Sky News have released a new YouGov poll of Labour party members and affiliated supporters for the leadership election. First preferences for leader stand at STARMER 53%, LONG BAILEY 31%, NANDY 16%. While on these figures Starmer would narrowly win on first preferences anyway, if you reallocate Nandy’s votes the final preferences would be STARMER 66%, LONG BAILEY 34%.

Compared to the previous YouGov poll conducted in January Long Bailey’s support is almost unchanged, while Nandy and Starmer are up 8 and 7 points respectively, presumably largely due to picking up the preferences of those who previously supported Jess Philips or Emily Thornberry. This is the first poll to include voters from affiliated trade unionists – Starmer’s support is slightly higher among affiliates than full members, increasing his lead slightly.

Looking through the demographic breakdowns Starmer leads among all age groups, among both men and women, and across all regions (though his lead is bigger in the South than the North, and bigger among older members). The most notable demographic difference continues to be in terms of social grade, with Starmer only having a lead of 4 points among C2DE respondents. The other interesting, if not wholly surprising difference is by length of membership – those people who joined the Labour party during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are more likely to support Rebecca Long Bailey, those who joined before 2015 or have joined since the 2019 election are far more likely to support Starmer.

The poll also suggests a clear winner in the deputy leadership contest. First round preferences are RAYNER 47%, BURGON 19%, ALLIN-KHAN 13%, BUTLER 12%, MURRAY 9%, with RAYNER likely to pass the fifty-percent mark once Ian Murray’s votes are redistributed. Redistributing all the votes would give a final round of RAYNER 73%, BURGON 27%.

Full tables are here.

1,735 Responses to “YouGov poll of Labour members shows Starmer & Rayner ahead”

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  1. One observation that I’ve been pondering for a few days now.

    Looking at the spread of the virus, it’s appears that while it originated in China, and then quickly spilled over into some other Asian states, in the main the spread has mapped reasonably well the global distribution of wealth.

    Western Europe was quickly infected, while Eastern Europe lagged, Africa and South America lagged significantly, North America hit fairly hard, as with Australia, but India, Mexico, and many others only slightly touched to date. Iran is perhaps something of an exception.
    Even in the UK, the map of infection tends to mirror the north/south divide, with London and southern counties leading the way, while the NE has very few cases.

    At some point someone will run a correlation exercise between income and viral contagion, but this does throw up an interesting point.

    I’ve long felt that rich western societies, somewhat counter intuitively, are more vulnerable than poorer nations. We expect more, are less resilient, and rely much more on technologies and structures that require high level social cohesion and organisation. We have more comfortable, better lives in the good times, but may be less able to cope with the disasters.

    The pattern of covid-19 is clearly following the density of international air travel, which will be the critical vector for it’s spread. Chance dictates that one day we will see a much worse virus emerge, with far higher mortality and that genuinely threatens the social fabric.

    Western countries will probably be affected first, and poorer societies will have at least some warning, and might possibly end up as having the best chance to survive. It’s an intriguing thought.

  2. @ ROBIN – I would expect that the timing of Easter was factored into the model and the RIGHT timing for measures will adjust accordingly (see comment from a few days back)

    I’ve commented on the “known” variables and the desire to control R0 (log(2, E x p)) for those using excel as well.

    @ SHEVII – given the 20%[1] of working population at peak number that the top brass modelled up then that SHOULD be ensuring all levels of ‘service providers’ (NHS, etc) are planning for high capacity response and know the likely timings.

    However, for sure we should be hearing more about that. Some news is maybe not hitting MSM (eg trainee doctors will suspend studies and be front line etc) but little more on the 3million volunteer army (which from a purely ‘resource’ and understanding of the virus could be made up largely from students under army control – when, and it is when, we get to that – Easter into end April and possibly May depending on how much flatter we make the curve)


    Thank you for yor updates. They are helpfull. Get well soon.

    re your @”surely even 10% of the population getting immunity will have some limited impact on the total numbers against no-one having immunity. When I get back to work I won’t be an infection machine any longer.”

    you might be interested in this from the Times today:-

    “For coronavirus Ro ( infection rate) is 2.5. That means that for every 2.5 people you infect you want 1.5 to already be immune ( any Ro above 1 will proliferate exponentially). So herd immunity for coronavirus is 1.5 divided by 2.5 =60%.”

