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Voters IMO discount most of what politicians say and judge them by their actions and the results of their policies.
I've criticised Johnson in the past but I have to admit that he is good at choosing people. We are used to fluent leaders who attempt to master all aspects of policy. Johnson is not like that. He is scatter-brained, inventive and with an artistic temperment. This is one reason why he struggles under the forensic questioning of someone like Starmer.
This ability to pick the right people is quite critical in a leader. Frost leading the Brexit negotiations was crucial in that area. In Truss and her team he has a good group looking for new trade opportunities. Sunak is the right person to head up the Treasury and he's a fluent defender of government policy.
Almost all the bishops opposed the 1832 Reform Act. Indeed, with Peel in the Commons and Whig leader. Lord Grey, in the upper house, some of the most spirited debates were between Bishop Philpott of Exeter and the Whig leaders in the Lords. Since that date I think the Church has been wise not to commit itself to specific partisan policies and risk being on the wrong side of history.
The role of the club is more social than political today.You made a big point about the club raising £50,000 for the 1983 election, which was lauded as the club's return as a "strong political force" , but grateful though the party must have been, the sum was insignificant in the total spend in that election of over £4 million.
We are not remote like New Zealand or Australia. The authoritarian discipline of some eastern societies has no appeal. Our experience is not dissimilar to that of the rest of western Europe.
The onus needs to be on those advocating lockdowns and curtailing our freedoms to show that this prevents our health system being overwhelmed.
Demonstrably, that is the case now. It was not in July and August.
Many businesses here in Cornwall are facing a desperate winter. The income they earned in the summer months is needed to tide them over the lean period.
You need to factor in the economic impact of these severe lockdowns. We can't lockdown continually. Nor should we.
IMO the onus is on those wishing to curtail our legitimate freedoms to show that it prevents the health system being overwhelmed. I have no problem with arguing that now. The situation in the Summer was entirely different.
The significant side effects would be deaths of those vulnerable and infirm and the pressure on the health system. Those in the first category should be self-isolating and not going to restaurants. The pressure on the health system re-emerged in the Autumn.
Why persist with a lockdown when it was not required. We have thousands of lorries coming in and out the country daily. We are a crowded island with congested terraces in most cities. The prospect of suppressing the virus permanently is untested and debatable in a society like ours. Why not enjoy yourself when the cases are low and the hospital wards not over-stretched.
The eat-out-to-help-out .scheme ran during August when cases were low. In many cases we could eat outside when the weather allowed. Cases started to rise to worrying levels during the autumn.
You are assuming that the virus can be suppressed permanently and that the summer was a missed opportunity to eradicate it completely. I see little evidence that this was practical in a western European society. It declines and surges and mutates.
Taking the opportunity to enjoys the normal pleasures of life when there is no risk of overwhelming the NHS seems quite reasonable and sensible.
Given the decline in cases in the Summer the impact must have been marginal in the worst case. However, as the main aim of the lockdowns was to protect the NHS and avoid the hospitals being overwhelmed, did the opening of restaurants really matter as long as cases were low and hospitals functioning normally. There is no evidence that the virus can be eradicated in western European societies - it seems to reappear when the conditions are favourable - so the only salvation is herd immunity, either naturally or by mass vaccination.
Denying ourselves the normal pleasures of life when the situation permits seems unduly masochistic.