In the last couple of days I’ve seen three polls asking about government handling of the Coronavirus. There was a short Yougov poll shared between Sky and the Times on Friday (here), a much longer YouGov poll in today’s Sunday Times (here), and an Opinium poll for this morning’s Observer (here).

I should start by saying a little to what extent public opinion matters at all on a topic like this. In judging what the correct approach is, public opinion obviously weighs little if at all compared to the opinion of experts in epidemiology. However polls are not about finding the correct answer, they are about measuring what the public think, whether that is right or wrong, wise or foolish, and on other levels this does matter. We know the government are keen to stress they are following the scientific advice, but would they be blown off that course if there was widespread public dissatisfaction? We don’t know. Perhaps more importantly, many of the actions the government will take in the months ahead will depend upon the public’s willingness to get on board and follow their instructions, so public confidence in the government’s actions really will matter.

On the topline the majority of people approve of the government’s performance:

  • in the YouGov/Times/Sky poll 55% said the government was handling it well, 31% badly.
  • In the YouGov/Sunday Times poll 53% say they have a confidence in the governments handling, 40% do not.
  • In the Opinium/Observer poll 44% approved of the government’s reaction, 30% disapproved.

Overall these are positive findings. However there is a caveat. Asked about the amount the govt have done to respond the YouGov/Sunday Times polls dound 47% think have done too little, compared to 4% too much and 39% about right. Using a differently worded question Opinium found a similar breakdown of opinion (12% over-reacting, 41% under-reacting, 41% about right). In other words, while the public support the governments handling so far, there is some feeling they should now be going further (though given the government have been explicit that they will be introducing more stringent measures in future weeks it’s probably a good sign that there is public appetite for it… it would be far trickier if the public thought the government were over-reacting).

It’s also worth noting that Opinium found that only 36% of people trusted what Boris Johnson personally said on the issue of the coronavirus, a less positive figure than the government as a whole (in contrast 59% of people said they trusted Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Advisor – suggesting the government’s strategy of regularly flanking Johnson with Whitty and Patrick Vallance at press conferences may be a wise one).

Asked about specific changes that could be introduced there seems to be widespread support for a wide variety of measures. The YouGov/Sunday Times poll found majority support for a state of emergency, for travel bans, for food rationing, for cancelling large events. Opinium found similar. Asked about closing schools (perhaps the topic that has been discussed the most over the last week), Opinium found 44% of people in favour, 26% opposed – plurality support, but not the overwhelming backing they found for some other measures.


4,675 Responses to “YouGov and Opinium polls on the government’s handling of the Coronavirus”

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  1. “But the economy will be shifted permanently in certain directions. We will buy more stuff on-line, and the decline of our High Streets will accelerate. People will work increasingly from home, and more meetings will be conducted via Zoom.”

    ——-

    There’s been debate elsewhere about the impact on the music industry. Unable to play live gigs, more are resorting to streaming live music over the net. One dies wonder as to the long term effects…

  2. @Millie,

    “Nothing much is going to change. Government, both local and central, will revert to their old ways as soon as the all clear is sounded.”

    Maybe, maybe not; it’s down to two imponderables for me. Firstly, to what extent will the economic damage caused by all this be such that it’s impossible to reset the default setting, not just economically but socially/culturally too? The second imponderable is the political dimension. How persuasive may be the voices that want to tilt the country firmly in a new direction? That’s what I mean by story-telling and its political; power. We have a new Opposition Leader now and a potentially reinvigorated opposition party; these are all aspects of the changing kaleidoscope image that could emerge. What’s for sure, is that it’s been given a sharp shake and while I recognise the deep yearning amongst conservatives for salvaging the old status quo, that may just be impossible. Hence a door opening for progressive and radical solutions.

    I’m fascinated, maybe even a little nervous about some of the social and cultural changes that may emerge after this pandemic is over. Will some of the behaviours we’ve been forced to adopt take longer lasting roots? What are the implications if they do, for all of us?

    I read the other day a fascinating article providing a glimpse into what sort of world may be being shaped, almost imperceptibly, as our utterly changed ways start to form the basis of possible future ways of living. Some benign, some maybe less so. An interesting read but I can’t dig it up again, I’m afraid. It was written by a psychiatrist/psychologist.

