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BS: Brexit & other UK political topics

Backwoodsman 18 Jul 21 - 07:25 AM
punkfolkrocker 18 Jul 21 - 07:00 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Jul 21 - 06:52 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Jul 21 - 06:01 AM
Doug Chadwick 18 Jul 21 - 05:49 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jul 21 - 05:47 AM
DMcG 18 Jul 21 - 03:01 AM
robomatic 18 Jul 21 - 02:47 AM
DMcG 18 Jul 21 - 02:00 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Jul 21 - 06:35 PM
Rain Dog 17 Jul 21 - 12:21 PM
DMcG 17 Jul 21 - 11:43 AM
Rain Dog 17 Jul 21 - 11:05 AM
SPB-Cooperator 17 Jul 21 - 10:50 AM
DMcG 16 Jul 21 - 06:11 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jul 21 - 06:00 PM
DMcG 16 Jul 21 - 05:40 PM
peteglasgow 16 Jul 21 - 04:25 PM
punkfolkrocker 15 Jul 21 - 08:54 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jul 21 - 08:16 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 21 - 08:09 PM
SPB-Cooperator 07 Jul 21 - 05:17 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jul 21 - 04:35 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jul 21 - 04:27 AM
DMcG 07 Jul 21 - 03:48 AM
peteglasgow 07 Jul 21 - 03:29 AM
DMcG 07 Jul 21 - 02:57 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jul 21 - 08:30 PM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 11:02 AM
Mrrzy 06 Jul 21 - 10:06 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jul 21 - 07:21 AM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 06:25 AM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 05:59 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jul 21 - 05:35 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jul 21 - 04:20 AM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 02:55 AM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 02:23 AM
Jos 06 Jul 21 - 02:18 AM
DMcG 06 Jul 21 - 02:05 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Jul 21 - 08:49 PM
Nigel Parsons 05 Jul 21 - 08:46 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Jul 21 - 08:32 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Jul 21 - 07:56 PM
DMcG 05 Jul 21 - 07:09 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Jul 21 - 06:11 PM
DMcG 05 Jul 21 - 05:20 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 05 Jul 21 - 05:10 PM
punkfolkrocker 05 Jul 21 - 02:50 PM
punkfolkrocker 05 Jul 21 - 02:30 PM
punkfolkrocker 05 Jul 21 - 02:25 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 07:25 AM

”In many ways It's quite handy I gave up drinking for health…. reasons two and a half years ago..”

I gave up almost sixteen years ago, on the advice of my hepatobiliary consultant (to quote his exact words, “Alcohol is a pancreas-killer”). I hardly ever miss it - the only times I do are when we go to Crete on holiday, and when we’re cooking our Christmas dinner.

I wasn’t a boozer, but I enjoyed a few pints on a Friday night at our folk club, and a nice dram or tot two or three nights a week at home. All done now, but I’ve lived to tell the tale - my wife’s friend, who had the same health problems as me, and who ignored the warnings about alcohol, died two years ago at the age of 47 from pancreas/liver failure. Too young. Too sad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 07:00 AM

In many ways It's quite handy I gave up drinking for health and finance reasons two and a half years ago..

.. but anyway, all my favourite local old fashioned rough tatty pubs with authentic character and atmosphere,
have closed permamently...

Shut down and converted into flats in recent years before covid;
and the last one closed for good with the death of it's popular old landlord at the start of the pandemic.

He was an independent stubornly commited to CAMRA - the last of a near extict breed...

Others in town will never reopen due to covid, but that's the ruthless uncaring nature of survival of the fittest capitalism..


Personally, I had already got used to the normality of an alchohol free stay at home lifestyle well before this crisis...

So, I've no time for pathetic / callous bleating on about the adverse effects on mass public mental health
from going without a pint in a crowded overpriced pub,
far outweighing potential fatalities from in-pub covid transmission..

