PM must properly plan ahead to protect jobs and lives, warns Davey

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that England will go into a second national lockdown until 2 December, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Yet again, Boris Johnson dithered, delayed, and ignored expert advice. He was too slow in March and too slow again now, and his failure to lead has cost lives and jobs.

People across our country have sacrificed so much, waiting for Ministers to act and keep our families safe. Instead, the Government asks even more despite failing to deliver an effective test, trace and isolate system.

The priority must be keeping people safe and ensuring no one is left behind. We need a real plan in place to protect jobs, businesses and the self-employed, not least an immediate u-turn on ending furlough. Unlike before, carers and care home residents must be properly looked after.

If there is to be any chance of a near normal Christmas for families and a recovery in the new year for businesses, we need a coherent plan now. That includes common guidelines agreed by the four governments of the UK and a strategy for fixing the test, trace and isolate system.

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42 Comments

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Oct '20 - 7:05pm

    So, it’s lockdown again in England. Very late – over a month after the scientists first suggested a two week circuit breaker. A month of delay allows the virus to take hold so more drastic action is needed.

    My heart breaks for all the people whose jobs are now seriously under threat, for all those who didn’t qualify for self-employed support who have already gone for months without income. There are so many things this Government should be ashamed for. One of the biggest is the way that it has left people out. Nobody should have to worry about how to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. Anything less than extending the furlough scheme in full and widening the eligibility for help is not going to be good enough.

    The driver for the lockdown has to be the ability of the NHS to cope. If people need to go into hospital, and particularly have to go into ICU, they will be there for weeks. My local hospital’s covid ward is full. That concentrates the mind a bit. I am worried by what I hear about the NHS. Staff were traumatised and exhausted by the first wave. Then they spent the Summer playing catch up with all the urgent stuff that hadn’t been done during the first lockdown. Now, when we aren’t even in Winter, they are apprehensive, fearful and haven’t had the chance to get over the exhaustion.

    And then we have the sheer incompetence of the way that the message is being communicated. What should have been told to Parliament on Monday has been leaked and we are now having a hastily arranged and much delayed press conference on a Saturday night.

    I mean, Strictly is one of the few things keeping me going at the moment (the others being Bake Off, Mary Berry, Nadiya Bakes and the prospect of The Crown in a fortnight) and it’s going to have to start late.

    I am so angry at the fact that we are in a place we are facing this huge crisis with the most incompetent government I can remember.

  • So shielding has not been reinstated – we have just been told to ‘be careful’. Well, we have been isolating for the last two weeks anyway, as I am sure a lot of other people have been.
    But shielding also triggered some additional support to those who needed it – government food boxes, supportive phone calls from the local council, prescription deliveries. I do hope they are going to be provided this time round as well.

  • @Mary

    “I do hope they are going to be provided this time round as well.”

    I agree, I have to do my mothers online shopping for her as she still struggles to do it herself online, especially as Tesco makes it so hard to check out as they want you to go through about 5 pages of offers before they will even let you get to card-payment, buy that time she is so confused, she gives up.
    Anyway, I heard late this arvo that online priority slots were being snapped up, so I thought I had better check and sure enough, all slots had gone till middle of November 🙁
    I am quite surprised the Government have not put in place the same levels of support again for those that need it, or circumstances might change and find they need it.
    I.e Everyone goes nuts again and start stock piling and Supermarkets not able to keep up with delivery slots.
    I know not everyone classed as extremely vulnerable wanted the service or wanted to take part in the shielding and that’s their choice and I get that, but the Government are shocking for not having provisions in place for those that need it.
    First Free school meals for Children
    Now shielding support for the vulnerable
    I am horrified at this governments level of neglect to those most vulnerable

  • If you put the cruise ship’s comic on the bridge what do you expect… From day one of the pandemic this government has lurched between denial and panic without ever coming up with a sustainable plan..

  • There goes another few thousand livelihoods and liberties. Disgusting. Barely anyone is taking any notice of politicians anymore. They’re all loathed. Enjoy your police state, but don’t pretend it isn’t one and don’t be surprised when it ends badly.

