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politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Joe Biden’s VP pick – the case for 40/1 Iraq war veteran Tammy

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  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 10,520

    Andy_JS said:

    "Coding that led to lockdown was 'totally unreliable' and a 'buggy mess', say experts
    The code, written by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, was impossible to read, scientists claim

    By Hannah Boland and Ellie Zolfagharifard"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/16/coding-led-lockdown-totally-unreliable-buggy-mess-say-experts/

    Ferguson's code may indeed be a complete mess but that is less important than whether his model is accurate and reliable. His track record says no; the consensus of other models says yes.
    There's also always been a fundamental difference in approach between people developing code for scientific computing and those doing commercial software engineering, so there's a bit of "when two worlds collide, one looks ridiculous to the other" going on here. Not specifically about Ferguson, almost a decade old in fact, but a good read:

    https://www.johndcook.com/blog/2011/07/21/software-exoskeletons/

    There’s a major divide between the way scientists and programmers view the software they write.

    Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves. Think Dr. Octopus. The software may do heavy lifting, but the scientists remain actively involved in its use. The software is a tool, not a self-contained product.

    Programmers see their software as something they will hand over to someone else, more like building a robot than an exoskeleton. Programmers believe it’s their job to encapsulate intelligence in software. If users have to depend on programmers after the software is written, the programmers didn’t finish their job.

    I work with scientists and programmers, often bridging the gaps between the two cultures. One point of tension is defining when a project is done. To a scientist, the software is done when they get what they want out of it, such as a table of numbers for a paper. Professional programmers give more thought to reproducibility, maintainability, and correctness. Scientists think programmers are anal retentive. Programmers think scientists are cowboys.

    Programmers need to understand that sometimes a program really only needs to run once, on one set of input, with expert supervision. Scientists need to understand that prototype code may need a complete rewrite before it can be used in production.

    The real tension comes when a piece of research software is suddenly expected to be ready for production. The scientist will say “the code has already been written” and can’t imagine it would take much work, if any, to prepare the software for its new responsibilities. They don’t understand how hard it is for an engineer to turn an exoskeleton into a self-sufficient robot.


    Whatever you think, there are definitely issues about whether a multi-billion pound decision should be based so much (albeit not exclusively, other modelling results fed in to the decision-making process) on code that had had such little QA. But also without the model itself (a different thing to its code implementation) being completely specified and reviewable.
    My first thought on seeing the Profs code - he appears to be streets ahead of the average quant.

    Academic code has undergone a revolution in the last decade. A lot of groups are hiring expert developers to code libraries* rather than just let the self-taught make furniture with an axe**.

    *Yes, reusable code.
    **Hacker joke - as in alleged original meaning of "hacker"
  • OmniumOmnium Posts: 4,939
    Foxy said:

    When does Nadine get a go at the press Conference? We will need to stock up on popcorn for that one!

    I know Williamson being run out may suggest that these things are clown-test, but that'd be a step too far.
  • blairfblairf Posts: 98
    RobD said:

    Andy_JS said:

    "Coding that led to lockdown was 'totally unreliable' and a 'buggy mess', say experts
    The code, written by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, was impossible to read, scientists claim

    By Hannah Boland and Ellie Zolfagharifard"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/16/coding-led-lockdown-totally-unreliable-buggy-mess-say-experts/

    Ferguson's code may indeed be a complete mess but that is less important than whether his model is accurate and reliable. His track record says no; the consensus of other models says yes.
    This is the critical point, and I am not surprised it was omitted from this piece. His predictions are not out of whack, despite how crap his coding style might be.
    As a modeller that is the key point. you judge a model not on it's coding elegance but it's ability to accurately predict future unknown events. Post Event Reviews are the true test. your model said X would happen but Y happened. Why and how do you correct this. My non-expert understanding is that the Ferguson team have been consistently wrong over their predictions for a decade.
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 4,783

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    It's easy to be brave and learn from doing when someone else's family are the guinea pigs. I asked yesterday if anyone had kids in state schools in the relevant year groups and what they planned to do on June 1st. Answers came there none. (We are still unsure what to do with our year 6).
  • MyBurningEarsMyBurningEars Posts: 3,650
    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    We already have a pretty clear idea that COVID poses very risk of death to young people, particularly those outside the medically vulnerable categories (who presumably are not going to be told to start attending school even when they reopen).

    The lockdown hasn't just saved non-vulnerable kids' lives due to COVID-19 cases prevented, but is has also reduced their deaths and serious illnesses due to reduction in traffic accidents on the way to/from school and by reduction in other infectious diseases that kids pass on to each other, particularly nastier ones like measles and meningitis. Schools have lived with - though somewhat tried to manage - those risks, rather than shuttering up in the face of them. I don't think that counted as abandoning "in loco parentis" either.
  • stodgestodge Posts: 7,878


    London has a higher percentage of people working from home, I would imagine, given the high share of professional workers here. The collapse in commuting travel here has been greater than elsewhere which points to a big modification in behaviour (people taking the lockdown very seriously in general in our corner of SE London, perhaps because the outbreak here was more serious initially than in the provinces).
    China locked down so comprehensively and quickly that the virus barely spread outside of Wuhan/Hubei. Almost nobody in China will have had this illness. We know from contained environments like cruise ships that the fatality rate of this illness is somewhere in the region of 1% (yes a relatively old population on cruise ships, but also relatively wealthy and likely in better health than their age cohort in general).

    On London - yes. It would be interesting to see what the stats are for WFH in London. Hmmmm. Using the YouGov data from the survey the other day, we have -

    image

    The national figure for employed adults working at home is 44% currently compared with 12% in 2019. There are 32 million adults in work (I believe) so that's 14 million home workers.compared with just under 4 million last year so that's the thick end of 10 million "new" home workers.

    I make that somewhere in the region of 4 billion journeys (assuming 10 journeys per week 40 weeks of the year) which might not be taken whether by car, rail, bus, tube, foot, hot air balloon, canal boat, bicycle, etc.
  • OmniumOmnium Posts: 4,939
    Yeah, but they like Cable, so their judgement is well off.
  • OllyTOllyT Posts: 4,150
    edited May 2020
    Artist said:

    I reckon the more the public see of the troop of lightweights that Johnson has packed his cabinet with at these press events, the more unpopular his government will become.

    It really is low quality- Williamson, Patel, Sharma, Shapps, Jendrick... the Tories have much more quality wasted in their back benches.

    Artist said:

    I reckon the more the public see of the troop of lightweights that Johnson has packed his cabinet with at these press events, the more unpopular his government will become.

    It really is low quality- Williamson, Patel, Sharma, Shapps, Jendrick... the Tories have much more quality wasted in their back benches.
    I'm sure that there's some, but I've got a horrible feeling that a lot more quality gave up and walked away from Parliament at the 2019 General Election.
    Sorry to bring up the B word, but it was the main factor. Many experienced pro-EU politicians had walked away from the Conservative Party by 2019. Those that remained are pretty much shunted to the back benches.

