At last, some adults have entered the room

The UK government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been admirable and democratic.

Norman Lewis

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The stark warning from prime minister Boris Johnson at his press conference last week – where he said that many more deaths will occur as a result of Covid-19 – was responsible, realistic and necessary.

This was a PM being an actual leader: visible, telling the truth, and saying what needs to be said, not what is politically expedient.

The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. This is grown-up politics, the like of which we have not seen for quite a while. Instead of backroom decisions being made between politicians and faceless experts, this was leadership being done publicly and openly, where the fine balance between expertise and political decision-making was there for all to see.

Most importantly, it revealed a political leader who stands out in one critical way: unlike his predecessors, he seems to respect the demos. He is treating us like adults who can stand to hear hard news, and whose reason can be appealed to as we deal with this deeply concerning medical crisis.

The contrasts in behaviour highlighted by the Covid-19 crisis are striking. The biggest contrast is that between ordinary people and investors. The public have accepted the sober reality of coronavirus and the possible disruption it will bring to their lives in the coming months. They have remained calm and reasoned – reassured, perhaps, by the existence of a coherent government plan of action. Investors and stock markets, on the other hand, are in a state of free-falling panic. They are behaving like hysterical children rather than rational adults.

Consider also the contrast in terms of how people understand and appreciate expertise. The role of science and experts has been brought into sharp relief in recent days. Boris Johnson says he is allowing himself to be guided ‘by the science’. But some scientists have questioned his strategy and asked why he isn’t trying to stop Covid-19 altogether by institutionalising the kind of draconian lockdowns and social distancing we’ve seen in other countries.

The anti-Tory ‘liberal’ media and the middle-class social-media warriors are demanding that ‘something must be done’. They have almost gone so far as to demand that the government ignore the advice of its own scientific experts because they want more drastic action. Effectively, they are saying the government has the wrong experts. ‘Replace them with experts we agree with’, they are essentially saying. Once again, these people think they know what is best for the rest of us.

They need to understand the adult world of science and risk management. What Johnson and his experts communicated well at their press conference was that science is open-ended and there are no risk-free options when dealing with something that is still not completely known. There is no such thing as ‘the science’ – a term so frequently used in relation to climate change these days.

More importantly, it is good for society to see scientists disagree. Seeing these differences take place in public is reassuring. It reveals that the truth is elusive; that it is a constant struggle between expertise, evidence, observation, learning and updating assumptions and theses.

These public disagreements reveal that true expertise is a quest, a never-ending journey for new knowledge and insight, rather than for a destination; that experts are serious, well-meaning individuals driven by knowledge and a passion to get it right, not sages with answers whom we should simply bow to because they claim the mantle of expert.

With its statements and actions in recent days, the government is helping to educate the public about expertise and about how democracy ought to work. By treating us as equals, as reasoning beings, it is actually ensuring that we are able to manage our experience of risk and develop more of an understanding of the complexities involved in a crisis like this. This is responsible democracy in action.

This is not simply a question of holding their feet to fire if their approach proves ineffective. No one knows what will work best at this point. Everyone is struggling to get this right. No, this is about understanding the nature of the medical crisis, the parameters involved, and why certain decisions and timings are judged to be appropriate at different points in time. The idea that many more people contracting the virus will build up more immunity is such a decision. It may be a difficult point to accept. But given that we know that Covid-19 is not a mortal threat to at least 80 to 90 per cent of the population (on this there appears to be a global consensus), this decision makes sense in the absence of vaccines or medicines to deal with this new coronavirus.

The most terrible thing to have happened so far is the media’s stirring-up of the fallacious idea that contracting the virus is an automatic death sentence. This has led to the erroneous notion that all contraction should be prevented: an impossible task, as was stressed by the government’s experts.

