Why it’s vital for public health that the Lib Dem leadership election goes ahead

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Following the absolutely correct decision to cancel the Liberal Democrat Federal, Scottish and Welsh Conferences, some have been calling for the Liberal Democrat Leadership Election – the timeline of which was already decided by Federal Board some time ago – to be indefinitely delayed.

While I understand the sentiment, I think it sends completely the wrong message – irresponsibly so.

We have a responsibility to our communities, all of us, to be undertaking social distancing as much as possible right now. The UK government’s scientific advisors now say that the social distancing measures currently in place will have to continue for, at least, most of the year. Ultimately, until we have a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is the possibility of social distancing measures being recommended or imposed at any time for the good of public health.

To delay our leadership election would send the message that we believe that daily life is going to return to relative normality in the near future.

The evidence shows that this is simply not the case. We have a responsibility as leaders to portray the reality of the situation we’re facing.
If people believe that our society’s response to COVID-19 is a binary between cancelling events or business as usual – and between self-isolation and no change in individual behaviour at all – they are not going to engage with the social distancing measures that are vital to slowing the spread of the virus. ‘Flattening the curve’ is vital to ensuring that our NHS can continue functioning and that thousands of people who would otherwise survive the virus do not die from lack of resources.

We have an opportunity, with our leadership election, to demonstrate how it’s possible for some things to proceed in an environment of social distancing.

Obviously, physical hustings could not be held, for the same reason that our Conference could not go ahead. However, during the last leadership election, the e-hustings were very well received.

Unlike last time, where the candidates had to meet in HQ, the e-hustings should be held as a Zoom conference between the moderator and candidates which would be either recorded or streamed live. This would enable candidates to take part from their homes, thus following the advice of avoiding non-essential travel.

Most members now vote online. However, those paper ballots that are received could be counted by staff or by volunteers who happen to live near party HQ, to cut down on travel. It would be entirely possible to count the ballots safely by everyone involved maintaining distance from each other. The risk of transmitting the virus via paper is tiny (hence why the party has not stopped delivery of Focus leaflets and why Royal Mail are still delivering letters) but could be brought down to zero by waiting a few days before opening the ballots.

By showing that it’s possible for life to go on in an environment of social distancing, we encourage the public to engage with it. Cancelling our election, on the other hand, would send the dangerous message that we can only slow the spread of the virus by sending society into complete lockdown.

* Ross Stalker has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of the West of Scotland and was Liberal Democrat candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North at the 2019 General Election.

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55 Comments

  • NO!

    Ed Davey should carry on the continuity of speaking on behalf of this party.

    Regarding volunteers… there are far better ways for them to spend their time than counting ballot papers for an election that no one is interested in.

  • We can use LDV to say whether we are interested in a Leadership Election or not, Expats isnt interested, I am.
    As of now, it looks like the Virus will peak in The UK around mid May with a rapid tailing off after that. Of course if attempts to “flatten the curve” are sucsessful that could be pushed back into the Autumn. If we were to delay the Leadership Election we need to decide for how long.
    As of now Politics seems to be on hold but that wont last, sometime fairly soon the Government will have to decide what to do about Brexit & we will be moving on from Virus to Recession/Slump. Politics could start up again very quickly & it would be good to have a Leader we actually Voted for.
    The Hustings last time were great but only a small proportion of Members took part, we can move online & still have a good debate.

  • Fully agree, Ross, we should stick to the current timetable.

  • Well, well, Ross. A tremendous morale booster to the whole population of the UK – not just to the residents of Asquith’s old seat. If the Lib Dem leadership contest goes ahead it will be a real attention grabber providing much balm and comfort – though I guess Ms Swinson is probably relieved she won’t have to do the daily updates from 10, Downing Street.

    Funny how austerity impacted on the NHS, Social Care and local government….. just when we need them. Funny how hollow ‘The Magic Money Tree’ and ‘Mending the Roof when the sun is shining’ seem now.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Mar '20 - 11:58am

    expats 22nd Mar ’20 – 10:11am
    I am interested in the lib dem leadership election.
    I will vote for Ed Davey and want him to be fully empowered.
    Boris Johnson should not be treated as though he is a fount of all wisdom.
    He depends on expert advice and they (CMOs) openly say that they do not know everything. What do people want? Obviously they want it to be over. Labour’s elected Mayor of London expressed some of his frustrations on the Andrew Marr Show today (22/3/2020) but did not answer some of Andrew Marr’s questions. Should public parks be open or closed? He hinted that this is a matter for central government. Parks owned by other bodies are closing or closed. Is he being censored by Boris and co?
    On BBC southeast we are fortunate to have the hyper-alert BBC journalist Julia George, but why invite in the Tory (ex-UKIP) Craig MacKinley (whose position as an MP was somewhat controversial). The Labour councillor from Medway might be a Muslim (guessing from her names). She confirmed that ‘surgeries’ are closed and that they are trying to operate electronically.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Mar '20 - 12:05pm

