Coronavirus - Strange times

cwathen
Posts: 1182
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

cdd wrote: I think it’ll be won in the years to come, when Covid is in the past and the numbers are added up and the deaths are not current, and people realise that lockdowns were not worth the price.
As you say, it will be interesting to see where all these people who preach about the necessity of doing this to 'Save Lives™' will look once the reality of what they've supported sets in over the years to come as the enquiries start rolling in and everyone in government now starts turning on the very same scientific advisors they are now following with wanton abandon, whilst also proclaiming that they only did what everyone else did as if that justifies their actions. Unfortunately it will be a very hollow victory given that the (possibly irreparable) damage done will by then just be a fact of life which is going to screw everyone whether you supported it or not.
cdd wrote: I therefore believe the position of protecting the NHS is the right one to argue from, because it is eminently achievable in the very near future, and simply asks those who called for lockdowns to stand by their own words and the social contract they got the nation to agree to back in March.
I think that social contract was broken a very long time again.

I feel incredibly naïve now, but I fully supported the first lockdown when it was introduced...on the basis that it was for 3 weeks as part of a package of 12 weeks of some of intervention. I genuinely expected that at the first 3 weekly review some (not all) things would be relaxed and that relaxation would continue gradually up to the middle of June when we'd be entirely back to normal. I believed (still believe actually) that was reasonable and proportionate given the risk from the virus vs the damage the lockdown would do.

On day 2 of the lockdown when it was being discussed (on This Morning I think) and I heard the suggestion that it would inevitably be extended, or indeed even tightened (which thankfully never actually happened) that genuinely was not a thought that had even entered my head until then.

And then when at the 3 weekly review (which I think was anticipated to be some great occasion of state by the media) the blasé way in which the extension was just swept away as a point not worth discussing the reality of what I had supported set in; we sleepwalked into something which had no end date and where the downside to the lockdown seemed to be totally irrelevant as long as the aim of beating Covid was achieved. That's not what I thought I was signing up for.

If a 3 week lockdown unlocked over the following 9 weeks wasn't enough (and I thought that we were trying to get some measure of control over an out of control situation, not trying to wait for the emergency to pass before we got our lives back), then we shouldn't have done it given the damage, or at the very least they should have been honest with us about what we were getting into before claiming the almost total public support which I believe they did have last March but may not have done if they were more honest.

What I found incredulous was that this did not spark large scale civil unrest but was just accepted and treated as necessary. Given that when we finally did unlock and got somewhere near normality in July & August I again felt sure that the moves towards reversing the reopening that led us down the very long path to where we are now would surely be met with huge amounts of public resistance...and again there wasn't really any.

So will there be any now once we get past the middle of March and the imposition of restrictions starts being measured in terms of years? Surely that should be the point at which this has gone too far? Again, I doubt it.

I guess I've just used a lot of words to suggest that the government will have no scruples in breaking any social contract that might have existed over a 3 week lockdown last March if the majority will accept an explanation that it must continue. Doesn't help get us out of this mess anyway.
User avatar
cdd
Posts: 2559
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 14.05
Location: de Voitures

cwathen wrote: Wed 17 Feb, 2021 19.16So will there be any now once we get past the middle of March and the imposition of restrictions starts being measured in terms of years? Surely that should be the point at which this has gone too far? Again, I doubt.
My hope is that it will be accepted that there are restrictions and then there are restrictions.

I may not agree with closing businesses, but interventions like that are within the realms of reasonable potential interventions and it doesn’t destroy people’s fundamental right to freedom.

On the other hand I hope it will come to be seen that saying you cannot leave your own home, and if you do it will be assumed you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent (which is how the law is worded - since leaving your home is illegal unless you have a reasonable excuse), is unacceptable.

That element of lockdown is not applied in as many countries as you might think, and it’s unfortunate the U.K. is one of them. I am half Dutch and have been following the proceedings there with interest. They have not restricted the right to leave your home, just tried to restrict the reasons why you would. Their attempt to impose a curfew was found disproportionate and illegal by a court.