    The gist was that there may be, for example, a real reluctance amongst many people to congregate in large crowds again as the household isolation measures have ingrained distancing as a means of avoiding transmitted diseases. Fear/phobias about hygiene and viruses generally? What does this mean for the revival and future of spectator sports, bars, pubs and restaurants? Will people stay at home much more in the new world, ordering deliveries of all sorts of goods beyond what they already do now? Until a vaccine is available, and even beyond then possibly, will the fear induced by this epidemic prevent people, even after the relaxation of current restrictions, actually wanting to get back to normal? How many people will be confronted by the reality of broken households and failed/failing relationships?

    In other words, do we even begin to understand just yet the psychological and behavioural implications of this strange world we now find ourselves in? And, crucially, how do these start to play out when we pick up the pieces again?

    I really don’t think that life exactly as we knew it will return. History tells us that that’s what pandemics tend to do. They bring once in a generation sea changes.j

  3. @Charles

    “I will give my questions in a couple of separate posts. you may be interested as might Carfrew. It would be completely understandable if no one else was.”

    ——-

    Yes, I’m finding the discussion very interesting Charles and doubt I’m alone in that!

  4. New slide today which showed ICU beds in London having flattened out and admissions are bending down (+5% today, after 2% y’day continuing to be less than the 10%ish of current ICU patients that leave ICU per day)

    So still looking like we’ll come in under NHS surge capacity – phew!

    Deaths still rising at 115% (7,097 / 6,159) sadly confirming a lack of “spontaneous behavioural adjustment” from 16Mar. Admissions data suggests it will start dropping very soon though.

  5. From the Times

    Dirty air puts more lives at risk by damaging lungs, scientists say

    Air pollution is already known to contribute to thousands of early deaths from other respiratory diseases

    “Pollution may have caused thousands of extra deaths because people living in areas with poor air quality are less likely to survive after becoming infected with coronavirus, researchers say.

    Scientists analysed data from 3,000 counties in the US up to April 4 and found that a small increase in long-term exposure to fine particles, known as PM2.5, was apparently linked to a large increase in the death rate.

    The study is significant because it suggests delays in measures to improve air quality in urban areas, such as restricting diesel and petrol vehicles and banning wood and coal fires, will have contributed to the Covid-19 death toll.

    The team from Harvard University found that lowering the long-term average fine particle pollution in Manhattan by only 1 microgram per cubic metre of air (mcg/m3) could have prevented 248 of the 1,905 deaths recorded in the area up to last weekend.

    Overall, they found that each 1mcg/m3 increase in exposure to fine particles seemed to be linked to a 15 per cent increase in the Covid-19 death rate.

    The study, which is still going through the peer-review process, could not prove a direct link. However, the authors said that fine particle pollution damaged people’s lungs and hearts and left them vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as Covid-19.”

    “London generally has worse fine particle pollution than Manhattan, with an annual average of 13.3 mcg/m3 and no area complying with the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit of 10mcg/m3.”

    “Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and chairman of the Department of Health’s committee on air pollutants, said the study seemed to be “the most robust” so far on the link between air pollution and Covid-19 deaths.

    He added: “These findings fit well with the established relationship between PM2.5 exposure and many of the cardiovascular and respiratory comorbidities that dramatically increase the risk of death in Covid-19 patients.””

    “Defra is also seeking evidence on how the lockdown and fall in traffic has changed public exposure to air pollution. Levels of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide have fallen sharply in British cities since lockdown began last month.

    However, traffic is only one source of air pollution, with emissions from agriculture, home heating and pollutants swept in from abroad also contributing to poor quality. The Met Office is forecasting a risk of high air pollution in southern and southwest England on Friday, due to very light winds allowing pollution levels to build up.

    Researchers at the University of Bologna have suggested that airborne pollution particles might help to spread the virus by carrying it on their surfaces. However, this theory has not been confirmed and some experts have said there is no evidence to support it.”

  6. CB11

    I think you are right in saying that story telling has political power – but the critical aspect is who is telling the story?

    As to “History tells us that that’s what pandemics tend to do”, its more that the narrative that history is used to create, indicates who got to tell the story!

