I’ve written over the YouGov website about the latest YouGov polling on how the government are handling the corona outbreak here.

Polls across the board show that the public have a generally negative attitude towards how the government are handling the outbreak. The attempt here is to look under the bonnet a bit about why, and which parts. In that sense people seem to rate the government’s handling of the coronavirus in economic terms seems to be a little better than perceptions of how they are combating the virus itself. However, the very lowest results are on perceptions of the level of organisation – just 20% think they appear to be in charge of the situation, only 17% think they have a clear plan.

Full article is here.

1,991 Responses to “What people think the government are getting wrong about the Coronavirus”

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  1. Colin: Do you follow that train of thought now ?

    I do, because you’ve re-written it to make sense, whereas before it was internally contradictory.

    It was your statement that “the IMF, champion of budget restraint … are , as we speak, demanding austerity from its own borrowers!” that was puzzling (and not just because of the syntax).

    Surely “demanding austerity from its own borrowers” is what you would expect from a “champion of budget restraint”? So why your surprise (and !)?

    What you call the IMF’s “newly found enthusiasm for encouraging new Sovereign debt” is what led me to suggest you might not mean they were “as we speak, demanding austerity from its own borrowers!”

  2. Statgeek (8:21am)
    That’s a horrifying story of long Covid. Very odd how it affects people differently, with the woman still ill after months but her husband seemingly unaffected. I wonder if there’s a genetic element?

    Oh, and nice maps by the way.
    “I have no idea how the constitution works in the US in this regard and whether the senate must approve new states, but if Biden can get two new states with four new Democratic Senators, that opens the map a little for them.”

    A good time to invest in flag manufacturers!
    “We’ve been hearing about our politicians’ lack of knowledge of stats and probability being one of the causes of their confused reaction to the virus.”

    Yes, they all seem to be classicists or PPE graduates. There are very few mathematicians or scientists on either side. (IMO – if anyone can prove otherwise I’m happy to recant)

    “Funnily enough there doesn’t seem to be an opposite of ‘charisma’ in English.”

    How about ‘Starmerish’?

  3. @ COLIN – I fully agree MMT is not sustainable[1] but it is a case of TINA for now and for a post C19 recovery where I hope the QE is “Green” and “Global”

    The Central Bank issue is:

    1/ Don’t fight Keynesian govt policy, ie don’t hike rates to either offset any gain and/or to strengthen a currency (as per recovery from Great Recession then BoE didn’t hike rates when we had “temporary” (first round) inflation effects but instead “looked through” base effects with their 2-3yr mandate. More a case of “don’t hinder” rather than direct “help”.

    2/ One World. If we all “reflate” together rather than adopt “beggar thy neighbour” via “export led-austerity” approach then #1 is less likely to happen. Hence why I hope Biden dials down the Trump rhetoric but doesn’t abandon the desire to “encourage” countries that have been exploiting “free trade” to focus on a domestic demand led recovery rather than assume they can go back to “export led-austerity” days of old.

    [1] Japan seem to think it is but that is in part due to their massive trade surplus and comes with Japanifaction risks (ie the QE “cure” being worse than the disease if you have an ageing population). We do need to allow the yield curve to steepen, further reduce the “appeal” of buy-to-let (via supply and demand side policies) and ween ourselves off the OPM (Other Peope’s Money) of “conventional” QE asap

    My read on Bailey, Powell and hopefully ECB (if they are allowed) is that QE will do what it has to do but will end before before base rates rise. When? Well not in the next 6mths-2yrs? ASAP is not so much when we should as when we can and for now QE=TINA

    IMF do IMO back a ‘Marshall Plan’ type approach for C19 recovery and that is part of #2 above.


  4. TOH

    (re IanH’s post):
    “You may find that offensive, but how you think it is racist I find most perplexing. So yes I would strongly query your use of the word racist.”

