Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

Another jaw-dropping graph

From Rick Hayward. Remember Rick did this great post last week? It featured an astonishing  graph of winter-to-spring mortality for all years in England and Wales from 1993-94 to 2019-2020, with numbers from the ONS, which showed that 2019-20 was only slightly bigger than all the other years (click to enlarge):

 

I wondered whether Rick was able to do the same graph again but this time adjusted for population, as I knew Rick had got hold of the England and Wales population stats. So he did, and it’s truly astonishing. Click to enlarge. (I’ve added this graph to his earlier post now as well.)

 

So: 2019-20 is only the eighth worst season in the last twenty-six. So there you go. This unprecedented slaughter that the doomsayers in the government/academia/media, and social media, would have you think has been happening, this once-in-a-century Biblical plague that is upon, is not even close to being no. 1 in the last quarter century. But somehow our government, our scientific advisors, our academics, our statisticians, have all failed to tell us this, despite the relevant numbers being all publicly available, and the work involved being fairly simple for anyone with a bit of basic knowledge about numbers. Instead it’s been left to amateurs, data people from the business world, and rogue academics and ex-academics to do the work, to pull the numbers together and make the graphs. Graphs which the ONS people could have easily made. But they didn’t.

Of course, some people will say, upon seeing this graph, ‘Aha, what this shows is that the lockdown did, in fact, work’. Some academic said precisely this about my historical graph of mortality going back to 1900, which I posted about here, and which I also wrote an article about in the Critic here. But of course there is no evidence that the lockdown had much effect. Sweden, for example, turned out little different to England, and to many other European countries. Also, it turned out, Sweden’s April and May, their worst months for Covid deaths, were nothing special in the context of the last twenty years – there are graphs around about this, which I must write an article on. So what you are seeing is pretty much how it would have been without lockdown. In fact, in all probability what are you seeing is actually higher than what you would have seen without lockdown, because then you wouldn’t have had all those excess non-Covid deaths caused by lockdown and its attendant hysteria, and the all-cause mortality figures would have been lower

As I’ve been saying for months, Covid-19 is a not-especially dangerous virus, in the context of other winter viruses like flu. Not that I like seeing anyone die of it, but it’s no different to flu, about which we have never gone bananas and destroyed the country over.

Update: As Rick’s original post made clear, the period covered ends at the end of week 20, which this year was 15 May. At that point the great majority of England and Wales Covid-19 deaths had happened. A week later and the weekly death figures were back to being around the five-year average.

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67 thoughts on “Another jaw-dropping graph

  1. It is easy to confuse the presentation of data with the use of inappropriate axes. In this case, presenting data of a small variation in a large number and including the zero point suppresses the apparent variation – just including the top 10% or so would exaggerate it.

    The graph DOES show a major jump in mortality over the year before it – I think that it is the biggest year-on-year increase in the whole data set by a large margin – some 4 or 5 times the next largest, and about 10 times the average change in successive years. That is obviously something to notice.

    But of more interest is the general trend. The graph shows a flat mortality rate from ’93 to about 2000, and a gradually falling one from there to about 2014. At that point things seem to reverse, and our death rate is on a RISING trend thereafter.

    We managed a particularly good low in 2018/9. If that had been higher, in line with the trend of the few years before it, our death rate in 2019/20 would have been completely unexceptional – just continuing the trend. The real question that graph asks is ‘What happened in 2014?”…..

  2. As for the “major jump” there is a recognised yo-yo effect from year to year simply because a ‘mild’ year in terms of excess winter deaths leaves a more vulnerable population for the following year.

  3. The lockdown in Britain was uniform and applied at the same time everywhere. The peak for deaths in London was April 4, for all of England it was April 8, hence for England outside London it was later, about April 12th.
    If the lockdown determined the course of the disease then one would expect the peaks all to be on the same date.
    Furthermore the decline in deaths has proceeded smoothly, with no kinks, not from beach and park gatherings, not from protests, not from changes in lockdown rules.
    I conclude that the effect of lockdown has been minimal.
    I also note from CEBM that nobody is ever recorded as recovering from the disease. Hence someone who was diagnosed in March and dies of whatever in July is reported as a death with Covid, regardless of what they actually died of. With vastly increased testing that is going to produce Covid as a major cause of death forever as there are more and more people diagnosed with Covid who are all round to die eventually. If Bojo got shot tomorrow that would be recorded as death with Covid. As did the death of Mr. Floyd, who tested positive.

  4. “The graph DOES show a major jump in mortality over the year before it – I think that it is the biggest year-on-year increase in the whole data set by a large margin – some 4 or 5 times the next largest, and about 10 times the average change in successive years.”