    At the time this cabinet was chosen the criteria that trumped everything else was a willingness to go along with a WTO Brexit. I think we are suffering from the sort of Cabinet that that resulted in. It has very little gravitas or experience, Patel and Raab would ever be holding the big offices of state if people had been selected on merit.
  • MyBurningEarsMyBurningEars Posts: 3,650

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    It's easy to be brave and learn from doing when someone else's family are the guinea pigs. I asked yesterday if anyone had kids in state schools in the relevant year groups and what they planned to do on June 1st. Answers came there none. (We are still unsure what to do with our year 6).
    Keeping her at home is guinea-pigging her in the long-term damage of reduced education at a key age (not just pedagogically but emotionally, psychologically, in the future perhaps professionally and financially). Sending her to school isn't just guinea-pigging her, but guinea-pigging you and and your family and everyone you have contact with, due to the greater risk of COVID transmission.

    In uncertain times, everyone's a guinea pig and no course of action comes without risk. Some of those risks are broadly quantifiable, some are not, but we do have reasonable confidence that the risk of death from COVID for a healthy 11 year old is extremely small (small enough you might also wonder about other risks she faces by going to school).
  • bigjohnowlsbigjohnowls Posts: 15,885
    Omnium said:

    Yeah, but they like Cable, so their judgement is well off.
    You think Swinson was OK?
  • OmniumOmnium Posts: 4,939

    Omnium said:

    Yeah, but they like Cable, so their judgement is well off.
    You think Swinson was OK?
    As a leader - awful.
    I don't think ill of her as a person though - rather the opposite.
  • bigjohnowlsbigjohnowls Posts: 15,885
    Omnium said:

    Foxy said:

    When does Nadine get a go at the press Conference? We will need to stock up on popcorn for that one!

    I know Williamson being run out may suggest that these things are clown-test, but that'd be a step too far.
    I think we need to go to every other day rather than rolling out the z listers TBF
  • RobDRobD Posts: 51,152
    blairf said:

    RobD said:

    Andy_JS said:

    "Coding that led to lockdown was 'totally unreliable' and a 'buggy mess', say experts
    The code, written by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, was impossible to read, scientists claim

    By Hannah Boland and Ellie Zolfagharifard"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/16/coding-led-lockdown-totally-unreliable-buggy-mess-say-experts/

    Ferguson's code may indeed be a complete mess but that is less important than whether his model is accurate and reliable. His track record says no; the consensus of other models says yes.
    This is the critical point, and I am not surprised it was omitted from this piece. His predictions are not out of whack, despite how crap his coding style might be.
    As a modeller that is the key point. you judge a model not on it's coding elegance but it's ability to accurately predict future unknown events. Post Event Reviews are the true test. your model said X would happen but Y happened. Why and how do you correct this. My non-expert understanding is that the Ferguson team have been consistently wrong over their predictions for a decade.
    I'd be more open to this argument if his model was an outlier.
  • Luckyguy1983Luckyguy1983 Posts: 13,276
    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
  • Luckyguy1983Luckyguy1983 Posts: 13,276
    Foxy said:

    When does Nadine get a go at the press Conference? We will need to stock up on popcorn for that one!

    I think Nad would do well.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 10,520
    stodge said:


    London has a higher percentage of people working from home, I would imagine, given the high share of professional workers here. The collapse in commuting travel here has been greater than elsewhere which points to a big modification in behaviour (people taking the lockdown very seriously in general in our corner of SE London, perhaps because the outbreak here was more serious initially than in the provinces).
    China locked down so comprehensively and quickly that the virus barely spread outside of Wuhan/Hubei. Almost nobody in China will have had this illness. We know from contained environments like cruise ships that the fatality rate of this illness is somewhere in the region of 1% (yes a relatively old population on cruise ships, but also relatively wealthy and likely in better health than their age cohort in general).

    On London - yes. It would be interesting to see what the stats are for WFH in London. Hmmmm. Using the YouGov data from the survey the other day, we have -

    image
    The national figure for employed adults working at home is 44% currently compared with 12% in 2019. There are 32 million adults in work (I believe) so that's 14 million home workers.compared with just under 4 million last year so that's the thick end of 10 million "new" home workers.

    I make that somewhere in the region of 4 billion journeys (assuming 10 journeys per week 40 weeks of the year) which might not be taken whether by car, rail, bus, tube, foot, hot air balloon, canal boat, bicycle, etc.


    What is also interesting is the geographic spread - the idea that London is all office workers and the rest of the country aren't doesn't seem to be supported by my graph.
  • TimTTimT Posts: 2,220
    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    I am not saying that you are wrong in your assessment of what teachers are asked to do (remove all risk for the kids), but I am saying that that is what is wrong with risk assessment in general. There is no 'no risk' option in anything we do. There is no point in reducing risk in your environment (at work, school, home or elsewhere) below the general level of risk in the other environments. Risk is relative to the other options, not absolute.
  • stodgestodge Posts: 7,878
    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
  • QuincelQuincel Posts: 3,310
    There won't be a prominent (by third-party standards) candidate this year after all as Ventura and now Amash withdraw.

  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 34,759

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
    No, I always think people are correct when they disagree with me. It’s part of my inferiority complex.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 47,617
    kinabalu said:

    FPT @kinabalu

    kinabalu said:

    kinabalu said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    I've never been more aware of the BBC as a State Broadcaster than now. It's mobile front page is essentially a cut and paste from the Ministry of Information.

    Even to the point of getting it presumably intentionally wrong over the new exercise rules. It says you can now exercise outside with someone from outside your household for the first time. Which is wrong. You always could.

    No you couldn't unless you reckon you can freely stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers and that there's no such thing as a 2 metre rule.
    "Restrictions on gatherings

    7. During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two people except—

    (a)where all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household,
    (b)where the gathering is essential for work purposes,
    (c)to attend a funeral,
    etc..."

    And the two metre rule is advice not the law.
    Not all rules are laws.

    The two metre rule is a rule. The only exercising once per day was a rule.
    That was my point. You could always under the law go outside with two people. The BBC is making out that it is a recent thing.
    It is if you are following the rules and not just the law.

    If the government announced they were lifting the two metre rule and the BBC reported that would you say "why are they reporting that it was never the law?"
    You are becoming a bit HYUFD-like.

    You could always exercise outdoors with someone not in your household. As per the law.

    Nothing has changed in this respect yet the BBC is reporting as though it is a new development.
    So what?

    You are the one being HYUFD like but where HYUFD worships opinion polls you are doing the same with the law as if only the law is relevant. There's more to life than opinion polls or the law. The media doesn't just report the law. If only law changes were reported there wouldn't be very much at all for the media to report on would there?

