Lib Dem reaction to Boris Johnson’s speech

Lib Dems have been reacting to the Boris Johnson speech earlier this evening, in which he imposed a strict lockdown.

Ed Davey,our acting co-leader said:

We must do all we can to stop the spread, and I urge people to play their part by following these measures, and not risk their own or others health by ignoring them.

Many people will be anxious about the steps the govt has taken, but it is the right decision to restrict our normal way of life to tackle this crisis.

I’m greatly relieved to see this. There are legitimate questions as to whether this step should have been taken sooner and how well the advice of experts is being communicated with the public.

@LibDems will continue to do all we can to support the most vulnerable in our communities & work to secure more support for self-employed, charities & others who still need more help from government.

Layla Moran commented:

Never thought I’d welcome societal lockdown, but I do. We must follow the science and lessons from other countries. Everyone has a vital part to play to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect both the vulnerable and our NHS.

The Government must now communicate this far and wide and begin a major public awareness campaign to ensure the lockdown is abided by. For businesses. For families. For our communities.

Former party leader Tim Farron,himself self-isolating, said:

Boris Johnson got that absolutely right. Colossal inconvenience for 3 weeks in return for saving hundreds of thousands of lives. It’s the right choice and we all need to comply.

Party President and acting co-leader of the party, Mark Pack said:

It’s never been so easy to be a life-saving hero. Slouch on the sofa, break out a DVD box set and you’ll literally be saving the lives of others.

And thank you of course to those many in the NHS and other services who are being life-saving heroes in rather more trying circumstances.

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Mar '20 - 10:34pm

    Correct from the PM. Excellent reaction from Liberal Democrats.

    We are all in this separately and together, unique situation though it is and very odd!

  • Rodney Watts 23rd Mar '20 - 11:24pm

    @ David Evans You are right to remind us of the fact that there are trade offs. As someone who has contributed to the health sphere, and also had a keen involvement with youth activities I am sad to be told the above possibilities. Quite a number of us have also recently signed a petition regarding the self-employed, and trust that indeed provision will be made.

    I have to say though that I fully support the measures now introduced. Indeed I self isolated before it was official policy; partly because of being at risk myself, but mainly because my wife’s immune system is currently compromised. Just today I again had to remind someone to keep their distance in a queue, but it is heartening to notice the consideration shown by most.

  • The reality is that we still have no properly thought our plans.
    It is clear that testing is key. This is not because testing cures by itself, but it is the only way of knowing what is going on. The stress being caused to people is enormous.
    What is clear is that the most difficult areas are the big cities. Many people live in overcrowded flats. When two couples share a small two bedroom flat, how are the supposed to act if one has a cough or a temperature? The picture could be repeated in many different forms. The answer should be that the person with some symptoms is tested straight away. The result goes on a date base. His room mates are tested. If positive their contacts go on a date base.
    Why are we not willing to learn from Singapore, China, Korea and Taiwan?
    Of course it is necessary to restrict contact and travel. But we also need to fight the virus.
    That is the job of the government. It is failing.

  • Sorry, “date base” should read data base. I must get to know my iPad better so we can understand one another.

  • John Marriott 24th Mar '20 - 6:58am

    David Evans is entitled to take the ‘liberal view’. However, I think that most sensible people would acknowledge that, at last, we appear to be doing the right thing. As for the PM, as Luke 15:7 puts it; “ there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance”.

  • Tom Harney – I agree. By the way, we should call for continual stocking up and upgrade of face masks, PPE, ventilators, test kits and so on, as well as continual pandemic wargames like the way Western great powers are running their military.

  • When this is all over there will be a need for a Royal Commission to quietly and soberly consider how this has all been handled. See, for example, this breaking news reported in the Guardian this morning :

    “Government ignored advice to set up UK emergency alert system. Failure to follow up on trials mean there is no ability to send coronavirus advice to mobiles”.

    My instinct tells me that this essentially lazy and trivial Prime Minister is making it up as he goes along and flying by the seat of his pants. The austerity years have eaten into the fabric and weakened the ability of this country to have the social infrastructure capability to cope with this monster.

