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The Covid inquiry is creating a lockdown doctrine

Matt Hancock leaves the Covid-19 inquiry hearing on Tuesday. Credit: Getty

June 30, 2023 - 5:25pm

A common maxim in the world of emergency planning is that preparedness is a journey, not a destination.

The last three weeks of the Covid inquiry has witnessed a consolidation around the future of UK pandemic preparedness: a new lockdown doctrine. In essence, we must build on the last few years and establish the critical infrastructure for rapid lockdown.

On Tuesday, Matt Hancock, the former Health Secretary told us: 

It is central to what we must learn as a country that we’ve got to be ready to hit the pandemic hard
we’ve got to be able to take action — lockdown action if necessary — that is wider, earlier, more stringent than feels comfortable at the time.
- Matt Hancock

Sir Jeremy Farrar, previous director at the Wellcome Trust and current WHO Chief Scientist, warned the inquiry not to be complacent in our “new pandemic age”.

Views expressed this week sounded similar to those outlined in Bill Gates’s recent book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic. The Gates Foundation has become the WHO’s second largest donor, giving it an oversized influence in determining the shape of future pandemic responses. In his book, Gates outlines a plan echoed so far in the UK inquiry: lock down fast and make reopening dependent on a vaccine.

But what would preparing for this new command-and-control infrastructure really entail? And what risks are involved?

Lockdowns require a compliant population. During the pandemic, we witnessed a symbiotic relationship between Government, the media and the formation of public opinion: the more the Government imposed control policies, the more the public seemed to want them. In UnHerd‘s survey of 10,000 UK voters conducted last December, only 27% believed lockdowns were a mistake. There are many reasons for this, but it is hard to ignore the weaponisation of fear and the public discourse around misinformation. Studies show the pandemic has increased authoritarian attitudes and eroded support for core democratic beliefs.  

Then there are the methods used to curtail civil liberties. Covid lockdowns precipitated the world’s largest rollback of individual freedom “ever undertaken by governments during peacetime (and perhaps even wartime)”. Violations of democratic norms by governments were wide-ranging. Human rights were removed through unlawful criminal and punitive action.

Beyond that is economic support. In the UK, £311 billion was spent on pandemic-related support measures, the majority directed to businesses and households. Globally, the IMF estimated $18 trillion was spent by governments up to September 2021, with only 8% going to the health sector. This fiscal support precipitated the largest one-year increase in global debt since the Second World War, which rose 30% in 2020 to 263% of global GDP. This spending is now predicted to drive future Government austerity in the context of a looming debt crisis. 

In this regard, preparing for lockdown requires, among other things, putting in place methods to shape public opinion, curtail civil liberties and deploy massive Government spending programmes. 

So as much as I dislike Matt Hancock, I dislike the use of CCTV to monitor social distancing rules even more. The whole nation did not need to know that his marital infidelity was also a breach of his Covid rules. The great irony of the new lockdown doctrine is that our political class can’t keep to the rules but want more of them. And that should worry all of us.


Kevin Bardosh is a research professor and Director of Research for Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to understanding the collateral impacts of Covid policies worldwide.

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

An article in Unherd earlier this week suggested that the recommendations of public inquiries were rarely implemented, or at best half-heartedly. One would hope this might be the case should the author be correct in his assessment of where the Covid inquiry is heading.
A lockdown mechanism on permanent standby would be inimical to a democratic state. The threat to the freedom of citizens to go about their lawful business would be like a Sword of Damocles, and would enable government to bring it into action not only prematurely but with the potential to do so outside the event of a pandemic i.e. for other purposes. Even worse, government is likely to sign up to following WHO dictats. Sinister is the only word that even approaches this eventuality.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Considering the pivot made by not only government with regards to its pandemic preparedness plan and also the WHO on its previous position regarding the avoidance of quarantine of healthy people, it would appear to be a model of complete, arbitrary power.
Sinister indeed.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The problem is that other inquiries usually come to conclusions inconvenient for the state, which explains their half-hearted adoption.

The conclusion about to be reached here is one that is all-too-welcome for any state-led organisation: more power to itself, less power and liberty to the individual.

Just because these institutions presently reside in a democracy does not mean they are actually democratic themselves. It is becoming obvious that the state has collectively decided that we all exist to serve itself rather than the other way round, and that democracy therefore is an inconvenience, not an abiding principle.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Not so sure the ‘rarely implemented’ entirely fair. Many are focusing on putting on the record what happened – Novichok poisoning, Post Office IT, Shekh Bayou death, Bloody Sunday, Undercover Policing Inquiry, Infected Blood etc. From which sometimes legal claims follow.
Grenfell still running but yes certainly a mixed sense on whether Govt will fully implement likely recommendations.
The implementation of recommendations seems to play into an assessment of affordability. On Covid it’ll be interesting to see what preventative measure are recommended and whether they have a cost.
Sweden as we know and better understand now flattened the curve with more voluntary measures but certain gatherings were banned. Hopefully though the Inquiry will do a serious compare/contrast assessment.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Considering the pivot made by not only government with regards to its pandemic preparedness plan and also the WHO on its previous position regarding the avoidance of quarantine of healthy people, it would appear to be a model of complete, arbitrary power.
Sinister indeed.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The problem is that other inquiries usually come to conclusions inconvenient for the state, which explains their half-hearted adoption.

The conclusion about to be reached here is one that is all-too-welcome for any state-led organisation: more power to itself, less power and liberty to the individual.