    Being able to exercise multiple times per day IS NEW within the coronavirus guidance. The media reports a whole lot more on coronavirus as a whole than it does changes in the law so the guidance changing is newsworthy.
    The BBC says this today:

    "Individuals in England are now allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household if they stay outdoors"

    That is simply inaccurate.
    It's entirely accurate. That's what is allowed within the guidance now.

    Where does it reference law? You are the one trying to make it about law ... that quote doesn't mention the law.
    It is inaccurate because you could always do that.

    I would have expected the BBC to put the new guidance into context.
    No you couldn't always within the guidance rules. The new guidance should be put into context by being compared with the old guidance. That is like for like context.

    If the quote says from "it is now legal ..." then that would be inaccurate but it doesn't say that. You are the one reading law into it where law isn't even mentioned.

    If you want to discuss context then provide the link to the full article and we can discuss that.
    Not to interfere in this exchange but from PT on the subject of whether "Boris" really was 17.5 stone before he got the virus -

    You say you can well believe it because he is "athletic" and "all muscle".

    I would like you to reflect on that comment. I know it was late, but still.
    No that's not what I said. I said I can well believe it because he is both fat and muscular and muscle is denser than fat. Pure numbers don't mean much alone.

    A 17.5 stone all muscle individual would look like a weightlifter not Boris. A 17.5 muscular and fat individual could well look like Boris. While a 17.5 pure fat weakling who never exercised would look much bigger while being no heavier.
    We can all go back and read the post in question. You were essentially saying there was little difference to the casual eye between Boris Johnson and Vin Diesel.

    I only highlight this because I thought that on reflection you would realize you'd got carried away on the 'pro Boris' front and would wish to retract.
    No that's not what I was saying at all. You completely misunderstood it if you thought I was saying that - it's totally ridiculous and not at all what I was saying!
    I did not misunderstand. You described the pre-virus Boris Johnson (without a trace of satire) as an athletic 17 stone hunk who was "mainly muscle".

    I'm quite happy for you to copy over the post in question so that all can see and judge for themselves.
    No I did not! I never said he was a "hunk" or "mainly muscle". I did say he was "on the heavy side" (euphemism for fat) and I believed he could be 17 stone.

    kinabalu said:

    BoJo was NOT seventeen and a half stone (!) before the virus He's only 5 ft 8 inches tall. If he had weighed that much he would have looked like Mr Creosote.

    Is he spinning yet another self-serving yarn?

    17 and a half stone isn't anywhere near as much as that!

    Besides he's quite athletic as well as being on the heavy side. Remember that muscle is heavier by volume than fat so two people of the same volume can weigh quite different amounts.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 10,520
    TimT said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    I am not saying that you are wrong in your assessment of what teachers are asked to do (remove all risk for the kids), but I am saying that that is what is wrong with risk assessment in general. There is no 'no risk' option in anything we do. There is no point in reducing risk in your environment (at work, school, home or elsewhere) below the general level of risk in the other environments. Risk is relative to the other options, not absolute.
    Anyone who has been doing risk assessments and coming up with zero risk options/plans has been doing them wrong. There are no zero risk options.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 47,617
    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 47,617
    ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
    No, I always think people are correct when they disagree with me. It’s part of my inferiority complex.
    So about Gove then ... :wink:
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 29,064
    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
  • Luckyguy1983Luckyguy1983 Posts: 13,276
    ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
    No, I always think people are correct when they disagree with me. It’s part of my inferiority complex.
    No it's not.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 47,617

    Omnium said:

    Foxy said:

    When does Nadine get a go at the press Conference? We will need to stock up on popcorn for that one!

    I know Williamson being run out may suggest that these things are clown-test, but that'd be a step too far.
    I think we need to go to every other day rather than rolling out the z listers TBF
    To be fair when the main news of the day is kids going back to school I don't think sending the Education Secretary out is z list.
  • ukpaulukpaul Posts: 649
    edited May 2020

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    We already have a pretty clear idea that COVID poses very risk of death to young people, particularly those outside the medically vulnerable categories (who presumably are not going to be told to start attending school even when they reopen).

    The lockdown hasn't just saved non-vulnerable kids' lives due to COVID-19 cases prevented, but is has also reduced their deaths and serious illnesses due to reduction in traffic accidents on the way to/from school and by reduction in other infectious diseases that kids pass on to each other, particularly nastier ones like measles and meningitis. Schools have lived with - though somewhat tried to manage - those risks, rather than shuttering up in the face of them. I don't think that counted as abandoning "in loco parentis" either.
    The key point being that such traffic accidents happen outside of school's control. If something like that happens when under the school's care then you may as well kiss goodbye to your career. I believe that school buses may be under either the school's or council's purview regarding duty of care, but my knowledge of the state system in that area isn't up to date. I recall a case where a school were prosecuted because something happened at a public bus stop some metres away from the school!

    Measles has a vaccine and meningitis to some degree, they are both known quantities which have now had evidence based protocols put in place. Unvaccinated children in a school are a problem that needs to be dealt with more firmly, I believe, given how infectious it is. Meningitis tends to be pre-secondary school age, so not specifically my area but is incredibly rare, about 0.00005% even at primary age. I've known one case and that was a teacher. Fine on Friday, dead by Monday. Shocking.

    The government will need to address the issue of these sort of legal requirements of schools in this situation. I don't know what legal advice has been given but I would expect that it has been a focus of negotiations somewhere down the line.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469

    kinabalu said:

    FPT @kinabalu

    kinabalu said:

    kinabalu said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    I've never been more aware of the BBC as a State Broadcaster than now. It's mobile front page is essentially a cut and paste from the Ministry of Information.

    Even to the point of getting it presumably intentionally wrong over the new exercise rules. It says you can now exercise outside with someone from outside your household for the first time. Which is wrong. You always could.

    No you couldn't unless you reckon you can freely stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers and that there's no such thing as a 2 metre rule.
    "Restrictions on gatherings

    7. During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two people except—

    (a)where all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household,
    (b)where the gathering is essential for work purposes,
    (c)to attend a funeral,
    etc..."

    And the two metre rule is advice not the law.
    Not all rules are laws.

    The two metre rule is a rule. The only exercising once per day was a rule.
    That was my point. You could always under the law go outside with two people. The BBC is making out that it is a recent thing.
    It is if you are following the rules and not just the law.

    If the government announced they were lifting the two metre rule and the BBC reported that would you say "why are they reporting that it was never the law?"
    You are becoming a bit HYUFD-like.

    You could always exercise outdoors with someone not in your household. As per the law.

    Nothing has changed in this respect yet the BBC is reporting as though it is a new development.
    So what?

    You are the one being HYUFD like but where HYUFD worships opinion polls you are doing the same with the law as if only the law is relevant. There's more to life than opinion polls or the law. The media doesn't just report the law. If only law changes were reported there wouldn't be very much at all for the media to report on would there?