That's basically just cynical media propaganda from political shills for the big hospitality profiteers...

Roll on freedom day celebrations, and the inevitable expendable death toll...

..at least with only long covid, survivors might still carry on going out paying for a regular theraputic booze session..


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 06:52 AM

‘Bar-Flies’ were forbidden

should have been, ‘Bar Flies’ were frequently forbidden…


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 06:01 AM

I completely agree, Doug - ‘Bar-Flies’ are a complete pain in the rectum, especially the ones who seem to resent anyone else trying to get to ‘their bar’ for a drink, and who deliberately ‘spread themselves’ as wide as possible to prevent others’ access.

Back in the day when I played several nights a week in the clubs around Yorks., Notts., Leics., and Lincs., ‘Bar-Flies’ were forbidden and everyone had to move away from the bar behind a rail after they’d been served. Saved a lot of argument.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 05:49 AM

Though I look forward to the day that i can sit at the bar again, I think that day is still a way off.

I find people who sit at the bar to be a pain in the bum when I am trying order and collect my drinks. Make the transaction then move out of the way to leave it free for the next people, as far as I am concerned. There are a few things that I would be glad to see not return to 'normal'.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 05:47 AM

The hole in your argument is the point I keep on coming back to. Right, you don't know which one out of the hundred may be infected. But, unlike your lottery tickets, which give you verifiable odds of winning, most (yes, really) of the hundred mask wearers will be illicitly reusing masks, touching the front at extremely frequent intervals, scratching their nose through it, taking it off to sneeze or blow their nose, putting it up in shops and down again on the chin when they return outside, shoving it in their pocket next to their snot rags and loose change, etc. Ninety-nine out of a hundred will not have coronavirus, but a good proportion of them will still be creating an insanitary and hazardous item. And all that we've been told about masks will makes lots of people complacent in a way that will affect their behaviour. And the one infected person is just as likely to be showing this bad mask behaviour, if not not more so (there's a good chance that they didn't feel well before going out but decided to shove that under the carpet, just the kind of inconsiderate person who would think nothing of indulging in bad mask behaviour). Fixed-odds lottery tickets are stubbornly inanimate and unchanging objects. A human being wearing a mask is just that, a human being.

I won't be going on crowded buses or trains. I'm going to do my shopping at quiet times. No pubs or theatres for me. I don't trust everyone to do the right thing, which involves staying at home if you don't feel well. But one fine day, when this is all done and dusted, we will be told that wearing masks was almost certainly doing more harm than good. Hindsight will prove to be a wonderful thing. We don't do this for flu, which can kill tens of thousands in a bad winter (we had one such just a few years ago), and we don't do it for colds, or even stop people with colds going into old people's homes. Rationality has flown out of the window in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 03:01 AM

We have a number of people, such as Professor Whitty, who were regarded as broadly apolitical when they first appeared. There was even an occasion when one of the scientific advisors basically contradicted what the government spokesman said and left no room for doubt that is what he was saying. He was not invited back to press conferences for some time.

But more recently, they have seen seen as too close to the politicians, rather than presenting the straight scientific advice.

Dr Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, condemned the government’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Horton stated, “The faux deference that you saw from both of them to the prime minister [at Monday’s Downing Street press conference] in trying to shore up his decision making, I thought, was an abdication of their independent role as government advisers.”

Referring to Whitty’s claim that there was “widespread agreement across the scientific community” with the government’s position, Horton commented, “I’m afraid you have to conclude that the chief medical officer is wilfully misrepresenting scientific opinion across the country, and that is extraordinary to observe.”


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: robomatic
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 02:47 AM

As always, politics and medicine do not go together well. Does the UK have its own version of Anthony Fauci, someon who can be considered an uninterested medical expert?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Jul 21 - 02:00 AM

I don't agree, Steve, as you anticipated. I don't think there is anything to be gained by a protracted argument, but I will just pick up on one point:

if you see 100 people wearing masks, 99% of them are doing it needlessly

That is true in one sense, since 99 do not have the disease, but it is a significant fact that you don't know which one. And so you cannot isolate them to control the disease.