Just because these institutions presently reside in a democracy does not mean they are actually democratic themselves. It is becoming obvious that the state has collectively decided that we all exist to serve itself rather than the other way round, and that democracy therefore is an inconvenience, not an abiding principle.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Not so sure the ‘rarely implemented’ entirely fair. Many are focusing on putting on the record what happened – Novichok poisoning, Post Office IT, Shekh Bayou death, Bloody Sunday, Undercover Policing Inquiry, Infected Blood etc. From which sometimes legal claims follow.
Grenfell still running but yes certainly a mixed sense on whether Govt will fully implement likely recommendations.
The implementation of recommendations seems to play into an assessment of affordability. On Covid it’ll be interesting to see what preventative measure are recommended and whether they have a cost.
Sweden as we know and better understand now flattened the curve with more voluntary measures but certain gatherings were banned. Hopefully though the Inquiry will do a serious compare/contrast assessment.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

An article in Unherd earlier this week suggested that the recommendations of public inquiries were rarely implemented, or at best half-heartedly. One would hope this might be the case should the author be correct in his assessment of where the Covid inquiry is heading.
A lockdown mechanism on permanent standby would be inimical to a democratic state. The threat to the freedom of citizens to go about their lawful business would be like a Sword of Damocles, and would enable government to bring it into action not only prematurely but with the potential to do so outside the event of a pandemic i.e. for other purposes. Even worse, government is likely to sign up to following WHO dictats. Sinister is the only word that even approaches this eventuality.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

When you have an enquiry those involved in the fiasco will invariable claim that the problem was that they didn’t implement their failed program earlier or more throughly they will seldom admit that they got the solution completely wrong.

Instead of having a succession of politicians and UK “experts” eager to justify their performance give evidence it would be much more useful to have Anders Tegnell and some Swedish epidemiologists provide input on what worked in Sweden without extreme lockdown and its destructive side effects and what they would have done differently in retrospect or from other countries with a similar population and geography that did better in terms of overall morbidity and their economy.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

When you have an enquiry those involved in the fiasco will invariable claim that the problem was that they didn’t implement their failed program earlier or more throughly they will seldom admit that they got the solution completely wrong.

Instead of having a succession of politicians and UK “experts” eager to justify their performance give evidence it would be much more useful to have Anders Tegnell and some Swedish epidemiologists provide input on what worked in Sweden without extreme lockdown and its destructive side effects and what they would have done differently in retrospect or from other countries with a similar population and geography that did better in terms of overall morbidity and their economy.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Gosh, “the pandemic”. Orwell wrote about the power of language, didn’t he, so that if you can define the the terms even your most student critics can think you can control their thoughts.

Well, never mind. We know that next time we can all literally ignore them out of existence. Lockdowns? Try that when there’s no capacity for any more splurging of cash and people can’t feed themselves. And there’s a whole cohort of awake people in all parts of society ready to defy them. They won’t catch us on the hop next time.

Like it is on a whole gamut of issues, the narrative is collapsing in on the self-deluded, empty vessel storytellers. The faster it collapses the more they’ll deny that it is isn’t, until all of a sudden the boot’s on the other foot.

So let them have their idiotic inquiry. Let Hancock do his crying act and Farrar do his lying act. Deceivers gonna deceive. But don’t be afraid of them. They fear us far more than we fear them.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The lockdown was to some extent a fiction anyway. We all had to go to the supermarket to by food and so mixed with the staff and other shoppers.
I went most days to stick two finger up to the lockdown

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The lockdown was to some extent a fiction anyway. We all had to go to the supermarket to by food and so mixed with the staff and other shoppers.
I went most days to stick two finger up to the lockdown

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Gosh, “the pandemic”. Orwell wrote about the power of language, didn’t he, so that if you can define the the terms even your most student critics can think you can control their thoughts.

Well, never mind. We know that next time we can all literally ignore them out of existence. Lockdowns? Try that when there’s no capacity for any more splurging of cash and people can’t feed themselves. And there’s a whole cohort of awake people in all parts of society ready to defy them. They won’t catch us on the hop next time.

Like it is on a whole gamut of issues, the narrative is collapsing in on the self-deluded, empty vessel storytellers. The faster it collapses the more they’ll deny that it is isn’t, until all of a sudden the boot’s on the other foot.

So let them have their idiotic inquiry. Let Hancock do his crying act and Farrar do his lying act. Deceivers gonna deceive. But don’t be afraid of them. They fear us far more than we fear them.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago

This is so depressing … After all that has been learned since, and the establishment still doubles down in lockdowns. Then pundits wonder (even here in Unherd) why people are voting for anti establishment (badly called far right) parties.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago

This is so depressing … After all that has been learned since, and the establishment still doubles down in lockdowns. Then pundits wonder (even here in Unherd) why people are voting for anti establishment (badly called far right) parties.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

These people have learned absolutely nothing. We are still paying the social and economic costs of the last lockdown. We got lucky with Covid because it impacted a very narrow band of people. Heaven help us if we get a virus that kills young and healthy people. We might actually need a lockdown – and these would be the last people I trust to manage it.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Another 1918 should do the trick nicely.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Another 1918 should do the trick nicely.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

These people have learned absolutely nothing. We are still paying the social and economic costs of the last lockdown. We got lucky with Covid because it impacted a very narrow band of people. Heaven help us if we get a virus that kills young and healthy people. We might actually need a lockdown – and these would be the last people I trust to manage it.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Matt Hancock (paraphrase): “in an emergency, we must be prepared to suspend civil rights and normal society in order to save it.”
And every dictator in the history of the modern world agrees.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

In a ‘perfect world’, Hancock and at least 500 others would be dragged to Tyburn on an hurdle and vivisected in the traditional manner.

Women would be burnt (for the sake of modesty.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The issue is that the tried solution was too drastic Charlie.. now you’re suggesting an even more drastic step!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The issue is that the tried solution was too drastic Charlie.. now you’re suggesting an even more drastic step!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

In a ‘perfect world’, Hancock and at least 500 others would be dragged to Tyburn on an hurdle and vivisected in the traditional manner.

Women would be burnt (for the sake of modesty.)

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Matt Hancock (paraphrase): “in an emergency, we must be prepared to suspend civil rights and normal society in order to save it.”
And every dictator in the history of the modern world agrees.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Why the appalling Censorship of comments on this essay?