The UK government’s use of reason rather than draconian management is, so far, correct. But there is always the temptation to move towards a more authoritarian approach, especially in the face of the media clamour for more action and stock-market hysteria. That route has got to be vigorously resisted, unless, of course, evidence emerges that makes a change necessary. A more draconian approach would fundamentally alter the relationship between government, experts and the demos in ways that are potentially far worse than the effects of Covid-19. If people are forced by law to self-isolate, to distance themselves from others, to accept lockdowns and the loss of freedom of movement, this will deprive them of the moral autonomy to make their own decisions, both in the interests of themselves and their families and in the interests of society.

Compulsion does not enhance individual responsibility – it diminishes it. In common with other coercive or paternalistic state policies, compulsory diktat devalues the independence of the mature citizen. Ultimately, the likely consequence would be less social cooperation and less compliance. This will severely hamper, not enhance, our ability to defeat the virus.

Treating the demos as adults is not a luxury, a ‘nice’ adjunct to technocratic managerialism. It is the core pillar of society and the best foundation of the strategy we need in order to withstand this severe medical crisis.

Norman Lewis works on innovation networks and is a co-author of Big Potatoes: The London Manifesto for Innovation.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

Daniel Webb

18th March 2020 at 7:23 am

Keep calm, carry on, stay informed, prepared to respond. Rationally.

steve moxon

17th March 2020 at 7:18 am

STILL A TOTAL BLOCK OF COMMENTS ON THIS TOPIC.
ZERO FREE SPEECH ON THIS WEBSITE, SUPPOSED CHAMPION OF FREE SPEECH.

steve moxon

17th March 2020 at 7:16 am

Well, the Government has U-turned. Things went wrong right from the Home Office in its usual ineptness cum refusal to do its job, not even bothering to put staff in place to process those flying in from Wuhan and, latterly, from northern Italy. With spreaders not being isolated or monitored, within-country transmission got going yet the testing protocol was to ignore this. Testing anyway was on far too small a scale. Now, the Government has no idea of what’s going on with the virus.
Up here on the edge of the Peak District, individuals from back in October had been going down with a severe respiratory illness following a continuous cough. A neighbour of mine in his 30s was hospitalised with suspected pneumonia, and this was found to be the virus, not a bacterial piggy-back infection, Clearly, then, there has been either a strain of COVID-19 or something very similar at large in the UK for the past six months.

Marvin Jones

18th March 2020 at 4:50 pm

Maybe, just maybe Steve, the intention was to let in all these carriers from Wuhan and Italy, and with a bit of luck sacrifice the old and vulnerable and save on the pensions and care needed for them. They have to provide for and sustain the never ending flow of illegals from France, an EU human rights country, that barely a few are returned to.

Mick Miller

21st March 2020 at 1:42 am

Interesting about the infections you talk of pre-Christmas. I had a very nasty one late November, early December, still have a residual cough that comes and goes. Other older members (I’m 69) of my family, not immediate, also had it, but none of the youngsters seemed to catch it, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law were both very ill, and he like me, still has a residual cough.

The symptoms similar to COV-19, but in my case, didn’t lead to hospitalization, though I stayed in bed for some time. Interesting in that I’ve been fit all my life and never smoked, so whilst I couldn’t say I had difficulty breathing normally, I did suffer paroxysms of coughing which led to an alarming shortness of breath and dizzyness.

Though it remains to be seen if the NHS is swamped as Italy’s was, if so, then what we had before Christmas maybe wasn’t the same virus, or perhaps it mutated since.

Mind you Italy could be an outlier, there are a lot of factors that are in play and so far, other than a family member viral researcher working on an African virus, chatting to me on Italy and the data, I’ve not seen any linking together of potential factors to see if Italy is an outlier.

One last thing re the markets, the markets aren’t just COV-19 according to a journal I read. The oil price war, according to some reports had a big effect, it seems that some hedge funds had to find money quickly as their bets went wrong, so they had to sell large volumes quickly, not all panic over COV-19. In fact the journal says the virus means a credit crunch is not being accurately reported, banks not yet making use of all the QE available as they are refusing credit to various hedge funds, fearing they’ve overstretched. No doubt we shall see if one goes bankrupt

Coram Deo

16th March 2020 at 11:18 pm

***CHRIS MARTENSON: PUBLIC PANIC & MARKET CARNAGE
video – 26 minutes 11 seconds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8QiUTWVnjQ

Stef Steer

16th March 2020 at 8:42 pm

I think maximising self isolation makes sense and so far so good. This is a very infectious disease with a quite high mortality rate so I think most people will self isolate at least to start with.