    Surely you realise that it’s one of the words that ROC folks aren’t allowed to use? :)

  5. It`s a total puzzle to me why a message about people attending churches for Remembrance Sunday is getting moderated.

  6. TW.
    I think the ” Central Bank Issue” is _ Buy the post Pandemic Stimulus Debt,…….because no one else will …. at those rates.

  7. TW.
    I think the ” Central Bank Issue” is _ Buy the post Pandemic Stimulus Debt,…….because no one else will …. at those rates.

  8. What I was trying to do was compare England with Scotland. Services in England can only take place outside, whereas in Scotland all Remembrance has to take place in churches, nothing allowed outside.

    Presumably the two governments have received the same scientific advice. So could this be Johnson taking umbrage at church leaders criticising the Tory government?

  9. @alec

    Presidential pardons only cover federal offences. The Southern District of New York is the one to watch.

  10. @ SHEVII – “everything I’ve read suggests that the Republicans can and will make him (Biden) a lame duck president”

    The SC will make any “woke” issue a nightmare for Biden for sure and if he is smart he’ll avoid making too big a deal about that (at least in the short-term). It will appeal to part of his support base but just keep “Trumpism” going.

    In the Senate then GOP senators like Collins (Maine) are not Trumpies. Biden and Dems can work around Mitch McConnell if they get just a few GOP senators “on side” with a bit of horse trading on the side.

    There are the two few runoff senate races that Dems might win in Jan’21 and then also mid-term Senate elections with 34 seats up on 2022.

    Biden and Dems, like Sir Keir, needs to “play long” and that might mean some internal issues from a “very broad church” perhaps but “win from the Centre-Left”[1] is Dems route to gaining the Senate and then tackling the SC issue in due course.

    One step at a time…

    [1] As TURK has mentioned the ‘Centre-Left’ in USA is ‘Centre-Right’ in UK. Dems and CON are both ‘Blue’

  11. CNN & BBC both now officially calling the Election for Biden after he takes Pennsylvania.

    Hail to the Geriatric!

    Technical question.

    If Biden steps down for health reasons, Harris takes over an nominates a new VP who must to endorsed by a majority of the FULL Senate, ie get at least 51 votes!

    What happens if the Republicans still hold the Senate and vote No?


  12. Trev – I think Shevii is correct, though, that the lack of mandate as the ‘we was robbed’ positioning is in play.

    I think I am correct that it looks like 50/48 now in the senate with both run offs in Georgia so it could go 50/50 and the Veep gets decider, could be early Jan before the run off results are known as will be tight.

    I am going 1 each with the appointee holding on and the other going Dem.

    Also, as you say there are less immoderate Republicans (Romney for example) who won’t knee-jerk the party line.

  13. @ COLIN – “Buy the post Pandemic Stimulus Debt,…….because no one else will …. at those rates”

    The ongoing problem of QE is that pension funds, etc HAVE to buy Gilts (or use Gilt yields to present value pension liabilities) and many of those looking at very low annuity rates invest in buy-to-let instead (“rent seeking” for a safer decent and regular income in retirement rather than investing in more risky future growth or “Green” investments)

    That is the “cure being worse than the disease” issue in UK.

  14. Well done Joe Biden! The new President of the USA!

  15. I tend to agree with Colin on the fiscal and monetary stimulus.

    Fiscal stimulus can work, but it depends on its structural factors/aspects. Without it the IMF thing is nonsense. Of course, such an evaluation (structural) opens the way to disagreements (as it is about economic policies).

    As to the monetary easing – as long as it supports higher output in the future it could work. This year’s one didn’t even attempt to justify it.

  16. @TW
    ‘How is Trump saying ‘Bollox to Biden’ different from the Lib Dems saying ‘Bollox to Brexit’?’

    1) Biden is a person, Brexit is a policy
    2) Trump is pretending the electoral process was fraudulent in order to try to overturn it, the Lib Dems were inviting voters to take advantage of a subsequent electoral process to register their discontent with the outcome of a previous vote.