    After the considerable economic and sexual liberation of women in both the UK and the USA during WWII, the “establishment” (both political and economic) created a narrative about their sacrifice, and how happy they were to return to the kitchen.

  7. @Crossbat

    Yeah, whatever. Or Summat. Peeps can think what stuff they like. Obvs.
    Anyway, you’ve always got a friend in Col. Decent peep too by all accounts. Mainly his though.

    ————

    I do have a regard for Colin as it happens. Despite numerous disagreements in the past, it never got personal.

    One can have a regard for many, despite differing with each other, not being in the same tribe etc.

  8. @ LL – My pleasure. Always good to look at others approaches and models – even the dodgy ones! Please keep posting those kind of things and any data sources you find (the NHS England stats page seems to have a few bugs in it last two days, hopefully they’ll fix it)

    Total deaths rising at 115% per day should drop soon and I have been hoping for someone to “correct”[1] my maths on why we want to be 107% or less soon in order to “flatten the curve” and for NHS capacity to level off (probably just after Easter – even better if before)

    I had hoped we wouldn’t get a 1,000+ day until Easter weekend but that was based on hoping for a bit of “spontaneous behavioural adjustment” from elderly and at risk starting from 16Mar – sadly not seeing as much evidence of that in the numbers as I’d hoped.

    I’d also be surprised if we’re below Ferguson’s 20k total deaths by end of April – if we are then there will likely be huge pressure to ease of out lockdown a bit quicker.

    Clearly what political decisions are made happens after the 3week review will effect whether the aim is to keep the curve flat or try to curve it down. In that regard quite a few countries might not mind a high watermark for the “peak day” (Spain, Italy and possibly France having put in their “peak” day already)

    [1] Yes it’s a trap, although I doubt that is why anyone has told me I’m wrong.

  9. @ CARFREW / Others – Anyone seen any decent research or thoughts on “hay fever”?

    I’d have thought that anything that makes breathing more difficult for some folks is BAD but be good to see some credible info.

  10. CB11
    “I really don’t think that life exactly as we knew it will return. History tells us that that’s what pandemics tend to do. They bring once in a generation sea changes.”

    Sometimes – e.g. Black Death – but Asian Flu in ’57-’58 killed over a million worldwide but I can’t think of any lasting changes (mind you I was very young, I might have been unaware).

    I do agree that there will be changes this time, and some of those will be long-lasting.

  11. alec,
    “The first point of interest is that it finds infection levels are very low ”

    Its a sample of some 2 million respondents. From this they gross up for the entire UK and estmate 1.4 million symptomatic cases now. Yougov would die for samples this big, even if they arent perfectly tailored representative samples.

    Compared to the official cumulative total of cases, this is a massive infection rate. As i said, i did a quick estimate of the cumulative total implied by this and got around 4 million symptomatic cases. I dont think they have been running long enough to hav tracked this back very far, so we rather have to make certain assumptions about rate of spread, even in tracking back exponential growth to 1 case. It is possible – in fact I think it likely – the R value is different in dense cities than smaller towns or rural area. The disease seems to be hitting big cities.

    ” some of the reports on the tracker will be other illnesses.”

    true, but they have also been refining the symptoms list which they consider is characteristic of covid.

    “Other points of note are that over 70’s are excluded from the study as they have no data. Herd splitter theorists have promised us that younger adults have had greater exposure, so this omission drives down the actual % of population infected.”

    I presume they have corrected their estimate of total cases for oversampling of one age group or another?

    “It’s also worth noting that admit their model doesn’t capture the serious hopsitalized cases very well, saying “these are smaller in number compared to our total estimate”.

    The one group we do know about by other methods (ie counting people in hospital) is those hospitalised, so not getting info about them from this study presumably is les important, and indeed the existing data is something they might have used to correct their estimates. Its the ones not in hospital which we need information about. i guess people in hospital arent thinking about things they can do on the internet. Is boris busy sending in his status each day?

  12. @Millie (and others) – not so sure nothing much will change.

    Coronavirus has two positive uses, in my view (at least that I can think of).

