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Everything posted by Paco

  1. I think this is a large part of the problem. The Home Secretary broke ministerial code mere months ago and nothing happened. The Health Secretary broke the law the other day and nothing happened. The Prime Minister acted illegally by closing Parliament down and nothing happened. Misleading Holyrood and breaking ministerial code for the First Minister, if proven, should be a resignation issue. Bit of a concerning trend going on.
  2. In what world is normal life with those interventions even remotely comparable to the last 12 months?
  3. Winter will be hairy. Even optimistic estimates right now suggest a lot of Covid patients entering hospital, vaccines or not. Plenty will die. Short of something major changing though, like a vaccine-resistant variant sweeping the country, life will go on as part of the ‘new normal’ - lateral-flow tests, possibly vaccine passports, face coverings, possible distancing from strangers. The alternative is a repeat of the last year, and waiting for an even better vaccine. It isn’t sustainable. We were told by lockdown-sceptics last April that we should just learn to live with Covid. It’s here and won’t go away. With a vaccinated population and a slew of treatments, we have learned to live with it. We can do nothing else.
  4. I’ve always maintained when everyone over about 40 has two doses of vaccine, and everyone under 40 has at least one, that’s the time to unlock pretty much in full. ‘Autumn’ was always the target for this so it felt like October at best, just in time for winter which could force real change onto Spring 2022. But recently that target’s been really pulled forward to mid-July and I suspect there’s some confidence it could be all but hit by the 21st of June. There is nothing else that can be done when the vaccines have been given to everyone that wants one. I definitely don’t think 21st June will be met, at least not in the way everyone thinks it will. It’s carefully crafted wording around no restrictions on ‘social interactions’ but I suspect that’ll be contingent on lateral-flow tests, vaccine passports and probably masks/distancing from strangers where appropriate, which isn’t what people think when they see the words ‘restrictions lifted’. You can go to your maws, you can go to the pub without counting households, but you’re unlikely to squeeze yourself in to a packed city centre pub at 11pm without jumping through some hoops. But regardless of that I don’t see a barrier to summer pints, virtually as they were in summer 2019. I don’t see a barrier to some crowds at the Euros. I don’t see a barrier to normal crowds for the start of next season in Scotland. It’s going to be fucking great.
  5. I agree, I’d have liked to have heard more and am disappointed we didn’t. I didn’t catch what Ruth Davidson said but from what I’ve read it mostly seems fair to be honest, which is never a great sentence to be write. It was a very vague statement that didn’t commit to much at all. I’d like to see the journalists really press Sturgeon on that today. But there’ll probably be some old fud from Ardrossan who hasn’t had a vaccine yet, or indeed maybe has since they’ve now resorted to complaints that people are getting vaccinated. Sturgeon seems to have interpreted the ‘adult conversation’ as not lying to the public or giving false expectations. That’s certainly one of the aspects of it, but eventually so is saying how you see things playing out. She could plaster it in all sorts of disclaimers and maybe even use vague terms like ‘late summer’ rather than specific dates.
  6. They’re actively speaking about vaccine passports and lateral-flow tests down South, and these will not go away on June 21st if indeed that date is met. Good old Boris. A Scottish Government paper makes reference to ‘public health measures’, which admittedly is very vague, and we have people losing their mind. It could mean social distancing forever more. It could mean perma-lockdown. More likely though it’s leaving open the possibility of masks staying in the short-term - already said by Vallance/Whitty - and for measures to come back in winter if necessary - already said by Whitty. Minimum pricing on alcohol is a public health measure. The smoking ban in public spaces is a public health measure. Vaccine passports and lateral-flow tests would be a public health measure. The paper also says we can look forward to the general lifting of restrictions, and Covid will be over a serious public health issue. Those are the key points. I too wanted more from Sturgeon yesterday, the plan stopped at April with fairly vague detail on what that even looks like. We’re stuck between a lying PM who tells you what you want to hear and an ultra-cautious FM who doesn’t want to break a promise. It’s frustrating. But I still see no clear daylight between their approaches.
