Coronavirus - Strange times

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Neil
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cdd wrote: Tue 27 Oct, 2020 10.11That's not an easy decision, despite what people on both sides claim, and the value judgment involved makes me believe it should be put to a referendum as to which side of this balance policy should skew.
Agree with a lot of what you say, but a referendum?

Seriously?

One of them has never ended up dividing the country badly, has it?
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WillPS
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cwathen wrote: Tue 27 Oct, 2020 18.05
Alexia wrote:Business can be reborn. Human lives can't. Once this is over, the public will come back and make up for lost time. All the things they've been deprived of doing, all the things they took for granted pre-March, will suddenly be desirable. I suspect we will see fuller football stadiums, we will see pubs frequented more than just Friday nights, we will see folks going off on holiday.
I'm sorry but that's just ideological rubbish. This is a capitalist society. If people don't have any money then they die. You cannot destroy the system which is keeping over 99% of the population alive because something is threatening less than 1% of it.
This is the grimmest thing I have read on this forum, ever.

And there was me thinking we were a country with a strong welfare state and universal healthcare.

My concern is that you're right and I'm wrong.
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cwathen
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WillPS wrote: Tue 27 Oct, 2020 20.02 This is the grimmest thing I have read on this forum, ever.
Really? That's reality Will. Its not always pleasant. The fact that we've escalated anything that might cause a Covid death up to the level of being tantamount to genocide and which must be protected against at any cost, whilst writing off the damage being caused in that pursuit as being an unfortunate secondary concern irrespective of the fact that it will (and undoubtedly has) caused unnecessary death is the grimmest thing I've ever experienced society do in my life, never mind this bloody forum!
WillPS wrote:And there was me thinking we were a country with a strong welfare state and universal healthcare.
We are that country. But these things costs money. They cannot withstand the sudden shock of 4 million people becoming unemployed within a year which is a possible outcome. The drop in tax revenue at the same time as the increase in demand threatens them in a way which Covid doesn't and in turn threatens many more people than Covid does. That's why preserving our economy should have been the priority, which in turn would have preserved the most life.
WillPS wrote: My concern is that you're right and I'm wrong.
Honestly, I hope I am wrong. My ego isn't actually as big as you might imagine. This is an internet forum of keyboard warriors. I doubt many of us would recognise each other in day to day life. But on this one I don't think I am wrong.
james2001
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cwathen wrote: Tue 27 Oct, 2020 20.34 The fact that we've escalated anything that might cause a Covid death up to the level of being tantamount to genocide and which must be protected against at any cost, whilst writing off the damage being caused in that pursuit as being an unfortunate secondary concern irrespective of the fact that it will (and undoubtedly has) caused unnecessary death is the grimmest thing I've ever experienced society do in my life, never mind this bloody forum!
That's one of the things that gets me about this whole thing, you point out the damage that the covid restrictions are causing and that it could be worse than the effects of the virus itself if they're too harsh and go on for too long, you get told you're "wishing people dead", "being blase with people's lives", "being heartless" etc. when the reality is you're anything but. I've suffered badly mentally during this year (had three breakdowns so far this year), and struggled to get help because the doctors are limiting who they see, and I'm also worried for the livelihoods of people close to me, and when I've tried to speak out, many people just don't seem to care, I've been told to "deal with it" and "get over myself" and guilt tripped about how "people are dying" several times now. The fact people could also die as a result of lost jobs, missed and cancelled healthcare treatment, suicides etc. just doesn't seem to click with some people, not to mention the long term effects on society of countless businesses going bust, millions being thrown out of work and meantal health issues flaring up. It's all about covid and little else. I sometimes get the impression some people wouldn't be too bothered if the covid measures killed twice as many people as they saved, as long as they're not covid deaths. Though admittedly this mindset does seem to be fading quite quickly now as this keeps dragging on, people get fatigued and can see the consequences of the restrictions more and more.

Of course covid can't be allowed to run rampant, but we can't just constantly keep pulling the shutters down either. Something needs to be done to try and stop it spiralling out of control, but there needs to be a balance or the medicine becomes worse than the disease. I'm not sure we'll be handling future pandemics as heavy handedly when we look back in future years on the effects this one's had on society.
all new Phil
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I get your point James but I’m sure you’ll be the first to accuse Tories and their supporters of wanting children to starve to death. You’re absolutely right about COVID though, it’s not a black and white situation where one method works and the other doesn’t, every option has its rather significant downsides and the problem with this country right now is that people are so adamant one way or the other and anyone who disagrees clearly wants people to die etc etc. It’s all rather tiring.