Is UnHerd being ‘lent on’? It certainly looks like it.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Always happens to my posts, which in some subjects run against the trends here. tbh it seems to me Unherd have lost their way on their own founding principles and I’m losing interest.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sadly I must agree!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is why I still believe this is a function of downvoting – I’ll admit there may be some compulsive flaggers around, but if that is the case, I’d rather hope they got banned (or had their capacity for flagging removed).
Those posts will likely reappear, but unfortunately after the topic disappears from active participation.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sadly I must agree!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is why I still believe this is a function of downvoting – I’ll admit there may be some compulsive flaggers around, but if that is the case, I’d rather hope they got banned (or had their capacity for flagging removed).
Those posts will likely reappear, but unfortunately after the topic disappears from active participation.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

Perhaps they’re worried that pro-Woke banks might deny them services.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

I was just wondering why Unherd has said nothing about Farage’s bank situation

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Yes quite astonishing.
Surely there MUST be a rational explanation?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

They are worried that they would get their account closed?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

They are worried that they would get their account closed?

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

I’m also wondering why they have so little to say about France’s “George Floyd” moment and the black-bloc gangs (Antifa?) wielding AK47s on the streets of Paris and Marseille.
What happened to those regular dispatches from John Lichfield?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

In fairnes, there is quite a lot happening in the world right now.
However, I’m not sure we need 10 articles a week about trans issues. Drop some of those and cover the stories you mention above.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Take a look at what is happening in France tonight following the funeral. It’s more than just another newsworthy event among many.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Take a look at what is happening in France tonight following the funeral. It’s more than just another newsworthy event among many.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Hear hear!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

In fairnes, there is quite a lot happening in the world right now.
However, I’m not sure we need 10 articles a week about trans issues. Drop some of those and cover the stories you mention above.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Hear hear!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Yes quite astonishing.
Surely there MUST be a rational explanation?

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

I’m also wondering why they have so little to say about France’s “George Floyd” moment and the black-bloc gangs (Antifa?) wielding AK47s on the streets of Paris and Marseille.
What happened to those regular dispatches from John Lichfield?

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

I was just wondering why Unherd has said nothing about Farage’s bank situation

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

How does Charles Stanhope know that comments are being censored on Unherd? If this is the case, I will cancel my subscription

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

For myself FOUR have disappeared into the ether in the past 36 hours.
Two on this COVID essay.
One on the essay about why Black American students underperform.
One on the Edward Blum piece.

Sometimes they reappear but normally far too late to have any bearing on the discussion.

Some others disappear completely and are never seen again.

It seems to have got worse recently. Perhaps Freddie is seeking a Knighthood or even a seat in the House of Lords?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

An additional ploy is to severely delay the posting of a comment by up to 24/36 hours.

As UnHerd is a “fire & forget” site this means the ‘discussion’ is long dead by the time the controversial or provocative post is published!
Cunning eh?As Baldrick might say!

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When posts are removed (I believe some of this is due to automation from heavily downvoted posts – others disagree with me – Unherd won’t say) the posts that reply to it are also removed.
Typically, those posts reappear sometime later. I suspect human intervention determines if the post should be moderated or not.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

It is not political, at least. It happens quite a lot to me, and I am on the opposite side to Charles Stanhope. Either automation on downvoted posts, or someone abusing the flag system. Either way it stinks that Unherd does not fix the problem.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

It is not political, at least. It happens quite a lot to me, and I am on the opposite side to Charles Stanhope. Either automation on downvoted posts, or someone abusing the flag system. Either way it stinks that Unherd does not fix the problem.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

For myself FOUR have disappeared into the ether in the past 36 hours.
Two on this COVID essay.
One on the essay about why Black American students underperform.
One on the Edward Blum piece.

Sometimes they reappear but normally far too late to have any bearing on the discussion.

Some others disappear completely and are never seen again.

It seems to have got worse recently. Perhaps Freddie is seeking a Knighthood or even a seat in the House of Lords?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

An additional ploy is to severely delay the posting of a comment by up to 24/36 hours.

As UnHerd is a “fire & forget” site this means the ‘discussion’ is long dead by the time the controversial or provocative post is published!
Cunning eh?As Baldrick might say!

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When posts are removed (I believe some of this is due to automation from heavily downvoted posts – others disagree with me – Unherd won’t say) the posts that reply to it are also removed.
Typically, those posts reappear sometime later. I suspect human intervention determines if the post should be moderated or not.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

More details please?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

As above, IF if survives!

QED.

Charles Stanhope
1 second ago
Awaiting for approval
Reply to UnHerd Reader
For myself FOUR have disappeared into the ether in the past 36 hours.
Two on this COVID essay.
One on the essay about why Black American students underperform.
One on the Edward Blum piece.
Sometimes they reappear but normally far too late to have any bearing on the discussion.
Some others disappear completely and are never seen again.
It seems to have got worse recently. Perhaps Freddie is seeking a Knighthood or even a seat in the House of Lords?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Here we go again, antother load of posts disappear seemingly suppressed.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I feel discriminated against. It rarely happens to me

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I feel discriminated against. It rarely happens to me

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Here we go again, antother load of posts disappear seemingly suppressed.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

As above, IF if survives!

QED.

Charles Stanhope
1 second ago
Awaiting for approval
Reply to UnHerd Reader
For myself FOUR have disappeared into the ether in the past 36 hours.
Two on this COVID essay.
One on the essay about why Black American students underperform.
One on the Edward Blum piece.
Sometimes they reappear but normally far too late to have any bearing on the discussion.
Some others disappear completely and are never seen again.
It seems to have got worse recently. Perhaps Freddie is seeking a Knighthood or even a seat in the House of Lords?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago

My comments have gone as well but when I review them in the ‘My Unherd’ section of the site they are still there however the date stamp is 7 July 2023 which is odd. I therefore wonder if there is some can of bug in the comment system – technical ineptitude rather than malign behaviour. I hope so as I have just paid for a year’s subscription and am suffering buyer’s remorse.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Always happens to my posts, which in some subjects run against the trends here. tbh it seems to me Unherd have lost their way on their own founding principles and I’m losing interest.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

Perhaps they’re worried that pro-Woke banks might deny them services.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

How does Charles Stanhope know that comments are being censored on Unherd? If this is the case, I will cancel my subscription

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

More details please?