  • It’s a complete overreaction by an egomaniac seeing an opportunity for a power grab and a place in the history books. Boris Johnson wants to be compared to Churchill and everyone is going along with it. When this madness is over he will make a big speech about how he’s saved the country. Parliament will pat him on the back and the journalists will fawn. Lockdown is basically a polite term for martial law and it is disgraceful that otherwise sensible progressive political parties are being as compliant as a soviet era politburo.

  • Look up for example :

    Austerity linked to 120,000 extra deaths in England | UCL › news › nov › austerity-linked-120000-extra-deaths-e…
    16 Nov 2017 – Health and social care spending cuts since 2010 are linked to nearly 120,000 excess deaths in England, with the over 60s and care home residents most affected, finds new UCL research. The study, published today in BMJ Open, stipulates that the critical factor in these figures may be changes in nurse numbers.

  • @Glenn

    Glenn, dear Glenn that really is just nonsense, I am no Johnson Fan or Tory Fan for that matter, but if you think this is all just a power grab than I think you need to take your temperature.

    I have enjoyed what you have said and contributed over the years and have agreed with you many times, but the hyperbole you are coming out with at present really is quite bizarre.

    The Tory party have gone on the biggest round of socialism, something that sticks in their crux and they would not be doing that unless it was absolutely necessary. Yes they have been given a lot of power and we have been asked to surrender some freedoms temporarily, but it is temporary in order to save lives and the country.

    To think we will not get these freedoms back is just silly.

    I cannot believe the sun has run headline about “house arrest” they have been calling for lockdowns for days, the prime minister caves in and give the media what they have been calling for, then they a run a story line to stir up trouble amongst those who think it is unnecessary, its almost as if the Sun whats to cause anarchy on the streets on the streets to sell papers, it’s disgusting

  • State of emergency to be declared in Thailand lasting a month.

  • ““Government ignored advice to set up UK emergency alert system. Failure to follow up on trials mean there is no ability to send coronavirus advice to mobiles”.”

    Just had a text from the govn telling me to stay at home with a link for exceptions… as far as I know, only HMRC has my phone number in govn as have received a text reminder from them before. So they have hacked into that system but not everyone will be registered. Spare a thought for those in the black economy who don’t exist in any of the systems.

    But I will be going shopping anyway as my supermarket delivery came last night with no frozen veg (about half the order) – I was able to drown my sorrows with the half price Baileys that they did manage to deliver, so not all bad news, No supermarket deliveries available, no click and collect available, so WTF are people supposed to do? Yes, I have supplies of porridge available but that is last resort when the military are on the streets, keeping people indoors!

  • Matt dear Matt, don’t patronise me. Beyond that I will not engage with you.

  • I am by nature supportive of what David Evans says and of not abandoning a liberal stance. And we must in this party as liberal politicians monitor these measures and the emergency powers act very carefully indeed as if we don’t then no one else will! Even if that is unpopular or considered unpatriotic. Our stance on the Iraq war was considered both at the time. Remember that income tax started as a temporary measure at a time of war!

    I also have some difficulty getting my head round how this compares with seasonal flu which claimed 28,000 in 14/15 and we didn’t shut down the country for that. Sadly there are many things that claim a great many lives that we don’t take drastic action over. Winter (50,000 a year), traffic accidents (1700 killed, 28,000 seriously injured), wood burning stoves (10,000).


    I do support illiberal action in this instance. It is difficult as humans to get a handle on exponential doubling growth. It only needs something to double 26 times for it to infect the whole country. It’s a bit like a very small bit of mould on bread. You turn your head for a second and it has grown massively. Obviously to keep on growing once it has covered one bit of bread, it needs to jump to another. And so putting up the barriers to prevent those jumps is important.

    Coupled with this is the precautionary principle. We haven’t in the past done this for seasonal flu – rightly or wrongly. And if the death rate is about the same you have to ask yourself why we are doing this now. But this is new and the figures from Italy are worrying – although less so from some other countries such as Germany and it’s virtually impossible to know how many have been infected with which to calculate the death rate.

