Tuesday 9 February 2021

Is Boris really the worst Prime Minister for Covid?

Yesterday's excellent post on the dire May/Hammond combo made me think about how alternative realities may have come to pass. The events since 2016 have been very unpredictable and at many moments the history of the UK could have easily been different. A simple one would have been for the arch-remainers to sign up to May's BRINO for example. Oh, how they wish they did now to my constant joy. If they had, there would be no Boris government now, but continuity May until 2022, with the benefit of total reliance on the DUP. 

However, along comes covid, she dithers in March 2020. She would have dithered, as May was never decisive plus always had to seek the counsel of the DUP.  It would be as bad if not worse than Boris in the first wave and then with BRINO we would have signed up to the EU vaccine scheme with a much worse position now. Hammond would have been more cautious than Sunak and so the economy maybe inw worse shape than it is now, but that is harder to say as Sunak's profligacy we may come to regret.


Perhaps May loses to Corbyn in 2017 or somehow he become PM.

Along comes Covid, again dithering with the crazy team in Labour (Abbott, Burgon - remember these idiots?) then followed by a huge lockdown for months enabling a full on discussion about a socialist revolution in the UK to stop people ever working having to do Capitalist work again. Constant musing about nationalising broadband and the trains in the name of the pandemic. Nothing to do to really fix the pandemic as the Tankies think for them this is the 2nd coming for communism. Of course, Labour would also have signed up to EU vaccine scheme plus decided to declare that the poor people of the world and especially Palestinians need vaccines more than we do in the UK with our magnificent NHS. 

There are no other alternatives, Keir Starmer was not leader in any way to take over. This was the world as it could have been with only 3 choices - May, Corbyn or Boris. 

So in conclusion you can think Boris is a useless dud surrounded by incompetent fools - but look at the alternative, his 4/10 is still better either of the other options that we had. 


Anonymous said...

Dr C.U.Pangloss or what?

Anonymous said...

You are forgetting the other Jeremy - Hunt. On paper he might have been better placed for a more sure-footed early response, on the med side if not the economy.

E-K said...

This issue is now more about why we have a Prime Minister at all.

Unelected academics of dubious politics have taken over.

First it was about flattening the curve to save the NHS.

Then it was about locking down to await a vaccine to make the disease less lethal (it was killing 0.04 of infected, most of them very old and very ill.)

Well we've waited for the vaccines. They are here and they will cut the death rate way below 0.04% and if not then why are we bothering ?

Now it's about zero Covid and lockdown, masks and social distancing could last years.

Professor Time Spector even used the phrase of big weddings and stadium events "Those days are gone."

If Boris accepts this then I give him a zero and not a 4 out of 10.

At what point do we say. OK. Protect the very old and the very ill. Let the rest get on with it. ???

I keep telling you. The cure and the people who think they need to give us it are far more lethal that the disease.

jim said...

For once I agree, Boris is not the worst.

Back in March last year I thought 'Oh, this will peak about 20K come summer - end of'. Totally wrong as was Boris, all normal rules and expectations went off the scale. Boris did at least get with the memo eventually, May would still be dithering and Corbyn would with luck be pushing daisies. So Boris may be a p&*s-poor prime minister but not as p&*s-poor as the others.

Eyeballing the numbers it seems to me Covid has a special liking for overweight Caucasoids. Not averse to the rest, but not so much. Maybe something of this will come out long after it matters. Boris got the short straw on this one - couldn't happen to a nicer chap. But TBF he does seem to have grown up a little bit - from a very low base.

'Ever working having to do Capitalist work again.' now there is an insightful remark. I reckon it is going to be very hard to get the capitalist machine going again. Capitalism may very well get going nicely - for about 25% of the working age population. Dishy Rishy will have a job on his hands.

Mark Wadsworth said...

We messed up badly. But so did most countries. I think they've really come through on the vaccinations, so we muddled through in the end to scrape a late winning goal in an uninspiring match.

Gladstone’s old bag said...

The entire history of the British empire is one of a dismal response to changing circumstances. Insufficient time, money and resource. Rushed panicking expensive response. Until a few years later all the dead wood has gone and the professionals are in charge and all gets sorted out rather more quickly than expected. And results in a somewhat fortuitous new position for the empire. With Her enemies in a worse state than before.

Anonymous said...

When you put 4/10 I read it as he had a 410 shotgun.
I'm guessing Abbot isn't allowed sharp implements hence we never hear her wise words.
Whatever happened to Magic Grandpa, that was a fall from grace.
Gonna miss Wee Jimmy Krankie
Rishi with the 12 gauge, lets hope he has the safety on.

dearieme said...

Most people seem to me to wildly exaggerate the importance of government decisions on the casualty toll.

