feel that we must now talk about tax havens under British jurisdiction, and a (royal) decree that demands 3% (swiss rate for external deposits,afaik) on all deposits as well as monies going in and out. nearly all of this stale money has been bypassing exchequers and Rishi, who thinks we are all mushrooms, should know this very well, as it was his job to help in such transactions.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        Phillip Inman is really wasting his words here. The first half of the the article is half-baked nonsense, which were I paid to, or had the patience, I could demolish, paragraph by paragraph. But I’ll choose just two or three examples:

        “Until the financial crash, we relied on commercial banks to create most of our money, which they did by agreeing to provide loans. That all changed in 2008 when the Bank of England, like most other central banks, took on the job of creating money via quantitative easing.”

        This is utter rubbish – the BoE may indeed have been instructed to purchase Gilts on the secondary markets (QE) by creating, over a year or two, a total of £435bn to do so – but both prior and subsequent to the GFC, the UK government created, and continues to create, fiat currency out of thin air whenever it conducts any and all public spending. The fact that it also created some currency to purchase Gilts (conduct QE) was no different a process than the normal everyday operations that it carries for routine public spending.

        We certainly did not, and still do not, *rely* “on commercial banks to create most of our money”. What commercial banks create is not currency (high velocity, or vertical money), it’s *credit* (Low velocity, or horizontal money) – and that credit needs to be repaid, some of it over the short term, some long term – but because that eventual repayment sucks all the initial principal back out from the economy (plus interest!), the commercial banks have created *no new net financial assets* to the private sector. Govt spending, on the other hand, *does* create new net financial assets, in the form of debt-free currency issuance, and contributes to about 40% of currency in circulation at any time. (Lets not worry too much about coins and notes, they’re only 3%.) This is a very large amount of the currency in circulation, and is especially important in times of recession, when there is no demand for loans from commercial banks so they create less credit, aggravating any downturn. Which is why counter-cyclical government spending, and the automatic stabilisers, are so important in fighting recessions.

        Govt spending of debt-free currency allows the private sector to net save, and for as long as those private sector savings exist, there will be some degree of budget deficit – and its acculation over the years is the so-called National Debt”. But its just private sector savings and nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.

        It doesn’t ever need to be “paid back”. In fact, it can’t actually ever be “paid back” as such, because even if Gilts were exchanged for cash, cash is a BoE liability, and therefore also government debt (I promise to pay, etc)! It can only be taxed away out of existence. To “pay back” the so-called National Debt in its entirety would involve taxing all savings at 100%, which would immediately destroy all private sector savings – not such a great idea at any time, let alone these.

        Then there is this:

        “The Bank of England, which can already count £435bn of outstanding loans to the UK government under the QE programme, is preparing to expand that total by £200bn. This monetary stimulus is equal to just under 10% of the UK’s national income, or at least the income the UK registered in 2019.
        Much of this money is going to be spent by Rishi Sunak on various rescue measures.”

        So far, the extra £200bn in QE is NOT going to be “paid to Rishi Sunak”, it’s going to be paid to pension funds, banks, and insurance companies in to repurchase Gilts that they currenctly hold, which will then sit on the BoE’s balance sheet as assets.

        Only if the Govt instructs the BoE to buy Gilts on the *Primary* bond market will the money go to Rishi Sunak. The BoE, in its recent notice, has, astonishingly, said it’s keeping this possible course of action “under review”.

        The significance of this statement alone cannot be overstated – it is finally an ackowledgement, after 40 years of Thatcher’s utter lie: “Govt has no money of its own, just what it can borrow or raise in taxes”, that on the contrary, the (Govt-owned) Treasury can just create Gilts out of this air, and then sell them all to the (Govt-owned) BoE, in exchange for currency, also created out of this air! This is the Government openly lending money – to itself! So why have we just had to endure 10 years of austerity, because “Britain was bankrupt” and “There is no money left”?

        We didn’t have to, it was complete and utter bullshit, and we have endured a decade of immiseration, suffering, poverty and distress, for no reason whatsoever, except meaningless political Tory dogma. And this is why it’s essential to understand MMT, because unless we want to go through it all again, only worse, we need to wise up PDQ and call out that savage lie.

        Finally, at the very end of his article, Inman gets a tiny bit closer to reality:

        “Critics of MMT argue it can prove to be too much and overheat an economy. At that point taxes would need to be increased – something that until now few believed western governments were capable of doing.
        But in a post-pandemic world, inflation is unlikely to feature, and if it does, the central bank can just rein in its lending, as and when it deems necessary to keep inflation low.”

        Well , if he knew anything at all about MMT, he would know that MMT *absolutely* recognises that excess money creation can overheat an economy, if it stimulates demand beyond the capacity of an economy’s real resources – it’s one of the fundamental tenets of MMT!!! Yet, for some curious reason, detractors – most of whom have quite conspicuously never bothered to read the core MMT literature – seem to imagine this has not occured to MMTers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        He’s most probably correct to assume that “in a post-pandemic world, inflation is unlikely to feature”, although supply-side shocks should not be ignored.

        But what is that final bit about the central bank “reigning in its “lending”? The BoE isn’t “lending” to anyone; QE is simply an asset swap; newly created currency swapped for Gilts of equal value, but that currency is a BoE liability, not an asset!!! (It can and does lend overnight to commercial banks who are short of reserves, but that’s a totally different matter.)

        I just can’t take Inman seriously, the Guardian should replace him with their chief leader writer, Randeep Ramesh, who at least understands MMT. Fat chance!

        • Ascot2

          From 1939 until the 1970s the Canadian federal government used the Bank of Canada to fund all it’s financial needs. During that time it financed it’s war costs, the building of a national road network and the St Lawrence Sea way, as well as the introduction of a National Health System. All being done with no major increase in the total National Debt.
          In 1974, without any Parliamentary discussion or other public discussion, the Pierre Trudeau government started to cover its costs by “borrowing” money created by the private sector banks.
          Within 10 years the national debt had quadrupled. It now stands at around $750 billion (approx 35% of GDP).
          Going private has been estimated to have cost Canadian taxpayers more than $1.5 trillion but successive governments have steadfastly refused to revert to money supplied by its own publicly owned national bank.
          People can draw their own conclusions as to why that is the case.
          Thank you Mr Shigemitsu for your comments.

        • Mark Russell

          Dear Mr S.

          The ignorance in the media and politics generally is astonishing. As you commented above, MMT is just a lens into the secret world of global finance, where we can actually see what is really happening and why – and more importantly, how it could be harnessed properly for the benefit of mankind and the planet. When I wrote the attached last December, I thought a gentle introduction to the concept might be best. I had no idea that the Emperor’s clothes would be stripped so savagely just a few weeks later. https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/the-magic-money-tree/

          Good posts – clear & concise.

          Best wishes

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        Certainly, George Burns:

        Macroeconomics by Prof. Bill Mitchell

        Reclaiming the State by Bill Mitchell & Thomas Fazi

        Modern Money Theory by L Randall Wray

        The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton

        Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy By Warren Mosler (also available as a free digital read)

        …and even The Joy of Tax by Richard Murphy has some MMT incorporated into its narrative, even if he shies away from being a full-on core member.

        Enjoy!

  • Blair Paterson

    We had the brexit ref., the gov., stated it would implement the result of it so it was not advisory the people voted to leave by a majority that is the way all votes work but the remainers still cannot except the democratic result it speaks volumes about what kind of people they are losers and poor losers at that as for Scotland voting to stay in ??? I mean most of the E.U. Leaders were lining up to talk against Scottish independence some friends them ??? The truth is there are no independent countries in the E.U. The clue is in the word UNION to me freedom in Scotland means no U.K. No E.U. Or NATO or U.N.no special relationship with America we will stand alone and decide for ourselves that is real FREEDOM

    • AlecB

      (yawns)

      The government can say what it likes after the event, but the fact is that it was run as an advisory referendum (no supermajority threshold, etc) and this has been confirmed by the Courts.

      Add to that the lying, cheating and criminality of both sides (but predominantly of Leave), and the fact remains that if the referendum had been an athlete, it would have been disqualified by now. The real issue here is that most Leavers know full well that another vote would result in a far bigger vote to Remain now that everyone is aware of the reality.

      • Marmite

        “I always argued that England and Wales should leave the EU as had been democratically decided by the electorate”

        Are we also to say that decisions to bomb Syria, to frack and to bail out billionnaires, and lynch journalists and detain children, to racially profile and so on, are also democratically decided? Those things may not have been decided upon by referenda, but they are supported by our ‘elected representatives’.

        There was nothing democratic about the 2016 vote. I thought that we had been disillusioned of that nonsense long ago. It was a decision made by billionnaires, with a very gullible, scapegoat-hungry and anti-immigation populace sheepishly in tow.

        Anyway, it looks like we now need all the immigrants back as a matter of emergency.

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/28/fruit-and-veg-will-run-out-unless-britain-charters-planes-to-fly-in-farm-workers-from-eastern-europe

        I hope that the isolationists, narcissists and solipsists of the world wake up one day soon. Their sleeping bodies are everywhere a serious obstacle to working together to dismantle everything awful at the heart of Britain, the EU and wider world.

        When faced with Tories, we cannot be selective about what they do ‘democratically’. Everything they do needs rubbishing, because everything they do is guided by heinousness and crassness.

        • Christopher Dale Rogers

          Marmite,

          Let me get this straight, you are advocating that because fruit & vegetables are left rotting in fields this has something to do with the EU, well the EU part is correct, UK agricultural policy was influenced by Brussels, something to do with CAP I believe!