    Firstly, it’s a boon for environmentalists. Must we focus relentless support on the development of air travel, when we know, first from theory and now from experience, that it’s going to kill thousands and then millions of people from the rapid spread of novel diseases? There are many other linked areas – why do companies crowd our towns and cities with revolting looking office buildings when we’ve just proved people can work from home, save money on child care, and cut deaths and costs from communiting?

    The second area is the labour market. Why is the labour market so fragile for so many people. This is right up Labour’s street, and resilience, as opposed to oure efficiency now needs to be addressed.

    In short, there are different sections of our political landscape that now have a crisis that they can utilise. The last crisis in 2008, and indeed, most crises since the immediate post war period, have been very useful to the right. This one is more like 1945, which was dynamite for the left.

    I may be wrong, but I’m hoping we will see some striking changes coming.

  13. @Trev

    “CARFREW / Others – Anyone seen any decent research or thoughts on “hay fever”?”

    ———-

    Fraid I haven’t. I’ve only seen a bit on not confusing hay fever with Covid.

  14. Roger Scully does have form on hyping Welsh opinion polls – but has he this time?

    Our new Welsh Political Barometer poll…

    Golly, golly gosh. And a turbo-charged blimey.

  15. @JIM JAM

    “Maybe hand dryers will fade from use.”

    Interesting. What makes you think that? I thought they were so popular because they were supposed to be ‘hygienic’ and good for the environment. Something which I personally doubt, although they certainly keep toilet floors clean of paper towels.

    I’d be up for banning those Dyson ones. Usually disgusting inside and whoever thought that blowing freezing cold jets of air on wet hands was a good one I have no idea… Plus take about 10 times as long as a paper towel, and cost a bomb.

  16. More than half of Americans now say the federal government has poorly managed the coronavirus’ spread within the United States, according to a new survey, and a majority also disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the public health crisis.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/08/poll-majority-of-americans-now-disapprove-of-federal-coronavirus-efforts-trumps-handling-of-crisis-174643

  17. Surely the big jump in numbers today is due to more tests? And deaths due to people getting it that beach/Mother’s Day weekend 21-22 March. We knew the peak was approaching about now.

    Was also under the impression we were going to start adding untested care home deaths to the totals (forgive me if I’m wrong).

  18. @Danny – yes, all very possible, but I was looking to place this more in the context of the UCL and Oxford models.

    There were some on here, until very recenty, who were suggesting that models showing similar infection rates to the 60%+ Oxford model were likely to be correct (even over a week ago) but neither this evidence, or the actual clinical data, suggests infection rates anywhere near this.

  19. @ Crossbat

    I’m not too expectant of some fundamental change in attitudes to be honest and although plenty of people are doing good deeds at the moment there are plenty who aren’t.

    Aside from the obvious examples of nurses car tyres slashed and 5g engineers getting abused, a small example from me is that on our daily walk through the woods and ex mining land in beautiful countryside there is a war memorial in the middle of nowhere (I’m guessing some sort of monument to miners who died in one of the wars) with the poppy reefs stacked on it. Yesterday they had been chucked into a little stream. We fished them out and put them back. Low level stuff presumably from bored kids but clearly not into the spirit of putting rainbows in their windows.

    I think ultimately because of globalisation it is very difficult to create a different way of doing things unless those people, often nameless at the £1m bonus levels start behaving in a better fashion. I haven;t seen much in the way of pressure on anyone other than Premiership footballers and while many rich people (twitter boss) are doing things there are plenty that don’t. We see people like Branson still looking for handouts without paying much in the way of tax ever to justify the handout- sue the NHS one day and ask for a subsidy the next. Unless those attitudes change and big companies don’t simply look at cheapest place to make things, paying the least tax possible then it isn’t going to matter if we all want things to be run differently because it won’t happen because business will go elsewhere.

    One thing I really hope that could change is not far off the argument put forward for lexit (rightly or wrongly) that we look at all our supply chains and needs and work out how to at least have the ability to react to situations like this one on food, medicines, protective gear etc. My wife was pointing to an article on shortage of eggs on the BBC with one reason put forward that we can’t get the egg boxes which are made in Spain or somewhere and their factory is shut. We need to have the ability to be self sufficient in a lot of areas even if it costs more than bringing things in from China and the upside is that we should have more productive jobs paying more taxes and having more money to spend in the economy.