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago

My comments have gone as well but when I review them in the ‘My Unherd’ section of the site they are still there however the date stamp is 7 July 2023 which is odd. I therefore wonder if there is some can of bug in the comment system – technical ineptitude rather than malign behaviour. I hope so as I have just paid for a year’s subscription and am suffering buyer’s remorse.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Why the appalling Censorship of comments on this essay?

Is UnHerd being ‘lent on’? It certainly looks like it.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Seems like an example of the hammer principle: when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.

The powers that be and their enablers (MSM, talking heads) are nothing if not predictable: they will never seriously engage in self-reflection or self-criticism, and they are arrogant in the extreme in their plans to double- or triple-down on previous policies come the next pandemic. This kind of “inquiry” is worse than a whitewash; it is anti-science, anti-liberty hubris.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Seems like an example of the hammer principle: when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.

The powers that be and their enablers (MSM, talking heads) are nothing if not predictable: they will never seriously engage in self-reflection or self-criticism, and they are arrogant in the extreme in their plans to double- or triple-down on previous policies come the next pandemic. This kind of “inquiry” is worse than a whitewash; it is anti-science, anti-liberty hubris.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Let’s keep some differentiation between the UK’s first and second Lockdown. Elements of the former may be defendable (and perhaps would have been shorter if implemented quicker), the second much less so.
The ‘as’ important issue is what can we do better to prepare such that our critical services are not overwhelmed as quickly? The Lockdown critics would be more credible if they weren’t so silent on this.
Interesting too UnHerd not run an article on the sale of the flagship Vaccine manufacturing plant near Oxford. cÂŁ200m of public funds been sunk into this to give us greater resilience and speed in future. Hopefully at some point Inquiry gets into this too.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What happened to the vaunted Nightingale Hospitals?

Besides sullying the name of a national heroine, what, if anything did they actually achieve?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Nothing but photo opportunities CS. The problem was always that there was no staff for them. It was bonkers and just one other example of undue waste incurred. Hopefully who made the call to quickly create them, and on what basis, will come out.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Nothing but photo opportunities CS. The problem was always that there was no staff for them. It was bonkers and just one other example of undue waste incurred. Hopefully who made the call to quickly create them, and on what basis, will come out.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What happened to the vaunted Nightingale Hospitals?

Besides sullying the name of a national heroine, what, if anything did they actually achieve?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Let’s keep some differentiation between the UK’s first and second Lockdown. Elements of the former may be defendable (and perhaps would have been shorter if implemented quicker), the second much less so.
The ‘as’ important issue is what can we do better to prepare such that our critical services are not overwhelmed as quickly? The Lockdown critics would be more credible if they weren’t so silent on this.
Interesting too UnHerd not run an article on the sale of the flagship Vaccine manufacturing plant near Oxford. cÂŁ200m of public funds been sunk into this to give us greater resilience and speed in future. Hopefully at some point Inquiry gets into this too.

David Graham
David Graham
1 year ago

I dislike the new pandemic age doctrine more than Matt Hancock too. He looks like one of the biggest promoters of them though and the personal is political too.

David Graham
David Graham
1 year ago

I dislike the new pandemic age doctrine more than Matt Hancock too. He looks like one of the biggest promoters of them though and the personal is political too.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

As @ 1921 BST, 01.07.23
Only 30 of the 48 comments remain.
Why?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

As @ 1921 BST, 01.07.23
Only 30 of the 48 comments remain.
Why?

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
1 year ago

I knew as early as February 2020 that the pictures coming out of China were not exactly the reality.
But then came Italy and panic and we did what I knew at the time to be a dreadful mistake. We will not recover from this. The West that is . The global south and China will for differing reasons. The former because these societies are actually more resilient being less dependent on complex supply chains and industrial systems and China because China just can being able to afford to switch off production and then just wait knowing that the prize of hegemony is porth it.
No living being can exist outside of an ecosystem. Ours is our economy and we deliberately smashed it. It cannot be just switched off and then back on again like a light switch. There is a golden rule. After a real displacement black swan event it takes roughly three years for the real effects to be felt and nobody but nobody can ever predict what will happen .Also those in power at the time always fall from power. Our Western system is falling apart. We are in a war with Russia that we cannot win. We are losing control of vital raw materials and giving up on cheap energy without which no advanced society can survive Above all else we have gone collectively insane. We have decided that reality can be mocked and that we can decide exactly what is real and what is unreal. We are using even our language to describe a world that cannot ever exist.
This is not the deal. This is not how the world is or ever will be.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
1 year ago

I knew as early as February 2020 that the pictures coming out of China were not exactly the reality.
But then came Italy and panic and we did what I knew at the time to be a dreadful mistake. We will not recover from this. The West that is . The global south and China will for differing reasons. The former because these societies are actually more resilient being less dependent on complex supply chains and industrial systems and China because China just can being able to afford to switch off production and then just wait knowing that the prize of hegemony is porth it.
No living being can exist outside of an ecosystem. Ours is our economy and we deliberately smashed it. It cannot be just switched off and then back on again like a light switch. There is a golden rule. After a real displacement black swan event it takes roughly three years for the real effects to be felt and nobody but nobody can ever predict what will happen .Also those in power at the time always fall from power. Our Western system is falling apart. We are in a war with Russia that we cannot win. We are losing control of vital raw materials and giving up on cheap energy without which no advanced society can survive Above all else we have gone collectively insane. We have decided that reality can be mocked and that we can decide exactly what is real and what is unreal. We are using even our language to describe a world that cannot ever exist.
This is not the deal. This is not how the world is or ever will be.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

Good article until the final paragraph.
If politicians are going to set absurd rules, it’s important that we know when they break them.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

Good article until the final paragraph.
If politicians are going to set absurd rules, it’s important that we know when they break them.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

If genuine experts like Bardosh want to change policies, they need to engage with the public earlier and not leave it to newspaper ‘health editors and reporters’ who got the job via a degree in EngLit and once having written an article in the Islington Advertiser about ‘this fab new diet that everyone is using, darling’. When PM Johnson suggested a Sweden-like policy and herd immunity the media went mad, accusing him of ‘letting the bodies pile up in the streets’. There was no intelligent discussion in the MSM, which was instrumental in setting the tone for public opinion, because there’s no-one in the media with the knowledge, understanding, or competence to know what intelligent discussion looks like. And, of course, it doesn’t sell copy. It was the same with MMR as with Covid, and will be the same with the next pandemic.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

