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  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 21,168
    edited April 2020
    alex_ said:



    Somehow the language has to shift from measures being imposed being by govt edict, towards measures imposed by collective personal responsibility. So that the lockdown can come off but public behaviour doesn’t change significantly. And I can’t see how we get there.

    Trouble is that more nuanced messaging a la Japanese poster undermines the lockdown. So we just get “stay home save lives”.



    I don't really agree that a shift to "decide for yourself" (aka as personal responsibility) would be welcome in this situation - people are already confused (e.g. on how much walking is actually desirable, rather than grudgingly accepted) and if we all start making uo our own interpretations we'll end up with the least common denominator - which is likely to be more mixing than is healthy. I'd like clearer guidelines, not vaguer ones. That would conversely mean that people who were following them wouldn't get idiotically harassed, like being told it's OK to shop in a supermarket with non-essential goods, but not OK to buy them.

    I agree with you that collective gradual easing is tricky, though. Perhaps the model of cars on alternate days by licence plate could be used - if your name starts with A-F you can go out on Monday, etc. That would lend itself to gradual easing while still being clear.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 38,505
    TGOHF666 said:

    Hopefully the scales are falling from the eyes of those outside Scotland who can’t see Nippy for the decisive figure who will play the bigot card when under pressure.



    She was saying "I Haven't heard of this and I need to know more before I can comment"!

    And it's no good citing the firm at the centre of the row when it is saying the complete opposite of what it said 1-2 days ago. Plainly there was something odd happening.

    If that's bigoted ...!
  • MortimerMortimer Posts: 13,896

    I started to write "Manufacture 300m masks. Issue all citizens with a mask. Make everyone wear masks.". As a partial solution to how we reopen the economy, maintaining social distancing but trying to protect people until they develop a vaccine.

    I *do not* want to have to wear a mask. Its confining. But if thats the only way to restore some kind of restoration of a new normal?

    This this this this this!

    Without a vaccine or a readily-available effective treatment, compulsory wearing of masks is the only way the general populace will be able to get out of their fucking houses and resume some approximation of normality.

    Another month of lockdown and people will be begging for this solution.
    Except it isn't actually a solution. Masks don't break the chain of transmission.

    I don't want a long lockdown, but what I don't want more is another lockdown in 2 or 3 months time. That would be far more damaging to our economy.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 66,189
    edited April 2020

    ydoethur said:

    Thanks Alex.

    I wonder if I may have had this thing mildly already. I was rough for a week out in Asia back in early February. Guess I won't really know without the kind of test Nigelb mentions below.

    That's interesting. We had another poster on here a while back called SeanT who thought he might have had it as well after spending a week in Thailand.

    I'm sure this is just a coincidence though.
    We are all SeanT
    Speak for yourself!

    Some of us have none of his sex drive, his extraordinary capacity for drink or his huge fortune.

    Although given I have posted under different identities in the distant past, I can't claim to be more consistent than him in that regard.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 38,427

    They are being very, very cautious. The know as soon as they admit the peak has happened, the pressure to end lockdown from the media will be immense. They need to be able to say "the peak has passed, and we will take the following very gradual measures to come out of this....

    Couple of things from my senior level NHS source -

    The London peak in terms of hospital admissions is over. Not deaths however, since this lags well behind.

    The Nightingale is virtually empty and expected to remain so. It is only able to accept patients with non complex (oxygen only) needs, which excludes most.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 7,856
    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 7,382

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    The cost of ads has dropped through the floor at the moment and no doubt Bet Victor has got a very good deal
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 20,128
    We know that Sweden is following a different path to most other countries, but I was very surprised to discover that my colleagues there are still working in the office rather than WFH.

    Getting desk jockeys out of circulation would appear to be an obvious thing to do with no economic downside.
  • felixfelix Posts: 15,116
    edited April 2020

    felix said:

    eristdoof said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Danish schools back today.

    Given deaths have peaked in England -

    We don't know that for sure. Not yet.
    https://twitter.com/cricketwyvern/status/1250070108816498691?s=21
    He is certainly lying by saying "pretty certain". As I said the signs are good, but being over confident is very foolish.
    Last Wednesday is the last day where reporting will not have been particularly affected by the bank holiday weekend. It’s far too soon to say that it was the peak. The most you could say is that it is possible.

    Given the mood music in Monday’s briefing, the government doesn’t seem to think the peak has been reached.
    Even post peak there is likely to be a longish plateau period during which significant easing of the lockdown could be very dangerous. Even now in Italy there are at best a mixture of good and bad days and they are around a fortnight ahead of Spain and France. Current speculation is going to be very disappointed when they cotton on to the reality of an 'eased lockdown'.
    For myself, this tweet from a very smart IT guy in Japan sums up nicely where we are:

    https://twitter.com/patio11/status/1250304959867785217?s=21
    Exactly - and it is not hard to work this out by lookibg at the figures in Europe alone. So why on earth are some commentators and slme newspapers being so reckless? We don't have this in Spain but there is still plenty of criticism of the government in other ways.
  • kinabalu said:

    They are being very, very cautious. The know as soon as they admit the peak has happened, the pressure to end lockdown from the media will be immense. They need to be able to say "the peak has passed, and we will take the following very gradual measures to come out of this....

    Couple of things from my senior level NHS source -

    The London peak in terms of hospital admissions is over. Not deaths however, since this lags well behind.

    The Nightingale is virtually empty and expected to remain so. It is only able to accept patients with non complex (oxygen only) needs, which excludes most.
    Cue the "What a Waste of Money" accusations from the fekking HedgefundTaxpayers Alliance as the right immediately pivots back to its usual "attack the doctors" theme.
  • Stereodog said:

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    I seem to remember from my Horrible Histories books that there was a fireworks company during WWII who put out adverts that went something like "Hitler is providing the fireworks at the moment but we'll be there as soon as he stops".

    Maybe Bet Victor are just working on the premise that keeping themselves in the public mind is more important than current relevancy? When the first football match resumes perhaps Bet Victor might just float into the mind of someone who doesn't bet very much?
    I accept that its not the same market, but I think the principles are correct. From The Grocer, talking about how brands should communicate in this crisis:

    "That’s not necessarily a problem. “Some brands shouldn’t communicate,” says Rob Metcalfe, chairman of Richmond & Towers. “If you haven’t got anything to say that is supportive, don’t say it.”

    Laurra Davis, founder and creative director at Brilliant Agency, agrees. “Not every brand can do something about this. Not every brand can give to charity or support the NHS. Those are the ones that can be silent and perhaps that’s the best thing to be doing at the minute.”

    Certainly, silence is better than communicating as if it’s business as usual, adds Davis. “The ones creating the most damage are the ones pushing out their usual content and messaging and aren’t in any way acknowledging what’s happening.”"
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637
    MattW said:

    eristdoof said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Interesting, thanks for posting.