  • No surprise that things are messed up again, huge inflows of people during the summer and even recent weekends before the weather changed (to South West coast), pubs packed out with little social distancing, people milling around together on the beach front. Clueless. Don’t understand why kids were allowed to run around doing Halloween last night, though I did not actually see any so maybe the parents have more sense than our rulers but the house opposite had three families, twelve people, having a Halloween party so I expect that was replicated elsewhere.

    If you look at the covid curve, its up-tick coincides with the schools going back so it is madness to keep them open and close all retail, having kids running around with no symptoms but shedding the virus all over the place. Not surprised teachers are having bowel problems.

    Everything needs to close down for two weeks at Xmas, lock everyone down completely using the public holidays from next year (public holidays not viable with covid) so minimal cost. Families would be able to group together for those two weeks if they wanted to.

  • This time there is less willing cooperation. Their won’t be much clapping for the NHS or moral support. Everyday there are more and more people getting angry with those imposing unemployment, restrictions and hardship on them.

  • It is odd that they haven’t reintroduced shielding.

    They say “be careful” but what does that mean exactly when they have told the whole population to be careful.

    They say they don’t want to isolate the elderly and vulnerable but it is inevitable that if you introduce lockdown those people will be very isolated. They are not being excluded because there is no national social life to exclude them from. The difference is that with shielding there would be an infrastructure of support.

  • George Thomas 1st Nov '20 - 8:45am

    @Frank West, “If you look at the covid curve, its up-tick coincides with the schools going back so it is madness to keep them open and close all retail, having kids running around with no symptoms but shedding the virus all over the place. Not surprised teachers are having bowel problems.”

    I guess you haven’t seen the twitter thread today which starts as: “We’ve just sent out the results of our September 2020 Year 7 writing assessment to school. Key findings: Year 7s are 22 months behind where we’d expect them to be at this time in the year.”
    (https://twitter.com/daisychristo/status/1322130232833396736)

    One of the things I think Scotland has done well is work out where the priorities lie and do as much as possible to protect children and those in education from the worst of it. There are no good choices this year; our only hope is that our different governments are learning, are able to communicate the message clearly and we return to spirit of all being in it together.

  • @ Frank West

    If “you look at the covid curve, its up-tick coincides with the schools going back so it is madness to keep them open and close all retail, having kids running around with no symptoms but shedding the virus all over the place. Not surprised teachers are having bowel problems.”

    If there was an award for the most uninformed statement on Covid this would win it. Available evidence is that children, especially young children at most play only a limited role in spreading the virus.

    However children receiving their education and all that goes with it is as important as any other consideration in all of this.

    Schools are often where safeguarding concerns at picked up so that can a matter of life and death as well.

    And “teachers with bowel problems” is a new one.

  • George Thomas 1st Nov ’20 – 8:45am…………I guess you haven’t seen the twitter thread today which starts as: “We’ve just sent out the results of our September 2020 Year 7 writing assessment to school. Key findings: Year 7s are 22 months behind where we’d expect them to be at this time in the year.”………….

    So, 6 months without attending school (6 weeks of which were normal holidays) has put 11-12 yo’s back 22 months?
    A ‘responsible’ adult must have been with them during lockdown. What the heck were parents doing; letting them go feral?

  • Children are sent to school to learn and so their parents can go to work. Most parents are not qualified teachers. Learning is repetitive. Children forget things without the repetition, thus they go backwards on the learning scale.
    If you want lockdowns understand that they cause damage. They are not even the difference between saving lives and not saving lives. They are an attempt to ensure that the NHS does not become overburdened with lots of people with underlying health conditions becoming seriously ill all at once. The virus is not a death sentence and the lockdowns are not a guarantee of longevity even a slightly extended lifespan. This is the central absurdity of what is going on. The sad reality is that when you get older or have serious health conditions the chances of anything killing you increases. If we reported every death from every cause exactly as we do with this virus there would be some sense of perspective. We don’t and people are being subjugated to fight what amounts to a new medical complication rather than to halt a lethal threat to the otherwise healthy. But even then, people of advanced years and people with underlying medical conditions have also recovered. So, make your choices and don’t pretend their are no alternatives or consequences.

