When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?

We hear from BBC Scotland today:

Teachers in Scotland are being asked if they would consider strike action over Covid school safety concerns. The EIS teaching union is surveying members on the prospect of industrial action as Covid-related absences hit a new high.

What is the basis for this survey by the EIS?

It’s not massive infection levels among pupils. If you read on, you see that only 758 of the absent pupils have Covid-related sickness. There are nearly 700 000 pupils in Scottish schools.

So, just over one in a thousand or 0.1% is infected.

How about teachers?

The article doesn’t tell us how many teachers have caught the virus. I see no sign of the number anywhere but the Herald reported 2 000 isolating a week ago. There are more than 52 000 teachers in Scottish schools.

Are teachers at high risk?

Data from 2 September (the start of the school year) to 16 October 2020 show no evidence of differences in the positivity rate between primary and secondary school teachers, other key workers and other professions.


Why is BBC Scotland foregrounding this campaign?

In a supposed ‘analysis’ by Jamie McIvor, we read:

The government’s determination to minimise disruption to education has been used as an argument for other difficult decisions and restrictions. To change this policy would be politically very difficult. In June they faced an enormous backlash over plans for blended learning and were accused of an enormous U-turn when they announced an ambition to reopen schools full-time.

McIvor entirely politicises the debate, ignoring the health-related decision -making, informed by scientific experts, explicitly to reduce infections and deaths, and suggests that Scottish Government is only really concerned with deflecting criticism.

This cynical analysis is either dishonest or deeply stupid.

His suggestion of enormity is, of course, an enormous exaggeration. Facilitated by himself no doubt, an unrepresentative and far from enormous parents’ group with little more than a Facebook page to validate them, complained about blended learning. As for the supposed U turn, only some enormous fool of an opposition leader, invited by him to say it, made that claim.

As for the actual U-turn, when the strategy began to work and infection levels and death fell to single figures, might the SNP leadership have been allowed to say:

When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?

This cynical analysis is either dishonest or deeply stupid.

Undermining a popular strategy and risking deaths.

Why might the BBC and the EIS feel so motivated to find fault in a key plank of the Scottish Government’s Covid strategy. Could it be this from May 2020?

Back to school Jamie.

22 thoughts on “When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?

  1. Merely as a side note but none the less a useful piece of comparative info with regards the Difference between Scotland and England
    We all like to consider how we rank in comparison to other Nations and the best way is just the same of most sports
    I.E.a league or table whereby you can instantly judge how well your team and the opposition are performing
    So here we go and the Number of deaths/million of population
    And the data Worldodmeters as of 16.11.2020
    But remember in comparison to other nations the Lower your table position the better you are doing
    England on 12th July were ranked 2nd in the world
    Scotland were 11th
    But today
    England 5th a improvement of 3 places
    Scotland 22 nd a improvement of 11 places
    Irrefutable evidence that Scotland and particularly for the 2 nd wave is way out performing England
    But will ABC (BBC) or any MSM feed you this info
    Most other countries who are performing well in a terrible global situation will let you know
    No need to wonder why here
    As this most certainly does not fit the Better Together narrative
    In fact and obviously so Quite the Reverse as to what the facts actually are and never want you to know


  2. BBC Scotland—the harlot of journalism.
    Lying for Britain is no excuse for peddling mistruths and propaganda.
    Alas, we are stuck with this until we are a self-governing country.

    Then, Pacific Quay will be like Vietnam, with staff desperately burning files out in the car park, and frantic people scouring the horizon for the last helicopter to get them out!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Off piste–
    Apparently the idiot-fest phone-in Call Kaye was about North Brit Broonie asserting Scots shouldn’t have a say in their own future.

    A few facts.
    Broonie was advocating a second EU referendum in 2018.
    Treeza Maybot was “offering” a second EU referendum in 2019.
    Shir Keir Hardie was in favour of a second EU referendum.
    This was within a few years of the first EU referendum.
    N Ireland is legally entitled to a “unity” referendum–if there is demand.
    The Downing Street Declaration RECOGNISED Ireland’s right to self-determination.

    The Irish dimension is now part of the architecture of the U.K. Constitution, and as such would have relevance to any Scottish Claim of Right to equal treatment under the law(which is an actual legal thing).