          However, and back to the main point, the reason fruit and veg rots in fields is because the producers will not pay a sustainable salary to those required to harvest the crops, and, this low wage system is reinforced by supermarkets demanding ever cheaper products so they can sell said products at a higher profit – experience has shown in California that if growers actually pay decent wages then the local population is quite happy to sell its labour.

          Also, and in this time of Covid-19, we are led to believe by some Remainiacs that the present health crisis had been made worse by some Europeans leaving the UK because of an inability to have necessary work visa’s issued, or, because the UK is full of racists.

          My answer to the above is quite simple, why should the UK be allowed to plunder trained staff from other nations, thus denying that nation the benefit of the person it trained, when the UK is more than capable of training all its citizens to fill roles in our society, that, neoliberal zealots would prefer to forgo investment in our own nations and plunder other nations seems to pass them by. Cuba has the right model, as does China, the UK does not.

          One further note, in Hong Kong the local population has been agitating against the HKSAR government, and became rather anti-Beijing/anti-Mainland China, to the extent, and prior to Covid-19, many Mainland travellers were openly abused. That such abuse must be frowned upon is correct, but to deny underlying economic causes would not do justice to the reality, namely, each year the HKSAR allows 50,000 Chinese to settle in Hong Kong, without any added infrastructure put in place to accommodate such numbers. This situation is made worse under the China Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which has allowed Mainland Chinese to purchase much needed housing, which, they don’t reside in, rather these are speculative fixed assets, which is one reason the HKSAR has some of the highest housing and rental costs globally.

          One could go on, but if our masters are happy to exploit everyone under their wonderful ideal world based on neoliberal economic prescriptions you can expect blow back, a system by the way, as all can now see, has failed completely.

          In a decent society, where no one is exploited and all have decent lives racism would not exist, regrettably, the UK is not a decent society, or the HKSAR for that matter.

      • Loony

        No doubt there is a valid reason why you are seeking to examine the referendum in isolation.

        In the General Election of 2017 some 80% of voters voted for parties that were committed to leaving the EU. The European Elections of 2019 were won decisively by the Brexit party – a party whose only policy was to leave the EU. The 2019 General Election was won decisively by a Party campaigning on a promise to leave the EU. People could have voted for Parties advocating for the UK to remain in the EU – but they did not do so.

        The reality you speak of is a reality that exists only inside your own head.

        • michael norton

          Where I live there is almost nobody who has a good word to say for the disgusting E.U. Elite
          They are doing nothing for Italy, one of the founder nations.
          They did nothing for Greece, the founder nation of Democracy.
          It is run by the Elite for the Elite.
          The E.U. Elite do not care at all about ordinary people, they would let you rot in the gutter without offering a hand to raise you.

          • Marmite

            As usual, this misses the point. The point is not about whether the EU is good or bad. Everyone agrees on this. You are preaching to the converted, and it is boring. But what is worse is watching how the simple-minded racism and xenophobia driving Brexit will turn Britain into a country that can no longer afford to feed its children. You’d think that the empty shelves at the supermarkets would have knocked some sense into anyone who believes that making a deal with Trump is the better way to go.

        • Matthew

          Let’s examine the (UK) results of the 2019 European Elections and the 2019 General Election:

          **European Elections of 2019:**
          Leave: Conservatives (8.8%, 4 MEPs) + Brexit (30.5%, 29 MEPs) = 39.3%, 33 MEPs
          Remain: Green (11.8%, 7 MEPs), SNP (3.5%, 3 MEPs), Labour (13.7%, 10 MEPs), Liberal Democrats (19.6%, 16 MEPs) = 48.6%, 36 MEPs

          Leave: 39.3%, 33 MEPs
          Remain: 48.6%, 36 MEPs

          Verdict: A crushing victory for leave, if you ignore they neither secured more votes nor more seats.

          **General Election of 2019:**

          Leave: Conservatives (43.6%, 365 MPs) + Brexit (2.0%, 0 MPs) = 44.6%, 365 MPs
          Remain: Green (2.7%, 1 MP), SNP (3.9%, 48 MPs), Labour (32.1%, 202 MPs), Liberal Democrats (11.6%, 11 MPs) = 50.3%, 262 MPs

          Leave: 44.6%, 365 MPs
          Remain: 50.3% for 262 MPs

          Verdict: A crushing victory for leave, if you ignore the inadequacies of first past the post.

          I think it is close, but there is good evidence the majority of voters no longer have a strong desire for no-deal brexit and a reasonable case they are not that keen on brexit at all.

          The reason we are here is because the leave factions were clever enough to realise they should never allow any confirmatory ballot on any negotiated deal under any circumstances whereas the remain factions were delusional enough to think they could somehow benefit from a GE under FTFP.

          The 2017 GE was remarkably brexit-lite as the campaign developed. However one thing both Labour and the Conservatives were promising in 2017 as a good deal with the EU, which is something Johnson is not pursuing. So I think we can both agree the results of the 2017 and 2019 elections comprehensively prove there is no support for leaving the EU without a deal at the end of the year.

          If you argue that general elections are a good barometer for understanding voters views on Europe then you could make a stronger case that brexit itself is a result of a large minority of MPs in the Conservative and Unionist Party failing to ever accept and respect the clear support for Europe expressed in the 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 General Elections.

          Your revisionist history does nothing to help anyones understanding.

  • Magic Robot

    And now, from 1939 – to lift our spirits in these trying times – as sung by Glyn Davies in Carroll Levi’s film ‘Discoveries’ (co-written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles):

    THERE’LL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND
    While there’s a country lane;
    Wherever there’s a cottage small
    Beside a field of grain.

    THERE’LL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND
    While there’s a busy street;
    Wherever there’s a turning wheel
    A million marching feet.

    Something’s gone wrong for you since brexit and these people got into power, hasn’t it.

    • Dom

      At a meeting in early February Cummings said the government’s herd immunity strategy was about “protect[ing] the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.”

          • Loony

            I’m not looking for empathy. I am looking for an answer to the question as to how many people you think would die absent an economy.

            The fact that don’t answer leads to the logical supposition that you don’t care how many people may die just so long as your ideological purity remains untainted by the blood of those you would destroy.

        • michael norton

          The Economy of Europe is imploding, I am including the U.K. in that.
          This Lock-Down is about as mad as mad could be, like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
          It has been said that in a normal year in the U.K. 600,000 people die, a massive proportion of those are very dangerously ill,
          one more bad event will see them off.
          Is saving these 600,000 for a couple of months, worth the destruction of the futures of the rest.
          Many died in the Great Depression, poverty leads to death, sometimes by suicide but often by starvation and disease.
          People that are made homeless will mostly never recover, no matter how long they can eek out their lives.

          • jake

            The effects of virus do have seriously bad outcomes for those that are old or ill.
            If instead, the effects of the virus had such outcomes for just the smug and complacent would you be so keen to let it run it course?

          • michael norton

            The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has asked the E.U. “not to make tragic mistakes” in its management of the coronavirus crisis, warning that if it does, “the whole E.U. project will lose its raison d’être”.

            In an interview published by the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday, Conte said the coronavirus pandemic could “destroy” the European economy.
            https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/28/eu-will-lose-its-raison-d-etre-if-it-fails-to-help-during-covid-19-crisis-italy-s-pm-warns

            Mr Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday (March 29).

            Mr Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday. The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide.
            https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/german-minister-commits-suicide-after-virus-crisis-worries

            So the working theory is he took his own life at the fear of the economy of Germany nosediving.

        • Marmite

          The question is nonsense. That’s why you get no reply. There are different economic models, and some kill more than others (like the current model), and some have the potential to set commoning practices in motion, which don’t privilege or discriminate where well-being is concerned. It is the current economic model that explains why the NHS cannot do its job, why we prioritise banks and billionnaires over ventillators and testing. In the absense of that economy, I’d venture that we’d be faring much better.

          • Loony

            No, the question is not nonsense.

            Take a look at Somalia. It has no functioning economy and it has very high death rates. That is the main reason why Somalians want to leave Somalia and people like you would rather saw your own foot off in preference to moving to Somalia.

          • Marmite

            Out of everyone here, you must speak the most nonsense, Loony. I don’t recall myself saying I want to move to Somalia. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never mentioned Somalia. I don’t know much about that country, apart from the fact that it has had to endure one wave of colonialism after another for well over a thousand years, and that this would be the underlying reason for which its economy might not currently be working so well for its people. Just to add, though, you totally missed my point, again!

          • Giyane

            Loony

            Somalia is oil and mineral rich. That’s why the bully superpowers pay jihadists to wreak havoc there. That is why David Cameron went there , to see if slash and burn was ready to be turned into drill and pump. What about Disneyland? All the other lands are at various stages in the 100 year old cycle of murder and exploitation.

          • Marmite

            I’m not aware of any economy being shut down. Economy is not something that you implement or shut down. It is always happening. I think what you mean to say is that some aspects of the economy are being shut down.

            I’d venture to say that shutting down many aspects of a pathological and broken economy such as the one we have in Britain, which is designed to rob the poor and rape the earth, is a very good thing indeed.

            The amount of pollutants put into the air by a toxic economy is slowing, and scientists have already linked the deadliness of COVID-19 to the levels of air toxicity in certain areas of the world, which create the respiratory problems that make us frail and vulnerable.