  • We have friends and relations who were made redundant as a result of the furlough scheme ending – the day before the announcement that it would be continued. At least one will lose their home because of it. Businesses cannot operate on policies that change on a day or two’s notice, most things take weeks or months to arrange and do.
    This government, whether on Brexit or Covid-19 or any of its other many responsibilities, has no idea of the consequences of its stop-go policies, and is always ready to stop something BEFORE starting its replacement. No concept of the importance of continuity, both to businesses and to people’s jobs, homes and health.

  • Peter Hirst 1st Nov '20 - 2:10pm

    While agreeing with this post’s direction we must go further. With another month of lockdown now is the time to create a plan for the future that engages the new reality. People are having the opportunity to review their future and this must include changes in careers to accommodate a green recovery. Jobs in farming, rewilding, conservation and forestry all take people out of desk jobs into the open air. What is needed is planned career prospects in these areas.

  • Peter Watson 1st Nov '20 - 3:46pm

    @expats “So, 6 months without attending school (6 weeks of which were normal holidays) has put 11-12 yo’s back 22 months? A ‘responsible’ adult must have been with them during lockdown. What the heck were parents doing; letting them go feral?”

    I think that referring to parents “letting them go feral” is an awful phrase; it sounds horribly dismissive of the real difficulties faced by many parents when, without the support of schools and teachers, it comes to providing their children with the sort of education that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. And how much harder must it be for those children without supportive parents? Any attempt to determine the damage caused to children’s learning by the closure of schools is incredibly important. especially when it is easy to see how socio-economic factors mean that damage would fall disproportionately on those already disadvantaged.

    I don’t do twitter but I think this is the thread being referred to: https://twitter.com/daisychristo/status/1322130232833396736
    The 22 months seems to come from the fact that Year 7s this September scored similarly in the test to Year 5s last November. There are a number of questions raised by the findings, e.g. how much of the apparent decline is due to the normal year 6 to 7 transition, how much to Covid, how much to random variation or a real difference between cohorts or assessment, is it easily reversible, etc.. However, it seems reasonable to expect that an extended lack of normal (or any) schooling would cause a significant drop in writing ability which might be worse than a drop in e.g. reading ability since it would be harder even for well-intentioned parents to get kids to produce extended pieces of writing and then to assess and correct them.

  • @ Peter Watson

    You are right, sone of the language used is very troubling indeed. I get the impression some contributors here would be more at home on the Daily Express comment pages where they can rant
    about “feral children” “feckless parents” and “why can’t Remoaners see that even no deal doesn’t go far enough”

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Nov '20 - 8:04pm

    I have to agree that expats has not had one of his finest moments here. Teaching is difficult, which is why we require them to be trained and regularly evaluated. And whilst some parents are committed to the education of their children, others are not, as a visit to any number of schools will demonstrate – and for the record, I speak to a number of head teachers in the course of an average year.

    So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some children are regressing in achievement terms. To vilify the parents is a sweeping generalisation too – if both parents are working, be it at home or otherwise, where are they to find the time to supervise study?

    My gut feeling is that, on the balance of risks, having children in school is preferable, both in terms of educational achievement and wellbeing across the piece. But that does mean ensuring quick testing so that children (and teachers) contracting Covid-19 can be identified and isolated quickly, and those they come into contact with can be told and take appropriate action.

    One final thought – not everyone here is a Liberal Democrat, and that does need to borne in mind when responding to some comments. That doesn’t make them wrong or bad necessarily, but it does perhaps indicate that their motives are not as transparent as they might have you believe.

  • Nonconformistradical 1st Nov '20 - 8:55pm

    “But that does mean ensuring quick testing so that children (and teachers) contracting Covid-19 can be identified and isolated quickly, and those they come into contact with can be told and take appropriate action.”

