It is never clear whether the government is following public opinion or leading it. In trying to do both, they get the worst of both worlds.
The public, which has been very understanding up to now, can be forgiven for being not just confused, but uncomprehending. A government can only govern by consent and, in my judgment, that consent is about to be withdrawn. People see a vaccination programme which has been among the most successful in the world, and they see a daily death rate mostly in single figures. If the current restrictions are not lifted on July 5 or 19, Boris Johnson will live to regret it.
I remind you of these things not to mock the Government’s lack of foresight, but to question whether it has ever been straight with us. Suppose that back in March 2020 the Prime Minister had said that he would micro-manage our lives by law, not for at least three weeks but for at least 17 months. Would the British people would have submitted as meekly as they did? I doubt it.
No wonder the Brothers Grim, Whitty and Vallance, looked ill at ease as they attempted to pass off hugely encouraging charts as looming calamity. Because the physical Covid numbers are now so low, they resorted to percentages instead. Hospital admissions had increased “by 50 per cent in a week”, warned the Chief Medical Officer.
A 50 per cent increase in Covid patients sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. NHS England reported 137 Covid admissions on June 12
Embracing the statist doctrine of a permanent war on Covid will end badly for the Conservatives
How blissfully everyone slipped back into near-normality on Monday, and with such a huge sigh of relief. Lunch with friends in a restaurant, holding your mother’s hand without fear, tickets for a show. Small pleasures, but how sweet they taste. Just as our long hibernation felt almost at an end and we began to believe we could slough off that lockdown lassitude and banish the gnawing worm of anxiety, here comes the… Indian variant. Bwa-hah-hah-hah!
The pattern should be familiar by now
Boris Johnson should ignore the provocations, recall the gunboats – and gamble on the slow demise of the Macron presidency
There were 250 in Westminster Abbey for Easter Day Eucharist. I know that Covid is a fiendishly clever critter, but can it really distinguish between normal congregants and mourners at a funeral? Why the harsher limit on the latter? Do those purse-lipped puritans on SAGE fear that grief might drive people to have a Covid-reckless sherry afterwards and start hugging the people they love? To borrow a favourite Prince Philip word, it’s bunkum.
The Covid passport is a revolting idea. Authoritarian. Discriminatory. Un-British. The PM will give us more details in a press conference today but it’s a mark of how far lockdown has warped our values that it’s already being hailed as a “freedom pass”. The public is all for it, of course: these are the people who call the cops when they see a queue outside a church. We’ve become so used to control that being permitted to do something that in ordinary times would be quite normal, like go to the theatre or attend a football match, is treated as a benign act of mercy by an all-loving state.
Sir Keir stressed that using Covid status certificates in the UK was a complex issue, adding that he would scrutinise government proposals before deciding whether to oppose them.
But he said: „My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.“
As a young woman, Merkel was taught to believe in a Soviet system that folded 15 republics into a single state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the past few months, she has sacrificed all prospects of rapid vaccination – and the lives it would save – for her own population because of her dogmatic belief in folding 27 countries into a single state called the European Union.
As Filipp Piatov, head of opinion at the German newspaper Bild, wrote last week, even in such a vital matter Merkel preferred ideology to good politics – because she was ‘so eager to demonstrate the superiority of Brussels bureaucracy to the nation state’.
We know that the trajectory of the virus has been indistinguishable between North Dakota (with masks and distancing in restaurants) and South Dakota (without restrictions). We know that California, which locked down and closed schools, seems to have fared worse than Florida, which did not. We can see that the picture in Belgium with its hard lockdowns has now converged with that in Sweden which famously took a voluntary approach. Similarly, the ‘second wave’ trajectory in Japan is remarkably similar to that of the UK.
I know, I know, fascinating stuff…. but let’s leave all that for the public inquiry.
Prof Spector also suggested that basic infection control measures – including physical distancing, face masks and handwashing – should remain in place as they „don’t cost really anything to do“.
„I think we need to get used to that and that will allow us to do the things we really want to do more easily and more readily,“ he said.
Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to ramp up preparations for reopening schools after being told the UK is now past the peak of the current wave of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister has made it clear that the Government’s immediate focus must be on education and is expected to announce further measures to help children catch up after almost a year of disruption.
Two polls conducted in April found that between 51 and 70 per cent of people were likely to support these passports.
Until we know for sure whether the vaccines stop transmission, it’s best to leave the passport idea to science fiction writers
The present emergency has raised a question that we thought was answered: do people value safety more than freedom? The great political argument of the twentieth century between a totalitarianism that promised lifelong protection, and open democracy which took the riskier path of liberty seemed to have been settled when communism collapsed and its Western acolytes, for the most part, gave up the fight. Or at least re-framed their position in a way that could accommodate the winning side.
Vaccine passports for holidaymakers will soon be ‘unavoidable’ as more countries make Covid immunity a condition of entry, a leading travel health expert has claimed.
Dr Richard Dawood, a specialist in travel medicine at the Fleet Street Clinic in London, also suggested that tight border controls will remain in place while countries feel ‘insecure’ about the risks posed by the virus.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust who advises Number 10’s advisory panel Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said: „We’re not going to be free of this pandemic by February, this is now a human endemic infection.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could be approved early next week by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after the final cut of data was submitted by the Government last Monday.
The Government is aiming for two million people to receive their first dose of either the Oxford vaccine or the Pfizer jab within a fortnight as part of a major ramping up of the inoculation programme.
By early 2014 he had made it to France with the help of French agents who may have believed the senior official could be a useful asset in the event of President Assad’s downfall, the senior French judicial source told The Telegraph.
“This was also just a few months before the 2015 terror attacks in Paris and the DGSE was desperate to get their hands on any leads about the Islamic State, which they knew was actively planning strikes,” said the source, who asked their name be withheld.
SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges said the treatment may never gain approval from US regulator the FDA, and said Astra had highlighted results from a “relatively small” number of patients.
The “Five Eyes” intelligence network of nations is preparing a legal challenge to Facebook’s plan for end-to-end encryption amid fears the platform will become a haven for terrorists and paedophiles.
Ministers from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are due to meet next week to consider legal measures to hold Facebook and other social media platforms liable for messages that could lead to serious criminality.
Official projections which pushed the country into a second lockdown have been quietly revised to no longer suggest deaths could soon overtake those at the peak of the first wave, The Telegraph has learned.
Britain is in the grip of a curious psychological phenomenon. Predictably, we are on the brink of yet another populist lockdown. But here’s the thing: nobody really believes in it this time. Not our libertarian PM who can’t quite muster the energy to memorise his own rules. Perhaps not even the politicians lobbying in favour of lockdowns. And certainly not the millions of closet individualists who are lying to the pollsters.
Lockdown has polarised British society; widening the gulf between the haves and have-nots, in a culture war yielding familiar tropes and characters. “Just stay at home, it’s not hard,” says the lawyer to the electrician. “Don’t sunbathe in the park!” cries Pandora from her Notting Hill townhouse. There is some truth in the caricature. But few have noted how the Pandora effect is also playing out on a monstrous global scale, inflicting unimaginable suffering.
Iran-backed terrorist cells could be deployed to launch attacks in the UK if the crisis between London and Tehran deepens, intelligence sources have warned.
The Eurobarometer survey on public opinion found that 45 percent of Brits would vote to stay in the EU. 37 percent would vote to leave and 18 percent are undecided, according to the survey.
Anna Soubry MP (pictured) said the couple “should not have been named in the media”, adding that a new law was “needed” to make it a criminal offence to name suspects before charge unless it is in the interests of justice.
The pair were pictured on the front pages of the Mail on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express and Sunday People yesterday morning, as well as on numerous news websites.
(10.11.2018) According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Younger invited Mr Corbyn to MI6’s headquarters in Vauxhall, south London for an ‚acquaintance session‘.
A Whitehall source told the paper: ‚The feeling was that the time had come for Mr Corbyn to become acquainted with the workings of the intelligence establishment.‘
(9.11.2018) The Labour leader recently met with Alex Younger, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, during which the importance of the agency’s work and the severity of the threats facing Britain were made clear to him.
A Whitehall official with knowledge of the meeting said: “The feeling was that the time had come for Mr Corbyn to become acquainted with the workings of the intelligence establishment.”