Times Comments -16/05


paul martin
4 min readMay 16, 2020


You may be missing out. I have had it on trial for a week. No annoying emails, simple layout, useful info. I might guess the boss has moved on since 2011, who really cares about old movies now we have Netflix etc. This is just PR

SG policy


It is curious how SG policy is being developed. Last week we were told that “Stay at Home” was where it was at, then within the first week of Boris’ baby steps we have talk of releasing the LockDown in Scotland with paperwork in the pipeline.

Today we have one out of his PlayBook: Before a major policy change (cf the Sunday evening announcement) we have press debate/discussion where ideas are floated. So an independent Prof. makes points which are the antithesis of current policy:

“[Shielding] works in models, not in real life, when the healthy and the vulnerable are integrated in households, communities and care homes.”

Of course Shielding works in real life — I can see it does out of my window where elderly neighbours are going about their isolated business. It only fails (& will we ever know why) when protective measures are not followed at such as Care Homes. Then she adds:

She accepts that the elderly or those with underlying health conditions face higher risks, but points out that there are risks facing a whole range of activities, such as being a bus driver, or a security guard.

And again her logic fails her: life endures by minimizing risk. Bus drivers etc, some less fit and older, are putting themselves in harm’s way to make a living. The shortage of staff on the London Tube showed that the workers appreciated this and decided not to turn up.

Her solution of “The thing we are really missing and which I think could be transformative is local-level data” has issues. First the FM when speaking of the R which represents such says that going to smaller geographical regions negates the accuracy of such measures. Professor Sridhar continues: “I can also see some kind of rating, where red means you have active community transmission, green means very few cases…” but this has practical problems in our current scenario. Vehicular traffic management with red-green can be literally seen to be practicable: cars at rest over there means time for us to go. CV19 is unseen and the measure is calculated by a retrospective process with delay in publication of the results. Not sure if I would want to cross the road on the basis of a historical indicator.

elazwam: But your sense of risk may be different from other’s. Who decides?

Answer: The individual, or close relation Note that schools closed because parents were starting to withdraw their offspring. Now many can see the benefits of returning kids but it will be up to parents to escort them to the school gates, at least in the case of Primaries.

— — letter — -

University support for the Scottish Government

The Scottish government has attracted commendation from many quarters both at home and abroad for its cool, controlled and systematic approach to this crisis… says Prof Devine

And also condemnation as in just now on the FMQs iplayer repeat over its handling of the Care Home Crisis, where 57% of COVID19 deaths in Scotland occur. The opposition leaders of all the parties are piling in on this one topic (they are having a good war to quote Mr Parris elsewhere)

I could mention the Nike conference virus cover up, testing (inc Anti-body strategy), ….


“We feel we over-assess our students, give them too many tests, too many exams, whereas we don’t think they are all necessary..” The same can be said about secondary education. When I was young we had 2 year A levels and before that O levels. The annualisation of the exam diet (Nat5, Higher & Adv Higher) coincides with the reductions in appreciation of Scottish Education. My kids said they were for ever being tested — we had to beg for quizzes.

AB Tests

With over a hundred thousand UK-wide capacity for “standard coronavirus test” those on the front line will be able to get one.

This (article) is not, in the first instance, about checking whether staff have or have not got the virus (now) in order to protect patients. But rather Anti Body testing to see have they had it, so as I say:

it will be useful for their and colleagues’ confidence if it was confirmed.

‘Statistical experiments’ for the government back room boys are useful but more important as the Care Home Crisis has shown is testing and informing workers & patients of their health status.

The TES has article about 60 education staff that have died so far. It would seem sensible to apply resources directly to keep that from approaching the figure for NHS staff mortality.