    But it makes sense not to wait and see what the death rate turns out to be! And of course if there is a big spike then there will be a knock on effect of more deaths in people suffering with other conditions with the NHS overwhelmed.

  • @Glenn

    It was not meant to be patronising and I apologise if it came across like that and made you feel that way.

    But please consider this.

    You are being asked to surrender your freedoms albeit for as shorter time as possible to fight this crisis. The alternative is, I and my loved ones with underlying conditions and many millions across the country like me are being asked to sacrifice our lives with the “herd immunity” experiment if it failed.

    Now, which one is more morally right for our country and it’s citizens?

  • Graham Jeffs 24th Mar '20 - 9:11am

    If each household were to confine itself to one shopping foray per week, keeping two metres apart from everyone else, how much shop capacity would be required to meet this need?

  • Andrew Toye 24th Mar '20 - 9:29am

    There are serious problems with some of the closures. What if your TV/computer/radio/phone packs in and the electrical shop is closed? People stuck at home rely on these for entertainment when there’s nothing else to do.

    Presumably soap and cleaning materials are classed as ‘essential’? BJ only mentioned food and medicines, but we need to keep washing our hands…

    Broadly though, most of the restrictions are sad but essential. There could be serious mental and physical health consequences though.

  • What annoys me about this is it just about bearable for people like me (and I suspect most of the posters on here), with a nice house, a big garden and with fridges and freezer, Netflix, good internet coverage and some books to catch up on. But there are people living in bedsits and tower blocks and all this well meaning support for authoritarian restrictions is effectively putting them under house arrest. I will not support that kind of thing. I think it’s appalling and more selfish than the behaviour it’s designed to combat.

  • Glenn
    And there are British people stuck abroad who want to come home. There are few flights now.

  • I couldn’t help thinking about the 1960s movie starring Spencer Tracy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”
    A recently released convict has a fatal crash in California. Just before he does he tells the people who came to his aid where he has buried a large pile of cash.
    In the beginning the characters from all walks of life who came to his aid decide to share the money among themselves. But the cooperation and trust in each other soon breaks down and it becomes a frantic race to get there first. At the end of the film, they all end up in the same hospital bed together . I wonder how we will all fare over the next few weeks.

  • There is nothing bearable about this for anyone I would not have thought, but then it has to be done.

    I have chron’s and I am not able to attend any hospital appointments, let alone the problems with the toilet roll situation and not being able to get ahold of any which is a problem for when I am in a flare up especially when I am now finding it difficult to control my diet because of the shortage of products I need to get ahold.

    I have a community Psychiatric nurse who visits me fortnightly that can no longer take place as I now have 4 vulnerable adults in the house who are in the high-risk category.

    I have elderly parents staying with me, 1 of whom has dementia and of course, I am doing the right thing to have them move in with me because Mum is not able to handle the pressure on her own without some form of support. This is going to be extremely tough on my already difficult mental health problems.

    But I have to put their needs above my own, no matter how difficult and how much strain this is going to put on me.

    Nothing about this is easy, but we all have to play our part and make sacrifices for the greater good to try and come through this, we have to give people and the nhs the best fighting chance.
    If it turns out to be excessive l, that is far better than the alternative for many people and the country as a whole

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Mar '20 - 10:24am

    David Evans is right in his reservations about the new restrictions, and Glenn also makes good points. I was disappointed in hearing Ed Davey on Today making no distinctive contribution, not even mentioning the many people with temporary and uncertain work patterns who are going to need financial help along with the self-employed. It is surely our job as Liberal Democrats to stand up for the people left out, more than ever ‘disadvantaged’. I, like Glenn, had thought of the people cooped up in overcrowded flats in the cities, and I think today of ordinary people who will have to go out and offer work for cash because they have to find money from somewhere. There are a lot of people – postal workers and store staff and bus drivers among them – who will be legitimately out on the streets, including everybody who needs to go buy food directly because the on-line delivery system is overloaded or they haven’t even got a computer. The homeless will be out there too, willy-nilly. Let’s look out for the left-out individual people. David Raw tells us that there may have been 120,000 extra austerity-linked deaths. Let’s ensure there are no more resulting from neglect in these crisis months.