    Talk about clutching at straws. “But he did stub his toe rather hard, harder than normal”.

  5. It would be quite surprising if the graph did not show an occasional large jump in annual mortality. With the overall trend being downward, life expectancy must be rising.

    Yet why should life expectancy be rising in a population where obesity, diabetes and other chronic conditions are rising, where most people eat an extremely unhealthy diet (due to following government advice), where many people arrive every year from countries where health is much worse, and where old enemies such as TB are raising their heads again?

    Please note that all those factors tending to cause ill health are most pronounced in London – where there have been most (alleged) cases and (alleged) deaths.

  6. PHE is obviously releasing fraudulent data, deliberately or not, as explained by this article here:
    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england-a-statistical-anomaly/
    In England at any rate, no one is ever allowed to recover from COVID 19, which is why the stats are consistently high, This despite the daily death rate being lower than the five year average for close on 4 weeks. In other words, fewer people are dying than normally yet the figures used by the press and media show otherwise.

  7. You will get no argument from me that the lockdown has not been a disaster however these graphs do not prove it. They tell you nothing other than how many people died over a period of years. They do not show the lockdown was Ill-thought out (though it was) for the simple reason, as mentioned in the article, that the figures can just as easily be used to ‘prove’ the lockdown was effective, simply by referring to the thousands of deaths that aren’t recorded there.
    There is another factor: without accurate data on who has died from what, nobody will ever know how many people died from Covid and how many from the effects of the lockdown.
    This poor quality data is a politician’s dream in that it can be interpreted in several ways. The process has already started of re-examining the data; the outcome will be that Covid deaths are less than though (good for the government) because PHE didn’t record them accurately (for which the government cannot be blamed).

  8. >You will get no argument from me that the lockdown has not been a disaster however these graphs do not prove it.

    You’ve got the wrong end of the stick here. These graphs are not supposed to prove lockdown didn’t work, and I’m puzzled as to why you thought that was the intention. What they prove that the UK has not become a slaughter-house (even with lockdown), which is what is being said on social media and in academia. “Haven’t you seen the figures, they prove that we’re having mountains of deaths” is what I constantly hear from those sources.

  9. ‘ Of course, some people will say, upon seeing this graph, ‘Aha, what this shows is that the lockdown did, in fact, work’.

    The ‘Post hoc…’ logical fallacy: so OK prove it with external data.

  10. Question for the author/Hector. I have friends in the US, one of whom in Florida which overall has an elderly, retiree population. Recently much was made of an upsurge of ‘cases’ and deaths.

    Florida did not lock down, nor did it shovel the elderly out of hospitals into care homes to make space.

    When looking at the daily new deaths graph for Florida v New York or UK, whereas NY & UK show early steep exponential rise, peak, then decline – and to the same timescale, Florida’s is almost flat line. It seems that Florida actually did ‘flatten the curve’. However lately there has been a Florida uptick in new daily deaths.

    My question is this. If deaths have mostly been among that cohort of subjects with chronic conditions most likely to die anyway in the next 12 months and system overload from Covid brought their deaths forward, plus the death rate exacerbated by seeding care homes with infected people, could it by that the uptick in Florida is ‘catch up’?

    That is, had Florida done what others did, those deaths being recorded now would have happened two or three months ago.

    Is there any merit in this thinking?

  11. The problem the govt and the rest of us have is that the NHS now has a backlog of other patients it cannot deal with, and this year we’ll have unprecdented levels of public borrowing outside of a world war. Effectively they’ve shot their bolt in achieving a pyrrhic victory against Covid-19. So if we have a really serious pandemic from a different virus next year then we cannot afford another lockdown without ruining the country economically and further failing to deal with other health conditions.

    The govt response to Covid-19 has been monumentally stupid and incompetent, and one of the the most galling things is that nobody is likely to face any consequences for it. We are truly living in a dystopia.

  12. Pat, you say “I conclude that the effect of lockdown has been minimal.”

    I would argue that the effect of lockdown has been catastrophic. Thousands of people have died because they couldn’t get medical attention – many still can’t.
    Thousands more deaths in the pipeline due to missed diagnoses, cancelled operations and the imminent effects of mass poverty.