  7. Alloa have been had an unfortunate defeat at EEP, where we got thumped, and a draw at Inverness where we got comfortably beaten in their last two. Home win over Queens a couple of weeks ago too, where we got beat. ‘No easy games in this league’ is always a cliche but it wasn’t true in League 1. Home games with Queen’s Park or Stenhousemuir were gimmies. But it’s definitely true here - bottom of the league at home, and they’re showing better form than us in third! If we had the players we could genuinely drop everyone who played last Saturday aside from Jamie MacDonald and maybe Tumilty, and there could be no complaints. Realistically though it depends on injuries. I’d definitely bring Duku back in, and hopefully at least some of Musonda/Matthews/Spencer/Vaughan make it back. Get Gullan on the bench as a priority. Hoping for a game of football to break out, which weather/pitches haven’t really allowed since the win over Dundee.
  8. The devil is in the detail, and we won’t know the details until mid-March it seems. Some changes to Level 3 restrictions, where presumably the vast majority of the population will go, were mentioned but that could mean anything - it could mean outdoor boozing is fine, which it wasn’t before, or it could mean gyms which were open will stay shut. So it’s very hard to judge currently. If it’s broadly similar to last time, we’ll be much the same as England. Maybe a week or two behind, but maybe not. Nothing to be upset about today. It’s shite to hear but it’s not going to be vastly different to the rest of the UK.
  9. Very big day for Sturgeon tomorrow. I have absolutely zero faith that the 21st June ‘data not dates’ date will met. Sturgeon probably doesn’t either. Johnson has been wrong about quite literally everything in this pandemic, it’s optimistic to say the least that he’ll be right this time. But the scenario facing Sturgeon is that she is a bit more pragmatic and removes that hope and says it’s not happening, unless things go better than expected. Heads gone on this thread and I’m sure much of the population too. Or she commits to the date and likely misses it as well. I think she’ll go down the middle. Some vague platitudes about hoping for similar timeframes to England but ‘retaining the right to slow down based on data’, ‘see how we are nearer the time’ etc etc.
  10. Lockdown til the end of March would be very similar to England. With the exception of all schools going back on March 8th, it seems the ‘relaxations’ there will simply bring them to where we currently are in Scotland already. Little will change before April. More school kids on March 15th seems a certainty. That apart, nothing. That’s been signalled for weeks. Not saying I’m a fan of it but it isn’t a surprise. Shite, but not really any different to what we’re expecting to see elsewhere in the UK either - Northern Ireland already have lockdown until the end of March, and if reports are right England will essentially be in Tier 4 alongside us. Wales might do a little more but then they currently have better case rates.
  11. Most jabs up until last Sunday were still Pfizer, but only a 55%-45% split so not a great deal in it. The dosing may be something to do with it. It may also simply be a time thing, the first month or so of vaccination was exclusively Pfizer so perhaps during the worst of the second peak we saw a few more vaccinated people hospitalised than we will moving forward, at least until next winter. Supremely good news. We are now seeing very strong signs that the vaccines are a) very effective at stopping transmission and b) extremely effective at stopping hospitalisation. These are pandemic-ending numbers.
  12. If we’re still sitting in a lockdown of sorts in May with no way out on the horizon, there’ll need to be some big new scary problem, likely a variant, to scare people into submission I think. Vaccines change the landscape and change attitudes, I can’t control what businesses are open but won’t be paying any attention to social distancing with family and friends when we’re all vaccinated. If it isn’t ‘safe’ then, you genuinely need to ask if it’ll ever be? Combined with Johnson promising freedom by Guy Fawkes night, a scary new variant would probably do the job for keeping the peasants in line through 2021. Polls throughout this have confirmed British people are authoritarian lunatics. But we’re straying into conspiracy territory here. People are pissed off currently but if we power through for a bit longer, we’re out of the woods. We’re getting there.