If genuine experts like Bardosh want to change policies, they need to engage with the public earlier and not leave it to newspaper ‘health editors and reporters’ who got the job via a degree in EngLit and once having written an article in the Islington Advertiser about ‘this fab new diet that everyone is using, darling’. When PM Johnson suggested a Sweden-like policy and herd immunity the media went mad, accusing him of ‘letting the bodies pile up in the streets’. There was no intelligent discussion in the MSM, which was instrumental in setting the tone for public opinion, because there’s no-one in the media with the knowledge, understanding, or competence to know what intelligent discussion looks like. And, of course, it doesn’t sell copy. It was the same with MMR as with Covid, and will be the same with the next pandemic.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The correct response to Covid, according to the Great Barrington Declaration (and this risk management consultant) was really simple: Isolate those at risk not the hazard itself.
Trying to isolate the hazard (virus) was, and will always be, impossible as indeed was proved beyond a doubt. The clear and obvious answer was/is to isolate those at serious risk of death.
To achieve that the government should have immediately commandeered every remote accommodation available from holiday camps to hotels to campsites to even villages; thrown cordons around each one (army patrolled, to keep others out) and established strict test and quarantine entry requirements. No one allowed in until tested and quarantined, anyone free to check out but allowed to re-enter only after test and quarantine.
No compulsion to take up the offer whatsoever but no precautions taken either in the towns and cities. Take the risk if you want to, stay locked in your room if you want to but don’t demand a lockdown either!
Drastic? sure.. but life continues normally not only outside the safe refuges but INSIDE as well! Live alone old folks can rent their properties to pay rent on refuge accommodation, or sell and buy.
Many will like the new arrangement, living among their peers, away from the noise and the crime, active (out of retirement?).. all facilities laid on, cafés, pubs, clinics etc. Sure it would be Paradise Regained for many. Family visits in specially set up perimeter facilities.. AND as a super byproduct currebt HOUSING crises in towns and cities solved overnight!
In fact the solution is so desirable even aside from pandemic risks, it makes perfect sense to set about building log cabin villages right now!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The correct response to Covid, according to the Great Barrington Declaration (and this risk management consultant) was really simple: Isolate those at risk not the hazard itself.
Trying to isolate the hazard (virus) was, and will always be, impossible as indeed was proved beyond a doubt. The clear and obvious answer was/is to isolate those at serious risk of death.
To achieve that the government should have immediately commandeered every remote accommodation available from holiday camps to hotels to campsites to even villages; thrown cordons around each one (army patrolled, to keep others out) and established strict test and quarantine entry requirements. No one allowed in until tested and quarantined, anyone free to check out but allowed to re-enter only after test and quarantine.
No compulsion to take up the offer whatsoever but no precautions taken either in the towns and cities. Take the risk if you want to, stay locked in your room if you want to but don’t demand a lockdown either!
Drastic? sure.. but life continues normally not only outside the safe refuges but INSIDE as well! Live alone old folks can rent their properties to pay rent on refuge accommodation, or sell and buy.
Many will like the new arrangement, living among their peers, away from the noise and the crime, active (out of retirement?).. all facilities laid on, cafés, pubs, clinics etc. Sure it would be Paradise Regained for many. Family visits in specially set up perimeter facilities.. AND as a super byproduct currebt HOUSING crises in towns and cities solved overnight!
In fact the solution is so desirable even aside from pandemic risks, it makes perfect sense to set about building log cabin villages right now!

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The purpose of lockdown. The purpose of the second lockdown was to prove that they could do it at will.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The purpose of lockdown. The purpose of the second lockdown was to prove that they could do it at will.

David Barnett
David Barnett
1 year ago

Seems like the “inquiry” is an exercise in whitewashing a regime whose every action was systematically the opposite of rational Covid management. Not just random incompetence, but consistently wrong every time.

David Barnett
David Barnett
1 year ago

Seems like the “inquiry” is an exercise in whitewashing a regime whose every action was systematically the opposite of rational Covid management. Not just random incompetence, but consistently wrong every time.

Marko Bee
Marko Bee
1 year ago

Those who told us to follow the science, did not themselves follow the science.

Those who inveigled against “disinformation“ and “misinformation“ were the biggest promulgators of these untruths.

Those who decried nonbelievers for harming, even killing, innocents, themselves rushed many to their deaths.

But, next time, it will be different.

Of course it will
..

Marko Bee
Marko Bee
1 year ago

Those who told us to follow the science, did not themselves follow the science.

Those who inveigled against “disinformation“ and “misinformation“ were the biggest promulgators of these untruths.

Those who decried nonbelievers for harming, even killing, innocents, themselves rushed many to their deaths.

But, next time, it will be different.

Of course it will
..

J. Edmunds
J. Edmunds
1 year ago

The government has a case to answer under the Genocide Act for its lockdown policy.
Genocide is defined as an act with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or relegious group. In this case, Western civilisation.
Acts contributing to genocide can be some of all of
Killing members of the group;Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
25,000 Covid deaths during the early weeks of the pandemic were the direct and predictable result of Government policy to discharge people from hospitals where Covid was known to be circulating, to care homes full of people who were known to be the most vulnerable. These deaths also had the effect of instilling fear and compliance in the wider population who were not vulnerable.
Serious bodily and mental harm has been caused by denying medical treatment, except for one disease. Not to mention solitary confinement.
Any group is destroyed if it is prevented from meeting, and all of its social, cultural and religious practices are banned.
Births have been prevented by forbidding young people from meeting and forming relationships, cancelling their weddings, and making the prospect of raising children seem too onerous through enforced home schooling.
Only (5) is notably. absent. For now Putin has a monopoly.

