Skip to main content

Whose message on COVID-19?

During this Coronavirus pandemic, We often hear it said that we should 'follow the science'.  That, of course, is better than simply dipping your finger in the air to test the humidity!  But can the science work fast enough to inform debate when it comes to the difficult decisions to be made by politicians? 

The answer is that it cannot.  




The problem is that science works through a long process of experimentation or data acquisition, writing of papers, which then go through a peer review before being published. Cutting short any of this process weakens the strength of the science. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, events are occurring faster than science can function. What then happens is mostly speculation based on judgement, whether by specialists or not. Epidemiologists, virologists etc. are called upon to give their view on what is likely to happen. Few of them stress the problem that science doesn't work that way. 

We all either feel in the dark, or that the government isn't giving us sufficient information, or we simply choose which particular strain of idea is trending. So we end up with assertions ranging from 'it isn't as bad as they say it is' or 'there is a conspiracy' to 'millions will die'.

I don't find the information available from any government source here in the UK to be particularly useful. That may be true across the globe.

So where do we get our information from?  Sadly, many are getting information from a source that is a little better than rumour and hearsay - social media. 

 It would be advisable for governments to think through how they handle the dissemination of information in such circumstances.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha

His way or none? Why I can't vote for Jeremy

There is an assumption that all would be well with the Labour Party if people hadn't expressed their genuine concern with what they consider the inadequacies of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. If only, it is said, the Parliamentary Labour Party and his Shadow Cabinet had supported him, instead of undermining him, all would have been fine. If they had been quiet and towed the line, then the party would not have been in the mess it is in. So, should they have stayed silent, or speak of their concerns? There comes a point when the cost of staying silent outweighs the cost of speaking out. This is a judgment. Many call it a coup by the PLP. They paint a picture of a right-wing PLP out of touch with the membership.  This is the narrative of the Corbyn camp. But Jeremy Corbyn, over the decades he has been in politics, showed the way.  It was Jeremy Corbyn who opposed almost all Labour leaders and rarely held back from speaking out, or voting time and again against the party line. As