    In fact, apart from both using the word ‘Bollox’ virtually everything is different…

  17. By the way, there was a serious disagreement between the senior analysts of BoE and the Treasury [obviously I cannot reference it], expressed in workshops. At the end it was the organisational hierarchy that resolved it along organisational boundaries rather than conceptual arguments.

  18. @Hireton – thankyou. has the feeling someone on here might know a little more.

    Surprised no one has announced President elect Biden. Pennsylvania called, and Nevada.

    No 10 seem to be slow off the mark to congratulate. Starmer and Sturgeon have released messages.


  19. Colin,
    “As to your implication that this can be repeated at will. It is a BoE operation .”

    Yes maybe, but wha woul be the position of the Bof E is it failed to support government borrowing and as a result the government ran out of money?

    I suggest it would be contrary to the bank’s policy to allow such a crisis to take place at all. But if it did, then how many hours would it be before the independence of the bank ceased?

    “This is the crazy make believe “economy” we now live in”

    Its fair to say this was always a fiction, but printing money isnt per se evil. It all rather depends if you over do it. I really dont know where that limit might lie, but we can reasonably say the amount printed in 2008 was not so much as to cause a problem.

    The fact the bank printed it isnt anything more than a technicality until the government spends it into the economy. It seems rather likely the overall money supply will have been shrunk by lockdown. So there is balance in replacing this now with printed money. Worked in 2008, and some would say more would have worked even better then.

  20. @ JJ – Remain and Trump might play the “we woz robbed” card and keep fighting but Vote.Leave (2016) CON HMG (GE’19) and Biden all won democratic mandates.

    Biden gets the keys to White House on 20Jan’21 and between now and then Trump will cry foul, tweet like crazy, have his court cases, etc but it won’t change the result.

    I didn’t disagree with SHEVII, I appreciate Senate might be a problem in the short-term and hope I was clear about how/when/why Biden can work around that if he “plays long” and picks his battles and policy objectives wisely and in the right sequential time order.

  21. @BFR

    In my view the UK made the right choice in 2016. The USA has made the right choice in 2020.

    The electoral process is a clearly advertised event, every vote counts in person, by post, whatever. The rules are prescribed fairly.

    That’s democracy.

    Had Remain won, I’d of accepted the result. The subsequent shenanigans of the Remain side did democracy no favours, just as Trumpistic lawsuits will do damage to the standing of the USA.

  22. A quick calculation.

    In Pennsylvania, a recount can occur with a winning lead of < 0.5%.

    To 2 dp, current Biden leads by 0.51%.


  23. Just to wish President-Elect Biden the best of luck.He will need it.

  24. Breaking: Oval Office Furniture!


  25. i think calling Arizona, Nevada & Pensylvania all within minutes was inspired.

    Sue them all, Donald, why don’t you?

    Is there any point wasting money recounting Georgia?

  26. And Palace won too

  27. Does anyone know if the sulk in the Whitehouse will be tried as an adult?

  28. There is a degree of pathos in seeing Rudi Giuliani – once the scourge of the New York mafia and “America’s Mayor” after 9/11 – holding a desperate partisan press conference in the yard of a landscape contractor between a funeral director and an adult supplies store.

  29. @Steve

    I thought you could only go on trial if you were mentally competent too?

    Would Trump pass that test?

  30. steve: Breaking: Oval Office Furniture!

    Was speculating with Mrs October whether Trump would leave a letter in the Oval Office for Biden on Inauguration day. She said of course he would – it would say “You are sitting in my chair”

  31. @Hireton

    Have you seen Giuliani in the latest Borat movie?

    The man fallen very, very far down, and now seems to live deep in Trump’s rabbit hole.

  32. TOH

    “I believe Starmer lacks charisma in spades.”

    That only matters if he has an allotment, or a garden (but no gardener). Perhaps he has an appeal to rakes?

  33. I love the smell of receding oranges.

    Best news in four years. I hardly noticed Obama in comparison. Good luck Biden. Here’s to me not noticing you too much.

  34. @ OLDNAT / TOH – It certainly would be a “wooden” spade with Starmer ;)

  35. I do find this American practice of ‘calling’ results before counts have even finished to be very odd. It seemed as though as soon as CNN called Pennsylvania, everyone accepted that Biden had won.

