Our scientists were given responsibility in the pandemic but no public accountability

Last week, Rishi Sunak rehashed old wounds and stirred up more controversy over lockdowns during the height of the pandemic. The former Chancellor now says scientists were given too much power, where policy choices should have rested with those elected policy makers known as our leaders.  Unlike most other government policies, there was little cost-benefit […]

As we look back on pandemic mistakes, we need to count livelihoods in our losses

Ministers don’t need to face the inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic until next spring, the chair of the probe, Heather Hallet, announced this week.  As part of its mandate, the inquiry will “listen to and consider carefully” the experiences of those who lost family members or “have suffered hardship or loss” as a result of […]

Precaution is a useful thing, but designing policy based on maybes is a dangerous road

It is is so familiar, the script almost writes itself. Health professionals start to call for more restrictive measures at the slightest whiff of bad news. The government initially dismisses the concerns. Gradually, ministers – many of them almost wholly innumerate – are beaten into submission by projections of what might happen. If we were […]

Forget the polls endorsing lockdowns and look at how people actually behave

Economics is at long last storming the bastions of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). This citadel of epidemiologists and health professionals has for many months resisted the lessons which the so-called gloomy science can bring. In the context of Covid-19, economics is in fact a beacon of hope. This week, news broke of […]

The costs of lockdown could far outweigh the benefits

Playground

Radical leaders such as Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand and Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland have gained plaudits through their relentless focus on eliminating Covid-19. But this comes at an obvious economic cost. Tourism is some 15 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP, and major destinations such as Queenstown in the Southern Alps have been devastated. […]