Thursday , April 22 2021
Home / Tim Ambler /Driving the road out of lockdown by data, not dates

Driving the road out of lockdown by data, not dates

Summary:
Victoria Street SW1  “Humphrey.” “Yes, Minister?” “Why have you dragged me into the office on a Saturday?” “The Cabinet Secretary was on last evening.  The PM wants a draft of Monday’s statement to the House to discuss with senior Cabinet ministers by tomorrow morning.” “I thought Dom Cummings did that sort of thing.” “He left us some time ago, Minister. My understanding is that the PM’s Jack Russell was considered to have rubbed along with him with excessive enthusiasm.” “I wondered why I hadn’t seen Dom recently.  Sic transit and all that.” “The Sage scientists joined us overnight and we now have a 60 page draft setting out the four steps out of lockdown. Our brief is to be statesmanlike, with no Latin tags or jokes.” “I had rather hoped you’d given up jokes for Lent, Humphrey. Caution

Topics:
Tim Ambler considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Tyler Durden writes The Covidian Cult Exposed: Six Conditions Of Mind Control

Tyler Durden writes Syrian Missile Comes Close To Striking Israeli Nuclear Reactor, Israel Retaliates In Huge Escalation

Tyler Durden writes Canada Reveals It Paid White Helmets Million Annually After It Cuts Ties

Tyler Durden writes Washington State Mulls Bill To Ban New Gas Vehicle Sales By 2030

Victoria Street 

SW1 

 

“Humphrey.” 

“Yes, Minister?” 

“Why have you dragged me into the office on a Saturday?” 

“The Cabinet Secretary was on last evening.  The PM wants a draft of Monday’s statement to the House to discuss with senior Cabinet ministers by tomorrow morning.” 

“I thought Dom Cummings did that sort of thing.” 

“He left us some time ago, Minister. My understanding is that the PM’s Jack Russell was considered to have rubbed along with him with excessive enthusiasm.” 

“I wondered why I hadn’t seen Dom recently.  Sic transit and all that.” 

“The Sage scientists joined us overnight and we now have a 60 page draft setting out the four steps out of lockdown. Our brief is to be statesmanlike, with no Latin tags or jokes.” 

“I had rather hoped you’d given up jokes for Lent, Humphrey. Caution must be our watchword.” 

“We decided that being ‘led by the science’ is so last year that the PM will now be ‘driven by data, not dates’.  The date for making each step will be determined by four tests: ‘The first is that the vaccine programme runs to schedule. Second, the evidence must show that vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths. Ministers will also be looking at infection rates. Finally, if any new variants emerge that are potentially vaccine-resistant then the easements could be halted.’” 

“Humphrey, I’m no scientist but that looks like only one test to me.  We’ve already told the public that we have so much vaccine supply that we are bringing vaccination dates forward and we know they work.  There’s no chance Sage could know the vaccine resistance of new variants in a couple of weeks or so.  And it’s never black or white.  New variants seem to be partially clobbered by existing vaccines, if not wholly.  So it’s just infection rates.  What are the R numbers, since we are driven by data, which should tell us to speed up, or slow down, the four steps?” 

“My understanding is that the R rate is now also considered rather ‘last year’. Sage knows that infection rates are the only things we can monitor speedily but they are a better indicator anyway than hospital admissions or, sadly, deaths. Sage also knows that they will rise immediately after each step but it would be foolish to set arbitrary benchmarks to measure them against.  So if they are going uppish a bit too much, we will delay the next step, and if they are dropping, we will ignore them.” 

“It is always a joy to behold science in action, Humphrey.” 

“Indeed, Minister. The four steps start with schools and further education colleges all back on March 8th but not universities which were hotbeds of infection last autumn.  Students away from home indulge in all kinds of misbehaviour. ‘Socialising outdoors will be allowed with one person from another household’ so long as they do not play tennis or golf.” 

“Why is that?” 

“Apparently sitting together on a park bench is perfectly safe but walking round a golf course is potentially lethal. Visitors to care homes will be allowed and 30 people at a funeral.” 

“Well that’s good.  My wife incinerates the Sunday roast so we can have all our friends, sorry mourners, round. What’s next?” 

“On March 29th outdoor sports will be perfectly safe again.” 

“What data will drive that?” 

“It will be too soon after March 8th to have any actual data but we will review before the next step on April 12th when ‘the number of people allowed at weddings and funeral wakes will increase to 15.’” 

“30 mourners were allowed five weeks earlier.” 

“Well spotted Minister.  Half the 30 mourners cannot attend the wake. The important thing is that shops, hairdressers, holiday rentals and pretty much anything outdoors can start again the week after Easter. We must avoid the damage done at Christmas.” 

“Good heavens, yes.” 

“The next two steps, on May 17th and June 21st, then liberate pretty much everything except masks and social distancing.” 

“Humphrey, that’s five steps, not four.” 

“Yes, I know but it is less confusing for the public if everything is presented as four items.  The five week intervals between steps are really only four because each then needs a week’s notice.” 

“But you are giving them notice now!  And I suppose the only so-called data test has to be announced as four for the same reason?” 

“Indeed, Minister, we must not confuse the public.” 

“Well I think confusing the public is exactly what we are doing.  The hospitality industry cannot conduct all its business outdoors and is being hung out to dry until midsummer’s day allegedly on the grounds of data. But you and I know, Humphrey, that the evidence of last summer gave no indication at all that the hospitality sector was a problem.  Cases dropped then and only rose when schools went back.” 

“Data, Minister, are in the eyes of the beholder.” 

“Does that wrap everything up, Humphrey?” 

“I fear not.  There are a number of things that have proved too difficult to resolve so we are setting up reviews to report back in April.” 

“Four, by any chance?” 

Indeed, Minister: how long we will need social distancing and face masks, international travel, Covid status certification and safe return of major events.

“Well, there’s no doubt that Covid certification, or passports, will be needed for international travel or that the airline and holiday industries need to know now what will happen this summer so why do we need to faff about on these things for two months?” 

“Well certification is very complex.  We have to agree on the format and ensure they cannot be forged.  Yes, I know we’ve had international health certificates for decades but this is a new age and we have more civil servants to employ. And their domestic use is especially tricky.  Some people having certification and others not that implies exclusion and discrimination – especially if we start denying people employment just because they have refused to be vaccinated.” 

“Humphrey, really, what rot is this? Are you seriously telling me that it is my human right to go round infecting people?” 

“I regret that Sir William Macpherson changed the law in 1998 so it is now a question of what the ‘victim’ perceives. As a white, male, Oxbridge heterosexual (four strikes) person, your perception does not count.  The perception of someone who has denied herself the vaccine, does.”  

“Well I expect common sense will dawn one day.  In the meantime we have this great plan which most people will think jolly sensible.  It has lots of dates and absolutely no data by which progress can be judged.  You cannot expect more common sense than that.” 

“No, indeed not, Minister.” 

Media enquiries: 07584 778207 (Call only, 24 hour)

Tim Ambler
Tim Ambler (born 1937) is a British organizational theorist, author and academic on the field of Marketing effectiveness. Ambler featured on Marketing's list of the 100 most powerful figures in the industry. He is cited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of the top 50 marketing experts in the world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *