Former Defra chief scientist and aid to four Conservative ministers, Sir Ian Lamont Boyd, appears at the end of a BBC article this morning, ostensibly on the thoughts of Professor Sridhar. It opens with:
Prof Devi Sridhar, of Edinburgh University, said the country would effectively be Covid-free if that progress could be maintained. She said the challenge would then be how to stop new cases being imported.
and goes on to say:
However, an open border with England – where hundreds of cases are still being reported daily – is a concern, as is enforcing the 14-day quarantine of people flying into Scotland.
Then, toward the end, Sir Ian Boyd, who sits on Sage, the secret group of experts who initially went along with the deadly Tory herd immunity strategy to delay the lock-down pops up and is quoted as saying:
We don’t fully understand the dynamics of it, and we don’t fully understand why Scotland is doing better than other parts of the country.
Oh yes we do. It’s simple and shared knowledge. Ask Prof Sridhar or Prof Bauld of Edinburgh University.
Scotland now has a far lower infection and death rate than England because of a stricter lock-down, clearer more honest communication leading to far higher public trust with consequent greater community engagement, slower easing of the lock-down, better NHS staffing, a more effective test and tracing system using existing local public health officials, coronavirus assessment centres and no doubt other factors.
Might Boyd be opposed to Scottish independence we wonder.
Boyd, a zoologist, not even a spam bacteriologist like Professor Pennington, is a deep insider. Attacked by Naomi Klein and George Monbiot, in 2013, for his collusion with the suppression of dissent:
If they [scientists] must speak out, they should do so through “embedded advisers (such as myself), and by being the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena”. Shut up, speak through me, don’t dissent – or your behaviour will ensure that science becomes irrelevant. Note that the conflicts between science and policy are caused by scientists, rather than by politicians ignoring or abusing the evidence. Or by chief scientific advisers.
Monbiot reminds us that Boyd had supported the Tory government’s plans for a mass badger cull which was then exposed as being based on indequate data and then sexed up. Monbiot concludes:
The badger cull as a whole defies the findings of the £49m study the previous government commissioned. It has been thoroughly dissected by the leading scientists in the field, which might explain why Boyd is so keen to shut them up. It’s one of many ways in which his department has binned the evidence in setting its policies.