J. Edmunds
J. Edmunds
1 year ago

The government has a case to answer under the Genocide Act for its lockdown policy.
Genocide is defined as an act with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or relegious group. In this case, Western civilisation.
Acts contributing to genocide can be some of all of
Killing members of the group;Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
25,000 Covid deaths during the early weeks of the pandemic were the direct and predictable result of Government policy to discharge people from hospitals where Covid was known to be circulating, to care homes full of people who were known to be the most vulnerable. These deaths also had the effect of instilling fear and compliance in the wider population who were not vulnerable.
Serious bodily and mental harm has been caused by denying medical treatment, except for one disease. Not to mention solitary confinement.
Any group is destroyed if it is prevented from meeting, and all of its social, cultural and religious practices are banned.
Births have been prevented by forbidding young people from meeting and forming relationships, cancelling their weddings, and making the prospect of raising children seem too onerous through enforced home schooling.
Only (5) is notably. absent. For now Putin has a monopoly.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

Cherrypicked stuff. Far too early to talk about emerging doctrines. If anything, the emerging sense is of wasted opportunity to implement proper test and trace, which would tend to make lockdowns less necessary.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

Cherrypicked stuff. Far too early to talk about emerging doctrines. If anything, the emerging sense is of wasted opportunity to implement proper test and trace, which would tend to make lockdowns less necessary.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

We should certainly consider the cost of lock-downs, in money, future opportunities, and freedom. But as always it would be useful if the Unherd crowd acknowledged that we are dealing with some trade-offs here. How do you want to protect the health of the population in the next pandemic? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice to preserve your right to go to the pub and not be on CCTV? Which people deserve protection and which can be left to die – the old, presumably?

Simply assuming hat your favourite policy will have no costs is not the way to go, whether your are pro- or anti lockdown, pro- or anti vacccine.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If successive lockdowns only curtailed my ability to go to the pub then it may not have been so bad but it struck deep at the heart of the ability to be human such as being with loved ones in their dying moments. Be thankful if you weren’t witness to that. The point is that the collateral damage from this pandemic has been far greater than the results of the illness and will be for many years so we need to develop the ability to think flexibly during crisis and this will rely on open and balanced discussion of the cost benefit analysis.
The death of anyone is sad but when the majority of the burden is now being carried by those unlikely to be troubled by the disease then we have gone very wrong somewhere.
Like it or not the average age of death from Covid was higher than the average age of mortality for adults in this country.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Amanda Elliott

The point is that the collateral damage from this pandemic has been far greater than the results of the illness

Really? The families of 226,000 people might have something to say about that.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

And the families of the much higher number of children that lost school, got depression, have anxiety still today may also have something to say. But of course what’s the problem with screwing the life of thousand children in the (ineffective) attempt to save a single 90 year old?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The average age of a COVID death was 84, longer than life expectancy itself!

Did they think they would live forever?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

What age are you Charlie? I’m 74 btw.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

What age are you Charlie? I’m 74 btw.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When we can say what the final effects have been on a generation of children treated appallingly as well as when we know the number of deaths from late diagnosed cancer heart issues and stroke not to mention medium and long term vaccine effects (which we don’t as yet have any data on) then it is likely that the number of Covid deaths – and of not with is nowhere near the figure you quote- will be dwarfed. And that’s before you look at the disasterous economic fall out

O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But even the most optimistic study suggests that lockdown saved around 20,000 lives across the whole of Europe. Meanwhile, far more than that are going to die from late diagnosis of illnesses, and a whole generation of the children from the poorest families have had their education very badly impacted.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  O'Driscoll

But even the most optimistic study suggests that lockdown saved around 20,000 lives across the whole of Europe.

There was a study in Nature that estimated 3.2 million lives were saved by lockdowns in Europe.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2405-7

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  O'Driscoll

But even the most optimistic study suggests that lockdown saved around 20,000 lives across the whole of Europe.

There was a study in Nature that estimated 3.2 million lives were saved by lockdowns in Europe.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2405-7

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But lockdowns didn’t prevent deaths anywhere in the world.. the correct solution was as I outline above…

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

And the families of the much higher number of children that lost school, got depression, have anxiety still today may also have something to say. But of course what’s the problem with screwing the life of thousand children in the (ineffective) attempt to save a single 90 year old?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The average age of a COVID death was 84, longer than life expectancy itself!

Did they think they would live forever?

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When we can say what the final effects have been on a generation of children treated appallingly as well as when we know the number of deaths from late diagnosed cancer heart issues and stroke not to mention medium and long term vaccine effects (which we don’t as yet have any data on) then it is likely that the number of Covid deaths – and of not with is nowhere near the figure you quote- will be dwarfed. And that’s before you look at the disasterous economic fall out

O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But even the most optimistic study suggests that lockdown saved around 20,000 lives across the whole of Europe. Meanwhile, far more than that are going to die from late diagnosis of illnesses, and a whole generation of the children from the poorest families have had their education very badly impacted.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But lockdowns didn’t prevent deaths anywhere in the world.. the correct solution was as I outline above…

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Amanda Elliott

The point is that the collateral damage from this pandemic has been far greater than the results of the illness

Really? The families of 226,000 people might have something to say about that.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

First you would have to show that lockdowns actually save lives (all cause mortalities) in the medium and long term. Then we can talk about trade offs. Otherwise it’s just a lose lose situation.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There is no “assuming” going on here – at least, not on the side of the lockdown sceptics. The assumptions have all been on the side of those making colossally destructive decisions in the absence of any evidence and in contravention of established policy – policy that had it simply been followed in early 2020, would have led to both fewer deaths and far less socioeconomic damage.

As for trade-offs, again, to have raised the point during 2020/21 that lockdown would come with tradeoffs was a professionally and socially suicidal risk. So please, no more of these straw man arguments that imply that both sides of the debate are equally guilty. The pandemic is one of the most cut-and-dried examples in which one side of a political argument was completely correct: the lockdown sceptics have won this debate on the facts to an extent that is rare in politics.

