The Currency of Absurdity 201

When is the last time you had a guest inside your home, you gave them a cup of tea and a biscuit, perhaps watched some TV together, and then when they left you thought “Oh, they were nice. I wonder who that was?”.

Apparently it happens all the time. At least, the peculiar operation of the new lockdown policy for most of Strathclyde is predicated on that belief.

Today I may not go and visit my son Jamie in his home in Glasgow. I can however meet up with him in a pub or restaurant in Glasgow, surrounded by dozens of other people, which is, we are told, safer. The main reason it is safer is that, in the event of somebody there having covid-19, the restaurant or pub will have been given our contact details. Whereas if we had met not in the pub but in Jamie’s home, apparently it would have been much more difficult for track n trace people to get the contact details, because obviously, unlike the restaurant, Jamie and I have no idea how to contact each other.

There are two glaring absurdities of this strand of argument.

The first is the presumption that whereas people have imperfect knowledge of who has been in their homes, bars and restaurants have perfect knowledge. Because of course nobody can have given wrong contact details to the pub, by muddle or by ill-will. I would counter that the occasions when people do not know who is in their own home are far rarer than occasions when the pub does not have accurate contact details for everybody in it.

The second is that the group in the pub has only had to give a single contact for the group, not everybody’s contact details. So actually track n trace is precisely as reliant on the host or organiser knowing everyone else’s contact details in the pub or restaurant as they would be had the meeting been in the home.

The third is that if someone of the 100 people in the pub through the course of that day and the next had later tested positive for covid-19, Jamie and I would have to be track n traced had we been there. Whereas if we had never been to the pub at all, but just had a quiet cup of tea in his home, we would never have come in potential contact with covid 19 and had to be traced. And if either he or I had been the carrier, that is 98 less people who would have had to be contact traced if we hadn’t been forced to meet in a pub rather than at home.

The Scottish Government’s other argument for it being safer to meet in a pub than at home is that pubs and restaurants have social distancing and hygiene measures in place, whereas homes do not.

This is perfectly true. Just like airports have runway lights in place, but homes do not. Because planes do not land in homes. If I visit Jamie in his flat, there will probably have been a total of three or four people in that flat all week. As opposed to visiting a pub or restaurant which has a total footfall of hundreds through that space. It is patently untrue that the risk of contracting coronavirus is higher in the private than in the public indoor space. I am perfectly capable of washing my hands without a pub sign telling me I have to. Contact with the traces of 600 less people is a large advantage to nullify by a sign and some sanitiser.

The truth is that the ban on people visiting homes in and around Glasgow, while the pubs, restaurants and shops are all open, is simply absurd from any practical standpoint.

The underlying truth is, that what the Scottish Government is seeking to say is that there appears some indication of spread of covid-19 through people holding parties – raucous parties with drinking and dancing, and loads of people attending, some of whom the host does not know who thus cannot be contacted – in the Glasgow area. In that specific situation, the arguments of the Scottish Government do make sense. Yes, there is obviously a chance of spreading coronavirus at such party gatherings. Yes, there may be people at such gatherings who cannot subsequently be traced.

But what percentage of occasions when people enter other people’s homes, is for the purpose of such a party? It is not an easy question to answer. My best shot would be about 1 in every 5,000 visits to enter someone else’s home is for a party of that description.

Simply to ban the other 4,999 home visits on entirely spurious grounds that people do not know who is visiting them, and that they are insanitary, is an absurd example of taking a sledgehammer to crack a grain of pollen. Ban parties. Ban indoor gatherings of more than ten people, or people from more than two or three households, however you wish to define it. There are plenty of situations where the law already defines parties – they are banned in plenty of tenancies, and the law is very used to having to judge what is disorderly.

Auntie Jean visiting Auntie Effie for tea is not the problem here.

A situation where I can visit with my son in a pub, but not in his home, is stupid to the point of surreal.

But what is truly worrying is the adverse reaction I received in the early hours of the morning on Twitter to pointing this out. An absolute avalanche of tweets arrived in reply, each one parroting exactly the two Scottish government arguments – that pubs have better visitor contact details than homes, that pubs have better social hygiene than homes. These are arguments which the world’s dimmest marsupial would perceive as rubbish given ten seconds independent thought, but they were trotted out as religious liturgy by the faithful:

Now few people can be happier than me at the much greater public trust in Holyrood than in Westminster on handling covid-19 (although that dim-witted marsupial would have done a better job than Boris Johnson: at least they would be unlikely to be primarily focused on making hundreds of millions in corrupt contracts for their mates). The trust that Nicola has built up is a very good thing, and hopefully she intends to spend that credit in the cause of Independence in the near future.

But people should never trust politicians – any politician – too much. When it reaches the stage that people react angrily and defensively to any criticism of government measures, that is not healthy for democracy. One problem is that fear is a very powerful tool for a politician. Fear of coronavirus is such that heavy-handed, blunderbuss measures will always be supported, even when like this Glasgow lockdown they make no sense in detail.