            I’m all for the complete shutdown of a toxic economy. We can act like Trump and the right-wing nutters standing behind him and twisting his arm, or we can learn from this, and demand another kind of economy, and even start to create the basis for it.

            I hope you learn something from this, Loony, because I really don’t have the time to keep trying to help you.

        • Mighty Drunken

          False dichotomy alert!
          There still is an economy.

          Assuming a fully functioning economy; how many people can it bring back from the dead?

          • Marmite

            I have no idea what a fully functioning economy would be. The term is almost as meaningless as Loony’s idiotic dichotomy. The right question is what KIND of economy. That’s what I was trying to explain to him. But as they say, you can only lead a horse to water.

          • Loony

            The original question was – how many people do you imagine may die absent an economy. This is relevant because many western nations have effectively shut down their economies on the basis that doing so will save lives. At the moment there is no timescale for reopening the economy and no-one has any real idea as to what percentage of the economy will be permanently destroyed as a consequence of forced closure.

            Somalia is an example of a country with no functioning economy in the ordinarily accepted meaning of those words. Why it has not functioning economy is irrelevant. People instinctively understand this – that is why they do not choose to either immigrate into Somalia or vacation in Somalia. Somalia has very low life expectancy (about 57)compared to something over 85 for the UK).

            Take a look at what happened to Russian life expectancy when the USSR collapsed.

            The point has nothing to do with colonialism, stupidity, or the precise definition of words. It has to do with the fact that if you shut down an economy on the pretense of saving lives then you need to understand that the very act of shutting down the economy will shorten other lives. The fact that no-one knows how many people will die as a consequence of shutting down the economy means that any claim that shutting down the economy will save lives is just an opinion. It is an opinion the accuracy of which cannot be verified. It is possible that the economy can be reopened with no lasting damage – but that too is just an opinion which is incapable of being verified.

            So material public policy decisions are being enacted based on the unverifiable subjective opinions of a small group of “experts” It is to be hoped that these “experts” have materially different expertise than a previous generation of “experts” who believed that Iraq contained weapons of mass destruction that were about to be deployed.

      • Magic Robot

        Dom
        I can tell you that my Mother, who still visited the local pool for her twice weekly swimming and diving sessions at 83 years of age right up to just 3 months before she died, would have been perfectly happy to risk this ‘flu’ than have this fake hysteria run her life.

        Nothing I, or a government could say would have kept her in the house, come what may.

        People born in those times were made of sterner stuff.

        • Loony

          Ah Glenn, So what you are saying is that you disagree with Professor Doctor Sucharit Bhakdi. That would be the same Professor Dr. who was head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and one of the most highly cited medical researchers in Germany.

          Just to cover the vanishingly small possibility that you are not familiar with Professor Doctor Bhakdi I am able to confirm that his opinion broadly conforms to the opinion expressed by the Mother of “Magic Robot”

          …and after such a distinguished career you are able to successfully traduce his entire life’s work in one simple but brutal sentence. Although it is noted that you prefer a more snide approach whereby you never actually name the real target of your vitriol.

        • glenn_uk

          No, I was replying to the person to whom I was replying. Do try to keep up.

          By the way, which view of your hero Trump’s are you supporting now – will it all be melting away with the spring? Will we be back to normal by April 12th? Is he right to be not concerned in the slightest? Which of his contradictory and shifting positions are you going to support?

          My guess is that you’ll blow smoke and change the subject, as you always do when questioned about Trump’s idiocy.

        • nevermind

          Glenn_uk you ought to apologise? However much you dont like a person, their mother, a third party to your argument and properly much fitter than you, has no chance to respond to your bile.

        • glenn_uk

          Nevermind: Why should I apologise to someone who’s insulted their own mother, by making out she’s completely stupid?

          What would you call a woman in her 80’s who insists on going out in these conditions, and calls Covid-19 “fake” ?

          Those are Tragic Doh!bot’s descriptions of this alleged person, not mine.

        • Loony

          Glenn I made no comment at all as to who you were replying to, so there is no need for me to keep up in this regard. Perhaps like me English is not your first language and you suffer comprehension difficulties.

          My comment was that the person you so brutally disparaged was expressing the same basic opinions as those expressed by Professor Doctor Bhakdi. It therefore follows that if you consider both “Magic Robot” and his/her Mother to be stupid based solely on their shared opinion with Professor Dr. Bhakdi then you must also consider Bhakdi to be stupid.

          Quite what qualifications you have to write of the opinions of one of Germanys most cited medical researchers remains unknown. That you must possess such qualifications is obvious otherwise you would be guilty of brute ignorance. Unless you advise otherwise I naturally assume that you not brutally ignorant, but instead a respected figure qualified to tear apart by proxy and innuendo the reputation of one of Germany’s most eminent medical scientists.

        • glenn_uk

          Loony – I don’t care who a person happens to share a view with.

          Government orders are to self-isolate. The elderly are apparently much more at risk.

          An elderly person who decides that rules for everyone do not apply to them, that they will risk infection to themselves and others, that they will tie up scant resources of the NHS for no good reason, is behaving in the most stupid and irresponsible not to mention illegal manner.

          Blow all the smoke you like – those are the facts.

        • nevermind

          It is you who is asserting that MR has called his mother stupid, nobody else. apologise, I hope you have the brevity.

      • David

        I understand that a 6% drop in GDP corresponds to a three month reduction in life expectancy for the population as a whole. Let’s say 60 million x 3 months = 15 million years or 200,000 lives of 75 years each.

        On top of that of course, it dramatically affects the quality of life of a great many people as well. And we all make the tradeoff between longevity and quality of life every time we leave our house and cross the road. Should people who like to climb mountains stay at home instead so they can live longer, or would you accept that they should be allowed to trade some of their life expectancy for the life they enjoy? And if a man is willing to trade his own life for something, then surely that is an indicator that some sort of balance is necessary. Put another way, every penny you earn could be spent on some form of healthcare and you might, as a result, extend your life by a year or two. But what sort of life would it be?

  • Michael Droy

    If we wait till 2023, we’ll be the only ones still in it
    Schengen is officially shut. No EU country has made an effort to help Italy. (Unlike China, and Russia which had to fly over Turkey because EU countries blocked its planes). The ECB has infuriated Germany by buying Italy’s and Spain’s bonds on the same terms of Germany’s which is rewarding sin and going to end up as a complete nightmare for budget influence in the future.
    The EU without a single original policy for 40 years has not responded to African immigration, has not responded to the challenges of Turkey and Ukraine, and now hasn’t made a single step to assist Italy or encourage assistance to Italy, or indeed to have a single policy re Covid-19 at all.

    The EU is dead, however much you dislike England as a partner.

    • J Galt

      I would very much like to have England as a partner – just not as a master.

      On your other point Russia has indeed done more for Italy than the EU.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Leave won the Brexit referendum by a margin of 1.27m.
    Age group 65+ voted Leave by a 28% margin. Age group 50 to 64 voted Leave by a 20% margin. The age group 49 to 18 voted Remain (the margin is immaterial).
    By January 2023, six and a half years will have passed since the plebiscite.
    On the first anniversary of the referendum c. 540,000 in the age group 65+ will have died in a normal year together with c. 62,000 in the age group 50 to 64 (I don’t anticipate 2020 to be substantively different in terms of death rates in the 50 years + category).
    By January 2023 there would be a natural Remain majority.
    I agree, membership of the Customs Union would be preferable to full EU membership. This would have been the pragmatic interpretation of the 4% winning margin of the 2016 vote. As we are all to well aware, this was not the conclusion of Theresa May (and later Johnson) who were primarily occupied with the fate of the Conservative Party and trying to appease nutters like Mark Francois (fanatics who are beyond appeasing).

    • Spencer Eagle

      ‘By January 2023 there would be a natural Remain majority.’ …you may well have been on track with that assertion, however, current events are likely to instill the population with a lockdown mentality, they won’t vote for open borders, physical or perceived, for decades to come.

  • anaconda

    ”I always argued that England and Wales should leave the EU as had been democratically decided by the electorate, and an Independent Scotland should not as similarly decided.”

    Given recent events in a Scottish court room, do you think Nicola Sturgeon is honestly represented Scotland’s EU remain vote? Or, despite the optics put forward by the FM, (loud words, followed by zero action) she is more than happy to proceed with Brexit?

  • Soothmoother

    The referendum was for the UK to either stay in or leave the EU. The result was a Yes to leave taken by all of the UK.

    The SNP hierarchy were most likely high-fiving each other in private as it gave them another shot at leaving the UK, but stating in public what a tragedy it was.

    If the SNP had been honest, they should have stayed out of the subsequent fight to overturn the Referendum result as “Scotland had said No!” Policy should have been it’s up to England, N.Ireland and Wales to sort it out. But they interfered on behalf of the UK people, despite having a goal of leaving them asap.

    I will be against Independence in future referenda if there is a promise to try to rejoin.

    As far as I’m concerned the more layers of government and bureaucracy we have the more detached the elite are from the common people.

  • Ilya G Poimandres

    The counterpolicy is true socialism. Universal provision of needs – food, housing, health, education, defense, through targeted UBIs, paid for by a flat tax on income/profit/capital-gains/inheritance. And semi direct democracy – only system where the citizenry has a meaningful check and balance on the system of government, other than directly democratic revolution.

    We don’t need austerity, because needs only cost 30% of GDP – smaller than government now. But we can’t pay for the bureaucracy and competitive capitalism of progressive taxation and means tested welfare.