    The article goes on to explain that 60% could be reduced if high risk cases can be cocooned. or that personal hygene improvements of the population have an effect on transmission.
    If on the other hand, re-infection is possible with this virus a different future emerges.

  4. An interesting insight into the difficulties posed in this battle, by lack of central control & authority in a countries governing structure:-

  5. @ Colin

    “Actually I’m surprised we haven’t had a crack about payback for Brexit yet :-) ”

    No but I think there would be some justification for a critique about “austerity”. It’s probably too early to comment on death rates but it does seem like Germany is exceptionally low perhaps because they have invested more in their health services? UK so far isn’t too bad but we are a few weeks behind comparable countries.

    Sorry if that sounds like making political capital out of a crisis but there have been plenty of posters on here complaining about the state of the health service and plenty of shrugs from others about the necessity of the cuts. No health service can be fully prepared for a pandemic but I think we will find out that some health services have been able to cope better and I don’t think the UK will be top of those judged to have done well.

  6. [1] it won’t be 20% as we’ve adjusted down the period of “offsick” based on what we know of the virus. It also looks like we’ll flatten the curve by more than was planned. Re run the numbers and probably be more like 8% but for 5 weeks instead of 3

    That will mean we won’t need the same peak capacity as originally planned. Folks can run the numbers on NHS bed capacity, etc based on other “knowns “ about the virus (eg % that will need hospital level care)


    Well I think the very best of Health Services will struggle to cope with this. Lombardy is the prime example.

    And of course it remains to be seen how final outcomes compare across different countries ( an appalling balance sheet-but I expect it will be drawn up).

    However I’m not going to dispute that the post Crash fiscal constraint hasn’t had an effect.

  8. @ Shevii

    My daughter now works in the NHS and isn’t a massive fan of Boris but she has said she’s impressed with the situation as it’s evolved up to now and they’re mostly invested in the process that’s been laid out.

    From the same starting point as Spain & Italy we’re well behind their curve of infection at this stage. The NHS obviously want the peak to be flattened out as much as possible and for as long as possible. I do worry that individual trusts will struggle and I hope a plan B is in place for them should the worst happen. The NHS have been working flat out making plans for this since early January as have the stats experts so I place my trust in them.

  9. Looks like more planning info is coming out. Our armed forces and reserves are getting ready for C-month

    During fire service strike we had green goddesses stepping in. Churchill had D-day

    Good planning, cool heads and we’ll get through this

  10. This might be a bit rambly because I’m trying to get my own thoughts in order about what I think of what happened this morning here in North East Essex.

    I was due to give a talk this afternoon to the North East Essex Family History Society in Colchester. I received an email from the group early this morning telling me the meeting had been cancelled over Coronavirus fears.
    Now, there would have been something like 50 people at the meeting in a part of the world that so far has seen very few reported cases – 9 in Essex and 1 in Suffolk. I would say the chances of someone at that meeting having the virus and passing it on are close to negligible.

    But the question seems to me to be, what are all these people going to do as the pandemic spreads if they can’t even face going out now? We are told that the peak is likely to be 2-3 months away, so are all these people who are not prepared to take a negligible risk now going to just stay at home for the next four or more months and not go anywhere?

    The thing is, that I expect they will go shopping in supermarkets – maybe even today instead of going to the meeting – where, it seems to me, there is a much greater risk of contacting the virus, what with holding undisinfected trolleys and baskets that have been held by dozens of other people or picking up goods that may have been picked up and put down several times before and so on and just generally mixing with a large number of people.