    Being able to exercise multiple times per day IS NEW within the coronavirus guidance. The media reports a whole lot more on coronavirus as a whole than it does changes in the law so the guidance changing is newsworthy.
    The BBC says this today:

    "Individuals in England are now allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household if they stay outdoors"

    That is simply inaccurate.
    It's entirely accurate. That's what is allowed within the guidance now.

    Where does it reference law? You are the one trying to make it about law ... that quote doesn't mention the law.
    It is inaccurate because you could always do that.

    I would have expected the BBC to put the new guidance into context.
    No you couldn't always within the guidance rules. The new guidance should be put into context by being compared with the old guidance. That is like for like context.

    If the quote says from "it is now legal ..." then that would be inaccurate but it doesn't say that. You are the one reading law into it where law isn't even mentioned.

    If you want to discuss context then provide the link to the full article and we can discuss that.
    Not to interfere in this exchange but from PT on the subject of whether "Boris" really was 17.5 stone before he got the virus -

    You say you can well believe it because he is "athletic" and "all muscle".

    I would like you to reflect on that comment. I know it was late, but still.
    No that's not what I said. I said I can well believe it because he is both fat and muscular and muscle is denser than fat. Pure numbers don't mean much alone.

    A 17.5 stone all muscle individual would look like a weightlifter not Boris. A 17.5 muscular and fat individual could well look like Boris. While a 17.5 pure fat weakling who never exercised would look much bigger while being no heavier.
    We can all go back and read the post in question. You were essentially saying there was little difference to the casual eye between Boris Johnson and Vin Diesel.

    I only highlight this because I thought that on reflection you would realize you'd got carried away on the 'pro Boris' front and would wish to retract.
    No that's not what I was saying at all. You completely misunderstood it if you thought I was saying that - it's totally ridiculous and not at all what I was saying!
    I did not misunderstand. You described the pre-virus Boris Johnson (without a trace of satire) as an athletic 17 stone hunk who was "mainly muscle".

    I'm quite happy for you to copy over the post in question so that all can see and judge for themselves.
    No I did not! I never said he was a "hunk" or "mainly muscle". I did say he was "on the heavy side" (euphemism for fat) and I believed he could be 17 stone.

    kinabalu said:

    BoJo was NOT seventeen and a half stone (!) before the virus He's only 5 ft 8 inches tall. If he had weighed that much he would have looked like Mr Creosote.

    Is he spinning yet another self-serving yarn?

    17 and a half stone isn't anywhere near as much as that!

    Besides he's quite athletic as well as being on the heavy side. Remember that muscle is heavier by volume than fat so two people of the same volume can weigh quite different amounts.
    Exactly as I remembered it. Specific and very pointed mention of "athleticism" and "muscle". But kudos for copying it. Many would have tried to deflect and obscure.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 34,759

    ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
    No, I always think people are correct when they disagree with me. It’s part of my inferiority complex.
    So about Gove then ... :wink:
    Well, that’s the irony. I agreed with his ideas. The problem was the epic clusterfuck of the implementation.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 34,759

    ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:
    Some time ago Ash Sarkar, who heaven knows is hardly the Brain of Britain, became exasperated with Morgan not understanding her very simple position on Donald Trump and yelled at him, ‘I’m a Communist, you idiot!’

    In a career characterised by a total lack of insight, a fanatical devotion to dogma and a profound ignorance of politics and society, she nevertheless nailed Morgan’s character in a way few have done in their waking moments.

    And yet even Piers Morgan can sometimes be correct.
    Would that be when he agrees with you by any chance? :wink:
    No, I always think people are correct when they disagree with me. It’s part of my inferiority complex.
    No it's not.
    Good one :smiley:
  • SockySocky Posts: 404
    TimT said:

    There is no 'no risk' option in anything we do.

    One of the most annoying things the media say is: "It is worth it if it saves one life."

    It is ugly and unpleasant, but sometimes we should trade lives for lives, or even lives for "stuff".
  • MyBurningEarsMyBurningEars Posts: 3,650
    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    We already have a pretty clear idea that COVID poses very risk of death to young people, particularly those outside the medically vulnerable categories (who presumably are not going to be told to start attending school even when they reopen).

    The lockdown hasn't just saved non-vulnerable kids' lives due to COVID-19 cases prevented, but is has also reduced their deaths and serious illnesses due to reduction in traffic accidents on the way to/from school and by reduction in other infectious diseases that kids pass on to each other, particularly nastier ones like measles and meningitis. Schools have lived with - though somewhat tried to manage - those risks, rather than shuttering up in the face of them. I don't think that counted as abandoning "in loco parentis" either.
    The key point being that such traffic accidents happen outside of school's control. If something like that happens when under the school's care then you may as well kiss goodbye to your career. I believe that school buses may be under either the school's or council's purview regarding duty of care, but my knowledge of the state system in that area isn't up to date. I recall a case where a school were prosecuted because something happened at a public bus stop some metres away from the school!

    Measles has a vaccine and meningitis to some degree, they are both known quantities which have now had evidence based protocols put in place. Unvaccinated children in a school are a problem that needs to be dealt with more firmly, I believe, given how infectious it is. Meningitis tends to be pre-secondary school age, so not specifically my area but is incredibly rare, about 0.00005% even at primary age. I've known one case and that was a teacher. Fine on Friday, dead by Monday. Shocking.

    The government will need to address the issue of these sort of legal requirements of schools in this situation. I don't know what legal advice has been given but I would expect that it has been a focus of negotiations somewhere down the line.
    Re risk of traffic accidents, it's still true that schools try to manage these - particularly by seeking parking restrictions in the neighbourhood of the school, since many accidents arise with kids crossing roads with parked cars. Teachers being assigned "duty" on nearby roads, especially busy ones, and at bus stops aren't rare either. Primary schools often run "walking bus" schemes, partly for fitness and partly for child safety.

    For a lot of these schemes we don't know what percentage change they're reducing risk by, particularly for that particular school and route. We don't have evidence in that fine a detail. But we know enough about the general principles to think they are probably a good idea.

    What schools don't do is say "there's a chance children will be run over if they come to school and we haven't got a road safety engineer to make a specific assessment of local routes, and if kids get here they might catch a nasty cold or bout of flu and this year's particular set of winter nasties have not been studied in great detail yet, so it would breach our duty of standing in loco parentis if we allowed schools to open". A degree of fuzziness is clearly acceptable.
  • MyBurningEarsMyBurningEars Posts: 3,650

    Andy_JS said:

    "Coding that led to lockdown was 'totally unreliable' and a 'buggy mess', say experts
    The code, written by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, was impossible to read, scientists claim

    By Hannah Boland and Ellie Zolfagharifard"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/16/coding-led-lockdown-totally-unreliable-buggy-mess-say-experts/

    Ferguson's code may indeed be a complete mess but that is less important than whether his model is accurate and reliable. His track record says no; the consensus of other models says yes.
    There's also always been a fundamental difference in approach between people developing code for scientific computing and those doing commercial software engineering, so there's a bit of "when two worlds collide, one looks ridiculous to the other" going on here. Not specifically about Ferguson, almost a decade old in fact, but a good read:

    https://www.johndcook.com/blog/2011/07/21/software-exoskeletons/

    There’s a major divide between the way scientists and programmers view the software they write.

    Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves. Think Dr. Octopus. The software may do heavy lifting, but the scientists remain actively involved in its use. The software is a tool, not a self-contained product.

    Programmers see their software as something they will hand over to someone else, more like building a robot than an exoskeleton. Programmers believe it’s their job to encapsulate intelligence in software. If users have to depend on programmers after the software is written, the programmers didn’t finish their job.

    I work with scientists and programmers, often bridging the gaps between the two cultures. One point of tension is defining when a project is done. To a scientist, the software is done when they get what they want out of it, such as a table of numbers for a paper. Professional programmers give more thought to reproducibility, maintainability, and correctness. Scientists think programmers are anal retentive. Programmers think scientists are cowboys.

    Programmers need to understand that sometimes a program really only needs to run once, on one set of input, with expert supervision. Scientists need to understand that prototype code may need a complete rewrite before it can be used in production.

    The real tension comes when a piece of research software is suddenly expected to be ready for production. The scientist will say “the code has already been written” and can’t imagine it would take much work, if any, to prepare the software for its new responsibilities. They don’t understand how hard it is for an engineer to turn an exoskeleton into a self-sufficient robot.


    Whatever you think, there are definitely issues about whether a multi-billion pound decision should be based so much (albeit not exclusively, other modelling results fed in to the decision-making process) on code that had had such little QA. But also without the model itself (a different thing to its code implementation) being completely specified and reviewable.
    My first thought on seeing the Profs code - he appears to be streets ahead of the average quant.

    Academic code has undergone a revolution in the last decade. A lot of groups are hiring expert developers to code libraries* rather than just let the self-taught make furniture with an axe**.

    *Yes, reusable code.
    **Hacker joke - as in alleged original meaning of "hacker"
    To be fair I think only the cleaned-up version of Ferguson's code was available, wasn't it, and he hasn't released the original? Though one of the clean-up guys was the legendary John Carmack and he reckoned it wasn't too bad (the thread is probably more informative than the individual tweet). A lot of the reports of "bugs" seem to be on sections of the code that were just messy leftovers and weren't actually being run anymore, as I understand it.



    But yes, what you're saying for academia upping its game on code in general goes in the disease modelling world specifically too:

    FPTs gone by

    glw said:

    Also, in general if you do come up with something that is valuable, that is when you start to employ people who are software engineers, to well, software engineer.

    We'd do that NOW, in fact they have done to an extent, but do you really think anyone, say last October, was thinking "we really need to urgently review and refactor our pandemic modelling software"? I don't, it wasn't considered valuable to any degree back then.
    I only know a few of the modelling team at Imperial (though those I do come from a top-notch technical academic background) but I'm aware that LSHTM has for over a decade been deliberately hiring in software engineers from industry - some to learn epidemiology and retrain as academics, others not on the academic track so I assume there mostly for programming support. Seems sensible to me. In general terms I wonder if 22 is the optimal age to start a PhD, by which point you've been in the education system for 17 years flat. Might be worth going out and getting some Big Wide World experience for a couple of years! Certainly could go back with different perspectives and skills that way. (Though once you've got used to a certain industry salary, a return to the student lifestyle may not be so attractive!)
  • JonathanJonathan Posts: 15,699
    Jack and Vera would be proud.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 39,501

    The downside of a candidate in hiding is that Trump can run against whatever he chooses.

    Here's the thing with Trump: that's absolutely superb.

    It's almost bang-on as an attack line.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 81,691

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 10,520

    Andy_JS said:

    "Coding that led to lockdown was 'totally unreliable' and a 'buggy mess', say experts
    The code, written by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, was impossible to read, scientists claim

    By Hannah Boland and Ellie Zolfagharifard"

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/05/16/coding-led-lockdown-totally-unreliable-buggy-mess-say-experts/

    Ferguson's code may indeed be a complete mess but that is less important than whether his model is accurate and reliable. His track record says no; the consensus of other models says yes.
    There's also always been a fundamental difference in approach between people developing code for scientific computing and those doing commercial software engineering, so there's a bit of "when two worlds collide, one looks ridiculous to the other" going on here. Not specifically about Ferguson, almost a decade old in fact, but a good read:

    https://www.johndcook.com/blog/2011/07/21/software-exoskeletons/

    There’s a major divide between the way scientists and programmers view the software they write.

    Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves. Think Dr. Octopus. The software may do heavy lifting, but the scientists remain actively involved in its use. The software is a tool, not a self-contained product.

    Programmers see their software as something they will hand over to someone else, more like building a robot than an exoskeleton. Programmers believe it’s their job to encapsulate intelligence in software. If users have to depend on programmers after the software is written, the programmers didn’t finish their job.

    I work with scientists and programmers, often bridging the gaps between the two cultures. One point of tension is defining when a project is done. To a scientist, the software is done when they get what they want out of it, such as a table of numbers for a paper. Professional programmers give more thought to reproducibility, maintainability, and correctness. Scientists think programmers are anal retentive. Programmers think scientists are cowboys.

    Programmers need to understand that sometimes a program really only needs to run once, on one set of input, with expert supervision. Scientists need to understand that prototype code may need a complete rewrite before it can be used in production.

    The real tension comes when a piece of research software is suddenly expected to be ready for production. The scientist will say “the code has already been written” and can’t imagine it would take much work, if any, to prepare the software for its new responsibilities. They don’t understand how hard it is for an engineer to turn an exoskeleton into a self-sufficient robot.


    Whatever you think, there are definitely issues about whether a multi-billion pound decision should be based so much (albeit not exclusively, other modelling results fed in to the decision-making process) on code that had had such little QA. But also without the model itself (a different thing to its code implementation) being completely specified and reviewable.
    My first thought on seeing the Profs code - he appears to be streets ahead of the average quant.

    Academic code has undergone a revolution in the last decade. A lot of groups are hiring expert developers to code libraries* rather than just let the self-taught make furniture with an axe**.

    *Yes, reusable code.
    **Hacker joke - as in alleged original meaning of "hacker"
    To be fair I think only the cleaned-up version of Ferguson's code was available, wasn't it, and he hasn't released the original? Though one of the clean-up guys was the legendary John Carmack and he reckoned it wasn't too bad (the thread is probably more informative than the individual tweet). A lot of the reports of "bugs" seem to be on sections of the code that were just messy leftovers and weren't actually being run anymore, as I understand it.



    But yes, what you're saying for academia upping its game on code in general goes in the disease modelling world specifically too:

    FPTs gone by

    glw said:

    Also, in general if you do come up with something that is valuable, that is when you start to employ people who are software engineers, to well, software engineer.