  • Tom74

    I wouldn’t put any money on Johnson being in power at the end of the year, never mind ten. I’m not sure any Prime Minister could survive the kind of economic slump described by Craig in this article, particularly if it turned out that the coronavirus scare had at least on some level been a hoax or gross over-reaction – hyped-up flu, used as a smokescreen, perhaps, for economic plunder and/or the collapse of the United States as a military and economic superpower.
    Given that the UK has already been economically, socially and politically destabilised by Brexit, the country would be very vulnerable to revolution, hence, perhaps the desperation of Johnson and Prince Charles to jump on the coronavirus bandwagon, and also the talk of socialism from the Tories. The moment a critical mass of people believe they have been conned by politicians and the medical and corporate establishment over the coronavirus is the moment it is curtains for the British establishment and curtains too, I suspect, for Brexit – another CIA-led project.

    • glenn_uk

      Tom – do you actually think that Italians who are dying from this in ever rising numbers, currently over 900 per day, are victims of “a hoax”, or exhibiting “a gross over-reaction” ?

      • Loony

        Do you know the average age of these dying Italians? Have you ever compared their average age the the average life expectancy in Italy? If the answer to these questions is no then who cares what you think. If the answer to these questions is yes, then do you observe anything that may be relevant in terms of forming conclusions?

          • Loony

            How can you possibly conclude from anything that I have written that I think “death rates like this are normal” I have made absolutely no comment at all regarding death rates.

            My comment related to age of those dying and to the average life expectancy in Italy. None of this has anything at all to do with death rates that are concertinaed into a short period of time. How is that hard to understand?

          • Crispa

            Does this make the situation clearer? From https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/#latest
            “According to the latest data of the Italian National Health Institute ISS, the average age of the positively-tested deceased in Italy is currently about 81 years. 10% of the deceased are over 90 years old. 90% of the deceased are over 70 years old.

            80% of the deceased had suffered from two or more chronic diseases. 50% of the deceased had suffered from three or more chronic diseases. The chronic diseases include in particular cardiovascular problems, diabetes, respiratory problems and cancer.

            Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. Only about 30% of the deceased are women.

            The Italian Institute of Health moreover distinguishes between those who died from the coronavirus and those who died with the coronavirus. In many cases it is not yet clear whether the persons died from the virus or from their pre-existing chronic diseases or from a combination of both”.
            Extrapolated figures suggest 12% probably died of the virus.

          • S

            Loony, you say that it’s just “death rates that are concertinaed into a short period of time”. I think this is likely to be the case.

            However, this concertina effect is devastating on the hospitals, because they cannot cope with the sharp peak. This has a knock-on effect on many other things, including the many healthy people who need to use the hospitals for other reasons. This is the reason behind the strategy of “flattening the peak”: not that fewer die of Covid, nor that fewer elderly die, just that the sharp hit on the hospitals is bluntened.

  • Dave

    The panic is deeply destructive in the short term, but the outcome could be positive as long as the lockdown is lifted almost immediately, which could happen as the main objectives have been achieved, namely mega-billions increase in public spending and new draconian police powers to crush populist dissent.

    There are always a range of interests promoting a particular policy for different reasons, but the decision of Germany to raise spending by mega-billions is revealing as it breaks the previously inviolable Euro-currency rules and could mean the EU are ending the austerity (that has inflicted such hardship over many years leading to the populist revolt), under the guise of fighting a virus. Now after all those years of saying no money available, its money no object.

    The purpose of draconian measures is to convey the idea the virus is deadly due to the severity of the (counter-productive) restrictions and this allows a fundamental fiscal policy to be changed ending the project to create a European super-state, in its present form.

    The Germans being fanatics, or resolute irrespective of the cause, had to be forced to break the Euro-rules, ending the Project, but how? Well France and Italy went for the complete lockdown, and France ordered Britain to do the same under threat of the French/Britain border being closed and so de facto presented Germany with the prospect of an EU Austerity that would also harm Germany and not just everyone else.

    This forced Germany to change policy and the lockdown suits Macron as he can finally clear all the populist protesters off the streets as a public health issue!

    • glenn_uk

      If the lock-down was lifted almost immediately, as you seem to be suggesting, the result would be mass infection and an utter swamping of the healthcare system. Leading to a huge number of deaths.

      A good thing indeed that people like you are not in a position to make such decisions.

          • Pb

            No I don’t need to go to Italy if you have the answers. Will you please give me the evidence to back up your assertions or I (and probably many more) will reject them as groundless.

            I did stipulate no bluster.

          • glenn_uk

            What the hell do you expect me to do? Climb through your screen carrying dead bodies?

          • Pb

            If I understand you correctly, you cannot back up your claims because you can’t climb through computer screens.

            I had anticipated saying it was as I thought but I am wrong, it is worse.

            Let me try and reassure you, if it’s any consolation, that your impediment’s root does not lie in your lack of mystical powers, the problem is something more fundamental.

          • David

            Glenn,

            I think the pointy is that there are no dead bodies. Or, at least, there are of course some dead bodies but it’s very far from clear that the corona virus is causing the type of damage that would justify the measures being imposed.

            You cite Italy for example. But in Italy
            1. The average age of death is 81
            2. 99.2% of all the fatalities have at least 1 serious illness. 48.5% have three serious illnesses.
            3. If you die and test positive for COVID-19 you are counted in the fatality statistics, even if you were already at death’s door from leukemia, or heart disease or a stroke for example.
            4. Italy’s fatality rate from regular ‘flu each year is about 3x anywehere else in Europe and has been for years. No study has been done to investigate why, although air pollution is an obvious candidate.

            It’s also worth noting that the more testing a country does, the lower the fatality rate appears. This is universally true, and is because the vast majorioty of cases escape detection which makes the fatality rate look much higher than it actually is. It’s worth noting that the CFR of regular ‘flu in the US measured by fatalities / postive test ersults is about 10%. The actual fatality rate is estimated at 0.1%. Iceland has done more testing than anyone – implementing a program to randomly test its population at scale and the data are very interesting. See https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/coronavirus-testing-iceland. The results suggest a fatality arte below that of normal ‘flu.

            Several studies are now beginning to agree on this. The virus is highly transmissible so many more people are getting it than regular ‘flu which is why the hospitals fill up. But it may well not be much more dangerous.

            This is a really good video of a Stanford professor’s view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6MZy-2fcBw

  • DunGroanin

    There is no intention to create a sensible economic reality by keeping us on the edge of. That would mean the banks magic money tree game comes to a instant halt!
    The ‘loan’ that anyone or any business would get from natwest in this emergency or in ‘normal’ circumstances, wouldn’t be from money they have sitting in their vaults – it is created out of thin air , or button stroke , it appears in your account. Just like that , abracadabra!

    Who’s money has been lent? No ones. And it didn’t exist before.

    If you don’t pay it back – who suffers? No one.

    If you do pay it back with interest who gains? The bank keeps the interest.

    If it is guaranteed by personal assets of the borrower they will have an in incentive to pay the interest – which is really all the bank expects. If you default they can grab your assets and sale them off for less than the loan and they keep that! While cancelling the debt which didn’t really exist in the first place.

    Its the old rinse and repeat with a added bonus of a wartime economy- a money grabbing exercise by the banks facilted by their placemen politicians and civil servants. Their main job is to issue guarantees against the imaginary money and if it defaults the public purse will compensate them! For an imaginary loan money and the banks keep it! Not just the interest they earned but a whole chunk of imaginary money which becomes REAL.

    The ones who benefit will get all this signed sealed and delivered in hours and days and then the government will announce within a week or two that the new martial law powers have worked spectacularly and have conquered the spread and the new tests show most people have had the virus and they can all go back to work and not to expect their income replacement any longer if at all. And if the work isn’t there yet for them then just sign on and be paupers !

    Always been the plan ever since the Atlee government – a return to the pre war toffs, their clerks and everyone else just serfs.

    To actually follow through and pay people a living income replacement pulls back the curtain on the wizards and means that a basic income for every person becomes a reality! The complete opposite of what they want.

    Sunak hasn’t given anybody anything yet.

  • glenn_uk

    @Tragic Doh!bot:

    I’m surprised any of your grossly irresponsible statements are allowed to stand, because they are acts of public endangerment.

    And would I say the same to your face? You betcha. Only not while you’re obviously exhibiting signs of some delusional disorder, because I might catch whatever has got to you.

    And do hang onto that jpg, please. Tell you what. Spend the next month trying your best, and see if any sane person shows the slightest interest.

  • quasi_verbatim

    We are crashing out at year-end unless the Brexitmongers are all carried off by the plague.
    Never underestimate the morbidity of Mad Brexit Disease, for which no bovine immunity at present exists.

  • Derek

    Quite a lot of this threat is about printing money. Having bought a house during the seventies, a time of much inflation, I know it’s not quite that simple. Here’s a historic list of the value of the pound versus the dollar. Look at the way the £ crashed in particular during the second world war, and that it has continued its downward trend ever since.
    Year £ v $
    1850 4.96
    1860 4.96
    1870 6.42
    1880 4.96
    1890 4.98
    1900 4.98
    1910 4.98
    1920 3.92
    1930 4.98
    1940 3.96
    1950 2.85
    1960 2.84
    1970 2.48
    1985 2.32
    1995 1.78
    2000 1.51
    2001 1.44
    2002 1.50
    2003 1.63
    2004 1.84
    2005 1.82
    2006 1.83
    2011 2.00
    2014 1.89
    2019 1.29
    (Data from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tables_of_historical_exchange_rates_to_the_United_States_dollar)

  • Wikikettle

    Just posted on you tube an interview by Sreco Horvat of DiEM25 TV with “Noam Chomsky : Coronavirus – What is at stake ? ” One really has to sit forward to hear what Chomsky has to say. He is very elderly and in self isolation. It’s to the worlds loss that we have not listened to his warnings of our blind eyes and deaf ears .