I perfectly understand why people might wish to shut down their critical thinking faculties in this coronavirus situation and put absolute faith in an authority they trust. I have myself refrained from any criticism of lockdown measures before now, because I recognise that those in charge are grappling with complex problems to which there is no perfect answer, and with better access to facts than I have. But I still reserve the right to point out the absolutely absurd.

The banning of meeting in Glasgow except in the presence of a till is absurd.

By all means suspend your critical faculties, but do not turn on those who have not.


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201 thoughts on “The Currency of Absurdity

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  • Mark Golding

    We note that Operation Rescript, a military operation to assist the UK’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, has pulled tens of millions of tax-payers money into the MIC under the direction of Major General Stickland, a Companion of the Order of the Bath with the intention of validating Operation Broadshare, a miltary operation that supports pandemic complications abroad.- Gulp!

  • Tim Glover

    I don’t know about scotland but the random and constantly shifting rules in England are incoherent gibberish and should be ignored for your own safety. Common sense is a much better and safer guide than the absurd attempt to legislate every human contact.

    • Tony

      You guys are suffering from serious cognitive dissonance. There is nothing gibberish about what is going on. It’s following a plan which has been decades in the planning. The lockdown is now allowing commerce to operate, whilst shutting down any social networks that don’t make money. It’s entirely logical. You just have to wake up and understand what’s going on. It’s a social control experiment which has taken modern society completely by surprise (which, obviously, was the plan). Craig’s site is populated by bright people. How many of you will wake up to what is actually taking place in time to do something about it?

  • Jane in France

    Since for once Craig has a post about covid19 I’ll take advantage of this to mention more statistics.

    According to the NRS, during the covid19 period from weeks 12 – 32, there have been 3006 more deaths than usual (ie more than the five-year average) of people in their own home. These include cancer deaths + 1091, heart disease + 674, respiratory disease +98 and “other” + 710. At the same time, there have been 459 fewer deaths in hospital during this period including -726 cancer, -533 heart disease, -567 respiratory disease and -249 “other.” All-cause deaths in care homes are up by 2335. These figures suggest that care homes are not a good place to be while a nasty virus is going about, hospitals are far from overwhelmed and many seriously ill people are avoiding going to hospital. Note that peak deaths from covid19 occurred during weeks 15-21 in the middle of lockdown and that in week 32 there was ONE death from covid19 in the whole of Scotland.

    GlennUK seems to assume that I think old people should be left to rot. But I have not stated any opinions only facts. People may then make up their own minds as to whether or not the Scottish government’s response to covid19 is proportionate to the menace posed by the disease.

    • glenn_uk

      You mis-characterised and then dismissed one point I made to you in your original post, so I’m not surprised you didn’t reply to it directly on the previous page. That would have highlighted that you ignored everything except one sentence by way of reply.

      Anyway, how many more deaths than usual do you think would have occurred had no precautions been taken? From the looks of places where they virtually ignore the risk from C-19 in America and Brazil, it would seem a lot more damage gets done. So they would be good reference points.

      • Tony

        Hardly anybody in the UK has been treated for cancer, heart disease, COPD, etc, etc, etc, since the middle of March. Do you imagine that these illnesses stopped progressing? Our health services in the UK are predicting an increase in cancer deaths of up to 30,000 in the next twelve months because of people not getting treatments during lockdown. That’s just cancer. We can * take that figure into six figures with other illnesses (*I was going to use the word ‘comfortably’, but there is nothing comfortable about huge numbers of deaths that occur from supposedly protecting society from death).

  • Jon+Musgrave

    Fair moment however the medical evidence apparently suggests that recent cases have been linked to house parties/visits NOT licensed premises (as was the case in Aberdeen). I suspect the Scottish Government is refining its approach as more evidence is gleaned from each outbreak, so the shut-down regulations might well differ from outbreak to outbreak.

    • craig Post author

      As I said Jon, I have no problem with banning house parties. To pretend it is impossible to differentiate a house party from Auntie Jean and Auntie Effie taking tea is nonsense.

      I should say, I also find this use of the term “house party” confusing. For me a “house party” is when several couples go to stay at someone’s estate. Must be all that Trollope.

      • Wee G

        Respectfully, I’m not sure you’re fully appraised of the situation on the ground in this case, Mr Ambassador.

        Like ‘house party’ (hoosspehr’y), the term ‘garden party’ (gerdn pehr’y) has a singular usage among Glaswegian natives. Both terms are faux amis and often misconstrued by those more acquainted with S. Edinburgh or Diplomatic registers of locution.

        The long summer evenings of this year of pestilence have seen every garden, green space, and alleyway of Glasgow filled with ‘garden parties’ – a congregation devoted to imbibing budget hooch round a ceremonial fire of shipping pallets and sundry detritus. The last fortnight of monsoon conditions has driven said bacchanalia indoors of devotees’ habitation (hoosseez). Despite proscription, the gerdnperh’y cult’s suppression is beyond the resource of the local constabulary (pohluss). Furthermore, an outbreak of mass fisticuffs in a local hostelry got bad press, and police could not attend the incident, being then overburdened with hooss pehr’eez.