    Quite. And in more general terms – would we be in anything like the trouble we’re in if test and trace worked properly so that infected people were identified quickly and supported through isolation and their contacts were traced quickly?

    By the way – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/01/half-slovakia-population-covid-tested-covid-one-day

  • Gerald Stewart 1st Nov '20 - 9:49pm

    @ Mark Valladares ‘That doesn’t make them wrong or bad necessarily, but it does perhaps indicate that their motives are not as transparent as they might have you believe’
    That is a very revealing statement and not your finest hour. I thought this site was open to all members of the public who wish to engage. I didn’t realise that there was an obligation to declare your colours before being welcome to post or that by not doing so one is not being transparent. What is a Lib Dem anyway? Party member? Loyal voter? Sometime voter? If your aim is to make non members feel less than welcome and their views less valid than members then crack on, wonderful job! For the record I voted Lib Dem when Nick Clegg was leader, unlikely to do so whilst Ed is leader.

  • It does seem to make sense more for universities to have switched to online learning as it is much easier for them to do so unless they are taking practical courses and it would appear that there is a significant problem with some students sticking to the social distancing rules.
    I think it is important however to keep the younger children in education, they are easier to control, early years education is vital and also there is the fact that we have to get the young ones used to this new world that we are living as we do not know yet how long for.

    I do however think that concessions have to be made for children if there is a vulnerable person living in the household, be it the young person with an illness that puts them at risk from covid, or a young carer who is looking after a sick parent or sibling, we cannot have them going to school being put under all the fears and pressures that they might infect their loved ones. that is truly not fair and parents should not be fined for taking their kids at schools during these times in these circumstances.

    I have heard a couple who are now in this situation, my niece included and it is not right

  • @Nonconformistradical

    I read that article on Slovakia and was amazed that managed to test half their population un a day. If Slovakia is able to logistically carry out those kind of numbers, why cant we with all the resources that we have.

    The Government cannot waste the next 4 weeks, once the numbers are driven down to manageable numbers they have to have a track and trace system that is fit for purpose.
    They also need to make sure that anyone who is contacted and told to isolate will be well compensated so that they are not worse off, of course on the flip side, there needs to be penalties for those that non-comply and breach the 14 day quarantine.

    If we want to get back to as close to as normal as possible and avoid blanket lock-downs then the government has to sort this out, but it needs public education and support as well and the government should start using targeted media campaign on social media to reach out to those that so far seem to be resisting to the measures.

  • No, chance, then, of the party taking a liberal stance on this new raft of restrictions, most of which will prove utterly irrelevant as far as stemming the spread of the virus is concerned?

    Schools and universities remain open, and families will continue to spend their time indoors now that the good weather has gone.

    Meanwhile a whole swathe of economic, social and community activity is being shut down.

    A liberal party shouldn’t be joining Starmer in a competition to see who can urge the Tories to lock down soonest and furthest.

  • John Marriott 2nd Nov '20 - 8:29am

    Some of the comments about schools, whether apocryphal or not, illustrate a dilemma many face. It would seem that it is only schools that are providing youngsters with the knowledge and a stable anchor as they negotiate their way through early life. Surely that should never be the case?

    I have heard the phrase often, which goes something like; “Well, they chose to have them” and that does ring true. However, for every feckless inadequate parent, there are thousands, who are doing their best to bring up their children and to inculcate in them a sense of fairness and compassion for others. However, for a variety of reasons, they can’t do it all and that’s why schools, particularly at primary level, need to stay open to provide proper cumulative education (from the Latin ‘educare’ to ‘lead through’). As for universities, probably next to returning holiday makers and partying/socialising addicts the main culprits for the aggressive return of COVID, we should never have opened them in the first place.

    Finally ‘back to the kids’. Is it just me, or do the media consciously interview apparently single mothers when it comes to parents in difficulties? My question, as always, is “Where are the fathers and are THEY helping in any way?”

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Nov '20 - 9:01am

    @ Gerald,

    Perhaps my perspective, as a member of the Editorial Team, offers me a rather different view of how this website works than that of a relative newcomer, so I won’t rise to the obvious bait.