  20. Lewblew

    I don’t know the details of how rUK polities are counting Covid deaths, but the figures from National Records of Scotland record all deaths, wherever they occur, that either state the cause as Covid, or where the certifying doctor says that its is presumed to be a contributory factor, even when no confirmatory test has been done.

  21. As of this afternoon, I know of 3 people who have passed due to COVID-19 (all 3 UHC). None close, but well enough to say hello. Mind we’re not that far from Cheltenham.

  22. Shevii

    Don’t be too hard on Branson.

    He’s been busy transferring $1.1bn from his Delaware tax haven to his British Virgin Islands tax haven.

    Cut him some slack (or something).

  23. @ LEWBLEW – Info and notes in reply to your 5:52pm. From the horse’s mouth:

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

  24. @Carfew

    “One can have a regard for many, despite differing with each other, not being in the same tribe etc.”

    Crikey, your reply must have got lost in the post! Haven’t you seen my apologia and mea culpa in the meantime? Our letters must have crossed! :-)

    I have no beef with you and I think you seized on a bit of general musing I was indulging in and saw a cap that you thought fitted you. You then slightly ad homined me, but I wasn’t offended because, as I’ve said before, it’s impossible to really know anyone from our occasional scribblings on here. We may or may not be inventing personas, but how could any of us possibly know? I know who I am obviously, and I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. I also get the impression that you’re far too intelligent a man to think you know me at all. And too intelligent to indulge in cod psychology too.

    Apologies for the leg-pulling on your oft employed vernacular but you use of summats, peeps, obvs etc does intrigue me, I have to say.

    Good luck to you anyway. I suspect you and I, and probably Colin, will continue to march to our very different drums.

    Not tribal drums though! Obvs.

    :-)

  25. “We need to have the ability to be self sufficient in a lot of areas even if it costs more than bringing things in from China and the upside is that we should have more productive jobs paying more taxes and having more money to spend in the economy.”

    ———

    Yes, keeping strategic capabilities even if it costs a bit more.

    One change I am wondering about, is whether science will become a part of more everyday discourse.

    You can tell some aren’t very happy about it, but it’s perhaps becoming more and more unavoidable. Not just the response to pandemics, but developments in AI, robotics, green tech, augmented reality, genetics, big data, surveillance and more besides having more and more economic, social and political impact.

    Just the pandemic alone takes in the science of epidemiology, genetics and bioscience, the technology of remote working, tracking and surveillance etc,

  26. LewBlew,

    I have been told that NHS staff have been told to use paper towels rather than hand dryers for hygiene reasons.

    Trouble is hand dryers do not require a person to empty the bin and as you imply used paper towels overflowing from a bin cant be hygienic.

  27. @JIM JAM

    I greatly miss paper towels. And pubs. So a pub with a paper towel dispenser and beer garden will be first on my go-to list when this debacle is over.

  28. @ LEWBLEW – and link to ONS who have quite a lot of additional info, maps, etc

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19roundup/2020-03-26

    scroll down to “Deaths involving COVID-19” and you’ll see for England and Wales (3weeks up to 27Mar) 88% of deaths are from those aged 65+. From the graph just below that then 1.4% are from 15-44 (and I bet most of the “9” had UHCs)

    9 people and only 1.4% of total!!! Yet we’ve locked down everyone?!? – it’s an OUTRAGE!!

    Follow the Science: #endthelockdown for the young and tighten it up for elderly and at risk

    PS Also explains the different methodology of ONS v DHSC

  29. Oldnat

    Ban on with Scully…..or Roger Allan-Scully as he calls himself when he wants to appear more “welshie”.

    Calm down boyo, elections are a long way off, as Crossbat reminded me when I mentioned Tory leads.

    By the way, I know some disagree, but I don’t think Labour can get a majority without Scotland….or an arrangement with the SNP. Is the nat vote soft in regards to a Labour comeback, especially in the old heartlands of Glasgow?

  30. @crossbat

    Wow, that’s a lot to write when all I did was say I had a regard for others despite disagreements or different tribes etc.

