Covid-19 and Brexit: a lethal combination

Deaths from coronavirus dominate the news, but behind the headlines other sources of mortality are taking their toll.

This has been the case from shortly after the start of the lockdown, but is becoming more evident. If we look for instance at the figures for week ending 3rd April, there were 3475 deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales, but a total of 6082 excess deaths from all causes, compared to the five year average for that week. Contributory causes to these excess deaths probably include delayed cancer and stroke treatments, failure to seek necessary treatment for fear of attending hospital, suicides through worsening mental illness and the debilitating effects of unemployment. But often the cause is unclear, as when bodies are found by accident weeks after death, their stories untold.

If we factor in the relatively young age of the non-covid deaths compared to coronavirus victims, it becomes clear that the price being paid by the general population, in terms of life-years lost, is a heavy one. Adding a no-deal Brexit to this already dire situation has been aptly described as like fitting concrete overshoes to a man who is already close to drowning.

Organisations including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have already pointed out that no-deal could disrupt the supply of medicines to the country for up to six months. This includes life- saving agents for cancer diagnosis and therapy which cannot be stockpiled.

But surely Johnson, who is not a true believer in Brexit or in anything much apart from himself, will have the confidence, backed by his 80 seat majority, to mitigate such a potential disaster by extending the transition period? Unfortunately these early hopes have proved illusory. It is the all powerful European Research Group who now control the Conservative Party. These zealots are the descendents, in spirit, of the eurosceptic ultras whose agitation first dislodged the stones which precipitated the avalanche of Brexit. Their sole aim now is to rip Britain out of EU as quickly as possible.

Perhaps they are gambling on the early arrival of a vaccine, so that the no-deal mortality can be buried under the general jubilation which will accompany such welcome news. Or perhaps they simply want to bury it beneath the accumulated coronavirus chaos. Either way, their ruthless determination is not in doubt.

Of course the Government will claim that they are well prepared for no-deal, but this is the same government that said a deal with the EU would be a piece of cake and the easiest thing in history.

Covid-19 and Brexit are a deadly combination but the two are very different. The first is a natural disaster, the latest in a long litany of plague and pestilence which has afflicted our species since the dawn of time. Those struggling to contain it will make mistakes, but their good faith is seldom in doubt. The second is entirely man made, wilfully inflicted in the name of ideology in the sure and certain knowledge of the damage it will cause. Those responsible may not run down the street shouting “Britain first” before they plunge a knife into a fellow human. But they will have blood on their hands just the same.

* John King is a retired doctor and Remain campaigner.

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  • John Marriott 15th Jun '20 - 9:34am

    “Covid-19 and Brexit : a lethal combination”. Why not add the current ‘protests’ to the mix? Surely they are going to make things worse from a medical point of view, if nothing else?

  • Such a good article by John King, it seems that common sense and pragmatism have been completely ditched by this government in favour of sticking to their self serving agenda whatever damage it does to our country.

  • John Marriott
    That’s one of the problems. The temptation to use new powers to stop public dissent will continue. We’re not blocking your democratic rights of assembly and protest, we’re saving your life, will be the excuse. Protest at home , but be careful and remember we’re also “protecting” you on line.

  • Peter Martin 15th Jun '20 - 11:11am

    Covid and Brexit! A typical Lib Dem line.

    If the world had been hit by an asteroid or the Yellowstone Park volcano had erupted, covering most of the USA in ash, we’d no doubt have seen articles on “The Asteroid and Brexit”, or “the Volcano and Brexit!”

    Come on. Give it a rest.

    Lib Dems need to decide what they want to do about the UK having left the EU. Accept it and push for an amicable agreement which might just have some popularity electorally. Or, reject it, and fight the next election on a platform of putting in an application to rejoin, euro Schengen and all, on “day one” of a Lib Dem Govt.

  • That is just the point, this government does not seen to want an amicable common sense agreement which would be beneficial to us all in this much changed environment!

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '20 - 12:10pm

    Come on, Glenn, get off your hobby horse! The point I was trying to make is that it takes more than two to tango in this scenario.I know you were against the lockdown. However, anti democratic as it might be according to you, it would appear to have stopped the virus to a large extent. Mind you, you may not agree with this statement either.