  • Rodney Watts 24th Mar '20 - 11:29am

    @ Katherine Pindar. Well put ! A nice summary and statement of basic principles: “standing up for the people left out, more than ever ‘disadvantaged’ “

  • Govn has “set up” community hubs for emergency food deliveries… except nothing mentioned yet on the council’s website nor anything turning up on a google search. People are assuming that the internet will continue to work and the phones will still ring, but try getting through to customer help lines or many supermarket websites, everything is already maxed out even before a total lock down. Councils need to set up their own websites for the hubs rather than via national one as that will be overloaded.

    In town, people were well spaced out, in Iceland there was most food available and no prices increases – the queue for checkout was spaced out but not two metres as there would have been no room for shoppers. Two people were sneezing but not dry coughs, took about ten minutes to get through to the teller. Think supermarket staff should now have masks and gloves. Most other shops closed except for the local motorcycle mechanic, banks were only allowing one person in at a time, quite a lot of them – presumably getting their mortgages rolled over or loans extended.

  • I certainly have no love for this present government but they are in place and in charge at this very difficult time in the events of our world, we can only hope that the decisions they make now and into the future are the rights ones for all our sakes. These decisions should be made with the support of all political parties and not for political gain, but I suppose I am hoping in vain on that subject!

  • Johnson’s delivery seemed like a comedian imitating a politician’s speech. He did not seem to believe in what he was saying because he was probably forced by his colleagues to do it. I wonder if he will last much longer. When he was criticized on the radio by an opposition spokesman no one argued with him.

  • Boris is okayish but I am tending to side with the half of the population who don’t believe a word he says… Gove is threatening even more restrictions in three weeks time or if we are very lucky lifting a few of them.

    BTW the cumulative death total versus time is not a particular useful indication of disease spread, the daily death total more pertinent, as the graphs get exaggerated by adding death on to death.

  • It’s good to see that quite a number of Lib Dems are thinking hard about what is going wrong and what is likely to go wrong with the current situation and clearly understand that Liberal Democracy doesn’t just go into self imposed intellectual lockdown because the country has to go into physical lockdown.

    It is very clear that the government are making decisions on the hoof with totally inadequate thought and pre-planning, and no thought for the consequences down the line. The British people need us to be there for them, pointing out the weaknesses in the plans – so they can be improved quickly; the mistakes and errors being made – so that they can be put right immediately; and the cover ups they are making to hide their incompetence. We should not just be a quiet voice going with the flow.

    In addition the government have prevaricated for too long in the early stages, probably hoping things would not turn out too bad and they would get away with it. It is their failure to take tough decisions at an early stage to nip the problem in the bud that has led to the need for these ever more draconian measures, which will doubtless have to be in place longer and cause far more damage than if they had taken it seriously at the start.

    “We need to manufacture more ventilators in the UK” – far too late, “We need to do more testing” – still nowhere near enough, “We have got masks and protective equipment out to hospitals” – far too little, far too late, and what about pharmacies, GPs, care homes, schools, prisons, bus drivers etc etc etc.

  • David Becket 24th Mar '20 - 12:42pm

    How out of touch can our “leadership” get. No mention of those in real trouble like the self employed. The disadvantaged have not been top of their list for some time.
    It is easy to be critical of those going out when you are in a large house with garden and a DVD box set. A large family living in cramped accommodation in the middle of a city are in a far worse situation. These are the people we should be supporting. Since I joined this party thirty years ago it has changed beyond recognition. Unless we sort our leadership and party structures out NOW we are heading for an early demise.

  • I too heard the shocking news of abandoned old people in Spain it really stopped me in my tracks. David Evans your assessment of the present situation was quite “upfront” but must give much food for thought for us all.