    But ok, since you are carrying on, to address your points.

    Yes, I did indeed spot the apologia, delivered early before I had a time to reply! You are attempting further to inoculate by trying to claim that whatever I point out might be cod psychology.

    Despite the fact that you initiated with the specious cod psychology that if someone doesn’t share much of themselves they must therefore be a sophist.

    And it’s often delivered without having the guts to address directly, in a further attempt to have a go without a response.

    Which, if you can’t follow the arguments sufficiently to actually point to sophistry, is a convenient if flawed proxy.

    Aside from the reason I gave earlier, there are other reasons people don’t share much, including some are more active in politics and don’t want to risk anonymity. Another reason is to avoid giving attack points, (e.g. what can happen if you share that you went to boarding school!)

    Myself, I share a moderate amount, but I do tend to avoid some stuff that might become attack points. To this end, I tend to not show much of my specialisms, partly because I’m more interested in others’ specialisms, but also because it can lead to charges of willy waving if you get any positive comments for it on the occasion you do share a bit.

    It’s true some can become irritated if you don’t share enough to gift easy attack points. Whereupon they might have to resort to keeping on having a go at your lingo, obvs.

    You can even get harangued if someone says you do ok at trying to be non-partisan!

    Now, I got lots more, for example I could tell you that I was expecting what you did, especially after seeing the tussle between two recently retired educators over the board pulpit, having trouble adjusting to life without the corralled audience they are used to in the real world, but you might just consider it cod psychology…

    P.s. Good luck too, crossbat!

  31. @HUGO

    Glasgow in particular is very SNP but the swings are not huge. I think Lab are in second place in all seats and would require less than a 10% swing in most seats to win. Might sound a lot, but these days, not so sure.

    Question is, does Sir Keir offer an olive branch to Scottish independence in an attempt to kill them off, or does he go after the Tories for the unionist vote? Or do a Corbyn over Brexit and attempt to please everybody (and get nowhere).

    Personally I think if Labour become more popular across the UK as a whole, they’ll pick up lots of Scottish seats. Probably not enough to give them a majority, but certainly enough (including non-Scottish seats) to be in hung parliament territory.

    On Boris and working-class voters, I think he is popular with them than his party is. Him and Brexit. A more realistic, less divisive Labour opposition and 5 years of continuing not to actually help the north/midlands and poor as promised might see them off.

  32. Another model that attempts to address the data available on the epidemic (PDF)

    https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laninf/PIIS1473-3099(20)30243-7.pdf

  33. Does anyone know what has happened to the newly elected leader of the opposition?

    Where’s Starmer?

  34. Keir will propose a federal solution..

    And with second chamber reform with the other Nations of the UK having designated places in the second chamber.

    He may propose a constitutional convention as, to an English man, it seemed successful in Scotland.

  35. @Crossbat

    I really don’t think that life exactly as we knew it will return. History tells us that that’s what pandemics tend to do. They bring once in a generation sea changes.j

    I’m inclined to agree. First, our economy is in intensive care at the moment, with Sunak’s cash acting as the ventilator to keep us breathing. At some stage, we will have to come out of intensive care and into a recovery ward before the economy is strong enough to go home. To me, that says that Sunak will have to keep putting some cash into the economy as it recovers.

    I cannot see the Tories going down the route of Universal Basic Income (as much as I would like to), so I see the money going into capital projects that create employment. If Sunak is ‘green’ enough, that could be employing people to improve the insulation standards of our houses and to build windfarms and solar arrays, perhaps even a tidal lagoon or barrage. As the country is committed to reducing CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050, this is an opportunity to make a good start on it.

    Another big change I can see coming is a reduction in office use as people who can work from home increasing do so. That will have knock-on effects; less office use means less commuting, which could make all our franchised railways unprofitable; we might have renationalised railways simply because the companies hand the franchises back.

    I think it is quite likely that air travel will not recover fully. Heathrow is down to operating from one runway now and I cannot see that the third runway will happen. We may well see flying primarily limited to intercontinental routes for which there is no alternative.

    Finally, I think that this is the last trump for cruises. Cruise ships are like floating Petri dishes and I think there is a real chance that this pandemic will kill off cruising.

