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How the EU humiliated itself Brussels' vaccine incompetence was motivated by spite

Angela Merkel CHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Angela Merkel CHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)


March 3, 2021   6 mins

First there was a fiasco, then an outrage and now a scandal.  The fiasco was the European Union’s vaccine procurement programme — a cock-up of continental proportions. There were so many pointless delays that the EU found itself weeks behind the UK in granting regulatory approval — and months behind in working with suppliers to resolve production issues.

The outrage was the subsequent blame-shifting manoeuvre by the European Commission. While the accusation that AstraZeneca was diverting vaccine supplies from the EU to the UK was absurd, the consequent threat to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland was shockingly irresponsible. Widespread condemnation forced the Commission to back down.

The scandal is what happened next. For a start, and despite the fiasco and the outrage, no one has resigned — least of all Ursula von der Leyen, whose cool-and-calm exterior conceals a heart of beating ineptitude.

Then came a spectacular display of sour grapes. After all the fuss about not getting enough of the Oxford AZ vaccine, various EU powers-that-be have undermined its reputation.

It all kicked off with a report in Handelsblatt on the 25 January. The piece featured a claim — from a mysterious source within the German government — that the vaccine was only 8% efficient among the over-65s. Unsurprisingly, this made headlines around the world.

Could this possibly be true? No, said AstraZeneca, the figure had no basis in their research or anyone else’s. So where did it come from? An investigation for the BMJ by Hristio Boytchev tried to get to bottom of the matter, but all we can say for sure is that an unnamed source in the German health ministry was very keen to get the fake news out there.

In any case, the murkiness soon became manifest. Within days of the anonymous briefing, the German and French governments announced that they would not be allowing the use of the vaccine among the over-65s.

In comments to the press on the 29 January, Emmanuel Macron made it clear what the French attitude would be: “everything points to thinking it is quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older.”

But “everything” did not point to that conclusion. The British had already approved the vaccine (on the 30 December) and had been successfully using it since. On the same day as Macron’s remarks to the press, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) also approved the use of the vaccine — among all adult age groups. Furthermore, they specifically addressed the issue of older age groups:

“There are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group. However, protection is expected, given that an immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience with other vaccines…”

As Tom Chivers explained for UnHerd here, it’s entirely reasonable to expect encouraging results from trials conducted mostly on younger age groups to hold true for their seniors, too. And yet the President of France saw fit to state that “the real problem on AstraZeneca is that it doesn’t work the way we were expecting it to.”

If anything, the vaccine has exceeded expectations. Results from England show that inoculation has cut the risk of serious illness in the over-80s by around 80% — building on similarly impressive results from Scotland. That Handelsblatt claim wasn’t just wrong, but wrong by an order of magnitude.

Note, also, that these results are for a single shot of the vaccine. The second shot should produce even better outcomes. Nevertheless, the degree of protection already achieved has triumphantly vindicated the decision to spread out the shots in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible. More reason, then, for Macron to eat his words — because as well as pouring doubt on the efficacy of the virus, he poured scorn on the UK’s first shot first strategy, stating: “I’m not sure that it’s very serious.”

Well, it is serious, as are the consequences of the EU’s sour grapes. The irony of the supply dispute with AstraZeneca is that shots of the vaccine are now going unused in the EU, because intended recipients (like the older under-65s and health workers) are worried there might be something wrong with it. In Germany, regional governments are pleading with Berlin for permission to reassign doses to people in lower priority groups who are willing to take it.

The contrast with the British experience becomes more embarrassing by the day. Though one would expect Covid deaths to fall as a result of the UK strict lockdown, they’ve been tumbling fastest among the most extensively inoculated age groups — compelling evidence that our vaccine strategy is working.

The Europe Union is now waking up to what it needlessly missed out on. Worried EU governments are now desperately reassuring their populations that the Oxford AZ vaccine is safe and effective. The French have just relaxed the restriction on the vaccine’s use among the over 65s. The Germans are likely to follow suit. Thomas Mertens, head of Germany’s  expert panel on vaccine use, has promised an “update” to the current regulations. He was at pains to point out that the existing restriction were never about safety concerns and added that “somehow the whole thing went kind of badly wrong.” Yeah, “somehow”.

In the latest blow to European solidarity, Denmark and Austria have chosen to go their own way, obtaining vaccines via Israel; Slovakia has joined Hungary in acquiring the Russia Sputnik vaccine, believed to be safe although yet to be approved by Brussels; while Poland is considering a deal with China.

And yet the EU’s leaders continue to send the wrong signals. Last week, Angela Merkel said that she would not take the Oxford AZ vaccine herself. Her British defenders point out that this is only because she is 66 and thus just above the age at which the current restrictions kick-in. But, as usual, her apologists miss the point. The rules — which she is ultimately responsible for — are ridiculous and should not exist in the first place. As leader of her country, millions of people will follow her lead.

Of course, hers is not the only screw-up in this pandemic. There isn’t a country in the world that hasn’t got it wrong repeatedly — and the UK is clearly no exception. However, it’s important that we distinguish between the different kinds of mistake.

About a year ago, Britain should have gone into lockdown at least two weeks before it actually did. However, our Government was acting on official scientific advice that was unfortunately wrong. Other failures arise out of the sheer scale of the challenge, test-and-trace being a prime example. We can test at scale, but tracing is supremely difficult when transmission is so widespread. It might have helped if we’d closed our borders at the outset — but that’s an illustration of a third kind of mistake, those that happen when governments are faced with impossible dilemmas. Choosing the lesser of two evils isn’t easy when they’re both overwhelmingly horrible.

The mistakes made by Brussels, Paris and Berlin over recent weeks have been of a different type, and were entirely avoidable. In deciding policy towards AstraZeneca and its vaccine, the scientific advice (from the EMA) wasn’t wrong, the challenges weren’t insurmountable and the choices far from impossible. There was no question as to the safety of the vaccine. There was a degree of uncertainty as to its effectiveness, but good reason to expect a beneficial outcome. After all, for millions of elderly and vulnerable Europeans the alternative isn’t a better vaccine, but no vaccine — a famously ineffective treatment.

The mistake made in this matter was not an honest one. There’s only one motivation that fits with the facts — spite.

As an institution, the EU displays a pattern of behaviour that in an individual would be diagnosed as petty narcissism. We all know the type of person: the character flaw isn’t obvious at first, but they soon give themselves away. In place of the usual give-and-take of a healthy human relationship, they think they’re doing you a favour just by allowing you to interact with them. Furthermore, you will be expected to pay for the privilege. This means abiding by their rules; having to guess what they want without being told; prioritising your relationship with them above any other attachment. Resist their nonsense and you’ll be accused of being the unreasonable one.

If an impasse is reached or you walk away, they won’t wish you well. Indeed, like Jean-Claude Juncker insisting that “Brexit cannot be a success”, they’ll want to you fail without them. And, of course, that’ll be your fault, not theirs. It’s abusive and manipulating, but ultimately self-destructive.

Instead of bullying and then belittling AstraZeneca and the UK, the EU could have chosen the path of cooperation. Even if they genuinely did have questions about the vaccine and the UK’s vaccination strategy they could have kept an open mind — and thus the option to follow suit. As it is, they’ve ensured that any change of mind can only come with a maximum of political embarrassment and humiliation.

Well, never mind — let them pay with their blushes. After all, their people are paying with their lives.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

One of the fascinating wonders of the awful EU is its leadership’s dogged commitment to two completely incompatible obsessions.
On the one hand, their top priority is to make of the European Union an empire which only ever grows in power = control over its unfortunate citizens.
Yet at the same time, they habitually appoint to all the top jobs in the Brussels hierarchy Human Fiascos who have PROVEN themselves incompetent or despised in their home countries: e.g. Barroso, Juncker, von der Leyen.
As camorras or mafias go, it is an extraordinary strategy, isn’t it?
One supposes that bandit gangs of wealth and influence employ enforcers who are skilful and get their jobs done.
Instead, all characteristically, the EU’s real leaders (= the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany) appoint a woman to run things – in due course vaccine-procurement – who was an amazing disaster for 6 years at the head of the German armed forces and left them in a completely dysfunctional state.
Likewise they made Michel Barnier their negotiator with the UK over Brexit; and he, having caused opinion in Britain to harden against the EU 2016-19, thereby torpedoing his own deadly ‘Withdrawal Agreement’, is kept in post; which ensures a less favourable outcome for Brussels in the eventual treaty.
It is like the selectors of a national football squad choosing time and again players who are state-registered blind or visibly legless.
Long may this habit continue; so that the EU, with all its tyranny and insane groupthink, winds up as soon as possible.