  • Brianfujisan

    I Know Nicola has come in for some Criticism in recent days.. But It’s good to see a Scot.gov that actually cares about the people in such a dangerous crisis Fuck the private Car park companies.. and Fuck London for not putting an end to the greed of Heartless Swines –

    Scottish Government foots £1m bill for free parking at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after private company refuses to waive charges –

    https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/health/coronavirus/scottish-government-foots-ps1m-bill-free-parking-edinburgh-royal-infirmary-after-private-company-refuses-waive-charges-2521181?

    Stay Safe All..Try to stay indoors.

    • N_

      You write as if it’s their own money that the Scottish government is handing over, while omitting to ask whether it couldn’t have stopped the hospital signing the contract with the company in the first place.

      • Brianfujisan

        N_
        I believe it is all to do with Labours Disastrous PFI contracts. Which some of our Hospitals are Tied to… So..Instead of SNP Bad… Why not ask why the private parking Leeches Don’t have some fucking heart in times like this? Clap for NHS staff At 8pm on Thursday. Then Fine them £20 a day For Risking Death to help in the Pandemic Emergency.
        Who makes this stuff up ?

        • nevermind

          Labour just was daft enough to carry on what the Tories under John Major planned all the while, Brian, but the devil was in the detail, it became a feast for bankers, lawyers and hedgefunds.

      • Cubby

        N

        British Labour in Scotland introduced PFI and are crippling Councils to this day in Scotland with extortionate repayments. At the same time the British Labour in Scotland First Minister Jack the lad McConnell sent money back to Gordon Brown from the Scottish budget – £1.5billion if memory serves me right. Lord McConnell is now Lording it up in the House of Lords for services to the UK. Have they closed their many bars and restaurants yet?

        McConnell Just another one who signed the Ragmans roll.

  • Mighty Drunken

    Craig, what you propose is sensible but I was thinking the opposite. Brexit will bring an economic hit to the UK, of up to 10% for the first year or two. What better time to do it than after the current shock? Many of the financial instruments to cushion the blow are the same, while any downturns in GDP or other measure could be blamed on coronavirus.

    The media will utilise the solidarity people have displayed to deal with coronavirus and ask us to now use it for BREXIT. We live in interesting times, next year will continue to be interesting.

  • Stonky

    We keep hearing all these horror stories from Italy. I would like to see a simple piece of comparative analysis that I haven’t seen anywhere (for Italy or any other country).

    The population of Italy is around 60 million. The average life expectancy is around 80. So on a rough calculation, about 2000 people die every day. I assume that the seasonally-adjusted total would be a little higher. If hundreds of people are dying of COVID-19 then the current total should be much higher than the normal average. If the current total isn’t markedly higher than the normal average, then it suggests people are dying with COVID-19 rather than of it.

    But even if more people are dying, and it’s largely the elderly and infirm dying a few months earlier than they otherwise would have, then once that ‘spike’ has passed the death rate will fall back down – in fact to below the normal average.

    This is such an obvious analysis that I can’t understand why it’s not on the front page of every newspaper, alongside the hysterical screeching and wall-to-wall coverage.

      • Stonky

        I did check it. It contains a lot of useful information. But I didn’t see the one simple piece of critical information I’m looking for – how does the current death rate compare with the typical death rate at this time of the year.

        • David

          try https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31401203/

          it does look, from where I currently am, in Lombardy Lockdown, that this uncommon-cold would have a similar mortality rate to the entire 2016/2017 common-flu excess (on order of 20k tragic losses)

          a hypothesis is that the likely 2019/2020 uncommon-covid will take the frail & aged that ‘flu might have taken. A heavy overlap, similar numbers. Not excessive on an annual basis, but a real tsunami as death scythes through an annual number in a few compressed weeks.

          If the Rnought was reduced sufficiently by our social isolation to delay the covid-19 peak such that it was spread over twelve months, I think it would be congruent with the ‘normal’ Italian daily/weekly/monthly/annual rate.

          saying this, I have lost a distinguished colleague last week, with underlying conditions, and the local newspaper ‘obit’ column – usually half-a-page, was up to eight pages recently.

          I personally am trying to not go anywhere, not for any reason, for at least two weeks, as we are here at peak. Schengen external borders are closed, but there is porosity for goods/people with a serious reason.

        • Rhys Jaggar

          In the UK Stonky it is below average the first 12 weeks of 2020, probably due to the mild winter. 2017 and 2018 were marketdly higher.

          The next three weeks will see if Coronavirus actually did anything….

    • Bill Thomson

      It will be interesting to compare the figures for ageded, cruising alcoholics and fit, young, drug addicted USN sailors.
      How to adjust the figures to componsate for the life shortening effects of being confined to a cabin with one’s spouse is open for discussion. Adjustments could lead to global warming.

  • N_

    I always argued that England and Wales should leave the EU as had been democratically decided by the electorate, and an Independent Scotland should not as similarly decided.

    Talk about special pleading.

    Anybody can notice what’s wrong with this. Nobody f***ing decided an “Independent Scotland” should do anything. Scotland said NO. Scotland told the SNP to p*ss off with its main policy.

    Would London stay in the EU? And Edinburgh stay out of an independent Scotland maybe?

    • Cubby

      N

      Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a significant majority. Scotland is one of the world’s oldest nations. Once again you insult my country.

  • N_

    Readers of this blog should take a look at the global pandemic “exercise” that took place in October 2019, with participants with current posts or backgrounds in healthcare multinationals, the CIA, the UN, finance, and both the Chinese and the US Centres for Disease Control. Called “Event 201”, it was run jointly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, and the World Economic Forum (aka Davos).

    Bit of a giveaway…

    • Antonym

      Not at all a give away: pandemics happen frequently and preparedness for them is to be lauded.

      Occam’s razor favors mammal to human virus jumps at live exotic animal markets. Most of these kind of markets exist in East Asia and Central Africa.
      Frozen deer or moose in Sweden or the US will not contain much of any virus.

  • N_

    Quiz. Who wrote this in March 2019?

    A hypothesis that should be tested: With a) <£1million to play with, b) the ability to recruit a team from among special forces/intel services/specialist criminals/whoever, and c) no rules (so for example they could deploy honey traps on the head of security), a Red Team would break into the most secure UK bio-research facilities and acquire material that could be released publicly in order to cause deaths on the scale of millions. A serious test will also reveal that there is no serious attempt to incentivise the stars of Whitehall to work on such important issues or involve extremely able people from outside Whitehall.” (emphasis added)

    Click here to find out.

    • N_

      Following up to my own comment here, because it is so important that this information should spread without delay.

      The author was Dominic Cummings.

      Let us recap the facts:

      * 12 months ago, Dominic Cummings called for a team to be recruited from among special forces, intelligence services, specialist criminals, and “whoever”, to break into top-security British bio “research” facilities and “acquire material that could be released publicly in order to cause deaths on the scale of millions“;

      * he says they should not be bound by “rules” and that for example they could deploy honey traps on the head of security.

      Please re-read that very carefully. Please check the exact words that he wrote. He does NOT say that the break-in unit should penetrate only the software systems that protect British bio “research” facilities, so as to leave a message saying “We were here. You’d better tighten your damned security”. He says that they should LITERALLY STEAL the biological material (i.e. weapon) that could be released publicly TO KILL MILLIONS.

      What kind of “specialist criminals” might he have been thinking of?

      Bear in mind that we can be sure that what he wrote was read by officers of a number of intelligence agencies other than the British ones which have connections with organised crime in Britain, including the Russian, Chinese, and Israeli services.

      I appeal to all journalists and politicians who are reading this. I appeal to politicians and members of all opposition parties, and even to politicians and members of the Tory party if they are so minded. (How about it, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Kenneth Clarke, Dominic Grieve?) Here is the question that MUST BE ASKED PUBLICLY OF THE PRIME MINISTER:

      Was this recommendation by Dominic Cummings, the man who is known for “getting things done”, the man whose wish for a British “ARPA” was granted in this year’s budget to the tune of £800 million and who currently sits at the right hand of the prime minister (to put it politely), implemented?

      • N_

        Open letter to Andrew Parker, head of MI5 ([email protected]):

        ******************************************************************
        Dear Mr Parker,

        Please refer to the statement made by Dominic Cummings on 4 March 2019, in which he publicly called for the recruitment of a team from circles including those of “specialist criminals” to steal biological material from top-security British biological research laboratories which could be released publicly resulting in the death of millions.

        Please investigate
        a) whether his call was ever implemented, either before or after he moved into his current position in 10 Downing Street;
        b) if the theft was carried out successfully, then what happened to the stolen materials; and
        c) how it was allowed to come about that he was permitted to move into his current position after advocating such a major crime against national and indeed global security.

        Yours sincerely,
        *
        ******************************************************************

        • Rhys Jaggar

          Dear Mr N

          Further to your letter, my staff have instigated enquiries along the lines you suggest.

          Based on their enquiries, we have failed to uncover evidence that any such actions were ever taken, successfully or unsuccessfully.