  • Helen Dudden 24th Mar '20 - 12:58pm

    How about those with disabilities? I have a badly swollen ankle, as I try to look after myself. I can’t have bone surgery, OK but what happens when you need a cleaner or help? Good question. No sign of the food packages or information on that. I’ve waited for a suitable disabled property, as rare as hens teeth. Lots of student accommodation, and most of those, could be empty for weeks or months.
    This whole saga has been badly managed, little thought on closing borders. Still travellers, arriving by plane into Bath and beyond. Not taking into consideration, those arriving by sea.
    We need control of our borders. I pray for my grandson in Madrid, retained illegally under their laws, he was abducted. My mother passed recently, she longed to see him in the 15 years he has not seen his family here.
    I will email him later. I never gave up, and he cried for me, I went to see him, after sight surgery to regain some sight. We all have story’s to tell. his loving abuela.

  • Sensible stuff from Katharine and others. Disagreement with anyone is not automatically a matter of bidding for political gain. There are no elections on the offing. I am not aware of anyone signing up new members. But if we have political awareness and political values we should not stop saying things from inside our own homes. A good rule of thumb is “I know where I am coming from but do the points I make resonate with people in political parties which are not mine or people who do not have fixed attachment to any party?” We need discipline and mutual loyalty and interdependence – not silence.

  • Rodney Watts 24th Mar '20 - 1:13pm

    @David Becket So agree with you –except I first joined almost 50 years ago, left about 10 years ago and then rejoined 1 year ago because of brexit. It isn’t just in the area of social or community politics that things have changed beyond recognition! Is there any point in renewing membership? Sad!

  • Rodney Watts 24th Mar '20 - 1:19pm

    @Helen Dudden My sympathies! I pray you will indeed see prayers answered.

  • John Marriott 24th Mar '20 - 1:24pm

    This present crisis was not caused by politics; it was caused by human behaviour. As Liam Fox MP/MD of all people wrote in an article at the weekend, human beings have been around for about 200,000 years, while viruses like Covid-19, on the other hand, have been around in various forms for MILLIONS. They are pretty smart, probably aren’t liberals; but need to find a host for their survival. If we don’t take drastic measures now the survival of many of us may be in doubt. Sorry to offend some of you; but given a choice between allowing a virus to survive or saving the life of only one of my fellow humans, even Dr Fox, I know what my choice would be.

    Those of you banging on about civil liberties should take a backward step and just ponder the consequences of doing nothing. I don’t worry about myself. Yes, at 76, I’m in reasonable health, I own my house, whose upkeep will now definitely get my attention, I have a hobby. If the worst does befall me or my wife, we are both agreed that we have had our time here. The people we worry about are our young grandchildren and their parents, particularly one of my daughters in law, who works in the local hospital facilitating the return home of generally elderly patients. She’s scared and understandably so. This is war, where the enemy is invisible but pretty cunning. So, let’s have a bit less of ideology and a bit more realism.

  • Peter Brand 24th Mar '20 - 1:36pm

    What Britain needs now, to navigate the C-19 pandemic, is a Government of National Unity. The Conservatives simply do not have the credibility to rally the country in this emergency. They are responsible for a decade of austerity that killed many thousands. They lied to get elected. They lied to win the 2016 referendum. They went on the record telling people to ignore experts during that campaign. They lied to the Queen to get Parliament prorogued. They have driven many of their most able and experienced MPs away – Amber Rudd, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin, David Gauke, Dr Phillip Lee to name but a few. The Conservatives are left with no-one who commands any respect outside their own voters.

    Although serious curtailment of civil liberty is required by the situation, the Conservatives do not have the credibility to put it in place without taking powers that threaten our democracy. They should recruit Opposition leaders to the Cabinet to ensure wider trust and support for the necessary programme of actions. The Cabinet is in desperate need of the abilities of people like Keir Starmer, Jon Ashworth, Ed Davey, Layla Moran, Caroline Lucas, Ian Blackford, and Liz Saville Roberts. Presenting the required actions as the considered and agreed policies of a Government of National Unity, instead of having the necessary debate with opposition leaders after the Tories announce their plans, would increase clarity and help greatly in ensuring acceptance and compliance by the people.

    The irresponsibility of the Tories is also exemplified by the fact they are refusing to postpone Brexit although they’ve already lost almost 2 of the precious 11 months they’ve got to negotiate trade deals, with every prospect of losing more time; and although in the December 2019 election only 43.6% of voters supported their damaging Brexit plan that risks a no-deal scenario.