    Craig MacKinley commented on what is now the equivalent to what David Cameron had been saying in 2010, which Craig MacKinley admitted he did not understand at the time.
    I did not understand it either, but, as a matter of interpretation, Cameron seemed to be wanting something for free and thereby reducing the role of the state at a time when the then crisis was less severe than now.

  • Ross,

    by all means make the case for proceeding with the leadership election, but ‘vital for public health’ is bit of a stretch even for us committed party activists.

  • @expats “Ed Davey should carry on the continuity of speaking on behalf of this party.

    Regarding volunteers… there are far better ways for them to spend their time than counting ballot papers for an election that no one is interested in.”

    It’s not often that I agree with you, but I do here 100%

    I think everyone has far more important things to worry about, especially as we have an excellent leader in place already.

  • John Marriott 22nd Mar '20 - 12:27pm

    No it’s not. Stick with Ed ‘til things get back to normal!

  • Ross Stalker 22nd Mar '20 - 1:42pm

    expats – Ed isn’t Leader, he’s Interim Co-Leader. ‘Continuity’ suggests a line of succession, like when a Vice President in the US takes over from a President. Except people vote for a Vice President. Party members don’t vote for Deputy Leader. Ed has not been elected and I don’t think it’s acceptable for an Interim Leader to serve for is longer than is necessary. You say nobody is interested in a leadership election but clearly some people are given the other comments here!

    Paul – Indeed. Though social distancing isn’t just about flattening the curve, it’s also about preventing a significant second peak. (A second peak coinciding with seasonal flu would be a particular disaster.) It’s going to be a reality of life at some level for quite a while.

    Joe – Admittedly I did make the title a bit clickbaity! My point though is that it’s vital for public health to get across the idea of social distancing. That’s why cancelling/delaying an event that could instead be modified to make it safe sends the wrong message. And a big part of public health measures that rely on public cooperation is messaging. We are all collectively responsible for that.

    John – Back to normal will be over a year from now. The level of social distancing isn’t going to be constant, the advice will change, but until there’s a vaccine it will be the only way of controlling outbreaks. My whole point is that we need to accept that this isn’t going to be a short term thing. We need to break out of this mindset that just delaying everything and putting everything else on hold is an acceptable response, because it’s not sustainable. Of course some things, like Conference which is the very definition of a public gathering, there is no alternative to delaying or cancelling.

  • David Becket 22nd Mar '20 - 2:14pm

    We must have a leadership election.
    The country is leaderless.
    The Labour Party will be difficult to lead.
    We are drifting, when we should be leading.

    I repeat this party is drifting.

    Ed dos not come over as a dynamic leader, though he could have filled the gap.
    Layla is havng a go, and there will be others from our 11.

    We must step up to the challenge, make drastic changes to the party and sort out our communications. We will not achieve this by sitting on our hands.

  • Ross Stalker 22nd Mar '20 - 3:26pm

    Geoffrey – The Government’s scientific advisors are now saying that social distancing is going to have to continue for most of the year. All evidence is that it won’t be safe to go to hustings by mid-summer. People have to stop being in denial about how long this is going to last and thinking that just delaying things a bit is an appropriate plan. We have to instead find a way for as many things as possible to continue as normal in an environment of social distancing. People are still thinking in a binary – cancel events, some people self-isolate, maybe a short term lockdown, then back to business as usual… it’s not sustainable. The message on social distancing for those of us who aren’t self-isolating hasn’t gotten through well enough.

  • David Allen 22nd Mar '20 - 4:09pm

    “we have an excellent leader in place already”

    Actually we don’t. We have two interim co-leaders. Ed Davey has no mandate to provide real leadership, which would mean setting his own personal stamp on the party’s direction. He can’t really be criticised for the fact that he “does not come over as a dynamic leader”. If he did take a dynamic initiative, members would say “when did we all vote for that idea?”