  13. @Pat, JC

    I also note from CEBM that nobody is ever recorded as recovering from the disease. Hence someone who was diagnosed in March and dies of whatever in July is reported as a death with Covid, regardless of what they actually died of

    Yes. I saw that too. I thought NI was bad with four weeks ago. England’s “ever” is beyond absurd

    With vastly increased testing that is going to produce Covid as a major cause of death forever as there are more and more people diagnosed with Covid who are all round to die eventually. If Bojo got shot tomorrow that would be recorded as death with Covid. As did the death of Mr. Floyd, who tested positive

    Exactly

    @Dene

    The govt response to Covid-19 has been monumentally stupid and incompetent, and one of the the most galling things is that nobody is likely to face any consequences for it. We are truly living in a dystopia.

    +1 It’s embarrassing and frightening how grossly incompetent Gov’t, Parliament and state sector are. Meanwhile China laughs at West’s hysterical reaction as their own economy continues to grow

    Global Deaths with Covid since outbreak started in November 2019:
    – A paltry 589,688 from ~7,850,000,000 population

    https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases

  14. @Dodgy
    ‘What happened in 2014?”…..The long term effects of Blair’s “rub their noses in it” multi-culti immigration surge: diabetes, obesity, heart/lung, sickle-cell, asthma, birth defects (cousins), Vit D deficiency…..

    But, nobody wants to discuss, same as NI having no excess deaths

    Surgeon General Jerome Adams on COVID-19 and impact on minorities – 10 Apr 2020
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvxKswm4jDY

    As I’ve said before, info was out there in late February. However, UK Gov’t, BBC, C4, Guardian, Black/Brown NHS Surgeons etc refused to tell public for fear of being called racist. Instead, they allowed them to die.

    BLM etc cause more harm to those they claim to support by shutting down discussion and honesty. No surprise, for Left, ‘the project’ usurps human lives

  15. @Roark
    “…Talk about clutching at straws…”

    It is hard to understand what you are saying. It looks as if you disagree with me, but are unable to say why, or to cite any data to illustrate your disagreement.

  16. Slightly off topic, but the issue of mandatory mask wearing puts us in a strange position.

    The ‘authorities’ initially advised against the general use of masks. The reasons seem to have been that there would be no assurance that they were being manufactured or worn correctly, that there was likely to be a shortage of masks for essential workers, and that there was no evidence that they would have much of an impact.

    This advice has been reversed (as have so many other activities) Masks are now not only recommended, but compulsory. The reasons seem to be that there is now no shortage of masks, politicians need to be seen to be doing something, and there is a requirement to make people feel protected in order to get them back out on the streets and supporting the economy.

    You will see that in both these cases there is the assumption that masks are not inherently damaging, and at the worst could do no harm. They can therefore be safely used as a political football. I am not so sure that this is the case.

    There is, I understand, absolutely no evidence on the effectiveness or otherwise of the mass use of non-clinical masks in a population during an epidemic. So any statement cannot be proven wrong by observation, and can safely be made without fear of contradiction. The usual statement supporting mask use is that it prevents asymptomatic carriers spreading the virus through airborne particles.

    I can see several mechanisms, however, whereby mask use could be positively dangerous. The first is that they cut the level of oxygen entering the body – we have some studies that show this. One early symptom of Covid infection is low oxygen levels – dropping these even further is obviously a very dangerous thing to do.

    The second is the issue of mask touching. An asymptomatic carrier is going to have a low level of the virus present in his breath. This is much more likely to end up on his fingers as he adjusts his mask, and from there onto commonly-touched items like handrails. So mask wearing could actually INCREASE the transmission of the disease. We have no data on this, of course – though the ‘precautionary principle’ so beloved of the Luddite environmentalists would certainly reject mask wearing until it was proven safe.

    The third point to make is that mask wearing might actually increase the wearer’s chance of developing the disease. Catching any viral disease does not simply depend on picking up a stray virion. There is a concept called ‘viral load’. The human body has defences which address viruses – the T cell lymphocyte system, for instance. So if you are an asymptomatic carrier, you probably have a small load of virions in your nasal cavity which your body defences are successfully suppressing. Eventually, they will eradicate the virus.

    But if you wear a mask, you will be concentrating the virus particles in front of your face, and inhaling more with every breath. You are much more likely to have your defences overwhelmed, and develop the full-blown disease.

    Again, we have no studies to show this. And, of course, no studies showing that it is not a problem. Let us hope that it turns out not to be, because this government seems to have a very poor track record of always picking the worst of all possible actions.

    Readers should note that these mask disadvantages accrue to untrained people who wear them for long periods. Any data on the use of medical disposable masks by surgical staff, for instance, is not applicable. I just point this out because someone is bound to claim that if doctors wear masks then they must be completely safe….