Last edited 3 years ago by Peter Scott
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Yes, for at least 30 years the EU has been run by total incompetents such as those you mention plus the likes of Kinnock, Ashton, von Rumpuy, Barrosso, Verhofstadt and many others. Remember the Growth & Stability Pact which, needless to say, has delivered neither growth or stability?
As I have often said, you wouldn’t become, for instance, a Taliban leader, had you not demonstrated some competence in terms of fighting, agriculture or whatever. Even most leaders of the Soviet Union had proved themselves in various ways. But the leaders of the EU and, to be fair, the leaders of many western democracies, are people who tend to have done nothing and know nothing.

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The leaders in the EU are failures in their domestic countries, farmed out by the leaders of said domestic countries in an effort to get rid of an embarrassment. Van de Leyen prime example. Complete failure as defence minister, bumped out by Merkel to the EU.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

There was a time, now widely derided, when our leaders were selected from those who were born to lead – those with titles and had who been to the right schools and universities. There were, of course, notable exceptions to that rule; those, like David Lloyd George and later Margaret Thatcher, who had demonstrated exceptional qualities in joining the elite despite not having all the right breeding. But that’s how it worked for hundreds of years – it created an Empire and it turned Britain from a small island nation into a world power.
Now, the process of who gets to be a leader in society is shrouded in mystery, and the notion that candidates fill in an application form and are selected by an expert panel is, quite frankly, just as ludicrous as the selection by breeding was always claimed to be. The elite, whoever they might be, promote their mates as they have always done. For an in-depth analysis of this, read Hilaire Belloc’s poem about Lord Lundy.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

The chief qualification for leadership these days seems to be an ability to pass exams, and a total lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to the real world and normal people. Oh, and a crazed desire for power and telling others what to do, as nakedly revealed over the last year.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is the rise of the Political Class, who have never really had a meaningful job outside politics. That really is the nub of the problem, because they have no idea how the world actually works. Juncker was an example of this, as I think is Van de Leyen and it shows in spades. Look at Macron, who I think is incredibly childish and immature. If you took Merkel out for Lunch I’m sure you would have to decide what to order – she can’t make decisions. Most of them are also far too young when they get elected which is another failing.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Why is a job in politics inherently less meaningful than a job in banking, finance, advertising, the military, journalism, embalming, museum curation, space exploration or surfing?
What jobs do you think it’s essential for politicians to do before they become politicians?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

There is nothing wrong with being a politician per se, and it can indeed be a very meaningful job. I would cite people like Frank Field and Kate Hoey as being among those who bestowed meaning and dignity on the profession. Claire Fox and Nigel Farage are further examples.
However, it is not something that people should be doing until they have worked at something else for at least 10 years. We have far too many such as the Milibands, Corbyn, Cameron who have glided from university (well, Poly in Corbyn’s case) to special advisor/think tanker etc, to MP without gathering any knowledge of life as it lived by most people, or as experienced by small business owners.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Also, Corbyn graduated from his Poly to become the leader of the Islington Council, one which was reportedly the most corrupt in Britain under his leadership, where every contract, job, housing, permit, business licence, required credentials showing how Hard Left you were. You were in the club or out the door. This gave him an exceptionally good qualification for the job he moved up to.

Olly Pyke
Olly Pyke
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Absolutely agree on most of this. It’s a loss to their party that the old breed of labour politicians that started ‘at the coal face’ are gradually becoming obsolete.

Nigel Farage though? You’ve lost me there.

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Olly Pyke

Even if you don’t like the result, name one politician who started out totally alone and achieved as much as Farage.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Some task which is managerial – over several years – and/or (at least) sheer competence at making things work in any respectworthy work-domain.
For instance being a competent shepherd or nurse for a decade.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

I’m struggling to grasp how a decade of shepherding might equip a person to run the country.I know a bit about shepherding. It certainly requires hard work and tenacity, but what else it requires that might be useful in guiding a nation, I do not see.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

What jobs do you think it’s essential for politicians to do before they become politicians?”
No specific job, but a real job, with real, normal responsibilities – and ideally, in the private sector. Someone who has built or run a business, or developed a law practice. Someone who has worked in science or engineering. But not someone who has gone straight into a political party “policy research” post and on to an MP slot.
ï»ż

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Because success in politics does not entail the ability to meet practical obligations, but only political infighting skills. Someone, on the other hand, who has had to meet a payroll, run a profitable enterprise, lead a military campaign -in general, face consequences- knows what people outside of government have to deal with.

Mark Leigh
Mark Leigh
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Walsh

I think you have hit on the nub of it….

In a world where “actions have consequences” this appears to be lost on many (all?) current politicians.

At least in a “real job” – especially in the private sector, actions do have consequences. This is essential early learning for would be leaders.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Some experience of the kind of real, everyday work that most of us do might give politicians insight into the workings of the real world and its people’s lives. Today, too many politicians go straight from university into politics and government. They are a cloistered, incestuous breed apart. The EU is the ultimate example of this, that is why it is so increasingly out of touch with the people it is supposed to represent.

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

A German friend summed up Merkle thus.
She does nothing until the problem goes away then claims credit for its solution.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Or in the case of the current incumbent, a career as a journalist punctuated by sackings for lying, but building a significant enough constituency among the feeble-minded readers of the Daily Telegraph (the house journal among the 0.2% of the country which belongs to the Tory party and therefore has a vote in Tory leadership elections) to get them to elect him.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

And someone who won the Conservatives their biggest election victory in 80 years. Perhaps half the country is feeble-minded as well??

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

Anyone who trusts Boris Johnson is definitely feeble-minded.
Your “we won the election” is a feeble response to the statements I made. How about disputing my statements that Boris Johnson has been repeatedly sacked for lying, or disputing that he became Tory leader by feeding lies to the snowflake readers of the DT in their safe space echo chamber? But I guess it’s hard to do that.

robstanton
robstanton
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I don’t care. I’m more interested in results. He took the bull by the horns and went for an election to get us out of the quagmire imposed by the politicians and he delivered a reasonable BREXIT. There is an argument that the initial COVID response was botched, however, hindsight is a great thing and I doubt anyone else could really have done much better. Is he the only liar? You would have to be lying yourself if you didn’t think all politicians don’t succumb in some form or another.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  robstanton

It wasn’t just the awful initial response.
In mid-September, SAGE recommended a two week lockdown as a circuit breaker. Keir Starmer supported that. Boris, weakly giving in to pressure from know-nothing Tory backbenchers, described the scientists’ advice as “ridiculous”. Six weeks later, the virus was out of control and Boris had to eat his own words and institute a one month lockdown. A failure which has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Lockdowns Produce Spikes..Immunisation Looks the best Way to Some Normality, Anyone who thinks ANY of Partys leaders are anything but incompetent,should View ”Mr Jones” A ridiculously underrated 2020 film, about What happens when You See Famine,Tell the truth,When others told lies, in this Case russian famine..10 million deaths overlooked by new york Times,Daily Worker ,David Lloyd George etc…

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Oh yes ‘Captain Hindsight Starmer’, the great Civil Liberties Lawyer who wants to lock up the entire population in their own homes for ever and a day. Isn’t it troubling that a man like that has no regard at all for our Liberty which has been tossed aside by a virus. And WE have allowed this to happen.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

It wasn’t hindsight when Keir Starmer supported the scientists’ recommendation at the time they made it in mid-September, it was foresight. It was Boris who was forced into hindsight by enacting at the end of October what he should have enacted six weeks earlier before a lot of people died.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Which set of scientists do you choose to believe?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Some of this is true, but is far from confined to the UK. People like you continually ignore the fact that this pattern of death has been seen all over the planet wherever societies are connected to the outside world AND made up of a large percentage of obese adults. Obesity is a far greater predictor of death than government.

Also, I note you are entirely silent about the brilliance of our vaccine campaign. Third in the entire world behind only two wealth small nations. Way ahead of the USA and five times ahead of any EU nation. Just watch our death rates collapse as the EU rates go up. Of course – YOU will say nothing about this.
What I dislike about you is that your position is fundamentally dishonest and political rather than fair analysis.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  robstanton

Excellent point. Boris’ results with Brexit were truly astounding after the incompetence of previous efforts. Not to mention the vaccine rollout in the UK which has also been excellent. It’s hard to argue with success.

Mark Leigh
Mark Leigh
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I don’t think a breakdown of the voting in the election would reveal that the DT readership were the votes that gave him a majority.

Olly Pyke
Olly Pyke
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

Did boris Johnson win it or did Corbyn loose it? The conservative victory is as much to to with the unelectable opposition than with any outstanding talent on Johnson’s part. For the first time in my life I spoiled my ballot paper because I couldn’t vote for any of the candidates. Johnson’s success is Corbyn’s legacy unfortunately. Corbyn certainly cured me of any sympathy with the hard left. Johnson is at heart a light entertainer and serial liar – a second rate stand-up.