  13. Hard to say that wasn’t deserved. Arbroath played the conditions much better, the pitch was probably more of a factor than the wind and it’s 100% our fault for trying to play good football on it. We showed up at Morton two weeks ago, took one look at the place and changed formation and style. Really hard to understand why we didn’t do the same today, on a worse pitch and worse conditions. I presume Musonda being out forced that, and McGlynn didn’t fancy Mendy in it. Likewise, Matthews being out is a blow and then Spencer pulling out before kick-off is even more unhelpful. But regardless of that it’s a bit of a mystery as to why we decided to try and play nice stuff through it. Absolutely rotten and completely at odds with McGlynn’s interview through the week. A dreadful game of football. They should’ve scored more in the fairness but the really odd goal that Arbroath scored kind of sums it up.
  14. Yeah that was awful. Abraham and Duku the main bench options. Would presume we end up with two up front here unless we get in front before the changes. Gullan’s been nowhere and Ugwu is struggling as well.
  15. Is this going to be one of ‘those days’? We don’t look happy at all. Arbroath playing very well in fairness.
  16. This isn’t true. There is a gap, but to get a gap of £200 you’re looking at a wage of about £126k. The 40% bracket begins at £43k in Scotland, £50k in the rest of the UK. To cushion the blow of the extra tax, you’ll still have a monthly salary of £6400 in your pocket. Not one to dictate how people spend their money, but you could probably still afford the car.
  17. Musonda will be a big miss for us. The Davo/Bene dream team reunite. Still no Vaughan either, anyone heard anything? I’m also going to say this almost in the hope of jinxing it... but I’ve never seen anything from Jamie Gullan to suggest he can be an effective number 10. His good games have been almost exclusively from the left hand side.
  18. Probably a reasonably fair proposal..... if we didn’t have a mountain of working vaccine.
  19. Mark Drakeford strikes me as a bit of an idiot but there’s no way he’s dreamt this up. Clearly advice he’s receiving, which is mostly the same as the rest of the UK, is that there will be a third wave. Drakeford also said in the same interview he doesn’t see normality this year. What are we missing here?
  20. More great news. Politicians in this country at this stage should now be confidently saying the vaccines work in the vast majority of cases. They break transmission, and they stop you even getting Covid let alone a serious version. The small caveat is AstraZenica and the South African variant. And even at that, the working assumption is serious illness is still prevented. That needs proven but every single other indicator suggest the vaccines work as advertised.
  21. It struck me this morning about the messaging in England when Johnson cancelled Christmas for the South days beforehand, having literally the day before said it would be ‘inhuman’. It was reported as ‘make Easter the new Christmas’. I can’t find Boris Johnson actually saying those words, but Robert Jenrick did and it was on dozens of front pages. The thought was that since Christmas was punted, things would be much better by Easter and the traditional Christmas gatherings with your whole family could take place then instead. ‘Normality by Easter’ is a direct Johnson quote (plus Hancock and Dowden). The reason I bring this up - Nicola Sturgeon has said holidays by Easter simply won’t be happening. Mark Drakeford is ‘hopeful’ Welsh people will be able to go to caravans in Wales by Easter. Johnson will release the government plans on Monday but I think one thing we can all be sure of is that there will be no allowance for multi-household, multi-generational indoor gatherings in order to ‘make Easter the new Christmas’. I can’t understand why there’s no outcry about this down South, it’s almost Stockholm Syndrome type stuff. They just seem happy to let Johnson run along to his next ‘target’ with no consequences or even murmurs of discontent. The UK minister quotes came in late December when the direction of travel of the virus was known, the vaccinations were known, the delivery schedules for the vaccinations were known, variants were known and the possible impact of the variants on the vaccine were known. In other words, nothing particularly unexpected has happened since then. I think we’d all agree that up until this stage, the vaccination programme has been a huge success and credit must go where it’s due to the UKG for it. It couldn’t really have went much better realistically. So what did Johnson, Hancock, Dowden and Jenrick expect to have happened by now, that hasn’t? What’s changed since these comments were made, that has impacted them so significantly? Or, whisper it. Did they just say what people wanted to hear? Sturgeon would quite rightly be getting hounded on these pages for the same thing, just look at the reaction to the Freeman ‘million vaccinations by the end of January’ comment, made before delivery schedules were known (the number was hit on Feb 9th). Her tone on Tuesday was miles off and has me concerned she’s lost touch with reality, the pelters were deserved. But don’t let the murmurings of doom fool you into thinking the UK Government end result will be much different. It’ll be broadly the same, and no amount of Johnson or backbench morons telling you what you want to hear will change that.