  17. “The govt response to Covid-19 has been monumentally stupid and incompetent, and one of the the most galling things is that nobody is likely to face any consequences for it. We are truly living in a dystopia.”

    We get the government we deserve. The reason the government has treated us like children is that if it hadn’t it would have been swept away by a tidal wave of (admittedly significantly manufactured) public desire for ‘action’ to protect them. The government treats us like children, because a large proportion of us demand to be treated so.

    If the government had said ‘Its a nasty flu virus, worse than usual but nothing disastrous, take whatever precautions you think are fit to protect yourself and your loved ones, you’re on your own in this’ it probably wouldn’t be in government now.

    Its a consequence of the nanny state and the fact that large proportions of the population have been insulated from the consequences of their own actions for generations now they cannot conceive of taking responsibility for themselves, and living or dying as a result. Like small children they cry out for nurse to protect them from whatever fears them. And nurse dare not ignore them because if she does she’ll be out on her ear and a more sympathetic one installed.

  18. @HD “….what is being said on social media and in academia. “Haven’t you seen the figures, they prove that we’re having mountains of deaths” is what I constantly hear from those sources….”

    Mr Drummond – why are you going to academia? Those people know diddly-squat, beyond what the right thing to say to get a grant is….

  19. The noise here is drowning out the facts of the statistics. The graph data is from winter to spring, ie. Dec 21st 2019 to March 21st 2020, at which time the pandemic had barely affected the UK. Number of Covid deaths from March 1st to March 21st 2020…….16.
    The chart is bogus and suspect.

  20. “The graph data is from winter to spring, ie. Dec 21st 2019 to March 21st 2020,”

    Where does it say that on the chart? Admittedly it doesn’t actually define winter/spring, but the meteorological definition of Winter is Dec/Jan/Feb, and Spring is March/April/May. So one assumes that would be the period at hand – 1st Dec to 3oth May.

    Could someone confirm exactly what period the chart is covering please?

  21. @Hector
    Dr Lee agrees with you – before you posted
    See:
    https://spectator.us/the-fatal-mistakes-which-led-to-lockdown/
    or
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-strong-was-the-scientific-advice-behind-lockdown

    @Mick
    Argue about dates all you want, but UK & Global deaths do not support C-19 Being classed as an epidemic or pandemic
    – UK ~45,000 With C-19 – less than 10% of normal annual UK deaths
    – Global <600,000 With C-19 from ~7,850,000,000 population

  22. Mick is making dates up. As stated in Rick’s original post, which Mick clearly didn’t bother to read, the graph goes up to week 20, ie. 15 May, when most of the England and Wales Covid-19 deaths had happened. A week later and deaths were back to being around the five-year average.

  23. Covid-19 Death Statistics corrupt in USA too
    Fatal motorcycle crash listed as coronavirus death in Florida
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta7g8BgKAXE

    Replies to the Vitamin D article by the guest contributor
    Interesting. Discusses Vit D, Colour, New vs Old World, Hydroxychloroquine, Innate Immunity
    – Colour : the verboten topic, even here

    Peter Hitchens: Face masks turn us into voiceless submissives
    Discusses BBC’s WHO leak (ignored by msm inc BBC), Papers being removed from internet, Medical Trials ‘unnecessary trial fetishism’ and the usual “might, can, could; save one life’ justification. Plus, how not wearing makes it very easy for TPTB to identify ‘rebels’

    BBC’s WHO leak
    Policy based evidence making inflicted on public again
    – Deborah Cohen BBC Newsnight
    “WHO changed their Face Mask advise due to Gov’ts/political pressure” – Seen To Be Doing Something
    https://youtu.be/Bw51IudGNb8?t=262

    @Tony
    Probably not; usual ‘called out’ reaction from such is weak silence & ignore. Strong response, if wrong, is to say “Sorry, made a mistake and wrong”

    Model fetishist ‘Simon’ who contributed here employed ‘weak silence & ignore’ in comments

  24. @Dodgy: **We managed a particularly good low in 2018/9. If that had been higher, in line with the trend of the few years before it, our death rate in 2019/20 **

    By what logic is low death rate supposed to be an unqualified ‘good’? Human mortality is 100%. Death in and of itself can’t be a bad thing unless life is, since life guarantees death. Dying before one’s parents is bad; long drawn out suffering from cancer or debilitating stroke, among any number of other causes is bad. Perishing from a virus in such circumstances could be seen as a qualified *good*. It’s at least arguable. By death is bad logic life should be prolonged at all costs. But suppose life expectancy increased to 100 and the number of care homes tripled, how is that *good*? In most cases death is a blessing. You don’t have to spend long in a care home to recognise that.