    If we insist on telling the nation that they don’t need proper elected leadership from us, then the nation will take that message on board.

  • @ David Beckett “We must have a leadership election. The country is leaderless.” Sorry, David, Prime Ministerial pretensions were well and truly dished last December.

    @ David Allen “If we insist on telling the nation that they don’t need proper elected leadership from us, then the nation will take that message on board.” And, sorry to the other David. The leadership or otherwise of the Liberal Democrats isn’t something at the front of most peoples minds or concerns. Any “message” could be interpreted as self indulgence and self obsessed introspection outside the Lib Dem bubble and in the real non Lib Dem World.

    @ TCO Pleased to be able to agree for once.

  • David Becket 22nd Mar '20 - 5:17pm

    David Raw
    I do not mean setting up a proxy PM, I mean acting as a dynamic focal point for liberals.
    Leadership is more than flapping your arms around and claiming to be PM material.

    Ed does have a valuable role to play. Climate Change is going out the window, yet Ed is one of the best Climate Change spokespersons in the country, better than any Tory. That is what we should be promoting him for.

  • William Wallace 22nd Mar '20 - 5:29pm

    No delay, certainly: we need clear and authoritative leadership, as soon as possible. I would be very happy with an outcome that gave us Ed as leader and Layla as deputy leader, as fast as we can, to enable us to get our messages across effectively. So can we run a virtual leadership campaign, and keep to the original timetable? When there’s a major crisis, and politics is therefore much more open to change, we should be out there promoting Liberal answers. And we DON’T want any sort of negative campaign with candidates blaming each other and attacking the party’s record.

  • Have we taken leave of our senses? We have the biggest crisis facing the world in at least 75 tears and we want to carry on with a divisive leadership election as if nothing has happened?

    Quite apart from the fact that we cannot have the hustings etc that are needed for a proper contest, some of our members are likely to be in intensive care beds or working flat-out treating patients.

    We will rightly be finished in the eyes of the public if we send out election ballots at exactly the time many, many people will be burying their loved ones.

    The last thing most people have on their minds is Lib Dem leadership elections- especially when we have an excellent interim leader in place to provide the stability and statesmanship we need at this time.

  • I hear Tim Farron has had to go into self-isolation because a relative is showing symptoms of having caught the virus. Who next? Ed ? Layla ? Wera ? Sal ?

    Common sense, yes, common sense ought to make it crystal clear that we live in more than unusual times. It can’t be business as usual. To do anything other than wait to see this awful business work itself out will be seen as anything but common sense by the general public outside the Lib Dem bubble..

  • The Leadership ballot can wait until the Autumn conference. LibDem Parlimentarians have important work to do during this crisis.
    Tomorrow Liberal Democrats will table amendments to the Coronavirus Bill to try and ensure that moves to temporarily relax councils’ social care duties do not lead to standards slipping and that the Government guarantees social care providers will have the cash required to meet local needs. https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/excl-ministers-urged-not-to-let-emergency-coronavirus-law-lower-social-care-standards

  • Ross Stalker 23rd Mar '20 - 2:55am

    John Smith and David Raw – Did you even read beyond the headline?!? I’m absolutely not suggesting business as normal! I’m saying this is an opportunity to promote social distancing by showing how it’s possible to carry on with our leadership election remotely. Showing that there’s a way of working round the *long term* social distancing measures that are needed to slow the spread of the virus IS important. I dispute that in-person hustings are needed, and with Zoom virtual hustings no longer need to be streamed from a central point.

    Martin – There is an official leadership election timeline that was decided by Federal Board months ago, yes. Conference cannot be virtual in the way that hustings can due to the impossibility of implementing the standing orders over a tele/videoconference.

  • The fact is that the party has been suspended and we don’t seem to have noticed. Meetings cannot be held, public elections cannot be held. The party has not adopted and means of making decisions in an electronic age, one in which as yet not everyone has access to the internet.
    Because of the government’s actions we have not got a programme of testing under way under way. People may not be sick because of the virus but they will certainly be sick as a result of the incompetent government.
    In the meanwhile there is no real belief in government in the seriousness of the situation. The stage managed press conferences are being held showing people sitting a few feet away from each other. Why this pantomime? How do they get there without social interaction? How does no. 10 work without social interaction?
    Is it not time to find out what is really happening, and stop this project fear?
    One fact that we do know – that is the party is suspended. We do not even have the ability to decide whether to make decisions.