Not saying that half the population are feeble-minded, but everyone loves a puppy. It’ll hump your leg, ruin the carpet and eat the sofa though.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

I think you will find after some reflection that it was Dominic Cummings who won them that, and also won the referendum for them. He was rapidly discarded after the election and the usual suspects of the entitled political class began whispering into the ear of the PM. Boris is a lovable rogue, but he is not a great strategist. He needed Cummings, but was once again being led by his reproductive organs when he axed him. Cummings could have made Boris achieve great things. He (Cummings) is irascible,ill-tempered and abrasive, but he would have made this government into a great government had he not been set aside by the influence of the usual suspects. A tragic error.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tom Fox
Olly Pyke
Olly Pyke
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Cummings is an interesting figure, and I’m kind of ambivalent about what I think of him. He’s certainly effective and intelligent. Leaving the topic of the need for mass vaccination out of it, recently Matt Hancock was getting praise in the media for foreseeing issues with the scramble to get vaccines and preparing well for this, unlike the EU. Debatable perhaps, but it kind of rang true to me. Seems to me that Cummings would have been influential too, but the press just didn’t get briefed that bit. I suspect we haven’t heard the last of him.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

There was a period of 40 years or so where our leaders came neither from the old hereditary ruling class or the new hereditary stupid class, but from the genuine meritocracy of having proved themselves as able leaders in one of the two world wars:
Attlee and Macmillan in the 1st, Heath, Whitelaw, Healey etc in the 2nd. They served their country bravely and with distinction, gaining promotion to leadership positions.
The current ruling class have achieved nothing, they are useless, stupid, entirely self serving and serial failures. I wish there was a way short of another global war to clear the lot of them out and start again.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

I hope you are not including Dainne Abbot in your lumping of leaders chosen for reasons other than excellence. I think her unique ability with numbers makes her the perfect person explain Rishi’s ‘spend your way out of debt and into prosperity’ strategy to the public.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I agree with your assessment of her searing intellect however Dawn Butler may have demonstrated that edge she has over even Dianne. Truly Labour are fortunate to number these two, not to mention Mr Burgon and the charismatic Long-Bailey amongst their number.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

And ‘Celebrity Mastermind’ David Lammy – celebrity, master, mind? Surely a triple oxymoron.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

I don’t take my political lead from poetry or any other art form as they are mostly written by the equivalent of back-seat drivers, side-line referees, journalists, etc. Outside of their field (and often within it) they are just as dumb as the next guy, They are just another input to be aggregated with all the other inputs that I have come across in my life.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Reed Howe

Hilaire Belloc was hardly a heavyweight philosopher. Just very amusing, for a Frenchman.

Geoffrey Nebel
Geoffrey Nebel
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

Hilaire Belloc was a French born naturalised British writer and historian. His French father died when Belloc was two and he was brought up by his English mother in Sussex. School in Birmingham and a first in history from Balliol. He was MP for Salford South 1906-10
Not bad “…for a Frenchman” eh Richard Brown?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

I find it VERY hard to understand why a person in the twenty-first century would be talking nostalgically about leaders being selected according o their ‘breeding’. I want leaders selected according to their proven track record for brilliance and strategy. Selecting them from some sort of social class level of ‘breeding’, is an outrage in a democratic society and also, as anyone knows who has an inkling of the outcomes of extensive research on human ability, would lead as likely as not to disaster. There were plenty of chinless wonders in the armed forces in two world wars who turned out to be complete disasters. Even supposing one accepted that good ‘breeding’ led to high intelligence (and I certainly don’t) intelligence in an individual is only around fifty percent related to the genes. Two brilliant parents certainly do not necessarily produce a brilliant child. Indeed the concept of regression to the mean is well understood to make it far from certain that genius couplings produce more geniuses. In fact it is unlikely.
Leaders should be selected entirely because of their demonstrable personal qualities, dedication to empirical methods and their drive to make policy happen. Dominic Cummings knew this and although he exhibited some personal failings of his own which made him rather unlovable, he scared the living sh|t out of the people with good breeding who dominate the higher levels of the civil service and the media.

Olly Pyke
Olly Pyke
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Absolutely, the class and public school system is still prevalent in England and is toxic. It weakens our country and promotes mediocrity.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Seems to me most Labour MPs have been selected for their “breeding”

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

I have read, not totally sure of the reliability of the source, that half the members of the first Labour cabinet were ex-miners, men who knew what a days work was.
How unlike the present shower.
Right schools, universities, breeding? I don’t think so.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

Systemic failure by the political class is not confined to the EU. The government in the US has as its nominal head a man with little of his mind left. Furthermore, he has long been a vassal of China as is his disgusting son the bag man. You have to back to ancient Rome to find equivalent disorder, moral squalor and political corruption.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Not ancient Rome, last days of Rome.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Biden bombed Syria within 6 weeks of Winning A ‘Dubious’ Election

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

A perfunctory bombing to show the world he was willing to use force. Not unlike Trump, btw.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Do you recall the shrill shrieking from ther left when Trump ordered the killing of that Iranian murderer?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Your perfunctory bombing Killed at least 22 Syrians,Minding their own business, he Still has someway to go to equal O’Bombers 14 countries bombed &similar george Bush

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

On the plus side, the more powers these people gather for themselves, the more obvious their shortcomings will be.

Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Beautifully put, thank you for the clarity and hence the force of the proposition. It is an oddity; and this is perhaps due to the essentially second tier status of the EU in Europe. At the moment, because national sovereignty is still a thing, the most ambitious politicians strive for election in a national polity; second string operatives, not able to compete in that arena, are sidelined to the EU. But, at the same time, the EU is trying to become the supranational polity while itself hampered by these insufficiently capable bureaucrats. It is paradoxical that the task demanding the most able, is allocated to the people least likely to bring it about. And, in addition, these people are not just responsible for day to day management, but for leadership on larger issues. The Euro, for example.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Barroso, Juncker, von der Leyen.”
You forgot to mention Mandelson.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Mandleson was Blair’s animal who scoured the world for unsuitable migrants to ‘Rub The Right’s Nose In It’. For his huge success at that he was given a ticket on the EU, five *, gravy train for life. To me he is the creepiest man in Europe.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The Commission is the EU’s equivalent of the House of Lords or Quangos – where they send people they want out of the way or who aren’t any good. Frau Merkel wanted Frau Von der Leyen out of the way for the leadership succession – and she wasn’t any good.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

INDEED.
But using the EU Commission as a kind of exalted dustbin is not compatible with doing everything possible to increase its credibility and the subject populations’ adherence to membership.
The fiasco of the Brussels vaccine procurement and rollout has much increased exasperation with the EU in the 27 remaining member countries, just when the Imperial Racket could have done with not falling behind a UK which has escaped.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

e.g. Barroso, Juncker, von der Leyen.’
Mandelson…

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

Let us go back one step further in time, to unmask the psychology of the debacle.

The fact that the European Commission was put in charge of a collective response to the pandemic was a direct result of Brexit. In effect, the European nations were goaded into that policy decision by their stances throughout the post Brexit referendum period, up to the separation negotiations.

Let me try and explain. Imagine there had been no referendum and the UK was still a semi-detached member of the EU status quo. Then the pandemic comes along in early 2020. Without Brexit, the individual EU nations would have made individual responses to the pandemic, as EU rules allow – likely in both competition and cooperation with each other, for vaccine procurement etc. I don’t believe the European Commission would have been handed the job.

The fact that they were, was due to the psychology engendered by Brexit. Brexit forced into the spotlight questions about the raison d’ĂȘtre of the EU. Having made a song and dance for four years about block unity and solidarity, and the huge economic, organisational and social advantages of the EU (buying leverage etc), the EU nations felt compelled to put their money where their mouth was. To prove a point.

And boy, have they proved a point.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Spot on

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Spite on.

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Very true. And in addition, they got off to a very bad start a year ago. When all populations were reliant on PPE as their sole defence, the nation states of Europe all rushed to seize all and any stocks within their borders, regardless of who they legally belonged to.
Then, as national governments started placing advance orders for vaccines in development, the EU crats decided. with Merkel’s backing, to muscle in, smack their bottoms, and take over.
Then the national leaders fought like Kilkenny Cats over which vaccine manufacturers should get the EU procurement contract, and the Micron won a substantial slice of the cake for Sanofi, which then backed out because of technical problems. By which time the other producers were all fully booked up for months ahead.
Then they squabbled among themselves because some EU leaders wanted the drug companies to drop their prices and accept unlimited ongoing liability for any adverse effects. I thinks that’s called cakeism.
Left with a long wait for the stocks they eventually ordered, they lashed out at Ireland in a fit of pique, then they lied to frighten their own public from taking the small stock of vaccine they do have, which is approaching the use by date.
All driven by spite, malice, and the basest of human faults. These people could start a war, in an empty room, over a packet of crisps.