  25. @ Jim

    You speak truth, though not one any of us want to grapple with.

    If the government had said ‘Its a nasty flu virus, worse than usual but nothing disastrous, take whatever precautions you think are fit to protect yourself and your loved ones, you’re on your own in this’ it probably wouldn’t be in government now.

    I’d crawl through glass to vote for such a government, and am confident saying that since my glass-crawling pain threshold and a government that seeks only to secure rights occupy the same theoretical fantasy land.

  26. @ Sean Lydon
    “…..We managed a particularly good low in 2018/9. ……………….By what logic is low death rate supposed to be an unqualified ‘good’? ……”

    The English language uses context and allusion quite extensively, so speakers do not have to define all of the items in each sentence.

    In this case, the mortality rates are reported from Public Health England’s statistics. PHE are tasked with improving the health of persons living in the UK, where ‘improving the health’ is loosely defined as avoiding disablement or premature death due to illness. Health and Safety worry about avoiding disablement or premature death due to accident.

    Their success (or otherwise) can be broadly measured by looking at statistical averages. Ideally, the rate of deaths per capita should drop year on year, and the average lifespan should increase, up to a point where no further gain might be expected.

    It is in this context that I state that a low death rate is ‘good’. That is, ‘good’ for the people who compile the statistics. If I were talking about undertakers’ businesses, the same statistics would be ‘bad’. You might also recall the humorous aside made during a Chancellor’s Budget speech when Death Duty returns had been poor: “People have not been dying up to expectations”….

  27. **It is in this context that I state that a low death rate is ‘good’. That is, ‘good’ for the people who compile the statistics.**

    Admittedly the good of the statisticians themselves hadn’t occurred to me. Though it’s hard to fathom how a high or low death count is good for statisticians any more than for tree surgeons or accountants. The wider point is that statistical values are being loaded with moralistic terms in the service of rival political antagonisms: the virus has become a pretext for politically motivated accusation much like ‘racism’ or ‘carbon’, only the victims of the virus are real not chimeric, using sympathy for victims to gain political advantage. But polarisation is implicit in all human relations, professions of love or loyalty make no sense otherwise. The ’cause’ could be a virus, football or even the weather. Writing in the 1970s the great truth-teller Rene Girard defined current predicament of West as “omnipresent victim”: the “sacrificial resources” of Christianity, understood as source of unanimity and reconciliation, a cathartic safety valve for primal antagonisms, having been exhausted. Hence proliferation of “victims”.

  28. There are many interesting observations made here, but one made by Dodgy Geezer needs illumination :

    “It is easy to confuse the presentation of data with the use of inappropriate axes.”

    .. which is why, in my original article I used two forms of presentation – namely absolute figures and then variation around the median. In terms of the former, I deliberately avoided any distortion by *not* picking any origin other than ‘Zero’. It’s plain, unfiltered data.

    As to implications – these have to be drawn from the data, and the only issue I have directly addressed is the clear and obvious fact that, put in context, the deaths of the last ‘infection season’ show no evidence of a massive catastrophe of plague-like proportions. The null hypothesis stands proud.

    The time-frame was that available using the data available to cover the Winter/Spring season (but including the infection spike of April) as it was at the time of analysis.

    The inferences are, of course, pretty obvious – that the narrative and exceptional measures that have been used are not justified by a wide view of mortality over a quarter of a century. The essence is that simple, and is based on clear data, which also suggests (by implication) a rationale for a major aspect of the sudden jump in mortality in 2019/20.

    To move away from the data to interpretation to scientific commentary – the data simply shows from an early standpoint that the narrative about this virus has been a load of old bollocks. Further emerging data has confirmed this conclusion.

  29. @Sean Lydon:
    “…..Admittedly the good of the statisticians themselves hadn’t occurred to me…..”

    It hadn’t occurred to me either – which was why I did not say it. I said that the ‘good’ was a ‘good’ for PHE, because they measure their success in ‘improving health’ by statistical analysis.

    @Rick Hayward

    “……. which is why, in my original article I used two forms of presentation – namely absolute figures and then variation around the median…….”

    I would not like it to be thought that I am trying to score simplistic points, and agree with you that the mortality rates have not matched the hype of senior medical advisers and the media – not a surprising conclusion. The excessive countermeasures taken were therefore not required. Indeed, they are likely to have contributed to the mortality totals, and caused significant social, economic and cultural damage.