    My point being…. the virus clearly spreads through human contact. Therefore avoiding human contact appears to slow it down. So now, all those people protesting, which is, of course, their right, as long as it is done peacefully, are now exposing themselves and possibly many others, who were not on the streets, to further infection, thus undoing, one might argue, all the sacrifices most of us have made by following the advice we were given nearly three months ago. They always say that trouble comes in threes, don’t they?

  • Peter Martin 15th Jun '20 - 1:02pm

    @ Barry,

    Is it really the point? Lib Dems come across as being against Brexit. Full Stop. Look, we can all have differences of opinion over the EU but the accusation that all EUrosceptics, by voting the way they did, “wilfully inflicted {a disaster on the country} in the name of ideology in the sure and certain knowledge of the damage it will cause” is sadly typical of the elitist arrogance that didn’t do the Remain cause any good at all.

    Just as before the election, the argument “we shouldn’t leave with no deal” is being seen as code to mean we should remain in the EU. If Lib Dem MPs had wanted a deal they could (probably) have had one more to their liking by voting for one.

    But isn’t it much too late for that? Lib Dems need to clarify just what they want now that we’ve actually left.

  • John Marriott
    No, I won’t. I will keep pointing out that there is no evidence that Lockdowns have worked better than measures taken by Japan, Iceland, Belarus, South Korea and even Sweden. The highest death rates per million are in Belgium (locked down early and hard), Spain (ditto) and Britain (allegedly late). I will continue to point this out and I will also continue to question the wisdom of giving up so much basic liberty in exchange for dubious claims of protection.

  • The EU is demanding that it retains full control of our fishing and regulation such as employment law, acquisitions and mergers, environmental legislation and much more.

    It believes that at the last moment the UK will agree in order to secure a trade deal or will be forced to accept an extension. This would allow the EU to demand many billions from the UK including a large share of EU Covid costs. They regard it as an opportunity for a win-win.

    The EU’s preposterous demands are leading to a no deal because they still underestimate the determination of the British people.

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '20 - 1:54pm

    Suit yourself, Glenn. What’s wrong with being different, hey? By the way, what’s happened to ‘frankie’? He seems to have gone AWOL. Bless!

  • @ Glenn What’s your specific advice to people such as me who are shielding, Glenn ?

    It’ll be nine years next Thursday since I had a transplant operation, and of course the drugs I have to take such as tacrolimus mean my immune system is compromised. Should I just go out and mingle ?

  • Even with a relatively simple system such as a virus infection it is interesting to see that there are different models, different predicted outcomes and the science is clearly not settled. However, the lockdown does appear to have saved the NHS ICUs from being overwhelmed.
    I can see there is a debate to be had about overall deaths, time to reach immunity, damage to the economy and how the different strategies impinge on these and other factors. No doubt such an analysys will be carried out in due course. However, I think it is of lesser importance to argue about an infringement of liberty and democratic rights. The government has a responsibility to protect everyone and in a crisis it must make tough decisions. The majority of people seem to support such decisions and many, including people here, think that the lockdown should have been implemented sooner.
    What would the alternative look like? Perhaps delay decisions for a year in order to hold a referendum, assuming this party would accept the result?

  • No trade barriers on imports but what about the EU agreeing the same on exports? Looks lile we will be getting out the begging bowl again.

  • Julian Tisi 15th Jun '20 - 5:23pm

    @Peter Martin
    It’s a bit premature to be asking the Lib Dems to outline their stance for the next election. I hope it’s clear to you that we don’t think any form of Brexit is a good idea, but now that we have left we hope the damage will be the least bad it can be. Sadly the Government is approaching negotiations without any sense of perspective or reality, demanding many of the benefits of membership continue but without any of the costs. No deal was dismissed as unthinkable and unlikely at the time of the referendum – instead we were told it would be the easiest deal in human history, that we held all the cards. The reality of any deal is that this is not going to be an equal deal – they’re bigger than us and if we want to retain benefits we’ve become accustomed to which go beyond say a Canada deal there will be a cost in terms of rule alignments etc. The Government is refusing to be realistic about this and appear to be accepting no deal because they fear a political fall-out from the compromises they would have to make to protect our economy.