    Guess I’m trying to get at the rationale behind cancelling the meeting, what people’s fears are and what they see as their mid-long term movements as this pandemic grows if they can’t even face going out now.

  11. My U3A has circulated guidance from the National body. Monthly lectures cancelled for April & May. All regional “study school” events cancelled. Local Interest & Activity groups advised to “cancel or reduce” their meetings “until the spread of the virus can be better assessed and until further information becomes available from the UK government, the NHS and other agencies.”

  12. From the grunge –

    “Hundreds of members of the scientific community have sent two open letters to the British government, voicing their concerns about the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    One comes from 198 academics in the field of maths and science, calling for urgent measures of social distancing across the UK.

    It says: “Going for ‘herd immunity’ at this point does not seem a viable option, as this will put NHS at an even stronger level of stress, risking many more lives than necessary.”

    Another letter has been signed by 164 behavioural scientists. It raises concerns about the idea of “behavioural fatigue” – the idea that if the public are instructed to take preventative measures too early, they’ll eventually revert back to prior behaviour.

    The letter suggests that this has been a cornerstone of British government policy on coronavirus and sheds doubt on the evidence behind this.

    “While we fully support an evidence-based approach to policy that draws on behavioural science, we are not convinced that enough is known about ‘behavioural fatigue’ or to what extent these insights apply to the current exceptional circumstances,” it says.

    “If ‘behavioural fatigue’ truly represents a key factor in the government’s decision to delay high-visibility interventions, we urge the government to share an adequate evidence base in support of that decision. If one is lacking, we urge the government to reconsider these decisions,” it ends.”

    So it seems that behavioural scientists aren’t as convinced about the rationale behind the UK approach either?

  13. @ Alec 10.46 am

    I have pasted out your message again because it is so good. It ought to persuade some people here to stop their predictions based on inflexion points and their assumptions that shapes of curves in China, Japan will apply to the Europe and the UK.

    “” @Leftieliberal – a perspective from the WHO spokesperson (also a doctor)

    “We don’t know enough about the science of this virus, it hasn’t been in our population for long enough for us to know what it does in immunological terms.

    “Every virus functions differently in your body and stimulates a different immunological profile. We can talk theories, but at the moment we are really facing a situation where we have got to look at action.”

    This is why I questioned @Trevs assertion that we know a lot about this virus. The knowledge elements that are absolutely central to the UK’s herd immunity approach are the key areas where our knowledge is most limited. We don’t really have any idea what level or duration of immunity catching this infection will provide, yet we are basing our approach on the assumption of lasting immunity.

    I find the mantra that everything we are doing is ‘based on science’ somewhat disturbing, because it isn’t. We are developing a herd immunity strategy based on scientific guesswork, because we simply don’t have the science about post infection immunity and serology of this virus available””

    In my opinion, we also need to know more on whether there are two strains of the virus meantime – that reporting seems to have lapsed to interpreting herd immunity; which is a good general principle but simply unquantifiable as yet on a new virus.

    I heard the WHO doctor speaking on R4 and think her 2nd paragraph now quoted had a different end.

  14. @ NORBOLD – Very valid points. Vallance covered the issue of ‘fatigue’ with social distancing measures as a reason why we shouldn’t “go big, too early” so anyone that is over reacting at this point is doing more harm than good – shame on them.

    Whilst we want to ‘flatten the curve’ (see link with easy visual on that) then the UK approach is to accept that “contain” stage is over and move to “delay”. UK slightly unique perhaps in planning ahead and trying to expand the health care capacity and then intending to use that capacity[1] (ie drag this out for the minimum period that allows us to cope as best as possible and not drag it out forever)

    There is a very valid issue around ‘cocooning’ the most vulnerable (elderly, those with pre-conditions, etc) but as you point out irresponsible unilateral actions, in this case whoever decided to cancel you talk, will probably do more harm than good and will bring the ‘fatigue’ issue forward in time (bad,bad and bad)