    Boris Johnson does not have long. He should learn from the experience of Neville Chamberlain. The last time the country faced a crisis this big, Chamberlain held on too long before trying to form a national government with himself as leader. He then found that his own resignation was required to enable the national government to be formed. Come on Boris, let’s get this done.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Mar '20 - 1:36pm

    David Evans
    “We need to do it for the British people. No one else will.”

    Welcome back home David, I guess we are all nationalists now?

    It’s intriguing that in a major crisis, when the otherwise well-heeled liberal senses a threat to their personal health and finances, liberalism evaporates into the ether, globalism shrinks, internationalism is put on hold, no-one cares which toilet which self-identified gender uses, and Liberals in the face of a major personal threat suddenly re-acquire their love of Britishness.
    Well done. Maintain this renewed concern for your fellow British citizens, and you might even have a shot at being electable?

    That said, spare some of your concern for young Rushi Sunak. When John McDonnell, two GE’s ago, told the electorate that he would fire up the printing press, and print a £500 billion Peoples QE, we all guffawed.

    Suddenly, tory Rushi Sunak is reluctantly having to print-up £350 billion of emergency Socialism

    Tories ditch austerity and discover Socialism
    Liberals ditch internationalism and discover their Britishness

    When will this madness end?

  • Daniel Walker 24th Mar '20 - 1:37pm

    @David Becket “How out of touch can our “leadership” get. No mention of those in real trouble like the self employed. The disadvantaged have not been top of their list for some time.

    Do you mean the leadership of this party, David? because the self-employed are mentioned in the the article, in the quote from Ed Davey, and I understand we have an Urgent Question on that in the Commons.

  • @ David Beckett You know I normally agree with you, David, and also that I’m not shy of having a go at the Leadership.

    However, to be fair, Ed Davey made a very powerful speech in the Commons an hour ago on the very point you raise on the urgent question Daniel Walker mentions. It was the best and most eloquent thing I’ve seen him do.It’s on the BBC Parliament i.player.

  • David Becket 24th Mar '20 - 1:58pm

    @David @Daniel

    Always admit when I am wrong

  • Sue Sutherland 24th Mar '20 - 1:59pm

    We have the political theory to deal with this situation based on the work of JS Mill. When exercising your liberty harms others then your rights are adjusted. Some people think they should be allowed to do what they want, but that isn’t Liberalism, we believe in the community and in protecting the vulnerable. So I think we can support a Bill giving the government powers that will enforce the behaviour necessary to protect the wider community.
    However, we should be very wary about how the Tories propose to do this because they are Libertarians for the rich and powerful. Their policies have meant that we face this crisis in very poor shape as others have pointed out. It also means that they are unlikely to offer help to those people whose rights have been ignored for a couple of decades or more, such as those who are part of the gig economy.
    It is important that we criticise the government for failing to provide enough protection for front line workers in the NHS, care workers, teachers and supermarket staff. We must also criticise them when they leave people floundering as a consequence of their Bill and its implementation. We mustn’t give up opposing the government for failures of its own making, indeed we should be loud in our opposition because they have put the country at risk.

  • Sue Sutherland puts it well.

    As someone on the confined to barracks list because of my dodgy immune system I have to accept the government is correct on the main issue….. and I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.

    However, to put these powers into force without any review built into the legislation for two years is far too long. Ed Davey made a good speech yesterday saying an automatic three month review should be built into the legislation, and on the grounds of accountability and human rights, I agree with him.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '20 - 2:54pm

    So many good comments, but where indeed were they when some of us on here were writing and reflecting, critics, being constructive, of govt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We had little of Mill other than my article, and Sue here, as always marvellously Liberal but not ultra!

    David Evans is intellectually full on herein, but please, let us see this is an emergency and we need these policies, stop the worry its been a day!

    My wife and I are in a tiny flat, one bathroom, in isolation though nearly w odd years younger than , seventy, too much sympathy for indulgent who cannot be indigent, as was the old abuse of people, now obsessed with being on holiday in the sun, or on the club ,round,
    out and about and drunk!