    We'd do that NOW, in fact they have done to an extent, but do you really think anyone, say last October, was thinking "we really need to urgently review and refactor our pandemic modelling software"? I don't, it wasn't considered valuable to any degree back then.
    I only know a few of the modelling team at Imperial (though those I do come from a top-notch technical academic background) but I'm aware that LSHTM has for over a decade been deliberately hiring in software engineers from industry - some to learn epidemiology and retrain as academics, others not on the academic track so I assume there mostly for programming support. Seems sensible to me. In general terms I wonder if 22 is the optimal age to start a PhD, by which point you've been in the education system for 17 years flat. Might be worth going out and getting some Big Wide World experience for a couple of years! Certainly could go back with different perspectives and skills that way. (Though once you've got used to a certain industry salary, a return to the student lifestyle may not be so attractive!)
    I saw some of the original code, via a friend. I have seen a lot worse. It's code as scripting, really. One long file of functions.

    Hard core old C is still very good for some things. I was writing CUDA when it was just C with a small set of extensions... I surprised an NVIDIA guy when I showed him that structs worked for loading data into the GPU memory....

    Academia in the UK has caught up with the idea that coding is a skill and an art - not just something scientist do when the calculator work gets heavy.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 39,501
    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    I think the Lib Dems could do rather well next time.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 81,691
    stodge said:

    HYUFD said:


    Possibly but not certainly however that is unlikely as Sunak will have been responsible for government economic policy and if he proposed abandoning Boris' WTO terms Brexit he would lose lots of older Leave voters back to the Brexit Party again.

    It will take a generation for a pro single market Tory leader to emerge again

    It's not always an issue of policy.

    Thatcher wasn't toppled because the Party stopped believing in her policies. It was because she stopped being a winner and, crucially, because first Heseltine and then Major looked as thought they could stop Kinnock and Labour.

    If we see an anti-Boris vote emerge it will be because people are either tired or bored with him rather than because they don't support his policies. The signs will be in by-elections and the annual round of local contests.

    If that dichotomy is evident in polls, would you support the replacement of Johnson by a candidate more likely to preserve the Conservative Party in Govenrment?

    It was an issue of policy, Thatcher's decline in popularity was entirely a result of the
    poll tax and Major's promise to scrap it was the reason he replaced her.

    Thatcher otherwise remained the best election winner the Tories had until Boris.

    With Boris if he becomes unpopular it will almost certainly be due to the impact of WTO terms Brexit but no alternative leader would likely do any better as if they committed to return to the single market there would again be a mass defection of Leavers from the Tories to the Brexit Party
  • malcolmgmalcolmg Posts: 31,295
    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    LOL, it is a comedy on here
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 34,759
    edited May 2020
    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    Good grief.

    May to Johnson to Patel.

    Every time you think we’ve reached rock bottom, out come those jackhammers.
  • kyf_100kyf_100 Posts: 2,328

    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    I think the Lib Dems could do rather well next time.
    Beyond opposing Brexit, I haven't got a clue what the Lib Dems stand for any more.

  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 35,925
    Jonathan said:

    Jack and Vera would be proud.

    Not only is there a Tammy Duckworth in the Senate, but also a Tammy Baldwin.
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,015
    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    I don't really understand this determination to hang on to either Scotland or Northern Ireland. These are territories in which something like 40-45% of the population are desperate to get away.

    It's almost like an act of self-flagellation. It would be vastly easier and more painless to just let them go.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 10,520
    kyf_100 said:

    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    I think the Lib Dems could do rather well next time.
    Beyond opposing Brexit, I haven't got a clue what the Lib Dems stand for any more.

    The sad shame is that the old Liberal ideas - free trade, social market economy etc won the ideas revolution.

    But by that point the Liberal party had moved away from them. The Orange Book thing was an attempt to revive that history.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 81,691
    edited May 2020

    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    I don't really understand this determination to hang on to either Scotland or Northern Ireland. These are territories in which something like 40-45% of the population are desperate to get away.

    It's almost like an act of self-flagellation. It would be vastly easier and more painless to just let them go.
    Scotland voted 55% to remain in the UK in 2014 in a 'once in a generation' referendum.

    Northern Ireland still gave more votes to Unionist parties than Nationalist parties at the last general election.

    I have been and always will be a diehard Unionist as well as a Tory
  • Black_RookBlack_Rook Posts: 6,015
    kyf_100 said:

    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    I think the Lib Dems could do rather well next time.
    Beyond opposing Brexit, I haven't got a clue what the Lib Dems stand for any more.

    The idea is presumably that they can resume their place as the plague on all their houses party. I'm not at all sure that this will wash, post-Coalition. Left-wing voters mostly won't touch them because they got into bed with the Tories, and a lot of right-wing voters won't touch them because they suspect (correctly) that they'll get into bed with Labour at the first available opportunity.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 81,691
    edited May 2020
    kyf_100 said:

    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    I think the Lib Dems could do rather well next time.
    Beyond opposing Brexit, I haven't got a clue what the Lib Dems stand for any more.

    Not being Labour and not being the Tories
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 34,759
    This thread has

    been ordered to social distance

  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469
    Jonathan said:

    Jack and Vera would be proud.

    Glad you did this one so I won't have to. It was almost killing me.
  • malcolmgmalcolmg Posts: 31,295
    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    I don't really understand this determination to hang on to either Scotland or Northern Ireland. These are territories in which something like 40-45% of the population are desperate to get away.

    It's almost like an act of self-flagellation. It would be vastly easier and more painless to just let them go.
    Scotland voted 55% to remain in the UK in 2014 in a 'once in a generation' referendum.

    Northern Ireland still gave more votes to Unionist parties than Nationalist parties at the last general election.

    I have been and always will be a diehard Unionist as well as a Tory
    You really are an idiot , it was never once in anything. It is a union that can be broken any time one partner wants out, it won't be long.
  • stodgestodge Posts: 7,878
    Sean_F said:


    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.

    Possibly - six seats were lost by less than 1000, four to the Conservatives, one to Labour and one to the SNP and one was held with a majority of 204 so we could have got Johnson's majority to 60 rather than 80 but the net effect would have been the same.

    The two elements of the Johnson coalition were roughly 36% (about three quarters of all Leave voters) and 8% (the Remain voters who were a combination of those more frightened of Corbyn than of leaving the EU and those who weren't frightened of Corbyn but realised a democratic vote had to be respected).

    There's a space for a fiscally responsible centre party between the two high spending social democratic parties. At the moment Sunak is Mr Popular because he is handing out money - anyone can do that. He might get away with a rapid bounce-back from the slump but he might not - consumer habits may be profoundly affected by this experience.

    He will then be forced to introduce some less popular measures and this will be the test both for him and for Johnson, neither of whom have experienced real unpopularity and that is in many ways the making and breaking of a politician.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469

    The downside of a candidate in hiding is that Trump can run against whatever he chooses.