Given that, the important thing is the payoff. Compare with these two games. In the first, you pay £1 for a ticket, but one in a hundred wins a £500,000 prize. Do you play? Especially if you can buy multiple tickets? I certainly do! Conversely, the same game with a £5 prize? No, I don't play.

So the "99 free from infection when only one is infected" leaves out a critical factor, which is the impact of that one infected person (given we don't know which of the hundred it is.)

Vaccination certainly reduces the impact significantly, so we are not in the position we were at the start. But I think relaxing almost everything on 19th is unwise, I would certainly have kept the mask rules in place.   Many people, including the Health Secretary of State ask 'if not now, when'? My answer is when cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been sufficiently low for an extended period. Hardening that up, I'd say cases stable at the level of a few hundred at most for several weeks.

As for the fact it will always be with us. I agree, so we will have to run 'forever' a system for detecting outbreaks and dealing with local outbreaks. As we do for other diseases.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Jul 21 - 06:35 PM

I may be in a minority of one in saying the following, but here goes. In England, even in these fraught times, around one person in a hundred currently has the disease. So (and this is very ballpark...) if you see 100 people wearing masks, 99% of them are doing it needlessly. In Wales it's three times even more needless. On top of that, many thousands of people are being pinged to be told to self-isolate for ten days. The vast, overwhelming majority of these people are completely healthy, and a free test that you can do at home in half an hour can show it. Whole factories and transport systems are being closed down by an app which is probably the worst idea ever from a man who specialises in very bad ideas. Well it's an app that I no longer have. Ping me and advise me to be careful and get a test, fine. Ping me to tell me to lock myself away, no thanks. I'll have to continue to wear a mask even though they're useless (in my opinion, how long have you got...) I've had enough of this. This disease will never go away. It'll grumble along in the background, with occasional surges, for decades. I don't want to hear any more guff about "saving lives." We can all save lives by never going out of our houses. What joy!


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Rain Dog
Date: 17 Jul 21 - 12:21 PM

I agree DMcG, the 'muddle' is not helping anyone. I was at my local pub last Wednesday night, and they are unsure as to how they will proceed with the changes.

Though I look forward to the day that i can sit at the bar again, I think that day is still a way off.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Jul 21 - 11:43 AM

It is the difficulty that is the problem, I think.

Imagine a customers comes in and, somewhat aggressively, refuses to wear a mask and says it is their choice, and the government agrees, and what are you going to do about it?

Yes, you can refuse. When you do so, you are probably refusing their custom for all time, and possibly that of some of their friends. That is not an easy decision after a year or more of very little income.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Rain Dog
Date: 17 Jul 21 - 11:05 AM

Technically all businesses have the right to refuse to serve customers, though it is not so easy to do so in this day and age.

"Hopefully the airlines, ferries and rail services have been forced by Johnson to lay on additional free of charge capacity so people can get home on Sunday night"

Forced? Do you really mean that? Or did you mean to say that the taxpayer should pay to ensure that everyone gets back on time?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 17 Jul 21 - 10:50 AM

Hairdressers have the right to not serve customers without masks, and they could urn this into a marketing opportunity that they are a safer place to go for a hairdo than those who allow customers in with masks.

With regards to the track and trace, there still needs to be legislation giving employees the right to full occupational sick pay for quarantine (based on contractual hour or regular working patterns).which can be reclaimed 100% by small businesses.

Similarly for those retuning form France who have been fully vaccinated ahead of johnson changing the goalposts 8pm on Friday. Hopefully the airlines, ferries and rail services have been forced by Johnson to lay on additional free of charge capacity so people can get home on Sunday night - though again, I would accept an obligation to pay people full occupational sick pay for the time they are required to quarantine if they can't get back on time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Jul 21 - 06:11 PM

Ah, the dreaded ping.

