Daily View 2×2: 29 May 2020

2 big stories

Oh what a tangled web we weave… The problem with taking increasingly ludicrous positions in public is that, eventually, either you have to give up, or the contortions become so absurd that everybody knows that that’s what they are, at which point the game is up. Health ministers, and the Prime Minister, trashing their own policies in order to justify Dominic Cummings’ moonlight flit to Durham, Michael Gove attempting to suggest that he too would test his eyesight by going for a drive, the scientific advisors silenced. And it does begin to beg the question, what does DOminic Cummings know, insane a question though it is. The only thing that appears to stop the country from resembling a banana republic is the small matter of a reigning monarch…

Death, coming to a community near you soon? As the United States reaches 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, urban centres are beginning to see a decline in the death rate. Unfortunately, the pandemic is reaching out into poorer, rural communities, where healthcare options are limited. The Washington Post has crunched the numbers and offers an insight into how the death toll has spread.

2 social media posts

Matthew Green is of the view that the Dominic Cummings affair demonstrates how shallow the Johnson project is, but also that the leadership model is broken…

Instead Mr Johnson has gone entirely for the Trusted Adviser approach. In this the leader appoints a team of advisers entirely beholden to him, and selected on ability and trustworthiness. This team keeps a low profile and carries out the detailed work, including the digestion of information coming in from the front line. Such a team usually has a leader. All British prime ministers have used some variation of this strategy. Few have had the implied power of Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings. The biggest danger of the Trusted Adviser approach is sycophancy: the tendency to filter out the bad news before it reaches the centre. There is an inevitability to this, and wise leaders learn to adjust for this and try to triangulate with other sources of information. But again that is hard work. Mr Johnson has done something a bit more interesting, by appointing a maverick who is less inclined to be sycophantic.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Rylance brings us a bizarre story from East Devon…

It’s that damned mute button again, or something more troubling?

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4 Comments

  • Am I the only one a bit confused by the ‘app testing’..?

    The lockdown required the public to maintain a 2 metre distance; the ‘relaxed lockdown, although allowing groups, requires the same distancing,
    If I get a phone call informing me that I have been ‘named’ by someone confirmed with Covid then that means he/she and I were breaking the guidelines; not just fleetingly but for at least 15 minutes. It can’t be an ‘unknown’ on public transport as I’m named.. Therefore, as they need 25,000 ‘tracers’, it must be expected that large numbers of the population will ignore the 2 metre rule.. Is that correct?

    What about touching? If someone brushes up against me how long does that ‘brush’ need to last before it must be reported?

    I have more questions than answers..

  • Peter Martin 29th May '20 - 10:16am

    @ expats,

    There’s no way the app will know if you’ve actually touched. All it can calculate is the distance between the two mobile phones. But if two people are carrying the phones in their bags, this doesn’t indicate precisely how far the people holding the bags are apart.

    So it’s not perfect but its better than nothing! There will be weightings attached to both distance and the time of proximity. A threshold can be set accordingly which probably be adjusted according to the workload of the testers.

  • This Tory govnt cannot do without their Svengali who has manipulated things since the Referendum. Without him there whole edifice they have built collapses. The trouble is with Brexit they take the country with them.I remember when we were the 4th largest economy.Now 5th .After Covid 19 and Brexit where will we be?
    Are we going to have a spike in deaths as Johnson ‘releases’ us so that the ‘good’ news detracts from Cummings?
    An independent ,unorthodox person who uses flattery to gain favours —- meanings of maverick and sycophant. Cummings HAS a hold on the whole .Govnt Being in such a position others can be looked down on .
    Johnson being a journo knows about investigative journalism and how a person can ‘slip up’and be exposed. Hence the lack of ministers in front of camera etc. The truth is not what they want people to know.
    ‘Is it something more troubling?’Activities like this can shut down democratic debate.Shout down those who do not agree with you.loose a larger audience by cutting it off U-tube, a way of controlling debate.Are we not too far away from autocratic rule or dictatorship by failing to point out all the ways that debate can be hijacked by those with ulterior motives?

  • Richard Underhill 29th May '20 - 10:45am

    Asylum work was less gruesome because credibility could be an issue.
    In an attempt to raise standards the ’93 Act had come into force, providing refused applicants with a right of appeal to an independent “special adjudicator” (later known as an immigration judge) trained in asylum work under the United Nations Convention of 1951. We had six weeks training.
    An occasional earlier case would be on only one sheet of paper, mainly concerned with identity, any record of criminality and a simple statement “S/He is a refugee”. Later cases were increasingly complicated as “country information” was introduced.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_Relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees.
    The great advantage was that many countries had signed the refugee convention which was not the case with the convention on Statelessness.
    My office ‘phone rang one day. My father told me that my brother had died. My parents would be flying to USA for the funeral. I agreed to go because my mother was distraught about the death of her elder son and my father wanted me to help to soother her raw emotions. I was off work for a month, in hindsight because we were both in our thirties and the death brought an early experience of mortality.
    I had no confidence in the attitude of my line manager, so I asked my wife to write to his line manager.
    We write to the widow frequently, by email. She is glad that Peter was not conscripted for the Vietnam war and lays flowers at his graveside every year on Memorial Day.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

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