    We must help the old, sick, disabled, and self employed who are responsible people staying home.

    And who cares about the ones who think staying home on a couch is troublesome to their itchiness to be elsewhere!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '20 - 2:57pm

    My typing as ever, I mean to write, I’m, twenty odd years younger than seventy, though type as a geriatric!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '20 - 3:03pm

    And thanks to David Beckett and Raw.

    David B

    You are a one off, so young in spirit, though am not as down on our leaders as yourself.

    David R

    Great to read your comments though believe this government much better than even the coalition for being able to listen or change it’s course, that from the most vociferous of dissidents on here when their policy was for the herd!

  • David Evans 24th Mar '20 - 3:03pm


    Surely you must see that the delays were political decisions. The failure to plan was political. The fact that the government hasn’t come up with any idea as to how to support the self employed shows its total political ineptitude. Telling self-employed people who will have no money unless they go into work that they are bad and they shouldn’t go on the tube is a total failure of the political class in charge of this country.

    Coronavirus just brought them all into the public gaze.

    The human behaviour that is failing is that human behaviour of those politicians who have failed to plan far enough in advance to give people confidence that they have thought of most of the angles never mind all of them.

    You seem to imply that the alternative to this Conservative mess is doing nothing. You know that is untrue. You didn’t give up on the people of North Hykeham because the only alternative to local Conservative ineptitude and general indifference was for you to do nothing.

    You did something about it.

    Please note, I am not saying that the latest government proposals are intrinsically bad, and most if not all are probably needed, but with some DIY shops open, but most closed, the self employed forgotten about until too late and your daughter in law scared and probably without adequate protective equipment, I think this government needs holding to account now.

    Surely, this is an alternative and much better than doing nothing.

    To use your own words “Those of you banging on about doing nothing should take a backward step and just ponder the benefits of instead doing something to improve things.”

  • Paul Barker 24th Mar '20 - 3:13pm

    Lonoon is supposed to have been in Lockdown for 2 days now but it doesnt look any different to me, the Traffic is a bit lighter than usual but thats it.
    The NHS 111 advice is not to ring them if you have mild symptoms & not to test. I have a mild fever, maybe its Covid but more probably not, I may never know.
    The Tube is still crowded apparently.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '20 - 3:13pm

    Because John M is right in every word here, does not make David E wrong in much of his!

    We must though, now support this, as Matt , says, new socialism!, from the farthest left Tory government since Mcmillan! Indeed my view is Boris J is more Supermac than Winston.

  • I’ve just spent some time heroically self isolating in my garden with the radio on, some olives and some gin. Later I’m going to help the nation come together, separately of course, by finally watching Fleabag. I’m told it’s very good. So I’m just as capable of doing my bit for the country as the people who are more enthusiastic for national house arrest. In fact I’m feeling so heroic, self-sacrificing and noble I will put just as much effort in for the duration of the lockdown. Really when you think about it people like me are giving much more up than people who actually support this thing. Because in a way we’ve been drafted into a sort of national service against our will .So the next time when you are talking about saving the nation think of all the brave people who are hunkered down in their gardens drinking on your behalf.

  • ‘ve just read, with a sense of wonder, that the UK not taking part in EU procurement schemes for ventilators and other coronavirus equipment
    The UK’s absence from the schemes emerged as the European commission declared on Tuesday that a joint effort to buy protective medical gear on behalf of 25 member states was “a success”.

    Am I right in supposing that the UK will now be trying to make it’s own deals in competition with our EU neighbours?