        Hence, Ms Sturgeon, seeks to restrain the practice of pehr’yin’ by penalising the entire province (auntie Effie inter alia).

        Yours, etc.

        So, yeah, she’s trying to discourage partyers by inflicting punishment on everyone. It’s a horrible behavioural nudge and another retrograde step away from individual responsibility and enlightenment liberal values, and towards a tribalistic shame-and-honour ethics. It will probably work though – arbitrary but not irrational. Expect to see the Glasgow covid outbreak vanishing inside the two weeks.

        [My first time commenting, since I usually fully agree with your posts. Wishing every success in your current tribulations]

    • J Galt

      What “outbreaks”?

      There are no “outbreaks” – hospitalisations and deaths are practically at zero.

      All that’s happened is that “testing” has been hugely increased and is finding more people who have developed anti-bodies that MAY indicate they have been exposed to Covid19, or indeed certain strains of the common cold. Virtually all the “cases” are asymptomatic.

      This is being nursed along until the winter flu season with regular scares and local lockdowns until the hysterics can start again.

      • glenn_uk

        New cases seem to be occurring primarily among younger people. They are far less likely to die. Hospitals are not so stressed as they were, and have better understanding of how to treat the disease. Hence fewer deaths – no great mystery, just a bit of thought required.

        The initial dose they received may also have been far lower, which granted their bodies a better chance of fighting it. Unfortunately, this does not mean they will not suffer a subsequent infection.

        But if denialists and dismissives have their way, we will see a larger outbreak in due course, and it will spread to people who are more likely to die.

          • pretzelattack

            you get the first two in the u.s. the fossil fuel companies sometimes pay for the climate change deniers.

    • Cubby


      In reply to a question from the Lib Dem diddy Rennie at FMQs today Sturgeon made it clear that some of the infections were clearly from selfish and irresponsible bastards returning from holiday abroad particularly Greece. The selfish and irresponsible bastards comment is my add on.

  • Baalbek

    A situation where I can visit with my son in a pub, but not in his home, is stupid to the point of surreal.

    Yes, it is an absolutely ridiculous policy. I get the sense that many governments in the west really have no idea how to go about ‘managing’ the Covid-19 outbreak. They are making up what passes for Covid policy as they go along and basically using the public as guinea pigs in a social experiment. What’s clear is that if this virus was more virile, like a bubonic plague say, we would be absolutely fucked and people would be keeling over dead in the streets while the government panics and runs around in circles like chicken with its head cut off.

  • Cubby

    Craig posts an opinion on a new specific, probably short term, action (guidance) taken by the Scotgov on the virus and makes his case well, and then all the loonies pile in and turn the thread into a conspiracy theory nutters’ paradise. These people can’t even make it clear which government they are referring to in their posts or whose previous post they are replying to but expect their comments to be taken seriously.

    • glenn_uk

      Indeed – it doesn’t take much to get them going, does it?

      I particularly like the quotes from unnamed sources that get treated with far greater reverence than genuine medical authorities, and needless to say the latter are all liars and in on the most almighty conspiracy of all time. The medics will even die to preserve the conspiracy – that’s how seriously they take the cause.

      A worthy mention has to go to the hard of thinking who scream about fewer deaths than were predicted if no preventative measures were taken. Needless to say, where preventative measures were taken in robust measure – Taiwan and Cuba for example – their outcome has been extremely good. When strong measures were competently enacted promptly in (say) Germany, they recovered much more quickly than where shambolic, half-hearted measures were taken too late as in Britain.

      But all this obvious evidence doesn’t matter to denialists. No, it’s a huge worldwide conspiracy between every government in the world, and also every medical authority in the world. All doctors, nurses, medics, government officials and civil servants at every level – they’re all in on the scam. Only the denialists know the real truth – Bill Gates is behind it all, together with governments who for some strange reason want to destroy their own economies. Makes sense!

      • Peter Moritz

        Case fatality rate: (
        USA – 3%
        Belarus – 1%
        Sweden – 6.9%
        Poland – 3%
        South Korea – 1.6%
        Tajikistan – 0.8%
        Nicaragua – 3%
        Brazil – 3.1%

        and that:

        Belgium – 11.6%
        Canada – 7%
        UK – 12.3%
        France – 9.5%
        Hungary 9.8%
        Ireland – 6.1%

        You guess which group was under lockdown and which one wasn’t.

        • Peter Moritz

          to continue…everyone capable of reasoning skills would Who quarantine or take special care of? Those who are 65 and above or all of the population? Drive the economy into the ground and destroy especially small businesses and those who have to work for a living to pay rent, mortgage, food, car payments etc?
          Maybe if you are independently wealthy or can rely on government payout can afford this, maybe you belong to this privileged group. Or maybe if you are single and live off the grid anyway?

          above age 65 135,078 deaths
          0 – 64 35,814
          thereof 30,661 age 44 – 64

        • Cubby

          Peter Moritz

          USA did have lockdowns in a lot of states.

          Your analysis would have been just as useful if you asked which countries love pretzels.