  • Ross Stalker 22nd Mar ’20 – 1:42pm….expats –

    1)Ed isn’t Leader, he’s Interim Co-Leader….
    I know

    2)Continuity’ suggests a line of succession, like when a Vice President in the US takes over from a President…..
    My reference to continuity is that he has been speaking on this matter and another voice, saying the same things, wouldn’t make things clearer (unless of course your ‘elected’ leader wants to say something different?)

    3)Ed has not been elected and I don’t think it’s acceptable for an Interim Leader to serve for is longer than is necessary…..
    How much serious electioneering can be done by May (and then the June vote)? this party, and the country, doesn’t need such a distraction.

    4)You say nobody is interested in a leadership election but clearly some people are given the other comments here!…..
    I was talking about the country as a whole, especially with the ongoing situation.. How high in importance would the country view the ‘primaries’, and the election itself, be for a party with 11 MPs? I’d suggest after the news that Crufts would reschedule.

  • @ Ross Stalker “David Raw – Did you even read beyond the headline?!?”

    Mr Stalker, as someone in self isolation, awaiting my HMG vulnerable person letter (transplant recipient – Edinburgh Royal/ immunosuppressants/age) I most certainly do read beyond the headlines. As a former Cabinet member for health and social care in Scotland I know how much local government (decimated 2010-15) and the NHS is struggling to cop,e particularly in social services.

    What comes across is your incomprehension of the current situation by pushing for an early leadership election in (a minor) political party with just eleven M.P.’s with all the risks it involves. One of the eleven, Tim Farron, is in self isolation. You inflate how much notice the general public will give to such an election, and if they notice it will be negative…. and yes, I know there are such things as computers.

    Take my word for it, having won five local elections and never lost my seat (plus a parliamentary seat – 28%) I think I usually know how to gauge the public mood.

    Mr Farron, by the way, spoke in Westminster just a few days ago so who knows who will be infected next. Layla ? Wera ? or even Ms Jardine ? Do you really want to trigger a by-election ?

  • David Becket 23rd Mar '20 - 9:45am

    Not everybody agrees with me that we need an election, and I understand the reasoning.

    Nobody disagrees that the current vacuum can continue.

    There is an alternative. Suspend standing orders.

    Appoint Ed as leader for a fixed period (at least two years)
    Allow the MPs to appoint their deputy leader.

    Then we can get down to business

  • Denis Loretto 23rd Mar '20 - 11:38am

    David Becket has it right. The only weakness right now is the requirement for Ed to be designated as Interim Leader or even worse as Interim Co-leader. Ed was the deputy leader. Ways should be found to have him appointed as Leader for a suitable term. David suggests 2 years but it could, if preferred, be one year subject to review in 9 months time.
    We really have to get over our self-importance at a time like this. The Party must be thrown in to helping the country through this crisis – a process that Ed and Mark have already commenced.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Mar '20 - 11:43am

    I agree with David Beckett and Denis Loretto

  • Phil Beesley 23rd Mar '20 - 12:03pm

    If Ed Davey is not up to the job, people who are genuinely informed should say so. It is important that the Lib Dem voice to government and civil servants is one that has authority.

    If there is no serious disagreement, the other MPs should announce their support for Ed Davey’s appointment, sans election, with a nod and a wink that normal procedures will be observed at the appropriate time.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 23rd Mar '20 - 12:21pm

    John Smith, this is not “the biggest crisis facing the world for at least 75 years”
    AIDS and Ebola were far greater health crises.
    I know this is serious, but exaggeration is not helpful

  • Ross Stalker 23rd Mar '20 - 12:26pm

    David Raw – So you read beyond the headline but didn’t actually do me the courtesy of responding to the arguments I actually made. I was absolutely not suggesting “business as usual”. And I explicitly said that e-hustings should be run in a way that allows the candidates to take part from home. No, I do not want to trigger a by-election, so I’m not suggesting a process that would involve any extra physical contact between the candidates. Nor would I want to put staff or volunteers at risk, but it is possible to carry out a count with social distancing being observed. Logistically, unlike Conference, there is nothing about the process that could not be changed to account for social distancing. Which is why, unlike Conference, the correct response is to modify the event, not cancel/delay it.

    That’s the point I’m making. An opportunity to educate people on social distancing, so they don’t think that it’s a binary between business as usual and self-isolation/lockdown/cancellations is GOOD for public health. It’s the opposite of business as usual.