    Perhaps Boris and co thought that we could ride it all out, hoping that the bumps along the way would be bearable with a bit of British pluck. But with COVID businesses across the country are saying that they’re in a critical condition. Just as we should hope to be recovering from the current crisis we’re about to be plunged into another one. Most worrying is medical supplies, but there are so many worries it’s difficult to know where to start.

  • Innocent Bystander 15th Jun '20 - 5:52pm

    I am with Glenn here. Those who have compromised immune systems should not mingle but shield until they are confident that the risk has gone.
    Why don’t they want the rest of us to return to normal? They can be as safe as they choose to be.
    I just do not understand their objections. The original lockdown was sold as ‘flattening the curve” – not to eliminate infection but to delay it so that the “arisings” were not so great as to overwhelm the NHS. There is no longer any danger of that but anyone who still feels at personal risk then just keep up your lockdown and let the rest of us go for a much needed pint.

  • We are approaching the situation where regional rules should reflect the local conditions. Covid-free regions could relax the rules and covid hot spots should have tougher rules.

  • I think Glenn and other sceptics will be shown to be right eventually if indeed they haven’t been already.

    Three months ago we were told there could be 250-500k deaths but so far the actual number is far less than that. Hospitals weren’t overstretched and Nightingale hospitals were largely empty. Do we really credit the lockdown for that? I doubt it and would suggest that higher numbers of young healthy people could have carried on their lives with relative normality.

    For one thing people were largely already complying voluntarily with social distancing measures before the formal legal lockdown was introduced.

    If you are a liberal then you believe that people can be trusted to do the right thing and you defend civil liberties even during a pandemic.

  • John Marriott 15th Jun '20 - 10:38pm

    ‘Marco’ says; “Three months ago we were told there could be 200-500k deaths but so far the actual number is far less than that”. It couldn’t have been because of the lockdown, could it? It’s always easy to be wise after the event.

    As for those, who reckon that the worst is behind us, I really hope they are right. But can we really be sure? Some people might fancy their chances of avoiding serious illness. The problem is that it’s hard to say which people will come away virtually unscathed. That’s why cavalier attitudes such as expressed by people like ‘Innocent Bystander’ could potentially be so dangerous, especially if a second or even a third wave of the virus occurs. We are clearly not out of the woods yet. It’s not just people whose immune systems might be compromised, who could be vulnerable. Seemingly perfectly healthy people have succumbed as well. It’s surely better to be safe than sorry.

  • Nonconformistradical 15th Jun '20 - 11:09pm

    “If you are a liberal then you believe that people can be trusted to do the right thing and you defend civil liberties even during a pandemic.”

    The trouble is – when people in positions of authority don’t abide by the set of rules they themselves are giving us – it’s an open invitation for people to ignore such rules.

    Furthermore – I for one don’t regard liberalism as entitling us to have no regard for the well-being of our fellow human beings. The healthy young people to whom you refer might easily be carrying this virus while being asymptomatic – and pass it to vulnerable people in their families. Having the kind of disregard for others which you appear to support counts as libertarianism in my book – and I’m not one of those.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '20 - 5:38am

    @ Innocent Bystander,

    “There is no longer any danger of .. overwhelm(ing) the NHS”

    There’s less danger than there was but it’s not gone away. The testing time will be later this year, into autumn and winter especially if there is a general relaxation and complacency sets in. We know that flu is seasonal. It decreases in frequency in summer even though there is no evidence that the virus is itself adversely affected by higher temperatures. But we tend to live in a better ventilated environment during the warmer months. We spend more time outside. The opportunity for the virus to replicate is lessened.

    This Spanish flu of 1918-19 hit it two waves in this same way. So it is a reasonable assumption that there will be a second wave later in the year. We don’t know yet how big it will be. We shouldn’t therefore decommission the Nightingale hospitals just yet.