In my opinion sidelining democratic checks and balances in this way has been a problem since Brexit, the unlawful prorogation in 2019, and the attempts to defy international law in 2020; at every turn Brexiteers resented the actions even being challenged by courts. That was unacceptable, as were the attempts to vilify the individuals and institutions upholding the law.

But now people who support lockdowns - some of whom are the very people most keen on legal challenges to Brexit - are very keen that lockdowns are not subject to legal scrutiny. Despite the potentially unlawful banning of protest, despite the potentially unlawful attempts to charge arriving citizens for their own quarantine against International Health Regulations to which the U.K. agreed in 2005, and despite the overwhelming civil liberties implications.

When any group wishes to cast aside basic rights, freedoms and laws because they are inconvenient to their aims, that is a sign of something very rotten in what is meant to be a liberal democracy.

That said, you’ve baited me into straying from the point I would like to stick with - which is that rightly or wrongly, that argument is settled and in the past. Arguing about overriding liberties isn’t going to persuade anyone in the same way that Brexit supporters didn’t change their view on discovering the actions they supported were illegal. Like it or not lockdowns have and retain popular support; my interest is in defining the terms under which they are to end.
cwathen
Posts: 1182
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

cdd wrote:That said, you’ve baited me into straying from the point I would like to stick with - which is that rightly or wrongly, that argument is settled and in the past. Arguing about overriding liberties isn’t going to persuade anyone in the same way that Brexit supporters didn’t change their view on discovering the actions they supported were illegal. Like it or not lockdowns have and retain popular support; my interest is in defining the terms under which they are to end.
I'm not sure actually that the argument for imposition which has already happened and the arguments for ending are separate. They both boil down to exactly the same thing, that a Covid obsessive still feels they can take any anti-lockdown argument, however well structured, however comprehensive, however much acknowledgement to the other side is given, however compelling and yet if they just fire off a one liner about people dying from Covid they then seem to feel that they've totally dealt with the argument and need not to address it properly nor concern themselves with it further, if they haven't also decided that you're a genocidal maniac for even daring to suggest that these actions are unjustifiable, which by extension makes ending them not particularly pressing if introducing them in the first place being the right thing to do continues to be the prevailing viewpoint.

An interest in defining terms under which they are to end I think does have to include continuing to hammer away at the shockingly limited scope of the average viewpoint on this subject, otherwise those terms for ending lockdowns which I think we both want to achieve will be similarly limited and lengthy and we'll end up with...well the inevitable bollocks we'll get from Boris next week which if you believe various rumours might include a requirement to have cases under 1000 per day before much of anything is reopened which could take us well into the summer (last year < 1000 / day was not consistently achieved until July) and with no guarantee we won't do this dance all over again next winter.
bilky asko
Posts: 1222
Joined: Sat 08 Nov, 2008 19.48

Did anyone else glaze over for a few posts there?
Image
cwathen
Posts: 1182
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

bilky asko wrote: Wed 17 Feb, 2021 22.06 Did anyone else glaze over for a few posts there?
I think that response only supports the arguments made in those posts rather than detracts from them.
tightrope78
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri 27 Feb, 2015 15.35

bilky asko wrote: Wed 17 Feb, 2021 22.06 Did anyone else glaze over for a few posts there?
*raises hand*
User avatar
cdd
Posts: 2559
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 14.05
Location: de Voitures

The reopening roadmap looks pretty good to me. The sweet spot for the things I enjoy will be in 6 weeks’ time and that’s not awfully long.
thegeek
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

yeah, it feels... not terrible? I appreciate I'm speaking from a somewhat privileged position of being able to mostly work from home, and while I am going slightly nuts from barely leaving the house, there is a bit of a 'home straight' feeling about this.

I'd very much love things to open up earlier, but the vaccine programme still needs to do its thing. I joked early on that 'some of my friends have underlying health conditions', and not all of them have had their first doses yet, so I'm happy to wait that bit longer till the fickle invitation letter of fate gets to them.