    Very sorry to hear that you’re having to self-isolate as a precaution, I am fortunate enough to not be in that position. But rest assured I am absolutely not taking this lightly. I am limiting my trips outside the house to essentials and can work from home almost all of the time. When I was out yesterday to get groceries (getting them online is impossible due to the panic buyers, unfortunately) I maintained a two metre distance from anyone else (including refusing to join any queues that did not have markers to space people out) did not touch my face once, and regularly sanitised my hands with propanol spray (80% concentration, I don’t mind that it dries out my hands a bit).

    I’m doing my part to be responsible and I want to encourage others to THINK about how they can be responsible as well instead of treating things as, well, business as usual unless/until they need to self-isolate or need treatment.

    I’m not pushing for an “early” leadership election, by the way – I’m advocating that we change the process so that we can stick to the timetable that was already set by Federal Board. The Federal Board already pushed that timetable later than usual in order to avoid clashing with the Labour leadership election (which I note has also not been delayed/cancelled, but has been modified to remove in-person events).

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 23rd Mar '20 - 12:28pm

    I do feel that we should carry on with the election as planned.
    It will be a pity if we cannot have public hustings, but after all, it is only a relatively small proportion of the membership who attend hustings. Online hustings would be likely to reach far more members.
    There could be a series of several online hustings, perhaps each on a different topic. Members would be able to submit questions online.
    It really wouldn’t be acceptable for Ed Davey to continue to act as leader for any longer without an election. After all, last year an overwhelming majority of members chose not to vote for Ed

  • Ross Stalker 23rd Mar '20 - 12:28pm

    expats – Being the primary spokesperson for the party to the public is far from the Leader’s only constitutional role in the party. As for electioneering – lots. Yes, there are people who because of the situation are finding themselves with less free time than before. But there are others in the party with campaign skills who are finding themselves with more.

    David Beckett – The leadership election rules aren’t in standing orders, they’re in the constitution. They don’t need to be suspended though (indeed there is no process to do so) as since the election is due to vacancy the Federal Board has full flexibility to decide on the date of opening of nominations. (Provision for the official hustings to take place wholly online is already in there.)

  • Patrick C Smith 23rd Mar '20 - 12:43pm

    I support those who want the Leadership interregnum now to be decided ,with a short window to a timely remote ballot on-line, as members/postal votes as we as `activists’ are fully aware of the capabilities and media performances of the main candidates, aka Sir Ed Davey and Layla Moran .

    It is a direct consequence of the assumption that an elected L/D Leader must speak directly to the country in time of unity and economic and social need ,particularly amongst the most vulnerable, with voluable authority, on the proclaimed c-virus emergency on policy and informed community help and responses.

  • Denis Loretto 23rd Mar '20 - 12:47pm

    Reading the more recent comments here I can only say that I rest my (and David Becket’s) case. I will now get on with looking after members of my family who are even more vulnerable than my somewhat elderly self.

  • Agreed with William, Lynne and Catherine. We need an elected leader well before it comes time for autumn conference, we don’t even know at this point if conference will even be able to go ahead, and it seems daft not to stick to the established, published timetable

  • This seems like a very sensible plan for how to conduct the election without anyone having to have any more physical contact.

    We might be facing social distancing for 12-18 months or more – until we have a vaccine, which has been adequately safety tested, which is manufactured in enough quantity to vaccinate everyone or nearly so. We can’t reasonably continue on an “interim” basis for that long.

    And showing that we can do things safely – with a modified election – is a good way to get people to look at how to modify their behaviour so we can all carry on while still maintaining social distancing. That’s what we need to do – not put life on hold for a few weeks, but modify life so we can carry on for months or potentially a couple of years.

    And I hope people understand: we’re probably going to have to cancel Autumn Conference this year. Spring Conference 2021 is not much better than 50:50. Stop saying “we can do this after” – “after” might be 2022.

  • There are a number of key questions that have not been answered about this proposal:

    1. How do the members who will be in intensive care units participate in a leadership election?

    2. How do members who have family and friends in hospital suffering from the virus find the headspace to participate in a leadership election?

    3. How do our members working longer hours in the NHS and other essential services find the time and/or headspace to participate in a leadership election?

    4. How do members who do not have online access and would usually attend hustings events hear the arguments of each candidate to enable them to meaningfully participate in a leadership election?

    5. What happens in the (unfortunately likely) event that one of the candidates gets symptoms of coronavirus?

    6. How do we address the inevitable lower turnout which will be engendered by the fact that most people have immediate concerns about the health and jobs of themselves and their families? Will this affect the perceived legitimacy of the new leader?