  • Innocent Bystander 16th Jun '20 - 7:23am

    it’s time to say the unsayable. Those who exhort for continued lockdown against the danger of second, or now third waves, invariably declare that “lives are more important than money” and “forget the economy – save lives” seem to be those in receipt of a public sector income or a comfortable pension.
    Well, imagine how it feels to be young, with a big mortgage and young children and have just received a redundancy notice. These number in their tens of thousands, soon to be hundreds of thousands and then millions. Their prospects are terrible.
    I am old but I don’t fear death enough to add much more to their fear. The economy is not pound notes it is sleepless nights.
    It is time we old people remembered we have had our lives and think of the impact on the young and took the risk, for their sake’s.
    Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot. The LibDems have that covered with UBI and a job guarantee scheme (working on God alone knows what – it won’t be anything productive) and Ed Davey, following his ” make our grandchildren pay French and Chinese pensions from nuclear power” scheme will teach us all how to make solar panels and wind turbines from old face masks.

  • We have been through this several times already, govn talks ultra tough and then gets a half reasonable deal out of the EU. Coronavirus has stopped the right-wingers enacting a minimal govn mandate as Boris has been forced into Big Govn to save lives and the economy. True, lack of govn revenues going forward means there is a chance they will use it as an excuse for radical reform of spending but no sign of that at the moment. Looks like the govn will try to muddle through, more Edward Heath than Margaret Thatcher.

  • We need to nail this myth that lockdowns “protect people” are the “better safe than sorry” option and the ridiculous suggestion that people who question them are indifferent to human life.

    It is increasingly clear that there is “collateral damage” caused by the lockdown – Covid 19 does not account for a significant portion of the excess deaths seen. This could be people avoiding hospital, an increase in suicides and domestic violence. Then the economic effect can lead to lower life expectancy, especially in developing countries where the global economic downturn could lead to hundreds of thousands of lives being lost:

    We don’t apply the logic of “better safe than sorry to draconian anti-terrorism legislation so why apply it to a virus?

    If the lockdown made all the difference how do we explain Sweden – fewer restrictions yet their health service coped and death rates are around the average for Europe. If the media reported objectively on Sweden then nobody would still be arguing that lockdown worked.

    The main failure in the UK, Sweden and many other countries was to fail protect the care homes.

    Most people in the UK don’t live with elderly relatives unlike in Italy for example. So if the vulnerable and elderly had been shielded then surely people who are a) healthy and b) don’t live with elderly/vulnerable people could have carried on with relative normality and kept the economy going.

  • John Marriott 16th Jun '20 - 9:38am

    @Innocent Bystander
    You are certainly living up to your moniker. I’m old, like you, 77 to be precise, and, when I do eventually move on, I shall leave this life with less than with which I entered (I’ll leave you to speculate which parts of my body are no longer attached to me). Yes, by your definition, I’m probably surplus to requirements, ‘minderwertig’ as Hitler used to say. However, I really would like to see my young grandchildren get a bit older, thank you. Yes, I am quite comfortably off, no major debts, no mortgage, and any spare cash my wife and I have usually goes to help our sons usually via the grandchildren

    If I were to die tomorrow, would that help in any way to solve the present crisis? The virus is still there, waiting to find a new refuge. Who knows, it might suddenly decide that younger bodies, with their more robust immune systems, may offer a more worthwhile challenge.

    It will be interesting to see what effect the recent relaxing of lockdown, together with the protests on our city streets will have on the spread of the virus. If it goes up a lot, you know what to blame. If not much, then perhaps I and others were just being cissies, or perhaps it really did have something to do with so many protesters actually wearing those face masks that the experts used to tell us were a waste of time. The slogans people were holding usually carried the words ‘Black Lives Matter’. Well, Mr ‘Bystander’, in my book ALL lives matter, including yours, Glenn’s and all those football supporting right wing so and so’s, ‘defending’ those statues, with our police force in the middle of it all.

  • Sweden only has a population of 6 million. Its present transmission rate per head of population is growing daily, it has now surpassed the Netherlands with a population of 10 million, who live in a more densely populated environment. The Head Swedish Health Advisor has admitted that they got things WRONG early on and that their policy has led to more deaths than would have been the case if they had tightened their ship. Their number of deaths per head of the population has now exceeded France and Germany and the gap between Italy and themselves is now only ithe 70 odd, three weeks ago it was 300, their situation is more active than France, Germany & Italy, and let us not forget Spain has had no reported deaths for 5 days, whereas they continue in Sweden. Finland and Norway had done much better than Sweden. The trouble with some people is that they appear to just cherry pick what suits them.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '20 - 10:54am

    @ John Hall,

    The comment on the fishing wasn’t made by myself. I’ve got two names and I always provide both of them.