But of course that brings its own problems:-

Boris said that he would look at tax and spend and he needs to do that and reassure people quickly. Best thing would be to say to business we will give you tax rebate for wages at least in the mean time keep paying people and you can claim it back through the hmrc website and in your bank in days. Obviously proof will be needed so unscrupulous types don’t take advantage, bank statements and online PAYE or whatever needed.

Food I think now needs to be centrally looked at, talk to the supermarkets and prioritise and coordinate as contact less as possible home delivery and all the logistics that I am sure go with it. Some of these might have already happened or similar things but I think the info needs to be made available about money and food asap.

James Knight

16th March 2020 at 8:24 pm

So it’s War then.

James Knight

16th March 2020 at 8:14 pm

It was funny to hear journalists sneering at people buying masks. Actually masks could well be a cheap and effective way to prevent spreading, maybe better than washing your hands.

Lauder Eric

16th March 2020 at 8:20 pm

The target is to spread to develop general immunity.
The issue is that without care the fatality rate is much higher: it’s between 0.5% and 0.8% withe care for ALL patients (South Korea, Shenzhen in China) and between 5 and 7% with partial care (Hubei, Lombardy) and therfore probably closer to 10% without care (BoJo model).
Then there’s 20% seriously infected having permanent damages to the lungs.

So BoJo has probably signed his sentence to death: either it’ll be the virus or a mob or a terrorist attack.

John Gaunt

16th March 2020 at 8:11 pm

It’s worth remembering at this point that in December we had a General Election, which could only have resulted in one of two people becoming PM.

If you need any reminder of how far the Left has fallen, imagine for a moment how this crisis might have been handled by Corbyn and McDonnell; when you’ve finished sweating, thank your lucky stars that the Conservative Party was there to take the lead…

Lauder Eric

16th March 2020 at 8:06 pm

It’s easy for BoJo to keep calm right now.
It’ll be harder for BoJo to keep calm when the crowd will come to lynch him: this is going to happen before the begin of the Summer.

Daniel Webb

18th March 2020 at 7:18 am

I have to disagree. Boris is dealing with the unfolding situation admirably.
He will never please everyone no matter what he does. And the decisions he makes now and over the foreseeable future will be held up to infinite scrutiny with ample doses of hindsight bias.
Boris is no fool. He knows what the reality of the situation is. How hard must it be keeping 65 million armchair experts happy when everyone seems to think they could do a better job.
He has a very fine line to tread – between keeping us informed as much a possible and what we need to do as a society so we survive this pandemic. But he also must recognise how fragile many people seem to be. Irrational and easily panicked.

He is damned no matter what he does.

Marvin Jones

18th March 2020 at 4:57 pm

65million? your abacus ran out of beads about 5 years ago.

John Pretty

16th March 2020 at 5:37 pm

“The UK government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been admirable and democratic.”

Well, in some ways. I am none too impressed, however with Boris’ cheery warning, however. I don’t think that was necessary or proportionate.

I am quietly pleased however that the UK is not behaving in a sheep like manner in copying all of the rest of Europe in closing schools.

In fact, if you look at the numbers relative to the country’s population the UK is way down the chart. (Not as far down the chart as the US, however. Italy is by far the worst affected country in the world, but Switzerland and Norway are worse off that Spain which is on lockdown.

You can check the figures on worldometers.info

What I am currently concerned about is the possibility of people taking matters into their own hands and forcing people off the streets or barring the entrances to schools, for example. We’re not at that stage yet, but while the government’s response has been reasonably measured thus far I was as I said very disappointed with Boris’ grim pronouncement. I consider that to have been gratuitous and unnecessary fearmongering. I have never been told to believe in the curative power of fear and have certainly never been prescribed it by any medical professional.