    We must remember, however, that this was not known at the time, and it might be considered foolhardy to make no preparations for a lockdown on the grounds that it might not be needed. Your graphs do show a significant rise over the last year, which means that there IS a noted increase in deaths. Just how many marks the point at which it is worth locking the country down is a moot point – we will in a position to make some estimate of that only once the dust has settled and we can see all the effects of the lockdown.

    I think it is really too early to judge whether the lockdown was on balance beneficial or not – and too early to say whether it was justified. Note that these two are separate items – the lockdown could have been a stunning failure, yet justified at the time.

  30. Dodgy: “… the lockdown could have been a stunning failure, yet justified at the time.”

    If The Powers That Be could justify something that was a stunning failure, then they were using the wrong criteria for justification. And that is probably the situation we are in.

    Broken record time — it was obvious from the time of the Diamond Princess incident way back in the Jurassic Era that the only people at risk from this virus where the old & sick. Politicians and bureaucrats around the world ignored the data — and instead initiated economic damage to millions of human beings which will far outweigh the slightly accelerated deaths of some old & sick people. And if the Best & Brightest were as smart as they think they are, they could even have prevented many of those slightly accelerated deaths.

    Our Betters failed! They failed abysmally! Let’s not make excuses for them. Rub their noses in their abject failure, so that next time they may actually look at the data and doing something sensible.

  31. @Gavin Longmuir:
    “…..Dodgy: “… the lockdown could have been a stunning failure, yet justified at the time.”

    If The Powers That Be could justify something that was a stunning failure, then they were using the wrong criteria for justification. And that is probably the situation we are in. Broken record time — it was obvious from the time of the Diamond Princess incident way back in the Jurassic Era that the only people at risk from this virus where the old & sick……..”

    Unfortunately, I cannot accept this comment as supporting your point. The data coming out of the Diamond Princess was, and still is, being examined and differing conclusions are being drawn from it. For example – see https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1632 – which suggests that the Diamond Princess experience supports the implementation of general lockdown.

    The point I am trying to make is that we are dealing with an unknown situation, where we have no experience to guide us, just mathematical models. And the penalty for getting your defence wrong could be excessive. Under such circumstances it would be foolhardy NOT to overreact.

    It should also be remembered that running a bureaucracy of around 1m people to support a country of around 66m people is not a process which can be light on its feet. If one day you are told that many millions may die if you do not close down all the shops, then a week later you are told that this is probably not true, it is too late to countermand the order to close.

    I think there is inadequate appreciation of the time factor and organisational structure in all of this debacle. People are making wrong decisions based on inaccurate information at one time, and then being blamed for this. The UK Civil Service is famously unwieldy, and prides itself on the avoidance of error. Faced with a situation in which error is unavoidable, it is unable to cope.

    If Yes, Minister teaches us anything, it is that the Civil Service will always win, by remaining in the background and throwing politicians to the wolves every time it gets something wrong. It would be refreshing, just this once, to see blame laid where it is merited, and have the internal civil service decision-making process examined, rather than calling for Johnson’s head…..

  32. @Jim:

    “..We get the government we deserve…..”

    We get the government we are given. At the next election we will have a choice of a middle-of-the-road set of politicians headed by either Johnson or Starmer (at present). Any variation on this will be decided by closed doors in the respective parties. An outside possibility is a middle-of-the-road coalition comprised of a mix of the professional politicians from those parties.

    The actual administration will, of course, be handled by the Civil Service, who will run the country in the same way they have done for the last 70 years. No matter what the government is…

  33. Dodgy Geezer, bollocks!
    Anyone reacting to Imperial’s modelling after their abject failures over the last two decades needs their head’s examining. There was enough actual data from experience in Far Eastern countries that should at least have steadied hands from overreacting. However I am absolutely convinced from seeing the 180deg change of policy in another Far Eastern country I was in at the time that the message went out from the US to PANIC. And it was quite deliberate knowing exactly what the effect would be. And it didn’t eminate from the WH, you can draw your own conclusions.

  34. Jim W: “… the message went out from the US to PANIC.”

    My suspicion, totally unprovable, is that the message went out from China, as the next phase in their economic warfare against the countries responsible for their “Century of Humiliation”.

    First phase in that long range plan had been to absorb all the technology and manufacturing capabilities of the West — now largely accomplished. Second phase is to weaken the West economically, politically, and militarily so that Europeans & Japanese can never again use China as a football. That requires taking down the US too, as collateral damage. With all the Chinese money and influence flowing into Western politicians, media, and academics, China was able to persuade the “leaders” of the West to shoot themselves in the gut by aping the Chinese Kabuki lock down over what was probably already an endemic virus.