    I do understand that fishing rights is going to be politically much more significant than their value economically. We’ll have to see if they are traded off in the interests of keeping the London finance sector happy. That’s what I expect to see happen.

  • Innocent Bystander 16th Jun '20 - 11:22am

    John, I’m sorry but you seem to have re-written my contribution in order to be angry with it.
    Life is a balance of risk and benefits. It has been said that the safest place for aeroplanes is on the ground but that is not what aeroplanes are for.
    Those who want to stay ultra safe are free to isolate to their heart’s content to the extent of being a hermit if they want. However, anyone who is financially comfortable should, I said, put themselves into the shoes of the unemployed young who will number a couple of million soon. Imagine what it must be like to be job hunting now?
    My call remains the same. Open the economy as fast as possible and get these youngsters into productive work again before irrevocable damage to their futures is done. Those who think that is premature just stay in self imposed isolation for as long as they deem necessary, for years if they want, but these draconian measures are utterly outweighed by the personal catastrophes they are causing.

  • Far from being an innocent bystander you seem intent on being guilty of sending some people to their maker earlier than was intended. It is all a balance and do not forget from the politicians standpoint the oldies whom you seem prepared to sacrifice vote in far greater numbers than others and importantly contribute a large sum to the economy in terms of their taxes, , spending power and not least by looking after grandchildren scott free and allowing their parents to work. Overall economists reckon this could give the economy and estimated £20b at least a year alone. I would respectfully suggest you think far more deeply about what you say, the consequences of your argument are severe and probably on balance in the wrong direction. Risk is one thing but apparent recklessness is another!

  • John Marriott 16th Jun '20 - 12:32pm

    @Innocent Bystander
    I agree. All life is all about risk management after all. I’ve just got back from a spin on my (electric) bike. I have been ‘released’ again onto our local roads by my family only recently, after falling off during the winter. (Those pebbled slabs for the sight impaired are lethal when it’s icy). I took a risk. I’m back in one piece!

    However, it’s how you calculate the risk that’s important, surely. Without going over old ground, we are indeed faced with a dilemma. If the government keeps paying many people’s wages into the Autumn, there is a real danger of a massive loss of jobs, with a tanking of the economy etc. etc., which is a boat that most nations seem to be in at the moment. Or, if we do open up, do we risk the yet to be conquered virus to make a comeback?

    Once again, it appears to many to be a competition to see who can open up first. Thank goodness we appear to have lost the ‘race to the top’ in terms of COVID related deaths. In fact we were recently overtaken by ‘Just a bit of flu’ Bolsonaro’s Brazil and now lie in third place (but watch out for Modi’s India and, when they come clean on the true figures, Putin’s Russia.)

    Some of us reckon that this should be a wake up call to mankind to change the way it does things. Like fly less, shop less (except online?), eat less (if you have a choice), make and buy more of your own stuff, make do with a bit less (if you have too much already).
    I could, of course, go on. However, for me, the first thing is to get to grips with is this virus and, assuming that others may be waiting for that bridge to cross into humans, do something about the interface between us and the animal world. As we expand our ‘civilisation’ ever further, be careful whose feet we continue to tread on. I’ve not even mentioned Brexit!

    So, stay safe, stay sane and, above all STAY HEALTHY. In my book ALL lives matter.

  • The EU is making outrageous demands in return for a trade deal. Of course the outcome will be a matter for negotiation, but if the consequence is no deal then I shall not be surprised. At some stage the EU must accept that having left, we shall control our own affairs. Control of our own fishing waters is a good example.