    There is also the ‘behavioural issue’ of folks ignoring advice when it comes to implementing recommended social distancing delay measures as well (eg if a minority of folks break self isolation protocol or, when it comes to it, we keep only food shops+pharmacies open and lock everything and everyone else down then unless you can track person-person transmission – the virus will just tick along at a rate that never builds herd immunity but never allows it to be extinguished)

    I note the French yellow vests aren’t letting Macron’s lockdown measures stop them getting out for the Saturday activities:

    PS I hear Colchester Garrison is getting ready and some cadet forces are also on stand by to help when, and it is when, needed (C-month being most of April and possibly into May)

    [1] Anyone who has run the numbers and understands the known variables of the virus will know we can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid this scenario now. Hence the huge efforts to ensure capacity is increased – we’re gonna need it! No one need die in a locked down apartment block or care home. With good planning and cool heads we can get those that need ventilation equipment the medical care they need, when they need it at a location near-ish to them (not necessarily a NHS hospital) AND we can build up some herd immunity. Those two measures combined will need we can certainly save more lives and give dignity to all those needing medical care.

  15. Add a #10 to my list of “knowns” about COVID-19 (see a few pages back for 1-9)

    10/ Summer won’t kill it (see Australia and other Southern Hemisphere for why)

    However, UK Spring-Autumn period will has many advantages, notably a lower ‘normal’ demand on NHS

  16. @Trevs – “Vallance covered the issue of ‘fatigue’ with social distancing measures as a reason why we shouldn’t “go big, too early” so anyone that is over reacting at this point is doing more harm than good – shame on them.”

    Again, without seeing the evidence on which this is based, you are shooting in the dark.

    The 164 behavioural scientists who have written to the government do not appear to share your certainty regarding the evidence base for behavioural fatigue, especially in the current circumstances. These people are experts in this field, so perhaps a little less certainty on your part would be apposite?

    “… the virus will just tick along at a rate that never builds herd immunity..”

    Again, you just simply have no idea about this. If immunity is strong and last for 3 years after infection, then we just extend the point at which we achieve herd immunity with a much flatter curve.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that had Corbyn won the last election and our government was taking precisely the same steps now, you might be posting slightly different views.

  17. Alec @ 11.16 am

    Thanks for giving a link to the verge-mowing article.

    After plugging this way of thinking for 50 years with only modest success, I am happy to see conservationists are gradually gaining ground.

    The article has a few facts exaggerated – no council was cutting rural verges 12 times a summer, and reducing to 2-3 times is not sufficient.

    I notice a mention of Sandford in Dorset, A former colleague could well be having influence; our organisation used to have a research station near there, so he or other former staff could be preaching.

    But we have still a long way to go persuading both middle-class rural estates and house owners, and also official organisations. For example Autolink, who manage the M74 for 60+ miles down to Gretna, are still mowing much too big an area of verge despite questioning I organised in the Scottish parliament 10-15 years back. Other trunk roads in Scotland have a much more sympathetic treatment.

    I also agree on London staff gold-plating EU regulations. We have in our church congregation a retired EU worker who dealt with conservation and the Habitat Directive, and he has often said this.

  18. @Trevs – “10/ Summer won’t kill it (see Australia and other Southern Hemisphere for why)”

    Again, you can’t say this, because you, nor anyone else, knows – yet.

    The Australian Federal government has (today) said that they do not have widespread community transmission, so they cannot provide any evidence base for differential transmission rates. South Africa reported it’s first case on March 5th, so again, to soon to gather any epidimiological data.

    You could be correct, but citing what is happening in Australia as evidence is false.

  19. A guess, but given that there are now three teams moving rapidly to human tests on a new vaccine (including one that has found that the Sars vaccine they were working on has a similar effect on covid-19) I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that we get a vaccine much quicker than we currently assume.

    If the trials work (that’s the big if) I don’t think there will be many issues with ramping up massive production globally, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we get to the end of summer with a vaccination program being rolled out.

    But this is merely a hunch.