  36. Lewblew

    “Personally I think if Labour become more popular across the UK as a whole, they’ll pick up lots of Scottish seats.”

    So how many Labour seats are you suggesting for Northern Ireland?

    “across the UK as a whole” recalls a time in the last millennium, when UNS was an accurate measure. :-)

    I reckon that Starmer’s current stance re Scotland is very much a holding position, since it doesn’t have a realistic chance of achieving anything.

    It’s for a UK wide constitutional convention, organised by Labour while in opposition, (ie a wholly internal process) to discuss creating a federal UK.

    There are many in Scotland who would have settled for genuine “Devo Max” (ie Westminster control only over Defence, Foreign Policy – and possibly macro-economic policy).

    Now, if the Labour Party in E&W can agree such a proposal, and there is a strong prospect of Labour gaining sufficient English seats to get near government, then who knows?

    Even then, the best option for such Scots would be to vote SNP, in order to ensure that Labour doesn’t chicken out of actually implementing such a manifesto.

    It wouldn’t be hard for a UK Labour government to be allowed by the SNP to govern England, as long as they delivered for Scotland.

    An actual Labour majority in HoC guarantees sod all!

  37. Jim Jam

    Starmer HAS proposed a constitutional convention, of the form I have outlined.

  38. Colin
    Nothing to disagree with in your 4.23post.

    On another note, it’s 7 years today since Lady Thatcher died. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I admit but like most PMs she got some things right and some things not so right.

  39. Alec,
    ” I was looking to place this more in the context of the UCL and Oxford models. ”

    Well yes, but this is more by way of an actual measurement. Or at least something more akin to an opinon poll.

    “There were some on here, until very recenty, who were suggesting that models showing similar infection rates to the 60%+ Oxford model were likely to be correct (even over a week ago) but neither this evidence, or the actual clinical data, suggests infection rates anywhere near this.”

    The trevors asked how many people might had been infected, and I suggested 20 million. Ok there might be a question of timescale, but this data isnt inconsistent with us having 20 million immune at least by the time the peak has run down in a couple of weeks. Critically depends on the proportion without symptoms. It might also depend on how long the disease has been here ticking along, before the survey got going.

    I recall there were some other issues, they said they didnt have enough respondents in the north east of England, for example. Might be an issue of older population in former industrial areas. Well represented in the south.

    Based on the survey and some other stats, we seem set to undershooy hospital capacity. So in all probablility could afford to be relaxing restrictions at the official review date. That might indeed be the right action.

  40. ON –

    Starmer has proposed a constitutional convention, of the form I have outlined.

    Would like to see how he worded, he is a lawyer.

    Also him and Joanna Cherry are on very good terms so a solution acceptable to SNP and Labour as an interim may be possible.

  41. I’m not sure if anyone can answer this question or whether I’m going to answer it myself with the guesses but I think I am right is saying today was the highest number of new cases.

    Now accepting that these numbers fluctuate a good bit, perhaps to do with reporting (I think I read somewhere that a couple of areas didn’t report one day this week) and that perhaps with more testing this is uncovering more cases. However we have now been in “lockdown” for over 2 weeks now.

    So where are these new cases coming from? Frontline people still working and catching public transport? Care homes, supermarkets, dustbin lids? People who had it at the start of the lockdown passing on to their partners at a later date?

    I am sure we will be close to the peak soon as everyone is starting to suggest this, but it just seems puzzling how long the virus is hanging around when i assume the vast majority of the population are social distancing.

  42. @Danny

    “I recall there were some other issues, they said they didnt have enough respondents in the north east of England, for example”

    Sounds more like your hypothesis was a pile of sh**e mate.

    Never mind. Brexit. COVID-19. 3rd time lucky?

  43. @ Shevii

    Per the article linked above from the Lancet, the estimated time from contracting the virus to death is around 18 days. So the continued rise in the UK’s death statistics is to be expected. If the lockdown is working, we should see the mortality stats reach a peak around the coming week-end, before starting to fall. It is likely that nearly all those who have died as of today contracted the virus before 23 March.