And Mr Lewis, the virus is non-lethal for over 95% of people. Not 80%-90%. Look at the facts, not what is going to make the biggest headlines.

T Zazoo

16th March 2020 at 3:28 pm

Buy a bidet and sit out the toilet roll drama.

xaxid xaxid

16th March 2020 at 3:15 pm

I am making a good pay from home 1900 Buckets/week, that is brilliant, beneath a
year agone i used to be unemployed amid a monstrous economy. I pass on God consistently i used to be invested these bearings, and at present, I should pay it forward and impart it to everyone, Here is I started to………..https://www.works39.com

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 2:56 pm

What to make of this? … A next-door neighbour but one was hospitalised with a continuous cough and suspected pneumonia back in October, and it was so infectious that 20 of his workmates went down with the same thing. This is the semi-rural edge of the Peak District, so if a place as far flung as this has had multiple cases back in the autumn of what appears to be extremely like COVID-19 if not the same thing, then …..?

John Pretty

16th March 2020 at 5:54 pm

We used to call it the flu, Steve.

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 6:39 pm

It’s not flu if in your 30s you’re hospitalised with suspected pneumonia.
This guy’s a fit steelworker.

John Pretty

16th March 2020 at 7:10 pm

I’m sorry, but it is the flu. The flu can kill. Stop fearmongering.

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 8:02 pm

No, it’s not. The protein spike cell-entry mechanism is unique to this virus and it’s variants among coronavisus, being that of HIV and Ebola.
COVID-19 is a so-called coronavirus from it’s appearance due to the protein spikes, and flu is a coronavirus, but that does not mean that all coronaviruses are flu!

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 8:04 pm

It’s a coronavirus like flu, but not all coronaviruses are flu.
this coronavirus has a protein cell-entry mechanism unlike any flu or any other coronavirus.

Graham Southern

17th March 2020 at 9:52 am

The word ‘flu is just short for ‘influenza’ meaning ‘influence’ in other words some sort of bad thing happening to the body. saying an illness is or isn’t the ‘flu is therefore essentially meaningless. It has come to mean a virus infection with certain symptoms. That’s all.

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 2:53 pm

No, the Government seems to have got this wrong. Certainly the Home Office has. The problems began with the failure of the immigration arm of the Home Office doing its job. It never does its job. Just as with uncontrolled mass immigration so with our importation of COVID-19. People flew in even from Wuhan and, latterly, Italy, with the usual absence of immigration staff to process them in any way.
Given this entirely preventable state of affairs, it was then an uphill task to use mass testing and isolation to properly control the development of the pandemic. The decision not to test anyone who had not come in from abroad long post-dated when within-country spread had got going. Any policy of proper testing has been abandoned. Now even front-line NHS staff, who have no proper protection against infection, are not tested unless they develop symptoms, when we know that virus shedding is at its height before symptoms emerge. This is likely to severely compromise the NHS’ ability to deal with what anyway it is not going to be able to deal with, if the progress of the disease is anything like that which is expected.
In the absence of proper efforts at control, we are left with highly economically damaging mass closure. It’s possible we could have avoided the worst of this if there had been proper control efforts.
The Government seems to be winging it and betting on the mortality rate being lower than had been expected. But maybe they know something we don’t. A next-door neighbour but one was hospitalised with a continuous cough and suspected pneumonia back in October, and 20 of his workmates went down with the same thing. This is the semi-rural edge of the Peak District, so if a place as far flung as this has had cases back in the autumn …..

Forlorn Dream

16th March 2020 at 12:29 pm

The news headlines blared out over the weekend screaming that the UK coronavirus death toll has DOUBLED. DOUBLED they screamed!! Later on they mentioned actual numbers. 20 dead and 1,327 reported cases, or to put this another way, there is a greater than 98% survival rate. I’m fairly sure the flu has a lower survival rate than Covid-19.