There were about two useful things Boris could have done:

(i) Defend the care homes - he didn't. We now know, of course, that that was because his "science" advisors were bloody fools on the subject. Still it was in his power to overrule them.
Mark: 20%.

(ii) Buy lots of vaccines PDQ. He got this spot on. Mark: as football managers like to say, 110%.

Average 65%. I'd have done better but that's because I spent a career among scientists and would therefore have been sceptical about their sciencey advice and cynical about their tendency politically to have a taste for totalitarianism.

Maybe there should be a third category:

(iii) Go for a mild lockdowns, or none (at least after the first). He got this wrong, again urged on by the totalitarian "scientists". Mark: 20%.

Now his average is 50% which seems reasonable.

I hope to God that the vaccines do the trick.

Nick Drew said...

@ I hope to God that the vaccines do the trick

Right, but it will be a never-ending iterative arms-race between mutations and boffins, until they devise a fully generic therapy (which, incidentally, some of them reckon is possible, if only for corona-style viruses)

sadly, in the meantime, it ain't the vaccine that has brought down the Xmas-party spike, it's LD3

dearieme said...

I've thought of a fourth category:

(iv) Recommending immunity-enhancing dietary supplements. Frexample, I've been taking Vit D, Zinc, and Vit C since the Spring. But I've heard of no government anywhere that has recommended them so there's no point scoring Boris on that heading.

In other words I think it's reasonable to mark him down for not overruling lousy advice but too harsh to mark him down on topics that his "scientists" probably didn't even raise with him.

DJK said...

Credit where it's due. Boris with his distrust of the EU vaccine scheme and the vaccine taskforce bypassing normal civil service procurement, has actually got us world-beating vaccination numbers. Sadly, as you say ND, it may still not be enough to prevent another terrible tide of covid deaths next winter.

E-K said...

Then it can't have been that good, DJK.

DJK said...

E-K: Better to have a partially effective vaccine, and a home based industry that can tweak the formula, than have none at all.

Anonymous said...

That's the yardstick by which we measure the performance of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is it? Do we think he has been better or worse than Theresa May (already proven utterly fucking useless) and a serially over-promoted sixth form Trot?

Before we go giving marks out of ten, I think we should define what makes a great PM. Cast your mind back to 2019, when we still had tolerable, even enjoyable, lives, and an economy. You go to the voting booth. There are two parties to choose from:

"The Make It Illegal To Leave Your Home For Months If There Is a Virus That Will Kill 0.25% Of The Population Party"

"The Choose Your Own Level Of Risk Party"

Who would honestly have voted for the former?

We need to have a very, very serious debate in this country about:

a) Who actually runs the show, and is it time to start vetting groups like SAGE? Ferguson and his establishment in particular get A LOT of money from China.

b) What is the function of HM Official Opposition.

dearieme said...

Aw look, the Astrologer Royal - Neil Ferguson - buggered up lots of the mathematical modelling of epidemics years ago. Was he getting heaps of moolah from China then?

He's such a lousy modeller that he can cock everything up spontaneously.

E-K said...

Dearieme said:

"(iv) Recommending immunity-enhancing dietary supplements. Frexample, I've been taking Vit D, Zinc, and Vit C since the Spring. But I've heard of no government anywhere that has recommended them so there's no point scoring Boris on that heading."

I started taking these in the Spring too. It was the advice of Dr John Campbell who has been on the ball since the Wuhan outbreak.

I would also add that we should have a campaign on national weight loss.

We won't have this for the same reason that we won't have any serious attempt to secure borders. It isn't politically correct.

Elby the Beserk said...

@EK - 9:11am

Quite clear that to be unfit makes the chances of Covid complications far greater.

Quite clear that the advice of "experts" (Gove was right on this one) on diet was beyond crap. Far better for the metabolism to get energy from flesh and animal fat than carbs. FAR better. Most now stuff on carbs from daw till dusk.

The NHS should have form day 1 noted that

Diet is crucial to health.

Previous advice as seriously wrong.

Vit D and Zinc will hugely help defend you from any of the many manifestations of Coronavirus. As will exercise.

Simple advice, which as not been rammed down people's throats.

Why? God only knows.

Elby the Beserk said...

And this


E-K said...


Hydroxychloroquine (Conservative Woman) was doomed after Trump supported its use. How they could say it was a risk to health when it is already routinely issued and for long terms beats me.

Dr Campbell doesn't have a high opinion of it for use with CV-19 either but advocates of its use stress that it must be used early in the illness.



Whatever it is Prime Ministers and Presidents are no longer in charge of this situation.

Jan said...

Yes Kev. Who is really calling the shots here? I'd really like to know plus whatever is their real agenda.

It's got to the point now where I have to switch off anything Covid-related. The BBC propaganda machine has been on overdrive from the off together with all the other MSM. It comes to something when to get any kind of balanced news reporting you have to rely on foreign services or the internet.

