Budget data – Covid data: obfuscation wins
The wait is (mostly) over: later today ‘Our Rishi’ will present his budget. The MSM are full of guesses, of ponderous ‘advice’ by business editors of what Sunak should’ve proposing. They are generally better equipped to deal with numbers than their ‘science and health’ counterparts in the editorial chambers. However, they’ re no prophets and after their guessing games, on display in the MSM since the weekend, I’d like to dust down my favourite quip which applies to them as well as to economists generally: “Economists were invented to make weather forecasters look good”. So let’s wait and see, shall we! Tomorrow, we can all wail about Rishi’s budget ‘with cause’.
While we wait let’s point out that “sources” in the Treasury have been leaking all over the place. We’ll see if they did so to obfuscate the issue. Furthermore, ‘vested interests’ have been pushing their view onto the MSM business editors, so we know that they believe raising taxes is bad (true) especially when applied to CGT. Taxing us plebs is acceptable for some – not for Sir John Redwood though, see his Diary entry this morning (link). There’s also gossip that the furlough scheme will stay in place until the autumn. Interested parties would like to know if that means the covid politburo under BJ plans to keep lockdown going until then, one way or another.
This is an important question because something is going on which ought to have been shouted from the rooftops but strangely enough the MSM’s ‘covid category’, the place where all reports relating to covid are collected, has been shoved down the MSM’s pages. You can have three guesses as to what or indeed who dominates the prominent top place.
Thus, after much scrolling down, we learn that even more people in England live in what can be called ‘covid-free’ zones (link). Even more interesting is the finding that the fall in covid deaths has been outpacing the precious SAGE models:
“The most recent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (SPI-M) projections were produced on Feb 10 and were pivotal in developing the Government’s roadmap out of restrictions.The midpoint projections estimated that deaths in England would not fall below 200 a day until around mid-March – but that point was reached on Feb 25. SPI-M suggested there would be around 150 deaths a day by March 21, when the model ends. But daily deaths by date of death are around that now, although there will be a small increase because of lagged data in coming days.” (paywalled link)
There’s the usual caution about not doing anything hasty, for example:
“Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and a member of SPI-M, said: “The data are indeed looking better than the models were predicting and – to the best of my knowledge – better than anyone was expecting. If the phrase ‘data-driven not date-driven’ has any meaning, then it must allow for the schedule for relaxing restrictions to be brought forward if the data are better than expected and not just putting the schedule back if the data are worse than expected.” (paywalled link)
However, we know that SAGE’s power over BJ and his government is based on always presenting ‘worst-case’ scenarios. Certainly the Hancocks of this world are reluctant to think about easing their grip on all our throats even when presenting plain numbers which ought to have government shout that mass vaccination is successful, and “we” can therefore be released earlier:
“Vaccination will stop people passing on the coronavirus “almost completely”, the Public Health England head of immunisation has forecast.Dr Mary Ramsay said evidence was mounting that vaccination worked to prevent infections and stop people transmitting the virus, something that would make it much easier to ease lockdown quickly and permanently.” (link, paywalled)
That’s rather good, isn’t it! Will BJ therefore ‘follow the data, not the dates’ and release us earlier from the lockdown prison? Forgive me if I have my doubts – there’s another ‘virus’ making the rounds, as Allison Pearosn reports for the DT:
“The Whitehall variant is rapidly transmitted by scientific advisers whenever there is encouraging news. The better the news, the more aggressive the variant. The Whitehall strain of Covid-19 is highly contagious and is easily caught by politicians in the same room as members of Sage. Symptoms include a flustered, shifty appearance and an ability to speak only in what grammarians call the “Type 2 conditional”. For example: “This new variant may be more resistant to vaccines.” Or: “This new variant could be more lethal.” Invariably, after 10 days or so, those speculative statements are proven to be groundless. Turns out our two terrific vaccines can cope just fine. But, by then, it’s too late. The Whitehall variant has caused a fresh outbreak of fear in the population just as they were starting to glimpse the end of lockdown.” (paywalled link)
Well spotted, Allison, and well said! Better we don’t expect the government lockdownians relenting: having such power is addictive. There’s the small matter of coercing NHS staff to get the jab (link) which is being considered in relation to that ‘vaccine passport’, pushed by the former PM with the initials TB.
There’s also the not-so-small matter of ‘covid policing’. From April 12th, the BJ ‘lockdown roundabout map’ allows people to go on ‘staycations’ in the UK. The most popular regions are Devon and Cornwall where s/c accommodations are apparently booked out already. There’s also the matter of ‘orrible daytrippers flocking to the pristine beaches along those coasts. Therefore:
“Inspector Andrew Berry – the counties’ Police Federation chair – has demanded more police officers for his region amid concerns that police will struggle to cope with the huge influx of boozy holidaymakers.” (link)
Given the ongoing mass vaccination, given the data already coming out, tentatively, that vaccines seem to work – what are those police officers going to do? Check the alleged vaccine passports on smartphone apps? Is this the future for our country: police officers demanding people to show their smartphones – we’re too technically advanced to use ordinary ‘papers’ – wherever and especially whenever a new Whitehall Mutation rears it’s SAGE head?
Perhaps BJ will copy the ‘Sturgeon Plan’, described in this morning’s Lockdown Sceptics’ Newsletter (link) and never mind that the data available are already sculpting that plan. Btw – who knows if Sturgeon will still be in office given that she’s lied to her Parliament about the Salmond affair (link, paywalled link, link paywalled).
It’s now obvious why she loves the EU so much – after all, she clearly has applied the advice by a certain M Juncker to herself, namely that “when it becomes serious, you have to lie”. Meanwhile, as the Scottish Tories call for a vote of no confidence, her spokesman shows that ‘covid fear’ is a very useful tool when it’s about remaining glued to the ministerial seat:
“But to call a vote of no confidence in the middle of a pandemic, before hearing a single word of the First Minister’s evidence, is utterly irresponsible.” (paywalled link)
Yes, well, never mind the extensive documentation showing her lies – she’s defending Scotland against covid and thus all right-thinking people must keep her in office until there’s zero covid in Scotland!
I leave you with news that the ‘EU Covid Bloc’ is crumbling. Several EU member states are by-passing Brussels and are or have already been getting vaccines from Russia – oh the shame! – and even China while others are going to collaborate with Israel (link, paywalled). One wonders how this will influence that magical “EU Vaccine Passport” which is being developed in Brussels. Interesting times ahead, methinks.
As we wait for the Sunak ‘budget revelation’, let me close with a disclaimer: I’m no economist, I’m no modeller, I’m only someone who can count and do simple arithmetic, like adding two and two and coming up with four. I’m sure you, dear readers, are equally afflicted with this sort of numeracy!
Let’s prepare ourselves to pour righteous scorn on tomorrow’s ‘budget MSM’ and, given the latest covid data, let’s
Photo by eviloars