          • Peter Moritz

            I included the US because there is no one policy regarding lockdown. Despite that, the CFR is rather modest.

        • SA

          You really are comparing bananas with apples, even being selective about the apples. You forget China who pointed the way as how it should be done. Selective comparisons in a complex multivariate situation can often be used to make spurious connections. Stop reading OG

          • Peter Moritz

            I read some OG, but also rely on other sources including JH and other statistics and of course critics that have been widely published.
            China has a lockdown – but only a few cities at best and not the whole country.

        • ET

          CFR is not a good metric to use for comparison. It is too dependent on the total number of tests carried out. Deaths per unit of population is beter for comparison. From the same Johns Hopkins page you can see the UK CFR is 12.2% and Spain’s CFR is 6.1% but their deaths per 100,000 population are almost identical at approx 62.5. From the worldometer site the UK did more testing than Spain. Go figure!
          Also, it would be better to compare Sweden to its neighbours, Norway, Finland and perhaps Denmark rather than say the more densely populated UK. Those three countries did significantly “better” than Sweden.

        • glenn_uk

          I didn’t say they did – try reading more carefully. They didn’t need to, because they took such good preventative measures. We could have done the same, and avoided the need for a lockdown ourselves – we are an island, after all.

          • Cubby


            As much as it pains me to agree with someone with UK in their name you are absolutely correct.

          • David G

            It hasn’t rained in my neighborhood since I switched shoelace colors – my preventive measures are a success!

            As for the immorality implicit in that insular outlook, check your mail for Prince Prospero’s invitation to ride out the Red Death in his castle. It’ll be fun looking down over the walls, and nothing can go wrong.

          • Cubby


            I do appreciate your attempt to make me better but sorry it failed. Nothing against the English or Welsh just the union that is not a Union calling itself the UK. Happy to see the English flag being flown at Scottish independence marches – you know the cross of St George not the butchers apron.

            Of course the Jacobites repealed the union in 1745 so it is a fake union in so many ways.

        • Dredd

          David G, you seem to have misread what glenn_uk wrote: he never said Taiwan locked down. This is what he said:

          “Needless to say, where preventative measures were taken in robust measure – Taiwan and Cuba for example – their outcome has been extremely good.”

          Taiwan did indeed take effective preventative measures – critically involving strict travel restrictions, ubiquitous deployment of face masks, testing on demand, and compulsory quarantine – with harsh penalties for not following orders. Maybe that’s not a “lockdown” in the good old British sense, but it sure represents major restrictions on ordinary life and civil liberties.

          CNBC – “How Taiwan beat the coronavirus“:
          “There’s also enforcement for those who don’t follow the rules. There are huge fines if people are caught not wearing masks in designated areas, such as the subway, and for breaking quarantine.
               Social pressure also plays a part. Jin said that it’s become part of the culture in Taiwan to name and shame those who are not wearing masks in the subway or are breaking quarantine early. Those who do so might see their face pop up on a social media app.”

          There has been a very high level of co-operation from the Taiwanese public. Taiwan had long planned for a potential pandemic and had resources on standby (unlike the UK and US, who were well behind the curve). They have even offered to assist other countries to get control of the virus – critically via widespread deployment of face masks:

          FP news – “Taiwan Is Exporting Its Coronavirus Successes to the World“:
          “On April 1, Taiwan announced it would donate 10 million masks to the United States, 11 European countries, and its diplomatic allies. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that a second batch of six million masks would be donated to countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas.”

          So that example doesn’t really help the rebellious loonies here who want to ignore preventative government guidelines and laws. The Taiwanese people didn’t run around unimpeded, hugging people, and doing whatever they wanted. They obeyed the public health code. Learn from their example.

          • David G

            The thing about fighting the big lie is I’m not in good enough shape to keep up with the moving goalposts.

            How does the happy Taiwanese experience of closing the barn door before the cow gets out justify the endless lockdowns in places that didn’t, in the absence – after many months – of correlation between lockdown severity and coronavirus mortality? … not to mention the arrant nonsense Craig called out in this post.

          • David G

            “The Taiwanese people didn’t run around unimpeded, hugging people, and doing whatever they wanted.”

            No, the only people I know of who did that were the various ministers and state and health officials in England, Scotland, and Ireland who were caught doing as they pleased while their policies ground their people down.

          • Dredd

            Dear god, how can you fail to work it out? When a country doesn’t have a well-planned strategy or preventative resources on standby to stop a virus spreading, then it needs to ‘lock down’ – an extreme measure – because it doesn’t have any sharper tools in the box. Britain and the US didn’t even understand what they were dealing with until it was too late, and then they went into a panic. That could have been avoided – prevented – if they had deployed the sensible preventative measures (such as travel restrictions, testing, quarantines, and face masks) in advance.

            Do you understand now, or do you need it explained even more slowly … ?

          • Mishko

            Rebellious loonies. So it is we the public that keep moving
            the goalposts, and changing the rules and how they are applied.
            That keep telling lies, that are selling operation mindfuck.

            So we started with flattening the curve and self-isolating.
            And here we are, denied cheap & effective medication, no nutritional advice
            and masking like stupid ninja cunts.