The problem is that the facts aren’t convenient for the establishment, and that’s why the lockdown inquiry has looked at almost anything except the numbers.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Anyone can ‘win the debate on the facts‘ if they first select their own facts and refuse to listen to input from others.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Indeed, with a hefty dose of delusion added too.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Indeed, with a hefty dose of delusion added too.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

And the blame for this national catastrophe lies firmly at the feet of Boris Johnson Esq and his erstwhile minder one Dominic Cummings Esq.
Both should now be encouraged to do the ‘decent thing’ ( the Roman thing’*) and rid the Planet of their festering presence.

(* Eton will have taught the Boris Beast what that entailed! Not so sure about Cummings.)

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Anyone can ‘win the debate on the facts‘ if they first select their own facts and refuse to listen to input from others.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

And the blame for this national catastrophe lies firmly at the feet of Boris Johnson Esq and his erstwhile minder one Dominic Cummings Esq.
Both should now be encouraged to do the ‘decent thing’ ( the Roman thing’*) and rid the Planet of their festering presence.

(* Eton will have taught the Boris Beast what that entailed! Not so sure about Cummings.)

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

All these are predicated on the assumption that lockdowns worked. They had no effect at all on COVID, and the dire predictions that led to them were all incorrect by miles. So whilst those questions might be interesting to debate in the abstract there’s no actual need – respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2 spread like a gas over long distances and thus lockdowns, masking, quarantines, etc are irrelevant.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

They had no effect at all on COVID

What an extraordinary claim.
We know Sweden suffered terribly compared to their neighbours because of their liberal approach. Had they locked down then thousands of people who died whould be alive today – there’s no avoiding that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sweden did NOT suffer “terribly “, that is pure hyperbole!
In fact both Denmark and Norway had already culled most of their WFD Cohort* the previous winter, mainly through influenza etc.

Oddly the Swedish WFD Cohort had avoided this fate for reasons I have yet to determine. However it did mean that they were a perfect target for COVID in 2020 and so it transpired.

So the Swedish WFD Cohort ‘got’ another year, nothing particularly earth
shattering there.

(*Waiting for Death.)

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Ah yes, the ‘dry tinder’ effect. So basically there are thousands of extra vulnerable people swanning around in the population and what do they decide to do…?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When you get to 80+ Robbie you will see it quite differently I can assure you!

“Nothing lasts forever” as Goethe put it.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When you get to 80+ Robbie you will see it quite differently I can assure you!

“Nothing lasts forever” as Goethe put it.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Ah yes, the ‘dry tinder’ effect. So basically there are thousands of extra vulnerable people swanning around in the population and what do they decide to do…?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sweden did NOT suffer “terribly “, that is pure hyperbole!
In fact both Denmark and Norway had already culled most of their WFD Cohort* the previous winter, mainly through influenza etc.

Oddly the Swedish WFD Cohort had avoided this fate for reasons I have yet to determine. However it did mean that they were a perfect target for COVID in 2020 and so it transpired.

So the Swedish WFD Cohort ‘got’ another year, nothing particularly earth
shattering there.

(*Waiting for Death.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

As even that so-called Tory MP, Sir Desmond Swayne pointed out in the House of Commons only many occasions, only to be ridiculed by that ‘noble’ house!

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

They had no effect at all on COVID

What an extraordinary claim.
We know Sweden suffered terribly compared to their neighbours because of their liberal approach. Had they locked down then thousands of people who died whould be alive today – there’s no avoiding that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

As even that so-called Tory MP, Sir Desmond Swayne pointed out in the House of Commons only many occasions, only to be ridiculed by that ‘noble’ house!

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If successive lockdowns only curtailed my ability to go to the pub then it may not have been so bad but it struck deep at the heart of the ability to be human such as being with loved ones in their dying moments. Be thankful if you weren’t witness to that. The point is that the collateral damage from this pandemic has been far greater than the results of the illness and will be for many years so we need to develop the ability to think flexibly during crisis and this will rely on open and balanced discussion of the cost benefit analysis.
The death of anyone is sad but when the majority of the burden is now being carried by those unlikely to be troubled by the disease then we have gone very wrong somewhere.
Like it or not the average age of death from Covid was higher than the average age of mortality for adults in this country.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

First you would have to show that lockdowns actually save lives (all cause mortalities) in the medium and long term. Then we can talk about trade offs. Otherwise it’s just a lose lose situation.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There is no “assuming” going on here – at least, not on the side of the lockdown sceptics. The assumptions have all been on the side of those making colossally destructive decisions in the absence of any evidence and in contravention of established policy – policy that had it simply been followed in early 2020, would have led to both fewer deaths and far less socioeconomic damage.

As for trade-offs, again, to have raised the point during 2020/21 that lockdown would come with tradeoffs was a professionally and socially suicidal risk. So please, no more of these straw man arguments that imply that both sides of the debate are equally guilty. The pandemic is one of the most cut-and-dried examples in which one side of a political argument was completely correct: the lockdown sceptics have won this debate on the facts to an extent that is rare in politics.

The problem is that the facts aren’t convenient for the establishment, and that’s why the lockdown inquiry has looked at almost anything except the numbers.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

All these are predicated on the assumption that lockdowns worked. They had no effect at all on COVID, and the dire predictions that led to them were all incorrect by miles. So whilst those questions might be interesting to debate in the abstract there’s no actual need – respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2 spread like a gas over long distances and thus lockdowns, masking, quarantines, etc are irrelevant.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

We should certainly consider the cost of lock-downs, in money, future opportunities, and freedom. But as always it would be useful if the Unherd crowd acknowledged that we are dealing with some trade-offs here. How do you want to protect the health of the population in the next pandemic? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice to preserve your right to go to the pub and not be on CCTV? Which people deserve protection and which can be left to die – the old, presumably?

Simply assuming hat your favourite policy will have no costs is not the way to go, whether your are pro- or anti lockdown, pro- or anti vacccine.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Lockdowns require a compliant population.