Geoffrey Nebel
Geoffrey Nebel
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I’m inclined to agree

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, the EU leaders are revealed to be the narcissistic and nasty incompetents that some of us have known them to be for many years – and I write as one who was once a huge proponent of the EU and who has benefitted greatly from its freedom of movement in terms of work etc.
But as far as I know, the EU press and EU population are still not really aware of this. It seems to me that only Bild has spoken out on the vaccine issue. To the extent that I follow the Dutch press, it seems to the usual garbage.
And, needless to say, the EU leaders show no remorse. Instead, they are doubling down on their mission to create a superstate ruled by unelected tyrants in Brussels. No surprise there…

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Colin Tregenza Dancer
Colin Tregenza Dancer
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Same journey here. In my youth I was massively pro-Europe. I still am, but now recognize that the people of Europe and the EU are two very different things…

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago

Same here. The Brexiteer trope remains true – ‘Love Europe hate the EU’

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

So why stop those of us who don’t hate the EU and love Europe moving and living there freely?

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The UK isn’t, it’s the EU who are stopping you. They could allow it if they wished.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

There will be nothing to stop you moving to an EU country if you have a useful skill to offer, or sufficient funds to support yourself.

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If you were any earthly use, the Germans would have recruited you already.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You had four years after the referendum to do exactly that. But you presumably did not.

nazz38
nazz38
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The UK is not responsible for other countries inward migration policies, so far as I’m aware there is no restriction on anyone leaving the UK if they so wish. You may have us confused with the former East Germany or perhaps Cuba where people were stopped from leaving.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Europe is a very nice place – what does liking it or disliking it have to do with the EU?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

I’m sure spite does play a role in this. Take Denmark and Austria’s move yesterday to set up a vaccine cooperation with Israel. Now, Sebastian Kurz does have a famously chummy relationship with Netanjahu which might explain that – but why not cooperate with the UK? Because the political cost of being seen to side with the heretics, the “unreasonable ones” would be too great. I’m sure Israel will be a great partner but the UK would surely have been just as good and also willing to assist and contribute know-how. That that option is a no-go is all down to silly EU pettiness.

There are two other factors that I think are relevant here:
1) The EU was still on its Brexit-negotiations-unity high and the inexorable logic of that led (in part) to the vaccine procurement being given to the Commission. We stayed unified against the UK, so of course, we can here! However, this is a completely different situation. It’s easy to be unified against something/someone…but far harder to act positively in concert to achieve something. As I’ve been saying for a long time to my friends in Austria (who, until now, have looked at me like I’m completely bananas, or worse – A POPULIST, gasp): yes, the EU “worked” in the Brexit negotiations…but the unity doesn’t extend to many other areas and when this is all done and the UK is out, the old problems will just come roaring back. The root of the matter is that the EU, in its current state, just doesn’t function in the way necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century. There can be no better demonstration of this prediction coming true than the vaccine programme.
2) I have made this point before and I WILL labour it: there is absolutely zero comprehension in Brussels (as well as Austria at least) that this is a situation where the usual rules have to be chucked overboard, pronto. Absolute focus on the goal – getting populations immunised ASAP – is key. We’re in the middle of an emergency and the Austrian Chamber of Doctors is rejecting the arguments of the Chamber of Pharmacists that pharmacists should also be able to give jabs on their premises: because they don’t have exactly the right qualifications according to the normal rules! They are acting like we have all the time in the world and businesses aren’t going under en masse. As a citizen (and business owner), when I read this, I become incandescent with rage. My health and my livelihood are taking second place to petty industry rivalries and rules that were already outdated in the 80s (welcome to Austria).

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Not a time for turf wars, for sure. Decisive leadership normally sorts that kind of thing out.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You’re not wrong. It took 5 seconds to have my COVID shot. Intravenous injections are one thing, but intramusculars are so straightforward even steroid-abusing bodybuilders can manage them, FGS.
Pharmacists, vets, Boy Scouts – they should be letting anyone do them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Well, everyone except EU leaders and officials. They would find a way to screw up a simple injection, one way or another.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

That’s very true Fraser. Owing to their lack of cognition, EU officials would almost certainly attempt to give the patient an intramuscular in the elbow.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

It got even sillier: apparently, the pharmacists stand accused of just wanting to make a profit off of this. I don’t read their offer in that way – I just think they have understood the situation and that they are well placed to help.
And even if they did want to make a buck – doctors aren’t always guided by altruistic considerations, are they? And, with the rise of online pharmacies – Austrian chemists need to find some way of keeping their business viable. I’m on Team Pharmacy here!

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

If the politicians insist on everyone having a vaccine that is probably unnecessary for most people under the age of 70, you can’t blame the pharma companies for taking the money.
And, as you say, the medical profession has always been motivated primarily by money. In Brecht’s play ‘The Causcasian Chalk Circle’ a doctor is banned from practicing because he refused to accept money for treating someone.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In Roman times you paid your doctor until you fell ill, and you then stopped paying him until you were well again.
I’m amazed the profession ever gave up that model. Most of your income is secure most of the time; if a patient falls ill, you get the kudos and the money resumes if you cure him; and if you kill him, you’re no worse off than you were when he was just ill.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Isn’t that precisely the NHS model?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Nor really. The more people the NHS kills, the more money its employees are given.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The more people the NHS kills, the more money its employees are given.”
Please either explain that or withdraw it.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Man eaten by Sharks dies of SARS2 as listed by certain NHS trusts

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

You don’t get a tax deduction when you’re in hospital. If you did the model would be quite close.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Not really. In the NHS model other people pay in a bit extra to make sure there is enough money to pay for you if for some reason (like you’re too ill, too old, too young or too poor) you can’t afford to pay in yourself at any point in time.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“n Roman times you paid your doctor until you fell ill,”
Ha ha. That is kind of how the system works with “health insurance” in the USA. You pay your premiums every month, and when you fall ill you fight it out with the insurance co. to get “approved” for treatment and then to get the treatment paid for.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Like the US friend of mine who found that her health insurance stopped paying for her cancer treatment and pointed to the small print saying that only three courses of treatment were covered. After that you could die while they counted their profits.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Which US insurance system are you talking about?

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“a vaccine that is probably unnecessary for most people under the age of 70,”

thanks for clarifying that. Is everyone on this list planning to have mRNA shot into their bodies? Not me.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Yes thanks, I’ve already had mine.
If you get Covid, please don’t take a hospital bed because of your foolishness. Cancer patients like a close relative of mine need them. And if, unvaccinated, you catch Covid, please make sure you don’t infect others even before you know you have it. Can you do that? No. So others, including my relative, may end up paying the price.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Is your cancer patient friend there because of increased likelihood from lifestyle choices? Because even smokers get treatment.

People making your argument should also say if a car wreck was due to speeding the injured driver should be left to die on the side of the road.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Agree, but not really an argument for stupidity along the lines of “I’m not having the vaccine” (followed by taking a bed when the person concerned can’t breathe due to Covid), any more than it’s an argument for “I’m going to drive at 200mph, the NHS will patch me up”.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I think we should have the vaccine and I disagree with the tone of the anti vaccine comment above but it is not irrational to not want to have it. People make decisions as they see fit, even if I think they are wrong and live with the consequences.

Who’s to say what the effects of the vaccine will be in a decade?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Thank you for the sanity.

Geoffrey Nebel
Geoffrey Nebel
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I’m 74, fit, not overweight, no underlying morbidity. Caught the virus mid-Jan; was under the weather for three days. For five others in my circle, another 74 year old, 55, 30, 32 and 26 years old none was unwell for more than five days. SARS-cov-2 is not life threatening if you’re fit and have a robust immune system. So, does everyone need to be vaccinated?

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Nebel

We are getting vaccinated to help those who are more susceptible to serious impact or death. My wife falls in that category, as does my daughter (cancer).
Thank you.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Nebel

SARS-cov-2 is not life threatening if you’re fit and have a robust immune system

Balls. My brother in law was slim, fit healthy and killed by COVID in less than a month.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I guess the concern might be here, that Austrian Pharmacists are not deemed by Austrian Doctors to be competent enough to deal with (mercifully rare) acute anaphylactic reactions ??

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

The reasoning given was that an injection is, legally speaking, a bodily injury and pharmacists are currently not authorised to do this while doctors are. This is a legal detail which can be changed, or at least an exception made.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Is an exception permitted under EU regulations?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

I don’t think EU regulations would have anything to do with it – I think what does and doesn’t constitute bodily injury would be a matter of national criminal law.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Pharmacies in the USA such as CVS are giving the shots. And of course they have alwyas been the go-to place for flu shots. Not that I have ever had one—and I always did think it a bit strange when i saw the signs outside the pharmacies to get your flu shots there.
So what is the big deal now with the covid jabs? Could it be that the jabs are untested and they are genuinely worried about serious reactions that will require a doctor?
Could that be?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

No. They are not “untested”, they have been through multi-month trials with tens of thousands of people.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

And approximately 21 million Brits.