          As for Mr Cummings’ suitability for roles in Government, you are of course aware that ‘war gaming’ is an imperative part of good government, hypothesising scenarios which could undermine UK security and even occasionally looking for ways to have a dry run to understand the seriousness of any perceived weaknesses.

          We therefore saw no reason to change Mr Cummings’ security clearance ratings nor make any recommendations to Government concerning his suitability for any future roles.

          Yours Faithfully

          Andy Mann

          pps Andrew Parker

          I think that is the kind of reply you would get, if they deigned to even pen one/type one.

      • zoot

        they suppress stories like that because cummings serves the plutocracy. had he been corbyn’s chief advisor on the other hand the entire world would be able to cite that statement word for word and both cummings and corbyn would now be long-term residents of belmarsh.

      • Fwl

        You have selectively quoted.

        The overwhelming point and content of the piece was a stark warning of the real risk of a lab leak.

        Thanks for the link to the original DC blog.

        Anyone thinking about N’s comments ought to read the entire article.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Breaking in and stealing it all would be pretty darn obvious.

        Far better to get a senior employee to drive it out. That does of course require a bit of sample stocking without logging, a bit of fitting out a car with some fancy gizmos and knowing how to evade normal security systems (assuming they are not in the habit of ‘selling’ such stuff to dummy corporations set up overseas by MI6 to use when and where)….

        Actually breaking in would be way down the list.

        Designing the means to break something out is far more realistic.

      • SA

        So the implication now is that anybody who is accused of sexual assault or rape has to be guilty even if proven innocent through trial by jury.

    • SA

      So these accusers are devastated and remain anonymous . “The nine women insisted they would not let the former SNP leader being acquitted define them.”
      So they brought in an accusation which was not confirmed by the jury and they don’t want to be defined by what exactly? That they brought in unproven accusations? But they can remain anonymous and therefore in the eyes of the world undefined.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Saturation coverage for this green ink pish. Let’s remember, 6 female witnesses for the defence stood up in Court with full disclosure of their identities, a majority female jury found the accusations “exaggerated” or “fabricated”.
      The MSM in this country deserves to die and I will have not one jot of sympathy for anyone who loses their livelihood as a result.

    • Cubby

      If the alphabet sisters and their helpers in the SNP were Independence supporters they would resign and go away and shut up. They are bloody saboteurs. They need to be cleared out from the SNP asap. They are now working with the Britnat media. The Britnat media never mention the evidence that piled up against them.

      They lost two court cases but the Britnat media continues as if they are the victors.

  • Paul Barbara

    An obvious angle seems to have been overlooked on here re Covid – 19:
    ‘BATS, GENE EDITING AND BIOWEAPONS: RECENT DARPA EXPERIMENTS RAISE CONCERNS AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK’:
    https://www.unz.com/wwebb/bats-gene-editing-and-bioweapons-recent-darpa-experiments-raise-concerns-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/
    Then of course there was the ‘Bill Gates Pandemic Emergency Simulation’:
    https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/03/02/bill-gates-pandemic-emergency-simulation-now-gone-live-jack-mullen/
    It is extremely foolish to just dismiss these ‘coincidences’ out of hand.

    • SA

      John
      Let us not get too carried away now. Let us focus on what the facts are and at this moment the facts are that our incompetent government who got in through cheating by a manipulated landslide and which does not give a damn about any of us, and is under the sway of a Rasputin like figure has sweeping powers over us. Give DARPA a rest.
      And friendly advice, don’t read veterans today, you will sleep better at night.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ SA March 29, 2020 at 09:57
        Ass about face – it’s DARPA that should give humanity a rest.
        And as for Veterans Today, that site can be both good and bad; I have read the same information on a number of other sites, that is just the first one I came to when I was looking for a link.
        And as you know I am of the same opinion as you re the manipulated landslide.
        As for Rasputin-like characters, history is replete with them. Great song by Boney M.

  • SA

    Any sort of trying to reason sensibly about how we come about to be in the situation we are in has to take account of this quote from George Orwell:
    ““England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare’s much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

    • Laguerre

      That used to be true in Orwell’s time, but it isn’t now. Not since Thatcher, who destroyed the mutual relationship between the elite and the proles, whereby the elite got voting and other support from the plebs, and in return had responsibilities towards them. Thatcher’s people discovered you can get rich without doing anything in return, and she declared war on the working class, going back to the antagonisms of the Industrial Revolution.

  • DunGroanin

    Todays sermon

    Who needs genuine experts with actual data and rigorous science when you can just do a poll and let it confirm what the people think is commonsense.

    The Obsessive Groaniad serves up their latest propaganda via their favourite Opiumion makers, warmed up vomit for a Sunday breakfast, as the scene setter for Act III of the Plague – The rise of the one and only king bozo of ‘my cunntorry back’.

    Bozo the Whinnie king’s moment for promising us blood sweat and fears.

    ‘A poll for the Observer shows the majority of the British public want even stricter measures put in place to combat the spread of the virus and believe that the government was too slow in responding to the pandemic.’

    Fuck off no one asked me or anyone I know what we want.

    ……..

    And very quietly the clown jumps on the EU’s greatest collaborative success and not a whisper in the msm and the Groaniad (supposedly pro EU but actually worm tongued hard core brexiteers just like their neocon warmongering agenda and support for all things Blairite and rabid Anti-Assangeism that revealed his crimes)

    6:57 pm Mar 28
    Airbus has deployed a new flight between Europe and China to help deliver 4 million face masks and other medical supplies to France, Germany, Spain and UK to back up local fights against COVID-19 outbreak.

    8:52 pm Mar 28
    France has ordered 1 billion face masks from China to ease its shortage amid COVID-19, CGTN report. There will be four flights a week to deliver these masks.

    Million, Billion … who cares.

    The Chinese having controlled the epidemic unexpectedly quickly (for the Atlantic imperialists) are making sure that they control reinfections being imported back by mostly returning students from Europe and USA.

    The Obsessive Groan reports this as Chinese racism against ‘blue eyeds’!

    What utter rot.
    ……

    Roll on act 111 and bozos historic speech – letter actually because he can mimic Winnie, but he can’t keep the Just William levity out of his visage or voice hence him being locked down with the evil virus in the front line of this historic blah, blah ….

    We will have police and helicopters, soldiers and drones on the streets this week.

    Followed by a declaration of victory and an Epilogue where HMQ gets rolled out to knight the great conquering hero, who also suffered in the front line – arise Sir Bozo the Lancelot and Arthur of Albion!

    Amen.

    • SA

      Dungroanin
      About stricter controls: yes but what exactly does that mean
      Protective equipment for frontline workers
      Detection of all cases not only severe case.
      Quarantine of all mild cases away from their families, otherwise they infect their families. This requires facilities the government is not willing to provide.
      Strict social isolation which means that people stay at home, total curfew, not workers travelling across London in crowded tubes nor people flocking to crowded supermarkets. This means that government must coordinate deliveries of food and essentials to every household. This has been done in China
      Unless you implement very strict measures early, you just prolong the agony. Introducing half hearted measure slowly is a recipe for disaster all it does is prolong hardship and the infections.
      Look at the examples of China and South Korea and the success they have achieved.

      • DunGroanin

        SA,

        The only control needed was for people who had it to self isolate till they were over it. And for people who they had been in contact with to do the same incase they were infected.

        That is all that was needed to stop the mass lockdown and opening of the government purses for big businesses and their chums.

        All achieved in South Korea by a pointed infrared thermometer that tested millions in their cars!

        Our government let the infection spread uncontrolled through January & February and even instigated a faster spread early march with the dissemination of the bog roll story – which led to mass crowding of all peoples including the vulnerable elderly in the large supermarket queues without safe distancing or masks to further increase the infection.

        Tests will miraculously reveal that all NHS workers are infected so they can stay at work. Public tests will reveal the same of the population- hence the reason why we haven’t been testing.

        The reasons for the charade are multifold – power (new laws on removing freedoms and rights); a diversion from the defeat in Syria and withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq (the end of the War onTerror); the collapse of Russiagate and CoupGate … and ultimately MONEY – trillions being shoved into bankers and ultra rich’s pockets through a creation of a war time economy that theows out all their lies about public spending and austerity.

        I’ll make a post about the virus and its test below.

        • SA

          “The only control needed was for people who had it to self isolate till they were over it. And for people who they had been in contact with to do the same incase they were infected. ”
          I fully agree with you that this would have been the sensible thing to do early on when we only had a few hundred cases. But that would also have meant, testing those with mild symptoms, and not self-isolating but quarantining them. This means that they have to be looked after in isolation and their shopping done and so on. Instead HMG asked them to self-isolate at home with their loved ones so that all the family got infected: bizarre. The government was not prepared to make this facility available, they did not want to know if you had a mild infection.

          “Our government let the infection spread uncontrolled through January & February and even instigated a faster spread early march with the dissemination of the bog roll story – which led to mass crowding of all peoples including the vulnerable elderly in the large supermarket queues without safe distancing or masks to further increase the infection. ”

          Absolutely, spot on. And the government only acted when the football clubs ignored the advice of HMG and cancelled all matches and others followed suit.

          “The reasons for the charade are multifold… ” Yes of course all of the above. But the strangest thing is that neither the professionals nor the press (although some have started to question HMG’s actions) have openly stated: LOOK THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES” I want to SCREEEEEEM.

        • DunGroanin

          Can’t on principle, believe most of the msm churns out as part of the propaganda multiplier (look up Swiss Propaganda Research’s excellent reports.

          Mark Twain warned about the press a 150 years ago!