Will obviously come as a shock to the author, but most people agreed that lockdowns were the correct approach.
And they were.
Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable.
Unherd is clearly sceptical on the issue, hence the bombardment of similar articles, but no one has ever come up with a valid alternative to them that survives beyond a high level concept.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But it is deniable that countless lives were saved. The correct way forward would’ve been to take steps which protected those most vulnerable to the virus. The effects of lockdown are now indeed having an effect on lives, including the ability of the NHS to clear a backlog of disease which will cost countless lives.
That’s not a “high level” concept, it’s a dismal reality for millions of people on waiting lists.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“millions of people on waiting lists.” Don’t you mean DEATH lists?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“millions of people on waiting lists.” Don’t you mean DEATH lists?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

1:”Lockdowns require a compliant population.”- CORRECT.

2: “ most people agreed that lockdowns were the correct approach.”- MOST PEOPLE ARE MORONS, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE.*

3: Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable:- NONSENSE, ONLY THE NEARLY DEAD AND THE UNFIT WERE CULLED.

(* Or as Bertrand Russell put it “most people would rather die than THINK and most do.’)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

THE NEARLY DEAD AND THE UNFIT WERE CULLED

Jeez, sounds more like a herd of wildebeast passing through the Serengeti.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Darwinian self-selection.
Plus at least in the Serengeti the Crocodiles feed well, if only occasionally.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Are you not in this group Charles? I picture you as a magnificent horned beast plodding at the rear of the pack, the circling hyenas eyeing your juicy hind quarters.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Not much meat left on me, just skin and bones I’m afraid.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Not much meat left on me, just skin and bones I’m afraid.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Are you not in this group Charles? I picture you as a magnificent horned beast plodding at the rear of the pack, the circling hyenas eyeing your juicy hind quarters.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Darwinian self-selection.
Plus at least in the Serengeti the Crocodiles feed well, if only occasionally.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

THE NEARLY DEAD AND THE UNFIT WERE CULLED

Jeez, sounds more like a herd of wildebeast passing through the Serengeti.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable.

How is it undeniable? It is an assertion.

We locked down to “flatten the curve” and “prevent the health system collapsing.” That was the argument.
Deaths recorded from covid were measured against projected deaths from the IC model. A model whose previous incarnations made projections orders of magnitude too high, a model which did not produce consistent results because it had a race condition bug, a model that did not take into accout seasonality or any amount of population level immunity.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Dear Robbie, how about next time all those who want to lock themselves down do so, and those who prefer to get on with their lives also do so. When you finally feel safe to come out maybe you will be able to have a good laugh at and say “told you so” to all the perished. Or maybe not. Maybe they will have been able to get on with looking after their health through nutrition, positivity, fresh air and movement, using repurposed drugs and protecting the most vulnerable where necessary. Whichever, the point is that it’s no good life to have your agency removed and be forced into behaviours you really do not want to adopt. That is much more likely to shorten your life than taking the risk with an infectious disease like covid. Health is about so very much more than not breathing in air that others have breathed out in an attempt to avoid pathogens. You do it your way and I’ll do it mine and each of us can take full responsibility for our own health without dictating to others how they should do it. I am certainly not going to put my well-being in the hands of any government after my experiences of the past few years.
After the comments above, wondering if my comment will be removed? I’m not sure what the criteria are!

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

An interesting concept Helen, although I guess we have that option at any time. My preference would of course to have life as normal doing healthy things as you suggest and I am certainly not an advocate of being imprisoned in my own house. However, a ‘medical intervention’ is exactly what it says, a change in existing conditions to save lives and crucially for your idea, to stop the spread of disease, because no doubt those who prefer to ‘carry on regardless’ will be infecting others whether they choose that approach or not. We therefore have to be in it together.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

An interesting concept Helen, although I guess we have that option at any time. My preference would of course to have life as normal doing healthy things as you suggest and I am certainly not an advocate of being imprisoned in my own house. However, a ‘medical intervention’ is exactly what it says, a change in existing conditions to save lives and crucially for your idea, to stop the spread of disease, because no doubt those who prefer to ‘carry on regardless’ will be infecting others whether they choose that approach or not. We therefore have to be in it together.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But it is deniable that countless lives were saved. The correct way forward would’ve been to take steps which protected those most vulnerable to the virus. The effects of lockdown are now indeed having an effect on lives, including the ability of the NHS to clear a backlog of disease which will cost countless lives.
That’s not a “high level” concept, it’s a dismal reality for millions of people on waiting lists.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

1:”Lockdowns require a compliant population.”- CORRECT.

2: “ most people agreed that lockdowns were the correct approach.”- MOST PEOPLE ARE MORONS, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE.*

3: Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable:- NONSENSE, ONLY THE NEARLY DEAD AND THE UNFIT WERE CULLED.

(* Or as Bertrand Russell put it “most people would rather die than THINK and most do.’)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable.

How is it undeniable? It is an assertion.

We locked down to “flatten the curve” and “prevent the health system collapsing.” That was the argument.
Deaths recorded from covid were measured against projected deaths from the IC model. A model whose previous incarnations made projections orders of magnitude too high, a model which did not produce consistent results because it had a race condition bug, a model that did not take into accout seasonality or any amount of population level immunity.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Dear Robbie, how about next time all those who want to lock themselves down do so, and those who prefer to get on with their lives also do so. When you finally feel safe to come out maybe you will be able to have a good laugh at and say “told you so” to all the perished. Or maybe not. Maybe they will have been able to get on with looking after their health through nutrition, positivity, fresh air and movement, using repurposed drugs and protecting the most vulnerable where necessary. Whichever, the point is that it’s no good life to have your agency removed and be forced into behaviours you really do not want to adopt. That is much more likely to shorten your life than taking the risk with an infectious disease like covid. Health is about so very much more than not breathing in air that others have breathed out in an attempt to avoid pathogens. You do it your way and I’ll do it mine and each of us can take full responsibility for our own health without dictating to others how they should do it. I am certainly not going to put my well-being in the hands of any government after my experiences of the past few years.
After the comments above, wondering if my comment will be removed? I’m not sure what the criteria are!

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

Lockdowns require a compliant population.

Will obviously come as a shock to the author, but most people agreed that lockdowns were the correct approach.
And they were.
Lockdowns saved countless lives, that is undeniable.
Unherd is clearly sceptical on the issue, hence the bombardment of similar articles, but no one has ever come up with a valid alternative to them that survives beyond a high level concept.