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3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Oborne condemns Johnso... · 0 replies · +1 points

This is a period when the chances of a politician telling lies and not having this discovered, is less than almost any time previously. There are "fact checkers" and internet websites which almost instantly check and comment upon what a politician says. We had a good example of that this week with Starmer's gaffe about is never advocating our remaining in the EMA. Within a few minutes past speeches when he had said the opposite were being played by sites like Guido Fawkes.
Voters IMO discount most of what politicians say and judge them by their actions and the results of their policies.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Our survey. Johnson's ... · 0 replies · +1 points

You are correct, Jonathan. "Scatter-brained" was a clumsy word to use.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Our survey. Johnson's ... · 2 replies · +1 points

Jonathan, you rightly mentioned that the choice of Kate Bingham to lead the team procuring the vaccines was significant. She was not an obvious choice and reports directly to him.
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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - John Redwood: Let's he... · 1 reply · +1 points

The bishops always sit on the government benches,not the cross-benches, nor the opposition side. The political colour of the government is irrelevant.

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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Alistair Lexden: The C... · 0 replies · +1 points

A fascinating essay. It may be fortuitous that the records of the club's Political Committee for the nineteenth century are lost, else the covert payments and bribes, which no doubt happened, would have damaged our reputation even to the present day.
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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As the Treasury digs i... · 0 replies · +1 points

Not sure any country has achieved zero Covid. Even where the infections and deaths are low the virus springs up periodically.
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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As the Treasury digs i... · 1 reply · +1 points

Even if the Warwick university study is correct, is that a reason to close restaurants when cases are low and there is no pressure on the health system? A winter surge has happened in most of western Europe. We would not have escaped.
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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As the Treasury digs i... · 2 replies · +1 points

I agree with your last paragraph but I would rephrase it: I personally would not restrict the normal pleasures of life unless those pleasures had significant side effects when dealing with the pandemic as a whole.

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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As the Treasury digs i... · 8 replies · +1 points

I thought the evidence of for a spike in infections related mainly to bars and pubs, which was why those venues where treated more harshly than restaurants at different stages in the restrictions relating to tiers
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.

3 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As the Treasury digs i... · 10 replies · +1 points

You don't give any evidence that EOtHO drove infections up. It isn't a "solid given."

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.