Geoffrey Nebel
Geoffrey Nebel
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

They are authorised – not approved – for emergency use. What is happening is an enormous experimental trial.
Pfizer is supplying its vaccine on condition that it accepts no liability for any adverse reaction.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

As I said above, I think it makes sense to take it, but we don’t know the longer term effects. You are too sure of your own wisdom

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Couldn’t put it better myself. Welcome to sparring with the dogmatic, increasingly vituperative Chris C.

Olly Pyke
Olly Pyke
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Seems to me like he talks sense…

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Most Americans do not get their flu shots at CVS.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I was once trained to give injections, there is nothing to it, took a couple days, we injected oranges, and then each other, after lessons on veins and arteries and muscle mass and fat layers and where to shoot it, and how to make sure it was in the place it needed to be and how to fill/empty the syringe.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

we injected oranges

Congratulations, you have something in common with Errol Flynn.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

So who gives out flu jabs at Asda?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Don’t forget we had some of the same problems. Did you see the hoops people wanting to volunteer to help with the jabs had to jump through.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

And I believe that small pharmacists are still not being allowed to give the jab (ours isn’t) even though Boots is. Trouble is, there’s only one big Boots and one small Boots (latter not involved, I suspect) in this city.
Sorry that doesn’t support the “Brexit UK good, EU bad” groupthink here.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
3 years ago

I voted Remain in 2016, and have changed my mind. Why ? The negotiations showed what the EU was really like. I saw that the main factor in EU decision-making was what would be good for Brussels. Then, there is all the corruption around massive EU programmes, like the Euro 750bn pandemic package. Anyone can see that E 750bn is really a lot of money. It’s not hard to imagine that a few Euro bn, here and there, isn’t going to be much missed. Brussels is deeply corrupt. I knew that already, and tolerated it, and the obscene CAP subsidy system, for other benefits brought by being part of a united Europe. Now we have the vaccination saga, outlined so well in this article. No more, Thank goodness GB is out. Thank you Boris.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Same here. Sat on the fence right til I went into that booth and voted Remain. But I never denigrated or dismissed the Leave position. The last 5 years really opened my eyes to the machinations of the EU and our own establishment. I am so glad so many of my countryfolk were brave enough to just go for it when everyone said they shouldn’t and called them every name under the sun. I made up for it by voting for Boris in 2019 and I don’t regret it.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I didn’t vote because both sides lied so much, but since the result I have noticed that Remainers, especially the BBC, are people with whom I disagree about almost everything else. So on balance I’m glad Leave won.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I made up for it by voting for Boris in 2019 and I don’t regret it.”
So now you’re living in the country with the highest Covid death toll in Europe, and the third highest death rate per million population in the world (the only two higher being small countries).

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Sorry old bean but the death statistics in the UK are drivel.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Tripe 3% of 112,000 are due to SARS2

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Says who? A fringe website run by some cranks?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Right smartypants, Corbyn would have done it better?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

This idea that all deaths in a country whether it’s the UK or the US or any country are due to one person is so incredibly dumb. Why should anyone even entertain such drivel?

nazz38
nazz38
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Where are you getting your numbers from? Check this https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
5 European countries are above us. It is also clear we are not all counting the same, according to the statistics Captain Tom Moore died of Covid, despite having been treated for pneumonia for 5 weeks previously, a disease which kills a great many elderly people. Also according to the statistics, we have had not a SINGLE death from flu this year, in fact the death rate overall is now running below the 5 year average, so clearly deaths are being counted as Covid when they would in fact have occured anyway. We are including people with terminal cancer who then test postive. We are counting those who died WITH not FROM. The WHO published data this week showing how significant obesity is as a factor and we have the most obese population in Europe. In additon we have in London the largest city in western Europe with a very mobile international population, so it was pretty obvious that London would suffer. There is no comparision to London in Europe, the only fair comparision is New York. I see these ridiculous comparisions with places like New Zealand, yet there are more international travellers in and out of Heathrow in three weeks than there are in and out of NZ in a year. It’s true that with hindsight, we could have done more earlier, but as you can see from the rising infection rates in Europe (on the link I provided) there really is no defence until either herd immunity or a vaccine. There does seem to be an unfortunate desire on the part of certain people to continually run down their own country.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

There is much joy in Heaven at a Sinner who repenteth.

Pauline Rosslee
Pauline Rosslee
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

So very similar- I made a remain decision at the last minute- as we have a house in France, and subsequently noted the vindictiveness of the EU towards us. The Remoaners did not help either. Likewise the discovery of so much EU fraud.
Many- if the Remoaners managed to get a second referendum would, like me, would have voted out. EU spite forced many to see the EU in its true colours. A bloated, overpaid, and incompetent bunch of failed politicians.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Right after the EU’s petty behavior during Brexit, maybe this pettiness wasn’t such a great idea on Merkel and Macron’s part. Can’t blame Austria and Denmark, and any of the other countries, they have the right idea, do right for your people regardless of what Germany and France do for theirs.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

In extremis, in democratic systems, politicians are most inclined to listen and respond to the people they quite rightly feel most accountable to ie their electorates, not least because they have to suffer the periodic inconvenience and indignity of facing them at the ballot box.

Regardless of your opinion on covid and the handlings of covid, it has proved to be a pretty acute lesson, as if it were needed, for the politicians of the EU on the apparent endless perils thrown up by democratic accountability.

Perils, by design, that they are clearly intent on avoiding for themselves in future for good reason.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

The responses of Merkel, and especially Macron, to the AZ vaccine, are yet another illustration of the sheer randomness of many decisions at the highest political levels across the globe, from people seemingly completely sane, sober and competent – followed by a scramble to, um, scramble the source, when the proverbial hits the fan. I bet it is no different in the US or China or Russia or anywhere. It then becomes difficult to claim that the decisions of, say Trump, were in reality any different from those who on the face of it appear far more sane.

Verily, The Inverted Pyramid of Piss.

george_zoe
george_zoe
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The random decision-making is why I voted Leave. In 2015,Merkel, on a whim and without consulting the other members of the EU, opened the borders to every refugee/economic migrant from everywhere to head for the EU.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Trump pulled off ‘Operation Lightspeed’ without him and that the vaccines would still be in development. Trump gets things done if the entire Liberal establishment is not blocking him every way possible, and even then he gets things done. The man is one of the cleverest and craftiest men ever.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Senile old Joe is claiming credit, as he Says Vaccine will be available to all by June 2021

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I couldn’t agree less. It is patent that Trump was on a personal aggrandisement mission, a vanity project. It is a remarkable characteristic of free nations that once in a while such individuals can rise to the top, and in most circumstances the free nation will survive them with ease – no biggie. Often such individuals will be ‘masked’ because the government machine will cover for them, albeit with a glum face. An inflated snakeoil salesman, too capricious to let the machine help him, not bright enough to bend the machine to his will, in way over his head with the challenges he faced, and no help to anyone, least of all the left behinds he promised to help.
My point is that under the hood many of others who appear sincere and sober might easily be only marginally better (or they could even be worse) – real motives become difficult to unpack, especially because many politicos who have experience of the machine often end up thinking they know better than others, and are willing to manipulate the machine as a case of ends justifying means. Biden is a case in point, as was Hilary Clinton, as was Blair.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

What does any of that have to do with Operation Warp Speed? Are you saying that that did not happen under Trump? Or that that is not the reason for the lightening speed of the vaccine?

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago

As I recall, the first vaccines were from a German-Turkish company (produced in Belgium), Russia, and China, followed by AstraZeneca, Moderna and J&J. Was Trump pushing those?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

What does your comment have to do with WarpSpeed? If Germany and Turkey developed effective vaccines there’s even less reason for Germany to be in the position it’s in today.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
3 years ago

No, the first vaccine authorised for use in the west was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the latter a German company. True, the vaccine was developed by a Turkish couple living in Germany, but the Pfizer partnership enabled its development and mass production at a number of sites, including one in Belgium.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

I was responding to the point that Trump is one of the cleverest and craftiest men ever. I don’t think he is either. As to warp speed, I don’t know much about that to comment. One thing I do know though is that overall Trump responded in an uncoordinated and chaotic way to the virus – he was pretty useless. Moreover, he politicised the emergency, something he patently shouldn’t have done. My original point was: so did the highly regarded (by some) EU leaders like Macron and Merkel – which makes them no better than Trump. Different gutter, same stink.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

We wouldn’t have a vaccine today without OWS. What Trump did was eliminate funding issues and red tape. He guaranteed drug companies orders and worked to speed up the approval process. That’s exactly what he should have been doing. There could have been no better use of his time. He did all the coordination for OWS, without him there was no OWS.
Trump didn’t politicize the vaccine but some others did. Particularly the media who did what they could to cast doubts about the vaccine and today we have people who won’t take it, congratulations.
my guess is that you do not understand the US federalism system which leads to mistakes in your thinking.

Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
3 years ago

I totally agree: in addition OWS dealt with issues that many people do not even consider. How do we mass produce millions of glass vials for the vaccines; millions of syringes to administer them; what cold-storage logistics capacity is there to store and transport millions of vaccine doses that need to be stored at -70C. I recently read that huge plastic bags are needed to mix the vaccines (FT?): they are made by a subsidiary of Merck at a US plant that increased capacity last year and is now increasing capacity again by 50%. Thankfully there are thousands of useful people who get on with sorting these issues out rather than just bitching online and talking nonsense.

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago

.
‘they think they’re doing you a favour just by allowing you to interact with them. Furthermore, you will be expected to pay for the privilege. This means abiding by their rules; having to guess what they want without being told; prioritising your relationship with them above any other attachment. Resist their nonsense and you’ll be accused of being the unreasonable one.’
.
That is totally uncanny! How on earth can you know my wife as well as you clearly do???
.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

I thought he was talking about the NHS

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

The NHS which is doing such a good job at vaccinating people?

Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter
3 years ago

I think the great tragedy which mustn’t be forgotten here is that citizens across the EU have been unable to access vaccines for reasons of politicking above all else. Amid this some of the comments coming from various figures in the EU have been positively Trumpian.
I remember taking on a team in a new job some years back. A member of the team had been sitting on an EU committee on building safety for 10 years, with regular trips to Brussels. When I asked what regulatory changes the committee had made in that time, the answer was ‘none’. His trips to Brussels came to a swift end.
My point is that the EU’s decision on vaccines, to have a whole-block approach was entirely wrong-headed and unrealistic given the length of tie it takes to conduct relatively simple tasks. I think it’s simplistic to think this was a response to Brexit, I suspect it was about the EU trying to present itself to its members as the cavalry and, on that basis, it failed.
The UK government can hardly present itself as having handled this crisis well. However it’s arguable that the most remembered element of a crisis is how it ends and, on that basis, the government just may have played a blinder.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Hunter

Well, the alternative to the ‘whole-block’ approach would be a free-for-all. The pharma companies would get richer, the richest and strongest countries would get to the front of the vaccine queue and the weaker and poorer woild get nothing for now – like Moldova. The total number of vaccinations would not have been any bigger.
The EU is an ungainly and unlovely beast, but there are some compensating advantages in cooperation over cut-throat fighting.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes, it’s great that instead of smaller EU smaller EU member states going to the back of the queue, all member states went to the back of the queue because the EU was more interested in haggling down the price than saving lives.
Not so great for the elderly and infirm people in Germany, France, the Netherlands, etc. who would now be alive today if they had had the vaccine, but what’s that compared to the benefits of unity on suffering.

Last edited 3 years ago by Marcus Leach
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Hardly.Moldova, last time I saw, had got no vaccines. Zero. That is the back of the queue. Do you really think that an uncoordinated buyers’ frenzy would have benefited *all* the competitors?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Why is co-ordination of buyers OK when it’s the EU doing it ineptly, but an illegal monopsony when private organisations do it?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’d love the British government to offer them some vaccines

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

The EU’s socialist model. Everyone is equal at the bottom

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

They’d be dead sooner if they had to cope with UK levels of mortality per head of population.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You mean the way the UK classifies (overcounts) deaths as being due to Covid, based on an unreliable test set at a stupidly high CT level?

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

The very same.

David FĂŒlöp
David FĂŒlöp
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

To be fair this is far from over and countries all measure their deaths by a different criteria. My hunch is that we are more or less on the same level.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

Your hunch is right. It is the same virus – mutations not withstanding – and treatments have been roughly uniform, so death rates would also be roughly uniform.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine was being offered at cost anyway (something worth remembering next time we start fulminating against big Pharma). Really, the EU Commission’s focus on price rather than speed was an elementary mistake. And certain small countries (Israel, Bahrain, even Serbia) seem to be doing rather better by taking an individual approach.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago

Have you been following the post-vaccine death statstics in Israel?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Here we go …… more claims from anti-vax fringe sites.
But feel free to disprove that by providing statistics from a reliable source with integrity – IF you can. Bet you can’t.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is made from dead, aborted, babies. This just out as Catholics are told to use another vaccine if possible. The consensus in the MSM is ‘nothing to see here’ cloned cells from an aborted baby in 1970 are used in all manner of medical testing’. I find it so creepy I would never use the J&J.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It’s made from a cell culture which has grown through thousands of generations of cells since the first original cells were taken from an aborted baby in 1972. A baby which was being aborted anyway.
But feel free to die from Covid if you feel strongly about that. Just don’t take a hospital bed from my relative who is having cancer surgery in May. Take responsibility for your own decisions – if you can’t breathe due to Covid which you’ve brought on yourself due to your dogmatism, feel free to suffocate to death in your own bed, don’t take a hospital bed.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

…and I should add, that I don’t say this in any spirit of triumphalism or one-upmanship. My wife is Italian, and not only have my parents-in-law not been vaccinated, her 93-year old grandmother still doesn’t even have an appointment. If she were in the UK she’d have had her first dose in December.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Hunter

What does “play a blinder” mean?
Is that good or bad?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Generally seen to be very good – sporting term.

Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Good. But clunky language on my part in retrospect!

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Hunter

I don’t think that even with a huge amount of Christian Charity one can explain away the actions of the EU Commission and leaders like Macron and Merkel. The article that appeared in the German press deliberately misrepresenting the AstraZenica vaccine was done for a purpose – probably to manage demand and a bit of anti UK propaganda – but I think it has massively backfired. Both Macron (who can be very childish and silly) and Merkel have double-down and made the problems worse. The French vaccine hasn’t worked and has been abandoned, but what is important is getting the vaccine rolled out. Boris, for all his faults, recognised early on that the vaccine was the ‘get out of jail’ card and he went hell for leather at it. As you say when the crisis is over all the other mistakes will be forgotten because people will remember that he got the vaccine right. Macron and Merkel have got that catastrophically wrong and people will remember that too. I hope it sinks Macron next year.

Richard Kenward
Richard Kenward
3 years ago

The one good thing to come out of this avoidable debacle is that the EU has not just publicly shot itself in the foot, but in both feet, the head, and the hands. Executing itself publicly in front of the British public in such a pique of arrogance and jealousy has effectively killed off any return to the EU from this side of The Channel. This debacle will always be remembered as the seminal moment when it became crystal clear to all Britons – Brexiteer or Remainer that the Rubicon had been crossed and there was no going back.
My greatest thanks to Von Der Lyen, Merkel, Macron et al for making the case for an independent Britain now irrefutable.
However, this has also set off a split in the EU and is already having many profound implications for the future of the EU. Not only have the British public witnessed the shambles that is Brussels but also the public of the EU countries have looked on bemused and confused. Now the cat is out of the bag that VDL, Merkel, and Macron are just cheap-shot, bunglers in the Covid crisis, we can see the famed EU unity is cracking daily with member countries egged on by their people to ignore the EU.
Already Eastern European members have become increasingly alienated from Merkel’s vision for Europe especially after the catastrophic influx of economic migrants from the Middle East. And it’s not just the east Europeans taking vaccination into their hands, but even countries like Austria are going their own way.
The EU at the greatest moment where they could have shown the benefits of unity and the effectiveness of the EU has been found seriously wanting. Worse still they have been caught playing politics with the lives of their members’ citizens. They have come across as shameless bullies with their empty rhetoric and poor vaccination plan, which has not gone unnoticed by the media in Germany and France. The case for even closer political union is now in the balance and trust has been shattered, so much so that even the fanatical federalist, Guy De Verhofstadt, is fed up with the EU.
Whilst we Brexiteers could rightly say “I told you so,” I think most of us are too grown up for that, and actually we should all be concerned at a weaker Europe in the future. A federal Europe will never work and the sooner the idea of a European superstate is rejected the better. We can all say amen to that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Kenward
J E S Bradshaw
J E S Bradshaw
3 years ago

From what I can see, most of you AREN’T too grown up not to say ‘I told you so.’ And, Richard Kenward, that includes you.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  J E S Bradshaw

We told you so! But I’m tired of gloating now.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
3 years ago

There isn’t a country in the world that hasn’t got it wrong repeatedly — and the UK is clearly no exception.” If you lived in Western Australia, where I do, you might think that the government hadn’t done too badly: there were a couple of short, sharp lockdowns, and two weeks of mask wearing, otherwise life has gone on fairly normally for the past year.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
3 years ago

Distinguish mistakes from fortune. The UK, as an open country with a LOT of international travel, with a very obese, diabetic (approaching US levels fast) and relative elderly population, was bound to get a bad case. Don’t know much about Australia – perhaps better ‘performance’ economy and death wise was down to super-smart scientists and politicians but I’m sure it was at least partly fortuna.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

Agreed Michael. Likewise New Zealand; no doubt did the right things right, but also, as a remote country that’s not on the way to anywhere else, shutting down international travel wasn’t much of a lift or hardship in the way that closing Heathrow or JFK was.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

The UK’s average age isn’t that high – something like 40 or 41. Compare that to Austria (43) or Italy (47). The absolute numbers of elderly people in the UK are of course higher than in Austria. Vitamin D is also supposed to be a factor…I guess vitamin D deficiencies aren’t as common in Australia as they are in the UK 😉

J B
J B
3 years ago

Australia have definitely done some things right. But it’s not fairly normal to have your citizens stranded worldwide unable to return home, or to tell them that they can’t leave the country. The UK seems to be working towards a way to live with a virus that is unlikely to disappear, whereas AUS and NZ are still largely doing what they did in the beginning. It’s looking more likely that short, sharp lockdowns and closed borders will still be in place, whilst other countries have their population vaccinated and free to travel.