    Here's the thing with Trump: that's absolutely superb.

    It's almost bang-on as an attack line.
    Could be a touch of the old 'confirmation bias' creeping in here.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 24,649
    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    ydoethur said:

    HYUFD said:

    MikeL said:

    Just watching press conference on a slight delay.

    Williamson's answers to initial questions are absolutely shocking.

    He was asked specific questions about differences between regions and going against BMA advice and his answers were just standard boilerplate platitudes.

    His answers bore no relation whatsoever to the questions asked. A total and utter embarrassment.

    I think he may be the worst government secretary of state this century. He seemed very popular with parts of the Tory party last year, not sure if he still is, any fans on here?
    He is doing fine as far as I am concerned, schools are still improving and he is easing pupils back to education
    Hyufd, out of curiosity, is there anything the Tories could do that would put you off them?
    Giving in to the SNP
    OK, fair enough, that’s an answer.

    When, er, if, Johnson concedes IndyRef2 I will remind you of this...
    If Boris concedes indyref2 to the SNP in breach of the Tory manifesto I will help lead the Tory revolt to get rid of him
    I already hoped he would if the SNP win a majority next year. Annoying you would be the cherry on the cake.
    He won't, ot would break the manifesto commitment and if you want the circumstances in which Priti Patel could replace Boris as PM that would be it
    I don't really understand this determination to hang on to either Scotland or Northern Ireland. These are territories in which something like 40-45% of the population are desperate to get away.

    It's almost like an act of self-flagellation. It would be vastly easier and more painless to just let them go.
    Scotland voted 55% to remain in the UK in 2014 in a 'once in a generation' referendum.

    Northern Ireland still gave more votes to Unionist parties than Nationalist parties at the last general election.

    I have been and always will be a diehard Unionist as well as a Tory
    ¡Una, Grande y Libre!
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469

    Jonathan said:

    Jack and Vera would be proud.

    Not only is there a Tammy Duckworth in the Senate, but also a Tammy Baldwin.
    I was thought to look like Terry Duckworth. Bit of a running family joke. I pretended to be amused and flattered but in truth I was neither.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469
    Abba's Waterloo in 'voted best ever Eurovision winning song' shocker!
  • ukpaulukpaul Posts: 649
    edited May 2020

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    ukpaul said:

    DeClare said:

    Everyone is in favour of *safely* reopening the schools but Adonis begs the question.
    People keep saying re-open schools, but they've never been closed, my niece is a teacher and she is there working with the key worker's kids and some of those classed as vulnerable.

    I do wonder if this goes on too long that the fireman's the postman's and the shopworker's kids will all be at Oxford and Cambridge whilst those belonging to the stockbroker, the lawyer and the business executive will all be on the scrapheap.
    Regarding the issues that are behind this, which I referred to on the previous thread. Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate. If the rule is weaker in schools then schools will not return. The government deliberately singled out schools as needing weaker protection, yet they have produced no evidence that this is science based. If they do, and if schools are treated equally, they will likely return in a greater way before September. If they aren’t, they won’t. This is not radical, it is not anything that reactionaries in the press are claiming. It is a public health issue, as backed up by the British Medical Association.

    That is all.
    "Schools want to be treated the same as other venues where people congregate."

    I think this is a sticking point that eventually is going to have to get bulldozed through.Different venues will end up getting treated differently not because of differences in their risks, but differences in the benefits of reopening them (or more bluntly, the costs of them being closed).

    -----

    But with only a few thousand people likely to be moving around, compared to millions of family reunions, the "weight" (contribution to R) is minimal and the "value" of getting the property market somewhat unstuck is deemed sufficient high (we do want people to be able to move for work, especially key workers, and moves to enable family caring solutions outside care homes may also be desirable).

    You can try to reopen things in a way that reduces their "weight" while only reducing their social value as little as possible, but that only works up to an extent. Face-to-face teaching is something sufficiently valuable that it's an obvious priority to go back in the knapsack and even with a lot of thought going into preventative measures it's going to be a heavy one.

    -----

    Protection for teachers, particularly teachers in higher-risk groups, is a valid issue and something unions are right to flag up.
    If you bulldoze something you end up with wreckage strewn about the place. An apt metaphor!

    Regarding R, a major factor affecting it is the transport to and from places, the 'school run' is given a term for a very good reason, it overwhelms many transport networks. Then school buses, parents/grandparents mixing and so on and you can see the problem.

    This press conference is going off the rails now, by the way, it bears so little relation to reality. Embarrassing to watch.
    I didn't just mean it for schools, I mean it for every setting where people are complaining "we demand to be treated in a logically consistent way with sector X". That kind of objection is one that's not going to be tenable - different settings and sectors are going to end up treated differently. That's just how it has to be.

    Some countries (not just for the COVID pandemic, I mean in general) use the same school building for both a "morning school" and an "afternoon school" so two schools can share the same facilities. I did wonder if we might end up trying something like that, or for non-priority yeargroups running classes only on alternating days.

    The transport issue is an important one for workplaces and other venues too, though it's perhaps most marked for schools. Staggering start-times (one of the government suggestions) e.g. by year-group is only a partial solution as quite frequently two siblings will be in different year groups at the same school. Using grandparents as child transport is also inadvisable at the moment. However, being realistic about the transport issue also suggests there are limits on how overboard you want to go "making schools safe". Can't fit the required number of kids in a room with the seats two metres apart? Well it probably isn't the end of the world, in risk management terms, if you end up with them 1.5 metres apart. Because what's going to happen when they get on the bus and have a chat there?
    It all comes down to how much children of different ages spread the virus. Until that is better understood everything is a guess.

    For adults consenting for themselves that may be okay but we are talking about young people who don't have that agency, so who look to those who care for them (parents at home, teachers at school) to look out for their interests. That is what is happening and it's going to be different for schools because isn't really a factor in most other workplaces.

    When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point.
    I can sympathise with the uncertainty but there's a problem with a perspective of "When we know the risk we can mitigate the risk. If we don't, then we can't. All of the above is moot until we get to that point."

    Uncertainty is part of risk management. The presence of uncertainty does not render risk management impossible. Plenty of risk management professionals would tend to argue that the precautionary principle, despite being many well-meaning people's natural reaction to uncertainty, is not risk management.

    From what we do know, we can be reasonably confident the vast majority of the risk from greater school attendance lies with the more vulnerable people kids could transmit COVID to due to increased between-household transmission, rather than with the children themselves (particularly if medically vulnerable children are told to do schoolwork from home). We can also be reasonably confident, based on existing knowledge about the effect of gaps in education, that children are suffering genuine harm from the current school closures, which means "we don't know what to do so let's do nothing" isn't a morally clear winner.