    The Chinese understand us in the West much better than we understand them and their motivations. So far, so good — from their perspective. We are well on the way to a world which is safe for China — a world in which China will never again be troubled by English Opium Wars or Japanese invasions.

    Just an hypothesis, of course. But so far, it seems to fit the observations.

  35. @Dodgy

    .The point I am trying to make is that we are dealing with an unknown situation,

    No, we were not. By mid February data from RoW showed mortality rate of ~0.5% off symptomatic cases

    The empirical data was there, the “experts” rejected it and believed their fabricated models

    I posted this here and at TimW & Longrider in Feb & March with the tag:
    “A nothing-burger. Keep Calm and Carry On”

    @Jim W
    +1 except US

    @Gavin
    +1 on China. I’ve been saying same

  36. Gavin, PCar; the country I was in has literally hundereds of thousands of Chinese tourists , many from Wuhan during the peak of the China crisis in Wuhan. There was no panic, in fact if there had been no international news/internet no-one would have known anything at all was happening just over the border. They have a saying in this country ‘its the chinese so its the flu season’. Life was normal.
    Then on March 15th panic ensued, borders closed, flights cancelled, and the regime made the most of putting in place ’emergency measures’ it had been dreaming of using for some time, knowing it had covid to cover its tracks and no US complaints.
    The signal came from the US NOT China!

  37. JimW — We may be describing different parts of the same elephant.

    China locked down the provincial city of Wuhan (bigger than London, of course, but this is China we are talking about — still a second tier city). China made sure to attract global attention to this, including by making it seem initially that they were trying unsuccessfully to play down what was happening. Subtle! And China suddenly produced a test for this “new” virus, allowing other countries to test specifically for something which would normally have been classified as one of the undifferentiated “Influenza-Like Illnesses” which occur every year.

    Lots of positive C-19 test results started to pop up in Italy, gaining lots of media coverage in Europe and the US. Academics in the UK and the US (who all understand where funding comes from) pumped out unreliable model studies saying this was the Big One. The compromised World Health Organization piled on too. And the global media got excited.

    The Chinese understand how our system works. They know how easy it is to sway Western politicians with the right message amplified through a media which always emphasizes the “human interest” angle. And politicians from Europe to the US fell into this Chinese trap.

    From the border of popular Chinese vacation spot Vietnam to Wuhan is over 700 miles, comparable to the distance from London to Poland — and we all know how little attention Londoners normally pay to news from Poland. The C-19 story became big news in Vietnam because it was by that stage big news around the world, with peer pressure among politicians forcing them to fall in line. China had Locked Down — how could the leader of any other country resist the pressure to do the same? Most of those leaders failed to look at the data and resist the pressure.

    Now we find that the Lock Downs are having a much more damaging economic effect on Western countries than on China. Isn’t that surprising!

  38. @JimW….@Pcar

    Both of you are talking at cross purposes with me. The points you make are not valid..

    They seem to assume that an individual person is deciding policy, and this is NOT true. Policy is decided by the bureaucracy. Bureaucracies do not work in the way you seem to think. For instance, if data is not submitted to them through the ‘proper’ channels it ceases to exist.

    If you persist in thinking that because you can see some evidence it follows that the government can see it, you will fail to understand what is going on. As I said, this issue is to do with how decisions are made, not with any individual competence or incompetence….

  39. Dodgy: “Policy is decided by the bureaucracy.”

    OK. But the bureaucracy is composed of individual human beings who are responsible for their actions. We all understand that the incentives for individuals within a bureaucracy are generally not aligned with making their organization do its job well. But that does not excuse the individuals within the bureaucracy from their culpability for refusing to look at the data or for failing to consider the full range of costs (as well as presumed benefits) of the actions they impose on other human beings.

    Bureaucrats hiding their own bad decisions behind their preference for following bureaucratic procedures is equivalent to German concentration camp guards claiming they were innocent because they were only following orders.

  40. @Gavin Longmuir Thursday 23rd July 2020 at 22:09

    +1 China locked down one city and promoted it with help from WHO

    The “if it saves one life” mob saw the scary footage, panicled and demanded RoW lockdown everyone

    China open for business as usual, RoW destroying itself while China laughs at our gullibility

  41. @Dodgy
    Why are you absolving Ministers and other MPs of responsibility?