    The stats of people infected are very hard to interpret, because so few people in this country are being tested. However, as the UK gradually manages to increase the number of test, the number of positive tests is bound to rise. There is no way to tell if those now testing positive contracted the virus before or after 23 March.

  44. @ James E

    Yes I’ve not got any confusion over the death figures but do have on number of new cases. I thought that testing was still being prioritised for people with some sort of symptoms and need for hospital care rather than a random test for someone who might have had it pre lockdown?

  45. @ SHEVII – 5Apr was higher but the “reported cases” is massively under reporting “actual infections” and I won’t repeat past comments on that.

    A link you might already know of (scroll down to “Daily New Cases in the United Kingdom” ):

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/

  46. @Carfrew

    Thanks for the reply. Noted. As I say different drums. We’ll leave it there.

  47. @shevii

    Exactly – the people dying today and this week almost certainly caught it before or around the time of lockdown. Maybe also those who caught it from family members they were forced to be around by lockdown!

    Plus some unfortunate people who are still working – it’s not just nurses. I have a friend who works for a train company in HR and he still goes into the office!

    If it doesn’t start declining next week then we know lockdown hasn’t worked. Solution? Max lockdown (and even more deaths from subsequent recession) or accept it hasn’t worked and let everyone out? Do we want 200k deaths from recession or the same from Corona? You tell me…

    —-

    @OLDNAT

    SDLP might get a few…

    In Sir Keir we trust. Things change quickly at the moment in politics and the real world. I wouldn’t discount Labour in Scotland. They run up thousands of votes in the cities, so not everyone agrees with your viewpoint or hypotheses.

  48. @Shevii
    “I’m not too expectant of some fundamental change in attitudes to be honest and although plenty of people are doing good deeds at the moment there are plenty who aren’t.”

    That was a dispiriting list of anti-social behaviours you experienced or heard about, and I don’t doubt that those sorts of things, sadly, will continue whatever the world looks like after the crisis is over. The people who do these sorts of things are pretty few and far between though, aren’t they? My mother died 20 years ago and every Christmas my brother and I, and Dad too when alive, put a holly wreath on a bench dedicated to her memory in a nearby lakeside park. Not often, but enough times to be really distressing, we’ve had the wreath ripped off the bench and either stolen or chucked into the nearby lake. I really don’t know why anyone would want to do that, but I suspect the few who do will endure whatever societal changes go on around them. I don’t think it’s got any worse in my lifetime, but no better either.

    I think you make a good point about the scope for individual states to make fundamental changes to their societies and economies being limited by globalisation, but maybe one of the fascinating things about pandemics is their global reach. Might this not provide another dynamic to the changes that could occur? I’m thinking about things like ease of travel, mass tourism, the cost and availability of air travel, the witnessed environment benefits that we won’t want to reverse and yes, idealistically, the rediscovery of community and localism.

    My real fascination and curiosity, however, is in how behaviours may change as a result of this extraordinary enforced change to our lives. I acknowledge the huge economic implications of it all, and how those, in their own right, have the capacity to transform how we live, but I wonder if the lasting, more significant long-term effects will be felt by the way we individually, and then maybe collectively in a political sense, come to a conclusion that we actually want to live differently. We’ve learned something that can’t be unlearned.

  49. @Pete B

    I didn’t know much about the 1957 Asian flu until Bantams brought it to our attention. I was only about 18 months old then and while I can clearly remember Villa winning the FA Cup that year, I recall no other events: :-)

    More seriously, I think the possible reason why it rippled relatively few waves may have been because it didn’t appear to usher in any forced change to the way people lived their lives. People who caught it, and had relatives and friends who became seriously ill and possibly died, would have been grievously effected obviously, but there were no lockdowns, social distancing measures or economic shutdown. That may be the key difference between that epidemic and this one now. This epidemic is effecting everyone, not just the people who catch the virus.

  50. BBC reporting deaths in Spain increase for the second successive day…. PANIC! WE’RE DOOMED!

    700 yesterday, 704 today…

    I’m usually a Beeb apologiser but I’m very unimpressed with a lot of their news coverage recently. Lots of sensationalist headlines and clickbait on their website, not to mention some total untruths (e.g. reporting that Tim Martin ‘told’ his employees to work at Tesco – he didn’t).

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