My sister is nearing end-of-life. We thought it imminent but the latest prognosis is maybe 12 more weeks. As a result, I took a six hour train journey last week. On Wednesday I got the 'ping': isolate for five days because of someone of the train (probably). I got this alert while out with some friends celebrating their 60th. That also blew up a long arranged meeting with friends on Thursday, seeing my son and daughter-in-law for only the second time since this thing started on Friday afternoon, missing my (prospective) son-in-law's father's 80th birthday celebrations on Friday evening, and we had things lined up for Sunday as well.

But on the bright side I am not trying to live off a zero hour contract.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jul 21 - 06:00 PM

What an idiot he was to big up next Monday as "freedom day." We will still have to wear masks everywhere we had to wear them before. Travel will still be just as restricted. Wow, I can go the bar at the pub and jostle with a whole bunch of half-pissed people to get served. Wow. That bloody pinging app is wrecking businesses but he won't scrap what's his 34 billion baby. I've actually deleted it. Turn off your phone, no ping. Don't have a phone, no ping. Bluetooth off, no ping. Didn't download the app, no ping. And it all relies on the person you're in contact with not having any of those attributes. It's a farce. A typical Johnson farce. But he'll get away with it. I watched Starmer at Blackpool Tower and my buttocks have never been so tightly clenched....


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Jul 21 - 05:40 PM

Maybe. I have heard very few people in real life who are happy with the changes on the 19th. My wife was in the hairdressers today and they were saying how worried they are. After all, it is close contact with people for extended periods. They can and will continue to wear masks but it will be much harder to insist their customers do. Prof Chris Whitty said on Thursday that restrictions may need to be reimposed in as little as five weeks, before the end of the summer holidays. Big rises in cases and significant increases in hospitalisations and deaths, followed by yet another lockdown too late? I have felt for a while that Johnson's popularity will stay steady for a few more months and then will crack quite sharply: I see a sudden fall, not a gradual decline.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: peteglasgow
Date: 16 Jul 21 - 04:25 PM

does anyone else feel the tide just may be beginning to turn?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jul 21 - 08:54 PM

GB News too woke for its viewers !!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jul 21 - 08:16 PM

I can't stand the woman. Another anticorbynite. A born loser for Labour. I'll watch it tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 21 - 08:09 PM

BBC Hardtalk interview Jess Phillips


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 05:17 AM

Not so much London Centric, but more London Elite (+the shires) centric. London is probably the most economically and socially dividied part of the country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 04:35 AM

Good post, pete, and it chimes for me with what I was saying about Labour's rigidly ideological position with regard to greater autonomy/independence for Scotland. As I said, whether one agrees with the push for independence or not, there is a serious argument to be made for it, and failure to embrace that discussion in a constructive way was/still is a great way of alienating Scottish voters. Even here in Cornwall we are irritated by the blatantly London-centric UK political system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 04:27 AM

My sister met John Crace a couple of years ago when she was President of the NAHT. She's never stopped telling us what a very nice and very funny man he is. I loved his Digested Reads...


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 03:48 AM

Talking of reading: I have never read "The Fountainhead", though I have read extracts and reviews, most of which think it is philosophically feeble and, from the point of view of pure literature, very poorly written. The extracts I have read make me inclined to agree. But given it seems to have so many fans in government, I suppose I will have to get around to it and after all many influential books are not great page turners.

Anyone else read it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: peteglasgow
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 03:29 AM

for the snp their opposition to the tories is unchanging and resolute. labour lost much of its support there as they are seen as 'in bed with the tories' and more likely to co-operate with them in sniping at the scottish government. were labour to offer a clearer opposition to tory rule and adopt some snp policies in england (elderly care, student fees, trident etc) then the need for scottish independence would decline and if they offered a proper partnership and more autonomy to scotland then it should not be beyond the wit of reasonable people to work for their mutual benefit. however, ignoring scotland, patronising them or cheating them yet again will prolong the agony for labour and give the call for independence another boost. a half decent, consensual, yet solidly anti-tory westminster government is what is needed both sides the tweed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jul 21 - 02:57 AM

I confess to doing so. I would like you to take reading John Crace into account when deciding on your sentence.