  22. Yeah, that’s a pretty big reality check right there. We can easily sleepwalk through desperation into a scenario where what we want to happen - the fast lifting of restrictions - means another lockdown later, even before summer. One huge caveat of the thread though is case numbers. We simply won’t get to 1,000 a day this summer, because of what I outlined earlier - so much more is open compared to last year including soon-to-be schools, we have a more contagious virus, and we test significantly more. What the thread doesn’t say is that we didn’t ever really have 1,000 cases a day last summer, it was significantly higher but unknown. The trigger point cannot be there as it’s comparing apples and oranges. Case numbers are all but irrelevant come May. Sure, the under 50s are still unvaccinated and some will need hospital care. Some will die. But it’s much smaller numbers, they won’t all catch it at once, vaccinations will be ongoing so a month beyond the point of Groups 1-9 being vaccinated it’s probably only the under 35’s that are unvaccinated. And if, as seems likely, vaccines have an impact on transmission the ‘chains’ are already being broken. Ill 30 year old tests positive having been at their parents, the pub and the barbers. Last year that’s an unknown number of infections, this year the worst case scenario is they’ve only passed it to a few 30 year old mates at the pub, and their parents don’t pass it on to Granny, who doesn’t take it into the care home, etc. It’s a different landscape, and I was as depressed as anyone watching Sturgeon on Tuesday. But the way out is still coming... just not as soon as the English tabloids and backbench Tories are trying to make out.
  23. I think you’re being very presumptuous to think cases will go to single figures to be honest. I’m almost 100% sure they won’t, for a range of reasons - testing levels being a major one, but also because last year we locked down from March until late June, where we emerged into the summer months having had virtually all workplaces, building sites, tradesmen and especially schools all at home for that entire time. That isn’t the case this time, and then you throw in the new variant and population fatigue which won’t help either. I don’t think we’re going to go significantly lower than current levels until the vaccines start having a wider impact. But, some time in the next few months we’re going to need to pivot from obsessing over case numbers to not caring too much, provided far fewer people are showing up at hospital.
  24. Vulnerable people are still getting the vaccines today, and we won’t really be out of the ‘vulnerable’ area (e.g. clog up hospitals for weeks or have the audacity to die) until Groups 1-9 are done. Target for one dose is the end of April, therefore for dose 2 it’ll be the end of July. The most likely to die have been given a dose, sure, but it isn’t the 95 year olds that sit in the hospital for a month and spend a week in ICU - it’s the 50 & 60 year olds, or younger people with severe asthma or COPD. They’re still in the process of being vaccinated now. Furlough won’t end in April either. It might go to a targeted system but I’d expect an extension for another couple of months before that happens, to be honest.
  25. Both England and Scotland’s quarantines are at this stage completely pointless. Wales and NI currently have no international flights arriving. Scotland’s is rendered useless by an easy workaround of arriving in England or Ireland. We’ll barely get out of single figures actually using the hotels as a result - you’d have to be an idiot to actually do it. England’s is also useless because of the Irish backdoor. It also only applies to certain airports currently (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham). Flights arrived yesterday at Manchester from Doha, Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi. Nothing stopping you going straight from your Johannesburg ICU shift and jumping on a plane to one of the above before flying in to Manchester. You might need to lie, if there’s anyone even at the airport to collect your contact details, and say you haven’t been to a banned country in the last 28 days - but that’s it. I’m not sure there’s even a process for what happens if passengers from banned countries present here. Additionally passengers from banned countries can fly in on a plane with passengers who only need to quarantine at home sharing arrival halls, sitting next to each other on the plane, queueing at security together and then one goes into a hotel for ten days while the other jumps on the Tube. Half-arsed. Pointless. Pretty clear it either needs to be all - including Ireland - or nothing.
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