            99% chance of survival for most of the general population. Not good enough?
            Take extra vitamine D supplements.

      • Cubby


        Spot on post. A lot of people who should be permanently locked down for their own good – only joking chaps???

          • Dredd

            Ha Ha! So funny … That Australian woman is a hardcore Covid denialist who was arrested for arranging an event to protest against the lockdown measures, and was using Facebook to urge people to defy the law. The arrest happened in Ballarat Victoria, which has a higher than average concentration of uneducated conspiracy theorists (and QAnon followers).

            A few weeks ago, the state of Victoria experienced an exponential increase in daily infections, with a peak of 700 on August 5. Victoria state has recorded 576 deaths from Covid-19, with 406 in hospital and 18 in ICU. I suppose you’d just snort “Ha Ha! So funny … ” (Oh, you did already.)

          • Jennifer Allan

            So Dredd thinks it’s perfectly OK for plain clothed police to burst into a suburban home, handcuff a pregnant woman in her pyjamas, in front of her terrified children, and charge her with ‘incitement’. Apparently she could face 14 years in jail if convicted. Her crime? She posted a facebook message asking people to peacefully gather to protest against the Australian Government’s draconian Covid-19 lockdown measures in her state. She asked people to wear masks and keep a distance. A recently imposed law, implemented under Covid-19 powers, prevents gatherings of more than 10 her Australian State. She offered to delete the post, but was taken down to the police station and charged regardless.
            Couldn’t happen here in the UK? It already has. Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers has been fined £10,500 for ‘organising’ a ‘freedom’ demonstration in London, which attracted around 30,000 people. The day before the demo, a Covid-19 law was implemented, preventing gatherings of more than 30 persons. Corbyn has stated he will refuse to pay the fine and is prepared to go to jail. A disabled man over 90 was arrested and dragged off by London police during another demo, and an unknown number of persons have been arrested under the same anti freedom anti free speech legislation. The mainstream press and media have completely ignored the London demo’s, but thankfully censorship attempts on social media have failed to suppress this.
            The Covid-19 ’emergency’ powers enable our Governments, including Scotland’s, to completely overrule our citizens’ human and other basic hard won rights. We are now in the equivalent of Nazi Germany. If we do not fight this they will eventually come for you.
            BTW Anyone wanting to demonstrate outside the Court during the Assange hearings had better watch out.

          • Dredd

            So now we’re talking about police methods in Australia instead of discussing the best way for governments to prevent an increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections. A sly piece of ‘whataboutery’ distraction on the part of David G, I think.

            Actually, Jennifer, I just pointed out the reasons for Zoe-Lee Buhler’s arrest, as they’re relevant to the foregoing discussion about effective protective measures against the spread of coronavirus. I didn’t comment on the policing tactics of Australian cops. (If you want my opinion on that issue, it’s better to ask than to assume.) In my view an arrest was wholly unnecessary, despite the warrant: she should have received only a caution. There was no reasonable justification for handcuffing, especially while the lead officer was trying to keep her calm. Those cops deserve a caution themselves.

            Ms Buhler was prepared to accept the higher risk of contagion at mass gatherings, and to encourage others to do the same, to protest about civil liberties. If the Victoria state police objected, they should have phoned her to tick her off instead of acting like the stasi.

            It’s good that she agrees about the prophylactic use of face masks, anyway.

          • Jennifer Allan

            Dredd- We have already been told ‘the best way for governments to prevent an increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections’ According to our esteemed Health Secretary Matt Hancock, (and echoed by Nicola Sturgeon), we must wait for a Covid-19 vaccine to become available. Oh Goody -the US version- which has missed out animal testing, and has caused some rather nasty side effects, is about to be foisted on the American people early. No doubt the Oxford version of the vaccine, which causes the same symptoms of fever and headaches as the Covid-19 virus, and does not prevent the infection in monkeys, will be rolled out soon in the UK. Our Governments will attempt to make this mandatory. I hope you will be first in the queue to roll up your sleeve. The last fast tracked ‘pandemic’ flu H1N1 vaccine caused narcolepsy in thousands of children. (There was no pandemic).Fast tracking vaccines is NOT a good idea. Why bother about Covid-19 infections anyway? For healthy persons under 65 the illness is almost always mild. Deaths from Covid-19 are now almost nil. They were admitted to have been inflated from the start. Our hospitals are half empty. There are now more UK deaths from flu and deferred treatments for cancers and other serious health conditions.

            “The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, “‘The data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective,’” Fauci said. In that case, researchers would have “a moral obligation” to end the trial early and make the active vaccine available to everyone in the study, including those who had been given placebos — and accelerate the process to give the vaccine to millions.”

          • Dredd

            “Why bother about Covid-19 infections anyway? For healthy persons under 65 the illness is almost always mild.”