          ‘There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.’
          https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/17/mark-twain-and-rudyard-kipling-critique-the-press/

          Don’t scream – SHOUT as Peter Finch’s character, newscaster Howard Beale, did in Network also long ago.

          “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

          https://m.imdb.com › title
          Network (1976) – Connections – IMDb

  • Zube

    If there was any doubt of the poverty of parochial nationalist thinking in the face of the latest permutation of the capitalist crisis, you have it here- don’t worry folks, let’s just join the EU and it will all be better

    • SA

      In looking at this in isolation, you do not seem to consider what the alternative means. The choice is either we associate with Europe or we associate with the US. There is no doubt about that. If you want to argue that we could just do our own thing and trade with both and the rest of the world, then there is a very basic denial of how the world now operates.
      If you look at the proposed Brexit and even the way we are drifting slowly politically and even virologically closer to the insane Trumpian Pompean orbit of lunatic politics, you just have to see where we are heading. Yes the EU is not the light on the hill, but neither is the alternative.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Are you denying that one could join the Shanghai Cooperation axis?

        I am not advocating that, merely pointing out that there is another superpower organisation independent of both EU and US.

        • SA

          Rhys
          That would actually be the logical thing for , for example, Italy, to do given what happened. But I am afraid we are so far in our necks with the Atlanticist plot, it is too late.

  • Peter M

    My hour of revelation regarding the EU came with their dealings with Greece.
    And the released tapes by Varoufakis support his contentions of the EU not interested in the welfare of the Greek population but in guaranteeing that the large lenders could retrieve their moneys first of all and by all means possible with the result of driving the economy into the tank – whatever economy there was still left.
    The present reaction regarding Covid 19 puts the icing of incompetence, non solidarity and meanness on this EU sponge cake.

    • SA

      Your hours of revelation should now come when you see how US is dealing with its allies, whereas China and Russia are sending actual medical and logistic supplies. Maybe we should really join the unallied world of China and Russia if we really wake up from our delusional state.

    • Republicofscotland

      Could be worse Peter M, you could’ve been one of the doctors that were silenced by China that allowed the virus to run rampant. That’s led to this globalised world see thousands of deaths, a guilty conscience I think from China, giving Italy PPE.

      As for Russia, I applaud their actions in aiding Spain, and in the past Syria and Venezuela.

      A small note Greece should never been allowed into the EU, it wasn’t financially fit to enter.

      • Peter M

        I agree to the latter, but was that the fault of Greece or the fault of the EU ho did not due diligence before permitting accession? Even worse was the decision to have Greece and other nations of the Eu south to join the €, with economies simply incomparable to those of the northern nations like Germany and France.

        The dithering regarding China is understandable when one keeps in mind that provincial Governments can hide facts even from the central Government. To blame the National Government for that is rather unfair. But to put the icing on the cake again – by January 3 the CDC in the US was already informed (the WHO by the end of December) and still neither the US nor the EU was able to prepare themselves with at least 1 month lead time to what was coming, while Russia also closed the border to China almost immediately.

        Not so funny that the direct neighbours of China Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were able what the combined incompetence of the West was not – to quelch the disease rather early on while the morons of the West kept dithering. To blame China for the Idiots in Charge in the EU and the US is rather disingenuous and pure propaganda on your side.

        • nevermind

          it was multinationals such as Goldmann Sachs who advised that it is better for Greece to join, despite knowing that its parameters and economic prowess would not be conducive to the plans the EU pursued
          But like so many times on this blog of mainly old people.
          ‘If in doubt, blame a Kraut’

        • Republicofscotland

          “The dithering regarding China is understandable when one keeps in mind that provincial Governments can hide facts even from the central Government. To blame the National Government for that is rather unfair.”

          So basically what your saying is that the provincial government kept the severity of the outbreak of the virus by shutting up whistleblowers, and hiding it from Beijing.

          Of course China is anything but a democracy, so coralling 60 million Chinese people in the region is difficult but managable. Still I find it hard to believe the Chinese central government didn’t know about the outbreak sooner, with so many spies and informers it seems unlikely.

          However I agree that the West has always been behind on this pandemic and never ahead of it. That’s saw Italy and Spain suffer heavy casualties, still the secretive nature of China, leads me to believe that deaths from the virus are much higher than are being stated.

          We only have the word of the Chinese of where the outbreak occured and roughly when it might have begun.

          • Peter M

            I have read regarding my statement of the provincial governance often hiding facts from the Central Government by quite a few expat from the US and other “western” nations, which is also confirmed when one looks at the history of corruption within local, regional or provincial governments and the response by the central government which scarcely is immediate for obvious reasons.
            Eventually it will fulfill its responsibilities, but in a large country with a billion and 1/2 people response might suffer some delays. Of course, for someone like you living in the tremendously overpopulated Scotland it would be a simple task to organize a government much more efficiently.

            As to “hiding” the evidence – if the Chinese are not sure what they were dealing with, read this and read the last sentence carefully:

            “Remuzzi says he is now hearing information about it from general practitioners. “They remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November,” he says. “This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of] Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.”

            He says it was impossible to combat something you didn’t know existed.”

            https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/817974987/every-single-individual-must-stay-home-italy-s-coronavirus-deaths-pass-china-s?fbclid=IwAR1FsEbKUZH2hhgksySvHhI9T35h8B88x3xvMQniDf-zkUxyuHgmV4gqHjA

            And as to the Uighur problem (as if there were not genuine terrorist at work there):
            “While posing as a grassroots human rights organization, the World Uyghur Congress is a US-funded and directed separatist network that has forged alliances with far-right ethno-nationalist groups. The goal spelled out by its founders is clear: the destabilization of China and regime change in Beijing.”
            https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/05/world-uyghur-congress-us-far-right-regime-change-network-fall-china/
            Reading the history of the WUC one gets the impression this is the playbook by which MJK in Iran was US sponserde.

            https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/26/forced-labor-china-us-nato-arms-industry-cold-war/

            “The ASPI report presents no original evidence from workers who have been forced to work in this program, but cites anonymous “testimonies” from an obscure, far-right online blog. Called Bitter Winter, the blog is a project of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an Italy-based organization that opposes what it calls “anti-cult terrorism”.

            Bitter Winter and its parent organization have vigorously defended fanatical Chinese religious movements including Falun Gong and the Church of the Almighty God, or Eastern Lightning. The latter is a Chinese-Christian sect which believes that Jesus Christ has been reincarnated as a Chinese woman currently living in Queens, New York.”

            Anything that the Mainstream publishes is usually informed by the controlling efforts of its security agencies, be it the US, Canada, the UK or France.
            Their task is the support by any means possible the USA as the most powerful Nation, able to influence the policies of any nation towards those that are favourably to the economic and military goals of the USA, and policies of any Nation that might possibly threaten this status of unilateral power will in the worse case altered by inciting colour revolutions, disposing of duly elected representatives or invasions.
            Therefore I regard as propaganda anything I read from the Bezo owned WAPO to the Times to anything the Murdoch Press publishes until their journalistic pieces can be confirmed by anything non-mainstream from Grayzone to Consortium News to Mr. Murray’s blog to Moon of Alabama to Counter Currents to OEN or Strategic Culture, John Helmer etc.etc…

        • Republicofscotland

          Do we have any evidence they didn’t cover it up like they do with state executions, or the terrible oppression of the Uighers.

          • SA

            And do we have any evidence that you have stopped beating your wife/husband/partner/significant other?

          • Jack

            Republicofscotland

            Where is the evidence for a cover up of Corona consider China notified the world back in january?

      • Brian c

        China notified the WHO about what was happening in Wuhan on 31 Dec 2019, and they identified a novel coronavirus in early Jan. They warned the world promptly and took swift action. Western governments didn’t take action for weeks. Your Sinophobia cannot alter the facts.

        • Republicofscotland

          “Your Sinophobia cannot alter the facts.”

          Sinophobia, that’s a leap from saying that a secretive and authoritarian state keeps secrets from not just its own people, but the world.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Goldman Sachs were behind the Greek entry into the Euro, doing things which should have seen their banking license irrevocably withdrawn.

        There is pretty much nothing now that can see bankers have their licenses withdrawn.

        I suspect looting Fort Knox would be seen as ‘enhancing shareholder value’….

    • michael norton

      Very shortly, both Cyprus and Greece will be awash with Hydrocarbon products.
      I hope Greece makes the Evil E.U. kiss their arse, for a drop of the riches.
      Greece should leave the E.U. and again stand on its own two hind legs.
      Turkey is sabre-rattling against Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Cyprus and Greece.
      Who could guess the reasoning?
      Greece has quite low levels of Covid-19 at present
      although the camps of migrants are soon expected to be rife with it.
      Will the E.U. charge in to the rescue.
      On past form, the E.U. will not .

      • Rhys Jaggar

        I suspect all of Greece’s hydrocarbon products will be going straight to EU/German/French bankers.

        And that is assuming that Turkey does allow them to actually extract it.

        And the US does not send the navy in to nick it.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Peter M March 29, 2020 at 10:33
      I don’t believe Fascism was ever very far under the surface, since the end of WWII when Britain (and to a lesser extent the US) turned their guns on the Greek Patriots.
      Remember the US-instigated Greek Colonels Coup. I suspect very real threats along those lines were what drove the Greek Left-Wing govt. to give ground (as had happened in Italy, when a CIA/Gladio coup was imminent, and the Socialists stepped down).