What a surprise it was the other day to have a news report on the BBC about a UAE Mars mission. It was the first time I'd heard anything about it. Maybe even the BBC is beginning to realise there is complete overkill which just serves to put people off.

The real victims in all this are the young whose lives have been completely messed up. The schools and universities should never have been closed. Protecting the vulnerable and letting everyone else go about their normal business would have been a far better approach.

As this is so obvious it leads me to conclude that there's something else going on entirely.

E-K said...

Well, Jan.

Mr Shapps declaration - that there won't be holidays this year either - is disheartening.

I was going to take the vaccine into my otherwise healthy and low risk body on one proviso: that it would get me and my fellow countryfolk out of lockdown.

If they aren't going to start altering the mood music and telling us that getting us out of lockdown is their #1 priority then they can shove their vaccine.

Nick Drew said...

well I had mine today

v impressive logistics in evidence

Don Cox said...

"Who is really calling the shots here? I'd really like to know plus whatever is their real agenda."

The virus is calling the shots, and its agenda is to reproduce itself without limit. Humans are an ideal host.

Don Cox

E-K said...

"The virus is calling the shots, and its agenda is to reproduce itself without limit. Humans are an ideal host"

And so it seems.

If the vaccine isn't the answer then it's lockdown forever, isn't it.

A reminder. The vast majority are affected mildly. (I still don't know anyone who's been hospitalised with it or died of it.)

Bill Quango MP said...


I know three dead.

My PA had it last week. And all her family. And all the people where she works elsewhere one day a week. That’s twenty odd people caught it in all.
All of them under 40. Including children.
Experienced a mild cold. Bad headache. No smell or taste.
Back to work 10 days later. With the antibodies.

I almost wished I’d caught it if it was only going to be soft flu. Only I’m twenty years older than her. With totally different medical history.so it’s a lottery.

In local icu. 10 beds. 8 people under 50. That’s 8 on death row, under 50. So staff matron tells me.
So the virus has changed. It’s a total lottery.

Is it worth communising the nation for a 100,000 mortality of the end of life end of society? The total deaths ‘ with Covid’ 100,000, worst in Europe, have already been replaced, by younger people, three times over. By just a single years normal net immigration. So, no. It probably isn’t.

But imagine you are PM. The whole world goes into lockdown. You say. Not doing it.
The NHS reports no beds anywhere. Bodies in the corridors..

How long would your government last?
The media reaction has been hysterical as it was. Could any democracy survive if the rest of the world was in lockdown, and you said, I don’t care. Stay indoors if you want too. Or don’t, Its up to you. Sir Kneebend wouldn’t just fence sit on that one. How long would your cabinet back you, when constituents were bashing on their surgery doors? Not long.

The only way out is vaccine. If it doesn’t work, then we will carry on like this. The USSR managed to keep a command economy on the road for seventy years.

E-K said...

I do understand but they knew these things before we started*:

- lockdown was going to be a lot longer but they didn't tell us

- the vaccine wouldn't get us out of lockdown and mutations would render it redundant but they didn't tell us. Only this week did Prof Van Tam announce "Mutations are no surprise to us."

So now we are faced with having to avoid CV-19 deaths at ALL costs.

You clearly don't fully understand what ALL costs means.

So the virus in charge. Which means that Boris isn't. What would Thatcher or Reagan have done ?

* I wasn't being flippant about CV-19 deaths (it is a serious situation) but my experience is (going by simple numbers) very much the norm - unless the 100,000 dead each knew a lot of people.

Thud said...

Keep up my vit c and d, take vaccine and hope for the best, thats me! First real sunny weekend several million are going to hit the beach....good luck with that Boris.

Elby the Beserk said...

Just a reminder. The mortality rate for healthy under 60s is statistically utterly insignificant. Moral of the story, the less you look after yourself the more likely you are to have a hard time with Covid.

Very short of gruntles at being locked down for a year because a huge chunk of the country can't do dimple things like eat sensibly and take exercise. Nor is there any sign of people realising this.

Which means, given the panic every time the virus mutates (that's WHAT THEY DO) lockdown may go on ad infinitum, all the more so given the fact that the government clearly are happy to do this now they know people will just sit at home and do sweet FA about.

And what the hell are we going to do about the Chinese? Regardless of biological warfare, there's this as well to deal with


"Only yesterday it was revealed that Oxford University has agreed to re-name its Wykeham Chair of Physics as the Tencent-Wykeham Professorship — after Tencent, a Chinese software firm with links to the Communist regime’s intelligence services, offered a £700,000 donation in return. Meanwhile, on Monday it emerged that almost 200 British academics are being investigated by HMRC on suspicion of helping the Chinese Government build weapons of mass destruction. They have not been accused of spying per se, but unwittingly passing intellectual property to the Chinese authorities and thus violating strict laws on exports."

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.