            Oh, I see … you’re a viral euthaniser, just like the “herd immunity” enthusiasts. Well, that’s a moral choice, I suppose. Multiply the Covid death rate for the over-65s with the remaining population of over-65s, and that’s the number you would effectively condemn to death with your plans – plus the smaller fraction of under-65s. Well, as long as you’re happy with that. But you can see how that kind of reasoning could get a government into hot water, though, can’t you?

            In view of the outrage you expressed about a woman in pyjamas being handcuffed unnecessarily, I’d say your moral compass needs some serious recalibration.

          • Jennifer Allan

            Dredd-I’m over 70 and belong to the group which has to date recorded more than 90% of all deaths and most of the hospitalisations in the UK. Thankfully I still have my marbles and mobility and driving licence. Those like me see no reason at all to destroy the economy, ruin our young persons education and life chances, and destroy wealth creating businesses, all to protect us apparently and prevent us cluttering up the NHS. Well I’ll tell you something, I am perfectly capable of protecting myself and others from the virus. I obeyed the lockdown rules and always wore a mask in shops, even before it was mandatory. In a population of more than 60million, Covid-19 deaths of around 50,000 people, almost all of whom were elderly with co-morbidities, does not justify the draconian measures being imposed on our people. It is an admitted disgrace nearly half of UK recorded deaths were in care homes, many infected in hospitals then sent to care homes to infect others. A significant subset of deaths were hospital and healthcare staff, left unprotected from the virus due to a lack of proper protective equipment. If anyone condemned these unfortunate persons to death, it was the mistakes made by our own Governments. Now they are compounding it with Covid-19 causing often fatal delays in diagnoses and treatments for serious medical conditions including cancer.

          • Dredd

            Thanks for outlining your position, Jennifer. You’re over 70, and therefore in a risk group, and you’ve wisely taken precautions to protect yourself. Nonetheless, you’re prepared to urge the lifting of restrictions, thereby allowing the spread of coronavirus within the community. Very brave and noble of you! Despite your implication, it’s hardly a representative attitude. I have a neighbour in his early 80s with a minor heart condition, who since mid-March has insisted that his extended family mustn’t go anywhere indoors except for houses in the family bubble. That even applies to people unrelated to him; they’ve all been effectively banned from entering supermarkets, corner shops, even chemists and health centres, on pain of excommunication or eviction. An extreme example, maybe, but a very real one, and a counterexample to the more gung-ho ‘herd immunity’ attitude that some people implicitly generalise to the whole of society (if it suits their argument). Most of the elderly people I know are being especially careful about venturing out and about who they have contact with. If you know folks who think differently, that’s fine – but lifting restrictions to let the virus multiply naturally would massively increase the risk for everyone, no matter what they think.

            So you don’t agree with the idea of vaccination either: no surprises there. You’re welcome to make your own risk calculations and opt out as you please. I’m just glad you’re not the minister for public health.

          • Jennifer Allan

            Dredd -Thank you very much for confirming my point. It’s up to us oldies to take steps to protect ourselves and others, not expect younger persons to make sacrifices to protect us.

  • David G

    Craig, you are infected with critical thinking skills and must be isolated for the good of the community.

    That said, it’s a sucker’s game trying to propose the rational version of what is fundamentally irrational: with the possible exception of the path not taken of trying to protect old folks in care homes (debatable that), all the coronavirus anti-spread regimes have been, at their most benign, shamanism minus the colorful accoutrements and spiritual consolation, but to a far greater extent, harmful on an almost inconceivable scale.

    The bright side is my liege Andrew Cuomo gets a fat book contract.

  • Keith

    The UK governments response to Covid19, and most other governments responses, has never been to minimise the spread of disease/deaths but only to make sure that “the health system” continues to be able to cope and business as usual carries on for those with the greatest influence. Logical policies have never prevailed, otherwise international travel would have been shut down as soon as the pandemic’s rapid escalation and death rate in China clearly showed it was not “just a seasonal flu”, which would have allowed time for a vaccine to be developed while local economies and communities were protected from inbound transmission. By being too afraid and powerless to take the big decisions, these weak governments have left their populations at the whims and mercy of a virus that will spread anywhere it is allowed to, the pubs and large social gatherings being the most obvious.

  • Clydebuilt

    I heard Jason Leitch just after 5pm tonight on BBC Radio Scotland’s drivetime. He and his colleagues advised the Scot Gov that Hospitality was the problem in Aberdeen, in Glasgow the problem is people meeting up in houses. He said the politicians took the apropriate action.

    You are questioning the action taken in Glasgow. Since it was advised by the CCO. It’s his advice you are questioning.

    • craig Post author

      I am indeed. If he is referring to people simply visiting one another, rather than parties, I can think of no earthly reason why that would be any different in Glasgow to elsewhere in the country.

  • Hatuey

    The SNP’s strategy from the very start of the Coronavirus crisis has been to misinform and lie. The core lie throughout, of course, has been to imply that they actually have a strategy that Is distinct and distinguishable from the UK strategy. The truth is they don’t and the only differences relate to timing.

    This latest bit of theatre concerning Glasgow and the ban on home visits is an example of victim blaming at its worst. And we can expect more victim blaming to come as the situation inevitably deteriorates and more people succumb to the virus.