    I know he’s 99.99% certain to win (and I’m NOT hoping he loses), but if the counts haven’t even finished, but a broadcaster announces a result it just seems weird to me.

  36. @ BFR – LDEM are like Trump, anti Democratic.

    Cable adopted “B*llox to Brexit” grassroots anti-democratic approach after it was “populist” in the MAD (March Against Democracy) period into EP’19

    When it got to an actual democratic chance to overturn Brexit in GE’19 then LDEM MPs didn’t want to give the public a “people’s vote”


  37. I think a scalpel is a more accurate metaphorical tool for Starmer; don’t think he can use a Polygraph in the HOC?

  38. @Somerjohn

    Charles: Nevertheless it seems to me to have been right for remainers to brand the presentation of Brexit as mendacious, covertly racist and economically illiterate,

    Saint Charles, you’re on fire!

    Of course, as Trump has shown, mendacious, covertly racist and economically illiterate policies can have wide electoral appeal.
    Agreed. But for heaven’s sake don’t call me a saint.It will feed Colin’s belief that I am a sanctimonious hypocrite. And all I ever aspired to be was Crossbatt11’s curate.

    If the plan was to lose EU Ref, lose GE’19 then yes – well played.
    As Somerjohn points out, such policies can appeal and you are right, it is usually politically unwise to brand your political opponents as fruitcakes, deplorables or anything else of this kind. Somehow there has to be a way of showing that policies are racists etc without supposing or implying that those who espouse them have deplorable characters,
    “As far as I am aware, no remainer has ever said that the referendum was rigged”

    OW!! So no Russian interference, no Cambridge Analytica, etc
    Manipulating the electorate and getting them to vote on the basis of false information is not the same as rigging the election. Both sides were guilty of some of the former sins,although in my view the Brexiteers erred the most, Remain did, however, have the advantage of a grossly unbalanced government hand out.

    [email protected]

    I’m sure it does Charles.

    You are so certain about “right” aren’t you ?

    Anyone who has an opinion thinks that it is right. That is what is having an opinion is about. Fair enough to suggest that my opinion in this case is wrong and to give reasons for thinking so. You don’t, however, have the evidence that I am sanctimonious,and hypocritical, just that I don’t always see eye to eye with you.


    “Nevertheless, it seems to me to have been right for Remainers to brand the presentation of Brexit as mendacious, covertly racist and economically illiterate,”

    The trouble is Charles it seems to me right to brand the presentation of Remain in exactly the same way. The people of the UK remain deeply divided by Brexit.

    True enough. I have never thought that you were one of those swayed by the arguments that I characterised in that way. And I had you in mind when I said that there were people who voted for Brexit whose motives (and I should have added reasons) needed to be respected. The same is true the other way on. Practically every institute, university professor etc who wrote reports about Brexit predicted that it would have a long run negative effect on the economy. Fair is fair, it is OK as you have done to look these things in the face and decide to go for Brexit nonetheless, but people are more likely to make a success of it if they take the objections seriously.

  39. Kings phone app today reporting average daily new cases fallen 1800 to 39000.

    R value UK 1.0 and generally as described yesterday. However, while a number of areas are reported as 1.0, they also showed a small drop in cases, so strictly presumably they are slightly below 1.0 but not enough to bring them down to 0.9 once rounded. About the only place which didnt go down on the day was the SE, which however is about flat over the last 5 days.

    Long term trend of smaller percentage reporting new symptoms of anything. The steady rise in positivity for covid amongst those with any symptoms continues to flatten out.


    @” You don’t, however, have the evidence that I am sanctimonious,and hypocritical, just that I don’t always see eye to eye with you.”

    Interesting choice of words you make there Charles, for me to have thought of you.

    I didn’t as it happens-but now you mention it , they are certainly worth considering.

