The wrong voters

We urgently need to track down the 44% who don’t agree that the lockdown should have started sooner and isolate them from the sane people. Perhaps they could be used for testing new Covid-19 vaccines. It seems a shame to use animals when there is a ready supply of non-sentient creatures with human-like metabolisms. At least there would be no concerns about brain damage. The brains of those who suppose action wasn’t belated and inadequate could be put in a blender without any noticeable reduction in cognitive capacity. If intelligence was a virus these folk would have natural immunity.

It’s plainly obvious that the response was too little too late! It was a political response to a medical emergency. Which is on a par with calling Sky customer services when you’re having a stroke. Asking politicians to deal with a health crisis makes no more sense than asking the BBC to deal with a complaint. When a potentially massive public health crisis looms you want the first question to be how do we deal with this? Not how do I come out of this looking good or, failing that, at least avoid taking the blame? You want the first thought to be about what is logistically possible. Not what is politically acceptable. You want the main concern to be the headcount in the mortuary. Not the headlines in the tabloids.

No question about the timing or magnitude of the response Covid-19 makes any sense because there is only one sensible answer. The response had to be instant and total. If minimising the impact on the population was the priority, rather than the impact on political careers and party fortunes, then the appropriate response was the response that was always going to be the response that was politically unacceptable. The effectiveness of the response might be gauged from the amount of outrage it provoked.

Immediate and total quarantine is the only way to prevent a pandemic. Every direct contact between two people is an opportunity for the virus to be communicated. An unknowable number of indirect contacts also present an unquantifiable risk. Complete isolation of every infectable individual for a period of perhaps four weeks offers a good chance of stopping the disease becoming pandemic. You don’t have to be an epidemiologist to recognise this. You don’t have to be any kind of scientist. All that’s needed is a functioning intellect.

I can already hear people snorting derisively as they dismiss the foregoing on the grounds that this kind of mass isolation is impossible to achieve. Which totally misses the point. When dealing with something of this nature it is folly to start by asking how little you can get away with doing now with a view to escalating as circumstances demand. The challenge is to get as close as possible to that situation of total quarantine as quickly as possible. This implies a calculation which, like any calculation, is formulated differently depending on who is making the calculation.

Politicians will make a political calculation. Scientists will make a scientific calculation. Economists will make an economic calculation. The public, as a mob, will make a calculation based on inadequate information, dumb prejudice, utter selfishness and TV schedules. That same public, as a mob, then elects the politicians.

Are you beginning to see the problem? The 44% of adults who don’t agree the lockdown should have started sooner nonetheless get to vote.



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7 thoughts on “The wrong voters

  1. Absolutely agree. As an ex nurse I realised 4 weeks ago that my partner was vulnerable and I cancelled all my interactions with anyone and to hell what folk thought! Barrier was put up because I couldn’t see any other sensible precaution.

    Unfortunately, local supermarkets are not aiding this isolation by having low stock and restricting amounts allowed and not having any systems in place to ensure that visits are limited. I now find myself having to either limit our food intake or shop more often thereby making a mockery of distancing and isolation!

    We won’t starve but I can definitely see the issues related to those who are running out of money and becoming more desperate. It’s a shit show…

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    1. Some stores have been much better at dealing with re-supply than others.
      At the beginning practically all of them were caught out, quite unprepared. Certain stores decided to close their doors, 2 hours earlier, allowing the staffers to restock, etc. Though, some simply closed early, with no staff onsite to restock!
      Physical distancing measures have now been put into place in even the smallest outlets, with so many allowed in at a time. Again, some places seem to manage that better than others. Some places have huge queues, and long waits, while others have slightly shorter waits to get in.
      Depends too, where a person might live, and how many stores there are to choose from.
      I don’t accept this idea, however, that folks should only do the “weekly shop” for everything, and stay in the rest of the the time. Some folks, actually, an awful lot, simply do not have the money to do one big weekly shop! And if a person is own their own, or perhaps even 2 of them, and no car, again, it simply isn’t possible to do one big weekly shop.
      And as you say, it can be the case, you go to one shop, and it doesn’t have what you want/need, and so have to go off looking, somewhere else.
      There are issues around some of the stay at home rules, that those who make them, and implement them, don’t fully understand, because they don’t see or properly understand these things.
      Such rules have to be workable and practical. Not all them are, and some regarding shopping difficulties for a fair number of ppl, being examples of that.