People would be a lot more relaxed if the MSM stopped trying to whip us up into a frenzy.

Hunter MacDonald

16th March 2020 at 2:18 pm

Be patient—this pandemic has barely started. The government’s response has been appalling—-ALL air travel from China should have been stopped weeks ago—but no. That would have cost money. Well now the airlines are all going bust because no one wants to travel, quite rightly. I’m a doctor and can assure you you’ve seen nothing yet. There will be many thousands of deaths in Britain, probably more than elsewhere because England in particular is the most densely populated country in Europe. This will spread rapidly and is already doubling in cases every three days.
Be insouciant if you wish, but government ought not to be.

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 5:14 pm

I imagine you’re right, and there’s a big problem with still too many unknowns.
What do you make of my observation (post above)?

John Pretty

16th March 2020 at 6:02 pm

Look, it’s too early to say if there will even be a significant outbreak in the UK. And I’m not going to be patient – I am sick of this fearmongering.

It is not however, too early to talk about percentages and survival rates.

Look at the facts. The original poster is right. 98% survival rate is about right. Those that die are already frail or have serious pre-existing medical conditions. It has not killed a single person in the 1-10 age group. Not one.

Look at the NHS medical advice: if you have a temperature and a dry cough (the symptoms) stay at home for a week. Don’t call an ambulence. Don’t even call your GP. Like the flu, it’s not that serious for most people. Get it into proportion.

For God’s sake chill out and stop spreading fear. it is not a cure.

Forlorn Dream

16th March 2020 at 6:19 pm

Hunter, I think you’ll agree China has a more densely packed population than the UK? They had almost 200,000 cases and a greater than 96% survival rate. I imagine the UK can do a little better than that.
Provided the survival rate stays above 90% I will continue to show a casual lack of concern. I will of course continue to avoid physical contact with people and wash my hands more often than a surgeon, including my thumbs which most people miss.

Ven Oods

16th March 2020 at 4:12 pm

MSM – Media Sado-Masochism?

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 5:16 pm

No, flu mortality is about 0.1%, isn’t it? About one in a thousand deaths.

James Knight

16th March 2020 at 8:23 pm

You need to factor in the false positive paradox and many other factors. Many, many people get chest infections which can sometimes turn more serious. Many wont even visit the doctor. Draconian measures only make sense if there is a clear strategy of what to do with the time it buys. As that is all they do buy, time. Should we weld doors shut on apartment blocks as has happened in China? What happens if we do that and there is another Grenfell Tower? Trashing the economy will also have a hidden human cost.

At the moment people are staying away from work but piling into supermarkets to stock up. Handling trolleys and getting blasted with warm air on the way in, are they trying to make an incubator?

yonathan dagen

16th March 2020 at 12:14 pm

I am making a good pay from home 1900 Buckets/week, that is brilliant, beneath a
year agone i used to be unemployed amid a monstrous economy. I pass on God consistently i used to be invested these bearings, and at present, I should pay it forward and impart it to everyone, Here is I started to……….. http://www.works48.com

Jerry Owen

16th March 2020 at 11:28 am

Sean Collins may do well to read this article !

Gareth Edward KING

16th March 2020 at 11:26 am

Great contribution. Britain has raised its head above the pulpit for all to see. The response in Spain (as in Italy) I would not recommend to anyone. Fortunately, the Spanish themselves have been reasonable but I cannot see this state of emergency, which at the moment is for 15 days, although Álabos the transport minister has said it ‘could be prolonged’, having the population on its side indefinitely. There’s not going to be a slide in cases reported just because people are being confined to their homes. The military police are on the streets as of yesterday afternoon. That suggests a government unsure of itself that needs the military to back it up ‘should things get out of hand’. Accidents are going to happen and Spain has a very sorry history in terms of military intervention (July 1936-March 39). Democracy was only restored Jan. 1977.