    I don't think the attitude of leaving society frozen as it is and waiting for THE SCIENCE to come along and inform us of everything we need to do to started again is a goer. Partly because the research isn't going to work like that -if we wait another fortnight or four months we're not going to get a bunch of journal articles come through saying "kids are fine provided they sit 1.53 metres apart" or "teachers are 13% less likely to contract COVID if school lunch breaks are staggered". We will have the advantage of watching other countries open schools first, which will help judge to a degree what the likely effect on R will be here. But only to a degree because different countries are different in many ways (eg size of classrooms, whether kids stay in the same classes all day, how kids get to school) and the R estimates are a tricky business.

    I'm afraid there is going to have to be a lot of learning-by-doing to unwind the lockdown, which is why the approach of bringing in only a few changes at a time and then waiting for a while to see how transmission changes is the only sensible approach.
    You are basically asking teachers to go against everything they have ever been told about their role and (especially since the nineties) about the role of teachers in keeping students safe within the school environment. To try and move from a culture where every risk is avoided to protect children and a system whereby nothing happens until it is safe to do so to one where that goes out of the window is not going to happen overnight. If we are being asked to ditch duty of care and our role in loco parentis, then that needs to be made clear before anything can progress. This does not yet get us to the question of staff safety but it's probably best to iron out the concerns about student's safety first.
    We already have a pretty clear idea that COVID poses very risk of death to young people, particularly those outside the medically vulnerable categories (who presumably are not going to be told to start attending school even when they reopen).

    The lockdown hasn't just saved non-vulnerable kids' lives due to COVID-19 cases prevented, but is has also reduced their deaths and serious illnesses due to reduction in traffic accidents on the way to/from school and by reduction in other infectious diseases that kids pass on to each other, particularly nastier ones like measles and meningitis. Schools have lived with - though somewhat tried to manage - those risks, rather than shuttering up in the face of them. I don't think that counted as abandoning "in loco parentis" either.
    The key point being that such traffic accidents happen outside of school's control. If something like that happens when under the school's care then you may as well kiss goodbye to your career. I believe that school buses may be under either the school's or council's purview regarding duty of care, but my knowledge of the state system in that area isn't up to date. I recall a case where a school were prosecuted because something happened at a public bus stop some metres away from the school!

    Measles has a vaccine and meningitis to some degree, they are both known quantities which have now had evidence based protocols put in place. Unvaccinated children in a school are a problem that needs to be dealt with more firmly, I believe, given how infectious it is. Meningitis tends to be pre-secondary school age, so not specifically my area but is incredibly rare, about 0.00005% even at primary age. I've known one case and that was a teacher. Fine on Friday, dead by Monday. Shocking.

    The government will need to address the issue of these sort of legal requirements of schools in this situation. I don't know what legal advice has been given but I would expect that it has been a focus of negotiations somewhere down the line.
    Re risk of traffic accidents, it's still true that schools try to manage these - particularly by seeking parking restrictions in the neighbourhood of the school, since many accidents arise with kids crossing roads with parked cars. Teachers being assigned "duty" on nearby roads, especially busy ones, and at bus stops aren't rare either. Primary schools often run "walking bus" schemes, partly for fitness and partly for child safety.

    For a lot of these schemes we don't know what percentage change they're reducing risk by, particularly for that particular school and route. We don't have evidence in that fine a detail. But we know enough about the general principles to think they are probably a good idea.

    What schools don't do is say "there's a chance children will be run over if they come to school and we haven't got a road safety engineer to make a specific assessment of local routes, and if kids get here they might catch a nasty cold or bout of flu and this year's particular set of winter nasties have not been studied in great detail yet, so it would breach our duty of standing in loco parentis if we allowed schools to open". A degree of fuzziness is clearly acceptable.
    I'm really not sure what you are saying here. We have protocols around the known risks. We don't on risks that are unknown and do not allow activities to take place if we don't. Everything you mention is known. There can be no fuzziness in the realm of responsibility! If the parents sign a waiver that the school will not be held responsible for anything involving the spread of the virus then there may be a way forward on the student issue at least.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 34,907
    Meridan goes Labour on a half per cent swing giving Labour an overall majority. Delightfully young Nigel Lawson being interviewed by Robin Day.
  • justin124justin124 Posts: 10,674
    DavidL said:

    Meridan goes Labour on a half per cent swing giving Labour an overall majority. Delightfully young Nigel Lawson being interviewed by Robin Day.

    Election night coverage was far better in those days despite being shown in blacl and white. Viewers were given every individual result and the relevant swing. For over twenty years it has become too much of a chat show and treated as entertainment. The solemn serious nature of the occasion has rather been lost.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,129
    edited May 2020
    kinabalu said:

    Abba's Waterloo in 'voted best ever Eurovision winning song' shocker!

    Brotherhood of Man woz robbed...
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 21,129
    Sean_F said:

    stodge said:

    A pretty one-dimensional response as might be expected to a much more complex issue.

    As a former LD, I welcome the Thornhill Report which seems a no-holds-barred account of what went wrong and why it went wrong.

    Let's just remember where we were this time last year - May was in huge trouble with the Conservatives having taken a pounding at the local election and the Brexit Party was hoovering up the party's votes with the European elections just a week away.

    At those elections, Farage topped the poll with Swinson's LDs second but the latter only polled 20% - a real warning sign if there ever was one and this wasn't a strong result on a 37% poll so if 20% on a low poll was the best enthusiasm could get you it didn't augur well for a GE.

    Once the Com Res poll came out the night before the first ballot and confirmed that of the leadership contenders only Boris Johnson was likely to win the Party a majority, the game was up. Farage's fox was shot but so was Swinson's.

    Through the autumn of indecision, the Conservative poll ratings kept climbing as people wanted an end to stalemate and with a Corbyn-led Government the only realistic option, Johnson was able to build his two-pronged voting coalition.

    1) The Leavers - who had nowhere else to go once Farage abandoned the fight.
    2) The Remainers who, despite recognising the vote to Leave wasn't what they wanted, recognised it was a democratic decision which had to be enacted.

    These two groups combined delivered Johnson his landslide. Could another LD leader have made a difference? It 's hard to see how - even if the Party had supported May's WA they didn't have the numbers to get it through the Commons.

    The problem was the Party had agreed a fundamentally anti-democratic position which chose to ignore the 2016 referendum result. That was wrong - if you are in democratic politics you have to accept democratic decisions and then argue to change them through the ballot box not ignore them because you don't like them.
    The Lib Dems were a bit unlucky. They could easily have won twice the number of seats had a few more votes fallen in their direction.

    There were just enough pro-EU Conservatives who were terrified of Corbyn becoming PM to hold the Lib Dems down to eleven seats.
    It is worth noting, despite the loss of a seat (her own) Swinson did get a significantly increased number of votes.

    I voted Davey, but much as I like him, I think the coalition is too much of an albatross, particularly as a hung parliament and supporting a Starmer minority government is quite a likely outcome next GE.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 17,469
    edited May 2020
    deleted
This discussion has been closed.