    You are courteously reminded of our banner, which describes this website as a place by and for Liberal Democrat supporters. We define that very generously, as can be evidenced by the number of comments which are less than entirely “Lib Dem friendly”.

    However, like most political websites, we have to manage “bad actors”, whose behaviour is deliberately misleading. I’ve always thought that a way of doing that would be to encourage commenters to declare their political affiliation in the same way we allow Liberal Democrats to do so. It would also offer readers some context as to the comments made.

    So, Gerald, how would you define yourself?

  • If you search male semen levels and covid there is some research to suggest that levels are affected by the virus, which would add to the weirdness – a virus that kills the elderly and infects the young but may make them infertile down the line without doing them much harm otherwise???

    If true that makes Mother Nature rather wicked in survival mode.

  • John Marriot
    I think some people are simply trying convince themselves that lockdowns have little impact. They expect parents or various other groups to be responsible for things, but want the state and everybody else to take responsibility for their sense of safety. The attitude seems to be, you teach your children, you lose your business or job, you do this and you do that and if don’t you are irresponsible , but you have to care about me and protect me because you are responsible for me.

  • John Marriott 2nd Nov '20 - 9:43am

    @Glenn
    I know where you always come from in this argument.

    Nobody has ever said that dealing with a new virus was going to be a Walkman the park. I’m just one of those who is prepared to shelve his libertarian views of society for a while so that we can make a decent fist of sorting this mess out -and, let’s be honest, we might never to it completely and will have literally to live with it.

    I believe it was the Jesuits, who used to talk about giving them a child for the first five years of its life. That’s why early years education is so important. I’ve seen how my four grandchildren, all between the ages of four and eight, two here in Lincoln and two in Greater Manchester have suffered developmentally, despite the best efforts of parents AND grandparents since March and I really don’t want a repeat if it can be avoided.

    I don’t want to regurgitate the merits of a lockdown, circuit break or fire brake or whatever you prefer to call it – or in your case the overly oppressive hand of an increasingly authoritarian state.- but it does work; but only for a time, and it’s buying us time that we desperately need. I do, however, want to concede that life is all about the choices we collectively make. In an emergency it’s usually “women and children first”. So, if I have to choose, sorry ladies, I would choose the latter every time.

  • @ Ian

    “ No, chance, then, of the party taking a liberal stance on this new raft of restrictions, ”

    No sadly not. Bizarrely it is only a group on the Tory right who are standing up for Liberalism at the moment. I wouldn’t necessarily expect the Lib Dem’s to vote echo my opinions on Covid but if I was leader I would have stood up for civil liberties more as well as calling for more protection of the clinically vulnerable “a robust response not a draconian one”. It is not that different from opposing draconian anti-terror legislation which the likes of Blair, May etc would claim was designed to save lives and therefore worth dispensing with civil liberties for.

    In general 2020 has been a year of conformity, censorship and hectoring which the Liberal party have supported every step of the way. We also said that rejoining the most successful political project in modern history was “for the birds”.

    Are we trying to attract people who are anything but liberal – hardcore Brexiteers, people who think human rights and civil liberties are something that can easily be dispensed with rather than principles which underpin the vet things that make live worth living, people who would cancel children’s education without a second thought, people who support mobs vandalising public spaces and removing statues and people who would stop someone standing for public office because they said something stupid on the internet 20 years ago?

    If so it’s not working as we are on 6-7% in the polls. Illiberalism brings no electoral benefit so we might as well stand for core liberal values and see where that goes. Starting with making a big deal out of the fact we opposed the spying bill when Labour didn’t.

  • John Marriott 2nd Nov '20 - 9:46am

    “Walkman in the park”? Bloody predictive text again! How about “a walk in the park” instead? As an ex teacher I ought to know all about checking my work before handing it in!