    The blatantly obvious real reason for the increased number of infections is down to the return of children to schools. I’m not arguing against that, but why not just tell us the truth? When colleges and universities return, they know it’s going to go haywire.

    Getting children back to school is a huge priority because their parents are required to work. Again, why not just say that instead of lying to us?

    Earlier in the crisis they lied about the efficacy of face masks. Quite a startling lie when you consider the fact that medical practitioners have insisted on wearing them for about 100 years as a way of protecting themselves from disease.

    The real reason for dismissing masks, of course, was down to a basic shortage of them and a concern that Joe Public might exacerbate the problem of short supplies. Easier to trash basic truths and blame others than reflect on or admit your own shortcomings and lack of preparedness.

    More blatant and more serious deceptions are being promulgated in regards to the potential for children to catch the disease. It’s quite absurd. They tell us that we don’t need to worry about kids catching the virus because the vast majority of them will only experience mild symptoms. They’re virtually silent on the risks of children spreading the disease to their families, parents, grand parents, and wider community…

    In ‘Track and Trace’ we trust. At least, we are supposed to. But tracking and tracing as a strategy is aimed at containment or suppression, not prevention and eradication. Its effectiveness in dealing with smallish clusters and highly localised outbreaks isn’t in doubt. What happens, though, when we go beyond those sort of limits and the disease gets out of control? I suspect we are about to find out.

  • SA

    The big problem with COVID-19 is that it has led to a proliferation of self appointed experts. Everyone is an expert statistician, epidemiologists and there are even self appointed Molecular scientists . The politicians and the herd immunologists have meanwhile had a field day getting away literally with murder because a lot of people on the left have decided to play the same game of politicising the pandemic.
    The truth is that we now have people like Cummings, Harding, Pompeo, Hancock and other Johnson, politically managing what is essentially a public health problem which should be dealt with using basic well established plans developed over many years to deal with epidemics and pandemics. The use of clever mathematical modelling relying on the RIRA principle has divided the scientists.
    Simply put every possible error has been made. Basic preventive measures for an essentially respiratory virus like proper case isolation in secure facilities, rather than so called voluntary self isolation, a method whereby whole households get infected, the use of PPE even in front line services, and so on, were ignored because the government was so unprepared and instead diverted attention by pretending that getting BAE and Dyson to manufacture more respirators, was key to conquering the pandemic.
    Even flights with passengers from highly infected countries were allowed in by the millions. I don’t think to this day there are measures to monitor those coming in for symptoms or temperature in big international hubs such as Heathrow.
    The distraction of focusing entirely , as the major preventative measure, on hand washing instead of respiratory precautions, avoiding crowds, Wearing face masks, social distancing and case quarantine were all ignored. Belatedly, after the horse bolted, the stable door was half shut.
    In the case of Britain, being an Island could have prevented a lot of deaths and misery by simply introducing the preventative measures in late February and early March. We saw it coming in slow motion and our government pretended that everything was under control when it really was totally not under control. Moreover those in control had no clue about any aspects of the disease, partly because there was little that was known.
    Sorry for long rant but to end this, Craig is right of course but to bolster the essentially political actions, going to pubs improves the capitalist economy whereas modest socialising at home doesn’t, self fulfilling rules are invented. Remember after the care home fiasco of sending infected elderly patients out to spread the infections in care home, when this stopped being headlines, most infections during the subsequent period of lockdown came from the community. Why? Because people where asked to ‘self isolate’ at home thereby infecting their loved ones. It is this improper practice of what should have been proper medical quarantine, that is now being used to make the absurd rules that Craig describes.

  • Slave2PaperWithInkOn

    HERD IMMUNITY is the aim with the ‘meetings in pubs are safer than home,’ BS. Plus CONtradictory Rules and Advice is a technique of control highlighted in the doc ”Bitter Lake,” by Adam Curtis. Checkout the 5min10sec clip on youtube ~

  • Andrew Masters

    I was skiing in New Zealand (Mt Hutt, SI) today. At the end of the day my group fancied a well earned pint. We headed to the Huber Hutt bar at the base of the shopes. Apparently due to coronavirus restrictions they were prevented from serving alcohol on the sun drenched picnic tables outside and instead required anyone wanting a drink to come inside. This defies all semblance of logic.

    Side note, we now have evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an effective prophylactic ( and that steroids are an effective late stage treatment. It would seem we could cancel all this nonsense tomorrow.

    Good luck with the legal bullshit.

  • Donald+McGregor

    It has always struck me as bonkers that pubs have ever been allowed to open while virus transmission is a measurable risk. Alcohol and people and self control do not mix well.

  • Elvis Legg

    It’s really good to see that most commenters here are still able to use their critical faculties to ask questions of the official narrative and only a couple seem to be vociferous advocates of the rampant authoritarianism that we have become beholden to in this country through manufactured fear of the unknown and of death. It’s interesting to note that these individuals’ main debating tactics seem to almost exclusively rely on ad hominem attacks, smears and virtue signalling in lieu of reasoned and logical argument.