    From the article "A Nature investigation of several university labs certified to test for the virus finds that they have been held up by regulatory, logistic and administrative obstacles, and stymied by the fragmented US health-care system. Even as testing backlogs mounted for hospitals in California, for example, clinics were turning away offers of testing from certified academic labs because they didn’t use compatible health-record software, or didn’t have existing contracts with the hospital."

    I find this interesting, because many have been saying that Germany's ability to do lost of tests is a result of the German decentralised health system, whereas the centralised NHS was not able to expand to the sudden increase in demand. In reality we need to remember David Mitchell's phrase "I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that".
    It sounds as if the US case was s a result of a bizarre combination of centralisation - only our test - and completely independent labs.

    As followers of American structures will attest, this sort or worst-possible-combination-of-public-and-private is not uncommon in many areas in America.

    As I understand it, the lab/testing structure in Germany is de-centralised - with reporting to the centre,
    I'm interested in the hot and cold coverage of the NHS.

    We have been told for years that it is the best in the world, on the basis of the Commonwealth Institute surveys which are really opinion polls.

    We are in a position where the Minister does not run it any more, yet is getting it in the neck from the Medical Unions demanding action when PPE is short in a small hospital noone has ever heard of - I would have thought that the logistics people should be the target.

    We are told that the Health Services in Italy and Germany were much better, and world leading, and unfavourable comparisons have been made.

    At the same time we worship at the altar of the national religion every week.

    How on earth will reform that all agree is necessary happen? The "successful systems" in Germany and Italy are very different, yet overall the country is wedded to the precise structural form we currently have.

    Interesting times.
    The NHS is staggeringly hierarchical - the number of people between the Minister and the patients is one of the highest of any organisation I have encountered.

    This is a very old fashioned way of structuring things - management reform in just about every place I can think of is about stripping out layers.

    Flat organisations move quicker.

    The historic reason for such structures is the requirement for manual action to manage processes. Lots of paperwork to moved, signed, reviewed etc. The automation revolution (we are on the 4th round of this now) handles this.

    An interesting benefit of is the creation of visible, defined processes. You might think that a process defined in a computer is more rigid - but it turns out to be *more* flexible.

    For a start, the flow is actually defined. Which leads to some interesting conversations - "we were doing *what*?". In fact, the modern designs of flow processing are more flexible than the management hierarchies they replace.

    Chiefly because servers in the Cloud are not interested in the number of reports that work for them, the corner office or their car allowances.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 57,752

    kinabalu said:

    They are being very, very cautious. The know as soon as they admit the peak has happened, the pressure to end lockdown from the media will be immense. They need to be able to say "the peak has passed, and we will take the following very gradual measures to come out of this....

    Couple of things from my senior level NHS source -

    The London peak in terms of hospital admissions is over. Not deaths however, since this lags well behind.

    The Nightingale is virtually empty and expected to remain so. It is only able to accept patients with non complex (oxygen only) needs, which excludes most.
    Cue the "What a Waste of Money" accusations from the fekking HedgefundTaxpayers Alliance as the right immediately pivots back to its usual "attack the doctors" theme.
    Wait till they find out we will need to keep it on standby until a vaccine arrives in n years time.
  • felixfelix Posts: 15,116
    isam said:
    Maybe the media have seen the polling and are desperately trying a new angle? I doubt if it will work. They should more aptly consider a cull of some of their useless 'fronters' with people more knowledgeable who can do sums, read graphs and understand a bit of Science.
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 20,128

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    The TV schedules are still packed with programmes like 'Escape to the Country', 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Cruising with Jane MacDonald'.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 60,310
    edited April 2020
    Foxy said:

    Nigelb said:
    Far and away the major cause of spread was within families, though still quite a few unknowns.

    Failing to test suspect cases, and failing to isolate them pretty much guarantees continuing transmission.

    On March 11 our government flipped from one extreme to the other, abandoning contact tracing and community testing, to the point where effectively none is done.

    We have to get back to test, trace and isolate for the lock down to end. The Nightingale hospitals should be used for isolation of cases. Leaving them at home just doesn't work.
    I'd tend to agree (you could argue that a lengthy lockdown would deal with the problem - but we simply can't afford a second lengthy lockdown).

    If we can slow transmission sufficiently with the current lockdown, mass testing coupled with rapid track, trace, and isolation where necessary could continue to keep it under control.

    So far the only bit of that we seem to have is the isolation hospitals (the various Nightingales).
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 90,971

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    The TV schedules are still packed with programmes like 'Escape to the Country', 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Cruising with Jane MacDonald'.
    Escapist fantasies.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 17,686
    Carnyx said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Hopefully the scales are falling from the eyes of those outside Scotland who can’t see Nippy for the decisive figure who will play the bigot card when under pressure.



    She was saying "I Haven't heard of this and I need to know more before I can comment"!

    And it's no good citing the firm at the centre of the row when it is saying the complete opposite of what it said 1-2 days ago. Plainly there was something odd happening.

    If that's bigoted ...!
    Is it really saying the complete opposite?

    I'd be more inclined to think it The National being overenthusiastic.
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 4,556

    I started to write "Manufacture 300m masks. Issue all citizens with a mask. Make everyone wear masks.". As a partial solution to how we reopen the economy, maintaining social distancing but trying to protect people until they develop a vaccine.

    I *do not* want to have to wear a mask. Its confining. But if thats the only way to restore some kind of restoration of a new normal?

    This this this this this!

    Without a vaccine or a readily-available effective treatment, compulsory wearing of masks is the only way the general populace will be able to get out of their fucking houses and resume some approximation of normality.

    Another month of lockdown and people will be begging for this solution.
    One which people will follow for one day, then not bother with. I don't have faith in my fellow citizen to be able to follow that rule, frankly.
    Oh, I think that angle at least will be no problem. Tell the public that if masks aren't worn then the country will have to go back into lockdown and you'll have tens of millions of citizen mask-police enforcing the law. Our latent curtain-twitching and soft-Stasi tendencies have already been honed by the crisis, so I actually think we'd have excellent compliance overall.
  • TGOHF666TGOHF666 Posts: 2,052
    LD mayor candidate advert - very Corbynista..

    https://twitter.com/siobhanbenita/status/1250186650757496835?s=21
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 38,427

    Cue the "What a Waste of Money" accusations from the fekking HedgefundTaxpayers Alliance as the right immediately pivots back to its usual "attack the doctors" theme.