For some reason over the last few weeks I've been getting ads from the Scottish Government on Twitter. I have to say I rather prefer the tone to the 'Look them in the eyes' ones from Westminster.
all new Phil
Posts: 1726
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

Agree that it feels like the end of this whole saga is in sight now. One thing though - the “data not dates” message has obviously not cut through given the number of social media posts I’ve seen counting down to June 21st. That said (and without wanting to jinx it) it feels like the current roadmap should be achievable, all being well.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
scottishtv
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu 01 Apr, 2004 15.36
Location: Edinburgh

thegeek wrote: Tue 23 Feb, 2021 21.31For some reason over the last few weeks I've been getting ads from the Scottish Government on Twitter. I have to say I rather prefer the tone to the 'Look them in the eyes' ones from Westminster.
Unfortunately they've not always been positive:



And this lady's accusing tone really started to grate:



Unfortunately when the UK Government started to use Hands, Face, Space the Scottish Government doubled-down on trying to make their FACTS acronym stick. And no, I can't remember it.
cwathen
Posts: 1182
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

The reopening plan has some positives and surprises - pleased that there is no tiers system and also that stupid arbitrary rules with no evidence behind them like substantial meals and 10PM curfews aren't being pursued this time. Also that there is the first talk of an end to all legally binding restrictions which has never been mentioned before. Also what appears to be denouncement of moving to a zero Covid approach and moving away from obsessing about infection rates. All things I didn't expect.

That said, whilst it's a given that if I didn't agree with the lockdown then no reopening plan could be adequately fast enough for my liking, even looking at it from a point of view of caution I'm amazed at how much this timescale is being treated as if it is brisk.

Beyond schools reopening the lockdown restrictions do not end in any meaningful way until 12th April. We are only now halfway through it. After 7 weeks of incalculable damage done to the country with this lockdown, the great unlocking plan kicked off with the announcement of 7 more.

We know that 3 weeks is required to see the effect of tightening or loosening a restriction. Yet when tightening the screw they ran around changing things every 7-10 days without waiting long enough to see if a given set of restrictions were adequate before going further, but when loosening them they suddenly need a 5 week gap to chart progress? It is known that there is virtually no risk from very low key, out door socialising with very small groups of people (which begs the question as to why these things were ever taken away in the first place) but it brings a huge mental health benefit to people who are not blessed with perfect living conditions yet we need to wait another entire month for these things?

A cautious reopening would be for the small crumbs of outdoor socialising on 8 & 29 March to have been implemented with immediate effect, then schools 8th March as planned, then phases 2, 3 and 4 at 3 weekly intervals with dates of 29 March, 19 April and a final end to restrictions on 10 May. And I would consider that to be a cautious reopening, a fast one would be done on a much quicker timescale than that.

As for the 'data not dates' slogan. People need dates. That's why we have dates. A reopening can never not be date led, whatever is claimed. *If* this incredibly slow plan was set out as a worst case scenario with a view to bringing things forward if the data supports it, and the potential to push back to those dates as a buffer (and those dates being set in law) so that you could confidently plan for being able to do things after a certain date with the possibility of doing them sooner then I'd accept it, and look forward to promising data enabling things to move faster. But seriously, we're going to move this slowly yet still could push these dates back further? If data suggests delaying relaxations pencilled in for May and June then it will mean the vaccination programme will not have adequately brought the situation under control. Which again begs the question as to what end these restrictions are being pursued if it will never be deemed 'safe' to remove them.

And as for the other slogan, to achieve 'irreversible' reopening which won't be backtracked on. I will concede that I do think there is genuine belief that this will be achieved, but it is still a goal rather than something set in stone. Irreversible reopening means ruling out reversing it. They have not done that. And until that is done and it is made clear that a further closure and lockdown is not an option, the possibility of PowerPoint presentations of doom sending us on a spiral towards Lockdown IV remains an ever present threat.
Please Respond