THREAD: The UK is not the only place seeing a recent sharp rise in Covid cases.

Difference is *just like last time* our government had advance warning by looking at other countries. And not only did they do nothing to stop the rise, they actively encouraged it. 1/10
This a graph from the @FT of Covid cases from Spain and France (both of which were hit badly last time). Cases in Spain start rising mid July, cases in France take off during August. Cases in the UK still remained relatively low during this period 2/10
I had some thoughts on why our numbers were so low in this thread - basically reluctance of Brits to go back to shops, pubs and restaurants, plus more working from home than in other countries.

So what does our government do? 3/10
It tells people to go back into the office (often via public transport) and spends 100s of millions of public money bribing people to eat out more. There is now some evidence that the Eat Out scheme directly contributed to the rise in UK Covid cases. 4/10
More generally government messaging was deliberately encouraging people to believe that the worst was over and we could start going back to normal life. Even though we could see from other countries that this was resulting in a second wave of cases. 5/10
But this isn’t all. Given the government knew that a rise in cases was possible, why did it not build up testing capacity to deal with an increased number of people reporting Covid symptoms? Instead, it allowed the testing system to fall over. 6/10
@Chrischirp explains here why this is such a problem – if we can’t test, then we can’t trace and isolate cases either, so Covid spreads even further. 7/10
But the government just blames young people, and to starts talking about an ambitious new £100bn testing program rather than fixing the system we actually have.

This is a really good thread from @scienceshared on the problems with “Moonshot”. 8/10
I get the government has been trying to help the economy, but a significant second wave is going to do far more damage to jobs and the economy than anything else. Restrictions will have to be re-imposed, and individuals will start avoiding shops and restaurants again anyway. 9/10
All this could have been anticipated, but this is not a government that leads – it only reacts, and when it reacts, it does so incompetently.

They must be held to account for this. 10/10

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More from @ChristabelCoops

20 Aug
THREAD: Chatting with @chrischirp about why the UK hasn’t seen Covid cases rise on the same scale as many other countries.

Has the government actually got something right? Probably not. Instead looks like Brits have decided – of their own accord – to change their behaviour 1/12
Here’s a survey on Working From Home (reported in the @guardian)

Far more Brits are still working from home, much more than in other European countries. 2/12
Meanwhile, here are some numbers from the @FT on retail footfall, showing UK versus other countries. 3/12
Read 12 tweets
17 Aug
THREAD: The A Level fiasco was *completely* predictable, so why did the government do nothing to stop the car crash?

The people who built the algorithm will have known that it discriminated in favour of private school pupils and against unusually bright children in... 1/8
...historically low performing schools, because they ran the model to try and predict the actual results for 2019.

If I was a minister in a government committed to “levelling up” the first thing I’d want to know was whether the algorithm was biased in favour of particular regions, particular ethnicities, whether it favoured one gender, and did it discriminate against disadvantaged children.
Read 8 tweets
25 Jul
THREAD: @independentsage and @chrischrip present a compelling case for the UK government to adopt a zero Covid policy. Why isn’t it doing this?

Obvious answer: economics. The report recommends restricting re-opening measures, which will impact the economy. *In the short term.*
It’s not wrong to be seriously worried about the economic impact of lockdown. High unemployment will be a disaster for millions of people. As the child of someone who was long-term unemployed I know that it can literally destroy lives.
The ONS estimates that 1 in 2,300 are currently infected. Lockdown sceptics argue that the risk of catching and being seriously ill is now at an acceptably low level. Not so much higher than the risk of dying on the roads – which is a risk we accept. BUT.…
Read 13 tweets
16 Jun
THREAD: Why Boris wants to ramp up the culture war over statues and why he might not succeed.

There’s a lot of talk about statues at the moment, not least from the PM who tweeted on Friday that tearing them down “would be to lie about our history"
Yesterday, in a Daily Telegraph article Boris claimed he would “resist with every breath in my body any attempt to remove that statue [of Churchill].” This is a straw man, almost nobody is calling for Churchill to be removed from Parliament Square.
The BLM campaign is actually about structural racism and the public overwhelmingly agree that British society is at least slightly racist (@YouGov says only 6% think it’s not racist at all). Hence the announcement of *another* Commission to look at racial inequality.
Read 13 tweets
11 Mar
THREAD: Did Labour Leavers desert because of Corbyn or Brexit?

New @BESResearch data suggests that views on the leaders were more important than Brexit in causing voters to defect. Though Corbyn was leader in both 2017 and 2019, his popularity dropped between those years. 1/13
We know now that Corbyn’s popularity particularly dropped amongst 2017 Labour Leave voters. This graph shows the average favourability of Corbyn and May amongst Labour voters just after GE2017, versus strength of Remain or Leave identity. 2/13
Back in 2017 Strong Leavers disliked Corbyn slightly more than Strong Remainers – and Remainers particularly disliked Theresa May more than Leavers did. But across all shades of Brexit opinion, those who voted Labour in GE2017 preferred Corbyn to May. 3/13
Read 13 tweets
6 Mar
THREAD: Why Remainers should be wary of immediately pressing to Rejoin the EU.

After 2 years where Remain consistently led over Leave, @BMGResearch has found that more people now want to stay out of the EU than rejoin it. BMG suggest this could be due to “status quo” bias 1/12
i.e. people are said to prefer things to stay the same rather than make changes. Between Jan (before we left) and Feb (after we left), a small number of Remainers decided that they’d now rather stay out of the EU, enough to give Leave a small majority. 2/12
If there’s a shift in attitude after one month, then its possible the status quo bias will become stronger as time goes on and more Remainers will make their peace with Leaving. But of course, that’s because the reality of Brexit hasn’t hit as we’re still in transition. 3/12
Read 12 tweets

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