  20. @ ALEC – I’m ignoring most of your drivel but perhaps care to consider your own posts:

    “the Sars vaccine they were working on has a similar effect on covid-19”

    do you understand why that is the case?

    do you wish to retract any of your “expert” opinions on viruses and UK approach to build up immunity?

    PS The World isn’t flat, Brits behaviour is probably more comparable to Australians than Chinese, Vallance was appointed before Boris became PM (ie not a Dom stooge), maths is the “purest” of sciences (it doesn’t bend to political weakness) and every business in UK would be bankrupt if we locked down for 3yrs. I probably missed something in skimming your drivel so that’s not an exhaustive list.

  21. @ Norbold 3.30 pm

    Sorry to hear you have suffered an unnecessary cancellation from people who haven`t thought carefully about the problems and virus dispersion.

    Those still going doing things from concerts to church services to organising exams, have been thinking hard about the arrangements in the last few days, with lots of issues to consider.

    E.g. washing hands shortly before playing on pianos; Choir seating not too close, getting in the collection, not having the “Peace” and handshaking; Not arriving at venues early, so no crowding in exam waiting rooms.

    A lengthy email just in from Trinity College Board about the exams underway next week has prompted me on this.

    For those who take a black-and-white line and say stop everything “unnecessary”, think about the effect on some more-advanced pupils who have been working on their Grade 8 pieces for the last six months, and could never get chance later to play them for a grade mark.

    Think about those mainly older folk who psychologically gain from the church services and their only brief contact with others since last Sunday. Think about the difficult time for many of virtual isolation maybe 10 weeks long, if the UK shuts down too soon, and the pressure that will build up quite quickly in a shut-down for events to resume, when the dangers probably will be greater than now.

  22. Anecdotes

    We went out for lunch today in a posh hotel in rural South Ayrshire. Manager said no panic locally, and when I went into the village Co-op to get a paper, all shelves were fully stocked.

    Then we popped in to see my wife’s elderly uncle to check he was OK – so had his sister-in-law, his daughter, son in law and grandson, as had his son with his 4 kids.

    It was a madhouse! Uncle must have been glad when we all left him in peace.

    I had booked to go to Disneyworld with the whole family in early April. I’ve been putting off making decisions about cancelling the trip, in the hope that “something would turn up” to ensure I didn’t lose a substantial sum of money.

    Thankfully, that nice Mr Trump has blocked us all from going to the USA.

  23. Last lifeline closed off in rural France. By decree, all cafes and restaurants are to close from today. My local restaurant, 100 meters away, may never re-open, relying, as all such businesses do, on its summer trade.
    Boredom beckons. No more sitting outside with a coffee, watching the world go by.

  24. @Trevs –


  25. @Alec

    “If the trials work (that’s the big if) I don’t think there will be many issues with ramping up massive production globally, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we get to the end of summer with a vaccination program being rolled out. ”

    Your prediction is highly unlikely. Most vaccine trials actually fail and the most advanced vaccine in development is from a small company that uses a new (and untried) methodology, basically a “synthetic” vaccine that mimics segments of the virus’ genome, rather than using the attenuated or inactive virus itself. According to reports I have seen, no vaccine of that type has ever been approved for human use so far.

    Besides, even if the vaccine works, the protocols to ensure safety and effectiveness and then moving to licensing are very rigid and it is unlikely that all hurdles will be cleared before the end of this year.

    I am actually more hopeful that existing antiviral drugs (which are already approved for human use) will prove to be effective against SARS-Cov-2 in clinical trials (first results should be out in April) and then doctors in the West will be cleared to start treating patients with those drugs. They have been doing it actually for quite some time already in China, but bioethics in the West is far more involved and doctors here won’t do it, except on compassionate grounds.

  26. I have seen in my newspapers of the last two days, several folk justifying major sporting events on the basis that infection is less likely to be passed in outdoor crowds than in people watching in pubs.