    You are conflating Gov’t with ‘state’ – Ministers and other MPs are meant to control ‘state’, not do as they say,.and are not reliant on ‘state’ for information

    MPs and their staff didn’t have to look far for evidence ‘state’ was wrong: Spectator, DM, Fox, Sky Aus and more were reporting real world data being ignored by SAGE etc

    Hancock “found out” about PHE Fake death stats from https://lockdownsceptics.org

    I say “found out” as I don’t believe he didn’t know – Exposed is more appropriate

    Has anything changed? No, it’s still happening while Hancock holds a “review”. Ministers are complicit in the deceit

  42. Gavin, PCar; Whatever the Chinese did or didn’t do, it required the starting pistol being fired by the US for the RoW to go completely nuts. Personally I think its likely the Chinese actually thought the virus might have come from their Wuhan lab, therefore they panicked in Wuhan. It was actually a German in Berlin who started the ‘tests’, based on the DNA/RNA from Wuhan ( now filthy well off) and they were used without them being tested in turn.
    Some people in the US thought this was going to be a jolly good wheeze in the election year.
    Dodgy; Your mental gymnastics are impressive.

  43. JimW: “it required the starting pistol being fired by the US for the RoW to go completely nuts.”

    OK — but why did the US fire the starting pistol? Peel back that layer of the onion. What person in the US woke up one morning and said ‘Let’s make a big deal out of a few deaths in China being classified by Chinese authorities as a new viral outbreak. China, where 25,000 people die every single day of the year’ ? And why did that unidentified person in the US decide to do that? Dig deeper!

    It may be relevant that the President of the US was not a proponent of the Covid Scam. The pressure to “Do Something” came from the media, academia, and the bureaucracy — not from the Administration.

  44. @JimW
    I detect a personal dislike of USA

    @Gavin

    It may be relevant that the President of the US was not a proponent of the Covid Scam. The pressure to “Do Something” came from the media, academia, and the bureaucracy — not from the Administration

    +1 Same as Bojo & UK; although he surrendered to the bed-wetters early on

  45. @PCar and Gavin Longmuir
    “Why are you absolving Ministers and other MPs of responsibility?”

    Where do you get that idea? I did not say that they were ‘absolved’ in any way.

    What I did do was point out that the problem for UK democracy is not a simple one of finding a person and sacking them, or replacing one set of politicians with another. It is a problem buried deep in the structure of the system, and will only be solved by restructuring the system.

    The system will fight doggedly against this, of course. And its first defence is to claim that any problem is simply an individual’s fault, and can be rectified by removing that individual….

  46. @JimW “….Dodgy; Your mental gymnastics are impressive…..”

    Thank you. I have worked for many years at both HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office, and mental gymnastics were right up there with moral flexibility as a key skill…..

  47. PCAR, Gavin; I like the US even though its often potty. I spend up to 5 months there regularly. After the failure of Russiagate, Ukrainegate, impeachment etc etc , at last a means to reduce Trump’s only real ‘success story’ , the economic performance and in particular the positive effect of job creation for blacks and hispanics. Add in the mix Gates Foundation et al and you have a powerful group ready to call CRISIS, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Just need to keep it going until November, hence the change from ‘deaths’ to ‘cases’ as the doom laden statistic.

  48. Dodgy: “It is a problem buried deep in the structure of the system, and will only be solved by restructuring the system.”

    We may be approaching the same Gordian Knot from different ends. The system needs to be restructured. But you would surely agree that the only way to restructure a system is for (1) individual human beings to come up with ideas for a better system and (2) to empower individual human beings to make the necessary changes — in personnel as well as procedures.

    What we lack is an Alexander to take a sword to the Gordian Knot. Hanging, drawing, and quartering all the Ministers and senior bureaucrats would not of itself solve the problem. But holding those people personally accountable for their failures on their watch and then replacing them would probably be the only way to make progress.

    Clearly, the guys & gals who rule the roost in Her Majesty’s Government are never going to allow their little protected clique to suffer. The only resort left open to the rest of us is to show our contempt for those people, mock them mercilessly, and never allow them to deflect their personal individual responsibility for their failures of omission & commission.

  49. There is no ‘second wave’, no ‘spike’, just more testing which, surprise, surprise finds more infections. But they are not new cases, they are old ones. The only data that matters is deaths and hospital admissions due to Covid and they are tiny now and near zero in many places.

    The number of infections is a smokescreen. Because the virus is disappearing, to keep up the presence of a deadly pandemic, the government and their advisors no longer talk about deaths, but ‘new infections’.

    There is no second wave. Johnson’s and the ‘scientists’ latest mantra about ‘the danger of a second wave’ is pure scaremongering to keep us subdued and compliant and to readily accept another lockdown this winter.

    Where is the dissent? Where is the questioning and challenge from the media to this clear deceit by the government?

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