    • DiggerUK

      The State is having a training exercise in how to shut down all opposition when going ‘Full On Authoritarian’ It is beyond spooky.

      Did nobody care when elections due in May were postponed for a year? elections that could have been done with a postal ballot, if not in socially distanced polling stations.

      The fallacy of how much value there is in ‘delegated powers’ for Scotland, Wales and the North of Ireland is shown up by the way the UK government constantly humiliates them by changing instructions, which those countries then have to tamely adapt to.

      It is an obvious truth now that the health disaster predicted has not happened, the death toll is not even recorded honestly. We still have the situation that records somebody killed in a road accident as a Covid death if they ‘demonstrated’ symptoms of Covid within the last month.

      It’s not as if trustworthy commentators haven’t questioned what is going on…_

      • Cubby


        I’m guessing you were seriously disappointed when planes weren’t falling out the sky’s 20 years ago – it was all a hoax as well was it?

          • glenn_uk

            Digger’s point is so silly, it doesn’t deserve a serious response.

            If anyone doesn’t understand _why_ Digger’s point is silly, they should probably find a less demanding site – and certainly not “contribute” on this one.

        • syntax_error

          Your responses in this thread are atrocious.

          For some reason there is an ongoing and concerted effort in the UK to associate anyone who questions the ludicrous overreaction with Trump/Qanon/anti-vax etc. It is obvious, damaging but ultimately transparent.

          We have crippled the economy, stopped education, split up families and turned into a nation of curtain twitching snitches. The world’s most deadly and virulent disease has been running rampant for 9 months and during a period when hundreds of thousands have died of all causes, 0,063% of the UK have died “with” a virus that is so bad one needs a test to find out if one has it. Disgusting.

      • ET

        “It is an obvious truth now that the health disaster predicted has not happened…………………..”

        I think it did. Check out these graphs from The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine:
        The care home deaths were a disaster and many could have been avoided. The economic fall out has yet to really kick in. The inevitable deaths that will occur because of the missed cancer diagnoses and treatments have yet to happen (mostly). There are reported cases of people falling severely ill months after infection:
        On top of that infection rates are creeping up almost everywhere and there is a larger proportion of younger people affected.
        This thing isn’t over yet by any means. Come November/December I will predict things will be worse than they were in April and in addition there will be the usual flu season to confuse matters. When people develop coughs and sneezes and runny noses they are, naturally, going to be concerned. They will have to take off work and at least wait for a negative test if they can get one. More economic fall out, disastrous winter retail season and knock on effects all down the line.
        As SA said above, it unfolded in slow motion in Feb/March. It is again unfolding in slow motion as we move into late autumn and winter.

  • Mary

    Craig will remember Chloe Smith from his Norwich days.

    She crawled her way into the Tory partei, was elected as an MP and was given a junior ministerial job in the Cabinet Office..

    Now – Tory minister’s husband blasts Covid-19 as ‘mental illness’ and attended anti-mask demo
    Ms Smith said her husband had a right to express his own views – but she made it clear she disagreed
    3 SEP 2020
    Sandy McFadzean, the husband of Tory minister Chloe Smith (left), has described Covid-19 as a ‘mental illness’.
    He ‘is employed by Credit Suisse as a vice president’.

    A good read – Parliamentary Career – 🙂

  • Jennifer Allan

    Craig you are not the only one complaining about the illogical locking down of Glasgow residents, whilst allowing pubs and restaurants to open as usual. Aberdeen residents are furious about the draconian measures taken against them and continued unnecessarily. Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, has been attempting to advise Nicola over her handling of Covid-19, but she has consistently refused to listen to him, in spite of his excellent qualifications and Microbiology experience. I suspect Nicola harbours a grudge over him advising the Labour Party on how to handle the then superbugs scandals in our Scottish Hospitals 2008-2010, and make our hospitals safer.

    “Leading Aberdeen professor Hugh Pennington claims city ‘punitively hammered’ in lockdown while Glasgow ‘let off the hook”
    by Alastair Gossip

    “Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of having “double standards” when dealing with coronavirus outbreaks in Aberdeen and Glasgow, as health officials confirmed a cluster of cases linked to Granite City bars is now “over”.”

    • Cubby

      Jennifer Allan

      Hugh Pennington

      What a Britnat joker – his hatred of Scottish independence pours out of him every time he is given a platform. That is why the media give him a platform.

      The fact that you punt him as a serious commentator explains everything about you. The guy has been retired for a very very long time – microbiology – he is no expert other than displaying his hatred of all things Scottish independence – pretty much like the Britnat paper you link to.

      • Jennifer Allan

        What a vile diatribe against this quiet unassuming man, who talks far more wisdom and common sense, than that SAGE bunch advising Nicola and Boris, but I think we can ascertain where your loyalties lie.

        • Cubby

          Jennifer Allan

          My loyalties lie with the truth and what I said adheres to that standard – sorry you don’t like it – have a nice day.

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    “An absolute avalanche of tweets arrived in reply, each one parroting exactly the two Scottish government arguments”

    These will be software generated personas, the software being generated by paid operators.

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