Though his column is only occasional, David Mitchell is always worth a read as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 08:30 PM

...And I've just spotted irrefutable evidence that you, too, DMcG, read Marina Hyde... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 11:02 AM

So what about the animal sentience case

I haven't really followed it, to be honest, but my limited understanding is that it is not really about whether animals are sentient or not in actuality - which is essentially a scientific and philosophical question - but about exactly which existing laws apply to which animals. So an animal could be legally "not sentient" while passing some scientific tests, or vice versa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 10:06 AM

So what about the animal sentience case?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 07:21 AM

And so you shouldn't regret it. You broke an unfeeling rule but acted like a decent human being. The most difficult thing for me was my mum in a home just ten minutes from me. Naturally, the setup didn't allow me to break any rules and the home was very caring and allowed me visit her (through a Perspex screen at the appropriate distance) every week or so. Very tough, as she was profoundly deaf, and with my face shield in place we found it next to impossible to converse. In the end I resorted to a portable whiteboard. It was awful but every day I read about much worse cases in homes apparently not being run by normal humans. Before that I'd been round to her room four or five times a week. She died (not of the virus) at the end of October. The hospital broke the rules (no pressure at all from us) to let us be with her at the end. I can't complain about tight rules in hospitals and care homes, I hasten to add. But masks, rules of six, bubbles and the rest should always have been matters for our own judgement, and the government's job should have been to inform, advise and guide. Too many edicts and nowhere near enough of that (and don't get me started on mixed messages). Ironically, the sudden lifting of all restrictions on one day almost feels like an edict in itself. The government will find it all the easier to get us to comply with orders next time around, and that, to me, would be a very worrying development.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 06:25 AM

Well I've behaved responsibly since the first lockdown and haven't broken a single rule.

I can't say the same. I have deliberately broken a rule fairly early on. Just the once, but I would do it again.

My nephew and his wife had their first child during covid. He was not allowed to be present at the birth and she was sent home after a very short time. Once at home, they had no form of support at all. No visits from midwives or nurses, no friends calling round, no doting grandparents to lend a hand.    After around six weeks of total isolation, with no help beyond zoom calls and the inevitable baby crying at all hours of the night, they were near collapse, and rang us. We went round (about 30min drive) and took the baby out for a few hours.

I don't regret that at all. If we were to get fined for it, I would pay happily.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 05:59 AM

Vaccine-refusers are the people who really should be getting it in the neck from the rest of us.

I broadly agree. We have to remember that the benefits of the vaccine is far less clear cut for with those with a compromised immune system, of course, but otherwise I don't have much sympathy with refusers.

But it gets down to the same issue as masks, surely? I accept you should not be legislating to enforce vaccination, but to what extent should you be able to refuse services to people who will not? There are interesting notices from cruise companies, some of whom are requiring all passengers to be double vaccinated before boarding and some are not. That's a specific example of a general problem. They are trying to find the set of rules that maximises their custom as every pub and restaurant and theatre will also be trying to do.