    You could say White Elephant but that would be harsh. The speedy construction and the headlines about "4000 ICU beds" have boosted public morale. And of course there are 2nd and 3rd waves to look forward to.
  • AlastairMeeksAlastairMeeks Posts: 30,340
    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 21,168
    edited April 2020
    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    There's a widely-circulated interview with a hospital nurse who went to one of those carpark testing centres for health workers and was turned away because he was asymptomatic at present and "tests are expensive". He was the only person there so the testing facility was standing unused. Although that's anecdata, it has the ring of truth - somewhere a Ministerial guideline of "test people in the MHS with symptoms as the priority" has been interpreted as "don't test anyone in the NHS who isn't obviously ill". Since asymptomatic infection is an established thing, this seems a completely bonkers situation which needs to be addressed.

    I really don't believe that the issue is that tests are expensive - part of the expense is having the centre there in the first place, so if it's not in use that's a waste.
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 4,556
    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
  • CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 59,540
    felix said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Danish schools back today.

    Given deaths have peaked in England - we need a target date for our schools to return - and for the range of shops permitted to open to increase.

    Not sure that UK deaths have peaked yet. The experience of Italy, France and Spain is the reaching the peak, plateau and descent are by no means an overnight occurrence. The easing of the Spanish lockdown still leaves the country more restricted than the UK. Where we are now shows the unrealism behind the calls for an earlier lockdown. It is critical now for everyone, especially the media, to take a responsible attitude to easing up. I am not optimistic.

    Edit: Osborne's Standard headline yesterday implying most of Europe was opening up again was typical of this approach at its very worst.
    One remark I heard about pandemics was "the climb is steep, but the descent slow". We appear to be out of the steep climb phase, but still may be climbing, and its certainly too soon to say we've peaked. I hope we have - but if we relax too soon the work to date will have been for naught.

    Osborne's cartoon yesterday was dishonest and irresponsible.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    The TV schedules are still packed with programmes like 'Escape to the Country', 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Cruising with Jane MacDonald'.
    Nostalgia for a time long gone...
  • MortimerMortimer Posts: 13,896

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.
    I totally agree with you both. Economically, this is the calm before the storm. The storm comes when we're supposedly released from lockdown, but 20% of the population stays in and 80% of the population cuts back its discretionary spending...
  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 7,382
    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?
  • isamisam Posts: 40,517

    Good point by Hitchens at the end. Those arguing for less extreme measures than the lockdown aren’t asking for nothing at all to be done. That fiction seems prevalent when anyone queries the govt policy

    https://www.channel4.com/news/we-will-go-back-to-considerably-worse-than-normal-peter-hitchens-and-joan-bakewell-debate-the-government-lockdown-response
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    isam said:
    In Hitchens world with no lockdown obviously the care homes are just fine and splendid.
  • eekeek Posts: 24,470



    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.

    There is another bit that DavidL is missing even though I'm in the exact same boat. As soon as money starts coming in I'm saving it for the probably second lockdown later this year.
  • squareroot2squareroot2 Posts: 6,255

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Keep them ...they may have value later if in good condition. Alternatively you can try buyback from whomever you have your contract with.
  • AlastairMeeksAlastairMeeks Posts: 30,340

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,186

    What are the chances we decide to relax the lockdown just as those who have gone before us are seeing the start of a second wave? Singapore, an early success, has now imposed a more draconian lockdown as cases resurge.Most of China’s new cases (they say) are Chinese returning from Russia.

    The trouble is we still do not know how the virus is spread in practice rather than in theory. We can identify hotspots by location, by occupation and even by ethnicity but we do cannot explain them. Until more work is done on this, any relaxation will be, if not a leap in the dark, then educated guesswork.
    And until we find a virus or a cure (or both). That's the clincher the world is waiting on. Until then it's going to be tough. An excellent thread again by Mike.

    I get the sense an increasing number of people are starting to think the hitherto unthinkable: that this is a virus we have to learn to live with. Or, rather, death is something we have to learn to live with. I was chatting yesterday to a young friend in London, mid-twenties, and she said just this. That her friends are taking precautions but that they're also starting to roll the dice. Another friend of mine said that sooner or later we're just going to have to suck it up.

    If you are under 45 you probably can live with it as you are no more likely to die from Covid 19 than seasonal flu
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    There's a widely-circulated interview with a hospital nurse who went to one of those carpark testing centres for health workers and was turned away because he was asymptomatic at present and "tests are expensive". He was the only person there so the testing facility was standing unused. Although that's anecdata, it has the ring of truth - somewhere a Ministerial guideline of "test people in the MHS with symptoms as the priority" has been interpreted as "don't test anyone in the NHS who isn't obviously ill". Since asymptomatic infection is an established thing, this seems a completely bonkers situation which needs to be addressed.

    I really don't believe that the issue is that tests are expensive - part of the expense is having the centre there in the first place, so if it's not in use that's a waste.
    Sounds like the classic effect of a long management chain - it becomes a game of chinese whispers.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 5,946

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.
    For anyone with a co-morbid condition, lifting the lockdown is largely irrelevant. They are still being advised to social-distance and to do it stringently.
  • Andy_CookeAndy_Cooke Posts: 4,776

    eristdoof said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Danish schools back today.

    Given deaths have peaked in England -

    We don't know that for sure. Not yet.
    https://twitter.com/cricketwyvern/status/1250070108816498691?s=21
    He is certainly lying by saying "pretty certain". As I said the signs are good, but being over confident is very foolish.
    Last Wednesday is the last day where reporting will not have been particularly affected by the bank holiday weekend. It’s far too soon to say that it was the peak. The most you could say is that it is possible.

    Given the mood music in Monday’s briefing, the government doesn’t seem to think the peak has been reached.
    They are being very, very cautious. The know as soon as they admit the peak has happened, the pressure to end lockdown from the media will be immense. They need to be able to say "the peak has passed, and we will take the following very gradual measures to come out of this....
    It also doesn't help that the route up to the peak is very fast and the route down the other side (from Spain and Italy) looks very slow.
  • SouthamObserverSouthamObserver Posts: 38,800
    @DavidL is correct. There will be a squash ball bounce, not a tennis ball one. I expect a brief surge in demand, followed by a very, very slow upward tick. We are definitely not getting a V recovery.
  • CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 59,540
    malcolmg said:

    Gompels have been leant on big time and told to change their tune or else. Stronger Together , pooling and sharing my arse.

    Lets see what Ms Sturgeon has to say today.

    Are you arguing that NHS Scotland stockpiles should be diverted to England, or does that only apply one way?

    Given much of the stockpile was out of date and had to be tested for compliance imagine the shrieks if "out of date stock was sent to Scotland".

    PHE can only certify out of date product to be used in England - I guess that's why Gompels had to put the "No Scottish or Welsh orders" caveat on the affected items.