Ven Oods

16th March 2020 at 4:14 pm

“Britain has raised its head above the pulpit for all to see”

I’m hoping that was the ;parapet’, not the ‘pulpit’, since more people visit castles than go to church, nowadays.

DAVID MALAN

16th March 2020 at 8:55 am

Oh really. “The public have accepted the sober reality of coronavirus and the possible disruption it will bring to their lives in the coming months. They have remained calm and reasoned………..Investors and stock markets, on the other hand…….are behaving like hysterical children rather than rational adults.” That’s ridiculous. Just try buying bog-role, pasta, hand wash etc. and you’ll see how “calm and reasoned” the public are being. I believe the phrase used is “PANICK buying” not “calm and reasoned buying.

DAVID MALAN

16th March 2020 at 10:41 am

My mistakes. Roll instead of role and panic not panick. Combination of ignorance and auto-spell.

Jim Lawrie

16th March 2020 at 11:38 am

Supply of food and everyday items is geared for the needs of the day to day population. With the tourists gone, we now have over supply. Had people not panicked, prices would have fallen.

James Knight

16th March 2020 at 8:10 pm

It is rational behaviour at the individual level. Nobody believes covid19 requires stockpiles of bog roll. But they see other people stocking up and don’t want to be caught short. It is a run on bog roll like a run on the bank (pardon the pun). Same thing happened with petrol a few years ago.

Steve Roberts

16th March 2020 at 8:27 am

Excellent ,rational and profound article from Lewis. Wide ranging in its implications for so many other issues in society so i would recommend reading a few times and consider how this affects how we the demos relate to those we entrust decisions with.
It is not just the illiberal and narrowly anti Tory elements, nor the ,at times, hysterical media and markets that are screaming their irresponsible irrationality, there are also many experts,academics and health professionals succumbing too like headless chickens.
There are signs over the weekend that the government is losing some of its original authoritative position, there will be an increasing pressure to shift direction, many others in positions of power and responsibility in institutions and organisations are panicking and proving unfit for purpose
While maintaining flexibility the government must continue to prolong it’s original values because it would be wrong to do otherwise and it will then be accused of negligence from the beginning and the whole societal pack of cards will come tumbling down and panic will dominate , the irrational will have taken control, that cannot be allowed to happen.
This is not the black death, the vast majority of those infected are been told just to isolate, rest and it will pass this is agreed by everyone even those demanding irrational wider measures, there is more than a clue in that advise, it’s a virus, a nasty one.

Neil John

16th March 2020 at 4:39 pm

“There are signs over the weekend that the government is losing some of its original authoritative position, there will be an increasing pressure to shift direction, many others in positions of power and responsibility in institutions and organisations are panicking and proving unfit for purpose.”
Equally there are organisations, like a University I know only too well, where there has been a confirmed case, which are not taking the issue seriously. Their response was to send a low priority e-mail to staff over the weekend, followed this morning (16th March 2020) by their daily C-19 update with the statement all staff and students were informed over the weekend, which like most I opened first on my arrival in the office as it was nearer the top that the original ‘notification’. The staff that did know, the cleaners, didn’t enter the building to perform even the normal let alone any deep cleaning, the daily update stated the building would be open for business as usual, and it was, not cleaned nor any additional warning signs, ‘not a f’kin clue’ sums it up just about perfectly…

Neil John

16th March 2020 at 4:40 pm

“There are signs over the weekend that the government is losing some of its original authoritative position, there will be an increasing pressure to shift direction, many others in positions of power and responsibility in institutions and organisations are panicking and proving unfit for purpose.”
Equally there are organisations, like a University I know only too well, where there has been a confirmed case, which are not taking the issue seriously. Their response was to send a low priority e-mail to staff over the weekend, followed this morning (16th March 2020) by their daily C-19 update with the statement all staff and students were informed over the weekend, which like most I opened first on my arrival in the office as it was nearer the top that the original ‘notification’. The staff that did know, the cleaners, didn’t enter the building to perform even the normal let alone any deep cleaning, the daily update stated the building would be open for business as usual, and it was, not cleaned nor any additional warning signs, ‘not a flippin clue’ sums it up just about perfectly…

Neil John

16th March 2020 at 4:40 pm

Moderation? WHY?