    The mind boggles

  • Frank Brierley 24th Mar '20 - 7:44pm

    I do agree with John Marriot. I’m similar to him in age (I’m 79), and health (reasonable) and circumstances (house owner with absorbing interests). He writes, “Those of you banging on about civil liberties should take a backward step and just ponder the consequences of doing nothing. I don’t worry about myself.” However, like him, I think, I do worry about those who seem to have been least provided for by the Govt’s measures to date; and I believe it’s reasonable, and indeed an important function of opposition parties, to press for the additional measures needed – not vitriolically but firmly in a spirit of national unity.
    Some good suggestions have been made in this forum, some in the form of expressing dismay at Govt blunders or idiocies like opting out of “EU procurement schemes for ventilators and other coronavirus equipment” (‘expats’), and some like Paul Barker’s mild comment on unfortunate consequences of Govt’s well intended advice, e.g. not to ring 111 except in real emergency. As he says, if he can’t find out for lack of testing whether his mild fever is Covid, “I may never know”.
    The bigger point there relates to what seems an absence of long term strategy. I haven’t seen discussion or signs of Govt awareness about the ‘mechanics’ of the transition from x million of the population being infected, and most of them recovering, to the subsequent, supposedly safe situation of victory over the virus. When will a test for antibodies that show I have had the virus, with its implication that I have a measure of future immunity from infection, be available. Unless there is extensive such testing, I don’t see how a judgement can be made that it is safe to relax emergency measures. Maybe I’m wrong, but I need to know why, and so does the nation. If numerous school children get and quickly recover from Covoid, what a difference it can make to know that has happened, but without the antibodies test, how, in Paul’s words, will we ever know?

  • Paul Barker 24th Mar '20 - 9:03pm

    The big message from us should be that everything the Government has done has been too little & much, much too late.
    As things stand the virus will Peak in London in about 3 Weeks & the rest of the Country a Week or two later. Even now London is not remotely under “Lockdown” or anything like it.

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Mar '20 - 10:19pm

    It seems that our Parliamentarians are doing their bit, both to demand financial help for the self-employed, suggesting how it can be done fairly, and in trying to limit the dangers to our civil liberties. So far so good: we shall have to keep a continual eye on what actually happens, of course, and think of the workers from intermittent and irregular employment who may now be unable to find work. If they are to be admitted to the enhanced universal credit, I hope it becomes immediately available. Or is this where we advocate a minimum income guarantee coupled with a job guarantee, as Joe Bourke. seems to be advocating?

    Rodney Watts. thank you for your pleasant and constructive comments.

    Glenn, it was a surprise to find myself so much in agreement with you earlier, and I wish you pleasure in your garden, only please can you read a book or a paper rather than listen to the radio? Sorry, but a particular hate of mine is being forced to listen in my house to radio from people’s gardens or cars or chaps doing jobs! But perhaps you have ear-plugs. Best wishes to you and all of us enduring this crisis!

  • Katharine Pindar
    I have my radio on very low and, being appalling middle class, it’s not pop music or classic rock. I’m actually quite considerate because, being an urbanite, I know what its like to have inconsiderate neighbours. Anything loud or obtrusive and I put my headphones on. Now, If I did want to annoy people I would dig my amps and decks out and relive my youth by rediscovering the joys of Happy Hardcore.

  • Phil Beesley 25th Mar '20 - 3:50pm

    Frank Brierley: “When will a test for antibodies that show I have had the virus, with its implication that I have a measure of future immunity from infection, be available. Unless there is extensive such testing, I don’t see how a judgement can be made that it is safe to relax emergency measures.”

    Companies are developing their tests for antibodies. But there are 66 million people in the UK. So let us turn that into 66 million personal tests.

    We don’t need to worry about test samples swirling around in centrifuges or growing on slide samples. We can scale up for that. We understand that processing of results may be slow. We can wait for results.

    * Five minutes for staff at GP to arrange a test visit.
    * Five minutes for a sample.
    * Sample has to be transported for testing, identifying the subject.
    * Abnormal test results have to be examined by a human or the test has to be repeated.
    * And much the other way around to return test results to subjects.

    It is more likely that infection and death rates will diminish sufficiently that more normal social and economic activity will return before we really know what we are doing.

  • Phil Beesley 25th Mar '20 - 4:14pm

    The Frank Brierley supplement.

    The Guardian reports that home antibody testing kits are being reviewed. Professor Sharon Peacock: “Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do.”

    For some but not for all.

    “Amazon has agreed to carry out distribution and the tests will also go on sale in chemist shops.”

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