  • Sweden has a population of 10.23 million , not 6 million. The models we used predicted it’s death rate to be at least 40,000 by the beginning of May and around a 100, 000 by August if it failed to follow the social distancing recommendations. Japan has a population of 126 million (an aging population at that) no lockdown and 929 deaths in total . Belarus, a population of around 10 million and 300 or so deaths. There is no evidence that lockdowns greatly alter the course of the virus. There isn’t even evidence that they were not being ignored by large numbers of people when they proved inconvenient. We are not just destroying the economy, we are destroying the social fabric of the country, stopping young people getting the education they are indebting themselves to pay for, restricting social lives, putting venues out of business, stopping people from going out dancing, telling performers they can’t have an audience, telling people who they can visit, who they can sleep with, when they can get haircut, how far away the can stand and how to dress based on a what look like faulty alarmist models and what appears more like a political fad than a sensible response. The highest death rates are not in countries that didn’t lockdown but in Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Britain. Sure, you can point to Greece, or Germany or New Zealand, but that does not alter the reality that countries that did not follow the mania for mass house arrest also have lower death rates than many of those that did. Draw your own conclusions. Personally, I suspect the whole thing has been an overreaction and one of the biggest blunders in history.

  • “So, stay safe, stay sane and, above all STAY HEALTHY. In my book ALL lives matter”. Quite right, John.

    But it’s also great comfort, John, to get Mr Innocent’s assurance that there won’t be a second spike – something which really would send the economy into free fall. LDV is indeed privileged to have such a well informed contributor, so clearly well ahead of the game compared to those wretched Cobra ‘experts’ presently advising HMG.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that our ever wise and cautious Great Leader, Boris, will
    discount what those wretches say and will soon send them all packing back to their academic ivory towers tout suite, when, that is, he reads Mr Innocent’s contribution over his horlicks tonight..

  • Innocent Bystander 16th Jun '20 - 1:16pm

    And I sincerely hope you stay safe too. All lives are precious but we are already prepared to risk those lives by riding cars, aeroplanes (and electric bikes on icy cobbles!).
    We, too, are financially secure pensioners and our sons have had jobs which ran through the lockdown. However, close friends of ours have sons in that gig economy thing who are in dire straits and it is easy for the comfortably off elderly (fed a diet of possible horror around the corner) to be unaware of the real distress the lockdown is inflicting on the not so fortunate.
    Some voices here imply that I am proposing euthanasia of the elderly but none have yet provided any reply at all to the simple solution that those anxious for their health just carry on as they are for another six months and let the young return to work?
    Anyway, John, stay safe (and be careful on that bike).

  • The model used initially, Ferguson et al., has been widely criticised for predicting a very high morbidity. However, those who defend the model can claim that the lockdown prevented that. This is where comparison with other countries may provide an answer, as Glenn argues above but it needs careful analysys.

    Governments tend to accept model predictions without question, as we see with climate models, even when different models give very different results and none of them adequately matches subsequent observation.

  • PS Also a great comfort to have Glenn’s expertise on ‘Great Blunders’. Could we use the Sainsbury millions to post him to take advantage of his expertise in a junior Consular post in Stockholm or Uppsala ?

    Sweden has the largest number of cases and fatalities in Scandinavia—around 37 000 confirmed cases at the time of writing, compared with its neighbours Denmark, Norway, and Finland which have 12 000, 8000, and 7000 cases, respectively. All three neighbouring countries adopted a lockdown approach early in the pandemic, which they are now slowly lifting. All three have since re-opened their borders, but not to Sweden.

    Sweden recorded the most coronavirus deaths per capita in Europe in a seven day average between 25 May and 2 June. The country’s mortality rate was 5.29 deaths per million inhabitants a day (the UK ranked second with 4.48) according to Our World In Data,2 an online research publication based at the University of Oxford”

    (BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 12 June 2020). Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2376)

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '20 - 1:37pm

    David Raw 16th Jun ’20 – 1:20pm
    ” a great comfort to have Glenn’s expertise on ‘Great Blunders’. Could we use the Sainsbury millions to post him to take advantage of his expertise in a junior Consular post in Stockholm or Uppsala ?”
    Or a job at Sainsbury’s? in which I declare an interest, which was not allowed to merge with ASDA and thereby compete with the monopolistic Tesco.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '20 - 1:45pm

    Peter 16th Jun ’20 – 12:38pm
    “The EU is making outrageous demands in return for a trade deal. Of course the outcome will be a matter for negotiation, but if the consequence is no deal then I shall not be surprised. At some stage the EU must accept that having left, we shall control our own affairs. Control of our own fishing waters is a good example.”
    NO, IT IS NOT.
    Owners of fishing rights have sold their boats.
    Should they be compensated?
    Should we eat less meat and more fish from river inlets?