    PHE has no legal authority to certify it's use in Scotland or Wales.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 57,752

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Oxfam charity will take them, when the shops reopen.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637
    edited April 2020

    We know that Sweden is following a different path to most other countries, but I was very surprised to discover that my colleagues there are still working in the office rather than WFH.

    Getting desk jockeys out of circulation would appear to be an obvious thing to do with no economic downside.


    You would be astonished, I think, at how many people have

    1) Never worked from home, while spending most of their career in jobs which are trivial to WFH.
    2) Have not got the equipment required at home. No, I do not jest...

    It's a big jump for a lot of people. Just like not flying everywhere on premium airlines was after 9/11...
  • TGOHF666TGOHF666 Posts: 2,052
    So now clear the McPPE fuss was created to give cover for the SNP finance guru (degree in medieval history) to U turn and match English levels of support to business.

  • The TV schedules are still packed with programmes like 'Escape to the Country', 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Cruising with Jane MacDonald'.

    Nostalgia for a time long gone...
    Indeed! I'm watching travel YouTube channels - I can't go very far so I want to watch people doing what I can't do. I am not the biggest sports fan but I've been enjoying the "rewind" football, darts and F1 shows that have been put on. A Eurovision obsessed mate is watching Eurovision every Saturday night. In betting, Paddy Power have organised "Darts at Home" having sent cameras and wifi-connected smart dart boards out. The Power vs Barney was brilliant, and they donated a grand to NHS charities for every maximum.

    There are smart ways to promote yourselves. BetVictor and LBC mindlessly running adverts recorded before the lockdown about sports events now cancelled strikes me as at best lazy and at worst stupid.
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    isam said:


    Good point by Hitchens at the end. Those arguing for less extreme measures than the lockdown aren’t asking for nothing at all to be done. That fiction seems prevalent when anyone queries the govt policy

    https://www.channel4.com/news/we-will-go-back-to-considerably-worse-than-normal-peter-hitchens-and-joan-bakewell-debate-the-government-lockdown-response

    I want the lockdown to be on the soft side of effective and protecting NHS capacity so am not unsympathetic to the argument of doing less (think the UK has it about right, but wouldnt have gone for French/Spanish style lockdowns), but am unsympathetic to Hitchens. If he used less hyperbole and aggression in making his arguments, his message might carry more weight.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 66,189

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
    Start a flipping museum, shurely?
  • fox327fox327 Posts: 362
    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    The most tests they do the more positive results they will get. This could require some kind of change of policy. The whole government is just treading water until Boris Johnson returns to Number 10. When he does he has to deal with the EU transition extension decision as well as the lockdown. Antibody tests have also dropped out of the news. Health-related central decisions are not happening at the moment.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813

    Meanwhile on LBC they keep playing Bet Victor adverts "Hey Harry, who will win the football tonight?"

    Who is managing the media campaign for Bet Victor? Who manages ad scheduling for LBC? Have neither of these stopped to think that they make their companies sound like utter tools playing out this stuff? They're telling everyone what we can't do any more. Whilst debating the impacts of the lockdown on people...

    I've gone through our social media plan with a fine toothcomb and weeded out stuff that just isn't appropriate any more. And we're only "broadcasting" on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. I'd be horrendously embarrassed to be responsible for playing out stuff on the radio to millions. Repeatedly. Every Day.

    The TV schedules are still packed with programmes like 'Escape to the Country', 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Cruising with Jane MacDonald'.
    Well, stop watching them and get back to the gate. We haven't a meaningful update in ages...
  • Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Create your own in-home museum. Organise the handsets by year, create little placards giving the model name, year and key development. Have a couple of still functional phones as workable demos.
  • AlastairMeeksAlastairMeeks Posts: 30,340

    eristdoof said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Danish schools back today.

    Given deaths have peaked in England -

    We don't know that for sure. Not yet.
    https://twitter.com/cricketwyvern/status/1250070108816498691?s=21
    He is certainly lying by saying "pretty certain". As I said the signs are good, but being over confident is very foolish.
    Last Wednesday is the last day where reporting will not have been particularly affected by the bank holiday weekend. It’s far too soon to say that it was the peak. The most you could say is that it is possible.

    Given the mood music in Monday’s briefing, the government doesn’t seem to think the peak has been reached.
    They are being very, very cautious. The know as soon as they admit the peak has happened, the pressure to end lockdown from the media will be immense. They need to be able to say "the peak has passed, and we will take the following very gradual measures to come out of this....
    It also doesn't help that the route up to the peak is very fast and the route down the other side (from Spain and Italy) looks very slow.
    Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
  • eekeek Posts: 24,470

    malcolmg said:

    Gompels have been leant on big time and told to change their tune or else. Stronger Together , pooling and sharing my arse.

    Lets see what Ms Sturgeon has to say today.

    Are you arguing that NHS Scotland stockpiles should be diverted to England, or does that only apply one way?

    Given much of the stockpile was out of date and had to be tested for compliance imagine the shrieks if "out of date stock was sent to Scotland".

    PHE can only certify out of date product to be used in England - I guess that's why Gompels had to put the "No Scottish or Welsh orders" caveat on the affected items.

    PHE has no legal authority to certify it's use in Scotland or Wales.
    I don't think it's that detailed, it's more these are our emergency stocks please re-certify and send to the people we originally bought them for.

    But Scotland needs to have reasons to feel put upon - as I said earlier I suspect it's to hide some of their own incompetency
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 23,387
    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    Possibly the same issue as Nature documents in America. A couple of weeks back, we too had academic and other labs saying they could run tests but had not been asked. Perhaps it is due to Boris (or Cummings) being off sick but the government has seemed uncoordinated, with no great sense of urgency, doing the right things but very slowly. As a recent pb header said, there should be a Minister of Production to get a hold of things.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 50,304

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 21,168
    edited April 2020



    I accept that its not the same market, but I think the principles are correct. From The Grocer, talking about how brands should communicate in this crisis:

    "That’s not necessarily a problem. “Some brands shouldn’t communicate,” says Rob Metcalfe, chairman of Richmond & Towers. “If you haven’t got anything to say that is supportive, don’t say it.”

    Laurra Davis, founder and creative director at Brilliant Agency, agrees. “Not every brand can do something about this. Not every brand can give to charity or support the NHS. Those are the ones that can be silent and perhaps that’s the best thing to be doing at the minute.”

    Certainly, silence is better than communicating as if it’s business as usual, adds Davis. “The ones creating the most damage are the ones pushing out their usual content and messaging and aren’t in any way acknowledging what’s happening.”"

    Aviva had an Opinium survey out yesterday asking if their approach - sober adverts saying they were supporting good causes in the crisis - was better or worse for the brand than some of their competitors, like the AA one which in small print offered a freebie to NHS staff, or the LV one which was positively merry.

