With a few exceptions, (15 weeks! Really?), most seem to have a realistic viewpoint. Once the risk of death and hospitalization has been dramatically reduced there is no justification for restricting people's freedom. That others are too fearful is not a justification at all. The government should set out the stages with the stats that are needed to trigger them. This should start with Schools and outdoor freedom of association on 8th March, phasing others to hospitality in April. Some restrictions on numbers in venues and on international movement should be kept longer. Compulsory masks should end when we have all been offered our second jab.
Let's cut through the nonsense. All the evidence we have is that Vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness and death, even against the South African variant. The fear mongering from this MP about half of people in intensive care being under 60, is misleading as he fails to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of such people have underlying health issues, most notably obesity. The facts are that we expect all people over fifty and all younger people with health issues to have been offered a vaccine by the end of March, by mid April their Vaccine should be effective. The question then will be should we have restrictions in place to protect the small number of people who can't be vaccinated, those who refuse to be, or to prevent fit under 50s from getting a disease which should not pose them much risk? I would say not, that then should be the end point for most restrictions, it's only a question of how we phase them out.
Incidentally I wouldn't take too seriously a study in Nature that suggests primary schools are the same as secondary, given the government's own figures show half the levels of infection for that age group.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with an MP challenging journalists over what they say, that's the way to challenge what he considers misinformation or views he opposes. Where we have a problem is the censoring on line, the attempts to destroy the careers of scientists who oppose the consensus. We should be worried by the effective use of fear and guilt to control people's behaviour, and the quite deliberate targeting of those who protested against, what is after all the suspension of our most basic liberties.
I don't think we have had a single debate, we have had several, at different stages. First we had the one where we didn't know what we were dealing with, and I don't think anyone should be criticised for their positions then. But by May we did know and the debate was then about how neccessary restrictions were, and the speed of relaxation. Then we had the summer debate with extra regulation introduced as restrictions hit a low point, while at the same time paying people to crowd restaraunts. Then the debate on whether there would be a more serious second wave. Most recently it's absolutely right to say that the new variant and vaccines have shut down debate for a while, other than on the fringes, but don't think for one minute that is it.
The lockdowners were wrong through the summer, restrictions were kept for too long. They were right about the second wave, though to some extent that was caused by the new variant. Now we will debate the relaxation of restrictions, as the government seems set on making the same mistake of the summer and keeping them in place longer than needed. Primary schools should be back after half term, infection rates are already lower than they were when we were determined to keep them in school.
I think we are kidding ourselves if we think the political Union can be saved, it can't because it's already dead. The current crisis has shown that, it hasn't been one country working together, the national government has no authority or relevance in Scotland, other than to be blamed for not handing Scotland enough money. The relationship is poisonous, and it's example is spreading to Wales. Federalism is not the answer, firstly because to work it would need us to split up England, or it's leader would hold more power than the British PM. There is no demand for regional devolution within England on any basis, it would be imposed to make the country work for Scotland, though Scotland has never actually asked for it, and there is no evidence it would settle the matter.
I think it is time we actually offered a different version of independence to the that fuelled by the Anti English antagonism of the SNP. One which keeps Scotland within the British internal market, with freedom to move, work and study, within our monetary and customs union, and also in a defence Union. A Scotland that would not join the EU. This would offer Scotland every bit as much independence as the SNP offers, while maintaining the social, economic and security features of the Union. Scotland would have fiscal independence, no more subsidy, and a share of debt.
I would suggest that we make clear that no referendum will be held for five years, and that when it is, the two independence options and the status quo should be proposed and voted on. This would split the SNP, a third of SNP supporters voted leave, and have no desire to see their independence dream drowned in a European super state.
I'm not sure how useful such subjective statements are. Do those saying it is of paramount importance really mean that they wish to maintain it whatever the cost, whatever compromise is needed? Little effort has actually been made to find out what would make a significant chunk of Scottish voters who currently back independence, change their mind. Instead we have unionists saying what they think might do it, invariably it involves the English changing the way they are governed, but without any proof that it would make any difference to the outcome. I suggest putting the various aspects of proposals to the panel, to see if they are a price they would pay.
A Labour led coalition, would probably be with the SNP, neither the Union, nor such a Government would long survive that.
Despite the rise in cases in Spain and France, there has not, as yet, been a proportionate rise in deaths. If that continues will the Government conclude that there is no evidence of a second wave being anything like as deadly, and remove the constraints on basic liberties?
The Belgian case rate looks to be rising again having fallen, will the Government conclude if that continues that perhaps the least successful country at dealing with the virus, is not the right model for us? If Sweden continues to have no uptick in cases, will it perhaps look at it's handling as more fitting in a democratic society, than curfews and removing the right to free association?
Looking at the figures from Spain the significant increase in cases, which seems to have peaked anyway has now been going on for a month. There has still not been a significant increase in deaths, which does not follow the previous pattern.
No uptick, as yet, in cases or deaths in Sweden.