  • Yes Glenn Sweden is 10million but it does not affect what I have said. The Netherlands is 17 million and Sweden is now in a worse position than the Dutch who were heavily hit early on!
    Overall you seem to have got yourself onto a platform and have to sustain it, objectivity suggests you may well be misguided. What on earth would have been the sick absence level if we have just carried merrily on. Employers with only third of their force in, if that. I can tell you that in one particular large conurbation near here , during early to mid April finding places to put the dead was a nightmare All available places were almost crammed up, most cases of whom had picked up the illness before the lockdown began. Once it had got under way the position stabilized and then fell.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '20 - 1:57pm

    Frank West 16th Jun ’20 – 8:13am
    Please declare your interest.
    Mrs. Thatcher supported Ted Heath, who gave her a cabinet job. ?Perhaps a token woman? He never married but he did improve relations with the successor/s of de Gaulle.
    In the 1975 referendum she wore a dress made of the flags of all the member countries. In order to win another we would need more widespread support.

  • @Richard, I do not understand the point that you make. As a sovereign nation we control our own waters. That is international law, though it seems the French are set to ignore the law.

    We may wish to allow others to fish there, but that is a matter for negotiation and we determine how that is managed, not the EU.

    The fact that some sold their boats shows what a terrible deal we got when we lost control of our waters, our fish and ended up with a tiny quota.

  • Sweden set out to ensure their health service wasn’t overwhelmed, to ensure deaths were kept in the range of a severe flu season and to only implement restrictions that could be sustained over a long period of time. They have clearly succeeded.

    One sign of this success is that they don’t need to have the same debate that other countries are having about what measures to lift and when and the public fear about the consequences of doing so – they can simply continue as they are. If there is a second wave I anticipate other countries following Sweden’s model.

    In fact Norways health chief Camilla Stoltenberg said recently that they could have controlled the virus without a lockdown:

    Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell did not say that he regretted Sweden’s strategy. He actually said that they should have done more to protect care homes which is correct. His comments were incorrectly reported which shows how we are being gaslighted on this issue.

    Comparisons between countries death rates are a clear attempt to shift the goalposts. They are also pointless for various reasons including the fact that different countries record causes of death differently. What counts as a Covid-19 death in one country might not count as a Covid-19 death in another country.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '20 - 2:44pm

    @ John Hall,

    “…… but why Johnson, Rees- Moggy, and the others think this must benefit us at the expense of the UE, Is a little odd!”

    I’d say that everyone understood that membership of the EU had its pros and cons. If you thought one out weighed the other you’d be a remainer or leaver accordingly.

    One of the cons was that we were required to share fishing rights as part of EU membership. The CAP and CFP are hard wired into the EU treaties and aren’t negotiable.

    So I wouldn’t agree with the other ‘Peter’ that a demand for continued access to UK waters was an a outrageous EU demand. Why wouldn’t they want to have a try for that? I’m sure that when Ireland separated the UK would have wanted continued access to Irish waters for UK boats. It was really down to the Irish to decide whether and under what conditions to allow that.

    We’ll have to see what is negotiated. I wouldn’t rule anything in or out but we shouldn’t be afraid to make the best of whatever hand we have. We don’t throw our aces away for no return. That would be the “odd” and stupid thing to do.

    I would expect we’ll end up with a similar relation to Canada has to the USA. Yes they are friendly but they still do have disputes over their coastal waters.

  • David Raw
    touchy and flailing as usual.

  • Marco, Glenn etc etc.
    Re the Lockdown: all I know, is that in a large City 14 miles away, the body count in early to mid April was so high that coffins were being located and stacked, yes , stacked at undertakers and authority premises, most of these deaths occurred at or prior to the lockdown, but by late April, with deaths subsequent to the lockdown the picture had stabilized and eased. I have no doubt the lockdown saved many, many lives, the regret is that it began two weeks to late.