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 8:22 am

YET AGAIN, UNWARRANTED BLOCKING OF ERUDITE COMMENT ON THIS WEBSITE, COMPLETELY UNDERMINING THE CLAIM TO UPHOLD FREE SPEECH.
My comment criticisng the government response is in the usual endless ‘moderation’ despite there being not a word in it that should pose any issue for moderators.

Steve Roberts

16th March 2020 at 8:40 am

Steve Moxon, stop the tantrum and panic. Who knows why your post is not posted immediately, you have had many posted for many years almost all contrary to a Spiked article. I have been fortunate to be published on Spiked and post frequently, and yet last week one post was not moderated and was lost and one took 24 hrs doubt it was a conspiracy, neither you or I are that important are we. Calm down.

Steve Roberts

16th March 2020 at 8:43 am

Steve Moxon, you probably wont believe it but using the save device I have posted on one article published immediately, replied one to you hone to moderation don’t know what will happen to this one, as I said calm down

steve moxon

16th March 2020 at 6:01 pm

And still in ‘moderation’ at the end of the day.
This website is a joke in its claim to uphold free speech.

Geoff W

16th March 2020 at 7:34 am

What most of the liberal media and their social media acolytes are saying is their usual message that “someone else must take responsibility for me and wave the magic wand to keep us all safe”.

It’s another twist on the victim mentality and it is always someone else to blame.

NEIL DATSON

16th March 2020 at 7:16 am

‘They have remained calm and reasoned – reassured, perhaps, by the existence of a coherent government plan of action. Investors and stock markets, on the other hand, are in a state of free-falling panic. They are behaving like hysterical children rather than rational adults.’

This seems to me somewhat unfair, on both sides. Some of the great general public are panic buying products that will be swiftly re-stocked by the retailers’ supply chains. No doubt there are people who, having filled their spare bedroom with toilet rolls and packets of paracetamol will panic buy something else; washing-up liquid and instant coffee perhaps. But that will doubtless settle down. And surely most of the institutions that hold shares are long-term investors. Only a tiny proportion of shares in a FTSE 100 company are traded every day, the price moves dramatically when the number traded multiplies, but it is still only a very small proportion, maybe 0.25% instead of 0.05%, or something like that. It would be interesting to see comment from somebody who does know what sort of proportion is realistic.

It is also an interesting reflection that a ‘responsible’ government needs to make its ‘calming’ announcements in the right way. Wasn’t it Alistair Darling saying that there was no need to panic about Northern Rock that really kicked-off the run on the bank?

Jonnie Henly

16th March 2020 at 1:10 am

“Boris Johnson says he is allowing himself to be guided ‘by the science’.”……

…..”There is no such thing as ‘the science’”

Ahem.

brent mckeon

16th March 2020 at 5:57 am

Presume that is also your view on ‘the science’ of global warming?

Dominic Straiton

16th March 2020 at 6:32 am

There is no such thing as “climate” science.Just like there is no such thing as “social” justice. There is medical science though.

Jonnie Henly

16th March 2020 at 8:58 am

That sounds like a rather desperate excuse/explaination you just pulled out of nowhere.

“Science here is valid, science there isn’t!”

Skeptic 1972

16th March 2020 at 2:34 pm

At least since the 60s there is no social science. We have, in effect, 57 varieties of Marxism and Postmodernism, instead.

Marvin Jones

18th March 2020 at 5:10 pm

Like there’s no such thing as democracy except on the one day of the election. Then, thanks you peasants, don’t get involved in what you don’t know anything about.

Constantine Sotiriou

16th March 2020 at 8:42 am

You need a better hobby

Dominic Straiton

16th March 2020 at 9:09 am

Its all very simple. If experiments cannot be repeated its junk political science.

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