The individual liberty versus general social benefit balance is rarely a simple one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 05:35 AM

The SARS coronavirus died out on its own without a vaccine. From the virus's
point of view, it failed because it wasn't infectious enough. Getting everyone vaccinated is the only way I can see of making life equally difficult for this virus. Children and young people are a big issue with the current virus. You can explain things to 14-year-olds and try to persuade them to be vaccinated. We have to make sure that any dangers of the vaccines are significantly outweighed by the benefits. It isn't easy, as young people rarely suffer significantly from the virus. Even younger children are a much bigger issue because they are not competent to decide for themselves and the risk-benefit balance is much more precarious (although we do vaccinate them against several childhood disease without demur). Reducing spreading from children is a key issue and I wouldn't mind betting that the science is straining to establish the safety of vaccines for children. My sister is the head of an infant school. Each year they are offered a flu vaccine (via their parents, of course) which is administered via a puff up the nose. It's done in a fun way and the uptake is around 98%. We have to be thinking outside the box. It's going to be all about the vaccines from now on. I'm criticised for squabbling about masks, yet I have never broken the rule. Vaccine-refusers are the people who really should be getting it in the neck from the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 04:20 AM

20,000 people died of flu in the winter of 2017-2018 but no laws were imposed telling us to wear masks or stay at home not mixing. Each year the flu vaccine is formulated using the best predictions of which strain(s) will predominate. Successful predictions will greatly help to reduce flu deaths. Different strains of flu viruses come from overseas as well as from within but no-one has ever suggested closing our borders every winter. Flu is a dodgy customer to deal with. We have to live with these things and try to live normal lives. Every winter there is a fairly effective campaign to inform people about flu and encourage targeted groups to get the vaccine. That is the right way to go. Information, advice and recommendations, plenty of publicity. But no coercion. This is our country, not the government's country. If we don't drop this now then maybe we never will. Compliance with the rules has been so high for so long that people's fears of catching the disease and becoming seriously ill are now exaggerated and lots of people are getting stressed about future mixing with unmasked people. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred you see with a mask on are doing nothing to stop the spread because they are not infected, so ninety-nine people out of a hundred you'll see unmasked will be doing you no harm. The fact that there is a law, not just advice, forcing those people to wear a mask is an outrage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 02:55 AM

I agree, Jos, that the evidence we will have a higher flu level this winter seems rather weak. I suspect a lot of it from 'armchair experts' is based on the idea of 'reverting to the mean': if you have a long term mean for something, and then an exceptionally low year, you will only revert to the mean if a compensating high value arrives.    That argument is more than a little dubious.

A stronger argument arises because illnesses like flu are broadly exponential in terms of infection. It does not matter greatly how low the starting number of infections is because after a short time the exponential effect dominates. Of course, in practice it is far more complex than a simple exponential, because it depends on encounters with susceptible people. As a result all infection curves are more 'S' shaped than a simple exponential, but in the early stages an exponential growth is a good enough model. It may well be that the experts think the low number of cases last winter together with less restrictions on meeting people will mean the number of encounters between infected people and susceptible people is far higher.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 02:23 AM

I should add I do not expect as many deaths as even the "optimistic considered", because if we begin to approach that figure, some of the restrictions will be re-introduced. The model assumes they are not.

I will repeat what I think the most valid criticism of my putting that extract into the thread is, which is the one I made of myself: I have not yet read the paper in its entirety. What happened was that I noticed Whitty said the number of hospitalisations and deaths had been modelled and that the model would be published. So I thought it worth trying to find that and then do a quick scan for what it estimated the number of deaths to be. Hence the extract.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Jos
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 02:18 AM

Supposedly, a combination of staying at home when possible, social distancing, masks and vaccines have caused a reduction in cases of, and deaths from, COVID-19.
Often in the same broadcasts that offer this information, I hear 'experts' on the radio saying that because there were so few cases of flu last winter (as a result of the staying at home, social distancing, vaccinations, masks) it is expected that there will be many more cases of flu next winter.
I don't understand why this would happen. Fewer cases of flu last winter should mean fewer people carrying the infection and therefore fewer people passing it on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jul 21 - 02:05 AM

All modelling is limited and error prone, I agree. That is why I started off by saying "the model estimates": it is an estimation, not a certainty, by any means. 'The most optimistic considered' is standard scientific/mathematical jargon. They calculated the range for things like R values using the best available data and the best available analysis. If they used the lowest value for R they get the most optimistic considered, and the high end of the range you get the most pessimistic considered.   Of course, it is possible the R is lower that the low end of the range: it is possible it magically becomes 0. Nevertheless, on all available knowledge and testing and analysis it will not be lower than that used. Equally, it is possible R is higher, but they only considered the high end of the range of the analysis.