    Sweden today has new reported cases of 940, extrapolate that to this country by population and we would have 6,000. With the worst will in the world the UK figure will not exceed 300. let alone even 600, Sweden, yes it has 10 million souls, is now in a worse position than the densely populated Netherlands of 17 million, and the gap grows daily. If steps are not taken Sweden could become the last and one of the worst places for the virus in Western Europe. Argue the point you may but I would suggest it is politically and socially unacceptable to absorb loads of extra deaths in your philosophy.

  • I agree largely with Peter Martin, but would point out that the UK offered sharing of fish subject to the need for conservation assessments and annual quota discussions. The EU refused, claiming that annual was too frequent and impractical and demanded the status quo.

    The status quo is the CFP, controlled by the EU, legally enforced by the ECJ and under which the UK fishing fleet has been decimated. That is why I referred to their demand as outrageous.

  • John Marriott 16th Jun '20 - 4:52pm

    I think I’ve said all I want to say on the lockdown so… let’s go fishing!

    I must admit that I don’t know much about quotas for anything, least of all fish. However, I read in my newspaper today that, when we joined the EEC, most of our deep sea fishing took place in Icelandic waters and the North Atlantic, so local waters weren’t as important to us at that time. Then, of course, we tried and failed to throw our weight around in the so called ‘Cod War’ and lost that income stream as well. In any case, didn’t our trawler owners and fishermen sell off some of their quotas to other nations? So, is it fair really to blame the ‘decimation’ of the U.K. fishing fleet entirely on the EU? Surely the desire back then to make a fast buck played an equally significant rôle.

    It would appear that M Barnier is now giving ground on this subject, which represents a very small percentage of our GDP in any case. Now, how will the EU expect the U.K. to reciprocate?

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '20 - 5:45pm

    @ Peter,

    The UK shouldn’t agree to anything like the CFP but there’s a case for showing some sympathy to the French and Spanish fishing industry on a quid pro quo basis. But this is just wishful thinking.

    I personally wouldn’t expect that this government would do anything other than sell out in favour of a deal that suited their mates in the City. If there’s a choice between supporting what passes for an industry in the City of London and the City of Hull then I know what they’ll do!

  • David Raw
    I apologises for seeming dismissive. My Dad was actually in a very similar position to you. He didn’t get a transplant and was very upset by the restrictions it imposed on him.

    I’m just not convinced we’re doing the right thing. Is stopping people going about their normal lives saving lives? I’m not sure that is. The economy is a secondary issue to my mind.

  • Peter Martin – I’m sure the EU countries will get a fair share of the fish. I share your expectations, a sell out is more likely than not.

  • @ Glenn That’s a very handsome comment, Glenn. thank you. I do hope your Dad made it/makes it…… but it’s certainly a scary pretty horrible experience – including for all family members.

    I just happen to think you are wrong on the science….. and I’ve never quite understood why. Do take a look at Denmark and Norway and ask yourself why have they done so much better than the UK and Sweden ?

    Of course the present situation has to change…. but it’s a very difficult judgement call how. I’m afraid I don’t think Mr Johnson has the application or self-discipline to do it.

  • David Raw
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Sadly, my Dad didn’t make it. I was the primary carer at the end. Dealing with the fear, depression and medical realities was a truly horrible experience. Everyone involved was as good as they could be. Great doctors and nurses. They earned nothing but respect from me.
    Anyway, good luck to you and a long life.

  • Thanks, Glenn. Much appreciated.

  • John Littler 16th Jun '20 - 10:24pm

    Professor Richard Wolff on Brexit
    Evading and deny our basic economic problems will not solve it. Instead, foreigners were blamed for everything. Soon it will be a lot more difficult to blame them but the problems of Britain’s 100 year decline remain, exacerbated by Capitalism’s second great crash in 2007-8, after which the UK working class suffered a level of standard of living loss that was unique in the western world.

  • John Littler 16th Jun '20 - 10:26pm

    Professor Richard Wolff on Brexit
    Evading and denying our basic economic problems will not solve them. Instead, foreigners were blamed for everything. Soon it will be a lot more difficult to blame them but the problems of Britain’s 100 year decline remain, exacerbated by Capitalism’s second great crash in 2007-8, after which the UK working class suffered a level of standard of living loss that was unique in the western world.

  • See the Swedish figures are getting worse by the day, both new cases and deaths, looking at their neighbours they may well now be thinking they chose the wrong strategy

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