Last edited 3 years ago by J B
Leo Waldock
Leo Waldock
3 years ago

I have a relative in WA who has a gravely ill relative in the UK. He is unable to leave WA due to Australian restrictions on travel so you might want to factor that in.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago

Russell magnificent though it is, WA is a state not a country. Although why you continue to “keep” those on the east coast is beyond me, perhaps because I live in Brexit Britain.
By all means tell me how good your wine, beaches, wildlife, education (5 unis for 2.6m people!?!) and economy (the mine) are but please there is no reason to crow about your politicians. In the UK we say that politics is showbiz for ugly people in Australia its more stand-up comedy for the unfunny. At the very least Covid has highlighted the folly of the proximity of their relationship with China. The state of Northbridge and the spy centre in East Perth seem problematic.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

New Zealand has done amazingly well.
25 deaths compared to 120,000 in Britain.
Population ratio 1:13.
Deaths ratio. 1:4800.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris C
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

AUSTRALIA, 35 DEATHS PER MILLION, CHINA 3 DEATHS PER MILLION. (worldometers) Wow, by hiding from the world you only had 11 times the rate China had, and they stayed open with millions coming and going internationally, except for the show lockdown in Wuhan so they could act all innocent.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Not to mention New Zealand just locked down Auckland, everyone there, over one Covid case. Nuts. Absolutely nuts. Now they are threatening to punish people for leaving a lockdown over one case. Sheer stupidity.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Utterly bogus, useless comparison. For an ex-scientist (as you claim), you should know and ought to do better.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

Maybe he’s an ex-climate scientist.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Think you’re right. The parallels between Covid and climate change are becoming ever clearer.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Australia and NZ just proved they are a petty backwater globally in how they could, and did, just lock themselves from the world like a Brigadoon. I do not see that as anything to be proud of.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

120,000 dead British people might disagree.

Stewart Slater
Stewart Slater
3 years ago

I don’t think the EU is so much narcissistic as it is religious. It is based on the notion that a small cadre of highly educated people are best placed to run society. Brexit is therefore a heresy and any evidence contrary to the received belief is to be treated in the same way as 19th century religions dealt with evolution. Philip Pullman may not like the analogy, but the EU is the Magisterium.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

Note, however, my article on The Defender “UK Data Show 402 Reports of Deaths Following COVID Vaccines”: comparing the Oxford vaccine to the Pfizer it has an average 43% more yellow card reports, 77% more adverse reactions, and 25% more fatal reactions. I don’t have a great regard for EU institutions but I also don’t believe in national vaccine propaganda.

michaelbprendergast
michaelbprendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Does the impact of the increase in negative effects of the AZ, outweigh the increased risk of waiting longer for the pb vaccine?
If not, then it’s irrelevant.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

I think it means that we don’t know what’s going on and most prefer to be spoon-fed information by politicians, medical bureaucrats and the mainstream media. The yellow card scheme will not tell you how many cases there really are (quite certainly many more than reported), but it will give you a relative profile of the products. In a normal dispensation we would expect to be able to probe every aspect of government data. It isn’t sensible if the public just prefers to close its eyes.
It does mean apart from anything that if people in the EU are complaining about the relatively unpleasant side effects of the vaccine the UK card scheme supports their concerns.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Stone
Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-data-show-402-reports-of-deaths-following-covid-vaccines
From this data source the highest possible risk of vaccine-related death associated with a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 0.003% or 205 deaths in 6.9 million doses. Compare that with the risk of not taking the AstraZeneca vaccine. Isn’t that the point of risk calculations?

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

I am afraid that in pursuit of compliance we expect governments to hype one kind of threat and dismiss another kind. I would caution against abandoning a critical frame of mind when dealing with government sponsored information. You are not by any chance Sir Andrew Hall of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and former chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation?
PS It would be disturbing if the imperative to provide safe medicines were to be altogether abandoned in this febrile climate. On the face of it pharmacovigilance has been replaced pharmacosomnolence.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Stone
Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

John, Andrew just blew your claim out of the water. Stuff like “I would caution against abandoning a critical frame of mind when dealing with government sponsored information” is just a way of saying that you prefer conspiracy theories to facts and data.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

No, he didn’t.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Andrew’s comment: the highest possible risk of vaccine-related death associated with a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 0.003% or 205 deaths in 6.9 million doses. Compare that with the risk of not taking the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
John, Andrew blew you out of the water.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

To start with a database of this sort will only give you a fraction of actual cases (and I suspect Chris C and Andrew know this). Secondly, these effects are just being dismissed as of no consequence despite 400 deaths. Thirdly, Oxford are just beginning to experiment on children despite their low risk from the disease and the relative unpleasantness of the product (no ethical problem there Eh?).
But, of course, even if there was any attempt to track the immediate effect of the campaign (which there isn’t) we don’t know anything about their safety at all beyond a few weeks, let alone their effectiveness. I am mindful of the several articles about this by Peter Doshi and his presentation to the BMJ seminar last week.
We used to be told that vaccines were “safe and effective”. that there was a “one in a million risk” etc and here we have 400 deaths with Andrew Hall and Chris C running around saying there is nothing to see. Well there is certainly something to investigate after 60k reports.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Stone
Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

“we don’t know anything about their safety at all beyond a few weeks, “
The trials lasted months. So you are wrong.

“400 deaths”
From how many millions of people vaccinated? And who says they wouldn’t have died anyway?

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

“The trials lasted months. So you are wrong.”
What was the longest trial with published results?
”And who says they wouldn’t have died anyway?”
You, the MHRA or the MSM could dismiss every single death that way.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

As I was reading your comment, I was thinking ‘someone will reply to the effect that the government is lying’ – and bingo.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

113,000 people have died who didn’t have a vaccine. Are you sure you have taken that properly into account?
If you have a 10% chance of catching a disease that then has a 10% chance of killing you; or you could take a shot that has a 0.5% of chance of killing you – which should you do?
Be mindful that your answer could qualify you for a Darwin award.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I suspect we don’t have any reliable measurements of any of these things, however, people across Europe have complained about the side effects of the Oxford Astra/Zeneca vaccine relative to the Pfizer and this is borne out by the data: the data will probably give you a good ratio of the relative adverse effects of the products but is probably only a fraction of actual cases.
No, I would not attribute a high truth quotient to Johnson, Hancock etc. Busy awarding contracts to their friends while suppressing use of Vitamin D etc.

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

I am reminded of when Concorde was launched. As soon as British Airways/Air France tried to schedule a service, there was a legal challenge from pressure groups in America. They claimed all sorts of environmental issues.

The reality was of course that America did not have a supersonic passenger aircraft. That Concorde was simply far advanced over anything that America had and they were piqued. Of course for all the so called environmental concerns, the American Jumbo jet changed the economics of flying to the extent that millions now fly everywhere and aircraft pollution has caused incalculable environmental damage.

And also allowed the virus to spread all across the world from China in a matter of weeks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

On the contrary, 18 airlines placed orders including several US airlines including TWA, PanAm, Eastern, Continental, American, United and Braniff. Of course, we know that all 16 of the non British and French airlines subsequently cancelled their orders. The Concorde simply never sold as it was planned. I guess it could be viewed as a shame that millions now have the option to do what only very rich people could do before but I wouldn’t want to be in the position of trying to justify that view.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Also let’s not forget another act of Gallic petulance following the Air France Concorde tragedy in Paris in 2000.

Since AF decided it would discontinue its own Concorde service, it also ensured that British Airways would have to follow suit by effectively denying BA access to parts and related maintenance items.