    Personally I think they should all shut up, but I'm brand-averse and think advertising largely a parasitical activity (sorry Roger), so not typical. But being offensively cheerful and/or business-as-usual does seem to strike the wrong note for an insurance company, so Aviva's approach is probably better.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 38,505
    MattW said:

    Carnyx said:

    TGOHF666 said:

    Hopefully the scales are falling from the eyes of those outside Scotland who can’t see Nippy for the decisive figure who will play the bigot card when under pressure.



    She was saying "I Haven't heard of this and I need to know more before I can comment"!

    And it's no good citing the firm at the centre of the row when it is saying the complete opposite of what it said 1-2 days ago. Plainly there was something odd happening.

    If that's bigoted ...!
    Is it really saying the complete opposite?

    I'd be more inclined to think it The National being overenthusiastic.
    Well, not far off the opposite - either PHE were directing the firms as Gomperts' website pretty strongly implied as shown by screenshopts and verbatim quotes, or were not, is fairly yes/no.

    Given the National was making direct verbatim quotations (as were the BBC and Times and other newspapers, all anti-indy) it's not a matter of a pro-indy nerwspaper being overenthusiastic. Eg this chap is on the Scottish Sun, and his first two tweets refer (including indications of a wider prtoblem).

    https://twitter.com/ChrisMusson/status/1250096153397428224 (

    And as for enthusiastic, still less the SNP administration who have been very measured if a bit frustrated with Mr Hancock initially refusing to 'meet'.

    Personally I suspect a simple procedural cockup by someone who forgot that NHS England isn't NHS UK (a very common error these days). But the anxiety not to admit that seemns out of proportion.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 7,856

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    There's a widely-circulated interview with a hospital nurse who went to one of those carpark testing centres for health workers and was turned away because he was asymptomatic at present and "tests are expensive". He was the only person there so the testing facility was standing unused. Although that's anecdata, it has the ring of truth - somewhere a Ministerial guideline of "test people in the MHS with symptoms as the priority" has been interpreted as "don't test anyone in the NHS who isn't obviously ill". Since asymptomatic infection is an established thing, this seems a completely bonkers situation which needs to be addressed.

    I really don't believe that the issue is that tests are expensive - part of the expense is having the centre there in the first place, so if it's not in use that's a waste.
    The message I've heard from Ministers is that they have set a target for doing more tests and are desperately trying to increase that number.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 5,946

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    There's a widely-circulated interview with a hospital nurse who went to one of those carpark testing centres for health workers and was turned away because he was asymptomatic at present and "tests are expensive". He was the only person there so the testing facility was standing unused. Although that's anecdata, it has the ring of truth - somewhere a Ministerial guideline of "test people in the MHS with symptoms as the priority" has been interpreted as "don't test anyone in the NHS who isn't obviously ill". Since asymptomatic infection is an established thing, this seems a completely bonkers situation which needs to be addressed.

    I really don't believe that the issue is that tests are expensive - part of the expense is having the centre there in the first place, so if it's not in use that's a waste.
    Sounds like the classic effect of a long management chain - it becomes a game of chinese whispers.
    We had the same in the DWP. After Boris's request for everyone to social-distance there was a message from the Permanent Secretary saying work from home if you can, go home if you have a co-morbid condition, cancel routine appointments, cancel all unnecessary travel. Lower down the chain, managers were still attempting business as usual because they were apparently unable to understand this and waiting for the message to come down the chain. A colleague who most definitely can work from home was told by his boss he couldn't. I suggested he emailed him the Perm Sec's notice to staff and told him he was overruled.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637
    fox327 said:

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    The most tests they do the more positive results they will get. This could require some kind of change of policy. The whole government is just treading water until Boris Johnson returns to Number 10. When he does he has to deal with the EU transition extension decision as well as the lockdown. Antibody tests have also dropped out of the news. Health-related central decisions are not happening at the moment.
    You are making the assumption that unless something is announced, nothing is happening.

    Bit like everyone I know off in the rapid prototyping/CNC world is working on something in the medical line. You see occasional mentions in the press - but mostly under the radar.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 43,419
    Mortimer said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.
    I totally agree with you both. Economically, this is the calm before the storm. The storm comes when we're supposedly released from lockdown, but 20% of the population stays in and 80% of the population cuts back its discretionary spending...
    A lot of hospitality businesses are going to be no longer viable. Even if they are free to open, they will be running on a fraction of the customers.

    Extending loans to them is just throwing good money after bad. The example of the corporate team bonding company up thread is a good example.

  • eekeek Posts: 24,470
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.
  • AlastairMeeksAlastairMeeks Posts: 30,340
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
    A bold Chancellor would be borrowing to the hilt now (at the current basement level rates) in preparation for stiffing the government’s creditors to the max when the inevitable is in due course required. If lenders are too dopey to see what’s coming, it’s acceptable to shoot sitting ducks.

    It will be a lot harder afterwards to borrow, but that’s true either way. You may as well fleece the dupes now.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813
    ydoethur said:

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
    Start a flipping museum, shurely?
    I quite like the idea of one you could drive round, maybe in a van - a mobile museum?
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 39,489

    ydoethur said:

    For those struggling with Vanilla’s edit function, it’s still there but for some reason you have to refresh after posting for it to be available.

    I now use Google Chrome for all my pb work and it's superb. Totally stable and I never have issues these days.
    All your 'pb work'? Is it remunerative?
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637

    ydoethur said:

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
    Start a flipping museum, shurely?
    I quite like the idea of one you could drive round, maybe in a van - a mobile museum?
    You jest, but some museums out there are collecting mobiles - history of technology.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 7,856

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    Possibly the same issue as Nature documents in America. A couple of weeks back, we too had academic and other labs saying they could run tests but had not been asked. Perhaps it is due to Boris (or Cummings) being off sick but the government has seemed uncoordinated, with no great sense of urgency, doing the right things but very slowly. As a recent pb header said, there should be a Minister of Production to get a hold of things.
    But 15,000 tests into 50 labs is 300/day. That seems really low?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51943612
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 50,304

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    Printing money only boosts demand if it retains its value. If it doesn't it simply wipes out existing capital. I have been going on for years that not enough attention has been paid to what happened to QE post 2008. Was it ultimately just too small a scale to make much difference? Did the sterialisation policies actually work? What about the countries that didn't use such policies (eg USA)? We are heading into unchartered waters and signposts are hard to find.
  • CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 59,540
    edited April 2020
    Scott_xP said:
    Complete with dig:

    “Our support for business now exceeds the £2.2 billion passed on from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes.

    If grievance was a cure for Covid-19 we'd know where to find it.

    With Brent Crude at $28......
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    eek said:



    This is one of those occasions where economists have only a step or two’s advantage over everyone else. There isn’t exactly much data on the economic effects of pandemics in a globalised economy.