People are free to talk about anything they like and to disregard the model if they wish.   Johnson certainly seems be behaving as if he is. The hot topic of the day may well be masks, and opening nightclubs and all the rest.   But the warnings of the costs are published on the governments web site. Not talking about them does not mean the warnings are not there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 08:49 PM

Alleluja, Nigel.   :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 08:46 PM

DMcG: I read your post, but pick out a clause which you may have decided to disregard:
In the most optimistic scenario considered (low immune escape and 150% increased transmissibility, and central R after NPI lifting), an additional 26,854 (95% CrI: 11,639, 54,990) deaths could occur by 1 June 2022, with a wave of hospitalisations similar in magnitude to the last wave. In the most pessimistic scenario considered (high immune escape and 170% increased transmissibility), additional deaths could reach 136,377 (95% CrI: 94,307, 189,456). Should transmissibility after Step 4 be higher, there could be up to 203,824 (95% CrI: 179,600, 241,116) additional deaths by 1 June 2022
So maybe 26,854 deaths, in the middle path. But maybe 203,824 if it is more transmissible.


The most optimistic 'considered'. Up until now we have been deluged with future projections, and almost without fail things have turned out 'better' than expected by the scientists. Or at least 'better' than the projections that have been used to frighten the public. The 'most optimistic considered' is not necessarily the most optimistic available.

I hope that when announcements are made for Wales (14 July) we also drop all, or most of, the restrictions we're currently living under.
The fact that it may then be permitted to drink standing up in pubs, without needing masks or 'social distancing', does not mean that the public will be herded into pubs by police with cattle prods. People will be permitted to make their own decisions about how and where they feel safe, and what, if any, further protective action they wish to take. The fact that face masks and hand sanitiser will no longer be mandatory should not be taken as meaning that they're banned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 08:32 PM

I am seventy years old. Since I was a little boy I have suffered from trouble with painful sinuses and a blocked-up nose. I am well short of being able to claim that I should be exempt from mask-wearing and I would never dream of doing so. I am an extremely obedient mask wearer. I feel very strongly that this government has had no moral right to insist that I wear something over half my face for the past year. It is not possible to demonstrate that mask-wearing is beneficial in stopping the spread of the virus. A controlled-experiment style trial is impossible, and any "science" behind such claims is predicated on and limited to the kinds of observation that necessarily preclude considerations of confounding factors. Yet we are enduring an ethos of mask-wearing-is-the-moral-thing-to-do, and we have had it imposed on us, quite improperly in my view, by government edict. One in a hundred people may be infected, but we are telling the other 99, who threaten nobody, that they MUST wear a mask. Infected people, even if they're wearing masks, are a threat to everyone, but the other 99 are a threat to no-one. Well I've behaved responsibly since the first lockdown and haven't broken a single rule. But I want to CHOOSE whether to wear a mask or not and I want to hear the government giving information, advice and guidance only. No more edicts. I respect the wishes of people who want to wear masks and I would wear a mask rather than make anyone feel vulnerable if we were unavoidably very close to each other. But we drop this now or else we'll be wearing masks for at least another year. And then we'll get the same arguments all over again and it'll be another year, and another... This is the right time in my view. And you chose entirely the wrong word when you accused me of taking pleasure. Blessed relief would be accurate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 07:56 PM

Yes I read your post but I wasn't responding at all to its substance but was glad to use it as an opportunity to latch onto today's hot UK topic. That's all right, isn't it? The model extrapolates a long time into the future, describes several wildly different outcomes all based on suppositions that are currently little more than guesswork regarding variant(s) and produce spuriously accurate outcome numbers. Oh, and likely ignores confounding factors, such as the unpredictable changes in human behaviour in the months to come. Good luck with that. I'm a sceptic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 07:09 PM

So the modelling estimates 26,854 deaths optimistically and 203,824 deaths pessimistically and your response is pleasure you don't have to wear a mask?