  • Steve Hayes

    The notion that the Conservative MPs in the House of Commons, elected in December on the explicit promise of implementing the referendum result, are going to vote for legislation to renege on that promise is incredible. I can only think that you think they will is based on nothing more than wishful thinking. The argument that our leaving the European Union will be bad economically has been repeated over and over, for years, and, whilst it works for the Remainers, it has no effect on Leavers because we did not vote to leave the European Union for economic gain: we voted for independence, which is far more important than a mess of potage.

    • Ros Thorpe

      You may be disappointed. I don’t think Johnson is interested in Brexit and would want to drop it or at least kick it down the road. He is lazy and will either find a Brexit in name only solution or a very long delay.

      • Steve Hayes

        Ros Thrope Even if your characterisation of Boris Johnson is correct, it does not follow that the government would seek to renege on the promise that secured its election. Nor does it follow that Conservative MPs in the House would vote for the necessary legislation. Frankly I suspect that you are engaging in wishful thinking.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Steve Hayes March 29, 2020 at 12:12
      Hmmn, ‘Donalds’ Independent Poodle’, yes, got a nice ring to it, but not much substance.
      And even the potage will be GMO.

      • Steve Hayes

        Paul Barbara I am wondering how you know the future? Those of us who voted to leave the European Union did so because we wanted independence. We did not vote to leave so we could be a poodle of the US. In fact, aa far as I can tell people who voted to remain are far more in favour of Britain being a poodle to the US. Tony Blair, for example, took us into three illegal US wars.

  • DunGroanin

    On the viability of tests.

    It seems most here have not been following this with their usual sharp eyedness. I have been trying to establish facts for myself at various sites and in exchanges with like minded. I’ll just post verbatim a selection of an exchange with another commentator at Off-G last week.
    …..

    Virus ‘isolates’ from cell cultures by the way do not necessarily refer to pure isolated virus particles as they can contain extracellular vesicles etc. – particles that look-like viruses but are NOT. Its just another ploy that can easily mislead the public who are not really interested in the problems involved in isolating these alleged pathogenic viruses at all, and also demonstrating that the purified particles alone are indeed infectious and are the cause of COVID-19, that is, until now.
    Regards,
    Tony
    ……
    Tony asks very reasonably “the most important question of all, namely, who first isolated this alleged Coronavirus”
    The peerles Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai offers an answer:
    Novel strain of sars-associated coronavirus and applications thereof;
    European Patent Office ‪#Coronavirus‬
    2010-08-04 Publication of EP1694829B1; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS Institut Pasteur Universite Paris Diderot (Paris 7)
    ‪https://patents.google.com/patent/EP1694829B1/en‬

    …..
    Thanks for that Dun Groanin. I checked the patent and translated the French here’s the claim summary intro:

    An isolated or purified strain of human coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome, characterized in that its genome has, in the form of complementary DNA, a serine codon in position 23220-23222 of the protein S gene or a glycine codon in position 25298-25300 of the ORF3 gene, and an alanine codon in position 7918-7920 of ORF1a or a serine codon in position 26857-26859 of the protein M gene, said positions being indicated with reference to the Genbank sequence AY274119

    Note that this quote says for starters that the alleged purified strain of human coronavirus is ASSOCIATED with severe acute respiratory syndrome -it doesn’t claim that the virus is THE CAUSE of it. Since viruses can be effects of a disease and not its cause or they can simply be ‘bystanders’ in and of a disease process. When a virus is isolated there should be no need to refer to Genbank sequences, the sequences should be determined by the scientists who are claiming to have isolated the virus before it can be proved to be infectious.
    Unfortunately, no details were specified as to how the virus was first isolated and how the pure particles were obtained and I believe the scientific paper that actually demonstrates all the facts in detail will not see the light of day.
    I have specified all the requirements for genuine scientific virus isolation on other Off Guardian threads, if the criteria are not met in full then any claim referring to this alleged Coronavirus or any of its ‘strains’ causing infection cannot be demonstrated or proved scientifically. Neither serology (antibody tests) or PCR assays are reliable for that purpose, and they were never intended to detect virus per se.
    I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions regarding this issue.
    ………

    For these who have the chops for it – the science is moving quick on this

    https://connect.medrxiv.org/relate/content/181
    ……

    And for these who want a conspiracy narrative that may explain the origins
    https://ahtribune.com/world/covid-19/3994-us-did-bring-covid-19-to-wuhan.html

    ——-

    Make up your own minds – I personally know of no one who has died of ‘covid’ in the last month.
    I’m pretty certain i had a severe flu in February of the likes I’ve not experienced before.
    I know many friends who have ‘conditions’ who have been scared to death and are hiding in self isolation- i’m doing shopping for them.

    It’s nearly two weeks already and any further lockdown is unnecessary except for reasons of state control powers which were rushed through parliament loke Michael Howard’s Mad Dog Act! – we’ve sold our grandkids’ individual rights back to the ancient aristos in a blink.

    • Mary

      Out of the blue and otherwise fine, I suddenly developed a UTI, followed by a severe chest infection. Clarithromycin had no effect but Amoxicillin cleared the infection. That was in early February.

    • SA

      Dungroaning
      I am not sure why you bring in Elijah Magnier without referencing his original post. He is an excellent political analyst and I follow his writings about the ME avidly, but he is certainly not a biologist or an expert in the field. I am also not sure why you have brought in a patent about a variant SARS Cov from 2003 SARS infection into this argument, it seems to me a red herring.
      The problem I see with those who find it difficult to believe that this is a novel disease due to a novel virus, and by novel I mean newly described and in the case of SARS Cov2 a new infection in man, is to convince anyone as to why this virus is causing this disease. This is not a new problem, it arises whenever a new disease is discovered such as AIDS in the eighties, or SARS in 2003 or MERS in 2012. That is why there are internationally scientifically recognized criteria to define this. This is obviously a rather involved process and if you are interested maybe you would like to read this paper which explains this process. However that SARS Cov 2 (the virus) causes Covid-19 is now proven beyond doubt. That those who suffer severe forms of the disease and die from it, despite having many other co-morbidities is also beyond doubt and is not new as this occurs with many other diseases also.
      I have extracted the postulates needed to prove that SARS Cov2 does cause Covid-19 and that the cause of death of those who are recorded as dying of Covid-19 have died of the disease not with the disease.

      https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.47179-0

      These are the assertions:
      Assertion 1: congruence
      The consequences of an encounter with a taxonomically defined, distinct life form must be congruent with the clinical, pathological and epidemiological features of disease.
      So in the case of SARS-Cov2 there is an associated disease defined by the published clinical studies which vary from a mild form of a respiratory infection and its most severe for progressing to a clinical picture called ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) sepsis and multiorgan failure. This is a condition that can occur with many pathogens but is not seen often, In the case of the clinical studies published, every single patient who had this also had the virus isolated. There was also a major rise of patients diagnosed with this condition of epidemic proportions and in large numbers.
      Assertion 2: consistency
      The introduction of a taxonomically defined life form must initiate a consistent biological reaction without antecedent external cause.
      Although the use of experimental animals has become less frequent, there is a study here on Macaque monkeys which not only shows that injecting the virus into monkeys leads to the clinical picture but that when they recover, they are immune from further reinfection. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.13.990226v1
      Assertion 3: cumulative dissonance
      The taxonomically defined life form must initiate a progressive series of changes at every level of biological organization in which the infection has been described.
      Studies show that the graded response to the disease from mild form to severe form are associated with various host immune responses and that those who suffer from ARDS suffer from hyperactivation of the immune system.
      Assertion 4: curtailment
      Restriction, alteration, destruction or removal of the candidate priobe at any level of biological organization must reduce the occurrence, course or outcome of the corresponding infection.
      In the case of China, it has been shown that stopping the transmission of SARS Cov2 has led to the dramatic reduction of cases. The same was seen in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia.
      So, the fact that people have other diseases and then die when they get SARS Cov2 does not mean that they died of the other disease. Same as when you have heart failure and you trip over and break your neck you die of traumatic neck injury not of heart failure.
      As to OG. It is now infested with crackpots, exchanging frivolities and upvoting each other. I am surprised you have lasted there if you are trying to make any scientific arguments. It is a site I used to agree with, but they have degenerated so much I now avoid.

      • DunGroanin

        Magniers was a tweet not a post i quoted it in full.

        People have died with Covid as well as other concurrent ailments.

        People will have died also ONLY with Covid.

        What are the pathological tests? What are the statistics?

        I carry no particular light for Off-G, which would be evident if you saw many of my comments there over the year.

        Readers who don’t buy into only the official msm narrative are able to post their thoughts, experience and expertise there btl without censorship.

        There are trolls everywhere as you will well know but to class all there as dumb conspiracy theorist wackos is plainly wrong. So why do it?

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I have to say this is straining credulity.

      The Chinese would surely have flagged up that the ‘newly isolated Wuhan strain’ was identical in sequence to one isolated 10 years previously in France.

      Nowhere in any scientific analysis I have read has anyone said that the strain isolated was not of novel sequence. The analyses presented showed closest homology of 96% to a bat coronavirus.

      Also, this claims to merely have 3 codon changes to a known sequence, which would be 99.97% identity. That is absolutely not a new virus.

      If your story is correct, there has been one heck of an organised cover up for the best part of 3 months.

      • DunGroanin

        I am not an expert. Let’s see how the multitude of full genome sequences eventually map this n-cov.
        But accepting as a settled narrative is a bit previous at this stage.
        Do you personally know anyone who has died of covid? Just asking, not denying that it is real.

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