    But has anybody in the UK estimated how many regularly watch sport in pubs who wouldn`t be there anyway. Is it 50,000 or 500,000 or 5 million? I have never gone to a pub to watch a match rather than using my own TV or desk-top, and neither do I know anybody doing that in the quite numerous group of people with whom I discuss performances.

    It makes me slightly wonder about some of the folk advising government, and maybe colleagues have suggested to them that that argument was a little dodgy, hence yesterday`s U-turn.

  27. @Mbruno – you’re probably correct, but China is starting human testing in April, with 5 separate methodologies (including deactivated virus, a tried and tested technique). Hear what you say about approvals, but if it works and starts being used overseas, that would help reduce sources of reinfection, plus create substantial pressure for fast tracking approvals here.

    Like I say – it’s a hunch. I don’t think there has ever been such a concerted global effort to find a vaccine, and science keeps advancing.

  28. @ NF – please post in a few weeks time and give us an update on how many small cafes etc are ‘breaking’ decree versus those accepting they’ll go bankrupt.

    if you don the yellow vest in protest to Macron and in support of your local cafe let us know

  29. Alec

    You mentioned earlier the correlation of the virus effect and wealth.

    I’m reminded of the cholera epidemics in early 19th C. UK. As long as only the poor got the disease, the ruling class largely ignored it. In this wee town, people were advised to whitewash their cottages and stop storing tatties under the bed, to avoid it!

    When it hit the wealthy in London, all the stops were pulled out to bring in the sanitation measures required.

    For those unaware of the dynamics of cholera then, there’s a useful summary here.

    Diseases come and go, but the interests of the wealthy are always paramount.

  30. Bloody hell!

    If Cummings/Johnson do make these suggestions UK wide, then I’m to be jailed for 4 months! Solitary I might be able to manage, but with my wife? We’ll kill each other!

  31. Opinium poll in tomorrow’s Observer, can’t see tables yet but write-up link is here

    UK govt’s handling of the virus so far is quoted as
    44% Approve
    30% Disapprove

    with fieldwork Thursday and Friday.

    Whilst things can obviously change quickly and drastically on an issue like this, this suggests that Johnson is yet to damage himself with this.

  32. A colleague in the university working on this told me that there are plans to use university halls of residence as temporary hospitals for up to 6 months April-September.

  33. @ ALEC – Personally, I don’t find the death of 100,000s of people and the bankruptcy of 10,000s of business very funny, maybe you do?

    Between your belated realisation of much higher “travel” is in Western countries (not just planes but commuting, etc) versus China (that is the E variable (formulaic link to R0) in the maths and why Western countries can’t put the genie back in bottle) and your belated realisation that a vaccine for a distant cousin of the current virus might well be moderately effective[1] (nowhere near 100% but better than nothing) then your getting close to understanding Vallance’s understanding of how UK should approach COVID-19

    Fortunately Boris is following Vallance’s advice and not your “hunches” or the reactionary suggestions of those freaked out by the latest cases data which is EFFECTIVELY already a week out of date (and reported cases will probably still be under reported by a factor of 10x ish).

    [1] Coronavirus(es), like most viruses, mutate – we know that, so that is a “known”. It is WHEN and HOW they mutate (and by how much they mutate) that is important (and slightly unpredictable). However, if someone has antibodies from one virus (either via vaccine or via ‘survival’ of having had the virus) then the closer the mutation (or ‘family’ structure) is to the antibodies that they already have (again, either from vaccine or via ‘survival’) then the higher the immunity – that is “known”

    I leave the “knowns” to the experts myself, but anyone with maths and spreadsheet skills can use the empirical info we have on the “knowns” we now have for COVID-19 to get a good estimate of the variables used in the maths (purest science of them all) to build up prediction models to understand why Vallance is giving the advice he is.

  34. @ PROFHOWARD – Ahead of uni halls of residence will be all military facilities, private hospitals, etc but yes, it might come to needing some capacity beyond the “obvious” places.