    I didn’t listen to Call Kay, because–well,I don’t—but I bet none of this was allowed to surface on her Loyalist show.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. gavinochilyree
        No need for ever
        Because without any doubt whatsoever
        NI.is fast accelerating into poverty
        Whilist the Republic accelates its growth and wealth it already has well surpassed not only GDP/ capita well over NI .
        But the UK as a whole
        The republic’s productivity is surging way way ahead of the UK and such is one sure fire piece of data that by far is the main driver of wealth creation
        Money has NO principles when it come to
        It has and always shall completely shattshal
        Any semblance of loyalty
        The Irish Tri Colour WILL fly above Stormont soon


  4. John,I have just heard on ITV news that there is to be carbon capture built in Teesside with Government money.Broon first then Camereon pulled the plug in Scotland getting it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From ITV News online today:

      ‘ITV News understands that on Wednesday the prime minister will pledge to help fund four carbon capture and storage “hubs” in the UK – in Scotland, Wales, the Humber and Teesside – and to have them up and running “by the mid-2020s”.’


      1. If the PM is going to ‘help fund’ this (he means the public purse will be dipped into)
        who is going to pay for the rest, private firms? Does Scotland have a choice in the matter? I mean North Britain, by mid 2020’s.
        By then it’ll be in the past, Scotland having once been a country with their own parliament, in the bad old days.


  5. Fund Hubs. by how much. Buttons? They cut funds for CCS projects at Longannet in Fife and Peterhead. Coal and gas. Westminster is just full of gas. Combustible. Total nonsense. Broke promises and reneged. . Cut funding. More empty promises.

    The EU has CCS up and running, Westminster Tories cut it. Funding nuclear instead.A total waste of monies by comparison. They had their chance and blew it. Wasting chancers. A waste of time and monies. Tory lies. They cannot count of read a time sheet or balance sheet. More cheap propaganda. For a bit of cheap publicity. Promises reneged upon. No trust at all.

    Everyone working in schools gets tested if there is a need. The pupils and teachers isolate if they need to. Or if there is a cause. If pupils are ill or show signs of illness. They are tested and if positive isolate. Do not go to school. Teachers and staff are tested regularly. Teachers do not need to strike they just need to isolate if their is a need. They follow the rules and guidelines. To keep safe.

    The EIS will be voted down once again. Teaching is too important than to be used as a pawn.For some cheap publicity. An alternative agenda. Teachers are too smart for that. They can calculate percentages and risk. Not be disillusioned by misinformation.

    The unions have their hands full. Teachers and staff know how to use sanitiser, get tested and isolate if necessary. They follow the rules and guidelines. Reassure parents, teachers and staff. Consummate professionals. .Rules and guidelines given to keep people safe and save lives. Working successfully.

    The EIS should concentrate on keeping class sizes down. Union councils disobeying the rules and trying to cut Education funding. Out of order.,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, but am wondering if there shouldn’t be some sort of Inspectorate similar to that for care homes. It also strikes me that there are 2 elements involved – the provider and the user.

      As I understand it, the standard of measures in place varies from LEA to LEA and school to school. Scotland (spoiler alert!) is doing better than England, but inspections to ensure the highest standards are in place, an investigation into why if they’re not and help in getting it right would also reassure people.

      But the ‘users’ also have a responsibility. I think young people, on the whole, are behaving responsibly. Anecdotal information tends to suggest the is UK-wide, not just here. But some parents don’t seem to understand that, even if it’s outside, physical distancing at the school gate and on the way home helps hinder the spread. So they need educating and if they can’t comply should, perhaps, have to keep their children at home. Then they don’t need to come out and spread the disease. (Not sure about this last, because I understand the need for social contact. But something that would emphasise the severity of the situation needs to be done.)

      Failing that, I wonder if the unused hotels could be turned into temporary boarding schools – akin to wartime evacuation. The whole community could be isolated together, ‘normal’ schooling would be possible, exams could take place and it could be used to boost the local community. With ScotGov support, if necessary. Several birds with one stone?


      1. Thing is not everyone is sensible, so there will always be some risk in whatever setting that might be. Kids are natural learners, they can thrive educationally with good guidance and it doesn’t have to be in a school or boarding school setting.
        The hotel boarding school idea, nope, not a good solution at all. Talking of which, what’s the situation with the private schools? Are those teachers fearing for their lives? What’s the infection rate in those schools? Why do I think we will not be hearing anything about that either way, anytime soon.
        As for social contact, a few months of home education, with internet access obviously, won’t affect the kids too negatively, some might even like it, especially those for whom school is a nightmare every day, if they are bullied and/or have autism or learning disabilities. Education is universal, it takes place in many different settings, with the internet, the access to excellent learning sites is absolutely phenomenal and online interactive learning is of course an added bonus.
        If schools are hubs for Covid19 then it would be up to the ScotGov and their health advisers to decide best course of action. Imagine closing them down again, the media lackeys would not know what to do, celebrate maybe? Demonise Nicola Sturgeon a bit more? Arghh what to do to convince people it’s all very bad!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Perhaps McIvor and the EIS have been observing what is happening in England. I have not heard any murmur of concern from English teaching unions. Has anyone?