  • John Marriott
    I’m not so sure lockdowns work. I suspect they were introduced because desperate governments put too much stock in the “honesty” of the CCP. If you go back to the beginning of the crisis, China claimed to have virtually eliminated the virus after two weeks. That is why the original plan in for UK envisioned the restrictions lasting 3 weeks. Personally, I don’t think China is anymore trustworthy than North Korea is or the Soviet Union was. I think we ended up copying a police state model to the same effect. If at the start of this thing we had known how countries, like Japan, that did not follow the Chinese model faired we would not have gone into lockdowns. They fail because people are people not computer models and because the governments of police states like China tell big fat lies about their achievements to bolster their image abroad and at home.

  • Gerald Stewart 2nd Nov '20 - 11:41am

    Mark, I would define myself as someone with liberal instincts but who believes these can also find a home within other parties, there are politicians with liberal views in both the Tory and labour party. As I said I voted for the party when it was led by Nick Clegg and have often voted for the party at local level, though I doubtvvI will ever give heart and soul to any one party. A reluctant remainer for purely trade and financial reasons, I have no great love for the E.U. project, I was dissapointed by the Lib Dem response to Brexit, and feel that the leadership by Tim and Jo has alienated a number of people who voted for the party under the leadership of Nick Clegg. The party now seems to focus on single issue and identity politics, and to obscess on policies such as UBI and a federal U.K. which very few outside the party support, to a level which I believe will make it hard for it to recover it’s previous strength prior to the next election.
    This doesn’t mean the current direction of movement in the party is wrong or bad necessarily, just that it is unlikely to be in government in the near future.

  • “I’m not so sure lockdowns work.”, says a regular and repetitive contributor to LDV.

    I’m not sure what qualifications said contributor has in public health, but I have more trust in Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of Sage who was reported in the Guardian this morning :

    “Thousands of lives would have been saved if the government had introduced the second lockdown earlier, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies told the Today programme.

    Prof Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, is a member of the government’s new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) advisory committee, as well as a participant in Sage meetings.

    Asked what would have happened if the government had implemented a lockdown when Sage proposed one on 21 September, Hayward said:

    Well, we can’t turn back the clock. But, I think if we had chosen a two-week circuit-break at that time we would definitely have saved thousands of lives”.

    End of.

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Nov '20 - 12:52pm

    David Raw, completely agree, enough said!!

  • So yet again British politics shafts the young.

    Who is there to speak up for the millions of younger people whose lives and livelihoods are being wrecked, many of whom will lose their already precarious jobs and some of them their homes, because of a virus that in the vast majority of cases presents no threat to them whatsoever, to protect older people who will sit at home on secure incomes, many actually better off through saving money on commuting, meals out, holidays and the rest?

    Our party should be the one championing policies to address the glaring unfairness and injustice between the generations.

  • @Ian

    “So yet again British politics shafts the young.”

    I would have thought that we are trying to protect the “young” just as much as we are trying to protect the “old, just as much as we are trying to protect the “ill” and the “healthy”
    Young and healthy people are just as reliant on the NHS as old and sick people.
    Anyone can become i’ll or have an accident at any given moment and be reliant on the NHS and as Boris Johnson has just said “Hospitals were in danger of being overwhelmed, he says. He says that means the “sacred principle” that everyone should get the treatment they need would not be honoured.”

    I am sure people can argue about the accuracy of other stats, but can you be so sure to argue about the current stats and the trajectory of the virus and what this was going to mean for availability of hospital beds, staff and treatment?
    No Prime Minister or any Party is going to allow that situation to occur and nor should they. It is all well for these MP’s shouting from the back-benchers, but I doubt any of them, if they were PM would allow that situation to happen if they were in charge.

    There is no denying that this awful virus is having devastating effects on people’s lives and livelihoods, but livelihoods with the right government response and priorities can be restored relatively quickly, lost lives cannot be and repairing the long term damage done to Public Health could take years if this virus were allowed to rip and cause the sort of damage many well respected scientists fear.

  • John Marriott 2nd Nov '20 - 4:54pm

    @Glenn
    It doesn’t take a genius to understand that lockdowns DO work to suppress the spread of the virus provided that people obey the rules/guidance. What they don’t do is eradicate the virus. In fact that might never happen and COVID-19 might join flu in the endemic category, which can be controlled by a vaccine, which you can take or not.