    For what it’s worth, I agree with you, though for different reasons.

    The question of the government lifting the lockdown is a red herring. The question is when the public will feel safer and what economic activities they will start to resume. Different people will go at different paces but as a general rule, the wealthiest - the older generations - will be the most cautious.

    There is another bit that DavidL is missing even though I'm in the exact same boat. As soon as money starts coming in I'm saving it for the probably second lockdown later this year.
    A flip side too this is many will be spending far less than normal this spring, no holidays, commuting costs, pubs, restaurants, activities adds up. Most of those still have their normal incomes coming in (at this stage).

    Expecting the economy for the next year to be quite different to 2019 seems sensible. Exactly how it will pan out is possibly beyond our analytical capabilities, there is way too much uncertainty in how the virus, govts, businesses and consumers will interact. Some guesses will largely predict what happens, others not, but with a sample of one and lots of volatility, none of the guesses can be proven as accurate forecasts.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 66,189

    ydoethur said:

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
    Start a flipping museum, shurely?
    I quite like the idea of one you could drive round, maybe in a van - a mobile museum?
    Something SIMilar, certainly.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813

    ydoethur said:

    Completely off topic does anyone know what I should do with 15 years of old mobile phones?

    Start a museum?
    Start a flipping museum, shurely?
    I quite like the idea of one you could drive round, maybe in a van - a mobile museum?
    You jest, but some museums out there are collecting mobiles - history of technology.
    No, I was kinda serious. I'm sure most of us could donate one or two. I have a very rinky-dink tiny flip-top Motorola somewhere.... Totally based on Star Trek tech.
  • ChrisChris Posts: 10,917
    HYUFD said:
    A man addicted to promises he is totally incapable of keeping.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 39,489
    TGOHF666 said:

    Hopefully the scales are falling from the eyes of those outside Scotland who can’t see Nippy for the decisive figure who will play the bigot card when under pressure.



    'Hopefully', the favourite adverb of migrant Yoons pissing in the dark since 2007.

    Has your Glasgow contact @WATPFTP1690 been keeping you updated on when the scales are about to fall from eyes of Scotland's voters?
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 38,427
    eek said:

    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.

    If you can buy off a drop in living standards by printing money it follows that you can achieve a rise in living standards by printing money.

    In which case all of economics is junk and it's problem sorted for evermore.

    It won't work.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 60,310
    A much more interesting story than would have been the case a year ago....

    Detection of novel coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230802
    The recent emergence of bat-borne zoonotic viruses warrants vigilant surveillance in their natural hosts. Of particular concern is the family of coronaviruses, which includes the causative agents of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and most recently, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), an epidemic of acute respiratory illness originating from Wuhan, China in December 2019. Viral detection, discovery, and surveillance activities were undertaken in Myanmar to identify viruses in animals at high risk contact interfaces with people. Free-ranging bats were captured, and rectal and oral swabs and guano samples collected for coronaviral screening using broadly reactive consensus conventional polymerase chain reaction. Sequences from positives were compared to known coronaviruses. Three novel alphacoronaviruses, three novel betacoronaviruses, and one known alphacoronavirus previously identified in other southeast Asian countries were detected for the first time in bats in Myanmar. Ongoing land use change remains a prominent driver of zoonotic disease emergence in Myanmar, bringing humans into ever closer contact with wildlife, and justifying continued surveillance and vigilance at broad scales...
  • ChrisChris Posts: 10,917
    rkrkrk said:

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    There's a widely-circulated interview with a hospital nurse who went to one of those carpark testing centres for health workers and was turned away because he was asymptomatic at present and "tests are expensive". He was the only person there so the testing facility was standing unused. Although that's anecdata, it has the ring of truth - somewhere a Ministerial guideline of "test people in the MHS with symptoms as the priority" has been interpreted as "don't test anyone in the NHS who isn't obviously ill". Since asymptomatic infection is an established thing, this seems a completely bonkers situation which needs to be addressed.

    I really don't believe that the issue is that tests are expensive - part of the expense is having the centre there in the first place, so if it's not in use that's a waste.
    The message I've heard from Ministers is that they have set a target for doing more tests and are desperately trying to increase that number.
    So easy to set a target.
  • rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    My other half works as a geneticist in an NHS lab where PCR machines are used in the diagnosis of genetic cancers. A couple of weeks ago, she was fully expecting that they would be switched to Covid-19 testing. This never happened, and she's somewhat baffled as to the reason why, especially as their regular work is drying up due to the lack of samples arriving.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 39,489

    I started to write "Manufacture 300m masks. Issue all citizens with a mask. Make everyone wear masks.". As a partial solution to how we reopen the economy, maintaining social distancing but trying to protect people until they develop a vaccine.

    I *do not* want to have to wear a mask. Its confining. But if thats the only way to restore some kind of restoration of a new normal?

    We wear crash helmets on motorbikes and seatbelts in cars. These are confining and now accepted as normal. If masks are needed to get some form of normality, then masks it is.

    Perhaps one of the design gurus can come up with a design that feels more comfortable and bring them out in stylish versions.
    Actually I saw a wee ned without a helmet hooning down Duke St on a trail bike the other day in broad daylight. Perhaps the bonds of normality are under strain.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 50,304

    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
    A bold Chancellor would be borrowing to the hilt now (at the current basement level rates) in preparation for stiffing the government’s creditors to the max when the inevitable is in due course required. If lenders are too dopey to see what’s coming, it’s acceptable to shoot sitting ducks.

    It will be a lot harder afterwards to borrow, but that’s true either way. You may as well fleece the dupes now.
    The problem is that its already a kind of Ponzi trick. Demand for UK gilts is being supported by the BoE's undertaking to buy them as a buyer of last resort. Without that I fear there would be very little uptake. But yes, get what you can now.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 5,946

    We know that Sweden is following a different path to most other countries, but I was very surprised to discover that my colleagues there are still working in the office rather than WFH.

    Getting desk jockeys out of circulation would appear to be an obvious thing to do with no economic downside.


    You would be astonished, I think, at how many people have

    1) Never worked from home, while spending most of their career in jobs which are trivial to WFH.
    2) Have not got the equipment required at home. No, I do not jest...

    It's a big jump for a lot of people. Just like not flying everywhere on premium airlines was after 9/11...
    I can't WFH, partly because I can't do much of my normal job from home, but partly because I am not considered "mobile" staff (despite currently working from 2 offices and recently 3) so I have not been issued with the mobile kit, which is required to dial in over WiFi. So I am currently off on paid special leave rather than WFH.