    However, if we need a huge amount of extra capacity then it won’t be for 6mths. If the ‘peak’ is that high then it will not be for that long – that is maths and using the “known” data on the virus to be able to predict the range of distributions!

    I hope folks are starting to realise and accept that Increasing capacity for all realistic distributions is the #1 priority. We then need to manage the distribution as best we can and that requires good planning, cool heads AND as many as possible to act responsibly (not everyone will and I would expect Vallance has factored that in to a “flexible” response)

  35. @Trevs

    in search of the knowns i laboured through the two following references

    They are interesting in showing the factors likely to be important (e.g. the length of time people are infectious but asymptomatic and the minimum number of cases needed for an outbreak to take hold. However, almost all the key parameters have to be estimated, most of them from data that was very early in the outbreak.. So it seems to me we are really in the dark. Nice mathematics perhaps but a pity about the assumptions it has to make.

    My personal guess is that the disease is advancing so fast that the government is going to have to do something pretty drastic soon and well before Mid-May. This is likely to involve my incarceration if not on the grounds that I am setting myself up as an armchair expert, then by Cummings’s fiat. I have laid in stocks of paracetamol, wine, gin, pasta and baked beans, but unfortunately I wasn’t reckoning beyond 10 days and more now seems feasible,

  36. @Trevs – you really do talk some [email protected] at times.

    You are regularly hamstrung by two major problems. Firstly, you assume that you understand everything but others don’t, and secondly you never fail to misread and misunderstand the posts of those you are attacking.


    as I say.

    Please carry on in your own small imaginings.

  37. @Charles – as you say, so much is unknown about this virus.

    There seems to be a very substantial backlash among top experts in the various relevant disciplines against both the slowness of containment measures and adopting the principle of herd immunity as a control measure.
    It does look like this is going to get pretty dramatic.

  38. Alec
    “ Firstly, you assume that you understand everything but others don’t, and secondly you never fail to misread and misunderstand the posts of those you are attacking”

    Err, pot, kettle and black?

    Referring back to some

  39. Alec
    Pressed go accidentally. I was going to say, referring back to your reference to 164 behavioural scientists, disagreeing with the governments policy on dealing with Covid 19, I suppose the obvious question is, how many such scientists are there in the U.K.?

    If the answer is 170, then that’s pretty worrying for the government. If the answer is 10,000, then frankly its almost irrelevant.

  40. It seems that the English Health Minister thinks it a wizard wheeze to announce plans for the next stage of coronavirus via an article in a Tory newspaper with a minimal readership.

    I wonder how much he got paid for writing that article?

  41. @Robert N – the main thrust of what I have been saying about this is that there are huge areas of uncertainty where even the experts are in the dark. Not sure why you think I’ve presented as a fountain of knowledge?

    It appears that the majority of qualified experts, here and throughout the world, don’t believe that the herd immunity approach is sensible and do think that we need to move faster to deep containment measures and mass testing, as the rest of the world is doing, and the WHO recommends.

    On a personal level, good luck with this. I think for older people this is going to get pretty difficult.

  42. Interesting in that Telegraph article:

    “We have a plan, based on the expertise of world-leading scientists. Herd immunity is not a part of it.”

  43. @Oldnat – From that Mat Hancock article –

    “We have a plan, based on the expertise of world-leading scientists. Herd immunity is not a part of it. That is a scientific concept, not a goal or a strategy.”

    So the government is not running a herd immunity strategy after all?

    This is either a phenomenally bad communications strategy, or a complete reversal of the practical strategy.

  44. Well I’m not 70 till June so I have a few more months before I’m carted off to the gulag.

    Seriously, a period of self isolation will be no problem to me & Mrs RN. With the internet and membership of Amazons book library, I’ll find plenty to amuse myself with. Plus the family history investigations of course. And she can take up painting again.

    I will miss my Friday 2 pints of real ale and their home made steak and mushroom pie though.

    We have decided to cancel our late May holiday in Scotland, sadly. We were looking forward to seeing the west coast again, but better to just write off the small deposit,than risk losing more later.