I will assume you did not read my post.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 06:11 PM

I will take a mask everywhere I go but I hope I won't have to use it. I won't put it on just because some mask aficionado wants to give me an argument. I won't put it on in Morrison's unless the company has a policy insisting on it (and for months I've been trying hard to avoid busy shopping times). I sanitise my hands before and after each shop visit without fail. I sanitise my hands again, as well as my car keys, every time I get back into my car. There's hardly any public transport round here so that doesn't apply. I'm not planning to go to a pub, theatre, cinema or football stadium any time soon. I'm used to keeping my distance without having to think about it. I've had both jabs. If I put on a mask and I think I haven't got the disease, the mask is a waste of time though I wouldn't know that. If I put the mask on and I have got the disease, then the first breath I take into that mask turns it into a dangerous, insanitary object that I'm sure to touch with my fingers several times while I'm wearing it. If I don't feel well I won't be going out. I'm not a COVID-denier and I'm not a mask rebel, but I hate the bloody things, think they are next to useless or worse and will be glad to see the back of them. So I welcome today's announcement and I hope he sticks to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: DMcG
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 05:20 PM

Meanwhile...

I still have to read through the entire document on the.modelling for step 4, but here is a paragraph to entertain:

f all but baseline NPIs are released on 21 June 2021 (Table 4), and assuming central immune escape and 165% increased transmissibility for B.1.617.2 (and central R after NPI lifting), our results suggest a third wave with an additional 59,180 (95% CrI: 33,140, 101,218) deaths could occur by 1 June 2022 (Table 5), with a peak in hospital bed occupancy about twice as high as that from early 2021 (Figure 7). Results are very sensitive to the assumed levels of transmissibility and immune escape for B.1.617.2. In the most optimistic scenario considered (low immune escape and 150% increased transmissibility, and central R after NPI lifting), an additional 26,854 (95% CrI: 11,639, 54,990) deaths could occur by 1 June 2022, with a wave of hospitalisations similar in magnitude to the last wave. In the most pessimistic scenario considered (high immune escape and 170% increased transmissibility), additional deaths could reach 136,377 (95% CrI: 94,307, 189,456). Should transmissibility after Step 4 be higher, there could be up to 203,824 (95% CrI: 179,600, 241,116) additional deaths by 1 June 2022

So maybe 26,854 deaths, in the middle path. But maybe 203,824 if it is more transmissible.

Ending restrictions is so.obvious, isn't?


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 05:10 PM

Ah, "how to 'wider interests'
Our ain we sacrifice,
And yet tine naethin by it..."

(Hugh MacDiarmid, "The Parrot Cry").

How often so many Scots voters continue to repeat the same mistake in the hope of getting a different result. How long before the observation attributed to Einstein becomes inescapably relevant?

ABCD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 02:50 PM

.. until we construct an estuary barrage defence to keep Cornish migrants out...


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 02:30 PM

.. now then, about the Wessex and Cornish independence movements..

You'll be stuck right at the arse end of the island..

While we can impose border controls on whether we let you in..

Remember our navy will control the Bristol channel...


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Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Jul 21 - 02:25 PM

Steve - fair enough, we have to accept that Labour have blown their prospects of ever regaining votes in Scotland..

We all seem to agree on that...???

The problem is, we are being asked to rely on the SNPs role in any progressive alliance to stand up to tory majority domination.
When we know the SNP will jump ship at the earliest opportunity.
Leaving the rest of the UK with substantially weakened defences..

The SNP are not exactly best mates we can ever depend on in the long term...


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