Sure, Concorde never made money and would doubtless have been retired sooner or later. But it was very French behaviour to bring forward its demise. I die, you die.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
3 years ago

Not completely accurate! Whilst, later, several other factors did come into play that caused the order cancellations, it was President Carter’s government’s refusal to allow the Concorde to overfly land because of ‘noise pollution from the double sonic bang’ that was the main factor. Many airlines’ routes were to the west coast so it made no sense if they weren’t able to fly it there. This decision was widely seen as a political act of protectionism to protect Boeing and give it time to further its own supersonic design. I was working at Filton on Concord’s (as it was originally called) design and development at the time and feelings against the US were very bitter as we anticipated what this decision would probably translate into.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

It wasn’t allowed to fly supersonic over the UK either, for the same reason – sonic boom.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Not quite. The Concorde did land in the US of course. Specifically New York and Washington Dulles. And you’ve confused President Carter with the US Congress.
Of the 16 non French and British airlines who placed Concorde orders, all the airlines cancelled. Unless you’re claiming that the US forced the cancellation of orders from ten non US airlines, you need to look a bit deeper than pure politics. Your bitterness is not surprising, the US is frequently blamed for things like non US airlines cancelling orders. If you want to be bitter, be bitter.
Boeing, of course scrapped its supersonic effort. For many of the same reasons the Concorde failed, there simply wasn’t enough interest. And that was due to many reasons, not the least of which was cost and a serious crash.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Simon Burch
Simon Burch
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

I’m sure that US pique played a minor part in Concorde’s commercial failure, but the 1973 oil crisis was, I suggest, the main cause.

Given his past form and the failure of French pharma to produce a viable vaccine, Macron’s comments regarding the AZ vaccine were perhaps unsurprising. Merkel, on the other hand, has a scientific background. She has no excuse.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Burch

Merkel received her doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and was a research scientist until 1989. If anyone knows ze korrect procedure for analysing scientific data she does. It serves to show how politics corrupts all it touches.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

The attitude of many in the UK to Concorde has always been thoroughly blinkered. The legal challenges were not generalised ‘environmental concerns’. They were specifically arrival and departure noise in New York and the sonic boom over land. Plenty of US aircraft manufacturers and airlines have felt the wrath of the New York anti-noise lobby, not just Concorde – and well before Concorde. The challenges were not to put a limit on Concorde but to make sure no exemption to the existing limits were given.
The arrival regulations for Heathrow always (during my working life) had a special exemption for Concorde wherever a noise limit was stated. Usually in the form “…the limit is XXX EpNdb (except for Concorde)”. I recall attending a conference in a building over the Bath Road near the threshold of 28R when a Concorde departed. The entire building shook and not a voice could be heard for several minutes.
Concorde was a brilliant piece of engineering and as a pilot for one of the airlines which had options on it I looked forward to having the opportunity to fly it. Reality struck however and it wasn’t primarily noise. The per seat operating cost of Concorde over a year was approximately 5 times the 747 equivalent. It was simply uneconomical. The operating subsidy paid to BA by the UK government speaks for itself.
Get over it.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Cant

Concorde was just one of the many British post war aeronautical disasters. Anyone remember the Brabazon, the Princess Flyings Boats, the Comet, the Britannia, or even the VC10? Have I forgotten any others?

donald.couper
donald.couper
3 years ago

TSR2. But the Buccaneer was brilliant.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
3 years ago
Reply to  donald.couper

The TSR2 fell under the weight of the UK’s combined forces’ usual decision to try and make it a ‘Jack of all trades and a master of none’ aircraft. An impossible feat at the time. And politics, of course. Not to mention these turned it into an economic disaster, yes. 

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
3 years ago

You seem very bitter. I infer from many of your comments that you enjoy denigrating the UK for some reason. Yes, as a child I watched the Brabazon overfly our home. It was an amazing sight. Yes, it was considered an economic failure – it was way before its time in terms of size and luxury etc. – but, because of the infrastructure required to manufacture it, the extended runway for it to take off, and the engineering knowledge that was gained, BAC, Bristol was able to have a jumpstart in constructing other designs such as the Britannia, which although delayed because of concerns over what caused the Comet to crash became the backbone of many airlines’ fleets for many years.
Many aeronautical engineering lessons were learnt from the original Comet’s failures, which benefitted all manufactures. One of which was not to use square windows. (I spent part of my design training working in Filton’s stress laboratory doing stress tests on these very windows out of which it was learnt that an oval design was required.) The eventual redesigned Comet 4 series was very successful as it remained in commercial service until 1981.
You also name the VC10. Engineering-wise this was an amazing aircraft. Its speed record for crossing the Atlantic was only broken LAST year! They were in service with BOAC and other airlines also to 1981 and it remained in the RAF’s strategic fleet until 2013. That doesn’t sound like a failure to me. Yes, BOAC, in hock to Boeing, tried to scupper it by cancelling its original orders; thus, making it economically a failure – if that’s your only benchmark for failure – but later they probably regretted that decision because the VC10 far outweighed the Boeing with its many advantages, and it was very popular with passengers. I have flown in it many times and it was a very pleasant and quiet experience.

donald.couper
donald.couper
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

To be fair, it really was very noisy, even coming in to land. Barnes Wallis, of bouncing bomb fame, thought it should have been designed to fly hypersonic and much higher, in that way cutting out the sonic boom entirely.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

As there are unused Oxford vaccines in the EU, could they send them to the UK? At least we would use them!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

They would be held up for six years by EU customs officials in an act of spite.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago

My thoughts entirely. After the fuss they made about AZ supplies to then actively undermine using them is unforgiveable.

Rowli Pugh
Rowli Pugh
3 years ago

No one has questioned the reasoning of Macron and France to ignore the proven benefits in December of the Pfizer/ Novatech vaccine in favour of the Anglo/French vaccine in early stage trials from Sanofi/GSK. This vaccine was due in February then trial data postponed the likely submission to September and as far as I am aware now December 2021. Yet he persuaded the EU, Ursula von der Leyen and her Brussels sycophants to take control and order millions of the untested Sanofi/GSK vaccines. Not the near completely effective Pfizer/Novatech vaccine.
Even worse the EU ostriches rejected the offer of millions of vaccines from Pfizer/Novatech.
Macron pursued national favour over good sense, then double downed by his asinine remarks on the efficacy of the AZ/Oxford vaccine. He appears to be a teflon President, whether its “gilets jeaunes” or Covid-19 if there is a bad decision to be made, you can rely on Emmanuel Macron to confidently make it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rowli Pugh
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Rowli Pugh

Actually I raised these very points late last year! The word solidarity, of which the EU is excessively fond, has been shown by these actions and those of Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia etc – entirely understandable – to be as hollow as the space between Macron’s and Vd Leyen’s ears.

The whole Sanofi mess is yet another example of the French prioritising “national champions”. What has emerged is a painful loss of face for French science / medicine and a colossal setback for millions of EU citizens, all due to French chauvinism.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

The EU have always been vindictive. They are full of failed socialist politicians.
Having said that, it would be better if the UK were also honest enough to tell us how many people have been adversely affected by thus injection. We know from the well respected doctors and virologists how this vaccine is a pathogen to break down the immune system. We also know how angry the care homes are at the number of deaths within weeks of injecting their clients, whom they had kept safe for the last year of Covid.
We also know that many front line staff are refusing to take it due to their knowledge of the disasters in Africa and India. Same vaccine……
however, the most important issue to be addressed in all this is the lack of democratic choice trying to be taken from the people of the so called free world. Never in my 73 years have I been coerced by propaganda to take a flu jab. Why is this so?? Why are those who want to be cautious and wait until the trials are completed, being treated as pariahs. Why is this Globalist government so keen to inject teenagers whose immune systems should be more than able to cope with a flu. Facts show that the under 50s very rarely contract flu.
Instead of praising the UK we should be asking why they want to follow the WEF in using people as guinea pigs for an injection that they have absolved all pharmaceuticals from blame or the law should anything go wrong. That to me, is not a good look.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

We don’t know any of those things that you claim. Stop this fake news.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

Yes we do. The fake news unfortunately, come from those who are not asking the questions. Have you wondered why influenza has disappeared and replaced by Covid.
have you wondered why we are told we cannot travel without a covid injection. Have you even asked yourself why we have been locked up in our homes for a virus that no one seems to be suffering from. Have you visited the hospitals. I have. They are empty.
Have you looked at the Funeral Associations funeral numbers. Below average yearly funerals. 1600 people sadly die every single day in the UK. So far we have something like 900 deaths per day and most of those are called Covid deaths.
There is a scandal breaking over the care homes. Watch UKColumn who have been following this since January. The deaths next year due to lack of treatment and diagnosis will shock many, but I suspect will be put down to Covid.
Stop putting your head in the sand. I have never had a flu jab and I don’t intend to be a guinea pig for something we know is coming down the road. You may try to watch Robert Kennedy’s harrowing videos on the terrible vaccine programme in Africa. Another Beauty as President Trump would say.