    If anyone really wants to depress themselves, then I recommend reading the Stephen King novel, The Stand. It’s years since I read it but it is one scenario as to how this virus could develop, should things go seriously wrong.

  45. Alec
    “ It appears that the majority of qualified experts, here and throughout the world, don’t believe that the herd immunity approach is sensible and do think that we need to move faster to deep containment measures and mass testing, as the rest of the world is doing, and the WHO recommends.”

    So what you are saying is….we should follow the herd?

    If there are good reasons thus far, for following a different strategy, then in a scenario where there is no precedent, providing the reasoning is sound (which as far as I can tell it is), I see no reason to question at the moment. There are many scientists out there and so there will be man different views. I don’t think the head honcho at the WHO is any more than just another scientist with a view. Who’s to say his opinion is more or less valid the the U.K. Chief Medical Officer?

    Thanks for your good wishes and they are reciprocated, of course. Happily we do both enjoy good health, so hopefully we could cope.

  46. Foster – schools will close “when we are advised on the medical evidence”.
    “Children will be at home for quite a considerable period of time, given that when we do close the schools they will be closed for at least 16 weeks.
    “Then of course you are into the summer period, so they will be off school for a very long time.”
    Ms O’Neill said all parties in the executive agreed schools would have to close but it was a matter of timing.

    Similar to what Sturgeon has already said about school closures.

    Any word about England, or does that have to wait till someone pays the English Education Secretary to write an article?

  47. “maths is the “purest” of sciences (it doesn’t bend to political weakness)”

    And it is the easiest to misrepresent, misinterpret, and misuse.

    Maths will not solve any of this. Maths cannot predict if an infected person will walk into Supermarket ‘x’ or ‘y’, or will stay at home. My 74 year old mother, who is probably in the upper end of risk scale is adamant that she’s going on her night out tonight, and will travel to Spain later in the year, come what may.

    Best update that spreadsheet and those maths algorithms to include the bloody minded, and the wilfully ignorant. Or just start using the RAND function.

    Had the government simply banned flights into the country in February, we’d be ahead of the curve. Some suggested it. Politicians never react fast enough. If they do, the crisis never happens, and it’s seen as overreaction. In this particular case, it was easy to predict, and since all the nations of the world seem to be going into lock down anyway, what’s the difference?

    21 dead in the UK so far, for a start.

    Pop that in your spreadsheet. Twenty one people that could have been alive if politicians had the guts to act ahead of the curve, rather than play with lives to keep ‘business as usual’.

    Here’s another for your spreadsheet. The current UK death rate to infections is 1.842%

    With 65 million as a ball park figure, that comes to about 1,197,368 in the UK, if ‘herd immunity’ is to be achieved. With the vast majority of those being killed being over 80, and there being around 3 million people in the UK over 80, we’re talking about a third of those in the vulnerable age group.

    1 in 3

    So the government’s strategy is to cull the pensioners, on that data.
    Perhaps it’s just me, but I think that’s a bit callous.

  48. Let’s hope that Anthony doesn’t decide to silence dissenting voices!

  49. To introduce a moment of light relief:
    My wife and I were discussing the presumed restrictions on 70-year-olds leaked by Peston. I am ‘only’ 69 so could still get out and about, but she is slightly older.

    I laughed out loud when I found myself about to say something like “The government knows best dear, let’s just wait and see what they say and then do it.”
    It reminded me of ‘When the Wind Blows’ by Raymond Briggs of ‘Snowman’ fame.

    For those who don’t know, it’s about nuclear war.
    “A constant theme is Jim’s optimistic outlook and his unshakeable belief that the government knows what’s best and that it has the situation under full control, coupled with Hilda’s attempts to carry on life as normal.”

    Well worth a read if you don’t know it.

  50. Here’s a link

    The whole thing is about an hour long, but the first 20 minutes are especially relevant. And what else do we have to do when we’re in lockdown?

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