There is no good option, and anyone who thinks full lockdown is the way to go ultimately wants exactly the same outcome as anyone who thinks the opposite - for minimal lives to be lost and normality to return as quickly as possible.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
james2001
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I never mentioned the Tories or starving children in this thread, but you had to get that dig in...
tightrope78
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One thing I don’t agree with is the media almost encouraging people to “break the rules” potentially at Christmas. You have the Victoria Derbyshire story and now a new Danny and Dani Dyer podcast being promoted on the BBC News website with the headline “Lots of people will break rules at Christmas”. It’s like those annoying voxpops on the One Show!
all new Phil
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james2001 wrote: Wed 28 Oct, 2020 13.18 I never mentioned the Tories or starving children in this thread, but you had to get that dig in...
😘
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
cwathen
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cdd wrote:Meanwhile people will make their own decisions as to rules which have been imposed on them without explicit consent. Polling suggests support for restrictions, but people's behavior suggests otherwise. You talk of people needing to be treated like children but that's not realistic, rules on social mixing are effectively optional.
Although there has been much criticism of the timing of the original lockdown, I actually think it was perfectly in tune with the public mood. There wasn't really any en-masse shift away from normality until a week before the lockdown, then the support packages were announced, pubs were shut and by the Monday it actually happened people had pretty much already locked themselves down anyway. Then at the other end of it when we got to May just as the masses had reached the point of 'OK this has gone on long enough' (even if I thought that in April) then at almost exactly the same time the restrictions started to be eased, and done in such a way that they were able to take two months doing it without any real fuss at the pace. Whilst probably more luck than judgement, the UK govt managed to pull off a lockdown in a country which had not seen such restrictions for hundreds of years without the sort of mass civil unrest I feared would happen and I believe would have happened had they pursued an earlier and/or longer lasting lockdown.

The trouble is this time there is no sense of people restricting their activities until they are required to. That hasn't translated into mass protests or a lack of compliance once restrictions come into force, but it does show a lack of belief in them being necessary and an unwillingness to do them. Certainly no signs of 'sending ourselves into lockdown' like we did in March.

I know people on the side of restrictions will instantly come back with 'so that's why we need tighter restrictions'. But given how much of our normal system of government is able to be bypassed at present, proceeding without clear consent is very dangerous territory to be getting into.

And if (as I fear is already happening to some extent) the upper levels of democratic governments simply no longer care what the people (or the elected representatives) think because they've had a taste of ruling by decree and are quite happy to carry on doing so, that is frankly terrifying.
all new Phil wrote: You’re absolutely right about COVID though, it’s not a black and white situation where one method works and the other doesn’t, every option has its rather significant downsides and the problem with this country right now is that people are so adamant one way or the other and anyone who disagrees clearly wants people to die etc etc. It’s all rather tiring.

There is no good option, and anyone who thinks full lockdown is the way to go ultimately wants exactly the same outcome as anyone who thinks the opposite - for minimal lives to be lost and normality to return as quickly as possible.
I think this situation has become divisive to the extent that we are no longer in a position of arguing two sides of the same coin. Instead we have ended up with two coins, and an argument in favour of one side each. There is no way of reconciling them that I can see. Whilst normally I will argue for centrism all the way, on this issue I do think it is pretty impossible to try and claim there is some sort of middle path through where we can achieve everything and sacrifice nothing. It really has come down to deciding on whether we are going to continue to prioritise the virus or not and through having a definite course of action at least getting something right in the process.

Whilst I doubt very much we will ever be trusted with a national referendum ever again, on a decision of such magnitude perhaps it is the way to go. Certainly it shouldn't be made in little tea parties between heads of government and scientific advisors.
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cdd
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cwathen wrote:I think this situation has become divisive to the extent that we are no longer in a position of arguing two sides of the same coin.
I think you've hit the nail on the head here. It keeps being portrayed as two sides of the same coin - namely yet another divide between the far-left and the far-right.

It's easy to forget that didn't happen immediately. In the first few weeks, the divide was not attached to political ideology.

As someone who (along with my friendship circles) skews left of centre, the implication that I am a traitor for not unconditionally supporting lockdowns is quite unsettling in terms of cognitive dissonance.

If james2001 feels the same way, then it might be worth at least reflecting on the point made by Phil in relation to tribal politics and assuming the worst of the opposite 'side'.
tightrope78
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Joined: Fri 27 Feb, 2015 15.35

One of the central themes of the Brexit campaign was one side that listened to the experts and the other side who happily said “the British people are fed up with experts”. I find it interesting that in relation to Covid, as demonstrated in the past few posts, some of those vehemently opposed to Brexit and the whole mentality of Johnson and the Brexit campaign are now espousing ignoring overwhelming scientific advice and want to bury their head in the sand and ignore what is happening. If you believe in the expert advice in one circumstance you should be consistent in your arguments in all cases. Otherwise it looks lazy makes you appear a hypocrite.
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