    7. How do we address the fact that while many members of the public will unfortunately have family members in intensive care units or god forbid, be burying their loved ones, we’ll be perceived as out-of-touch and putting the party before helping communities?

    These are just some of the practical issues off the top of my head. We need to take our heads out of the sand on this one.

  • I think John Smith is just throwing up difficulties for the sake of being provocative. An online election could work quite fairly enough to be effective. There are always people in hospital or otherwise busy whenever we have an election.
    Having said that, I think it’s an excellent idea to appoint Ed as temporary leader. I saw him speak at the Western Counties conference in February and he really has his finger on the pulse, not just on climate change but on economic matters and social care amongst others. We are in safe hands.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Mar '20 - 5:40pm

    We could have a different point ready in the rules. We oh, so different in this country, could ape, the US. A president, has a vp who if that vp, becomes leader, does so after an emergency and stays. Why isn’t our leader valid, because of daft constitution.

    Those who voted for Ed, defend his remaining. Others don’t.

    I voted for Jo, but we all surely, as a man, an individual, if not always on policy, or stances, rate and like Ed lots, then, we should regard him as leader, he would be right for this era and should stay now.

    The others could pull out. Then elect someone deputy.

    Legit.

  • David Raw 23rd Mar ’20 – 9:15am,,,,,,,,,,,, as someone in self isolation, awaiting my HMG vulnerable person letter (transplant recipient – Edinburgh Royal/ immunosuppressants/age)………..

    David, may I wish you well over the next 12? weeks; my daughter (Lukemia) is also in your situation.
    My grandson lives with her and works in retail so that will entail isolation problems. As for all those in this catagory, who already need care, the governments glib “supplies can be left on the doorstep” seems a cop-out.

    Two asides…T.C.O. I’m pleased that, at long last, we can agree on something (It’s an ill wind, etc.) and I do wish the government wouldn’t say ( as in today’s renationalisation of the rail networks) that, “The government will bear the cost”. The government bears nothing; the costs are borne by the ‘taxpayer’.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Mar '20 - 6:11pm

    Like to say what a lovely piece of commendable warm sense from expats, and add support for you and dear chum, David Raw and senior members, though a generation younger, am in hibernation as a statement, of practical support, l abhor irresponsibility, and adore my wife, who has had pneumonia twice and would not want her to add to disability issues also from that car accident as well, years since!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • @ expats & Lorenzo Much appreciated chaps. All the very best to your respective daughter and wife. Look after each other.

    We’ll get through this if it kills us, and if it does, I’ll move a vote of no confidence !!

  • David Garlick 23rd Mar '20 - 8:59pm

    To misquote; Lets get this election done!

  • @Martin – September would be an incredibly pessimistic projection, for that would imply a continued exponential increase of infection and death for 24 weeks.

    I think Martin you are misreading what the government is saying. If all goes well the peak will be in the 4~6 month window (from a couple of weeks back), so in September we will still be seeing lots of cases, just not an increasing number of cases.

    A concern, given the nature of SARS-CoV-2 is that the peak isn’t really a very good indicator, what is needed is testing so we can better determine when herd immunity is starting to have an effect. So a country that manages to suppress it today, may become a victim when movement restrictions are lifted. The research published this week indicates that for the UK this means managing the situation for circa 18 months if the NHS is to maintain its ability to handle the critical cases.

    Although a big assumption is that SARS-CoV-2 isn’t going to become a full-blown flu style infection and thus come back in the coming years in modified forms that largely circumvent immunity…

  • ” If you mean a peak rate, heaven help all in the UK. Just look at the exponential curves and consider the implications!”
    Sobering isn’t it…
    The size of the peak is going to be largely determined by the effectiveness of the measures already being taken. Yes, the UK may have been a little slow off the mark (aside: given the country is now in lockdown – why are the commuter trains still running?) but it has been moving in the right direction. However, as mentioned elsewhere on LDV, a full lockdown can only really be sustained for a very short period of time before the adverse side effects start to kick in. So keeping a lid on things for the next 18~24 months is going to be a challenge.

  • Having just seen the sterling performance of Ed Davey at Treasury Questions concerning the plight of the self-employed the sooner we put him in place as actual Leader for an appropriate period the better.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Mar '20 - 8:35pm

    We believe in democracy and must therefore practice it.

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