Article 15

These People Have No Idea What They Are Doing.

This verdict on the corona virus crisis was offered by the ex-Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption in an article under the above title in The Mail on Sunday of 21/6/20. He opened his article by asking, ‘does the Government have a policy for corona virus’ and he answers it by stating that ‘indeed it does’; and that ‘in fact, it has several’. ‘One for each  month of the year, and none of these properly thought through’ He then observes that ‘governments have to change tack in attending closely to a changing situation’; but that ‘this crisis has exposed something different and more disturbing: a dysfunctional Government with a deep-seated incoherence at the heart of its decision-making processes’. He claims that ‘the root of the problem is the uncomfortable relationship between the Government and its scientific advisers’; that the Government has repeatedly claimed to be guided by “the science“; that ‘this has in practice been a shameless attempt to evade responsibility by passing the buck to scientists for what are ultimately political, and not scientific, decisions’; that ‘scientists can advise what measures are likely to reduce infections and deaths’ but that ‘only politicians can decide whether those measures make sense in economic and social terms too’.  He then concludes the introduction to his article by stating that ‘Sage, the committee of scientists advising the Government, has been very clear about this’; that the minutes of its meetings show that these scientists ‘are not willing to become the Government’s human shield or the fall guys for its policy misjudgements’; and that ‘ministers  press them for the kind of unequivocal answers that will protect them from criticism’; that ‘the scientists cover themselves by giving equivocal answers which reflect the uncertainty of “the science”; and that ‘the Government responds by avoiding any decision for which it would have to take political responsibility until the pressure of events becomes irresistible, when it lurches off in a new direction’.

At this point, I refute Lord Sumption’s description  of science by reference to my definition of science as the source and store of unequivocal, indisputable and non-debatable knowledge of the reality in which we live and act. On this definition, anything which is equivocal, disputable and debatable is not science, but belief, yet to be reality-validated or reality-refuted (as hypothesis) to positive or negative knowledge of this reality by experimentation in this reality. Thus, I assert that non-scientists including high court judges and a good many self-styled “scientists” have yet to recognise my newly definitive differentiation of the dichotomies of knowledge/belief, truth/falsehood, wisdom/folly, right/wrong and good/bad which have enabled me to define the opinion/counter-opinion dichotomy as that of belief/ counter-belief supported by partially selected facts/counter-facts, evidence/counter-evidence and news/ false-news no set of which amounts to debate terminating conclusive knowledge as explained by my third book and this website.  Lord Sumption merely describes the belief-only governmental plans respecting Covid-19 as Plan A of March 3 which ‘concentrated on providing medical and other essential services and on advising rather than coercing the public’, Plan B as ‘an abrupt U-turn’ which ‘on March 18, announced the closure of schools’; ‘on March 20 closed pubs, cafes and restaurants’; and on March 23 ‘announced the full lockdown for which the Government had made no preparations at all’, and ‘without including a lockdown power in the Corona Virus Bill which was then going through Parliament’, an omission ‘it was forced to amend by questionable use of public health legislation designed to control the movements of infected people, not healthy ones’, which ‘even then took another three days to prepare while it pretended such regulations  were in force when they were not’.

Lord Sumption, says that Sage ‘was unenthusiastic about closing down the hospitality industry, forbidding large gatherings or closing schools’; that  to Sage ‘the real threat was to people over 70 with serious underlying medical conditions’; and that ‘since March 5 their advice was ‘to “cocoon” those with  the disease and those in the same household’.  Lord Sumption concludes that ‘this advice  would have left the economically active population free to earn their livings and sustain the economy’; that ‘indiscriminate lockdown was a panic response to the now-notorious statistical model produced on March 16 by professor Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College’; that ‘panic responses leave little room for refection’; that ‘no serious consideration appears to have been given to the potentially catastrophic side effects’; that ‘the Imperial team did identify the main problem of a lockdown as its tendency to ‘push all transmission to after its lifting’; that ‘a vaccine  would be needed to lift it’; that ‘its maintenance would involve “enormous” social and economic costs’; that ‘the Government nonetheless justified its Plan B as a temporary measure to delay the peak until the NHS had caught up’; that its Plan C of May 10 ‘dropped the NHS from its slogan’  but ‘instead of lifting the lockdown, merely nibbled at its edges’; that ‘Plan D of June 12 involved a general return to work’; but that ‘it was stymied by maintenance of the two-metre distancing rule’. I conclude that Lord Sumption merely continues the debate without resolving it; and that he is thus one of those he identifies in the above title.         25/6/20.              

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