    These are the latest ONS surveillance data, the week up to 6 November. The positivity rate in England, still rising, is 1 in 85 people. In Wales the rate is the same 1 in 85. In NI it is 1 in 105 and in Scotland, 1 in 135.


    “Positivity rates in England have increased in recent weeks, but the rate of increase is slower than previous weeks; during the most recent week (31 October to 6 November 2020), we estimate 654,000 people (95% credible interval: 619,400 to 689,800) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19), equating to around 1 in 85 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 90 to 1 in 80). …

    …The highest positivity rates are seen in secondary school-aged children, older teenagers and young adults; rates continue to increase in those aged 35 years and above, and rates are now decreasing in older teenagers and young adults, with rates appearing to have levelled off among younger children, teenagers and those aged 25 to 34 years.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly looks like Scotland is doing well to keep the numbers lower than England. Yet it’s in Scotland where the media are clamouring for unrest, they must be praying by their beds at night for a school strike, imagine their delight in reporting that day in day out, on the hour every hour.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a decision for the teachers. No one should be forced to put their health at risk.
    Unfortunately it’s ABC as usual trying to make political capital out of the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The so called media will try anything to demonise the ScotGov and to hide their relative, life saving successes in dealing with this deadly virus. The BBC London controlled state run propaganda project don’t give a s**t whether people die in Scotland that is the crux of the matter. These people are not reporting (their lies) and steering the narrative out of concern for the people of Scotland, quite the opposite in fact. They would rather that more people were dying, they would rather have real SNP bad news, but they don’t because the SNP led government in Scotland are doing a good job, against massive odds as we all know. So, the Tory media, and that’s all of them, make it up as they go along. They get together on zoom or whatever, choose a theme, and for as long as they can, they feed their lies and misinformation into the minds of the people. It’s all well orchestrated, and well planned.
    Anyone who believes that the English controlled BBC has any other motive than to demonise Nicola Sturgeon and the ScotGov, so that they can get rid of the party from Holyrood, by hook or by crook, is completely deluded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The BBC . . . . Don’t give a s**t whether people die in Scotland”
      . . . . Due to their (the BBC’s) actions.


  9. A bit off topic but I would be interested, John, on your opinion of the BBCs rebuttal this morning (17th) of the suggestion that a majority of Scots feel the BBC has failed them by not informing them properly of the effects of the UK Internal Market Bill.
    The BBC claims this was widely discussed by people like Baroness Kennedy, Mike Russell and Joanna Cherry across programmes like The Nine (how many watch that?), Reporting Scotland, Gaelic news and on the website. How true is this and how does it compare to the usual coverage, particularly GMS and Call Kaye. As I don’t watch or listen to the BBC much, I really can’t judge whether or not this is true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I may offer my tuppenceworth – I would be very surprised if more than a relatively small percentage of those that rely on BBC output have ANY sense of how serious, how fundamentally significant this UK Internal Market Bill is for the governance of the UK and for the future of Scotland’s parliament and government.

      I would be similarly surprise if more that a relatively small percentage of the same group realise that those expressing real and sustained concern are not only those in favour of dissolving the Union. The devolved administration in Wales is seriously concerned. Also, and notably, many in that pillar of the UK state’s establishment and who are wedded to the Union, namely the House of Lords are expressing serious concern and alarm about the threat it poses to devolution.

      A reading of Chapter 2 of the (16 October, 2020) report from the Lords’ Select Committee on the Constitution on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill sets out the Committee’s concerns to a degree that IMHO has not been addressed to anything like the appropriate degree by BBC Scotland.

      Click to access 151.pdf

      The record of Lords’ debates in Hansard also reveals a host of cross-party and cross-bench opposition.

      So if it was concerned to limit SNP exposure on this issue in order to maintain (its fabled) ‘balance’, BBC Scotland could easily have provided a broadcasting/journalistic service to inform its license payers WITHOUT interviewing, WITHOUT EVEN QUOTING one single pro-indy MSP or MP such is the large and diverse group of voices opposing this Bill.

      Unionists in the Lords have been agreeing with the SNP position over this Bill – arguably making the case even more forcefully, albeit with a different motive.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Indeed, the key “89% of SNP voters, 68% of Labour voters, 74% of Liberal Democrat voters, 62% of Conservative voters, 86% of Yes supporters, 63% of No supporters, 77% of people born in Scotland and 76% of people born in England all agree that the BBC have failed to properly inform the public” is more than a mere “suggestion”.
        James Kelly’s question was clear and unambiguous, the results damning for PQ, featuring the subject is a long way from actually discussing and examining the subject.

        Liked by 2 people

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