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  2. “Immediate and total quarantine is the only way to prevent a pandemic.”

    Immediate and total quarantine of those who test positive and of those who have contact with those who test positive is the only way to prevent a pandemic. Singapore dealt with the outbreak without going into lockdown by
    1. testing liberally and following contacts
    2. keeping people who test positive in hospital and separate from family and friends (this also allows for early intervention with drug treatment)
    3. keeping people who had contact but have no symptoms in strict home quarantine with signing in by SMS several times a day
    4. not going into lockdown based on fear by making testing widely available and quarantine rules clear and firm allowing normal life to continue (small businesses would be hit hard by a lockdown)
    5. having regular and clear communication from the health authorities on what people can do to minimise risk including explicit messages about social distancing

    This only works if the state puts resources into testing, supporting people in home quarantine, supplying full Personal Protective Equipment to all medical, nursing and support staff, and having sufficient equipment and hospital beds. It is also necessary to control air travel and test and check all passengers arriving.

    The UK’s response was not instant and not total. China alerted the world at the end of December 2019 so there was time to plan and make ready. I agree that it is folly to think of how little you can get away with doing but that is clearly what the UK has done. The UK still does not have widely available testing and it is not tracking contacts. There Is not sufficient Personal Protective Equipment for staff. There is not sufficient equipment like ventilators. Has air travel been controlled yet? Are all passengers tested on arrival and quarantined if the test is positive?

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    1. If the UK has demonstrated anything it is that you can’t afford to rely on a testing program. So total quarantine has to be the first option until and unless a proper testing program is established. Singapore is a special case. They maybe didn’t go into full lockdown. But I’ll guarantee they were prepared for it. And it would have been done very efficiently. Just as the testing was. Partly because of the relatively small population of under 6 million. Mainly because of the form of government and social culture.

      We all want to be Singapore when there’s a crisis such as this. Very few want to be Singapore any other time. And then only if they get to be part of the ruling elite.

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  3. I imagine “democracy” rests upon how intelligent, educated, informed and truthful a society is. I couldn’t account for any country but the UK is full of loud mouthed morons talking utter nonsense about anything.
    I had a friend recently banging on aggressively about how Scotland pays higher taxes than the rest of the UK, he said that his source was from an article in The Ferret sept 2019. The article that he was reading from said it was mostly untrue by about 70% that taxation in Scotland was higher than the rest of the UK. His arguments were extremely facile. He is also a Yes voter.
    You have inspired me to order a book with the names Dunning and Kruger and Effect on the front cover. I hope I don’t find myself within those pages.
    Thanks for the post Peter.

    Like

  4. None of the UK government’s get a free pass , every one of them has handled this badly , their reluctance or denial to implement policies and practices that should have been foretold has been woeful , the WM gov took the decision to SACRIFICE the safety and security of the population against the possible impact on the economy , even now their penny pinching when it comes to testing kits and PPE has impacted massively on protecting front line services

    The SG and NS capitulation and adoption of bozos policies rather than the WHO recommendations appears to have enabled the virus to gain a foothold and spread which may otherwise have been contained if proper testing and quarantining had been implemented sooner

    What is the point of holding exercises like operation Cygnus in October 2016 if lessons are not to be learned and those lessons are not prepared for and carried out , the officials and organisations which took part in this exercise and identified the complete FAILURE of the government’s of the UK to handle a pandemic should be named and shamed , the Cygnus exercise appears to have been just another jolly where officials , organisations and participants have accepted their payments and expenses

    Ultimately it is THIS grossly inept tory govt complete with it’s cabal of liars and clowns who may be held responsible for this clusterf++k but the blame should also be shared by previous WM govts , politicians and our own SG

    Liked by 1 person

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