    But as someone who lives on his own, going to work is a way of having casual social contact. In normal times there is also my running club three times a week and parkrun, but if I don't feel like going down the pub then work is a normal part of my contact with people. And I suspect that people who don't live on their own like to get away from their partner/family. (I don't understand all the couples exercising and going shopping together, if you are banged up together 24/7 surely you need some time to yourself?)
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    HYUFD said:
    It is perhaps too early to commit to an exit strategy. What should be happening is building up exit "tools".

    Use of tech and phones for tracking and tracing.
    Give airports the capability for testing and quarantining if needed.
    How can we redesign offices, bars, restaurants to give better social distancing?
    How do we ration public transport use in rush hour?
    etc

    Get a junior minister in charge of each type of question now and our exit strategy will be more effective when it is needed in a month or twos time.
  • eekeek Posts: 24,470
    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.

    If you can buy off a drop in living standards by printing money it follows that you can achieve a rise in living standards by printing money.

    In which case all of economics is junk and it's problem sorted for evermore.

    It won't work.
    The only way living standards are improved is by improved productivity / efficiency as demonstrated by Adam Smith and pins.

    Which does open up the question, given that 12 years since 2008 has seen so little productivity improvements and considering the amount of money printed why has inflation been so low.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 50,304
    eek said:

    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.
    I think it was in part driven by the deflationary effect of so much "money" being destroyed as the pyramids of debt built around CDOs unwound and disappeared. That may also have offset the effect of QE. This time we do not have that deflationary wave.
  • TGOHF666TGOHF666 Posts: 2,052
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    The Conservatives are going to take all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. They will either impliedly default on their debts by printing money or expressly do so.

    The levels of taxation, borrowing and cuts required just aren’t going to be electorally tenable for long.
    Exactly so. And for the second time in 12 years politicians will (hopefully) find that large scale QE is much easier and less politically damaging than huge tax increases. How long will we need to wait for a third opportunity? What are the risks (Weimar Republic being one) and how do we mitigate them? Pandora has not just opened her box, she has taken charge. We need new economic thinking (and to remember some old economic thinking as well) about how to handle this.
    A bold Chancellor would be borrowing to the hilt now (at the current basement level rates) in preparation for stiffing the government’s creditors to the max when the inevitable is in due course required. If lenders are too dopey to see what’s coming, it’s acceptable to shoot sitting ducks.

    It will be a lot harder afterwards to borrow, but that’s true either way. You may as well fleece the dupes now.
    The problem is that its already a kind of Ponzi trick. Demand for UK gilts is being supported by the BoE's undertaking to buy them as a buyer of last resort. Without that I fear there would be very little uptake. But yes, get what you can now.
    There are worse investments than gilts out there at the moment.
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 4,556
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    I regret to say that I am far more pessimistic about our economic prospects than the OBR. I just do not see this immediate and enormous bounce back coming. What is going to happen, despite the excellent efforts of Rishi, is that hundreds of thousands of businesses are going to fail and not re-open. This is not only going to give us the immediate unemployment shock that the OBR has identified, it is going to wipe out the life savings for a generation of entrepreneurs whose houses will be at risk, whose retirement plans will be shot to hell and who face ruin. Our High streets, already struggling, are going to be boarded up on a scale we have never seen before.

    Added to this will be a very large number of self employed people like, well, me, who are going to lose 3 months income. Basically we are living off the tax money we had put aside for July. I am not sure how we are going to pay that debt to HMRC when it falls due in January. What I do know for a fact is that we, and millions like me, will be living extremely frugally for the next two or three years whilst we try to recover from this.

    I also think it is unrealistic to assume that those businesses that do survive will be able to carry on as normal. Many of their debtors will have gone bust or will simply not be worth suing if they continue in some form of zombie mode. Some of their suppliers will have gone bust and finding adequate replacements is going to be a challenge.

    In short there is not just going to be a massive reduction in income. There is going to be a long tail of weak or poor demand and extremely poor creditworthiness which means those businesses that survive will move cautiously, invest slowly and struggle.

    This is not the government's fault, they are doing more than most. I pity those countries in the EZ whose central bank is simply not helping while the likes of Germany look after themselves. This too will be a problem for us as our major market remains embroiled in a depression which active monetary policy could at least have mitigated. But charts like that on the front page of the Telegraph are just hugely optimistic, unrealistically so.

    Despite the huffing of certain Hard-Left Monetarists on here, if the above prediction comes true then governments around the world are going to prefer my solution of colossal, globally-coordinated money-printing to replace lost output rather than a decade-long Greater Depression. Hear me now, quote me later.
    Printing money only boosts demand if it retains its value. If it doesn't it simply wipes out existing capital. I have been going on for years that not enough attention has been paid to what happened to QE post 2008. Was it ultimately just too small a scale to make much difference? Did the sterialisation policies actually work? What about the countries that didn't use such policies (eg USA)? We are heading into unchartered waters and signposts are hard to find.
    But this is the part I (and probably most lay-persons) don't understand. Coronavirus is a completely exogenous shock - it came out of nowhere, and has nothing to do with the state or structure of the existing economic system. So in what way is it different to, for example, a hacker breaking into your bank account and taking £10K (or deleting it somehow, since CV doesn't use the money it destroys)? If £10K is then magically printed and deposited into your bank account, why would that cause hyperinflation a la Weimar, since all that is happening is a like-for-like restoration of the status quo ante?
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    eek said:

    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.

    If you can buy off a drop in living standards by printing money it follows that you can achieve a rise in living standards by printing money.

    In which case all of economics is junk and it's problem sorted for evermore.

    It won't work.
    The only way living standards are improved is by improved productivity / efficiency as demonstrated by Adam Smith and pins.

    Which does open up the question, given that 12 years since 2008 has seen so little productivity improvements and considering the amount of money printed why has inflation been so low.
    Depends what inflation you are talking about. As a renter in London mine has been double or treble the official figures over the last decade.
  • TGOHF666TGOHF666 Posts: 2,052
    edited April 2020

    HYUFD said:
    It is perhaps too early to commit to an exit strategy. What should be happening is building up exit "tools".

    Use of tech and phones for tracking and tracing.
    Give airports the capability for testing and quarantining if needed.
    How can we redesign offices, bars, restaurants to give better social distancing?
    How do we ration public transport use in rush hour?
    etc

    Get a junior minister in charge of each type of question now and our exit strategy will be more effective when it is needed in a month or twos time.
    Raab should ask Mr Starmer why he wants to threaten the effectiveness of the lockdown by suggesting it is imminently lifting.


  • I accept that its not the same market, but I think the principles are correct. From The Grocer, talking about how brands should communicate in this crisis:

    "That’s not necessarily a problem. “Some brands shouldn’t communicate,” says Rob Metcalfe, chairman of Richmond & Towers. “If you haven’t got anything to say that is supportive, don’t say it.”

