Not enough infection and death? Join the ‘Four Nations System’ again?

Once more headlining the non-essential industries and favouring them over SNP Government health concerns, days before the election, BBC Scotland remembers only selectively what the 4 Nations approach achieved last year at this time – mass infection and death.

They open with:

Scotland should align itself with other UK nations when deciding when to allow holidays abroad, a travel industry representative has said. Alan Glen, from the Scottish Passenger Agents Association, said there was “no way” it would work if Scotland had a different system to England. Non-essential travel abroad will be allowed from England from 17 May. However, the Scottish government has not yet said when this restriction will be relaxed in Scotland.

So, the SNP administration is more cautious than the Conservative one in England and that’s bad?

40% more deaths and nearly twice twice the infection rate over the pandemic and we should follow their lead again?

Here’s just one example of what the 4 Nations approach did for us in March 2020, from the BMJ:

“We have to take the right steps at the right time.” That’s the message the UK government has repeated when asked why stricter measures to control the spread of covid-19 weren’t implemented in early March. This was often followed by what became the catchphrase of the pandemic response: “We’re following the science.”

As Italy announced a countrywide lockdown on 9 March, people wondered why the UK wasn’t following suit. At that time Italy had over 9000 cases of covid-19 and nearly 500 deaths, up from 153 cases and three deaths two weeks earlier. Many people were calling for prompt action in the UK, which had had four deaths up to 9 March. But the UK’s lockdown didn’t come until 23 March, a delay that many people claim has cost lives.

Speaking at a live televised briefing on 9 March, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said, “It is not just a matter of what you do but when you do it. Anything we do, we have got to be able to sustain. Once we have started these things we have to continue them through the peak, and there is a risk that, if we go too early, people will understandably get fatigued and it will be difficult to sustain this over time.”

What’s the evidence for Whitty’s thesis?

Writing in The BMJ,4 Susan Michie, professor of health psychology, and Robert West, emeritus professor of health psychology—both members of SPI-B—said that the term “behavioural fatigue” was “an ill-defined new term that had no basis in behavioural science.”

They added, “Common sense understanding is not enough and can often lead to interventions that are at best wasteful and at worst counterproductive . . . For example, the common sense idea of ‘behavioural fatigue’ and concern that locking down too early may lead to widespread non-adherence later, was invoked in the UK for justification of the catastrophic delay of strict social distancing measures in the UK.”

Would you trust England to lead again on this one?

7 thoughts on “Not enough infection and death? Join the ‘Four Nations System’ again?

  1. IMHO, the BBC’s conduct over the last couple of decades, at least, has opened them up to numerous legal challenges. From those with deep enough pockets and an understanding of discourse ethics and stuff, that is.

    Lessons from lockdown: Media discourse on the role of behavioural
    science in the UK COVID-19 response


    AT PUBLICLY FUNDED bbc Scotland

    YOU DON TELL SCOTS apart for LACCIES that lie an cheat on your premises

    So please inform your Tory masters

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s criminal really, anyone with one brain cell could work out that you take swift action to avoid the spread of a deadly virus when a pandemic is in front of your nose. To have delayed for what, two weeks, led to many people being complacent, confusion over what they should or should not do, and then many avoidable deaths. Why the heck are people in England (and Scotland) not absolutely raging about that? Because the lying media have them controlled.

    It was clearly deliberate, and fits with the English governments’ ‘herd immunity’ at best,and hoping to stretch NHS in order to destroy it at worst.Also they I am sure had £ signs in front of their eyes.

    Scotland really is in peril because if there is another spike, and it could happen, without a party that has Scotland’s best interests at heart, many more people would be allowed to die and the Scottish NHS wrecked.
    We just cannot allow the BritNats near power in Scotland, it would be horrific.

    I watched daily update by Dr. John Campbell yesterday, and it would appear that the Covid19 virus was circulating in Italy as early as August 2019.
    Clinical trials/research were taking place at that time, and the bloods were kept, on looking at them again recently, they found antibodies to CV19 in many of those studied. They also found that there was a spike in influenza cases Autumn/Winter 2019, where older people had double pneumonia, which was very usual apparently, they now think it was likely CV19. All very interesting, you can watch on youtube if you don’t believe me…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. O/T I regularly check the House of Commons Library’s website for ‘interesting’ briefing papers. Today it’s profiling this one, first published in December 2020 and authored by David Torrance (remember him?): ‘Parliament and Northern Ireland, 1921-2021’ .

    (see )

    From a very quick read I spotted this in a section discussing Westminster’s Ireland Act of 1949 and Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s contribution to a Commons debate on 11 May 1949:

    ‘Attlee argued that the “natural corollary” of Éire ceasing to be part of the Commonwealth was to “declare that Northern Ireland remains part of the Commonwealth and of the United Kingdom, and will not cease to be so without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland”.

    He (Atlee) continued: “We recognise the authority of the Parliament of Eire, now the Republic of Ireland, to act on behalf of the people of Eire in carrying out their decision to leave the Commonwealth and we do not look behind that.

    “We recognise EQUALLY the right of the Parliament of Northern Ireland TO DECIDE on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland TO STAY IN OR LEAVE the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.” (my emphasis)

    The last sentence reveals that an acknowledgement of the rights of the people of NI – expressed via their elected representatives sitting in a Belfast-based legislature – to decide on NI’s constitutional future within or outside the UK is a principle that pre-dates a similar acknowledgement of such rights given in the Good Friday Agreement.

    For further interest, it was also the Ireland Act of 1949 that in Clause 2(1) declared that: “the Republic of Ireland is NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom or in any colony, protectorate or United Kingdom trust territory, whether by virtue of a rule of law or of an Act of Parliament or any other enactment or instrument whatsoever.”


  5. John I take your point about the level of risk posed by people going abroad on foreign holidays, and I would hope very much WM will bear this in mind. However, I admit the chances are vanishingly small, and thereby hangs the problem.
    Let’s suppose they have a relatively “liberal” policy – one where a “low” level of infection in the holiday destination (hopefully low meaning “low”) – there is a limited amount the SG can accomplish.
    Let’s suppose the SG adopts its customary caution. This will not go down well with the holiday industry (so what!) but also Scottish holiday makers who “need” their holiday abroad (I have heard that reason several times now on vox pops, but never heard them asked to justify why they “need” such a holiday), who will just book up through English airports and come back to English airports. For one thing how many Scots in most years go to Manchester to go on holiday? There is nothing the FM can do because she is never going to know, or be able to find out.
    Sure, we will have the moral high ground for being responsible, but much good it will do us.
    Perhaps a better, less unconstructive approach, would be to follow the English system, BUT have mandatory testing on return, and if positive a period of isolation? I dare say some will still go to Manchester etc – they always have. But a system as proposed could hardly be objected to, could it, and would at least catch some who have come back with more than most come back from foreign parts with?


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