Science is the shield of the politician. “We must follow ‘the Science’”. Perhaps it is the Oxbridge Etonian standards in education of UK leadership: the politics, the philosophy and the (Keynesian) economics that allow them such bold confidence in the use of the label ‘the Science’ to justify any and all courses of action. Thus, the bombastic decision maker having made a decision, merely needs to punctuate his announcements with the backing of ‘the science’ and experts: that necessary herd of academics, boffins and dusted off Whitehall specialists required to provide a sufficient amount of credibility and immunity from the potential infection of responsibility or, God forbid, unpopularity.
Science is the weapon of the politician. I can just about remember a time when I didn’t really understand what Ronald Reagan meant when he suggested in his usual cheery and jokey manner that the most dangerous nine words in the world are “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” The danger of Government here in the UK has never been so understood by so many as now following the 2019 Conservative “Get Brexit Done” election victory. The danger is real and happening. The science ‘supports lockdown’, therefore you must close your business (for the public good, or we’ll feel your collar). The science ‘supports pub closures’, therefore you must not gather together and socialise (for the public good, or we’ll feel your collar). The science requires wide uptake of the vaccine; therefore, you must take the vaccine (for the public good, or… …we’ll make your life difficult). As for anything related to the impending global cooling climate change warming emergency and the production of plant food (CO2), ‘the science’ is a political rapier to be thrust into any unsuspecting ‘wanna-change-the-world’ concerned ‘Zero-Carbon’ citizen victim of the Blairite edukashun system or any cat caring, yogurt knitting retired child of the sixties divorcee, ‘scienced’ into helping future generations by demanding taxes on plastic bags, recycling her own urine and protesting for unlimited immigration into our most densely populated of islands.
Science to human progress is of course a different thing altogether, a method to use in the pursuit of truth, the elimination of error, the determination of fact and the demonstration of falsehood. Scientists’ fields of enquiry that have been drawn upon since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have been wide-ranging. Within a year the nation has developed never before known experts in immunology and epidemiology, stars have been born and medics have taken on the role of human movement monitors. If only those pesky patients wouldn’t work, play, eat, sleep, and pray near each other, ever, then everything will be OK! But 200 years of real scientific advancements have been thrown away in favour of Chinese Communist Party style government by diktat.
While fear has been the watchword, the inability to understand or accept risk has been the overriding ‘principle’ of the UK Government, a government which seeks to appease and please the most irrational, rabid corners of mainstream media with seemingly not a thought for the liberties of the people they claim to act for. In the face of a real-world problem (a pandemic), doing what Piers Morgan ‘feels’ is right is possibly not the appropriate route to take, but Morgan and his ilk have been the Government’s guides and we have travelled down a rutted bridleway. Consulting “the Science” however, might have brought a smoother road and a more palatable destination.
“‘MITIGATION MEASURES IN THE CONTROL OF PANDEMIC INFLUENZA’. published by Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefence Strategy, Practice, and Science Vol4 No4, 2006.” seems like a good place to start in ascertaining a few basic recommendations from ‘The Science’. Did SAGE consider whether it gave a few pointers? Perhaps it suggested a few ‘dos and don’ts’?
Certain matters that ‘The Science’ (from 2006) evidently tells us include:
“An overriding principle. Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.”
“Screening passengers at borders or closing air or rail hubs. Experience has shown that these actions are not effective and could have serious adverse consequences; thus, they are not recommended.”
“Quarantine. As experience shows, there is no basis for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals. The problems in implementing such measures are formidable, and secondary effects of absenteeism and community disruption as well as possible adverse consequences, such as loss of public trust in government and stigmatization of quarantined people and groups, are likely to be considerable.”
“Closure of schools. … Such widespread closures, sustained throughout the pandemic, would almost certainly have serious adverse social and economic effects.
In the accompanying video Cllr James Dalton presents some contents of this 2006 paper from the USA and questions the ability and sanity of the UK’s governing political elites considering what our nation, especially the young children, have witnessed over the preceding eleven months.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file