    Laurra Davis, founder and creative director at Brilliant Agency, agrees. “Not every brand can do something about this. Not every brand can give to charity or support the NHS. Those are the ones that can be silent and perhaps that’s the best thing to be doing at the minute.”

    Certainly, silence is better than communicating as if it’s business as usual, adds Davis. “The ones creating the most damage are the ones pushing out their usual content and messaging and aren’t in any way acknowledging what’s happening.”"

    Aviva had an Opinium survey out yesterday asking if their approach - sober adverts saying they were supporting good causes in the crisis - was better or worse for the brand than some of their competitors, like the AA one which in small print offered a freebie to NHS staff, or the LV one which was positively merry.

    Personally I think they should all shut up, but I'm brand-averse and think advertising largely a parasitical activity (sorry Roger), so not typical. But being offensively cheerful and/or business-as-usual does seem to strike the wrong note for an insurance company, so Aviva's approach is probably better.
    LBC is usually full of adverts for dental implant clinics and divorce lawyers. The clinic is advertising that it was the obvious decision to close their clinic, that they'll be back, stay safe. The lawyers are advertising that they know what impact this will be having on men who don't live with their children, they stand with them and will be here for them on the other side. Both decent messages in the circumstances that remind people what they do without demanding they do something unwise.
  • ChrisChris Posts: 10,917

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    Possibly the same issue as Nature documents in America. A couple of weeks back, we too had academic and other labs saying they could run tests but had not been asked. Perhaps it is due to Boris (or Cummings) being off sick but the government has seemed uncoordinated, with no great sense of urgency, doing the right things but very slowly. As a recent pb header said, there should be a Minister of Production to get a hold of things.
    Unfortunately fo the last few years the pool of leading politicians has been subject to a very powerful artificial selection mechanism whose drivers are cowardice, dissimulation and witless populism. Don't look for a Winston Churchill among them.
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,211
    TGOHF666 said:

    HYUFD said:
    It is perhaps too early to commit to an exit strategy. What should be happening is building up exit "tools".

    Use of tech and phones for tracking and tracing.
    Give airports the capability for testing and quarantining if needed.
    How can we redesign offices, bars, restaurants to give better social distancing?
    How do we ration public transport use in rush hour?
    etc

    Get a junior minister in charge of each type of question now and our exit strategy will be more effective when it is needed in a month or twos time.
    Raab should ask Mr Starmer why he wants to threaten the effectiveness of the lockdown by suggesting its lifting.
    Well that would be silly. Despite all the media hype, the vast majority of people understand and are complying. They will continue to do so. Asking how we will exit is not wrong because it would make every rush to have a party in the park, it is wrong because in a months time we will have better answers than we can possibly have now.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 42,637

    We know that Sweden is following a different path to most other countries, but I was very surprised to discover that my colleagues there are still working in the office rather than WFH.

    Getting desk jockeys out of circulation would appear to be an obvious thing to do with no economic downside.


    You would be astonished, I think, at how many people have

    1) Never worked from home, while spending most of their career in jobs which are trivial to WFH.
    2) Have not got the equipment required at home. No, I do not jest...

    It's a big jump for a lot of people. Just like not flying everywhere on premium airlines was after 9/11...
    I can't WFH, partly because I can't do much of my normal job from home, but partly because I am not considered "mobile" staff (despite currently working from 2 offices and recently 3) so I have not been issued with the mobile kit, which is required to dial in over WiFi. So I am currently off on paid special leave rather than WFH.

    But as someone who lives on his own, going to work is a way of having casual social contact. In normal times there is also my running club three times a week and parkrun, but if I don't feel like going down the pub then work is a normal part of my contact with people. And I suspect that people who don't live on their own like to get away from their partner/family. (I don't understand all the couples exercising and going shopping together, if you are banged up together 24/7 surely you need some time to yourself?)
    I quite understand your case. One problem is that many people have jobs that can be trivially turned to WFM - they do not understand that many can't.

    Part of the problem is that modern living - especially in London - has changed the home into a compact box where you sleep. You *live* outside it.

    In the WFH world - well, everyone will need a home office....

    I was speaking of people I know - they spend the day on the phone/on the computer. No visitors to the office. No on sites. Occasional trips to meet the people on the other end of the phone - to build working relationships.... WFH is technically trivial for them, but they have never done it and are not setup. It is a big step for them.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 50,304
    eek said:

    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    Yep we are back to whether Modern Monetary Theory is actually valid or not. I'm just glad we never joined the euro so can at least have the experiment.

    Ironically I suspect it won't work - our previous 15 years of low (ish) inflation has been due to China manufacturing everything and that can't continue.

    If you can buy off a drop in living standards by printing money it follows that you can achieve a rise in living standards by printing money.

    In which case all of economics is junk and it's problem sorted for evermore.

    It won't work.
    The only way living standards are improved is by improved productivity / efficiency as demonstrated by Adam Smith and pins.

    Which does open up the question, given that 12 years since 2008 has seen so little productivity improvements and considering the amount of money printed why has inflation been so low.
    Offsetting deflation caused by a somewhat artificial reduction in the money supply is all I have come up with but that should have unwound faster than this. Its unfortunate more time and effort was not spent trying to find the answer when it was just an interesting academic problem.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 49,813

    rkrkrk said:

    Nigelb said:

    Good long read article in Nature, which delves into the complexities of testing.

    https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/1250129207189032962

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

    I still don't understand why the UK is unable to do more testing. If we have 50 labs doing this, how come we are only doing 15,000 tests/day?

    One lab mentioned in the article can do 2,000 tests/day.

    There's clearly some bottleneck, but I haven't yet seen an article that explains it.
    My other half works as a geneticist in an NHS lab where PCR machines are used in the diagnosis of genetic cancers. A couple of weeks ago, she was fully expecting that they would be switched to Covid-19 testing. This never happened, and she's somewhat baffled as to the reason why, especially as their regular work is drying up due to the lack of samples arriving.
    I'm prepared to give something of a pass this time around, just because of the "We're all about to die!" tone of the political response to Covid-19 and the NHS. But the way in which some hospitals have paused everything and - because of the lack of local Covid cases - are effectively doing nothing, needs to be examined and lessons learnt.

    You would hope that in any second wave, the Nightingale Hospitals would be sufficiently staffed up and able to take the load that other hospitals would be able to return to much of their usual workload. That in itself would be an immense relief to many people whose more immediate health worry has been something other than the virus, and in many cases has condemned them to months more of pain.

    There will also be quite a head of steam to see how we lock in this change from people just rocking up to A&E. It has clearly had an immediate and massive impact on numbers. It may in some cases lead to bad outcomes long term, but ther ehas to be an examination of the previous and subsequent caseloads. Who isn't turning up pany more, what ailments? It can't be as simple as heart attack victims just staying home to die.
This discussion has been closed.