    What we still do not know is why this particular virus can be a killer in some people and hardly registers in others. It’s probably something to do with our genes or the robustness of individual immune systems. With that in mind my wife and I have been taking a daily dose of Vitamin D for some time now and I read that science is now suggesting that it be added to bread and milk. But that wouldn’t go down well with the likes of you, I suppose. As for the ‘police state model’, you must be joking. There are those, who argue that our police force is overly PC. Perhaps a few paras sent in to the ‘parties’ and ‘raves’ springing up might concentrate minds a bit more than appears to be the case at the moment. Who knows?

  • Peter Watson 2nd Nov '20 - 8:07pm

    @Mark Valladares “a place by and for Liberal Democrat supporters. We define that very generously”
    I can vouch for that. Having once been a member of the Liberal Party and its “salad” successor, and having voted for the Lib Dems or their predecessors in every type of election up to 2010 (apart from a successful tactical Labour vote in the 1997 GE) but not since (apart from 1 Lib Dem on a slate of 3 in the 2011 local elections), this site has generously put up with me for 8 years while I deliberate over whether or not to return to the fold. (8 years?! More than 10 years since Clegg-mania! Strewth, where did the time go?)
    It’s probably the mix of former, current and potential Lib Dems that keeps the site interesting and prevents it from becoming an echo chamber (that and the ability of Liberal Democrats to disagree about what “Liberal” and “Democrat” actually mean! 😉 ).

  • Nonconformistradical 2nd Nov '20 - 9:54pm

    I asked earlier in this discussion ” would we be in anything like the trouble we’re in if test and trace worked properly so that infected people were identified quickly and supported through isolation and their contacts were traced quickly?”

    I think this article makes the point:-

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/02/covid-lockdowns-are-cost-of-self-isolation-failures-says-who-expert

    Perhaps we wouldn’t need to be even talking about lockdown and most people could get on with their lives if test and trace worked properly, those people who needed to self-isolate were followed up properly – and also the issue of making self-isolation manageable for those who would find it difficult to do so was addressed.

  • Gerald Stewart 2nd Nov '20 - 11:08pm

    I am seriously enjoying the exchange of views on this thread.
    My own slight contribution is to say that even Germany is locking back down, despite their very successful track and trace programme.

  • @Nonconformistradical
    I believe we are about to start trialling this in Liverpool later this week.

    “https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/02/liverpool-uk-first-attempt-coronavirus-mass-testing

    But the Government has to do better at getting people to comply with track and trace and the 14 days quarantine period, I believe the latest stats said that only 20% were completing the whole 14 days.
    The Government has to give proper financial support to those who are told they must isolate full pay for those who are not entitled to full pay from employer perhaps? but on the flip side this must come with stiff penalties for those that fail to comply, local authorities must be able to check that those who are being paid to isolate stick to it.

    If we want to avoid more draconian blanket lockdowns, the Government has to provide the support but equally the public has to play its part.

  • Mark Valladares 1st Nov ’20 – 8:04pm………..I have to agree that expats has not had one of his finest moments here…………

    Mark, You are correct and I apologise for my intemperate language; however, I make no apology for my sentiments.
    Statements like “Children are sent to school to learn and so their parents can go to work.” make me angry; ‘learning’ is a lot more than “the 3 R’s” and parents have a responsibility to their children.

    Such responsibility is not a matter of income or status but of commitment; many parents in substandard housing, reliant on foodbanks, etc. are the among the most committed.

    Marco, I will accept no lectures from anyone on LDV regarding my care and commitment to those at the bottom of society!

  • neil sandison 5th Nov '20 - 1:47pm

    So as someone with a long term raspatory condition I have to hide away and be careful without the cover of shielding being offered . Yet a young adult attending 6th form college or university can come and go as they please despite the fact they could do coursework on line .The spikes occurred when the students left their home areas to attend university ,they would still have had those places regardless of being on campus or not. Which is why it is likely that sporadic lockdowns and high tiering will continues despite the circuit breaker till December .

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