    By the way , I was actually talking about your opinion that all who support Brexit are racists . I certainly think that is wrong & I have no idea what leads you to conclude that those millions of UK voters are racists.

    I responded to that proposition Charles because just now & again we low life right of centre people get a bit pi88ed of with sanctimonious gits who think they can go around calling folk racist with no good reason or evidence.

  41. We seem to be back in the ‘Remainers say all leave voters are thick racists’ meme – could I point out that (as far as I have spotted) this has not been said by any Remain supporter today, just by Leave supporters….

    Not every (or even that many) Republican voter is a racist, but aspects of Trump’s campaign had racist overtones.

    Similarly, not every (or even that many) Democrat voter is a sanctimonious Woke, but aspects of the Democrats’ campaign had an intolerant Woke overtone.

    It’s surely not that hard to grasp the distinction?

  42. TW

    Yes I’m aware that Pension Funds have to buy Gilts , and that all savers ( including pension scheme members ) are being screwed by the low interest rates which QE is designed to engender.

    But I wasnt talking about the ongoing UK Government Debt issuance -and god knows there is enough of that !

    I was specifically talking about “post Pandemic Stimulus Debt.

    Back in 2008 BoE invited financial institutions to swap some of their Gilts for (quasi) cash. It was a liquidity stimulus . The stimulus went into the Credit Channel -to enhance lending to the corporate sector.

    When the government’s debt management office, , said in April it planned to raise £225bn from bond market investors in just four months to fund the huge increase in public spending during the pandemic there wasnt enough liquidity in the market to take them.
    In fact Andrew Bailey said: “I think the prospects would have been very bad. It would have been very serious.I think we would have a situation where, in the worst element, the government would have struggled to fund itself in the short run.”

    “We basically had a pretty near meltdown of some of the core financial markets,” he said.

    So BoE bought £200bn of Gilts to stop that crisis happening. The Gilts in question passed through money markets in a purely technical way. They were not part of their normal requirement & the institutions acted as mere conduits for BoE to fund Sunak’s emergency stimulus.

    This is fundamentally different to 2007/8. It had nothing to do with Credit availability to the Economy. It was to Fund State Spending in an emergency.

    And what I was trying to explain was that this has changed QE now to something much nearer “money printing”.

  43. PETEB

    @”I do find this American practice of ‘calling’ results before counts have even finished to be very odd. It seemed as though as soon as CNN called Pennsylvania, everyone accepted that Biden had won.”

    Yes-very odd.

    Weird system altogether.

  44. Westminster voting intention:

    LAB: 42% (+2)
    CON: 38% (-)
    LDEM: 7% (+1)
    GRN: 3% (-2)


  45. Last 7 polls average now stands at a 2-point labour lead : Con 38, Lab 40 .

  46. Tables for the Opinium

  47. @BFR

    Well done on the 8.01pm post = agree.

  48. @Colin If you read what I said you will note that I did not say that all who voted for Brexit were racist. I have never, for example, felt that TOH was racist or economically naive. I do believe that elements in the Brexit campaign were racist and that it glossed over the economic risks in a way that was either mendacious or naive.

    The point about ‘sanctimonious’ and ‘hypocritical’ (git was your own idea) was that you haven’t got evidence on my character. You just assume that that is what I am. You do, however, have evidence on my opinions and arguments. Things would go better if you would read me more carefully and respond with arguments of your own to what I have actually said.. After all your left-wing granddaughter, if I remember correctly, said that she had learnt from you how to conduct a political argument. My guess is that this example did not consist of personal abuse based on an incorrect reading of your opponent’s case.

  49. This just appeared on my facebook feed – Can’t think why.

    My makeup is dry and it cracks round my chin
    I’m drowning my sorrows in whiskey and gin
    The lion-tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore
    The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar
    So let’s all drink to the death of a clown
    Won’t someone help me to break up this crown?
    Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
    Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
    The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor
    Nobody needs fortunes told anymore
    The trainer of insects is crouched on his knees
    And frantically looking for runaway fleas
    Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
    So won’t someone help me to break up this crown?
    Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

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