Quiz

I enjoyed ITV’s Quiz tv series very much.
Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant is very entertaining.  
It is made clear that the Major’s brother-in-law tried to help the Major cheat, that the Major trained, and that the Major’s wife sought to enrol the help of one of the second night’s final 10.  
But the drama does suggest that the Major’s learning for the event was extensive and that he may have relied heavily on the audience’s reaction to help answer some of the questions.
And that the drive came from pride, wanting to do well for his wife and to offer relief to his debt-ridden brother-in-law.  
The show’s creators did present an edited tape and gained out of the subsequent coverage. Chris Tarrant says the Major was a “rotter” but the show sees his character ask the Major through the TV screen whether the had cheated.  
The drama does suggest that the guilty conviction was not safe.

Jane Eyre

Watched the National Theatre’s 2017 presentation of “Jane Eyre” having been unfamiliar with the story.
And crikey. Bit of a plot. Drawing heavily apparently on the author’s life experiences. Some of it relying on coincidence and the super-natural. Found a YouTube video useful.

Only now do we consider care

The UK, an advanced 21st Century country, who weeks into the current public health emergency, are only now facing up to how to include the deaths of people from Covid-19 outside of hospitals in its figures and presumably now considering how to provide extra help for those in care homes.
– – – 
A worker from the care sector, working in Selston, Notts., has just spoken very well on BBC News 24.

Robert Peston speaks out

The stories I hear from what healthcare workers call “the frontline” – code for those working directly with Covid-19 patients – are traumatising.”

to rebuild hope that the correct approach is being taken by the government now” – Robert Peston.

And this is me …
Cos
We have looked down on Italy.
We have laughed at Spain’s chief medical officer.
We have done worse than Germany.
We have done way worse than New Zealand.
We were told we were better placed.
We were told testing was the key.
We celebrated creating a new hospital in London and then had to glean that many people can’t be helped there.
We were presented immunisation as the 3rd part of a 4 part strategy, when it’s so far away.
We’ve been told NHS staff who may have used PPE wastefully.

They’ve machine read “sadly died”.
They’ve over-used the concept of ramping.
They’ve mis-read the number of tests that have taken place in the country, and
They’ve asked people to understand that they’ve been clear in what they’ve said.

Not good enough.

Expenses of working from home for MP staff should be met

I have, without thinking too much about it, provided an update to my MP on a climate change demand, triggered by a constituent, which I’ve copied in an assistant to send a letter to a local business so that a particular business can be greener and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Only, I realise that that assistant will be, exceptionally, working from home. And if the assistant has had to incur costs to be able to do that task, I would *expect* that worker to have been equipped without drawing on their own finances. Especially if those costs include office equipment, and to a high standard expected on security. 

*Expect* – well, as a trade unionist, I would say *demand*. 

That emergency funds are required for all MPs to continue to provide the services expected of them, during this public health emergency by requiring staff to work from home, seems obvious. 

That a limit to that sum be cited seems obvious too. 

So, so disappointed to hear of people attacking this proposal.

Veracity of Government statements on the public health emergency

A plot that shows deaths in each country per million, which shows the UK doing better than most. Starting with the optimistic, there is a take that suggests the UK has had a lower rate of deaths than other European countries, once you take the population into account.

A number of critiques of the veracity of Government statements on the public health emergency are now being published, which I’m collating here, but with one big qualification. I’m not trained in public health emergencies or understanding the spread of a disease. I’m collating the points here to boost my own understanding, and am willing to update the analysis in response to points from others.

At a summary level, the criticisms are –
– the Government was too relaxed at the outset, because it assumed the human cost of allowing the Covid-19 disease to spread faster was going to be lower; and it only changed to a suppression policy to reduce the numbers needing intensive care in hospitals at a later stage; suggested that this was change came from a paper by the Imperial College dated March 16th; (original assertion was asserted to be backed up from overheard comments and alleged views of the Prime Minister’s most special advisor);
– that the death rates that are published for each day do not show the deaths from each day properly since the figures have initially shown extra deaths in hospitals, and that the time taken to report a death varies; also the figures of deaths from outside hospitals are less well known; since these numbers are used in analyses to show progress compared with other countries, a false perception of the effectiveness of public health policies may develop; (see Guardian, 4th April)
– the Government has at times seemed to really stress how important testing of people is; to see if they have the disease was vitally important; but the targets published were never properly established with target dates; the failure to test has also compromised the ability of many who had stayed at home in case they were poorly, when in fact they could have returned to essential work; or worse still others stayed at vital post when they should have gone home; (see Guardian, 3rd April)
– the Government has at times suggested the ability to test huge numbers of people for having had the virus would be available soon, when such a test has not been established; ability of people to return to essential work, having had the disease in a mild form, was another key strand for relieving the pressures upon those in essential work; without testing more widely for people who have anti-bodies having had the disease but shown no symptoms, or very mild symptons and recovered, compromises understanding the knowledge of the disease and the ability to increase the numbers of people who can return to essential work; (again Guardian, 3rd April)
– there appears to have been missed opportunities to provide more personal protection equipment for health workers;
– there are appears to have been missed opportunities to have provided more respirators; (e.g. Metro, 4th April);
– there was a failure to taken on the lessons from an emergency planning exercise conducted in 2015; (acknowledged by a senior civil servant)

I have more criticisms that perhaps haven’t been cited by others –
– I think the use of “mild” or “moderate” to describe the types of experience of the disease is misleading cos the threshold is too high, e.g. whether they went to hospital;
– no system has been established (or perhaps formally recognised) to allow people to report effectively that they think they’ve had the disease;
– that medical professionals have been too wooly on in the face of questions about people being able to catch the disease more than once; either more needed to be said about how any virus can change, or much more said about the rarity of such events with other diseases;
– that “we’ll get through this” is not something to be thankful to anyone for; the challenge is that we get through this in the best possible way;
– that a project management response might have been a better model than a “this is like fighting a war”; this would have placed greater emphasis on target milestones and progress checkpoints.

None of the above is meant to suggest criticism of national policy for paying head to behavioural science (how people will actually behave given the national advice) – I can perhaps understand that Sweden can properly expect more of its citizens to follow social distance guidance. And countries like China and Singapore, and perhaps even South Korea, are more schooled (or oppressed) in accepting central government edicts and dictations.

The UK has not had the gauche national public health approach advocated in Spain, or the way out there nonsense of Trump’s political statements.

If a response is to all the above is to say “now is not the time for such analyses”, I may well say fair enough, and I just wanted to log the main points of concern.
But what is standard in project management in other disciplines, is that there are reviews of what went right and what could have been done better. I’ve no doubt emergency planners everywhere will conduct such a review, but will a public review be conducted?

Keir Starmer is the new Leader of the Labour Party

I welcome Keir Starmer’s election as Leader of the Labour Party.  

Interesting that he won many members that had previously voted for Jezza and a reminder (I think) that they’d found the then alternatives wanting. (What I’ve described as a stale funk.) 
– 
Now looking for a bit of focus – reminding people time and again of the most significant weaknesses of the Conservatives.
As for policy, it’s all a bit in the air at the moment because of some of the emergency public financing measures. 
But there will come a time when it is appropriate to say (again) – “And now win the peace“.