2,353 comments posted · 3 followers · following 0

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Raghib Ali: The three-... · 0 replies · +1 points

Was the 90% on half doses a pre-planned analysis (i.e. can it be analysed statistically in a rigorous way)? Was the incorrect dosing the only thing that was done differently in the first stage? Is there a difference between catching the virus earlier in the year (when the incorrect dose was being administered) - if so, have the mRNA vaccines benefited from having earlier studies?

We can't know the answer to any of these questions yet.

Usually, regulators and assessors would have a field day with such a mix-up. I understand that it is unusual circumstances, but it doesn't make much sense that a higher response would be achieved with a two-step protocol when the first dose is halved. What would the immunological mechanism for this be? Usually, a post-hoc analysis effect needs to be supported by a plausible clinical rationale for the enhanced effect seen.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Raghib Ali: The three-... · 5 replies · +1 points

In the South East, the R number seems to have stayed at 1.1-1.4 for the whole of this lockdown. This means that there are now more cases than there were at the beginning of lockdown.

An over-relaxation in December will no-doubt lead to surging case numbers again (even if the R number stays at 1.1-1.4 we're looking at 300-800 per 100,000 by Xmas day).

The news of the vaccines is promising, but the one that we've ordered 100 million doses of is the one with 70% protection. If one-third of people can still catch COVID, and it takes a few months to roll this out - then this issue is not going to vanish in the new year (as many seem to believe). Unfortunately, we didn't join the EU vaccine procurement scheme which has pre-ordered huge numbers of the more effective vaccine candidates (while we have some of these ordered, it is not enough to cover more than a small minority of people). I assume we're now at back of queue for increased orders of the mRNA vaccines?

Why did we take the risk of going alone on this? Today's Oxford results make this look like a foolish and politically motivated decision.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Go for growth and cros... · 1 reply · +1 points

Hasn't history taught us that growth comes when you minimise taxes...

Combining high taxes with high inflation is an even worse idea. You don't need a nobel prize in economics to understand what inflation will do to an economy that revolves around mortgage debt.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Mark Lehain: The Gover... · 0 replies · +1 points

My assumption is that they've calculated this according to the minimum level of pay that is needed for people to actually adhere to lockdown rules. Preferring to use a gold-plated carrot rather than an electorally disastrous stick...

I can see why many tax payers are furious though. Many are paying taxes to fund furlough pay above the level of their salaries. Those on benefits must also wonder why they're on the breadline while other 'non-employed' people are getting hugely generous payouts from the government.

This massive ramping up of the state's role will be difficult to wind back. I fear that it will take a painful inflationary spike before the country is willing to accept a dose of the Thatcherite medicine it needs...

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Iain Dale: "The sun is... · 5 replies · +1 points

Ideas have been raised about putting solar generation in the Sahara and then transporting the energy to Europe (either in the form of electrons or liquid hydrogen). Britain and the west coasts of France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain can provide substantial off-shore wind. Tidal power, geothermal and hydro-electric also have their role to play.

However, this is one of those areas where it makes sense to develop continental-scale energy generation infrastructure. By working together, we can each harness what nature gives us in a way which provides diversity (and security) of supply for all.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Iain Dale: "The sun is... · 0 replies · +1 points

The politics of the week has been interesting to observe... Cash to the greenies one day, cash to the military the next...

Anyone would think they are softening up different interest groups for an unpleasant climbdown over some aspect of the post-Brexit deal!

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: The Prime Minis... · 3 replies · +1 points

The armed forces are essential though.

If cuts are to happen, they should be elsewhere.

For starters, the rule about benefits not exceeding the 'average wage' should be revised so that they cannot exceed the 'minimum wage'.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: The Prime Minis... · 1 reply · +1 points

Good to see.

We do need to depoliticise procurement and contracting though. Not a penny of this should be wasted on those not able to fulfil their obligations.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Henry Hill: Johnson ma... · 5 replies · +1 points

Of course, if you go back before Scotland, the Kingdom of Northumbria included land right up to Edinburgh. On the other side, the Kingdom of Strathclyde stretched from Glasgow down into Cumbria.

Strange how some boundaries/identities dominate the collective consciousness and will, while others are forgotten.

1 week ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Henry Hill: Johnson ma... · 5 replies · +1 points

I am vehemently opposed to Scottish independence. However, they have been given exactly what they need to get a second vote.

The SNP signed up to a declaration that they would accept 'once in a generation' as long as nothing fundamental changed. At the same time, a key plank in the unionist argument was that only by staying in the UK could Scotland guarantee its place in the EU.

The SNP would have pushed for another vote anyway, but without Brexit they could have easily been refused. Now, if we refuse them we actually risk making people want independence more.

A second Brexit vote would actually have set a precedent for something quite different... A vote to 'leave' something based on pie-in-the-sky promises needs to be followed up by a specific vote on the terms of exit. The SNP can win the first type of vote, they probably cant win the second type (just like the Brexiteers couldn't have). Still, we are where we are.