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Category: Coronavirus

Boris’s big Christmas gamble

Boris’s big Christmas gamble

It is a very fine gamble for Christmas – not actually tightening the regulations that can be legally enforced but rather toughening up the guidance for how people should operate during the 5 designated days of the Christmas period. You can see how conflicted ministers have been because if there had been any more tougher controls then those affected could say said they had planned Christmas and in many cases laid out money on what had been announced previously. But…

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Merry Christmas: rising Covid cases, No Deal Brexit, recession and maybe lockdown

Merry Christmas: rising Covid cases, No Deal Brexit, recession and maybe lockdown

Yet the government remains surprisingly popular – for now This is the end. Not the real end, of course. There is no real end; just the start of another chapter. But as far as Brexit goes, that’s it: no more can-kicking, no more transition periods, no more rule-taking. Out. There is a slim chance that the UK and EU might, even at this late stage, strike a trade deal. The two sides are still talking, genuine and quick movement clearly…

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No Platform For Mad Men. Lockdown Sceptics Are Getting Far Too Much Airtime

No Platform For Mad Men. Lockdown Sceptics Are Getting Far Too Much Airtime

Few countries have suffered worse from the ravages of HIV/AIDS than South Africa. From 1999-2008, its suffering was made much worse by the irrational beliefs of its president, Thabo Mbeki, who denied in the face of all evidence that HIV caused AIDS and drew up policies accordingly. He appointed a health minister who advocated the use of herbal remedies for treating HIV-related health problems such as garlic, beetroot, and lemon juice. This was not a success. Something like 350,000 people died as a…

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The UK set to be the first where people are vaccinated

The UK set to be the first where people are vaccinated

One of the big gambles that Johnson and his team has made has been to pre-order tens of millions of vaccines spread out across different potential suppliers. The big one is for the Oxford jab which is now going through its final tests with the expectation that it will soon be available. This afternoon’s news is that approval of the Pfizer vaccine, which has also be pre-bought by the government, is set to get the thumbs up in days and…

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The Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death

Who are you planning to kill this Christmas? Is there an aged aunt who you haven’t seen for a while? Perhaps your parents? If you’re young enough, maybe you have your grandparents in your sights. After all, it is the time to spread peace, goodwill and Covid-19 to all mankind. But, I hear you protest, you have no intention of spreading any disease and you would be horrified to think that you might. Of course you don’t and of course you would be.   And that’s…

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A Vaccine against Stupidity

A Vaccine against Stupidity

The government must hope that Pfizer’s vaccine announcement will overshadow the continued rumblings about Kate Bingham, Chair of the Vaccine Task Force and her expensive (and, judging by results, useless) PR consultants. She is due to leave in January, as originally planned. If you believe Hancock, that is. He’s fast becoming this government’s Marie-Antoinette. According to his latest interview, people paid £670,000 for 6 months’ work in government should be thanked as they have “given up” six months of their…

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Where are the defectors?

Where are the defectors?

From longstanding PBer & former LAB MP Nick Palmer I’ve been active in politics for over 50 years, and some things stay the same. The traditional themes – the economy, the NHS, relations with Europe. The reductionist media, simplifying every election to a choice of leaders. The conviction that the current moment is exceptional, and nothing will ever be the same again. But one traditional element has been missing in recent years. It used to be quite common for politicians…

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